Monday, June 7, 1993


The House met at 1:30 p.m.








Mr. John Plohman (Dauphin):  Mr. Speaker, I beg to present the petition of Alana Van Steelandt, Dan Van Steelandt, Germaine Van Steelandt 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 Wheat Board.

* * *

Ms. Marianne Cerilli (Radisson):  Mr. Speaker, I beg to present the petition of Debra Normand, Sandra Bancroft, John Martin and others requesting the Minister of Health (Mr. Orchard) to consider restoring the Children's Dental Program to the level it was prior to the '93‑94 budget.

* * *

Mrs. Sharon Carstairs (River Heights):  Mr. Speaker, I beg to present the petition of L.F. Mason, Orlah V. Mason, H. Wall 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. Ashton).  It complies with the privileges and the practices of the House and complies with the rules (by leave). Is it the will of the House to have the petition read? [agreed]

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

      WHEREAS there is a very serious solvent abuse problem in northern Manitoba; and

      WHEREAS according to the RCMP over 100 crimes in Thompson alone in 1992 were linked to solvent abuse; and

      WHEREAS there are no facilities to deal with solvent abuse victims in northern Manitoba; and

      WHEREAS for over three years, the provincial government failed to proclaim the private member's anti‑sniff bill passed by the Legislature and is now proposing to criminalize minors buying solvents even though there are no treatment facilities in northern Manitoba; and

      WHEREAS for nine years, the 25 Chiefs who comprise the Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak, supported by medical officials, police and the area Member of Parliament, have proposed a pilot treatment project known as the Native Youth Medicine Lodge; and

      WHEREAS successive federal Ministers of Health have failed to respond to this issue with a commitment; and

      WHEREAS the Manitoba provincial government has a responsibility to ensure that there is adequate treatment for solvent abuse.

      WHEREFORE your petitioners humbly pray that the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba may be pleased to request the Premier to consider making as a major priority, the establishment of a solvent abuse treatment facility in northern Manitoba.

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

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

      WHEREAS there is a very serious solvent abuse problem in northern Manitoba; and

      WHEREAS according to the RCMP over 100 crimes in Thompson alone in 1992 were linked to solvent abuse; and

      WHEREAS there are no facilities to deal with solvent abuse victims in northern Manitoba; and

      WHEREAS for over three years, the provincial government failed to proclaim the private member's anti‑sniff bill passed by the Legislature and is now proposing to criminalize minors buying solvents even though there are no treatment facilities in northern Manitoba; and

      WHEREAS in 1987, the 25 Chiefs who comprise the Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak, supported by medical officials, police and the area Member of Parliament, proposed a pilot treatment project known as the Native Youth Medicine Lodge; and

      WHEREAS successive federal Ministers of Health have failed to respond to this issue with a commitment; and

      WHEREAS the Manitoba provincial government has a responsibility to ensure that there is adequate treatment for solvent abuse.

      WHEREFORE your petitioners humbly pray that the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba may be pleased to request the Premier to consider making as a major priority, the establishment of a solvent abuse treatment facility in northern Manitoba.

* (1335)

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

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

      WHEREAS there is a very serious solvent abuse problem in northern Manitoba; and

      WHEREAS according to the RCMP over 100 crimes in Thompson alone in 1992 were linked to solvent abuse; and

      WHEREAS there are no facilities to deal with solvent abuse victims in northern Manitoba; and

      WHEREAS for over three years, the provincial government failed to proclaim the private member's anti‑sniff bill passed by the Legislature and is now proposing to criminalize minors buying solvents even though there are no treatment facilities in northern Manitoba; and

      WHEREAS in 1987, the 25 Chiefs who comprise the Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak, supported by medical officials, police and the area Member of Parliament, proposed a pilot treatment project known as the Native Youth Medicine Lodge; and

      WHEREAS successive federal Ministers of Health have failed to respond to this issue with a commitment; and

      WHEREAS the Manitoba provincial government has a responsibility to ensure that there is adequate treatment for solvent abuse.

      WHEREFORE your petitioners humbly pray that the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba may be pleased to request the Premier to consider making as a major priority, the establishment of a solvent abuse treatment facility in northern Manitoba.

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

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

      WHEREAS there is a very serious solvent abuse problem in northern Manitoba; and

      WHEREAS according to the RCMP over 100 crimes in Thompson alone in 1992 were linked to solvent abuse; and

      WHEREAS there are no facilities to deal with solvent abuse victims in northern Manitoba; and

      WHEREAS for over three years, the provincial government failed to proclaim the private member's anti‑sniff bill passed by the Legislature and is now proposing to criminalize minors buying solvents even though there are no treatment facilities in northern Manitoba; and

      WHEREAS for nine years, the 25 Chiefs who comprise the Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak, supported by medical officials, police and the area Member of Parliament, have proposed a pilot treatment project known as the Native Youth Medicine Lodge; and

      WHEREAS successive federal Ministers of Health have failed to respond to this issue with a commitment; and

      WHEREAS the Manitoba provincial government has a responsibility to ensure that there is adequate treatment for solvent abuse.

      WHEREFORE your petitioners humbly pray that the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba may be pleased to request the Premier to consider making as a major priority, the establishment of a solvent abuse treatment facility in northern Manitoba.

* * *

Mr. Speaker:  I have reviewed the petition of the honourable member (Ms. Barrett).  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. Santos).  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 there is a very serious solvent abuse problem in northern Manitoba; and

      WHEREAS according to the RCMP over 100 crimes in Thompson alone in 1992 were linked to solvent abuse; and

      WHEREAS there are no facilities to deal with solvent abuse victims in northern Manitoba; and

      WHEREAS for over three years, the provincial government failed to proclaim the private member's anti‑sniff bill passed by the Legislature and is now proposing to criminalize minors buying solvents even though there are no treatment facilities in northern Manitoba; and

      WHEREAS for nine years, the 25 Chiefs who comprise the Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak, supported by medical officials, police and the area Member of Parliament, have proposed a pilot treatment project known as the Native Youth Medicine Lodge; and

      WHEREAS successive federal Ministers of Health have failed to respond to this issue with a commitment; and

      WHEREAS the Manitoba provincial government has a responsibility to ensure that there is adequate treatment for solvent abuse.

      WHEREFORE your petitioners humbly pray that the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba may be pleased to request the Premier to consider making as a major priority, the establishment of a solvent abuse treatment facility in northern Manitoba.

* * *

Mr. Speaker:  I have reviewed the petition of the honourable member (Ms. Wowchuk).  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.




Mrs. Louise Dacquay (Chairperson of Committees):  Mr. Speaker, the Committee of Supply has considered certain resolutions, directs me to report progress 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.


Introduction of Guests


Mr. Speaker:  Prior to Oral Questions, may I direct the attention of honourable members to the loge to my left, where we have with us this afternoon Mr. Al Patterson, the former member for Radisson.

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

      Also with us this afternoon in the public gallery, we have from the Pierre Radisson School twenty‑six Grades 10 and 11 students, and they are under the direction of Marg Beddall.  This school is located in the constituency of the honourable member for St. Vital (Mrs. Render).

      Also this afternoon, from the Edward Schreyer School, we have fifteen Grades 11 and 12 students under the direction of Mr. Bob Grant.  This school is located in the constituency of the honourable Minister of Labour (Mr. Praznik).

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

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Grain Transportation Proposal

Government Position


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

      Mr. Speaker, we have been raising questions about the method of payment to the producer and the railways since December of 19‑‑well, for years, but more recently with the 10 percent cut by Mr. Mazankowski and then the 15 percent reduction in the federal budget tabled in April of 1993.

      When we asked the Premier, he said he was studying it.  When we asked the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Findlay), he said he was studying the issue.  When we asked the Premier again in his own Estimates, he said ask the Minister of Agriculture.  We asked the Minister of Agriculture what the position of Manitoba was. He said we are still studying it, Mr. Speaker.

      Alberta has taken a position in favour of changing the method of payment to the producer.  Saskatchewan has opposed it.  What position did Manitoba take before the unilateral Conservative action last week, and why did the government not make its position public in terms of the producers in Manitoba and the many people affected by the changes announced by the federal Conservative government?

Hon. Glen Findlay (Minister of Agriculture):  Mr. Speaker, there is no question this is a very significant issue for the producers and the economic survival of western Canada in terms of the grain industry.  There is no question about it.

      I have told the member many times that we face serious problems in the grain industry.  You can talk about a trade war if you want, but really what we face at the farm gate is that the value of the commodity we are exporting or selling has dropped in half in the last 10 or 12 years, and the costs of getting it from the farm gate to an export position have basically doubled.

      That cannot be sustained in the future.  Governments, federal and provincial, have stepped in with various kinds of support payments, but we all know that governments are very much stressed in terms of being able to continue to do that.

      So we have to find a mechanism by which farmers can get more return from the marketplace for the grain they are producing. Many people look at what is being proposed by the federal government now as an opportunity to have farmers have more control of the system.  We believe they will generate more efficiencies in the system, and in terms of developing the industry in the future, will make more effective decisions if the money from WGTA is in their hands.


Rail Line Abandonment


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

      Mr. Speaker, this change by the federal government announced last week, with no appearance of Manitoba taking a public position on this issue, will result in some 25 percent or a quarter of the rail lines being abandoned across western Canada.

      Mr. Speaker, what we are worried about is fair access as well as effective access to markets.  I wonder whether the Premier has an analysis of what communities will be impacted by the closing of rail lines, the abandonment of rail lines, how many jobs will be lost in those communities.

      Can they table today who will be impacted in a negative way, in a very unfair way, if they are more distanced from the so‑called lower cost transportation routes?  Who has the higher cost and who will be impacted in Manitoba?

Hon. Glen Findlay (Minister of Agriculture):  Mr. Speaker, in the process of trying to determine how these impacts will occur in Manitoba, we set up the advisory council back in 1989 with broad representation of Manitoba producers and agri‑industry on the panel.

      We looked at a lot of questions like the one the Leader of the Opposition has raised today, and if you look back in history, you will see that a lot of rail lines have been abandoned over the last 20 years.  Over 50 percent of the elevators have been closed, yet we still are able to export more and more grain.

      Along the way, in the course of the discussion with the advisory council, Mr. Speaker, we have constantly advocated in Manitoba, since we are the furthest from any salt‑water export position of any part of the world, that every producer should have equal access to a main line and equal access to the highest priced market in the world.

      Equal access is a basic principle we believe is important, so every producer who is further from the line will be compensated in the process of getting to that main line, Mr. Speaker.


Grain Transportation Proposal

Impact on Highways


Mr. Gary Doer (Leader of the Opposition):  Mr. Speaker, again, we are very, very concerned about the fairness of this federal Conservative proposal in terms of the producers and in terms of access to a fair transportation system.

      The minister will note and the Premier (Mr. Filmon) will note that with the closing down of many of these rail lines, we have also had massive depopulation in western Canada, very major shifts and population changes.  It has not been a very positive thing for many rural prairie communities.

      I would like to ask the minister a further question.  His study dealing with Deloitte, Hoskins dealing with transportation policy indicates a major increase in cost to highways with the change in transportation payment.

      Has the government got any studies or can it produce any studies today that will show that increased cost, Mr. Speaker, and what is the strategy to deal with that in terms of the province of Manitoba?

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Hon. Albert Driedger (Minister of Highways and Transportation): Mr. Speaker, since 1988, when I first took over the responsibilities of this office, at that time, there was a rail rationalization policy developed by the four western provinces which has been continually on the table before the federal government in terms of how they should rationalize the abandonment.

      That position has not changed with us at the present time. Even before the NTA hearings, we made our position known again. As late as last week, I responded to the standing committee on transportation to re‑emphasize the concerns we have about the approach to this.  We will continue to do that.

      In terms of the specific question as to the exact impact, we do not have exact information on that because we do not know exactly which lines are going to be on track for abandonment.


Grain Transportation Proposal

Government Position


Ms. Rosann Wowchuk (Swan River):  Mr. Speaker, the announcements made by the federal Minister of Agriculture this last week are devastating for farmers.  In fact, if people realized how serious they were, I am sure they would all be in mourning for farmers, the consequences they will pay for this.  For months, the Minister of Agriculture has refused to make his position known on the whole barley issue.

      I want to ask the Minister of Agriculture today how he can support the announcements made by Charlie Mayer, whether he agrees with the decisions made by Charlie Mayer and whether he will now stand up with Manitoba and Canadian farmers and oppose these changes which are going to destroy the livelihood of farmers, do nothing to increase the farm gate price‑‑

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

Hon. Glen Findlay (Minister of Agriculture):  Mr. Farmer, contrary to the member for Swan River‑‑sorry‑‑

Mr. Speaker:  Wonderful profession.

Mr. Findlay:  Mr. Speaker, I have farmer on my mind, let me tell you, and very contrary to the member for Swan River, I feel the farmers are very competent in being able to make their own decisions.  I have a high level of respect for their abilities.

      With regard to the barley issue, the amount of barley exported to the United States is about 4 percent of our total production.  It is 1.25 percent in total of Canadian Wheat Board sales.  I do not think it is a significant impact.  The Wheat Board can compete with the farmers and the agribusiness industry selling there, but I like the opportunity of farmers to have choice.  Farmers have the ability to make their own decisions to determine their own destiny.

      Mr. Speaker, with regard to transportation, there is going to be a producer payment committee which will hear input from the farm community and their farm organizations.  There will be an opportunity for review of both of those decisions over the course of time.  In the barley issue, there will be a review in six years.  In the WGTA issue, there will be a review in about two to three years and a review every five years after that.

      Mr. Speaker, we have to evolve a system that returns more money to the farm gate, and I support that principle very strongly.


Barley Industry

U.S. Imports


Ms. Rosann Wowchuk (Swan River):  I want to ask the Minister of Agriculture what his position is on opening up the border between Canada‑U.S. for the U.S. barley to come into Canada, when only a short time ago we were told that U.S. barley would not come into Canada because their subsidies were too high.  Now, all of a sudden, the border is wide open because of Charlie Mayer's decision.  How is that going to help farmers?  What is his position on opening up‑‑

Mr. Speaker:  Order, please.

Hon. Glen Findlay (Minister of Agriculture):  Mr. Speaker, let me assure the member that Manitoba farmers have competed well.  We basically have a free trade environment in grains and meats in North America.  About two years ago, the border was open to American wheat to come in here and the same comments were made at the other side‑‑where is all the American wheat that they said was going to flood our market?  It has been very successful.  We just sold more and more to the United States.

      With regard to the oats issue, once the oats were taken away from the Wheat Board, we have more than doubled the sales to the United States.

      I have incredible confidence in Manitoba farmers to compete as they have in the past.  I guarantee you, Mr. Speaker, contrary to the member for Swan River, they will compete well in the future.

Ms. Wowchuk:  Mr. Speaker, the minister has not given us his position on opening up this border or the subsidies.

      I want to ask the minister then, how he can support a decision that will hurt the basis that the Canadian malting industry has been successfully built on.  What does he expect will happen to malting barley prices when Canadian farmers get a premium of $64 per tonne versus $12 per tonne in the United States?  What is going to happen to malting barley prices?  Who is he working for‑‑

Mr. Speaker:  Order, please.

Mr. Findlay:  Mr. Speaker, it was a question I raised when I wrote a letter to the Wheat Board some time ago.  I asked them why the premiums for malt barley have been shrinking over the last few years.  They told me it was because of GATT‑related issues.  They also told me that in Canada only about 10 or 15 percent of our barley is selected for malt.  In the United States, 50 percent is selected.

      Two‑thirds of the malting barley plants in the United States are in Wisconsin and Minnesota.  Mr. Speaker, we want access to those markets.  We want an opportunity to sell there.  Manitoba has premium barley, premium farmers and is very willing to compete.  Thank you very much.

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Economic Growth

Regional Market Development


Mr. Paul Edwards (Leader of the Second Opposition):  Mr. Speaker, with your indulgence, I want to commence by recognizing seven years in this House of service as the Leader of our party, of the member for River Heights (Mrs. Carstairs).

      My question, Mr. Speaker, is for the Premier.  Signs are continuing to show that Manitoba is lagging behind other provinces that are emerging from the recession.  At a time when other provinces are growing and creating jobs, Statistics Canada is reporting that Manitoba lost 4,000 jobs between April and May, seasonally adjusted.  This is in addition to 8,000 jobs lost the month before.

      This government has said that looking at individual monthly statistics is not relevant, but the fact is the past two‑month tally puts Manitoba in a very poor position indeed.  The Speech from the Throne said that there would be regional capital market development as a key to economic growth in this province, to create government revenues, as well as jobs for Manitobans.

      My question for the Premier, Mr. Speaker:  Given that we are nearing the end of this session, where are the ideas of regional capital market development?  It has been many months in this session.  Where are those ideas that we were promised for regional capital market development in this province?

Hon. Gary Filmon (Premier):  Mr. Speaker, I begin by bidding on behalf of all my colleagues congratulations to the member for St. James on being selected as the Leader of his party at the convention this weekend.  We certainly look forward to his continuing contributions in this House, and we wish him a long and distinguished career as Leader of the third party in our Legislature.

      Mr. Speaker, the Leader of the third party has raised the issue of employment in Manitoba, and, indeed, like all Manitobans, we, too, want to ensure that the unemployment rates we currently face, even though they are the third best in the country, will continue to improve.  We believe that, with the platform we have put forward, the budget that has seen our continuing efforts to keep our costs of government down and to keep all the major tax rates in this province down for the sixth straight budget, those efforts will continue to build the kind of foundation that will attract investment and job creation to this province.

      Indeed, both the Dominion Bond Rating Service, in its recent report, and the Canadian Investment Dealers' Association said that Manitoba had the most attractive prospects for investment and job creation in the future of this country.

      I might also point out that in those selfsame jobless statistics that were put out on Friday, Manitoba's youth unemployment rate was the lowest amongst all of the provinces of Canada, and I know that is an issue that his predecessor, as Leader, often concentrated on in terms of concerns in this House.

      Mr. Speaker, both with respect to capital markets and with respect to the accumulation of capital locally, this government has made moves in the direction of making available investment capital.  Things such as the Vision Capital Fund, things such as the Crocus Investment Fund, things such as the Rural Development Bonds and more recently the Builder Bonds are all efforts to attract capital, venture capital, for people in this province, for investors in this province, and we believe those efforts are proving their worth in terms of the results we are seeing in recent times.

Mr. Edwards:  Mr. Speaker, for five years I have been listening, as we all have, to the scenarios, and it is always coming up roses apparently just down the road.  The fact is it is not in this province.

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Prairie Stock Exchange

Government Position


Mr. Paul Edwards (Leader of the Second Opposition):  My question for the Premier again:  In the past few months as I have gone around this province, it has become abundantly clear to me that Manitobans do want to invest in Manitoba.  They want to invest in their own future and take back control of their own future.  Our party has put forward the idea of a prairie stock exchange to build a critical mass and a stock exchange for the prairie provinces.  It makes sense and it offers a vehicle for Manitobans to invest in Manitoba.

      Mr. Speaker, my question for the Premier:  When is the Premier going to give that idea some consideration?  Has he discussed it with his colleagues in the other provinces, the idea of putting together a vehicle for investment by Manitobans in Manitoba?

Hon. Gary Filmon (Premier):  Mr. Speaker, we continue to have in this province, of course, the Winnipeg Commodity Exchange that has served this province for more than a half century very efficiently and very well and continues to provide a vehicle for all sorts of investments within our province.

      Mr. Speaker, the idea of a prairie stock exchange was something that we have said before we are open to discussion on. It was part of an economic statement that I released during the 1990 election campaign.

      The reality is, of course, we would like to have Winnipeg as the centre of that exchange.  We believe there are good and valid reasons why Winnipeg should be the centre of that exchange.  As long as we are working toward that goal, we will welcome the support of the Leader of the Liberal Party in trying to achieve that.


Provincial Deficit

Government Projection


Mr. Paul Edwards (Leader of the Second Opposition):  My final question for the Premier is:  The Conference Board of Canada has now predicted a 2.3 percent growth for Manitoba for 1993. Previously, the Minister of Finance's (Mr. Manness) budget had said it would be 2.7.  That equates to approximately $80 million of revenue in this province and, of course, affects the government revenues flowing from that wealth in the province.

      My question for the Premier, Mr. Speaker, is:  Given that the estimate has now been revised, will the government's deficit predictions for the coming year also be revised, as they have continuously been in the last five years?  What is the current projected deficit for this coming fiscal year in view of that new prediction?

Hon. Gary Filmon (Premier):  Mr. Speaker, as the member knows, there have been and there continue to be forecasts made by many different economic forecasting agencies.  I can tell him that the Conference Board is but one of several.  I think he said 2.3 percent.  Actually, their recent forecast was 2.4.  The composite of five forecasting agencies continues to be 3 percent that has been put forward.

      I might tell him, Mr. Speaker, that overall, since all of the budgets have been brought forward in Canada this year, the forecasts have gone down because government spending is a very significant part of all of the forecasts that are there.  I can tell him, if we were to increase our spending by 3 percent this year, we would increase automatically our GDP growth by 1 percent.  That is how significant government spending is.  About one‑third of all of our spending would result in GDP growth.

      We could take the easy way out and just simply spend more money, as was done by our predecessors, and create artificially an increased GDP growth which, of course, would be destructive to our economy, would be destructive toward our opportunities to attract investment and job creation and would ultimately cost all future generations in this province by way of interest on the deficit that we would drive up, significant monies that would be very negative to our province.

      We do not want to do that.  We believe the course we are on will indeed result in the kind of growth he and we would like to see in this province.


APM Management Consultants

Department of Health Staff


Mr. Dave Chomiak (Kildonan):  Mr. Speaker, the minister admitted in Estimates last Thursday that five Department of Health employees have been moved to work with Connie Curran and her company, American Practice Management, which is receiving $3.9 million plus up to $800,000 in expenses, probably tax‑free Canadian.

      Can the minister advise this House whether the several hundred thousand dollars in salary for these employees will come out of Ms. Curran's $3.9 million salary, or will that money be paid for in addition through the Department of Health?

Hon. Donald Orchard (Minister of Health):  No, Mr. Speaker.

* (1400)

Mr. Chomiak:  So the minister has admitted the money will be coming in addition to her $3.9 million.


Office Renovation Costs


Mr. Dave Chomiak (Kildonan):  Can the minister also confirm how much the renovations‑‑[interjection] If the Premier (Mr. Filmon) will listen, I will ask the second question.

      Can the Minister of Health confirm how much the renovations at the Health Sciences Centre are costing for the offices to be renovated for Ms. Curran and her American Practice Management company?  How many hundreds of thousands of dollars, if that is what the price is, have been spent to renovate offices for her and her American company to come in here and do the consulting work?

Hon. Donald Orchard (Minister of Health):  Mr. Speaker, as usual, my honourable friend's research is rumour.


Economic Growth

Employment Creation Strategy


Mr. Leonard Evans (Brandon East):  Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Premier.

      According to the most recent labour force survey, the size of our labour force‑‑that is all the people who are ready and willing to work in Manitoba‑‑is shrinking.  We are down by 8,000 from last year.  We are the only province in Canada with a shrinking labour force, and yet there are over 50,000 people unemployed, so that the unemployment rate rose to 9.6 percent. Obviously, there is no economic recovery in Manitoba, only continuing high levels of unemployment and discouraged workers who are leaving the province.

      My question to the Premier is:  Obviously the present policies are not working after six budgets or so.  What does this Premier propose to do now to stimulate the economy and to create jobs for the people of Manitoba?

Hon. Gary Filmon (Premier):  Mr. Speaker, as I indicated before, our government continues to enjoy the third lowest unemployment rate in Canada and in fact in the first five months of this year our government has averaged 9 percent unemployment rate, which is the second lowest in the country.

      Youth unemployment rate, as I said earlier, was the lowest among the provinces and considerably better than most of the provinces in Canada, I believe, five percentage points below the Canada average.  So we continue to work to improve that situation.  No level of unemployment would be acceptable to us, and we will continue to work to attract investment and job creation.

      What we are not going to do, Mr. Speaker, is to take the kind of short‑term approach that New Democrats did when they were in office, which was to spend taxpayers' money to create short‑term make‑work jobs that left us with one legacy and one legacy only, and that is debt, debt that crippled all investment and job creation prospects for this province for decades in future.  That we will not do.


Employment Decline


Mr. Leonard Evans (Brandon East):  It is obvious that these low rates of unemployment that the Premier talks about are because of the exodus of workers from Manitoba.  They are leaving.

      So my question to the Premier is very simple:  Why are jobs disappearing in Manitoba?  We have lost 7,000 since last May. Why are we losing jobs in this province?  We have fewer people working today than when this Premier was re‑elected two years ago.

Hon. Gary Filmon (Premier):  Mr. Speaker, over the first five months of 1993 the number of people employed in Manitoba has increased by 4,000.  That is the fact.  Over the first five months of this year the number of full‑time employed in Manitoba has risen by 10,000, so indeed we are seeing the shifts and the changes in the right direction.  In addition to that, I repeat, we have the third lowest unemployment rate in Canada.  It is not as good as we would like it to be.

      We will continue to ensure that we work towards improving that number and, Mr. Speaker, by ensuring that our deficit level remains down and that our taxes remain in the lower half of the country now, as opposed to being the highest in the country as they were when we took office, those are the things that will work towards attracting the investment and job creation that both he and we would like to see.

Mr. Leonard Evans:  Mr. Speaker, we have an $852‑million deficit.  Do you call that a low deficit?  That is the biggest we have ever had in the history of this province. [interjection] Well, the Premier raised the matter.


Social Assistance

Employment Creation Programs


Mr. Leonard Evans (Brandon East):  My last question, Mr. Speaker, could be addressed to the Minister of Urban Affairs or indeed to the Premier, and it is with regard to the question I raised last week.

      Is the government now ready to enter into an agreement with the City of Winnipeg on a job creation program for welfare recipients?  If there is no decision made yet, can the minister tell us when will a decision be made?  There are 18,000 people on welfare in Winnipeg.  When are we going to give them some jobs?

Hon. Jim Ernst (Minister of Urban Affairs):  Mr. Speaker, as I indicated to the member last week, if it was indeed last week, we are studying the matter.  We are still looking into it in an attempt to determine how real the proposal is from the City of Winnipeg in terms of actual jobs and actual benefits.  Once we have that information, we will make an announcement appropriately.


School Division

Boundary Review Independent Commission


Mr. Kevin Lamoureux (Inkster):  Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Education, because I am so concerned about education and the quality of education and the direction that this government has been taking education, in terms of the deteriorating quality of education and the inability of this government to take any sort of action on reforming our educational system.

      This government made a commitment from the Premier (Mr. Filmon) in the 1990 election to review the school division boundaries.  On December 5, 1991, it is stated that they were committed to proceeding.  Three months later, the Minister of Education deferred the review.

      Mr. Speaker, my question to the minister is:  Given her remarks a week ago that she was going to be looking shortly into having a review, would the minister agree that the review of school division boundaries be undertaken by a commission independent from government with input from all education stakeholders?

Hon. Rosemary Vodrey (Minister of Education and Training):  Mr. Speaker, as I said when I last answered this question, the decision to defer looking at school boundaries was because there were several issues which were in process, and they have in fact now come to a point in which we can see them.

      I think the member should look at Francophone governance which is now before this House, the review of The Public Schools Act which is now before Manitobans.  We are in the second year of the school funding formula, and we have a Task Force on Distance Education.

      So, as I said to the member, with those things before us, I will be making an announcement shortly.

Mr. Lamoureux:  Mr. Speaker, defining "shortly" from this minister is unbelievable.


Cost Savings Analysis


Mr. Kevin Lamoureux (Inkster):  My question to the Minister of Education is:  We had the Minister of Finance (Mr. Manness) who said that there are monies to be saved by amalgamating, by bringing the school divisions together.

      Did the Minister of Finance or the Minister of Education do anything to try to ensure that monies could be saved there, as opposed to taking a 2 percent straight education cut on the budget?

Hon. Rosemary Vodrey (Minister of Education and Training):  Mr. Speaker, the member seems to be saying that the only reason to do a school boundary review is to save money.  The people of Manitoba might be interested in that comment.

      Anything further, in terms of the direction this government will be going, I will be making an announcement shortly.


Education System

Reform Implementation


Mr. Kevin Lamoureux (Inkster):  Mr. Speaker, it was the Minister of Finance who said it, that he was wanting to save money.  It is the Liberal Party which is trying to fight for equality‑‑

Mr. Speaker:  Order, please.

Mr. Lamoureux:  Mr. Speaker, my question for the minister is: When will this minister proceed with educational reform so the quality of education in Manitoba will improve?

Hon. Rosemary Vodrey (Minister of Education and Training):  Mr. Speaker, let me tell the member again, more education reform has been undertaken by this government in the last three years than ever before in the history of this province.

      Let me tell him again, we have revised the funding for the public school system.  We have a Task Force on Distance Education.  We are bringing forward Francophone governance.  Mr. Speaker, I point to the university review.  I point to our community colleges which have just moved to governance.

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Assiniboine River Diversion

Water Flow Levels


Ms. Marianne Cerilli (Radisson):  Mr. Speaker, there is great concern about the lack of research data being presented to the Clean Environment Commission for the Assiniboine diversion, particularly with respect to the flow levels in the river.

      My question is for the Minister of Natural Resources.

      We know that the PVWC is using the minimum flow of 100 cfs coming into the city of Winnipeg.  I would ask the minister, where did they get this flow level, this information, and how was it arrived at?

Hon. Harry Enns (Minister of Natural Resources):  Mr. Speaker, I will try to explain that this is by no means and it ought not to be suggested that this is a minimal flow figure, no more so than when the same engineers use the 150‑year potential flood level for the design of something like the Winnipeg Floodway.  Those are the kinds of reasons for pure model purposes, for design, that minimal or maximum flow figures are used in design construction.

      The 100 minimal flow is put into engineering and design specifications for those purposes.  The actual flow has to be determined and, quite frankly, is open to negotiations with the City of Winnipeg.  The current flow, as I indicated, is some 420 cfs.  The flows have fluctuated from the lows of 129 in February of 1989 to, of course, the much greater flows we have in normal or high water levels.

Ms. Cerilli:  I would ask the Minister of Natural Resources a simple question then.

      What is the minimum flow level for the Assiniboine River coming into the city of Winnipeg that his department uses?

Mr. Enns:  I will try once again.  There is no minimum flow level that my department uses.

      With practice and tradition since 1972 with the advent of the control mechanism that we exercise on the Assiniboine as a result of the construction of the Shellmouth Dam and the reservoir behind the dam, we have, out of a simple internal regime because we have found that to be reasonably acceptable for the purposes of the City of Winnipeg, self‑targeted a minimal flow of around 185 cfs coming into the city of Winnipeg, as measured and monitored at Headingley.


Assiniboine River Diversion

Public Hearings‑Brandon


Ms. Marianne Cerilli (Radisson):  Mr. Speaker, one of the things that will be fortunate is that Winnipeg will now have a hearing so these issues can be discussed.

      I would ask the Minister of Environment:  Now that Brandon is also asking for the opportunity to have hearings in its community, will there be hearings in Brandon in July for the Clean Environment Commission review on the diversion?

Hon. Glen Cummings (Minister of Environment):  Mr. Speaker, I have indicated the same as for the jurisdiction immediately in and surrounding Winnipeg, that given sufficient community interest, we have no qualms about making sure that availability is made to everyone who wishes to express interest.

      The unfortunate part is that in the early part of responses to the proposal, levels of interest were not high in the area. There were one or two expressions but certainly not in the volume that would have made the commission look at it differently.  They have expressed a willingness to be quite open about that in response to interest that now may be expressed.


Fishing Industry‑Northern Manitoba

Government Initiatives


Mr. Oscar Lathlin (The Pas):  Mr. Speaker, about 50 percent of the approximately 700 fishermen in northern Manitoba will not be fishing at all this season as a result of low quotas, poor prices of fish and that freight subsidy program that was cut back by this government.

      This situation does not speak well for the future of the fishing industry in northern Manitoba, not to mention the hundreds of jobs that are being affected.  This is when the unemployment rate in northern Manitoba is already 80, 90 percent.

      I would like to ask the Minister of Natural Resources to advise this House today what plans he has in place to address this extremely serious situation in northern Manitoba.

Hon. Harry Enns (Minister of Natural Resources):  Mr. Speaker, I want to firstly indicate that I and my government certainly are concerned about the difficulties that our commercial fisheries is in, not just in northern Manitoba I might add, but, indeed, on our biggest fisheries, that of Lake Winnipeg.

      It is a question that primary producers from time to time, just as our grain farmers have experienced over the past number of years, have to live with.  Competition, low commodity prices, both of these are affecting the fisheries at this particular time.

      I want to indicate to the honourable member and to the House, that I have agreed to attend a Fisheries ministers' conference in mid‑July at which I hope to be able to discuss this issue with the federal minister as well as with my colleagues, particularly in terms of the jurisdiction of the Freshwater Fish Marketing Corporation that includes the provinces of Saskatchewan and Alberta.


Freight Subsidy



Mr. Oscar Lathlin (The Pas):  I would like to ask the Minister of Natural Resources if he has obtained or attempted to get support from cabinet to restore the full subsidy that was cut by this government.  He was making comments to that effect over the weekend.  He was going to think about reconsidering the freight subsidy program.

      I would like to ask him, does he have support from cabinet to do that?

Hon. Harry Enns (Minister of Natural Resources):  The freight assistance program that has been in place for a number of years is a modest but helpful program to provide and to offset some of the costs associated with the movement of fish, particularly from northern Manitoba.

      The capping, and that is all it was, of that program specifically kept in place the full support for northern fisheries.  The effect of the capping of that program was more pronounced on the southern fisheries, the Lake Winnipeg and Lake Manitoba fisheries.

      Mr. Speaker, I am prepared to examine with my colleagues this and other measures that may or may not be able to prevail to provide some relief to the current situation that our commercial fisheries faces.


Federal Assistance


Mr. Oscar Lathlin (The Pas):  Mr. Speaker, my last question is again to the Minister of Natural Resources.

      Since every fisherman in Manitoba will lose money on every pound of whitefish they catch, I would like to ask the Minister of Natural Resources what progress he has had in his discussions with his federal counterparts in getting some assistance from the federal government, the type of assistance that is currently being given to the fishing industry in the Maritimes.

Hon. Harry Enns (Minister of Natural Resources):  Mr. Speaker, the honourable member touches on a very basic question of policy that primary producers of all products face from time to time.

      In these times of budget restraint, it is a question as to what extent subsidization ought to take place.  I know my colleague the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Findlay) has told our primary producers of grain products that they cannot expect or should not build their whole industry on continued government support.

      I have made the statement and I have written letters directly to the federal Fisheries minister, the Honourable Mr. Crosbie, that just when support programs have been made available‑‑for instance, the grain industry‑‑the support program the federal government announced a little over a year ago, a year and a half ago, about supporting the eastern fisheries, whether or not there would be some possibility of extending some of that support for our inland fisheries.

      I think that is a legitimate request to make, and I will be making that directly to the minister in July when I attend the Fisheries ministers' conference.


Private Money Lenders



Mr. Jim Maloway (Elmwood):  My question is to the Minister of Consumer and Corporate Affairs.

      Following a series of complaints, including a call I had from a person from Flin Flon who had first dealt unsuccessfully with her department, on May 31, I asked the Minister of Consumer and Corporate Affairs to regulate loan brokers.  Now, since then, I have received two memos from the minister, first putting her department on high alert and then taking it off high alert.

      Now that the minister has finally talked to the Flin Flon resident, does she accept the need for regulation of loan brokers who are operating in this province?

Hon. Linda McIntosh (Minister of Consumer and Corporate Affairs):  I first must correct the preamble.  Some time ago, the member raised in the House the issue of fraudulent loan brokers operating in the Flin Flon area.  I subsequently sent him a memo asking if he could provide us with the details, so we could begin an investigation.

      After two days of waiting, the department waiting for his call, he informed us in response to verbal inquiries from me that he could not provide the information because the individual concerned wanted to keep it private.  I understand that, Mr. Speaker.  I subsequently wrote to the department and told them they did not have to wait for that phone call.

      I understand the need for privacy, and I have subsequently spoken to the individual in question who has been very, very pleased‑‑or at least has indicated pleasure at the help she is receiving from the department.

      It is a commercial enterprise, not an individual one. Nonetheless, we are working on mediation with that particular individual who, incidentally, has requested privacy.  I am surprised the member is raising it for public discussion in the House.

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

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Mr. Paul Edwards (Leader of the Second Opposition):  May I have leave to make a nonpolitical statement?

Mr. Speaker:  Does the honourable Leader of the second opposition party have leave to make a nonpolitical statement? [agreed]

Mr. Edwards:  Mr. Speaker, I want to rise today to recognize that the ninth worldwide Conference on AIDS is currently underway in Europe.

      Mr. Speaker, I want to simply put on the record on behalf of our party that this is an extremely important conference, of course, for the worldwide community.  It is the ninth annual conference, and with regret, the organizers and the speakers there are telling us that the situation is getting worse, not better.  Of particular interest and I believe highlighting the tragedy of the worldwide AIDS problem is it is expected that by the end of the decade, 20 million people will have been infected with the AIDS virus.

      I simply want today to wish the participants and those who are involved in attempting to find a cure, attempting to alleviate the pain and suffering of those afflicted with the virus currently, the best in their undertakings this week in Europe, and acknowledge, as Manitobans and as members of this world community, that this is indeed a tragedy of enormous proportions around the world that is getting worse, unfortunately, rather than getting better.

      As well, I want to just mention one other particularly tragic indication from that conference, that the largest growth as a sector of our society is young women who are living in poverty. That is the group that is experiencing the greatest rise in contacting the AIDS virus.  Mr. Speaker, this clearly gives all of us, in particular legislators, our mission for the future to do whatever we can as legislators to ensure that this disease is brought to its knees and eventually eradicated as quickly as possible.  Thank you.




Ms. Rosann Wowchuk (Swan River):  Mr. Speaker, I move, seconded by the member for Dauphin (Mr. Plohman), that under Rule 27.(1) ordinary business of the House be set aside to discuss a matter of urgent public importance, namely, the recent announcement changing the method of payment and the removal of marketing barley from the jurisdiction of the Canadian Wheat Board.

Mr. Speaker:  Before recognizing the honourable member for Swan River, I believe I should remind all members that under our Rule 27.(2), the mover of a motion on a matter of urgent public importance and one member of each of the other two parties in the House will have five minutes to explain the urgency of debating this matter today.

Ms. Wowchuk:  Mr. Speaker, the announcements made by the federal Minister of Agriculture in the last few days are devastating for Canadian farmers.  In fact, I believe that this announcement will do more damage to agriculture than the frost of last fall did.

      The decision to remove barley from the jurisdiction of the Canadian Wheat Board and tamper with the method of payment will change the whole pattern of agriculture and have a devastating effect on the farming community.  I believe it is of urgent importance that we discuss this matter at this time.

      We have finished Agriculture Estimates.  During that time, we asked the minister to state his position on these issues many times, and he did not do so, Mr. Speaker.  We have raised the issue in the House many times and have not received full answers from the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Findlay).  These changes are going to change the pattern of agriculture, and I think it is very important that at this time, today, we take the time to discuss how this is going to impact and what position Manitoba is going to take on this issue.

      This is a sellout of farmers, particularly our farmers who are barley producers.  They have already seeded their crops based on the existing market structure and price expectations.  This decision to remove barley from the Canadian Wheat Board pulls the rug right out from under their feet, Mr. Speaker.  Together, with adding more debt to farm families by the elimination of the industry cash advance and increasing transportation costs, farm families are left in a lurch.

      So, therefore, I believe that it is a very important matter. I believe that we have to take the time today to discuss this matter.  We have to get the Minister of Agriculture to state his position and what it is we can do to help these farmers.

      Mr. Speaker, this is going to change the pattern of agriculture.  This is going to be devastating to our rural communities if we have the acceleration of branchline abandonment.  By branchline abandonment and change to the method of payment, farmers' costs are going to increase and none of these changes are going to do anything to improve the farm gate price.  The Minister of Agriculture continues to tell us that he stands up for farmers, and it is the farm gate price that has to help.  These decisions will hurt the farm gate price.  These decisions will particularly hurt the family farm operations. This is a cave‑in to big business, to the corporations and big farmers.

      Mr. Speaker, this is urgent that we take the time today to discuss this matter and see what it is that we can do to help farmers, to get a position here on where the future of agriculture is going in this country, and particularly in the province of Manitoba.

      Mr. Speaker, people have planned their lives.  The pattern for agriculture has been set.  Branchlines were supposed to be protected until the year 2000.  Now that can be pulled away from them.  They have done their seeding for this year based on certain conditions, and now that has been taken away from them.

      The Wheat Board, which has worked very hard for farmers and returns the profit to the farmers, is now being weakened.  Our concern is, we have barley being removed now, and what is the next step?  Is it durum wheat that is going to go next?  Is this a move to further the Wheat Board which has helped‑‑Mr. Speaker, we have to know.

      Therefore, Mr. Speaker, I urge that you consider and that all members of this Chamber today recognize the importance of this announcement that we had over this weekend and that we take the time today to discuss this very urgent matter.

Hon. Darren Praznik (Deputy Government House Leader):  From this side of the House, we would like to point out to you, Mr. Speaker, that the issue raised for urgent public importance by the member for Swan River (Ms. Wowchuk) is not one which is in the jurisdictional competence of this Assembly.  The decisions made by the federal Minister of Agriculture with respect to marketing and transportation issues are within federal jurisdiction.  So the debate that would occur in this House can have no effect in law or policy upon that issue because it is not within the jurisdiction of this House.

      I would also like to point out to Mr. Speaker that the member for Swan River has raised this issue day in, day out, during the Question Periods in this House, has raised it again today and has made the point or tried to make the point that she had no answers.  The minister has responded.  She may not have liked the answers that were provided, but she has received full answers from the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Findlay).

      I would also like to point out to Mr. Speaker that this issue has been thoroughly discussed in the Estimates of the Department of Agriculture in which the member for Swan River participated and which were just completed.

      The issue is not one that has arisen today out of the blue, Mr. Speaker, which is in the jurisdictional competence of this Assembly.  It is an issue that has been in the public realm for a long period of time, has been thoroughly debated in the Committee of Supply of this Assembly, has been debated on the floor of the House in Question Period in exchanges between the member for Swan River and the Minister of Agriculture.

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      I would also point out to Mr. Speaker, it is my understanding that the federal government has established a process involving a panel to deal with a host of the complex issues arising out of this.  Consequently, there will be ample opportunity for public involvement in this issue.

      I would remind Mr. Speaker, again on this time, very importantly that this is not an issue within the jurisdictional competence of the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba.  This is an issue within the jurisdiction of the federal government.

      It has been thoroughly debated in the Estimates process of this House, and there is a forum established by the federal government for members such as the member for Swan River (Ms. Wowchuk), for the producers of this province, for interested parties, for members of the public to make their case for certain points to the people who have the ability to change or direct the policy decision that was made by the federal government.

      Using the time of this Legislative Assembly to debate an issue not in our jurisdictional competence, which we have already reviewed thoroughly in the Estimates, an issue that is not a surprise to this House, that has been discussed thoroughly already, does not, we would submit, Mr. Speaker, to you, fit within the need to urgently debate this issue in this House today.

Mr. Kevin Lamoureux (Second Opposition House Leader):  Mr. Speaker, we too want to put some words on the record with respect to this particular MUPI.  We are concerned in terms of the course of direction that this federal government is taking toward the Canadian Wheat Board.

      What they are doing with the barley industry causes a great deal of concern, and if in fact the government was checking with what the farmers were saying, they would find that they do not have very much support nor really a mandate to make a change of this particular nature.

      We are, as I say, as a caucus very concerned, but in terms of dealing with the issue of debating it today inside this Chamber in its urgency, well, there is some concern with respect to the timing.  This has been an issue that has been debated for the last number of days, weeks, within this Chamber not only during Question Period, but as the government deputy House leader was saying, during the Estimates process and so forth.

      There also are other opportunities possibly in terms of colleagues throughout the Chamber talking to Members of Parliament in trying to put pressure, in particular government members speaking to their federal cousins in Ottawa, seeing if in fact there might be something done.

      We as a caucus see the Estimates that are up and coming in Environment, which is to be followed by Health.  We want to get into the Estimates process dealing with health care and Education to continue that along even though the barley issue in itself is something that we are very concerned about, but we do believe has received some time within the Chamber.  We are not too sure in terms of if the debate were to occur that it is going to do anything anyway, Mr. Speaker.

      I would suggest to you that if in fact the member does have some concerns that she would like to express, she might want to take the opportunity to use her grievance or save it for the concurrence which would be another opportunity in which the New Democratic Party could bring it up.  I am sure at that time if there are some significant changes, we as a caucus will also bring it up during concurrence.  Thank you, Mr. Speaker.


Speaker's Ruling


Mr. Speaker:  I would like to thank all honourable members for their advice as to whether the motion proposed by the honourable member for Swan River (Ms. Wowchuk) should be debated today.

      I did receive the notice required under our subrule 27.(1). As explained in Beauchesne Citations 389 and 390 and according to our Rule 27, the two conditions required for a matter of urgent importance to proceed are:  the subject matter must be so pressing that the ordinary opportunities for debate will not allow it to be brought on early enough, and also it must be shown that the public interest will suffer if the matter is not given immediate attention.

      I am ruling the matter out of order.

      First, the matter is not within the administrative responsibility of this government.  It rests with the federal government.

      Second, the motion addresses two subjects:  first, the changes to the method of payment; and second, the removal of the marketing of barley from the jurisdiction of the Canadian Wheat Board.  Our Subrule 27.(5)(b) is clear that only one matter may be discussed on the same motion.

      Third, the honourable member for Swan River has not used her right to grieve.  Therefore, she does have another opportunity to discuss this matter.

      Fourth, I am not convinced that the public interest will suffer if we do not set aside the other business of the House to debate this matter.

Mr. Steve Ashton (Opposition House Leader):  With all due respect, Mr. Speaker, I challenge your ruling.

Mr. Speaker:  The ruling of the Chair having been challenged, all those in sustaining the ruling of the Chair, please say yea.

Some Honourable Members:  Yea.

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

Some Honourable Members:  Nay.

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

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

Mr. Speaker:  Call in the members, please, a recorded vote having been requested.

      The question before the House is:  Shall the ruling of the Chair be sustained?  All those in favour of the motion will please rise.

A Standing Vote was taken, the result being as follows:


      Alcock, Carstairs, Cheema, Cummings, Dacquay, Derkach, Downey, Driedger, Ducharme, Enns, Ernst, Filmon, Findlay, Gaudry, Gilleshammer, Gray, Helwer, Lamoureux, Laurendeau, Manness, McAlpine, McIntosh, Orchard, Pallister, Penner, Praznik, Reimer, Render, Rose, Sveinson, Vodrey.


      Ashton, Barrett, Cerilli, Chomiak, Dewar, Doer, Evans (Brandon East), Friesen, Hickes, Lathlin, Maloway, Martindale, Plohman, Reid, Santos, Wowchuk.

Mr. Clerk (William Remnant):  Yeas 31, Nays 16.

Mr. Speaker:  The ruling of the Chair is sustained.

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Committee Changes


Mr. Edward Helwer (Gimli):  I move, seconded by the member for Niakwa (Mr. Reimer), that the composition of the Standing Committee on Economic Development for the Tuesday, 10 a.m. sitting be amended as follows:  The member for Arthur‑Virden (Mr. Downey) for the member for Kirkfield Park (Mr. Stefanson); the member for Portage la Prairie (Mr. Pallister) for the member for St. Vital (Mrs. Render).

Motion agreed to.

Mr. George Hickes (Point Douglas):  I move, seconded by the member for Wellington (Ms. Barrett), that the composition of the Standing Committee on Economic Development be amended as follows:  The Pas (Mr. Lathlin) for Selkirk (Mr. Dewar); Point Douglas (Mr. Hickes) for Flin Flon (Mr. Storie); Wolseley (Ms. Friesen) for Thompson (Mr. Ashton) for Tuesday, June 8 at 10 a.m.

Motion agreed to.

Mr. Neil Gaudry (St. Boniface):  I move, seconded by the member for Inkster (Mr. Lamoureux), that the composition of the Standing Committee on Economic Development be amended as follows:  St. Boniface (Mr. Gaudry) for River Heights (Mrs. Carstairs).

Motion agreed to.




House Business


Hon. Darren Praznik (Deputy Government House Leader):  Mr. Speaker, first I would ask if you could please canvass the House to see if there is a willingness to waive private members' hour?

Mr. Speaker:  Is there a will to waive private members' hour?

Some Honourable Members:  No.

Mr. Speaker:  No.  Leave is denied.

Mr. Praznik:  Further on House business, I would like to announce on behalf of the House leader that the Standing Committee on Law Amendments will meet on Wednesday, June 9, 1993, at 7 p.m. to consider Bill 8, The Insurance Amendment Act; Bill 6, The Real Property Amendment Act; Bill 7, the Builders' Liens Amendment Act; Bill 12, The International Trusts Act; and Bill 19, The Court of Queen's Bench Amendment and Consequential Amendments Act.

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

Mr. Praznik:  I believe that will be in Committee Room 255.

      Mr. Speaker, I would also now move, seconded by the honourable Minister of Natural Resources (Mr. Enns), that Mr. Speaker do now leave the Chair and that 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) for the Department of Environment.



(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 2.(a)(1) on page 35 of the Estimates book.


Chairperson's Ruling


Mr. Deputy Chairperson:  At this time, I would just like to bring forward my ruling from last week.  On June 3, 1993, in this section of the Committee of Supply, the honourable Minister of Northern and Native Affairs (Mr. Downey) raised a point of order regarding whether or not the honourable member for Dauphin (Mr. Plohman) had tabled a letter that he was referring to, and if he had not, would he table the letter.

      As Deputy Chairperson, I had first ruled that the member did not have a point of order.  The honourable Minister of Northern and Native Affairs again raised the point of order and requested that the Deputy Chairperson review Hansard to determine if the member for Dauphin had specifically referred to the letter and if he had, he should table it.

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      I took the matter under advisement.  Since that time, I have reviewed Hansard, as well as our rules and precedents.  According to our Rule 29.1 where in debate a member quotes from a private letter, another member may require the member quoting from the letter to table the letter.  With regard to the issue of rules of the House applying to Committee of Supply, our Rule 64.(1) states that the rules shall be observed in a Committee of the Whole House insofar as they are applicable, except the rules as to a seconding of motions and limiting the numbers of times of speaking.

      In reviewing Hansard, it was clear that the member for Dauphin did directly quote into the record from the letter which he indicated in the record had been sent to him by a private individual.

      Thus with this fact clear and because the honourable Minister of Northern and Native Affairs did ask to have the letter tabled, I am ruling that the point of order was in order and that the member for Dauphin must table the letter from which he quoted on June 3, 1993.

Mr. John Plohman (Dauphin):  Mr. Deputy Chairperson, I am just reviewing Hansard myself here.  In any event, I do not have the letter with me, so I cannot table it at this particular time. [interjection] I am not saying I will.

      I will decide on my response at a later time, Mr. Deputy Chairperson. [interjection] I think we are getting some interactions from outside the committee.

Mr. Deputy Chairperson:  I thank the honourable member at this time.

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Hon. Rosemary Vodrey (Minister of Education and Training):  Mr. Deputy Chairperson, I said when we were last together that I would table information for the member for Osborne (Mr. Alcock) on deaf or hard‑of‑hearing students using sign language in the public schools.  I have that information today.


Point of Order


Hon. James Downey (Minister of Northern Affairs):  Mr. Deputy Chairperson, I understand that you have made a ruling requesting the member for Dauphin to table a document that he referred to. I would request that the document be tabled.

Mr. Deputy Chairperson:  I would like to clarify with the member for Dauphin if he will be tabling the letter at a later date.

Mr. Plohman:  Mr. Deputy Chairperson, I will check with the sender of the letter, and if she has no objection to the privacy of the letter being tabled here, I will not have any problem doing it.  Otherwise, I will, at that point, inform you, and you can take whatever action you feel is necessary at that time.

      I cannot do it at the present time, because I do not have it with me.

Mr. Downey:  Mr. Deputy Chairperson, this committee governs itself in operations.  You have made a ruling, sir, which has requested that the member for Dauphin table a letter he has read from.  I would like to have that letter tabled so it can be used in the overall budgeting process debate that is taking place.

      He has referred to it.  The ruling has been made.  I would like it tabled, Mr. Deputy Chairperson.

Mr. Deputy Chairperson:  At this time, the honourable member for Dauphin said he does not have the letter with him here today.  I will defer this until tomorrow, and the honourable member said he will get back to me with whether or not he is going to be tabling the letter.  We will deal with the matter at that time.

Mr. Downey:  Mr. Deputy Chairperson, I have heard what your ruling was.  The member said he does not have it with him on his person at this particular time.  I accept that.  However, this committee sits tonight at eight o'clock.  I would appreciate it being tabled tonight at eight o'clock, as I am sure the letter is in his office.

      I, Mr. Deputy Chairperson, will not back off from this issue.  You have made a ruling.  He has referred to the letter, and I would expect that no later than tonight it be tabled.

Mr. Deputy Chairperson:  As I have stated, we will wait for the member to table the letter.  If at such time, it is not tabled, we will take whatever actions are necessary.

Mr. Plohman:  Mr. Deputy Chairperson, I also note that the quote I gave from the letter was from another letter from an employee of the department, a Mr. Gillespie from Human Resources.  There was no other quote from this individual's letter.  It was only the part that was quoted from another letter provided by Mr. Gillespie.  This was not an original quote from this individual.

      I would like you to consider that fact, that the quote was from a Mr. Gillespie's letter.  Mr. Gillespie's letter was the one I was quoting from in that way.

      Mr. Deputy Chairperson, I think it is important for you to take into consideration that I was not quoting from the individual's comments.  I do not know whether you are aware of that.

Mr. Downey:  Mr. Deputy Chairperson, we accept your ruling that the letter should be tabled.

* * *

Mr. Plohman:  Does the minister have some more information for us on the section dealing with Native Education?  When we closed last day, we were asking for some specific information about hiring procedures.

Mrs. Vodrey:  Mr. Deputy Chairperson, the member asked a question regarding hiring procedures in the Native Education Branch for the community liaison consultant in Dauphin.

      I can tell the member that this competition was held before Manitoba Education and Training hiring authority was revoked.

      In the process of this competition, 37 applications were received.  All applicants were paper‑screened by a committee. The bulletin included the affirmative action statement, and a selection board convened in Dauphin on November 19 and 20, 1990, to interview nine candidates.  The selection board unanimously recommended the appointment of the candidate who currently holds that position.

Mr. Plohman:  Mr. Deputy Chairperson, can the minister tell us who was represented on the selection board?

Mrs. Vodrey:  Which position?

Mr. Plohman:  The community liaison officer for the Native Education Branch in Dauphin.

Mrs. Vodrey:  Mr. Deputy Chairperson, the selection board members were Louise Ulrich, a personnel administrator from the Personnel Services Branch; Juliette Sabot who is the acting director of the Native Education Branch; Ron Zong, who is the chairperson of the Frontier School Division No. 48; and Walter Menard, who is a business development officer, Northern Affairs.

Mr. Plohman:  Is this the same selection board that hired all of the positions in the Dauphin office?

Mrs. Vodrey:  Mr. Deputy Chairperson, this particular selection board did two positions.  One position was for the English Language Development position, and the other was for the community liaison consultant position.

Mr. Plohman:  In those positions, was there only one set of interviews conducted?

Mrs. Vodrey:  Mr. Deputy Chairperson, there was one set of interviews.

Mr. Plohman:  Is it the practice that was followed at that time that there would be no short list, that there would be only one person recommended, or would there be normally a short list that goes to the deputy minister?

* (1600)

Mrs. Vodrey:  As I said to the member, there were 37 applications received.  There was then a short list for nine candidates who were interviewed, and from those nine candidates, as I have explained to the member, the individual now filling the position was the unanimous choice of the selection committee.

Mr. Plohman:  So it was the practice then not to have a short list recommended.  There was one person recommended to whom, the minister or the deputy minister?

Mrs. Vodrey:  The recommendations were sent to the deputy minister.  I can tell the member that during the course of the interview process, all short‑listed candidates were asked the same interview questions, and they were evaluated against the same selection criteria.

      In this case, the board recommended unanimously that this particular individual fill the position of community liaison consultant, and that was forwarded to the deputy minister.

Mr. Plohman:  Just so I get a better understanding of the process, the selection committee did not usually recommend a list of three, with a top choice, second and third, but just recommended one when it was unanimous, or how did that work?

Mrs. Vodrey:  Mr. Deputy Chairperson, this competition was handled according to the Civil Service regulations, where a department has delegated authority.  This committee did choose to make one recommendation in this case.  Again, I can only tell the member that it was a unanimous recommendation.  In this case there appears to have been a clear‑cut choice from that particular committee.

Mr. Plohman:  I thank the minister for that information.

      Did she determine when the hiring authority was revoked, because the minister did say that it had not been revoked at this particular time?

Mrs. Vodrey:  Mr. Deputy Chairperson, the hiring authority for Manitoba Education and Training was revoked November 25, 1991.

Mr. Plohman:  This competition took place in December of '91‑‑or October?

Mrs. Vodrey:  Mr. Deputy Chairperson, the selection board convened November 19 and 20, 1990, one year earlier.

Mr. Plohman:  I thank the minister.

      I wanted to just ask about the status of the education policy.  I know that was something that has been dealt with over the last few years.  Is that continuously being revised?  Is it completed from the previous year?  Has it been changed from the previous year, or is that an ongoing process?

Mrs. Vodrey:  Mr. Deputy Chairperson, I believe the member is speaking about the policy development for native education.  He did not mention that in his question.

      In the area of native education, the advisory committee has submitted a status report.  They have been working on two items in Answering the Challenge, specifically the item of native studies, and secondly the item of native languages.  They are developing a policy statement according to their schedule.  I will be meeting with them within the next few weeks to review exactly the work that they have done to this point.

Mr. Plohman:  Were there any other aspects of native policy that were developed in the past year that the minister could table with us following the year that has just been completed?

Mrs. Vodrey:  In terms of the advisory committee specifically, the work that they have been focusing on this year is in the area that I have spoken about completing the recommendations for Answering the Challenge and looking at the two areas of native studies and native languages.

      If the member is also asking about other work that has been done by the Native Education Branch I can point to the document, Parents' Guide to Help Children Succeed, Seeking a Balance, which looks at how to help parents become involved in the education of their children.  It was particularly developed to assist native families and their approach to schools and the school system and to become involved in the work with their children.

Mr. Plohman:  So the minister is going to share a copy of that I understand?

Mrs. Vodrey:  We could have four copies available for this evening's sitting.

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Mr. Plohman:  Mr. Deputy Chairperson, I was just going through my materials and I have found a copy of this letter that you referred to.  So I would like to table it at this point in time.

Mr. Deputy Chairperson:  I thank the honourable member.

Ms. Jean Friesen (Wolseley):  I had a few questions on the Native Education section.  This branch has two roles as I understand it.  One is to develop curriculum supports and family supports to ensure the success of native students, and the second is to engage in cross‑cultural education or diversity education as it might be called now in non‑native schools and situations.

      So I wanted to look at questions on both of those areas but perhaps to begin by looking at the success of native students, and I wonder if we could begin with some basic information that the department works from.

      For example, could the minister tell us when this department defines native students how many native students we are talking about, through which grades?

Mrs. Vodrey:  I can tell the member that at the moment we do not have data that would give us an accurate picture of the number of native students enrolled in provincial schools or their school‑leaving rates or their graduation rates specifically.

      Again I would remind the member that we are moving to a new information base, the schools information system, and with that system we expect to be able to have a much more detailed way to look at the students in Manitoba.

Ms. Friesen:  The minister did conduct a sampling I gather, a year ago or two years ago, of schools to determine a pilot project for the new gathering of schools information.  Could the minister tell us what that showed about native students in Manitoba schools?

Mrs. Vodrey:  The member is referring to a pilot survey, and I am sorry I am not sure which survey she is referring to so maybe she can provide some clarification or some more details about that.

      I can tell her that we do not have specifically, as I said, collected through our Native Education Branch, numbers of native students.  Through our Student Support Branch we do have schools identify risk factors, and we do provide funding for English language enrichment for native students.  We do have a total number on that representing 8,100 students in 44 school divisions.

Ms. Friesen:  That 8,100 number then represents native students who are having some difficulty with English?  And that is the only number you have on how many native students you are dealing with?

Mrs. Vodrey:  The federal government has it.

      Mr. Deputy Chairperson, this is one way in which aboriginal students have been identified by school divisions as having difficulty due to certain risk factors, but as I have said before, our new information system will allow us to account for numbers of students in ways which we have not had the capacity to do until the time that is in place.

Ms. Friesen:  Well, clearly, 8,100 is by no means the range of native students in Manitoba.

      What I am trying to get at is, obviously, the federal government has numbers on Status Indians.  It has numbers on non‑Status Indians.  It has numbers of Indians in reserve schools, numbers of Indians in nonreserve schools where they are in conjunction with a school board.  There are a variety of statistics that the federal government keeps.  Which ones does this department use?

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Mrs. Vodrey:  Mr. Deputy Chairperson, the member has referred to some statistics by the federal government which identify status people and also identify some students who would not be in our provincial schools.

      We do have the number of Status Indians within our provincial schools, and that number we will have to provide to her this evening.  However, we find it difficult to obtain the numbers for non‑Status students and also for Metis because those individuals would be required to self‑declare, and we have not required that to occur.

      We do know that approximately 95 percent of Frontier School Division are aboriginal students, and that would be about 4,500.

Ms. Friesen:  That was the reason I was asking about what I understood had been a pilot project for the new program to collect data on students.  Obviously, since you have the federal numbers, since you know how many people you are being invoiced for, then it seems to me that you need beyond that; for the government's own definition of native, you are going to require self‑declaration.  How is that going to be asked?  How did you ask it in the pilot project?

Mrs. Vodrey:  As the member may know, it is school divisions who are invoiced for Status students, not the department.

Ms. Friesen:  Then the department section dealing with native education does not collect those numbers from the school district when they have no other way of collecting them at the moment?

Mrs. Vodrey:  Mr. Deputy Chair, we certainly know where the students at risk are, because that has been the support that our department has been offering to school divisions and to students, and those students are identified to us and they are identified by school divisions.  That number I did provide to the member. So we would know also by looking at divisions where there are larger numbers of students who have been identified at risk, particularly those who would require the English language enrichment for native students.  So I can tell her by division where we have offered the highest level of support, divisions such as Winnipeg, St. Vital, River East, Lord Selkirk, Portage la Prairie, Swan Valley, Brandon, Frontier and Mystery Lake.

Ms. Friesen:  The minister keeps coming back to at‑risk students which, perhaps, we are speaking at cross‑purposes here.  I understood that with this section of the department one of their purposes was to develop native curriculum and in‑services to ensure the success of native students at whatever level they are operating.  I do not think we should be equating at‑risk students with native students, and so I am not quite sure why the minister keeps coming back to that definition.  I recognize that those are the only numbers you have got, but surely that is not the issue we are dealing with in this section.

Mrs. Vodrey:  Mr. Deputy Chair, my questions have been to answer some of the issues of numbers that the member has been asking about, but certainly the Native Education Branch does in fact do the kinds of work that the member has said.  They do offer in‑service training; they do offer support to teachers who are providing for students in the in‑class setting.  We also provide, through our Student Support Branch, support for those young people who are considered at risk.  When we look holistically at the education of young people or a group of young people, we recognize that there is the whole continuum of support and interest required from working with parents, and I have said that I will be happy to table the document this evening that was developed by our Native Education Branch.  We also work with in‑services in schools, and we also work to support those young people who are at risk within the system.

Ms. Friesen:  Mr. Deputy Chair, looking at the future, I am trying to determine how the department is going to identify native students, since the mandate is broader here than Status, non‑Status definitions where numbers are already available, although they do not seem to be part of the working documents of the department.

      That is why I asked about the pilot project that I understood had been conducted in order to prepare for the gathering of student data in the future.  How was that question phrased on that pilot project, or was the pilot project never done?  As I understand, it was not under this minister; it was under an earlier minister.

Mrs. Vodrey:  Mr. Deputy Chair, while the member has said that it was not done under this minister, and I can tell her of that we are aware, but the question is, does she have a date in terms of when this pilot project was to be conducted?  The staff who are here, I am informed, are not familiar with that project.

      I am wondering if she is referring to the way we collect information by survey, but that would for our Student Support Branch.  That is the work that we have been most recently doing. In terms of our new information system, we have not conducted a pilot project as it relates to our new information system which we are looking forward to having access to shortly.

Ms. Friesen:  Okay, then could the minister tell us how she will be collecting this aspect of the data in the new information system?  What questions are going to be asked and who will be answering them?

Mrs. Vodrey:  Mr. Deputy Chair, as we move into the Education Information System, which is the name of the system we will be putting in place for the Department of Education, we will have to develop definitional criteria.  We will be looking at doing that internally.

      We may also require that our FRAME committee be called together again to look at this because we know that it is a particularly sensitive issue.  Many native people do not wish to declare, and so we are going to have to look at a way which will be sensitive to their particular desires as well as be sensitive to meeting some of the needs which we also have as a department.

Ms. Friesen:  Do I understand that survey is to begin with this September entrance?

Mrs. Vodrey:  I am not able to provide the member with a specific date or month we would expect to begin to collect information on aboriginal students.  As our system comes into place, it will be incremental as it is put into place, and the first information that we will be looking for is information about schools.  As we move into demographic information, then we will also move into that in an incremental way.

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Ms. Friesen:  There is a line, I think, where we will be discussing this specifically, is there not?  Which line is that?

Mrs. Vodrey:  The line is 16.5 (c).

Ms. Friesen:  I will pursue some of those questions which are applicable more broadly at that point.  I must admit it was my understanding that the department seems to suffer and presumably has suffered for some time with a great lack of what I would call basic information, yet you are not even going to start collecting the information on students this academic year, this coming academic year?

Mrs. Vodrey:  The information which we look to gather from our new education information system will be really very complex information.  The member perhaps needs to understand also that it will need to be tied in with school divisions and their ability to collect information, as well, to set up that information and then to transmit it to the department.  So it will be a complex system and, as I have said, we are looking at doing it in incremental stages.

      We do have information which I have been explaining to the member.  We do have information from this branch.  We certainly have information on the English language programs for native students, and I have spoken about the numbers.  We also have a very good working relationship with school divisions where the programmatic needs have been identified.  So this branch certainly does really a great deal of work on behalf of native students within the province.

      We have, in fact, looked at a number of partnerships in our working relationships with school divisions, and we also have been part of the career symposia in Winnipeg and in Brandon.  As I have shown the member already, we have produced the Parents' Guide to help children succeed.  So there is quite a lot of work which is ongoing within this particular part of the department, and there are statistics which are available.

      In terms of the native language programs for 1992‑93, I can give her some more statistics on that.  There were 67 schools involved.  There were 11 provincial school divisions, 27 provincial schools, and the other schools were band‑operated schools or federal schools.  There were 97 teachers and approximately 10,000 students in the native language programming.

      We also have, as I have said to the member before in terms of statistics, data about the number of males, the number of females, the age, the grade and the courses those students are engaged in, but that is a count which is done just once a year.

Ms. Friesen:  That last item that the minister mentioned, the males‑females and the grades that they are in, an annual count that is done, could the minister give me that annual count for last year?  How many years has this been kept, because presumably this is a basic census then.

Mrs. Vodrey:  I just wonder if the member realizes the count I was telling her is the count that we have been speaking about in the last four weeks of Estimates, the one that is done once a year in which schools look at the number of students they have, male and female, and the courses in which the students are enrolled.  It is not a specific count regarding aboriginal students.

Ms. Friesen:  Then it is not particularly relevant to what we are discussing here.  What I am trying to get at is that this is a section of the department, one of whose most important goals is to support and develop the success of native students.  We do not as yet know how many native students there are in Manitoba.  We do not know where they are.  We do not know what grades they are in.  We do not know how that age structure within the schools is changing, because we do not have the base‑line to start from.  We do not know what educational levels they are in.  For example, are they all in 05 courses?  Are they all in 00 courses?  What kind of streaming is going on here?  Nor do we know presumably what the educational attainment of these students has been over the past three or four years.  A department which is looking at improving must have some basis of measurement.  What are we measuring from?

      I can understand it has not taken place.  It has not taken place for some years.  The point is, you have a million dollars, I think, in your budget this year to begin to make that base‑line proposition.  I am asking some very simple questions about when you start asking those questions, whom you are asking them of.

      I am not sure I really accept the minister's argument that it is very complex.  We have many models of collecting this kind of information.  The basic one, obviously, is the one where you give a student a number as they enter the system, and you accumulate the data as they go through.  It can be done relatively simply across the province with one computer system and one set of materials.  I assume that this would be the department's role in developing and collecting that material.

      For the purposes of this department, which does aim at a specific section of the population, an undefined one at the moment, it seems to me it is very important to be quite clear about how you are going to collect that material.  I would think, if your goal is to increase native success in education, to ensure that collection begins as quickly as possible.  It is in the budget this year, so that is why I am perhaps pressing on this issue.

Mrs. Vodrey:  Mr. Deputy Chairperson, the issue of the numbers of students was raised because the question was, did we have any statistics?  I wanted to assure the member, yes, we do have.  I have also told her that schools have indicated, through the English language for native students program, students of aboriginal background that are seen to be at risk, and we continue to recognize these and we continue to support them.  We receive that information from schools.

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      As I said, we also have numbers, and I will be happy to provide the numbers that we have to the member.  She may also know that, though she has seen it as a very simple matter in terms of collecting statistics, even Statistics Canada, with what they have available to them, has had some difficulty with the kind of data gathering that the member is asking for here.  So, though she has portrayed it as being a very simple matter, in fact, in its actual effecting it, it is not always such a simple matter, so what I have offered her is the information which we have in the actual work that we do with students.  That work is programmatic work.  It is also work to support those students who, we recognize, are at risk, at risk for a number of issues as well.

Ms. Friesen:  Mr. Deputy Chairperson, the minister keeps coming back to at risk.  The two are not identical, and I thought we had agreed upon that.

      My questions were much more broadly framed.  It would seem to me to be in the interests of the minister, who wants to measure success, to at least have a base‑line from which to start.

      What the minister did was to repeat answers she has already given me and, in fact, to ignore the questions I was asking about the prospects for the collection of this data relatively quickly in the fiscal year that we are going to be voting on in Estimates for.  If I did convey it as relatively simple, then I will apologize for that.  It is not simple.  I never said that.  Well, I may have said it, but I did not mean it in that sense.

      What I did say was that there were many models; for example, universities and colleges collect this kind of material.  A student is given a number as they enter the system.  That number follows them through the system.  I do not think we are dealing with as many variables as Statistics Canada is in its collection of certain types of data.

      The most difficult one, in fact, is going to be the self‑declaration and, again, that is why it is useful for the minister to have a definition of that or at least some way of approaching that, that we could begin to look at now. [interjection] That is why I am asking the question, because it is an interesting issue.  I am asking how the minister is going to establish that in the basis for her data collecting.

Mrs. Vodrey:  Mr. Deputy Chairperson, I have gone over this afternoon that we will be working toward the definition, that we will be working with the department.  We will perhaps be calling the FRAME committee back so that we can look at how that definition can be established.

      I see the member for Wellington rolling her eyes at this whole suggestion of what we might do.  I am not sure what she finds so difficult to understand about that, but, again, I have told the member:  Yes, we are working toward the definitional aspect; we are looking to keep this kind of statistic.  We, too, think that it will be very important.

      We have also acknowledged in our discussion that there is a level of sensitivity around the self‑declaration, so we will look for how we can accomplish what the needs of information balanced off between what people actually wish to tell us about themselves.

Ms. Friesen:  Will this begin, the collection of data on individual students this fiscal year?

Mrs. Vodrey:  Mr. Deputy Chairperson, as I said, we will not be embarking upon that particular aspect of data collection in the school year '93‑94, but we do expect to begin that kind of data collection in the school year '94‑95.

Ms. Friesen:  Statistics Canada did publish a report recently on the 10‑year attainment of aboriginal students, and I wondered what comparisons the minister had found with students in Manitoba.  I do not have it with me, but one of the things that it did show quite remarkably was the great leaps made in post‑secondary education.  I frankly do not remember what it said for students in the area of Grades 9 to 12.

Mrs. Vodrey:  Mr. Deputy Chairperson, from that report, there was an indication that aboriginal students stay in school longer, and school divisions have certainly reported to us that their aboriginal students are staying in school longer.

      We have also heard from parents, elders and schools that there is an attitudinal change as we look at attitudes toward school, that school has become more important and that also there is a greater drive toward achievement.  It also appears that initiatives undertaken through schools divisions have also been more successful in the programmatic area.

Ms. Friesen:  But, at the moment, all of that is in the anecdotal area.  Are there any numbers on the average level of attainment of aboriginal students in Manitoba?  Are we moving to, what, 80 percent completing Grades 9 or 10, for example?

Mrs. Vodrey:  Mr. Deputy Chairperson, we have spoken over the course of these Estimates about very strict statistical information being one way to look at the gathering of data and the other being through anecdotal and informal means.

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      At the moment, we have only the informal means available to us.  I am not sure if the member would like a self‑declaration on a Grade 12 exam, for instance, for a student to allow us then to look at the attainment but, at the moment, we do not have the information.  I have explained that we will be looking toward a much more detailed collection of information.

Ms. Friesen:  Does the minister have any anecdotal information then on the proportion of aboriginal students who are in nonuniversity courses or non‑00 courses?

Mrs. Vodrey:  As I have said to the member, we do have information on the courses that students are taking and whether or not those are 0001 courses, but we do not have a definition as to whether those students are aboriginal or nonaboriginal.

Ms. Friesen:  If the minister has anecdotal evidence on changing attitudes, why would there not be anecdotal evidence on registration patterns?

Mrs. Vodrey:  My memory of the question was for statistical information.  The member is asking for anecdotal information.  I have‑‑


Point of Order


Ms. Friesen:  On a point of order, just to clarify the question, I did earlier ask for statistical information.  The minister replied that she only had informal means.  So I said my unspoken assumption then is since there are only those means, why would they not apply equally to registration patterns?

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

* * *

Mrs. Vodrey:  As I said, we do have anecdotal information which has come from school divisions, from parents and from elders that there is an attitudinal change taking place for aboriginal students.

      Those aboriginal students, as I said in the answer that I gave, are showing a greater commitment and a greater acceptance of various challenges in school and that there perhaps are more students in the 00 courses.

Ms. Friesen:  Stepping back a little from the question, I think there is an assumption in the general population as well as amongst educators that there is a danger that aboriginal students are perhaps consistently streamed into nonacademic courses.

      I am asking the minister for the informal evidence whether that, in fact, is happening or is changing.

Mrs. Vodrey:  One of the long‑standing concerns of some native students and parents is that there may be a kind of formal or informal streaming policy which in some schools works to the detriment of native students.

      In the past, there has been a concern that some native students were automatically placed in programs that did limit their potential or that challenged them into some dead‑end kinds of programming, or perhaps was not challenging enough for that individual student to gather the intrinsic value of the learning process that would come from the opportunity of a placement in another program.

Ms. Friesen:  My question then to the minister was, is this changing?

Mrs. Vodrey:  Again, yes, there is informal information that indicates that aboriginal students may be looking at the full range of choices within the school program as opposed to being formally or informally streamed into programs which do not lead to university or to post‑secondary kinds of training.

Ms. Friesen:  Could the minister tell us what the enrollment patterns are in Grades 9 to 12 in Frontier School Division?

Mrs. Vodrey:  Mr. Deputy Chair, within Frontier School Division, we know that there are approximately 5,300 students, and we know that approximately 90 percent of those students are aboriginal.

      In terms of the actual enrollment patterns, in terms of courses of study, we would have to get that information.

      I would also like to know from the member if she is looking at a one‑year or a comparative year, two‑year‑‑is that the basis of the question that she is asking?

Ms. Friesen:  What I am looking for is a specific example of the broad questions I have just been asking on public attitudes and internal school attitudes about streaming of aboriginal students within the school system.

      The one example that we could look at is Frontier School Division, which, as the minister said, is 90 percent aboriginal. What I would be particularly interested in is the courses in the years Grades 9 to 12, and to look at those that do offer the option of post‑secondary and university education and those which are at 005 level, 003, those which do not lead.  What proportion of students is enrolled in each, and if there are comparable numbers available for the last three or four years so that we can see what kind of changes there have been?

      I am sure it will not necessarily reflect what is happening in all school divisions, but at least is the one area where we do have the exact numbers and we could get a sense of what is happening.

Mrs. Vodrey:  Mr. Deputy Chair, this is, as the member knows, some very detailed statistical information which she had said may back up some anecdotal sense of what is happening with students.

      So we are moving back into the very strictly statistical area.  It will require us to do some consultation with the school division in specific.  So, yes, we could get the information for the member.  I cannot make a commitment in terms of when that information will be available, because it will require some work on the part of the school division as well.

Ms. Friesen:  Could the minister explain to me what the relationship is between the department and Frontier School Division?  Is it not a direct relationship?

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Mrs. Vodrey:  Mr. Deputy Chair, Frontier School Division operates as an autonomous school division as other school divisions operate, except in the area of funding where the Frontier School Division is dependent upon government as its primary source of funding for the budget.

Mr. Deputy Chairperson:  Order, please.  The time is now 5 p.m., and time for private members' hour.  I am interrupting proceedings of the committee.  The Committee of Supply will resume considerations at 8 p.m.




Madam Chairperson (Louise Dacquay):  Order, please.  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 Environment.  We are on item 4, page 52 of the Estimates manual.

      Would the minister's staff please enter the Chamber.

      Shall Resolution 31.4 pass?

Ms. Marianne Cerilli (Radisson):  I think, first of all, I will ask for some explanation of why there is the increase to this institute, given that there, as I understand it, are yet no other provinces in the country that are contributing.  So some explanation of why Manitoba is increasing its support for the institute, and why there are not any other provinces that are contributing, and if maybe there is some news that there are. Further to that, what plans there are to have other provinces to begin contributing.


Hon. Glen Cummings (Minister of Environment):  Madam Chairperson, this is a result of the contractual arrangements that have been in place, and this is not a deviation from the agreement.  There is a responsibility on the part of IISD, as the member may recall from our review a year ago, where they must provide the private sector and other means additional funding, and they will need to pick up additional private funding as they come towards the end of the provincial agreement for funding.

Ms. Cerilli:  So how are they coming along with the plans for that, for having industry contribute, and plans for having other provinces contribute?

Mr. Cummings:  I would refer the member to the IISD 1992‑93 Annual Report.  That is where we are getting the information from.  As I recall the presentation from the president of IISD and other information that has come across my desk, they are actively pursuing projects where they are co‑operators with international and national organizations.  I said private sector earlier.  It is not limited to private sector.  They may very well be doing work with public sector organizations around the world, compiling, in the first instance, information that can be used in support of activities that will lead to sustainable development around the world.

      I was impressed with the list of connections that the institute referenced to us last year.  I cannot by memory repeat them at this point, but it seems to me the member might have been present during the report in my office last year where they made some particular reference to this.  The board, in terms of whom they work with and how they acquire other funds, is an independent board, with representatives from around the world sitting on it.  It is not just a product of this province or even of this nation.

      People of note sit on the board, such as Maurice Strong and Jim McNeil who both reflect and are closely associated with the Brundtland Commission Report.  Therefore, it seems to me that international flavour and the type of leadership that the institute now has do reflect very well on what will unfold over the next few years and into the future.

      From the last annual report that I saw and discussions that I recall with the leaders of the institute, they have a rather significant number of projects that are either just underway or that are in negotiation.  While I cannot answer the member's question with specifics, I have some confidence in the information that I was given verbally.  I am not sure how far the member wishes to take this line of questioning.

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Ms. Cerilli:  What I am interested in finding out is what private and industrial contributors there are, who are some of the partners that are involved, but particularly I think it is important that we have some kind of documentation of any kind of financial contribution from outside agencies.

Mr. Cummings:  I have in front of me a list that I have just been given of things that the institute has done.  In fact, I see on this list a situation that I am involved in from other aspects, and that is in the Projet de societe, in response to the UNCED commitments that were made by Canada, and just thanks to the pair from the opposition being returned from a meeting of the Projet. The institute is deeply involved in that work in order to help provide an overview and some co‑ordination as to how Canada responds to the initiatives of UNCED.

      I could go through this list.  I would indicate that the leaders of the IISD, in meeting with them last week in Ottawa, indicated that they are prepared to come over this year and sit down with the government and the two opposition parties as we have done previously and go over their year and their strategies.  So I gave the commitment that we would try and get that done before the end of June.  I have obviously not had time to write a letter or set a date since I came back, but all of that information will be made available to the Legislature as part of that regular review that we undertake each year.

      It will be undertaken earlier this year.  As I recall, it was in the doldrums of the summer last year, but we will try and get it over with before the end of the session so that the member can have that information, if that would be useful.

Ms. Cerilli:  Am I to understand then, that at this point, this institute is relying solely on funds from the federal and provincial governments still?

Mr. Cummings:  I am looking at the 1990 to 1995 funding commitment.  The Government of Canada was $13.75 million, CIDA was $5 million, Western Diversification was $150,000, the Province of Manitoba was $6.3 million, for a total of $25 million worth of commitment over a five‑year program.

      I would like to refer to the last page of the institute's report.  During the past year, and I am talking about the year ended recently, that the IISD worked with a variety of organizations as collaborators and partners.  This is the area where they will, through partnerships, strategic and partnerships that they establish, they will be able to get the outreach and the type of impact and influence that they fully expect to have around the world‑‑in fact, already have.

      As a result of a meeting last week with the Projet de societe, a number of the people at the Projet indicated that IISD was the only publication during UNCED that was given credibility.  There was one publication that was away to one side in its interpretation of the activities.  There was another publication that was just as far to the other end of the spectrum.

      I was not there, so I am repeating by word of mouth here, but the people who were at UNCED, some of whom were represented by the NGOs that were at this meeting, the Projet, said that the IISD was the only publication during that event that told the facts and left it at that, and let the public draw conclusions and judgment from that.  So the credibility worldwide of the IISD is, I think, rising as is appropriate.

      But let me go through the list of collaborators and partners that is listed here.  It highlights many organizations and I would invite the member, through my office, or through her own, to seek further information on this list.

      But it includes AIESCC from Brussels, and obviously, I cannot elaborate on that group, but the Asian Students Association in Hong Kong, the African Youth Coalition on Environment and Development, the Bangladesh Centre for Advanced Studies, the Business Council for Sustainable Development, Canada‑World Youth based in Montreal, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, the Canadian Council for International Co‑operation, the Canadian Environmental Network, the Canadian Federation of Students the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants, the Centre for Our Common Future, the City of Winnipeg, Conference Board of Canada, International Development Agency, the International Development Research Centre, International Facilitating Committee in Geneva, International Student Trade and Development, International Union of Students in Prague, Island Press Centre for Resource Economics, Learning for a Sustainable Future, the Manitoba Council for International Co‑operation, government of Manitoba Department of Education, Ma Mawa Wi Chi Itata Centre, Winnipeg, the round tables, provincially and nationally; the WEB course, the computer network that they work with; Partnerships for Sustainable Development.

      The list is quite extensive, but I believe that gives a broad‑brush answer to the type of people that they are working with in partnerships.  Some of those will put up money that will be used by the institute to answer specific concerns on their behalf.  Others would be sources of information for the institute, the broad approach, as I understand it.  That allows the institute to become a centre for information and co‑operation that would lead to enhancement opportunities of sustainable development around the world.

      I am not a member of the board; we have two members who are associated with the board from Manitoba.  But this is not just, as I indicated before, a Manitoba institute; this is intended to be an international institute.

      I believe the board of directors reflect that.  We have Dian Cohen from Canada, Buzz Holling, Pierre‑Marc Johnston.

      We have Gloria Knight from Jamaica, Ingrid Monroe from Sweden, Dr. Montemba from Zambia, Jim McNeil, Mohammed Sanoon from Algeria, a gentleman that I have met and who is internationally respected for his astute observations.

      Amiel Salim, I have also met, from Indonesia, again an internationally respected minister of environment and population, someone who brings a vast experience to the board.  We have David Strangley, and, as I mentioned, Maurice Strong.

      A pretty good and broad cross section when you put them together with Mr. McGinnis, Chairman of the Board, Dr. Gilson, and Dr. Hanson, now being the CEO, it seems to me that this is a very aggressive and progressive board.

      It has been pointed out to me that my deputy, Norm Brandson here is also an alternate, so Manitoba has some ongoing input at the table.

Ms. Cerilli:  My concern with the institute is that it is another publicly funded organization, and when I look at the contributors‑‑Canada, CEDA, the Western Diversification Fund, which is also federal money in Manitoba‑‑it is all public money. The question I had asked was if there is some industrial‑business‑financial support coming into the institute, especially with the end of the agreement approaching.

      The advantage of having this be an independent agency from government was that it would be more able to develop those kinds of partnership.  I hope the minister would agree that we would have some money from the business sector coming into the institute.  It would be interesting to compare the number of positions on the board that have representatives from business and industry and compare that to the financial contribution that is coming from there.

      So I would ask again what the plan is to finance this agency in a more balanced way, and if the province is going to look at continuing its large support for this agency, if there is not some kind of input from other provinces and from industry.

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Mr. Cummings:  I have a copy of the agreement, and one of the main clauses is that, in addition to the funding that is indicated in the five‑year agreement, the institute may supplement this funding with funds from other sources including the private sector, foundations, research, educational grants and fees for service.

      I would like to state most emphatically that my discussions with Mr. Hanson and with the chairman of the board that they are actively pursuing other means of funding.  That certainly does include the private sector.  They intend to work with foundations.  They will be actively involved in research and educational programs from which they will have to have alternate sources of funding.  It seems to me‑‑and I would invite the member to ask the question directly of the institute when we have their review here in this building before the end of the month, the same direct question‑‑I recall I was the one who raised it last year at the review, and the response was that, yes, they fully expected to be independently funded by the end of their five‑year agreement.

      It is certainly not my position at this time to debate what I see unfolding at the end of the five years, except that I see a successful institute that should be able to acquire means of support without coming to the public coffers, that this was an opportunity for expertise to be brought to bear on the most important question of sustainable development, and have an opportunity to make Winnipeg a centre of influence around the world in this area.

      It is very positive.  People from all walks of life look at the institute as a source of some very credible information. There are a number of institutes and universities across Canada that have also started to call themselves centres for sustainable development.  But the fact is that the international institute is reaching out around the world to deal with the matter of sustainable development worldwide and how we would be able to provide information, support, the kind of things that countries need to have in a broad sense in their tool kit, if you will, as they move towards sustainable development within their own jurisdictions.

      In some cases, I am sure the member would appreciate that the very fact that this is an institute that reaches out internationally makes it somewhat of a matter that has to be handled very carefully and diplomatically.  The institute has taken a cautious approach in its early years not to oversell itself, to make sure that they had the resources in place.  They had people in Geneva and Rome working with international organizations there to develop the credibility, the connections, and get the information that they needed to compile, in addition to other works that they were doing.

      As I recall, when the institute was announced, and it does not matter whether it was existing members or others, the criticism within this Chamber was that the institute was not being adequately funded, but the Province of Manitoba and the federal government were penny‑pinching them, and they had no chance for success.  In fact, the better job they do of leveraging private sector, the more likely their long term of successes will be ensured.

      It seems to me, a very enlightened way for institutes of this type to approach their funding responsibilities, that they do form what would be called, critical alliances, to be able to have access to people as well as information and resources, because if they start off with the connections and the information and the people who are supportive and interested in helping them develop this type of an institute, the dollars begin to flow.

      I have a list of things here that they have been involved in, but I know that at one point they were working with‑‑gathering information in Rome for a number of organizations that were co‑operating with them in order to put together some publications.  The IISD is involved in the Earth Council as I understand it, served as a co‑operating partner for that organization.  It participated along with other Canadian entities as I mentioned in the Projet de societe.  It has developed a media round table, trying to bring some of the media people in this country and around the world into a situation where they feel more comfortable and understand what is intended by the term "sustainable development."  It is on the steering committee of the global access television service.  Those are a couple of things of that nature that indicate some of the directions that the institute is going in.

      The personnel from the institute was involved in input into the internationals standard organization, the technical committee on the environment, the earth enterprise project in an endeavour to find practical means for entrepreneurs, investors and innovators to create wealth by meeting emergent needs for new sustainable processes, products and services.  They are developing that major workshop right here in Winnipeg this fall.

      So from Rome to Winnipeg is not an unusual link anymore and certainly into, it would appear, most corners of the globe.  So I would invite, as I said, the member to ask the question specifically of the institute later this month.

Ms. Cerilli:  With all due respect, I think that some of the financial questions that I am asking are appropriate for me to ask for the minister.  Specifically, what could change?  When will we need to decide if we are going to renew our commitment to this institute in an agreement?  What could change, I guess, is the percentage of the budget that this institute makes up, 8.3 percent of the Environment budget, which is quite a bit given all the other things that this department has to do, that we are giving that kind of a percentage to this kind of an institute.  I am wondering if the minister sees that as something ongoing or if there will be a change in that and when we need to let them know of the commitment of this government.

Mr. Cummings:  There are two years left of the five‑year agreement with the institute.  I think the member should recognize that these funds were not taken out of other parts of the Department of Environment.  These are funds for the institute that were allocated to be managed through the Department of Environment.

      In fact, I believe the funds, given the appropriate growth in the institute, actually increased near the end of the agreement because that is when they will have greater need for the dollars.  Obviously, the province is able to manage its own affairs better if it does not have to flow the dollars before there is an actual need for them, and the institution is able to manage its affairs appropriately by receiving the money as they grow and as the need is there for them to match dollars perhaps or enter into co‑operative projects.

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      So I am not about to predict the ultimate conclusion to the agreement with two years ahead of it and what will likely be the two most active years and most high‑volume years of the institute.  I think we will be seeing some pretty positive things in addition to what has already occurred.

Ms. Cerilli:  My question was, when do they need to know about our ongoing commitment?  If there are two years left, we cannot tell them the day the agreement is over where we stand.  So, what I am wanting to find out is, in their planning process, when are we going to have to let them know about our continued support?

Mr. Cummings:  As I indicated, there are two years or more left in the beginning agreement.  I think, any agreement of this nature, that analysis of the results has to come before we start talking about what happens subsequent to the agreement.

      I have been trying to couch it in that manner because I believe, I fully believe that the institute is responding to its mandate, that it is acquiring critical alliances and ability to co‑operate with potential sources of revenue, shared‑cost projects.

      They are well aware, and certainly any discussions I have had with Mr. McGinnis and/or Mr. Hanson indicate that they are well aware of their responsibility to make themselves an independent institute, which was the original mandate.  I am not sure that it is helpful to them or to anyone else that we debate what if, in terms of what the government might do at the end of the five years.

      They certainly have not put a request on the table to start off with.  They have to bring a plan forward as to where they will be taking the institute.  The government is very supportive of this undertaking.

      If the member is asking me are we prepared to renew the same level of financing for another five years, the institute has not asked to start off with.  Secondly, it was always my expectation that the institute would start leveraging more and more funds from sources other than the taxpayer.  The better job they do at that, the more likely they will move forward to be a strong, independent institution.

Ms. Cerilli:  Well, from the minister's answer, it leads me to believe that at the end of two more years, the minister will be going under the assumption that there will be no further financial support to the institute unless they ask, that this was a five‑year agreement and when that time is up, they will be on their own to secure and leverage other financial support.

      My concern of the institute is that there will be other input from other provincial governments if this provincial government is going to continue its financial support.  The government has used the argument, when they have cut other services benefiting Manitobans, that there is no other province in the country that offers those services.  Yet, here we have an institute which is supposed to be benefiting all of the country, and all of the planet, but it is Manitoba that is carrying such a substantial burden of financial support on their own.

      The other thing to ask from this is if there was no longer the financial support to the institute, would the almost $1,400,000 simply be removed out of any environmental allocation and sustainable allocation, or would it continue?  Would that money then no longer be available through this department?

Mr. Cummings:  I do not think I can answer the member's question.  I am not trying to be coy.  I am not, I do not think, being unfair.

      I think the member is being a little unfair, inasmuch as she ventured very close a moment ago to suggesting that perhaps the institute might not be too high a priority and that maybe the government should be reorganizing its priorities and taking the money away from the commitment to the institute.  I hope that was not what she was saying, but she got perilously close to saying that.

      It seems to me that the very questions she is asking are legitimate ones to have on the record, that they will be the subject of debate over the next couple of years on where the institute takes itself.

      Beyond that, when one asks why was it important to bring the institute here, I can tell you, as a fledgling Environment minister when the discussions on this were beginning‑‑while they were well underway in many aspects when I came to this office‑‑that the benefits to the environment and to the development of a critical mass here in Winnipeg and in Manitoba around the concept of sustainable development, and there are a lot of benefits that do accrue to the province.

      When I talk about part of the critical mass, we have one of the better consulting and engineering groups of professionals anywhere in Canada, probably anywhere in the world, who do business around the world from here.  We have the offices for the Canadian Council of Ministers located here.  Couple that with the International Institute for Sustainable Development, a number of other very strong environmentally oriented organizations that have connections in and out of this province, it is worthwhile and does have demonstrable benefits to this community and to this part of the country.

      Governments begin these types of projects with great enthusiasm and like to encourage the development of these types of projects, but I do not think there is anything wrong with government and the public saying, yes, there needs to be the conceptionalizing, there needs to be the bringing together of the ideas and the thrust that goes behind the establishment of something as important and of international nature such as this.

      But that does not mean (a) that it is going to be part of government forever, because that is the one thing that the institute, I think, would pride itself in down the road, that it would be its independence.  Any institute that provides independent advice has to be able to look to its own standards and indicate that independence and be able to quantify it.

      So I would encourage the debate over the next couple of years in this area, but I am really not going to make any comment that would indicate support one way or the other in terms of what happens at the end of the five years, because I think that is the absolute essence of developing a plan such as this, that the institute knows that there is a five‑year window, they know that they have goals that they need to meet, and I am quite comfortable they will meet them.

Ms. Cerilli:  The minister talked about the benefits to Manitoba, and that was another area that I wanted to talk a bit about, but I am going to approach it from the benefits that could come to this government.  I would ask the minister to outline the government's commitment or the incumbency that this government has to follow the vision or the recommendations that the institute would have.

      I know that they have prepared material related to government budgeting, to move to more sustainable and environmental orientation and budgeting.  They have prepared material that looks at poverty, and they are, I think, starting to make those links between social justice, environment and development that are so important.

      I would ask the minister:  What kind of commitment is there to follow the vision of the institute?

Mr. Cummings:  We have taken a great deal of pride through the leadership of our Premier (Mr. Filmon).  In fact, we have committed ourselves to sustainable development, and that has a lot of implications for how government does business.

      Let me digress for a sec in response to the previous question.  I am given the figures that would estimate that probably out of the $4.3 million that the institute would have spent in total last year, $3 million of that would have been spent right here in the province.  So if we want to talk about actual dollars and cents and what happens in terms of where expenditures occur, that is likely the ratio in which we would have seen those dollars spent.

      But if I would direct the member's thinking to the fact that we have been working through the provincial round table in response to Brundtland and along the lines of a lot of things that the international institute is working on, total revamping of public sector strategy, how government does business, how departments interrelate.

      A lot of people like to say, well, this is just changing the paint on the outside of the old vehicle, and it still continues going on doing business the way it did before.

      In fact, when the provincial round table reviewed our public sector strategy and the committee made its report, the fact is that it says and indicates, as far as I am concerned, to be correct in every way, that we are looking at a decade or even two of change to implement the very broad changes.

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      Now a lot of changes come fairly quickly, but when you are talking about the review and revision of most of the acts of this province, the laws of the province, the structure of government, structure within departments, those things do not occur easily, sometimes do not occur willingly.

      Probably in fairness to government employees over the years they will say, well, perhaps we have seen initiatives of this nature come and go decade after decade.  To quote from an English speaker that I listen to occasionally talking about reforms within government, and I say this with the greatest respect to any civil servants who may be listening, but very often there is a mind‑set that says, we will get the drawer closed now and we can continue doing business.  Nobody really thought these changes were going to occur.

      That is not what we are talking about in the type of systemic and structural changes that we are trying to bring to government.  That is not simply talking about numbers pro and con.  It is talking about a way of doing business, a way of approaching development and the environment that is much different from, first of all, just command and control if you want to look about the regulatory side, but it is also much different in terms of how government does business, the openness of processes, for example.  There are no processes in this province compared to other provinces that can be much more open.

      Well, the member smiles.  All you need to do is make some fairly minute examination of other jurisdictions and compare them with our process and how this government does business.  There really has been a large shift over the last few years since we came into government.  That in itself is the kind of attitudinal change that will lead to a whole lot of different approaches to how government does business.  That is only a small part of changing government, the approach of our province and of our people to sustainable development.

      One could stand here probably and go on for hours in that respect, but I am quite comfortable in saying that as a government we are responding to the kind of things that the institute is talking about.  We are quite prepared, contrary to the view of the Sierra Club, to make sure that there is an open access and a fair decision‑making system that does lead to the kind of results that we expected.

      Examination of budgets, one, I think, could do a cursory examination of the Manitoba budget.  Once you strip out the debt load that this province is carrying, the amount of flexibility that is left to us as we develop the budgets for each department, you will find that the resource areas have had to answer and be very accountable for the dollars that they have spent, but the emphasis and the prioritization that have gone on have not been inconsistent with the sustainable development concepts.  I am quite comfortable that the basis for our budget is supportable in the judgment in terms of sustainable development approach.

      I even take it so far as feeling quite comfortable in terms of support of the institute to recognize that if you want to really have some impact on the environment in this world, first of all, one does have to take personal responsibility for what they are doing and how it impacts on the environment.  If one really were to take $1 and decide how they would best influence the environment of the world, you know spending that dollar in your own back yard in energy conservation would be one way of approaching it.

      The broader international concept would be that if you spent that dollar in helping some enterprise in a country that is burning high sulphur coal to produce hydroelectricity, a dollar's worth of reduction in emissions there would be equivalent of probably $30 to $35 worth of control costs in this province or this country.

      Those are the broad‑brush approaches that need to be considered.  A very small aspect of what the institute does, but that is the kind of thinking that comes out of the alliances that they have made around the world.

      The institute is, I think, something that would be very difficult to have us sit here and characterize and box it into a line‑department type of budget, which is I suspect a little bit of what the discussion has just been.

Ms. Cerilli:  What I am wanting to know is one specific thing that this government is doing differently now that we have the institute and given that they are working on developing material, collecting ideas to help direct governments to do their business differently.  So if the minister can tell us one thing that is the basis for his saying that he believes they are following principles of sustainable development, one thing that this government has done differently in its budgeting and allocations or in its systems of doing government.

Mr. Cummings:  Madam Chairperson, I do not want to appear to be filibustering my own Estimates, so allow me to try and provide a brief answer.  But the example that I just gave in the strategic public sector document that this province has developed, it was one of the first in this country.  I think it was the first in the country and that followed hot on the heels the fact that this was the first or almost‑first province to have its round table in place.  Flowing from the round table came a number of strategies that we have been working on.

      I can tell you that the data in and of itself has put the province of Manitoba in the lead in many respects.  Other jurisdictions have been able to use the approaches that have been taken here as a model which they do not necessarily follow as a template, but from which they have been able to garner an awful lot of information.  The Sustainable Development Secretariat is an example of how this government does business differently, a separate secretariat to deal with the concepts of sustainable development and implementation across the board in government.

      It is represented there by all of the various departments that would have an interest in working on a strategy, and the feedback that comes out of that influences the way the various departments respond.  But most importantly, probably its most lasting effect will be that it will influence departments in the way that they co‑operate and the way they view their responsibilities jointly.  A very difficult concept for long‑term departments that have been lined departments and have been dealing with their own area of responsibility without necessarily worrying about how that impacts or what the concern might be in the other departments.

      So the very fact that we have responded the way we have to the Brundtland Commission and have shared nationally and internationally‑‑and I would only point out that the Learning for a Sustainable Future Organization, which is a spin‑off from the national round table, uses information from the Province of Manitoba.  The national round table, in setting up its first principles, laying down its principles of sustainable development, started with the principles of sustainable development that had been laid out here in Manitoba by the Manitoba government through its secretariat and through the co‑operation of the departments and through the provincial round table.

      So it is a legitimate question, one which I could go on at considerable length about how the province has provided information and assisted in how we have changed the way in which we do business in this province.  The member says we have not changed the way we do business.  I think she should take a hard look at how business is done here compared to half a dozen years ago.  If she wants to get into any kind of a debate about it, she only needs to look at how the Limestone project was handled compared to how we handle things today.

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Ms. Cerilli:  The minister knows very well that the Limestone project was developed before the new Environment Act was in place, which now has the environment process that they follow. It is a process which I think needs to be strengthened again, but which was not in place in the previous NDP government.  I do not know how much longer he is going to talk about that and think that anyone is understanding it any differently than that.  The problem is that we have round tables, we have institutes, we have secretariats, we have a lot of materials that have been developed.  My question was:  What is one decision that has been made differently because of all this?

      I agree that having departments communicate better is important so that we get away from this compartmentalized view of the world in doing things, but one specific example, especially in the budgeting process‑‑I mean, we still have monies going to grants and monies going to industries that are not sustainable, that are not operating sustainably, that are exceeding their emissions regulations, and that is I think an area that seriously has to be looked at.

      We see also that there is a great need for education in this area, yet we have a tremendous amount of cuts in education.  We do not see any new programs in education to develop environmental consciousness in the number of professions that we have.  One example that has been explained to me is in the area of industrial hygiene, these kinds of courses, but we do not see any new programs at Red River, for example, to train people to do the kind of energy conservation oriented construction that the minister was referring to earlier.  So what I am looking for is something that has changed in Manitoba from having this institute and from having all of these agencies that the minister talks about.

      I mean, setting up the agencies is not action in itself. That may take time, and it is what needs to happen so that we can see change, but I think we are past that now.  This government has been in power for a number of years, and we have had the round table operating.  I understand that they are not even really meeting anymore.  They have not released a lot of the documents that could be implemented.  But that is what I am asking, is for one example of a change in a decision that would have gone one way or in one direction  but was handled differently and went in another direction because of having all these various organizations.

Mr. Cummings:  I have got to rebut a couple of things to start off with.  The member implies that the round table is somehow inactive.  I do not know whether her sources regarding the round table have dried up or something, but it has been meeting regularly and continues to meet regularly.

      As I said before, it was the first round table set up in this country.  It was the original round table following the Brundtland direction, which is to have a meeting of government, industry in environmental concerns to provide advice to government, chaired by the Premier (Mr. Filmon).  Other jurisdictions have followed our lead in that respect.  You could point to any one of a number of projects that have been handled differently.  I think the member has an idea that environmental decision making is either yes or no, or that sustainable development is either yes or no.

      I guess I would start off by pointing to Ayerst in Brandon. There was an existing concept a number of years ago that grew into a small industry and then grew into a more significant industry, and when they were looking at a major expansion it had impacts in a number of areas.  First of all, their treating their effluent was a problem, particularly in conjunction with the plant of Simplot.  They are operating at the same time.  The impacts on the river had to be jointly considered; you could not just deal with one decision in isolation.

      Major infrastructure investments were made there in order to protect the environment, considering the industrial stream that was there, and the spin‑offs that have come from that are enormous in terms of benefits to the western part of the province, to parts of Saskatchewan and to Manitoba in general. But the decision‑making process involved not only the regulatory aspect of the Department of Environment, but the developmental aspects of I, T and T, brought to bear the concerns and the expertise of Rural Development and the Water Services Board and all of the information and the expertise that is located there. They brought to bear the agricultural community.

      They brought to bear very much the thinking of the people in I, T and T in promoting business and the nature of the business that we can promote in this province.  You cannot just promote a business and then decide you are going to build an infrastructure around it.  I think a good example of that in many respects is the hog plant in my home town.  There was an initiative there that then had to have a whole host of environmental and infrastructure decisions made around it.

      That was a project that was begun, obviously, before we came into government, but the fact is that it was an example of a decision that was made with a little less planning, I have to say.  I am very pleased that the plant is there, and proud of the work that it does and the jobs that it provides, but in terms of a decision‑making process, Ayerst followed a much more logical pattern and in the end had benefits that far exceeded just the concepts that surrounded that industry, because the environment benefitted greatly in the end because the environmental aspects of the sewage treatment have been improved as a result of that plant being located there.  Instead of having a detrimental effect we now have an improvement on the waters and the discharges to the Assiniboine.

      So, I guess I invite the member to take a broader look in what sustainable development can mean, and how that changes the way we do business.  We are beginning to attract more environmentally friendly and sustainable industries such as the Dow Corning plant in Selkirk.  It is a clean industry.  It moved to the latest technology, and would use our most practical resources, our silica sand and our electricity.  You are not, in other words, trying to fit a square peg in a round hole.  You are moving in an area that there are obvious linkages and abilities to succeed without being damaging to the environment.

      I have a drawer upstairs with a number of speeches on sustainable development, of which I could give you one after one over the next few minutes, but I am sure that is not how you want to use this Estimates time.

Ms. Cerilli:  The two examples that the minister is giving me, when he is talking about changes and dealing with government operations in a more sustainable way, are Ayerst in Brandon and Dow Corning in Selkirk, particularly the first is interesting.

      The other area I want to deal with under the institute is to get some outline of the way the institute is spending its money in terms of how much is going to salaries, how much is going to travel, how much is going to rent and the renovations that they have done in their office space.  Related to that, I do not think that there are any government staff that have moved over to the institution, but I will ask the question anyway‑‑if there are any Manitoba government staff that have moved over and if those people have just left the department or if there is some kind of a seconded arrangement.  I do not think that there are; I think there are some people who have just moved over there.

Mr. Cummings:  First of all, let me respond to the postamble. The member somewhat sarcastically, I think, said that I only had one or two examples of where sustainable development had actually entered into the decision‑making process and the ultimate way of doing things in this province.  I would suggest that it has entered into all of our processes because we are changing the way we do business.  If she does not understand that that is what sustainable development means, then I am afraid I cannot do much more to make it any clearer.  Even the decision that chlorine bleaching would not be part of the Repap development demonstrates a different way of doing business and approaching development without it being environmentally damaging.

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      The question was asked about expenditures at the institute. The total for the fiscal year of 1992, total personnel costs were $1,400,000; partnerships and consultation were $529,000; publishing would be $189,000; rent $72,000; honoraria transportation expenditures‑‑and remember this is an international board with people from Algeria and other distant places being part of the board of directors, and recall that the board of directors do not always meet in Winnipeg; in fact, one of the board of meetings, for example, was held at Rio because many of the directors would have been there and that would save some considerable cost, as I understand it, so the cost is $261,000 for honoraria travel expenses; meeting expenses of $100,000; capital assets, half a million approximately; supplies, a quarter of a million; telecommunications $73,000; telecommunications $45,000; and research $12,000; for a total of $3,436,000.

      That is how their budget breaks down, and again, I guess I can add that we have one secondment from the Manitoba government from Department of Environment, to the institute.  That is a secondment.  It will be handled the same as any other secondment would be.  I am not aware of any others from our government.

      I think there are a number of people with international connections that have been seconded for greater or shorter periods of time to the‑‑if I recall, Mr. Sontag was there, came highly qualified from other responsibilities.  I am not sure if his is a secondment or being handled otherwise.  But that is the manner in which the institute would relate to the province.  We do not have a lot of overlap in that respect.

Ms. Cerilli:  Just finally, if the minister could just tell us what the salary levels are at the institute.

Mr. Cummings:  I am increasingly getting the feeling that the member is somewhat critical of the institute and would sort of like to see the dollars that it is getting redirected somewhere else.

      I would remind her that the institute has a contract with the Province of Manitoba and the Government of Canada, and when she refers to other provinces becoming involved, I cannot think of too many areas where the Province of Manitoba funds outside of its own borders.  That is a national responsibility.  That is why the federal government is involved.

      Remember that no government controls the institute.  It is an independent institute.  They clear their expenditures through independent public audit, and their annual statement, which I am quoting from, and the board manages their budget within their mandate.

      As to the salaries, I cannot answer the question.  I had no occasion to inquire specifically of the salaries.  I would invite the member to ask that question, and, in fact, I would encourage her to ask that question when we meet with the institute because I am sure that there is no desire not to be quite open about how they do business.

Mrs. Sharon Carstairs (River Heights):  Madam Chairperson, I just have a few questions which we can hopefully get over before 5 o'clock.

      My concern is that we seem to be putting in a great deal of money into the centre for sustainable development.  No. 1, I do not see a comparable amount of money coming from the federal government, and I want to know what kind of negotiations the minister has had vis‑a‑vis the federal government about providing that kind of funding.

      My understanding is that by the end of this fiscal year we will have put in, as a province, nearly $5 million.  Can the minister give me an equivalent figure for the federal government, including federal government agencies?

Mr. Cummings:  I am not sure if I understood the question.  The implication‑‑well, let me answer it this way.

      The federal government dollars are two‑thirds of the total budget, and they are flowing.  As I understand it, I am informed that there is no restriction to how their dollars have been flowing.

      The rider that I see here in the annual report says that the grants are subject to condition that they must be expended in accordance with the mandate of the institute and the grant from the Canadian International Development Agency must be expended in ways that qualify as an official development assistance.

      As I indicated about the Province of Manitoba and the manner in which the cash flows to the institute, as I recall the agreement, the dollars flow more in response to the needed expenditures as rather than simply a year‑over‑year flat grant but within the cap of the original agreement.  As I said a few minutes ago, I think that is a reasonable and appropriate approach.

      I am not the best expert to answer in this area.  I have some considerable responsibility for the dollars, obviously, but I think I have the concept correct as I recall the way the agreement was.  We have a copy of it here.  That, I think, correctly characterizes the way the funds are managed.  To my knowledge, no one has deviated from the agreement, either the province, the federal authorities, or the institute.

Mrs. Carstairs:  Can the minister tell us then how much money has actually flowed to the institute from the provincial government? Has it been the amount that has been budgeted for, or has it been considerably less than that amount of money?

Mr. Cummings:  Since the inception of the institute, it would be a total of $3.1 million.

Mrs. Carstairs:  Can the minister tell me if that has been the budgeted amount, or is it less than the budgeted amount?

Mr. Cummings:  About $350,000 less than the actual budget.

Mrs. Carstairs:  One has to assume then that the federal government has a similar‑type arrangement.  Does the minister have knowledge of the exact amount of cash flow from the federal government to the centre for sustainable development to this point in time?

Mr. Cummings:  To the end of '93 it will be $7 million.

Mrs. Carstairs:  By my arithmetic, unless I am reading something very wrong, that is not the level of their commitment.

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Mr. Cummings:  They have $6.8 million left to complete their commitment and, as I have indicated, that would not be improper to anticipate that that would sort of reflect the growth that the institute has had, and the last two years will be the higher funding years.  It reflects leverage.  It reflects the reality of an institute as of Day One or Year One is not going to have maximum needed draw.

      As a member of Treasury Board myself, it seems to me only to make sense that you flow the dollars, within reason, to this type of an organization as the demand is growing rather than have those dollars on deposit and let them grow or not grow.  There is a certain element of leverage to encourage them to be able to indicate their growth and their demand, if you will, for cash flow.  It is not a reflection on anyone, except it seems to me to be prudent money management.

Mrs. Carstairs:  The reason I asked these questions is that, I think, many Manitobans have felt for some time that there has been a disproportionate commitment from the provincial government vis‑a‑vis the federal commitment.  I mean we had the Prime Minister making these great announcements at the U.N. and making them over and over and over again.  Finally we got some money out of them but we have still been, as a province, considering that we represent less than 4 percent of the entire population, making an extraordinarily large contribution to a centre which, while it is centred here in Manitoba, is supposed to be Canada's contribution to sustainable development worldwide.  I wanted to know if the government had any concern about the level of the federal contribution, No. 1, and No. 2, concern about whether in fact that full contribution will be made.  We seem to be fully honouring ours.  Is the minister concerned that the federal government is also fully honouring theirs?

Mr. Cummings:  I think there is one point in all of this that perhaps I have not emphasized enough and that is at no time will the Province of Manitoba pay more than a third.  So if perchance something should happen in the next two years that the other funders somehow do not keep up their commitments, we are protected.

Mrs. Carstairs:  We may be protected financially, but if the other levels do not give their commitment, then the centre may become less than valid.  Well, that was the question I was really asking.

Mr. Cummings:  I guess I only answered half of the question.  The point is that neither do I believe there is any likelihood of the other partners backing away from their commitment.  I believe that these commitments will flow through in the appropriate time.

Mrs. Carstairs:  The centre, it seemed to me, was supposed to do two things for Manitoba.  One, it was to put us on the environmental map, so to speak, particularly with respect to sustainable development.  I think the establishment of the centre here in Manitoba has achieved that objective to some degree.  The other, of course, was to potentially bring new and innovative technologies, new ideas to the province of Manitoba and put us, if you will, a bit on the leading edge in terms of sustainable development.  Can the minister point to any specific achievements by the centre to this point in time that would lead us to believe that goal has been achieved?

Mr. Cummings:  One of the things that is beginning to follow out of the activities of the institute is the international linkage of information regarding sustainable development.  The institute has brought on stream a person, whom I met for the first time at the Projet last week, who was working to catalogue information and has been given the charge of following up on a number of initiatives that the institute is beginning in terms of putting together an international network for communication of technology and information surrounding sustainable development.  That sounds like a pretty esoteric and nebulous concept, but, nevertheless, I am told very useful to a lot of emerging nations, very useful to some nations that had not really thought about the concepts of sustainable development.

      The institute I think came of age, in a sense, in terms of its international recognition during Rio.  The institute characterized itself as being an independent body that was prepared to operate independently and provide independent information.  I believe that in itself will lead to a lot of outflow of activity from the institute and will combine itself with a lot of activity that will be focused from around the world on the institute.

      Now the institute has made connections, as I referred to before, that will be very valuable in carrying forward its mandate.  As various jurisdictions around the world decide to embrace the concepts of sustainable development, they will not just be linking up by computer link around the world.  They will also be coming to the activities of the institute, and the institute will be taking forward people and ideas at the same time.

      I see it as the usual results of an institute inasmuch as it becomes a centre of activity from which there is a lot of fallout.  It seems that sometimes we are too shy about mentioning that there is a development side to sustainable development.  The fact is we have, as I referenced earlier, very viable engineering and construction systems here in Manitoba that are operating world‑wide anyway, but they are now taking forward, as well, the linkages that sort of spill out from this.  I am sure IISD does not just sit down and draw up a list of potential contractors, as an example, that they communicate with.

      That critical mass is starting to develop.  The desire of jurisdictions to want to communicate with us is there.  Again, there is a number of things that spill out of this that you cannot just say, well, here is this, this and this, our direct response to the IISD.  There is a critical mass of activity that is starting to occur that is becoming quite beneficial to the city.

Mrs. Carstairs:  I just have one final question.

      Can the minister point to any specific corporation or university or community college that has received a contract from the centre for sustainable development with respect to the work that they are doing in this community?

Mr. Cummings:  I think the first examples that have been the most successful that I could point to are in the area of education and institutional exchange of information that has gone forward, but I cannot give you a list, frankly.

Madam Chairperson:  Resolution 31.4:  RESOLVED that there be granted to Her Majesty a sum not exceeding $1,375,000 for Environment, International Institute for Sustainable Development for the fiscal year ending the 31st day of March, 1994‑‑(pass).

      The hour being 5 p.m., committee rise.

      Call in the Speaker.

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




Res. 31‑Television Violence


Mr. Dave Chomiak (Kildonan):  Mr. Speaker, I move, seconded by the member for Point Douglas (Mr. Hickes), that

      WHEREAS society benefits by providing good role models for our children; and

      WHEREAS family violence and abusive behaviour is often learned in the home; and

      WHEREAS families, as part of their leisure and recreation activities, spend time in front of the television; and

      WHEREAS too often these programs present examples of violence, sexism and sexual exploitation during regular evening viewing hours; and

      WHEREAS the exposure of children to these scenes can be very detrimental to their development, by providing mixed messages regarding appropriate behaviour; and

      WHEREAS it is estimated that by the time children are 16 years of age they have already seen 16,000 attempted murders on television; and

      WHEREAS violent crime has been steadily increasing over the past three decades, doubling in the 1960s, increasing by 30 percent in the 1970s and by 46 percent in the 1980s; and

      WHEREAS there is evidence that the steady flow of television violence is one of a number of reasons for this dramatic growth in violent crime; and

      WHEREAS the Canadian Radio‑television and Telecommunications Commission can take a more active role in reducing the amount of sexually degrading and violent material in both advertising and programming on television; and

      WHEREAS the Chair of the Canadian Radio‑television and Telecommunications Commission, Keith Spicer, has suggested that if broadcasters fail to respond to the issues of violence, sexual stereotyping and employment equity, sanctions may be applied in terms of licence renewal.

      THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba urge the Minister of Culture, Heritage and Citizenship (Mrs. Mitchelson) to petition the Canadian Radio‑television and Telecommunications Commission to review television daytime and evening programming guidelines and to set standards as regards to violence, sexual exploitation and sexism on television, which may include stiff sanctions such as nonrenewal of licences; and

      BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this Assembly urge the provincial and federal governments to work together to act on the June 1991 recommendation of the Canadian Radio‑television and Telecommunications Commission to establish a forum where all interested parties in the debate on television violence can express their views on a regular basis.

Motion presented.

Mr. Chomiak:  Mr. Speaker, it is with a great deal of pleasure that I rise to speak on this particular resolution.  It has been some time on the Order Paper, and I have looked forward to the opportunity of dealing with this significant issue almost since first elected to this Chamber.

      I cannot take direct credit for this resolution or even our party, Mr. Speaker.  The suggestion for a resolution of this kind was brought forward by other groups‑‑some school divisions, parents and school representatives and others‑‑who saw a need several years ago to begin the process of trying to cut down on the violence, sexism and other negative factors that are seen on our television on a daily basis, and in that respect we brought forward this resolution.

      I put it into a bit of a historical context because since we originally introduced this resolution, and it has been on the Order Paper several times, without an opportunity of being debated because of the volume of the items on the paper‑‑since the resolution was brought forward, there has been a whole series of measures and a whole series of events that in some respects have superseded this resolution, but in other respects have not gone far enough.

      I am speaking of some of the pronouncements of the CRTC, Canadian Radio‑television and Telecommunications Commission and, most notably, the chairperson, Mr. Keith Spicer, with regard to some of the pronouncements of that commission calling on our broadcasters to effectively clean up their act or face some kind of stronger action, some kind of stronger sanction from the CRTC.

      More importantly, not more importantly, perhaps more significantly is the fact that we have seen now a parliamentary subcommittee with some wide‑ranging and very significant recommendations that have come out concerning this kind of practice, Mr. Speaker.  In fact, last week, Wednesday, June 2, a report was released by the parliamentary committee dealing with it.  It was called, the name of the report was Television Violence:  Fraying our Social Fabric.

      The essence of what was discussed in this report and the essence of what was recommended in this report, for the most extent, reflect what we are asking for in this resolution. Although, I would have to say that I would see stronger sanctions or more of an intention for stronger sanctions forwarded by members of this Chamber to the relevant federal authorities and others concerning the issue.

      But the commission made some very significant findings.  I just want to briefly quote from it:  and I indicate the commission report accepts the scientific evidence which shows a positive correlation between television violence and aggressive and antisocial behaviour in individuals, although it acknowledges that no definitive causal link has been established in this regard.

      I think that pronouncement coming from an all‑party committee, an all‑party standing committee that recommended fairly strong measures, is significant coming from that, significant for purposes of our debate here.

      Mr. Speaker, I think that no member of this Chamber or of our community can go on record as stating or would even indicate that there has not been an increase in violence and sexual exploitation on television in the past 10, 15 or 20 years.  It is‑‑one does not even have to scientifically state it.  It is a known fact that one just needs to watch the TV at any given time to note that.

      Mr. Speaker, the stats, as cited in the WHEREAS to this particular resolution, which indicated that by the time children are 16 years of age they have already witnessed 16,000 attempted murders, is indication of that.  In addition to the murders and the attempted murders we see, we see rapes, we see sexual exploitation.  That is almost just the commercials.  I make that point not totally facetiously, but the fact is that it is not just television programs we are talking about, it is commercials as well.  It is all of the activities that come across the TV screen.

      In fact, a mother in the area I represent mentioned to me last week that one of her ways of limiting her child's exposure to TV is not to let her child watch commercials which she thought were as bad or worse than the actual fare on TV.  There is a certain amount of validity to that.

      But returning to the main point, there is far too much of this kind of activity in the mainstream programming.  It is not just nighttime adult fare.  It deals with cartoons, it deals with children's programs, and it deals with the kind of messages that are reflected in those programs, be it via the actual program or be it via the commercial.  I strongly feel that we are conveying a message into society that is reflected in television.  It is reflected in that medium, and if we as legislators do not take a stand, then we are condoning it.  We are saying as legislators, yes, you can go on and do whatever you want on television.

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      Mr. Speaker, we are not arguing for censorship, and that is usually the argument that is trotted out by opponents to any kind of stricter regulation.  We are not talking about censorship.  We are talking about straight common sense, and we are talking about networks and TV programs and others utilizing proper common sense in terms of what they show.  TV is so pervasive.  It is so common.  It is too simple a solution, for example, to say, well, parents only have to exercise control by turning off the TV. That is valid, and that is true.  Parents and guardians must take a very significant role in ensuring that, for example, they watch with their children and they watch what their children watch.

      There is no question, but that just does not solve the problem.  In fact, I go further.  It just does not deal with children.  It deals with adults.  Some of the interesting articles that I read with respect to this particular issue indicate that when you project an image of violence and when you project a particular type of society on television, the members in general who watch this kind of show gain an understanding that that is the way their society is.

      An example, again, I cite from the area that I represent. There are several women in my own constituency, whom I have talked to, who are afraid to go out of their homes at night because they are afraid of being accosted.  Now, for better or for worse, that is their reality.  I suggest that it is probably, to a certain extent, a product of what is on television and the television news and not the reality of that particular community, but nonetheless, that is reflected on them.  It is very sad that these people who are senior citizens feel that they are virtually prisoners in their own home, particularly in our society.

      So I certainly feel that we as legislators and that we as citizens ought to respond to what is clearly a difficulty that is occurring in society, and we must do our part to ensure that this kind of a pervasive image of what we are in society and where we are going is not projected ad nauseam and not projected in the mainstream as a society and as a culture where we are going.  Let me diverge for a second to give an example, Mr. Speaker.  It is not just the graphic violence‑‑and an interesting point‑‑that is offensive or the graphic sexual exploitation or the graphic portrayal of inequity.  It is the basis for a lot of programs.

      For example, Mr. Speaker, most programs dealing with a detective or police, why does it have to be a murder or a violent act that is the ultimate and the end goal of the television program?  Why can it not be simply a solving of some other kind of mystery?  No, it is always the ultimate, and unfortunately, one could even argue‑‑and I diverge again‑‑well, in the old days that was the basis and the genesis of mystery novels.  Even in those cases, the graphic portrayal of violence was not illustrated or portrayed on the same basis that we see on television today.

      That brings me to the other point, Mr. Speaker, and that is the graphic portrayal of these kinds of activities.  One, I suppose, could argue that we are seeking some kind of censorship, but I do not see any benefit from a slow‑motion portrayal of a violent death on television.  What possible good can come from the portrayal of that?  If it could be argued that it is necessary for the story line or it is necessary for the purpose of entertainment, surely one does not have to graphically portray it to the extent, and in fact I would suggest the exploited extent, that it is portrayed with today.

      The same goes for sexual exploitation.  Do we need sexual exploitation to sell beer?  Do we need graphic violence to sell television programs?  Do we need the portrayal of sexual inequality to sell programs?  Surely, we are advanced enough as a society to be able to get around these issues or to deal with issues without having to be so graphically exploited and to deal with these issues without having to deal with them directly.

      Mr. Speaker, the option of just turning off the television has not worked.  If it had worked, if the option of that strict choice had worked‑‑and I have heard it argued that parents have a choice and all individuals have a choice‑‑if it had worked we would not be faced with, what I would term, almost an epidemic of violence on television.  Clearly, the brakes have to be put. Some message has to be put out to the industry.  Some message has to be put out to television that we no longer will tolerate this kind of activity.

      If it had been left to the marketplace, if the networks and all of those involved had been as mature and as self‑regulating as one is led to believe from reading some of the comments, we would not be faced with this epidemic of violence and sexual exploitation in television that we see today.  Clearly, the past has not worked.

      I think that it is very, very important that we send a strong message, Mr. Speaker, to the networks and to television stations and to others that if these bodies do not take a responsible attitude, then their licences, which come up for renewal and which are given to them at the favour of the Canadian public, will suffer sanctions or, in the ultimate case, be removed.  Some message has to be put out to the public that indicates we want the cycle of violence, the cycle of sexual exploitation, to stop, because we do not want to raise a generation or generations further who are fed only on this kind of programming.

      Now, the argument that is often voiced for it, well, the death stars that are coming in, the satellite channels, will allow for it anyway, Mr. Speaker, and I will accept that argument.  That is true, but that does not take away our social responsibility to do something.  If we accepted that argument on almost any number of issues that affect us as legislators, we would do nothing.  We would simply say, well, we are not going to regulate gun control in Canada, it is gun control in the United States.  We are not going to enforce it at the border.  That argument is fallacious and does not hold a lot of water.

      It is our responsibility to do what we can to send out a message of the Canadian public, to send out a message as Manitobans that we desire something different for ourselves and for our children, that we want to portray a different message on the medium, that we will sit for nothing more, and that if the broadcasters and those involved in the industry will not do so, then we are prepared to legislate and we are prepared to take sanctions to make them understand.

      Now I will hear an argument, Mr. Speaker, that they will be socially responsible, they will deliver.  Well, the proof is in the pudding, and they have not delivered to this point.  If they do not seek to deliver, then I think these kinds of sanctions will have to be imposed.

      We are now hearing that they are going to do that, but what did it take?  It took public pronouncements, it took committee hearings, it took messages, it took a parliamentary subcommittee for some action, and consequently as a result of that, there is now some action.

      I am saying we can play our part.  We can do our part to stop this systemic portrayal of violence and sexual exploitation on television.

      We can do our part.  We can stand up in Manitoba and pass this resolution which I dare say, given the report of the parliamentary committee endorsed by all three committees in the House of Commons, is no different in effect than that committee. We can stand up and say as Manitobans we want to do our part, and further we want to assure that there is an ongoing forum where all interested parties can debate.  We want to ensure that guidelines are set, and we want to ensure that if networks and stations do not live up to this proposal that they will face sanctions.

      We are doing this, Mr. Speaker, not just for our children, but for our society in general and the kind of society that we wish to reflect.

      Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.


House Business


Hon. Darren Praznik (Deputy Government House Leader):  Mr. Speaker, on House business, I would like to announce that the Standing Committee on Public Utilities and Natural Resources which was scheduled for 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, June 9, will be held in Room 254 rather than in Room 255, as previously announced.

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Mr. Jack Penner (Emerson):  Mr. Speaker, this is probably a subject that many of us do not really relish to discuss or talk about as we sometimes maybe should and maybe more often should. Maybe we should more often consider the impacts of violence in the media and the portrayal of how humanity interacts with each other in difficult times and in difficult situations.

      The resolution that we are debating here today I think is a good resolution.  I commend, I congratulate the member for bringing this resolution forward because not only is it a good resolution, it is a timely resolution.  For those of us that have from time to time a bit of additional time that we can spend either to watch television or listen to radio, I hear and see some things that we as children when we grew up, especially those of us who grew up in rural Manitoba, simply did not have the opportunity to view.

      One has to reflect sometimes as to what the impact of viewing all the violence, whether it be murder, whether it be the accosting of one's friends, or watching rapes happen on television, will be to those young people growing up in society today.

      I think it behooves us, those of us that are legislators, to take a very serious look at what the role of legislators should be or must be in society.  It has always been my view that legislators should be the ones that guard and put in place legislative procedures and regulations that guard against, protect society from, be that in the area of violence, be that in the area of abuse, be that in the area of substance abuse and other.

      I think there are times when individuals in society simply lose control of their emotions, and sometimes those emotions are forced on us by things that we see and hear.  We must in those instances ensure that the innocents or the innocent bystanders are protected.  That is how I see our young and future generations.  Those are the innocent bystanders of some of the things that we put on our television screens and our radios in the form of entertainment.  You have to wonder about society in general.  Have we in fact advanced or have we in fact retreated in our appetite for entertainment to the point where violence becomes the issue or violence becomes the entertainment?

      We all know that television has brought the entertainment world right into our living rooms.  That is a major change that has happened during the last two decades, and that in itself should bring to bear upon those of us who sit in this Legislature the responsibility of ensuring that that window that has been opened to us, and the advancement that we have seen in the communication system is regulated to such an extent that it will in fact protect those who are vulnerable in our society.

      We have many times when we see headlines of violent rapes and murders, especially of young people, where we have kidnappings, you have to wonder what brings a person or a human being to the point where they can in fact inflict those kinds of damages on one of their own.  It is questionable whether the violent nature of many of the crimes that we see today is in fact brought on by what is seen and so vividly demonstrated on television at times, or whether it is heard on radio, and whether the portrayals of the crimes that we use and watch as entertainment have led to an increase of the violence that we see on our streets so many times and have witnessed so many times in the immediate past.

      I want to commend the Canadian Radio‑television and Telecommunications Commission and Keith Spicer for actions that they have taken not too long ago in setting up a process that will review those regulations, and the recommendations that have been made by the CRTC that have been brought to the attention of the CRTC.  I think the whole area of establishing proper codes for broadcasters in general must be reviewed, and broadcast standards must be set in such a way that they in fact ensure that we will not be subjected or our small children will not be subjected to the kind of programming that is so prevalent in many of the stations today.

      I do not have the answers.  I do not really know how one would go about ensuring, specifically with the technology in communications that have come about over the past four or five years even and the huge advancements we have made.  I suppose it would not be uncommon today if we had descramblers in our house that we could get 100 or 150 different programs on our television screen at any given time.  There might even be more if one really looked.

      But how do you put in place controls and/or regulations that would ensure proper codes and proper standards of programming on television?  I think we have come to a very, very questionable time in our history, and I wonder whether there in fact are safeguards that we can ensure that this kind of violence will not appear on our television screens.

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      How do we in this country, in Canada, ensure that we will not have access to, or our children will not have access to, a foreign country's‑‑and I refer to the United States, for instance, which is right next door‑‑programming that is put into the airwaves by a satellite from that country or, for that matter, of any other country in the world today?  How do we ensure that our entertainment brought into our living room through television is not able to pick up that kind of programming?

      Those are some areas that I think we should give some thought to.  Maybe what we need to do is discuss in other forums with other countries as well the possibility of ensuring some general standards, some international standards, that we could all live by.  I think there are other countries in the world, or the leaders of other countries in the world, that would be quite willing to sit down in a much broader forum than just within our Canadian boundaries, because it is not only a Canadian problem or a Manitoba problem that we deal with, it is an international problem.

      So if we could do anything from this forum, from this Legislature, it might in fact be to consider an addition to the resolution, although I am not going to propose an amendment, nor am I going to propose an addition.  But I am going to suggest that we consider, jointly, the possibility of discussing it on a much broader basis, maybe discuss, first of all, with our Canadian counterparts on a provincial basis, provincial conference, the issue of violence, and then try to come to some point in Canada that we could in fact take forward to an international forum, if there was such a forum established, but take it forward into an international forum and just see whether we could not devise some sort of a regulatory body that would ensure that violence of the nature that we see on television today could in fact be brought under some sort of control to ensure that we would not allow our children to see this kind of violence on a daily basis.

      So with those few short comments, Mr. Speaker, I would again say to the honourable member that I congratulate you bringing forward this resolution and that we would support on this side of the House these kinds of actions, and hopefully you can consider the proposal that I put before the Legislature today.  Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Hon. Linda McIntosh (Minister of Consumer and Corporate Affairs):  Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise and add my comments to this topic.  The whole subject of violence in society in general is one that has caused great concern for people in recent years, and it seems to be an area of life that is increasing rather than decreasing.

      I was interested in the member's comments prior to mine when he wondered if we were progressing or regressing.  Indeed, in many ways, I believe that we are regressing to a period of time when controls on emotions were not so prevalent.

      It seems in part that people have forgotten the caring that was inherent for many of my generation in their growing‑up years, and in many respects, I think we are seeing the results of freedoms and liberties and rights that have no restrictions placed upon them.

      How far does one go in talking about freedom of expression? How far does one go in talking about the right to be creative? How far does one go in artistic expression that has overtones of violence and degradation?

      These are questions that are important ones to ask because we have seen an escalation of what society is willing to accept. Indeed you will hear groups such as the group against pornography put forward statistical evidence and stories of personal anecdotes put to them of people who will begin by the reading of something mildly pornographic.  After a while then that reaches a state of boredom, and they seek to add another factor to that pornographic material and so on.  This in many instances includes violence.

      We see young people watching and listening and reading violent episodes at every turn.  We see an increasing acceptance of the types of movies that 10 years ago were shocking but today are not only no longer shocking but in some instances almost boring because they have been repeated so often.  Themes of blood, of stabbing, of shooting, of decapitation, dismemberment, these types of things no longer shock.

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

      One wonders where it will end.  You get down to questions of taste versus censorship versus self‑discipline versus rights versus obligations.  We hear a lot about rights; we hear less about responsibilities.  We hear a lot about artistic freedom; we hear less about the knowledge of the impact of a "work of art" upon the viewer.  I believe it is very important that all of those who have an ability to influence young people be conscious of the effect of these things upon those young people.

      I know in our own household when my children were little, I can remember one day sitting down in front of the television with my daughter, who at that time was about two or three, and actually watching Popeye and being horrified at what I saw when I really looked at what I was seeing.  There is my little daughter, innocent young mind, watching the Saturday morning cartoons, which consisted of brutality, brute force, degradation of females, stereotyping of the genders, constant battering.  I remember thinking, this is a children's cartoon created and designed for children, played at prime time for children, designed to amuse and indeed amusing little children.  It was horrendously violent.

      I thought at the time, maybe people felt because these were cartoon characters and not real people that somehow children would not accept it as real or influencing.  I do believe that type of image making, even as a young child, even in a cartoon form, has an impact and does influence the thinking that goes on in a young child's mind.

      Does that mean then that as a mother I should have written the station and asked to have Popeye taken off?  That is a question that one wrestles with.  That is a legitimate question to ask.  I think it is a legitimate question for mothers and fathers or caregivers of children to ask themselves.  My solution was to not have Popeye played in our house at that time.

      My child being preschool, this was a relatively easy thing for me as a mother to do.  It is not so easy for parents when those children are 13, 14 and 15, because at that stage those children are wanting to assert their own authority, make their own choices, establish their own independence and make their own decisions.  They have also acquired tastes, likes and dislikes, many of those tastes, likes and dislikes having been gained and accepted by the watching of many of those programs, the reading of books, the seeing of movies, the discussions with friends, the telling of jokes.  It is all‑pervasive.  When one segment of society begins to accept something in literature or in film then it grows and is fostered.

      I remember hearing a very excellent panel discussion held at Sturgeon Creek School not that terribly long ago.  In that panel they had the vice‑president of one of our local television stations.  They were talking about the impact of a variety of things on our young people, violence being the main thrust.  They had a school principal, a parent, our own Attorney General (Mr. McCrae), the vice president of the television station and a number of other people who have an interest in trying to alleviate the increasing violence amongst our young people.

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      I was very interested in the comments of that television studio executive, because he had a grasp of the problem and he was aware of the dilemma and he was asking himself those moral questions.  I have heard, as well‑‑I just want to go back to that executive for a moment‑‑because it is very good that people in that situation are beginning to ask themselves those questions, because the first thing that happens before any change takes place in society is awareness.

      I think the resolution as put before us helps build that kind of awareness.  It gets people talking about an issue that is a very important issue.  I am pleased that it is here for us to talk about.  I liken it in some respects, although nothing is exactly the same as any other situation, but I do liken it in some respects to the movement towards a nonsmoking society.

      When I was in my teens, smoking was commonplace.  It was accepted.  It was almost expected that when you got to a certain age you would begin to smoke.  It was a socially acceptable thing.  As time went on, and it has taken time, it has taken a couple of decades for that attitude to change, but the attitude has changed.

      I can remember when those who were members of the group called GASP were looked upon as rather eccentric individuals who were pushing a cause that was doomed to failure and, yet, we now have a society that has turned its attitude completely.  There are still lots of people who smoke.  There are people in this Chamber who smoke but, by and large, it is not deemed acceptable anymore.

      You will find even amongst those who smoke that they will invariably now say, do you mind if I have a cigarette, when they are in a crowd of people they do not know.  That was not a question that was asked even 15 years ago.  A lot of that happened because there were a lot of very active people who sought to build awareness and change in attitude in society.

(Mr. Speaker in the Chair)

      I think it is one of the things that has to happen in terms of this increasing violence.  I really believe we are seeing the effects of the breakdown of the family in many respects.  I am not placing blame for that totally, but I know that it is that much more difficult to protect a child from these influences if there is just one parent to do the work that in years past was shared by two people.  It is just that much more difficult for that parent who is alone.

      The wide access that children have to material is another factor that is something that was not there 15 years ago.  The advent of VCRs and the video stores and those types of things have added much pleasure to our lives, but they have also opened the door for abuse by making available materials that have the potential to harm.

      I do not know that anything really ever will happen without that changing attitude that I spoke about before.  All the laws that you put in place, all of the regulations and restrictions and so on that you put in place can all be circumvented by creative minds if the desire to circumvent them is there.

      I believe firmly that with almost any issue, the best and most effective way to get to the heart of it is to change that attitude which I believe the member is helping to do by raising this issue for discussion, and I commend him for that.

      We have seen that certain things can happen where people of will pull together.  I mentioned a little while ago the group against pornography.  I refer to them again in terms of the work that they have done with adult videos or with classification of videos.  That has not been an easy thing for them because they have always had to work against, and I say against‑‑it almost hurts me to say work against‑‑those who speak for unlimited free speech, unlimited freedom of expression.  I say it almost hurts me to say that because I am one who likes to think that people can freely express themselves in creative ways without having to have their work bound by convention.  That is the ideal.

      That is something I say that I could believe wholeheartedly if I thought that no one abused that right to speak.  I guess we have to always balance the right to freely express with the obligation not to slander, the right to say whatever you would in a free society without fear of retribution against libel and hate.  We have rules against hate literature.  We are developing rules against the degradation of people because of their skin or their gender or things like that, and we will go to court, as we did with the Ernst Zundel situation, for example.

      Always, I think judges and lawmakers and those who set rules are torn between the right to express and be creative and the obligation not to harm with those things that you do.  If we can as members and as individual citizens in society help change the attitude as those who helped change the attitude of smoking did, I believe we will be on the right path.

Mr. Ben Sveinson (La Verendrye):  Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to rise today and speak on Resolution 31 on television violence. I have worked within many different community groups from Boy Scouts to parents' committees, task forces, many other community groups that in fact have endeavoured to try to understand and to, in some way, help, whether it is our young people or our young adults in some way, but it is mainly to try to understand.

      I think that we all have to take responsibility for many of the things that are happening in our young people today.  Peer pressure is something that many people know is there.  I guess, in some cases, it is a thing again of understanding how it works, but the more you deal with the young people and see the different situations that they are put in within the schools, within the communities and also by trying to understand the different things that are shown on TV, from robberies to shooting of machine guns to cars smashing into other cars in a fun manner, so to speak, yet the car is demolished and, of course, nobody is hurt or you do not see them being hurt, but it is done in a joke or in a funny way.

      The fact is, I have read that it is the subconscious and the conscious mind that are moved, if you will, farther apart when you are bombarded with all these different types of things on TV, from sex scenes, if you will, whether it is photographing or running into these different types of photographs of young people in sex scenes and whether it is shooting of people, where you see the bullet hit the person and blood splatters but, all of a sudden, that person in the next scene is alive and well and at the hospital or at home.

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      It is a pulling apart of that subconscious and the conscious mind.  When it comes down to the old thing of peer pressure or being involved in a particular instance with other young people who for some unknown reason happen onto a situation, it is the thing of being able to make that instant decision:  What is right and wrong?  Incidents do happen, and we say, well, how could that be?  How could anybody do that?  The fact is that these are things that are hard to explain and hard to understand unless we really look deeper within ourselves and how in some way sometimes we are affected by TV.

      As we look back, a number of years ago, in universities in the States, you do not have to go too far back, 10, 15 years‑‑there have been many incidents since, too, but if we go back 15 and maybe even more years and the times when in fact down in the States in the universities, there were many of these rallies and so on of people saying that this war and that war was wrong as far as Vietnam and that kind of thing was concerned and how the rallies erupted into violent incidents.

      It was young people then being perceived, although it was not right, by many other parts of North America that in fact this is kind of a thing to do, have these rallies in fact where something had happened.  We saw many incidents throughout Canada and in the United States.  It kind of spread.  You have to understand that, again, it is‑‑and I mention it is not that I am a doctor or anything, but the fact is that I do believe that the subconscious and conscious mind are indeed pulled somewhat apart further and further the more you are bombarded with all these different kinds of things.

      I also think that the media‑‑there is none in the gallery right now, so perhaps I am all right.  I believe that the media play a part in this role of things too.  If you watch the news, and we have many good things happening within our province, within our country, and throughout the world, but it seems that we are bombarded with everything that is negative, wars, I mean we can go on and on, the different things that we are bombarded with‑‑[interjection] It is unfortunate, and perhaps this is some of the TV coming out in opposition members.  As far as the different shows and so on are concerned, perhaps the member for Wellington (Ms. Barrett) cannot see anything positive in this province and in this country today.  It is very unfortunate.

      I do believe that the media has a big role to play here.  If you look at this Assembly, and the member for Wellington just brought it to my attention, and I guess I have to remark on it. If we go back through the last about three sessions in this Legislature, true I have not been appointed or anything as minister, but in saying that, I have had the opportunity of sitting up here in the upper benches, as I like to call them, and listening to many things that go on, the different questions that are posed from the opposition parties, and with what dedication they pose these questions, and afterwards, seeming that it is somewhat of a joke that they even asked the question.

      The point that I am trying to make here is that if you read the papers, or watch TV, you seem to think, where was this all happening?  Was that really in the Assembly?  You see these great front‑page announcements, the opposition was challenging the government today, and they were ripping them apart on some particular issue.

      I do have to laugh when I see that.  It is almost as bad as some of the cartoons you can see on TV and in what way they would affect our children today.  The fact of the matter is that this Assembly is missing, in the last three sessions of this Legislature, only one thing, I guess, and I have heard it, and I have even termed it as a morgue, and that would be a casket in here because of the fact of the ineffectiveness of the opposition parties.


Point of Order


Ms. Avis Gray (Crescentwood):  On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. We have a resolution before us, a very serious one on television violence, and I would ask the member who is currently speaking to perhaps talk on the issue of television violence.

Mr. Speaker:  On the point of order raised, I would remind the honourable member for La Verendrye (Mr. Sveinson) that the honourable member is quite correct.  It is television violence that we are presumably supposed to be debating at this point in time.  So, the honourable member for La Verendrye, keep your remarks relevant.

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Mr. Sveinson:  I am definitely on topic.  I am trying to show the people in this Assembly exactly how media can effect a difference with everybody.  That is where I am coming from, Mr. Speaker.

      I do believe, perhaps some cannot see it, and I can take that also, but I really do believe that we should be seen as role models for our young people, for most people.  Indeed, if things are sensationalized to the point where, in fact, maybe some of us sitting in here, maybe even a good part of us do not even recognize where that particular thing went on, as being the assembly of Manitoba, it would make me wonder indeed if our young people and how they perceive things on TV‑‑I think the media has a big role to play here.  It has to be a positive thing as well as recognizing the negative things.

      At any rate, Mr. Speaker, I agree with previous speakers as to the topic and to the resolution, and I would commend the opposition for even bringing it up today.  It is one of the most positive things in three sessions that I have seen brought forward by the opposition.

      I would like to commend them, and perhaps down the road we will see a provincial conference and possibly even a national conference on this particular topic.

      Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker:  Is the House ready for the question?  The question before the House is the resolution of the honourable member for Kildonan (Mr. Chomiak), Resolution 31.  Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Some Honourable Members:  Agreed.

Mr. Speaker:  The motion is accordingly carried.

      Is it the will of the House to call it six o'clock? [agreed] The hour being 6 p.m., I am leaving the Chair with the understanding that the House will reconvene at 8 p.m. in Committee of Supply.