Wednesday, June 9, 1993


The House met at 1:30 p.m.








Ms. Jean Friesen (Wolseley):  Monsieur le president, j'aimerais presenter la petition de Lorraine Rondeau, Estelle Comte, Allan Charbonneau et d'autres personnes demandant au ministre de la Sante de considerer a restaurer le Programme dentaire des enfants au niveau dont il beneficiait avant le budget.


Mr. Speaker, I beg to present the petition of Lorraine Rondeau, Estelle Comte, Allan Charbonneau 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 budget.

Mr. Dave Chomiak (Kildonan):  Mr. Speaker, I beg to present the petition of Kevin L. Thompson, Laird Simpson, Tammy Vandenberghe and others requesting 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. Conrad Santos (Broadway):  Mr. Speaker, I beg to present the petition of Lucinda Carels, Val Norrie, Leslie E. King and others requesting 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. Clif Evans (Interlake):  Mr. Speaker, I beg to present the petition of A. Smirl, Doreen Geirnaert, Monique B. Martel and others requesting 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. Gregory Dewar (Selkirk):  Mr. Speaker, I beg to present the petition of Rosanne Labossiere, Brenda Fiddler, Roselynn Poiron and others requesting 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 (Mrs. Carstairs).  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 residents of the province of Manitoba humbly sheweth that:

      WHEREAS the Misericordia General Hospital has served Winnipeg for over 95 years; and

      WHEREAS the Misericordia General Hospital has a long record of dedication and service to its local community and the broader Winnipeg community; and

      WHEREAS the Misericordia General Hospital is identified by the residents in the surrounding area as "their hospital"; and

      WHEREAS the Misericordia Hospital plays an integral part in maintaining and promoting the health of the community; and

      WHEREAS the Misericordia Hospital provides diverse services including emergency, ambulatory care, diagnostic and inpatient services, acute and chronic care which are vital to the community; and

      WHEREAS the Misericordia Hospital is currently engaged in developing innovative and progressive community‑based outreach programs; and

      WHEREAS the Misericordia Hospital is ideally located to be within the "hub" of the health care delivery network for Winnipeg.

      WHEREFORE your petitioners humbly pray that the Legislative Assembly urge the government of Manitoba to consider keeping the Misericordia Hospital open as an acute care facility.




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.

* * *

Mr. Jack Reimer (Chairperson of the Standing Committee on Economic Development):  Mr. Speaker, I beg to present the Fourth Report of the Committee on Economic Development.

Mr. Clerk (William Remnant):  Your Standing Committee on Economic Development presents the following as its Fourth Report.

      Your committee met on Tuesday, June 8, 1993, at 10 a.m., in Room 255 of the Legislative Building to consider the Annual Report of Moose Lake Loggers Ltd. for the year ended March 31, 1992.

      Your committee has considered the Annual Report of Moose Lake Loggers Ltd. for the year ended March 31, 1992, and has adopted the same as presented.

      All of which is respectfully submitted.

Mr. Reimer:  Mr. Speaker, I move, seconded by the honourable member of St. Vital (Mrs. Render), that the report of the committee be received.

Motion agreed to.

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Hon. James Downey (Minister of Energy and Mines):  Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to table the Supplementary Information for the Department of Energy and Mines, as well as the Supplementary Information for Manitoba Department of Northern Affairs.

Hon. Clayton Manness (Minister of Finance):  Mr. Speaker, I would like to table the second Quarterly Financial Report of the Manitoba Public Insurance Corporation.


Introduction of Guests

Mr. Speaker:  Prior to Oral Questions, may I direct the attention of honourable members to the gallery, where we have with us this afternoon from the Landmark Collegiate thirty Grade 5 students under the direction of Mr. Russ Dirks.  This school is located in the constituency of the honourable member for La Verendrye (Mr. Sveinson).

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




Children's Dental Health Program

Cost-effectiveness Study


Mr. Gary Doer (Leader of the Opposition):  Mr. Speaker, last evening, I attended a community meeting in Arborg dealing with the Children's Dental Program.  Trustees, students, parents, dental nurses, dental staff were at the meeting to bring their perspectives on the changes in the budget introduced by the government.

      Mr. Speaker, there were, of course, strong statements about the quality of dental care for children in rural northern Manitoba that has been potentially eroded with the change the government is implementing at the end of June.

      There were also some questions and some concerns about costs.  Many people produced information that said it will cost a lot more money to take 300 people in a remote community out for dental care, children, than it would to have two dental staff go into a community.

      I would like to ask the Premier (Mr. Filmon), has he received a cost‑effectiveness study on the changes that his government made to the Children's Dental Program in the budget his government introduced last month?

Hon. Donald Orchard (Minister of Health):  Mr. Speaker, I attended a similar meeting in Minnedosa some, I guess, five or six weeks ago.  Clearly, the curtailment of the treatment portion of the program is not a decision that anyone on this side of the House took with any kind of pleasure.  It was a difficult decision.  It was a decision that has been proffered as an option for a number of years, including when my honourable friends were government.

      We did not accept it in past years, but this year with the continuing financial pressure on the department, we did elect to remove the treatment portion and funding for the treatment portion of the Children's Dental Health Program.

      I have said to my honourable friend that this decision is not a reversible decision in terms of reinstatement of any portion of the treatment program, but that we intend to maintain the very valuable educational and prevention component of the program, which has been exceptionally effective in promoting proper dental health amongst children and in maintaining and creating very good dental health for children in Manitoba.

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Mr. Doer:  Mr. Speaker, the minister knows and we all know you cannot put into pigeon boxes the treatment program and the prevention program because it is a holistic program for the quality of children's teeth in remote and rural communities. Good treatment is good prevention and good prevention is good treatment.

      Mr. Speaker, I would like to table a letter signed by Dr. Peter Cooney, president of the Canadian Society of Public Health Dentists, wherein he states that the government cost estimates of $11 million over the next three fiscal years as a saving to taxpayers is incorrect.

      He goes on to state that the cost will actually be $22 million in actual costs to Manitoba taxpayers based on the increased travel to receive care, increased disease levels due to the removal of chairside dental prevention and reduction of preventative classroom education in terms of Manitoba.  He goes on to state that this scientific material is available to verify his analysis, and he has been told that there was no such scientific information in the minister's own department.

      The Premier (Mr. Filmon) has been copied on this letter.  Has the Premier reviewed this?  Has the Premier asked the Minister of Health for that cost analysis, as alleged by Dr. Peter Cooney? Can the Premier indicate today, are we actually going to be spending more money as the doctor has indicated rather than saving money on the one line in the budget of the Department of Health?

Mr. Orchard:  Mr. Speaker, Dr. Cooney contacted my office about 10 or 15 minutes ago to offer to myself and to the ministry that study my honourable friend is referring to.  I would be most anxious to receive it and to analyze it.

      Mr. Speaker, there is an interesting blend of taxpayer commitment here.  Clearly, the taxpayers will not be funding $3 million per year of treatment program.  That cost clearly will be transferred where treatment is needed to the families of those children, but those are not the taxpayers in general in Manitoba.  The budgetary reduction is a real reduction which curtailed‑‑forestalled, if you will‑‑the necessity of raising taxes on all Manitobans to sustain this program.

      It does mean, Sir, that parents in Winnipeg, parents in Brandon and parents of age groups beyond the treatment program, will be responsible for treatment with the education and prevention portion of the program being maintained in the school system.

Mr. Doer:  Well, the minister knows there has been absolutely no communication, no strategy, no action in the education field to deal with the allegations the minister makes in this Chamber on that issue.

      Mr. Speaker, there is a difference between remote communities, their costs, which will not be borne by the Department of Health but actually will be borne by the Department of Family Services.  There is a difference between rural children who do not always have available the fluoride treatment programs and other programs.  They do not have the same ratio of dentists to citizens.  There are differences between Winnipeg and northern remote communities and rural communities.  There are real differences.

      Mr. Speaker, the government was offered this study on May 8, 1993.  The Premier (Mr. Filmon) was offered this study in a letter that was written and copied to him on May 8.  I heard about it last night, and I asked for the study immediately, as I would expect any member of this Legislature to do.

      Last night, the member for Gimli (Mr. Helwer) was at the same meeting and he said, and I quote:  I hope I can convince our minister to reconsider his decision on the Children's Dental Program.

      I would ask the Premier today:  Will he take the same stand as his member for Gimli and tell the Minister of Health to reconsider and reinstitute the Children's Dental Program, which is the most cost‑effective preventative program in all of Canada?

Mr. Orchard:  Mr. Speaker, my honourable friend is partially correct in part of his preamble and his statement.  The children's dental treatment program may well have been one of the most cost‑effective because it was one of the sole remaining ones in Canada, Sir.  Is that not quite an interesting analogy my honourable friend makes?

      Now, I point out to my honourable friend, no one on this side of the House enjoyed having to make those kinds of difficult decisions.  Those are never easy decisions and that, Sir, is why provinces across the length and breadth of this country are trying to negotiate, for instance, social contracts in Ontario, where they extract $2 billion from the public sector funding commitment.

      My honourable friend the Leader of the Opposition here recommends to Premier Bob Rae in Ontario that he should take 12 days off for workers in Ontario, and stands here and opposes the process we brought into place.  That is the kind of hypocrisy, Sir‑‑

Mr. Speaker:  Order, please.

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Children's Dental Health Program

School Division Involvement


Mr. Clif Evans (Interlake):  Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Education (Mrs. Vodrey).

      The Minister of Health has suggested that school divisions could take over the preventative programs formerly provided through the Children's Dental Health Program.

      Given the terms of the contract between the province and the school divisions which requires a six‑month notice period, can the Minister of Education tell the House today what notice has been given to school boards and divisions that her government is eliminating the Children's Dental Program and that the school divisions may be required to take over this provincial program?

Hon. Donald Orchard (Minister of Health):  Mr. Speaker, my honourable friend is mixing apples and oranges.  My honourable friend is talking about a six‑month period of notice for reinstatement of the treatment side of the program.

      The prevention program, Sir, has been part of classrooms in the province of Manitoba before the introduction of this treatment program and will be there after the elimination of the treatment program, with fluoride rinse in the schools and education programs delivered in the schools.  We have a $1.2‑million budgetary commitment to undertake that.

      Now, my honourable friend is wrong in terms of his notice requirement.  That is a treatment program reinstatement facilitation that had to be in place for the children's dental treatment program‑‑treatment program, Sir, not prevention and education.

Mr. Clif Evans:  Mr. Speaker, I wonder out loud how five people can take care of 63,000 kids.

      My question is to the Minister of Education.  We already know the Minister of Health has no studies to recommend the elimination of the program.  What action has the Minister of Education taken to review the potential costs to the school divisions if this program is offloaded, as the Minister of Health is suggesting?

Mr. Orchard:  Mr. Speaker, I might provide my honourable friend with a copy of a letter, although I believe the critic for Health probably has it, if he would share it with him.

      It was a letter sent to my office from a superintendent of one of the school divisions as a result of the Minnedosa meeting, wherein the superintendent wanted to seek advice as to whether school divisions‑‑if there was the will of parents to maintain the program within the school system, to maintain it as a parent‑pay‑for‑the‑program initiative.  It is the school divisions which are asking whether that is a possibility.

      Mr. Speaker, my honourable friend talks about offload.  There is no offload of the treatment program to the school divisions. That has not been contemplated, is not contemplated.

      However, I indicated in Minnedosa, as I have indicated subsequent to receipt of the letter from that superintendent, that we would consider any options the school divisions wanted to undertake in discussion with government.


Fluoride Treatment


Mr. Clif Evans (Interlake):  Mr. Speaker, this minister talks about the prevention program being kept in place.

      Can he tell this House today why a school division has already given notice, just this past week or so, that fluoride treatment to elementary children in that school will be totally eliminated as soon as supplies have expired?

Hon. Donald Orchard (Minister of Health):  Mr. Speaker, I would be appreciative of knowing which school has provided that kind of advice.


Economic Growth

Western Economic Co-operation


Mr. Paul Edwards (Leader of the Second Opposition):  Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Premier.

      Now that the very brief fanfare surrounding the release of the government's so‑called Framework for Economic Growth yesterday has completely subsided, I trust that the Premier understands why it was not quite the public relations boon he thought it would be.

      It included, in fact, a lot of high‑blown principles which were certainly well put out.  However, there was no real framework, no real initiatives, no real timetable, and, as a result, offered no real hope to the people of this province for economic growth.

      I have suggested a number of specific programs and directions for the government.  I would like to ask the Premier, specifically with respect to western economic co‑operation, which is a definable, real approach to take in this province and in this country, when is the Premier going to give his Minister of Industry, Trade and Tourism (Mr. Stefanson) a specific mandate and a specific timetable to work on a co‑operation agreement with the western provinces in this country, given that the most recent estimate is that there is a $5‑billion potential western economic dividend to be had?

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Hon. Gary Filmon (Premier):  Mr. Speaker, as usual, the member for St. James totally misses the point.

      Yesterday, we had approximately 75 of the leaders of the community of Manitoba together to receive the Framework for Economic Growth, to hear the presentation and to ultimately make a commitment to go back to their stakeholder communities and implement and begin to work on the implementation of this Framework for Economic Growth.  This is not a public relations exercise.  This is a framework for future economic development, Mr. Speaker.

      It is the shallow thinking of the member for St. James that only gives that kind of one‑liner for him.  He is joining the club of the member for Concordia (Mr. Doer), where he is looking for the cheap political trick.  I say to him that he will gain just as much from it as does the member for Concordia with his eight‑second clips for TV.  That may be his retention length, but it is not that of the people of Manitoba who really want to make decisions on investment.

      I say that he only need look at today's news media and see that Winnipeg 2000 is putting out a study with respect to the telecommunications opportunity for Manitoba, part of the economic framework, showing where they perceive opportunities for investment and job creation, that kind of thing.

      We were meeting at lunch today with people who are in another one of those sectors, who have a proposal that would bring thousands of jobs to Manitoba in one of the other target sectors, Mr. Speaker.

      Those are the kinds of things we want to see happen in Manitoba‑‑leaders in the community, economic and business leaders in the community, making commitments to implement this Framework for Economic Growth.

      That is what we are interested in, and that is what I say will happen as a result of the release of this report.

Mr. Edwards:  Mr. Speaker, I do not think I missed the point, and I think the point is, after five years, there really is nothing to implement.  There is nothing here that this government has not said before and that the people of this province do not already know.

      What they are looking for is some real timetable, some real initiatives.  That is what they are looking for, and after five years, that is what they have not gotten.

      Now, Mr. Speaker, my question for the Premier is‑‑and he did not address it.  I am not taking cheap political shots.  Rather, I am putting forward ideas that I am asking him to look at and do.  Those are definable and those are real, and I am asking him, when is his government going to take western economic co‑operation as a means of reducing government costs and increasing wealth in our province?

      When is he going to take it seriously?  When is he going to give his minister a timetable, an agenda and a mandate to talk to the other provinces and move in this direction?

Mr. Filmon:  Mr. Speaker, at every meeting that I have attended of the western Premiers since I took office in 1988, that has been one of the major topics on the table for discussion.  At every meeting, we have sought new, better and different ways of ensuring that we continue that co‑operation.

      Mr. Speaker, the member opposite says no progress is being made.  There are 7,000 more people employed in this province today than were employed in August of last year.  Even looking at this article, it denotes 700 jobs in the telecommunications field that have been announced within the last three months for Manitoba.

      I could go on and read for him initiatives such as Black & Veatch's state‑of‑the‑art centre of engineering excellence, such as Monsanto's investment in a dry Glyphosate plant for Morden, such as the quadrupling of the size of the Ayerst plant in Brandon and so on.

      People in the industrial sector and people in the business sector know that the progress we are making is a result of the initiatives we have been taking.

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Mr. Edwards:  Mr. Speaker, the real people out there know that if we had remained at the same job levels we had in 1988, the same percentage we had in 1988, there would be 8,925 more full‑time jobs in this province.  They know that.  The people out there know that.

      My question for the Premier:  He says there have been benefits gained.  There was a 1989 procurement agreement that had more exemptions than inclusions.  When is this Premier going to sit down with his fellow Premiers and start saying it is time we dealt with each other first, before we make it easier to trade with Chihuahua, Mexico than Saskatoon, Saskatchewan?

      When is he going to sit down with the other Premiers and say, Canada first?  It is time we had a new agreement and we had more inclusions than exemptions in this country.

Mr. Filmon:  Mr. Speaker, the fact of the matter is this province has been the most steadfast, most committed province in the entire country with respect to removal of interprovincial trade barriers‑‑absolutely.

      Mr. Speaker, what do we have?  We have other provinces like British Columbia who are stating publicly they want no part of it.  What are we to do with that kind of thinking in this country?  This is the issue today, that you have people for partisan purposes who will not get into the removal of interprovincial trade barriers, who believe that the way for them to improve their own efforts in their economy is to raise the barriers and deny opportunities for businesses from outside their province to come in and trade.

      Mr. Speaker, I believe that is the wrong way to go.  This government has been absolutely consistent and steadfast in its commitment to remove interprovincial trade barriers, more so than any other province in the country.


Economic Growth

Provincial Comparisons


Mr. Leonard Evans (Brandon East):  Mr. Speaker, I would also like to ask the Premier a question about this report, Framework for Economic Growth, because this document is filled with platitudes, meaningless generalities and, even worse, unsubstantiated claims.  It contains the same old right‑wing rhetoric that we have been fed for the last five years.  On page 19 of this report it states:  Manitoba's economy is performing relatively better than most of the country.

      Mr. Speaker, that is a total fabrication.  Some would even say it is a crock.

      Mr. Speaker, since 1988, our research has shown that the Manitoba economy‑‑

Some Honourable Members:  Oh, oh.

Mr. Speaker:  Order, please.  The honourable member for Brandon East was just going to put his question.

Mr. Leonard Evans:  Mr. Speaker, our research has shown that the Manitoba economy has shrunk relative to the national economy.  We are even less significant than we were in 1988, and even the latest figures show that 10 out of 13 economic indicators show that Manitoba is performing below‑‑

Mr. Speaker:  Order, please.  Question, please.

Mr. Leonard Evans:  My question for the First Minister is: Exactly where is your data to back up your claim that we have done relatively better than the rest of the country?  You cannot prove that.

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Hon. Gary Filmon (Premier):  Mr. Speaker, we now have a clear picture of the New Democrats' approach to looking at growth‑‑(interjection) You do not rule the House here.  You do not even rule your own caucus, so just keep your opinions to yourself.

      Mr. Speaker, New Democrats found out very quickly that they could artificially inflate GDP numbers by simply spending government money, borrowing money and spending it.  For every 3 percent of additional spending, they could increase GDP growth by 1 percent in this province, and year after year after year, they increased their spending by 6 and 9 percent so they could add 2 and 3 percent to the GDP growth of this province.

      What did it leave us with?  Debt, Mr. Speaker, debt on which we pay $560 million of interest every year, debt that costs us $560 million that we cannot spend on health care, that we cannot spend on social services, that we cannot spend on education.

      I am not going to resign the people of this province to more debt.  They are not going to be given more debt as a result of the NDP wanting to just simply inflate GDP numbers.  That is not the way to look at it.

      What we have in this province is individual private‑sector people like the telecommunications centre making investments, long‑term investments, creating job opportunities‑‑people like Monsanto, people like Ayerst, people like Black & Veatch making long‑term investments creating job opportunities.  That is what we are working on, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Leonard Evans:  The Premier did not answer the question.  He does not have any data to back this up so it is just a crock. There is no data.


Employment Creation Strategy


Mr. Leonard Evans (Brandon East):  My question, Mr. Speaker, to the Premier:  How can this government expect to achieve more employment in Manitoba through policies enunciated in this document, which are the same economic policies that we have had for the last five years and during which time we have lost 7,000 jobs since this gentleman became Premier of the province‑‑7,000 fewer jobs in Manitoba today than we had in May 1988?

Hon. Gary Filmon (Premier):  Mr. Speaker, every single bit of information in this document is based on fact, information that is readily available.

      The problem is this member does not understand what is happening to the economy.  He cannot read.  International Herald Tribune from last month‑‑a story about what is happening in Europe as they go through restructuring; countries like Germany, one of the most powerful economic forces in Europe over decades, suffering as a result of restructuring.  Talk about Phillips Corporation, some of the largest multinationals in the world‑‑(interjection)

      Mr. Speaker, the members opposite want to put their heads in the sand, want to say it does not matter what is happening in the world's economy.  All we have to do is spend more money on short‑term, make‑work jobs, and we can fight everything that is going on.  That is absolute nonsense.


Manufacturing Industry


Mr. Leonard Evans (Brandon East):  Mr. Speaker, the people of Manitoba would be more prepared to accept this document if there was a little more integrity in terms of statements that can be substantiated.

      Mr. Speaker, how does this government, how does this Premier expect to get a significant increase in manufacturing jobs in this province when the data show consistent decline for some time now, and especially now that we have the Free Trade Agreement?

      We have been losing manufacturing industries out of the province, so there has been a significant shift out of the province.  We have become even more of a periphery in terms of manufacturing activity in North America.  How does he expect‑‑

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

Hon. Gary Filmon (Premier):  Mr. Speaker, there is more integrity in this document than in any of the fraudulent statistics that are put out by the member opposite in all of his kinds of phony analyses that he puts out to his constituents.

      This is real integrity, not like the phony statistics from that phony economist over there.


Point of Order


Mr. Leonard Evans:  Mr. Speaker, I stand on a point of‑‑if the Premier would sit down because I am on a point of order.

Mr. Speaker:  Order, please.  The honourable member for Brandon East indeed has risen on a point of order, and we will hear what the point of order is.

Mr. Leonard Evans:  Mr. Speaker, my point of order is that the Premier referred to a fraudulent document.  He imputed motives to me that somehow or other I was putting out fraudulent information.  This information is based on Statistics Canada data, and I invite the minister to study it or get his staff to study it.

      I want the First Minister to withdraw that remark.  He is imputing motives to me.  That is my point of order, which I think is very valid.

Mr. Speaker:  On the point of order raised by the honourable member for Brandon East, he indeed referenced "fraudulent." Fraudulent, indeed, I will remind the honourable member for Brandon East, does show up under parliamentary language.

      As much as we do not like it, it does show up as parliamentary.  Indeed, the one that is unparliamentary happens to be fraudulent character, which I believe the honourable First Minister did not use.

      Therefore the honourable member for Brandon East did not have a point of order.

* * *

Mr. Speaker:  The honourable First Minister, to answer the question.

Mr. Filmon:  Mr. Speaker, that point of order was as phony as his statistics are.

Mr. Speaker:  Order, please.  I have already ruled on the point of order.


Point of Order


Mr. Steve Ashton (Opposition House Leader):  Yes, Mr. Speaker, our rules are very clear, that when a point of order is raised and the Speaker has ruled, that is the end of the matter.

      The Premier was out of order making reference to that, and I ask you to not only ask him to withdraw that comment, but perhaps also to answer the question raised by the member for Brandon East.

Mr. Speaker:  On the point of order raised by the honourable member for Brandon East, I had already previously just told the honourable First Minister that I had ruled on the point of order, and that matter has been settled.

* * *

Mr. Speaker:  The honourable First Minister, if he wants to finish his answer.

Mr. Filmon:  Mr. Speaker, I accept totally your judgment and I agree with it. (interjection) No, I always agree with the Speaker.  I am consistent.

      Mr. Speaker, the point the member for Brandon East fails to understand is the entire world is going through a restructuring, a massive restructuring that is, in fact, destroying jobs in many major sectors of the economy.  Instead of standing up and railing away, saying this should not happen, even though decisions are being made throughout the world consistently that affect people everywhere, including Canada, what we have to do is choose the path in which we can get the new economy jobs.

      That is the path that is put forward here in this framework. That is what Winnipeg 2000 has recognized when they talk about telecommunications.  That is what the aerospace industry, that is what the health care industry, that is what the food processing industry, that is what the tourism industry has recognized, that these are the areas of opportunity for new jobs‑‑high‑tech, value‑added, new‑age jobs for Manitoba.

      Instead of railing away against what is happening, get involved.  Be positive.  Encourage people to invest and be a part of this new growth in Manitoba, instead of coming up with this negative, phony criticism.


Personal Care Homes

Fee Schedule


Mr. Dave Chomiak (Kildonan):  Mr. Speaker, within 60 days, there will be some new growth in fees at nursing homes in the province of Manitoba.  Within 60 days, nursing home fees in some cases will be almost doubled by this minister and this government.

      Many nursing home officials are concerned that they will be responsible for determining who pays and how much those people pay.

      What system will the minister be putting in place to determine who is eligible and how much they will be paying?

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Hon. Donald Orchard (Minister of Health):  Mr. Speaker, as I explained to my honourable friend previously when he posed this question, in developing some of the budgetary initiatives in the Ministry of Health and other ministries, we took the opportunity to undertake some collaboration with provinces to the east and to the west.

      The reason we chose the $46 maximum rate, if there was the ability to pay that rate by the individual, was that it made us consistent with Ontario's rate which has recently been established at $46.

      Mr. Speaker, the formula of the higher rate of payment or an increased rate of payment is very sensitive to the income of the individual resident.  It is sensitive to a second feature in that we have indicated we will not have charges based on income of an individual which might compromise the ability of a spouse to live independently of the personal care home system.

      Now, Mr. Speaker, those guidelines are being finalized, and communication, I expect, will be underway with our personal care homes in terms of explaining the guidelines and the assessment of the new rates, if applicable, by ability to pay.

Mr. Chomiak:  Mr. Speaker, well, I understand now what is happening in other provinces, but I still do not know what is happening in Manitoba.

      Will the means test, the incomes test, be introduced by this minister?  Will it be administered by the nursing homes themselves?  Will they have to go and administer it themselves, which was my initial question, or will the department be administering the means test or the incomes test for those people who are inside nursing homes?

Mr. Orchard:  Mr. Speaker, it has been the intention, and it has been communicated to all of our personal care home managers, that the determination of whether the resident has the ability to pay an additional sliding‑scale contribution towards their stay in a personal care home will be administered by the administration.

      It will increase in steps, I believe five‑ or 10‑cent‑per‑day steps, from the current $26.50 to a maximum of $46, which will, I repeat, Sir, follow two criteria‑‑reflect the ability to pay for that additional charge and not compromise the opportunity for independent living of a spouse outside of a personal care home.

Mr. Chomiak:  Will these administrators of the nursing homes, who the minister has now admitted will be responsible for determining how much will be paid by these people on the means test, will these administrators who have had their budgets cut back, will they be required to review and can they legally do people's income tax in order to be able to determine the income levels? How will this be determined, Mr. Speaker?

Mr. Orchard:  Mr. Speaker, as I indicated to my honourable friend, that process is in the course of being developed and will be communicated with the personal care homes in the very near future.



HIV Compensation Package


Mr. Gulzar Cheema (The Maples):  Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Health.

      Last year, the federal government gave up its responsibility to compensate all those patients who received HIV through tainted blood.  It was almost irresponsible, immoral and on the brink of criminal, Mr. Speaker.  Similar incidents which happened in France caused much despair, and I think the government did not learn the lesson.

      The question is, Mr. Speaker, those people who have HIV are still a part of our province.  Somebody has to bear the responsibility.  We can lose one of them on a daily basis.

      We are asking the minister again:  In view of the statements made by Ontario, Quebec, Alberta, can the minister tell us why those people are not compensated on an interim basis to make sure their livelihood is not affected?

Hon. Donald Orchard (Minister of Health):  Mr. Speaker, as I indicated yesterday when my honourable friend posed the question and some 10 days ago when my honourable friend posed the question, we have the item placed on the agenda of the September Health ministers meeting.

      I had discussions with the New Brunswick Minister of Health this afternoon, because it was alleged in one of the newspaper articles that New Brunswick was not waiting until discussions in September, and that, of course, apparently is not an accurate reflection.  New Brunswick is waiting for the September meeting.

      Mr. Speaker, let me indicate to my honourable friend why.  My honourable friend indicated the federal government assumed a role in compensation some three or four years ago in isolation from the provinces, with no provinces at the table even aware that discussions were going on.

      One of the instructions that the federal government gave to the Canadian Hemophilia Society in concluding an offer of assistance was that should they require more, they should go to the provinces who were not even at the table, and, furthermore, that to receive the federal compensation, those individuals had to sign their rights away from future compensation by the federal government.

      Even that process, Sir, has been questioned by a recent parliamentary committee.  Would my honourable friend not want the federal government, as well as the provincial and territorial governments, at the table this September to develop an initiative which has a national‑‑

Mr. Speaker:  Order, please.

Mr. Cheema:  Mr. Speaker, we are not denying those facts.  The federal government gave up the responsibility.  One of the views was that probably some of those patients may not survive by that time.  It is almost immoral.

      We are asking the government, on compassionate grounds, to have a compensation package, because the government is going to meet on the 22nd of June, so that will at least give some hope to these patients and their families.

      Mr. Speaker, there are horror stories.  I am sure the minister and the Premier (Mr. Filmon) will really boost their confidence and do a moral obligation, which is our moral responsibility in this House.

Mr. Orchard:  Mr. Speaker, my honourable friend does not have the corner on the market for compassion.  I feel for those people, as every member in this House feels for those members.

      Mr. Speaker, two of the decisions were made in the midst of an election campaign.  Does that demonstrate compassion?

Mr. Cheema:  No.

Mr. Orchard:  My honourable friend says no.  Well, I thank him for that answer.  I cannot answer that directly.

      Sir, what I am saying to my honourable friend is that in Canada, is there not a desire to have some consistency of approach and treatment of citizens across Canada?  We have Nova Scotia being quoted as having a compensation package far beyond the beliefs and hopes and expectations of the Hemophilia Society in that province.  In Quebec, we have them saying, well, it is not enough.

      That is why there is a role, we have always said, for the federal government to be at the table.  They should be at the table.  Even their own parliamentary committee said they should, and we are having that happen in September.

Mr. Cheema:  Mr. Speaker, we are not blaming this government.  We are simply asking them to do what is right.

      In the interim period, can these patients get some kind of assurance from the minister, and can the minister tell us what kind of policy statements he is going to direct his officials to take to the June 22 meeting?

Mr. Orchard:  Mr. Speaker, not a dissimilar statement to what I have given to the House right now, not a dissimilar statement to what the New Brunswick Minister of Health will send to that June meeting in anticipation of the September meeting.

      If there is a need and a cry for consistency, it is on this issue, Sir, because that is a very important issue in which the federal government cannot be allowed to, behind closed doors, without any discussion with the provinces, offload their responsibility onto provinces.  I think that is a very offensive principle of nationalism in this country.

      I have said that from the day the program was announced, and, consistently, we have attempted, Sir, to try to make provincial approaches consistent and to provide each province with support and assistance to those individuals who are so afflicted.


Student Social Allowances Program

Current Students‑Completion


Mr. Doug Martindale (Burrows):  Mr. Speaker, when this government eliminated the Student Social Allowances Program, they made one of the stupidest decisions of their entire budget of this Minister of Finance (Mr. Manness).  To take students out of school, put them on social assistance and deny them their chances of getting better employment or even employment at all was dumb, dumb, dumb.

      Since this Minister of Family Services has refused to reinstate the program, will he at least respond positively to the request from the City of Winnipeg to allow the 850 students enrolled in the Student Social Allowances Program to at least continue in the program and finish their education?

Hon. Harold Gilleshammer (Minister of Family Services):  Mr. Speaker, we have indicated that this was one of the many difficult decisions that government had to make within this budget process.

      I would remind the member that this was a program that existed in no other province in this country.  We did not take this decision lightly.  We have indicated this program is going to be terminated at the end of June.

      We have been involved in discussions with the municipal tier of government over regulations and have indicated that perhaps within their sphere of interest, they may be able to assist those people.

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


Committee Changes


Mr. Edward Helwer (Gimli):  I move, seconded by the member for St. Vital (Mrs. Render), that the composition of the Standing Committee on Law Amendments be amended as follows:  the member for Assiniboia (Mrs. McIntosh) for the member for Charleswood (Mr. Ernst); the member for Turtle Mountain (Mr. Rose) for the member for Sturgeon Creek (Mr. McAlpine); the member for Portage la Prairie (Mr. Pallister) for the member for River East (Mrs. Mitchelson); and the member for Gimli (Mr. Helwer) for the member for Niakwa (Mr. Reimer).

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 Law Amendments be amended as follows:  The Maples (Mr. Cheema) for St. James (Mr. Edwards).

Motion agreed to.




Hon. Clayton Manness (Government House Leader):  Mr. Speaker, would you call second reading of Bills 39 and 40, and then follow that with debate on second readings, adjourned debate Bills 11, 15, 22, 14.




Bill 39‑The Provincial Court Amendment Act


Hon. James McCrae (Minister of Justice and Attorney General): Mr. Speaker, I move, seconded by the honourable Minister of Finance (Mr. Manness), that Bill 39, The Provincial Court Amendment Act (Loi modifiant la Loi sur la Cour provinciale), be now read a second time and be referred to a committee of this House.

Motion presented.

Mr. McCrae:  Mr. Speaker, the purpose of this legislation is to ensure the independence and impartiality of Manitoba's part‑time judges, which in turn will strengthen the integrity of our province's justice system.

      The Manitoba Provincial Court Act was amended in 1989, to establish a clearly defined process for the appointment of judges to the provincial court.  However, these amendments did not deal with part‑time judges.  Since that time in 1991, the Supreme Court decision on the constitutionality of part‑time judges in Quebec indicated that there are Charter requirements which must be met to ensure an independent and impartial judiciary.

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      Based on that ruling, Mr. Speaker, we are introducing amendments that provide legislative safeguards by setting clear guidelines and limitations which will ensure the impartiality and independence of part‑time judges in Manitoba.  Through this bill, we are putting into legislation, procedures that have become common practice over the years.

      Some of the features of this legislation include strict guidelines regarding the appointment of part‑time judges.  The appointments must be based on a demonstrated need of the court. Future part‑time judges must be recruited from judges who have previously been appointed under The Provincial Court Act. Furthermore, the appointments will be nonrenewable and must not exceed a five‑year term.

      In order to ensure impartiality, a part‑time judge is prohibited from practising law in the Provincial Court.  In addition, part‑time judges are restricted from hearing cases involving people they have worked with when practising law as a counsel party or witness.

      Mr. Speaker, before I finish on part‑time judges, I think that I should just pay brief tribute to those people in Manitoba over the years who have served as part‑time judges.  They have made some sacrifice to take their place on the bench and, by doing so, effectively eliminating themselves from the competition that does go on very often between members of the legal profession because of conflicts that could arise.  So they do indeed make quite a bit of a sacrifice, and in this legislation we are moving forward in terms of guaranteeing the independence and impartiality of part‑time judges.

      I suggest there ought to be no difficulty on the part of honourable members with this bill, and I would be asking them for their support.  Thank you.

Ms. Becky Barrett (Wellington):  Mr. Speaker, I move, seconded by the member for Kildonan (Mr. Chomiak), that debate be adjourned.

Motion agreed to.


Bill 40‑The Legal Aid Services Society of Manitoba Amendment and Crown Attorneys Amendment Act


Hon. James McCrae (Minister of Justice and Attorney General): Mr. Speaker, I move, seconded by the honourable Minister of Finance (Mr. Manness), that Bill 40, The Legal Aid Services Society of Manitoba Amendment and Crown Attorneys Amendment Act (Loi modifiant la Loi sur la Societe d'aide juridique du Manitoba et la Loi sur les procureurs de la Couronne), be now read a second time and be referred to a committee of this House.

Motion presented.

Mr. McCrae:  Mr. Speaker, the purpose of this legislation is to enable people who are not lawyers to provide prosecution or defence services in communities designated by the Lieutenant‑Governor.

      Under the existing Legal Aid Services Society of Manitoba Act and The Crown Attorneys Act, these services can only be provided by lawyers.  However, there are cases where it would be beneficial to have the active participation of local communities.  For example, our government recognizes that aboriginal people have a better understanding of their communities and aboriginal values.

      Through extensive consultation with aboriginal communities, we are developing innovative approaches to enable aboriginal people to play a more active role in the justice system. Manitoba's aboriginal people have indicated that they view this approach as a very responsive and culturally sensitive one and are anxious to participate, and I am delighted that that is the case.  As I mentioned, in designated communities, aboriginal people who are not lawyers will be able to act for the prosecution and for the defence.

      We are proposing this amendment to set up a legal framework for nonlawyers to be employed for defence and prosecutorial functions.  The new legislation specifies that nonlawyers may provide services under the Legal Aid Services act if they are under the general direction and supervision of a solicitor. Nonlawyers may also act as prosecutors when they are under the direction and supervision of a Crown attorney.  The legislation restricts a lawyer who has been disbarred, suspended or struck off the rolls from being employed under either act.

      This legislation was prepared following consultation with Legal Aid Manitoba, the Manitoba Association of Crown Attorneys and the Law Society of Manitoba.  This legislation will help us as we attempt to design and implement systems in the future for the delivery of justice to Manitobans in designated communities. I hope honourable members will support this, because this will help us move along with our plans.

      Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker:  Is the House ready for the question?

Ms. Becky Barrett (Wellington):  Mr. Speaker, I move, seconded by the member for Kildonan (Mr. Chomiak), that debate be adjourned.

Motion agreed to.




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


Mr. Speaker:  On the proposed motion of the honourable Minister of Rural Development (Mr. Derkach), Bill 11, The Regional Waste Management Authorities, The Municipal Amendment and Consequential Amendments Act; Loi concernant les offices regionaux de gestion des dechets, modifiant la Loi sur les municipalites et apportant des modifications correlatives a d'autres lois, standing in the name of the honourable member for the Interlake.

Mr. Clif Evans (Interlake):  Mr. Speaker, I would like to make a few comments on Bill 11.  This bill is giving the opportunity for municipalities and local governments to attack, I guess, the problem and work towards resolving the problem of waste management and waste disposal sites.

      I have had the opportunity to deal with this matter, Mr. Speaker, as mayor of Riverton, 1989 to 1990.  Waste management and disposal sites were a constant conversation within council amongst councillors and amongst the people of the community, and along with other jurisdictions as to how to address the situation we presently have with waste disposal sites.

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      With the implementation of the section under The Environment Act proclaimed in 1991, Mr. Speaker, I think the situation has indeed gotten to a point where municipalities are really put in a position which they are unable to deal with as individuals.

      In speaking with municipalities and councils in my area in the past three months, I have brought Bill 11 to their attention and requested that, in fact, we have some input.

      Mr. Speaker, the problem that the municipalities and councils have indicated to me is the fact that even though the government is moving in one direction to be able to provide an outlet and provide a chance for local governments to combine in dealing with the problem, their concern is the fact that the costs could be, in fact, a burden upon the municipalities.

      Presently, to deal with waste disposal sites and waste management situations, the local government jurisdiction may in fact, through their tax levy, deal with the costs and with the maintenance and the issues at hand in dealing with waste disposal sites.

      Mr. Speaker, we know there is a problem out there.  Again, I can mention that I know the problem first‑hand.  Having to deal with it has been a tremendous problem.  We have looked to the government for assistance on this.  We have requested that government step in, perhaps provide information, provide some guidance.  To date, I think that some municipalities are satisfied with the response from government but others are not.

      This bill, Mr. Speaker, will in fact provide the door, the opportunity for two or three or however many municipalities feel that that would be worth combining as an organization, as a separate organization to deal with a regional area as far as waste management.  We know that perhaps dealing with it collectively as a group of two or three municipalities where access to sites would be more available and having all the municipalities deal with one site instead of three or four or five, as some municipalities in fact do have‑‑some municipalities in my own constituency have three to four sites in their own jurisdiction.  Again, it is creating a problem and has created a problem for many years‑‑the control, the fact that the maintaining of it, what goes into these sites, what goes out of these sites.

      So I look at this bill as an opportunity, as a door for municipalities to get together, organize themselves and deal with a problem that has, for certain municipalities, over the past many years, created not only a financial but an environmental problem for their jurisdictions.

      I have a problem with dealing with my councils, the problem of the initial costs to do all of regionalizing and combining. The minister and the government have indicated that now they are giving the option to combine their resources and to develop regional waste sites, and the Department of Environment has recommended, has urged this bill, too.  The bill would, in fact, give the municipalities just another outlet to be able to deal with a problem that we have had to deal with for many years.

      Within my own constituency, Mr. Speaker, the Interlake Development Corporation, a very strong regional development group with councillors and reeves and mayors from different municipalities, has undertaken, through funding from within the municipalities that are involved with the IDC, a regional waste management study that they have requested a consultant to put together for them and giving them an idea and all the municipalities within the Interlake Development Corporation branch an opportunity to co‑ordinate their specific and individual problems, combine them and discuss them, having an option to be able to deal with an issue that again is very front and centre and a problem that most municipalities have.

      Mr. Speaker, I know that in speaking with members from MAUM and UMM, they have given me no indication, nor have they given us in caucus or on this side of the House any indication, that they have a tremendous concern about this act.  The fact that they have encouraged this government to propose such an act tells me that perhaps the government is, at this point in time, dealing up front and attempting to deal with an issue that municipalities have tried to get the government to deal with directly or indirectly, giving them an opportunity to deal with an issue, giving them an opportunity to combine themselves into one regional group, one regional corporation.  It is providing them an opportunity, if funding is needed, to somehow deal with it as a whole so that access to any funding that may be required would be combined amongst themselves and shared, whether it be equally or on a population or per capita or per quota, for developing a disposal site.

      Again, I get back to‑‑and I hate to keep referring back to the costs.  The costs, in fact, could be for some‑‑and I realize, Mr. Speaker, that this bill gives them the opportunity that they can get together and they can look at and they can discuss whether they want to combine.  I know it gives them the opportunity that they have not had before to deal with this matter in that way, but again, we have to look at the costs, and we have to look at the have‑not municipalities who are in financial difficulty, where how much that costs to combine and organize and be part of a regional waste study group and disposal site corporation, they would not be able to.

      They would not be able to combine, using examples where there may be two or three villages within one municipality, and the municipality having the greater population and a better tax base on its side would be able to enter into such an agreement and in fact be able to go to a financial institution and decide whether or not they can and/or will be able to receive funding, obtain the funding and how.  They will have to now‑‑and I would think that how it would be dealt with is that, will the municipality or municipalities that have formed into a corporation have collectively or individually assets or capital that would be required to be able to get funding so that (a) they may be able to go ahead with the study, or (b) go ahead with the site?

      When we talk about sites, Mr. Speaker, of course, it is another problem that has been brought forth to my attention. Once a regional group has formed and has decided that, yes, it will work together and, yes, it will work together as the funding‑‑that is where the site will be, the site locale for their disposal site.  You know and we know, in fact, that no one wants a disposal site in their own backyard.  Nobody wants to see the garbage, the materials that are being put in our disposal sites right in their backyard.  I think that is indeed where a problem will occur between the regional groups and the site planning.

      Now, the act does give the municipalities direction so that the Municipal Board would intervene or assist with the whole process if need be.  But now you are dealing with areas that (a) are going to have to provide environmental guidelines, and (b) adhere to the guidelines that are being administered through the Department of Environment, plus you are going to have to deal with people, people who are going to say and are going to argue with and are going to go before these municipal corporations, these municipal boards or councils, in arguing their case.

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      We may, even though the process may or may not take even longer than what it should, it could be delayed by petitions, it could be delayed by groups who are opposed to a certain site area.  The board, the municipal regional corporation that will be formed, will have to deal with these people.  We may get that imbalance and distinction of for and against a specific site.

      I mean, regardless of the fact that the bill enables municipalities to join and deal with the issue, they are still dealing with the same problem that we are going to be now, that we are now dealing with, that we are having with the sites and having with where they are going to be.

      Mr. Speaker, we know that now we have sites that are near water tables, near rivers and lakes.  I think that through the assistance of the government that the regional corporations will be able to develop and work towards finding an area that is going to service the municipalities that are involved, that are going to service the people in the communities.  It also has to deal with the fact, again, as to where it is going to be.  Who is it negatively affecting?

      Mr. Speaker, the bill also addresses concerns raised by municipalities with regard to the imposition of user fees for waste management services.  Presently, user fees and/or maintenance costs are undertaken through local tax levies.  Now, I am not positive where the opportunity for two or three municipalities combining and giving them the authority to be able to charge for the site, for services, if that is going to also create a problem.

      People feel that now their sites are taken care of through their taxes and will feel that they have a right to go and dispose items that they have without any kind of further taxation or further fees.  So that is going to create a problem for the regional group itself, that they, too, are going to say, how can we offset the costs besides using user fees for it or increasing the taxes?

      Mr. Speaker, I would think that municipalities and the local jurisdictions, having this opportunity to deal with some of these issues, will deal with it in a more co‑ordinated and a more responsible way.  I think that perhaps the municipalities will have the opportunity then to go in directions of recyclable items, different sites for safety and environment issues.

      Mr. Speaker, I would like to see just what the municipalities are planning and who is planning to combine, if they so see fit, financially or otherwise.  It has given them the opportunity to do that, but hopefully this opportunity will not also create a little negative pressure on certain smaller municipalities and jurisdictions as to the cost burden that the taxpayers and the people in the communities would have to undertake further to get this regional corporation on its feet.

      So I would like to see municipalities at the committee.  I would like to hear what their feelings are about Bill 11 and whether they have further negative responses to the bill.  I think that perhaps the biggest negative aspect of this bill that I have heard is basically the lack of any financial assistance to kick start this opportunity for regional waste disposal observation.

An Honourable Member:  Put a little life in that.

Mr. Clif Evans:  It is a little tough putting life into a disposal site.

      Mr. Speaker, I have had the opportunity to meet with and discuss the issue with the minister's staff.  I have brought certain points to the attention of the minister's staff, and of course the minister's staff was very co‑operative in some of the points that I had brought forth to them and had in fact made certain changes with respect to my concerns.

      I brought those concerns forth feeling that it would be the same situation as if I was still within a jurisdiction of a local municipality and having this bill brought forth.  I am sure that municipalities have concerns as well as I did, but it seems like the minister and staff have made the changes.

      I see nothing that will deter the future of waste management sites, and I see nothing that will prevent, except for the financial burden and the financial possibility, the cost for the have‑not municipalities of whether they can enter into such an agreement with other municipalities.

      So I would feel that perhaps the minister and the department, specifically, keep a tight rein on that to make sure or somehow assist or somehow be there for assistance for those municipalities and those jurisdictions that cannot deal financially with the issues, so that there is some sort of an outlet for them that they can obtain assistance so that they can perhaps get into an organization on some sort of a basis even if it is a payback period of time.

      I hope, Mr. Speaker, that option does not have to be used, but I think that the option should be there so that municipalities will have that opportunity to deal with the issue on the financial end of it, and I would like to see this issue of waste disposal sites and regional management be undertaken with full force with the municipalities.

      I look forward to seeing results.  I look forward to seeing who in fact will combine.  I will in fact look to see the type of problems, if any, that the groups will have in accessing sites, and I will be very interested to see how this bill and its results from the organizations will in fact occur and incur on the people of the different constituencies that the sites will be in.  I am sure that the local governments will in fact deal with the issue and also deal with the government through the Minister of Rural Development (Mr. Derkach) and the Minister of Environment (Mr. Cummings).

      Mr. Speaker, I close my few comments and look forward to committee.  Hopefully there will be comments made forth by different municipalities, and if so, I would hope that this government would in fact make any amendments or changes that municipalities and/or the department feels should be made, and that the Minister of Rural Development (Mr. Derkach) deal with them straight up and give everybody the opportunity to say their piece and also indicate their support or nonsupport to Bill 11. I look forward to committee, and those are my comments.

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Mr. Kevin Lamoureux (Inkster):  Mr. Speaker, I move, seconded by the member for The Maples (Mr. Cheema), that debate be adjourned.

Motion agreed to.


Bill 15‑The Boxing and Wrestling Commission Act


Mr. Speaker:  On the proposed motion of the honourable Minister of Industry, Trade and Tourism (Mr. Stefanson), Bill 15, The Boxing and Wrestling Commission Act; Loi sur la Commission de la boxe et de la lutte, standing in the name of the honourable member for Interlake.

Mr. Clif Evans (Interlake):  Well, Mr. Speaker, this bill‑‑I do not know.

      I would like to make a few comments on Bill 15.  Mr. Speaker, The Boxing and Wrestling Commission Act has in fact been brought forth.  It is the first time that changes such as this have in fact been brought up and brought to change over many years‑‑many years since the last time that The Boxing and Wrestling Commission Act has been changed.  The changes are quite substantial.

      In my discussions with the minister and my discussions with his staff on Bill 15, again, I brought forth quite a few concerns with Bill 15, and the minister was made aware of these concerns‑‑

An Honourable Member:  You are quite concerned.

Mr. Clif Evans:  Yes, very.  And I would like to say, Mr. Speaker, as far as Bill 15 goes, I agree that a change had to be brought forth.  I certainly agree with the fact that a change to the act was indeed necessary.  Over the past few years, the boxing and the wrestling entertainment or participation as a sport has needed some adjustment, some changes to the way things are being run here in this province by the Boxing and Wrestling Commission.

      Mr. Speaker, in speaking with staff, I have indicated that I was rather concerned and upset about some of the facts that the Boxing and Wrestling Commission, the board members would indeed have certain powers that the act provides them.  The concerns were the fact that any one of the board could deal with an issue either on his or her own and also go to a certain function and demand that changes be made, demand the fact perhaps they want to see records, they want to do what they feel is necessary to attack the problem.

      Well, Mr. Speaker, I do not feel that that was something that I would like to see.  I think that we would like to see a different body answerable to the Boxing and Wrestling Commission that can deal with this.

      In the act it says that they are inspectors.  I feel that not just anybody who is not familiar with the boxing and/or wrestling sport has the authority to go and make decisions at a certain function or dealing with a certain promoter or dealing with a certain licensee.  So I would like, during committee, to see changes in certain aspects of this act, and I think that in speaking with the minister, we will hopefully deal with those issues.

      Now, there may be a certain amount of satisfaction with this bill, but I would like to just make mention that there are also certain people in this province who are very unhappy with Bill 15 and the previous bill and have requested that certain changes be put in.  I see, in going through Bill 15, that a lot of the changes that have been requested have been made.  I am sure that the bill will enable tighter control of the goings on within boxing and wrestling, not only within the commission itself, but as far as within the aspect of the entertainment and the aspect of the sport.

      I am pleased, Mr. Speaker, to see the fact that not just anybody can just go and put on a show of some kind or put on a promotion of some kind without dealing with the proper licensing, the proper documentation, so that there may in fact be problems with that, but I think that within the act and the commission, the minister has to appreciate that certain levels of the boxing or the wrestling sport are entertainment.  There are people out there who want to have the opportunity to not go through the large fanfare of big fees and big permit fees.  They want to deal with it on a local smaller version than what we have now as far as wrestling in comparison to WWF and with regard to boxing.

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

      I hope that this bill will provide an opportunity for the sport itself, for both wrestling and boxing to grow and to grow to a point where in fact the people will be satisfied with the entertainment, the promoters will be satisfied with the attendance, and the participants will be satisfied with the regulations and with the conditions that they are working under, Madam Deputy Speaker.

      Another issue that was brought to my attention was the fee that a promoter would have to pay the Boxing and Wrestling Commission.  Presently it deals with a range.  Promoters are concerned that the costs to promote an event with the fees that they have to pay would take too much of their gross take and take too much of the expenses that they have to incur to put on such events and promote them.

      Again, during committee I think that will be brought to the attention of the minister.  I think that it should be looked at, and I think the fee scale should be perhaps dealt with at committee to deal with an issue that the people who have come to committee will bring forward to the minister in committee.

      With respect again, Madam Deputy Speaker, I just want to go back to the powers of inspectors as I mentioned before.  Now it says that an inspector may, at any reasonable time, enter any premises and make any inspection that is reasonably required for the purpose of enforcing this act or the regulations.  The explanation is now that an inspector has the power to enter premises and to examine and review records.  Well, that is what I feel that I have a problem with, and that problem was brought forth to the minister.

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      I hope that, again, he will during committee look at making changes so that we are a little more controlled as to who is going to do these inspections and who is going to be an inspector.  Now I feel that if the Boxing and Wrestling Commission feel that there is any problem with any event or with any promoter that basically they should not‑‑either one of the commissioners should have the right or someone who they appoint to be an inspector, whoever it may be, has the right to just walk in on an event or in a person's home without justification and without authority.

      I feel that authority coming from the commission itself is not justification and authority enough.  I feel it has to be a lot stronger.  If you are going to be dealing with personal records, you are going to be dealing with an event that perhaps the commission feels there is a problem with, we do not send a baker in to check a farmer's yard to see whether the cows are all fine and dandy.  So that aspect, I hope, we are going to deal with in committee.  I know that there will be people who will be at committee to discuss and repute this act.  I would like to hear, and we will hear during committee, and I offer the member for Niakwa (Mr. Reimer) his attendance to hear the debate on this Bill 15.

      So Madam Deputy Speaker, further comments could be made.  I think it best be brought forth to committee and let us deal with it in committee.  Let us hear the people that have a problem with the Boxing and Wrestling Commission as it has been or as it was or is going to be and what powers that they are given.

      One aspect that I see in this, Madam Deputy Speaker, is the fact that if there are any problems between promoters, between people who participate in the events, between people who want to put on the events in their properties and such, that there is an opportunity now to appeal and be heard which there was not, in effect, in the old bill.  That opportunity was not there.

      In fact, a promoter or anybody participating who wants to appeal a decision by the Boxing and Wrestling Commission will have that opportunity, whether it be to the commission first and further on taken into a court system.  I think that that opportunity and the implementation of that within the act is a positive step.  We know not whether a commissioner makes a decision on a certain promoter where truly in fact if it is one on one, whether it be stamped in gold, the promoter would like the opportunity to be able to bring his case forward or anyone participating bring his or her case forward to an impartial body.

      The fact is that I was not pleased with the act where it says that only one of the board members of the commission would be able to hear an appeal and might be able to hear the appeal on a phone conversation.  I also felt, on the one hand you are putting in something that is required and on the other hand you are again giving authority to make important decisions to people who I feel should be not involved in the decision but perhaps should be involved in the process as far as stating their case and as far as the promoter or the person responsible his case.

      So, Madam Deputy Speaker, I look forward to committee.  I look forward to hearing what the people have to say out there and, hopefully, the minister will be open in providing the proper details and answers to questions.  If in fact there are changes that as he has indicated to me they may be looking at making at my request, I hope the minister is open to also hear changes that perhaps people at the committee will be making in their presentations.  I look forward to seeing the member for Niakwa (Mr. Reimer) at the committee.

      Hopefully, we can deal with this in due course and let us get The Boxing and Wrestling Commission Act to a point that would be suitable and satisfactory to all people involved and also for the people in Manitoba.  On those short notes I look forward to committee for Bill 15.  Thank you.

Mrs. Sharon Carstairs (River Heights):  Madam Deputy Speaker, and I should put on the record, first of all, that I will be the only member of my caucus speaking to this particular bill, and that we too would like to see it go to committee as quickly as possible.

      I find it somewhat ironic that we are even dealing with an act called The Boxing and Wrestling Commission Act.  I think it is appropriate to talk about just what the so‑called sports are all about.

      We have a society in which we say we want to encourage people to be nonviolent, and we yet have a commission act which is dealing with a sport called boxing, which its only purpose is to act in a violent manner, one person to another person, granted, within some controls known as sporting controls.  But the purpose of boxing is for one individual to, quite frankly, punch another individual which has to be considered an act of violence.

      The second sport that we are having as part and parcel of this particular act is wrestling which, I think, for most of us is a complete shell game.  I mean, it is a sham from beginning to end.  Everybody puts on wonderful acting performances about whether they have been hurt, injured and damaged, and then they are immediately up to lambaste the other one again in a very violent way.

      So here we are as legislators in the land wanting to have a commission put into place for two sports which quite frankly are by their very nature violent.  It is an interesting irony, Madam Deputy Speaker.

      If I had anything to do with it, and I now speak entirely from a personal perspective and not on behalf of the caucus, I would ban both sports.  But I am not speaking for the whole caucus, some of them have differing opinions.  I understand some of them do, in fact, go to boxing matches and do go to wrestling matches.

      I can assure you, I go to neither.  I watch neither on television.  I have nothing to do with either sport.  However, having said that, I think that, if these two sports, which I find an offence, are going to function in our society, they have to be regulated.  The purpose of this act is to in fact regulate them.

      But, again, I have to point to a certain irony, because when you look through the act, you read things about the terms of the members, and the members and their remuneration, and the chairperson and their staff, and their ability to have meetings on phone, and their ability to investigate a member and their records, and their reports to the ministers and their terms and conditions, et cetera.

      But the things that I am most concerned about with respect to this sport, if it is in fact going to exist in our society, are the kinds of controls that we put in place to ensure minimal amount of damage.  Yet, all of those things are governed, not within the subject of this act, but by regulations.

      I think that is an unfortunate fact.  It is not new, it is not new to this government, it is not even new to the previous government.  It has been the way in which the commission has functioned since commissions of this nature began.  But it is a sad reflection, I think, on the society in which we live, that we cannot be up‑front about the need to put in physical protection for those that participate in such a sport within the act itself.

      We all know of individuals, particularly in the sport of boxing, who have been permanently damaged through this sport, some of whom have died either in the ring or shortly after being taken from the ring.  It is an extraordinarily dangerous sport. It is not the only sport that is fraught with danger.  Many sports which‑‑

Hon. Harry Enns (Minister of Natural Resources):  Next to farming, it is a cakewalk.

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Mrs. Carstairs:  Well, the Minister of Natural Resources says, next to farming, it is a cakewalk, and unfortunately it is true, because farming is one of those activities among the most dangerous in this province.

      It is more dangerous, quite frankly, to be a farmer than it is to be a policeman or to be a fireman or a firewoman or a policewoman.  It is more dangerous to be a farmer.  I am in complete concurrence with the Minister of Natural Resources that if we could do something to do something about that, he would have my complete support.

      But the reality is that this particular sport or these particular sports that we have before us must be controlled as much as is possible.

      I have been through the act, and I think that most of the recommendations that are made in this act are positive ones.  I look forward to hearing representation by those directly involved in these two sports before the committee, and barring any unforeseen representations that they make which would indicate that they had difficulties with this act, which I am sure the minister himself would be prepared to make adjustments to, then the Liberal Party will be supporting the enactment of this as quickly as possible.

Madam Deputy Speaker:  Is the House ready for the question?  The question before the House is second reading of Bill 15.  Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt he motion?

Some Honourable Members:  Agreed.

Madam Deputy Speaker:  Agreed and so ordered.


Bill 22‑‑The Public Sector Reduced Work Week and Compensation Management Act


Madam Deputy Speaker:  To resume debate on second reading of Bill 22, on the proposed motion of the honourable Minister of Finance (Mr. Manness), standing in the name of the honourable member for Broadway (Mr. Santos) who has eight minutes remaining, standing in the name of the honourable member for The Pas (Mr. Lathlin) who has 32 minutes remaining, and standing in the name of the honourable member for Transcona (Mr. Reid).

      Is there leave to permit the bill to remain standing?

Some Honourable Members:  Leave.

Madam Deputy Speaker:  Leave has been granted.

Mr. Conrad Santos (Broadway):  Bill 22 is The Public Sector Reduced Work Week and Compensation Management Act.  One undesirable effect of Bill 22 in the field of public sector employer‑employee relationships is that it will override any existing negotiated collective agreement that might have been already negotiated between public employees and the public employer.

      That collective agreement may contain a clause like a no‑layoff clause or some other no‑reduction‑of‑working‑hours clauses in that collective agreement.  Nevertheless, the government, in exercising political authority under Bill 22, will exercise its prerogative right to set aside whatever agreement had already been negotiated.

      When the government negotiates as a public employer, it is in fact performing two different kinds of roles.  The government is a party to a collective contract, a collective agreement, as the employer.  The collective agreement defines the terms and conditions of employment in that particular area of the public sector.

      Yet the government, therefore, by agreeing to this collective negotiated contract, had already bound itself as a party, let us say, to a no‑layoff clause included in that collective contract. But then the government turns around and, acting as the sobering authority of the province, exercises its political ultimate authority and sets aside the very clause included in the collective agreement which it itself had negotiated.  Therefore, the government is breaking its own agreement, its own promise in a sense, by passing Bill 22.

      When the government breaks its own commitment in a negotiated contract, the government is in fact acting in a very unfair and immoral manner.  By governmental action it confirms the now prevailing belief among the members of the general public that governmental words cannot be trusted.  In fact, government will be breaking its commitment under the collective agreement. Governmental action, by passing this Bill 22, speaks louder than government words.

      If people can no longer rely on governmental commitment in any collective agreement, how do we expect the people to have any more faith or a higher level of confidence in what the government promises to do for them?  The government, therefore, is not merely a party to the collective contract.  As an employer, it has entered into a negotiated contract.  In that negotiated contract, it agreed that there will be no layoffs or no reduced hours of working hours‑‑inside the contract.

      At the same time, it has a role as an employer to see to it that this contract is fully complied with, yet, by passing Bill 22, the government itself will be setting aside what it had agreed to.  If people can no longer believe what government committed itself to do, how else can we expect the people's level of trust in public affairs, in politicians, in public, how can we expect them to have a higher level of trust in their own political leaders?

      Those who hope to lead our province to any level of greatness must be shown as models who are fearless in principle, firm in purposes and yet faithful in promises that they must keep.  By passing Bill 22, they will themselves set aside what they have negotiated to have agreed to as employer and therefore violate their own promises.

      In general, anything that we give away, we cannot keep. However, with respect to promises, it is like love.  You can give this thing away and, at the same time, keep it‑‑(interjection) The general rule is that whatever you give away, whatever you promise, you cannot keep‑‑okay?‑‑but, if you give away love, you can still keep love‑‑the same thing with promises.

An Honourable Member:  How am I going to explain that to my wife?  I tell her I love her, and then I have given it away.

Mr. Santos:  The member for Lakeside (Mr. Enns) may, for example, brag to his friend that he always has the last word with his wife, but then, when we look at the situation closely and ask what this last word may be, it may turn out to be the words "yes dear."

      The same thing with the collective negotiated agreement‑‑the collective negotiated agreement is supposed to have established a mutually agreed to set of conditions of work in the public sector.  The government, as employer, is already bound by its negotiated contract, yet because it is the government, by resorting into its political authority, it can now pass a bill which legitimately breaks that very commitment that it itself had negotiated into.

      If governmental promises can no longer be kept because the government itself turns around and sets aside its negotiated contract, then the government is showing itself as a model of a promise breaker.  A broken promise is like a broken mirror.  A broken mirror cannot be mended even by the best glue that is available and, if the government has shown examples of breach of promises, then the people themselves will no longer believe political promises that are made by people in government.

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      One other effect of this Bill 22 is that it destroyed the hard‑fought collective bargaining rights of public sector employees by the mere exercise of sovereign political authority on the part of the provincial government.  This is not a good example for people who are losing faith and who are being skeptical of governmental promises and governmental action.

      Thank you.

Mr. Daryl Reid (Transcona):  I rise today to add my comments to Bill 22, The Public Sector Reduced Work Week and Compensation Management Act.

      Madam Deputy Speaker, this is a bill, I believe, that in effect imposes a 3.8 percent tax increase upon the citizens of Manitoba that are impacted by this legislation.

An Honourable Member:  You know, this is a contribution.

Mr. Reid:  Well, it could be considered a contribution, as the Minister of Health (Mr. Orchard) has said from time to time. Maybe this is one of the things that was dreamed up in one of their focus groups.  I am not really sure.

      The intent of governments, Madam Deputy Speaker, and it has always been my impression that governments had this role to play at least, is that they have a role ensuring that there is fairness in our society.

      Now, with this piece of legislation, I do not see in any way where this is fair by its implementation, and I will attempt to point out through my comments here today where it is unfair and how it is going to impact upon, in particular, people that live in my community that are employed in the public sector and/or various provincial government Crown agencies.

      The government likes to use the word "fairness," and I think they use it just to throw it out there, hoping that the people will hang their hats on this and will think that this government is fair.  You have to show that you are fair by your actions. The various public sector unions this government has singled out by their actions, as they did in Bill 70 where they had a wage freeze upon them a little over a year ago‑‑and of course at that time the cost of living ate away at their disposable income during that time, something which they have not been able to make up in the interim.  Of course, their bills continue to escalate, but their salaries to offset those costs continue to go down.

      The government uses the word fairness.  This legislation is not fair, as was Bill 70 not fair, to the people that this is being imposed upon.  The government says that those who are employed in the public sector are taking advantage of the taxpayers of the province, and in fact they use the words, wallowing up to the public trough, as we have often heard even through different media sources in this province.

      Public sector people, people that are employed in the public sector, provide essential services for us in this province, services that we have come to rely on, whether they be in Child and Family Services, in the justice or law systems, in the health care system, in our Manitoba public insurance.  All of the programs that we rely upon, including education, are provided by public sector employees, and that this government has chosen to attack those very employees signals to me their total unfairness in dealing with these people that are employed in these jobs.

      They said they want to be fair.  Well, if you want to be fair, one of the best ways to do it is to keep your word.  To keep your word means that if you have negotiated a contract in good faith by both parties participating in the process and you have affixed your signature to those documents, those are legal, binding documents, and your word should be kept until those documents, those agreements expire.

      This government has chosen not to do it once again as they did during the Bill 70 that they had in this House a little over a year ago, and they are doing it again.  Most likely, over the course of the next year, looking at this legislation, they will continue to impose their will in attacking public sector workers in this province.

      This government has indicated by their actions that they are totally untrustworthy and unreliable when it comes to keeping their word‑‑(interjection)

Hon. Glen Findlay (Minister of Agriculture):  It must be the other brother . . . today.

Mr. Reid:  Now the Minister of Agriculture says the other brother.  He likes to resort to public attacks when he knows that someone is maybe scoring some points on him.  It is quite obvious that is the case here.  If you cannot take the heat, get out of the kitchen.  Maybe it would be a good idea to test the waters, call some of those by‑elections and we will see whether or not people trust your word anymore, and whether they trust your actions in government here.

Hon. Gerald Ducharme (Minister of Government Services):  Boy, what a joke.

Mr. Reid:  It is funny the Minister of Government Services says that this is a joke.  I can tell the Minister of Government Services that this is not a joke, Madam Deputy Speaker.

Madam Deputy Speaker:  Order, please.


Point of Order


Mr. Ducharme:  On a point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker, I did not refer to the legislation as a joke, I referred to the member for Transcona (Mr. Reid) as a joke.

Madam Deputy Speaker:  The honourable Minister of Government Services does not have a point of order, it is a dispute over the facts.

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Mr. Reid:  The Minister of Government Services' position, his office that he holds, he has to rise on a personal attack of myself.  He cannot take the heat, Madam Deputy Speaker.  That is the only defences that he has is a personal attack.

An Honourable Member:   . . . pretty sensitive over there. Everybody that talks to you is a personal attack.

Mr. Reid:  No, he makes fun of myself when I stand here to rise in defence of my constituents.  When I make comments about the Minister of Government Services (Mr. Ducharme) and he says that this is a joke, this is not a joke when it comes to the livelihood and the quality of life.  The people of my community have to rely upon those incomes to support themselves and their families.

      The Minister of Government Services has said it is a joke.  I can tell him that I will take his words back to those people in my community and tell them that he thinks they are a joke, and they do not count in the system, and that his government thinks that they do not count.  That he also said, Madam Deputy Speaker that he thinks‑‑

Madam Deputy Speaker:  Order, please.


Point of Order


Mr. Ducharme:  I reconfirm that I did not say that the legislation was a joke.  My father always advised me, if you fight with a fool, you start to look like a fool, so I do not fight with fools.

Madam Deputy Speaker:  Order, please.  The honourable Minister of Government Services does not have a point of order.


Point of Order


Madam Deputy Speaker:  The honourable member for Kildonan, on the same point of order?

Mr. Dave Chomiak (Kildonan):  No, Madam Deputy Speaker, a new point of order.  I did not hear the Minister of Government Services state he had a point of order.  He simply stood up and interjected.  I am wondering if the Deputy Speaker will direct the member to make clear that a point of order be raised.

Madam Deputy Speaker:  Order, please.  The honourable member for Kildonan does not have a point of order.  The honourable Minister of Government Services did not have a point of order.

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Mr. Reid:  It is very obvious that the Minister of Government Services (Mr. Ducharme) is very sensitive when it comes to this legislation.  I am sure he has had ample opportunity to take this back to cabinet and have them withdraw this piece of legislation.  That would have been the best action he could have taken with respect to this Bill 22 and the impact it is going to have on the people of this province, Madam Deputy Speaker.

      He may think that this is a joke, but it is not a joke.  I have had people from my community call me on this.  They want to talk specifically about the impact upon them personally that this legislation will have.  The Minister of Government Services thinks because people raise these concerns that they are all a joke.  Well, I advise him and I tell him right now that they are not kidding when they raise these matters.  They are not fooling.  They are very serious, because this is going to have a very detrimental and negative impact upon their quality of life and that of their families, something that it is very obvious that the Minister of Government Services fails to recognize.

      By this legislation, it says that the government will empower all employers, including Crown corporations, hospitals, personal care homes, Child and Family Services agencies, municipalities, school boards, universities, colleges, Crown agencies, including the St. Amant Centre, and public sector employees will fall under this legislation.

      These employees will have to sustain loss of pay for up to 15 days in both financial years, the current one that we are in and the successive one, the one in '94‑95.  Now this is going to have an impact upon them because the cost of living is going to eat away.  As small as some members opposite might think that it is right now, it is still going to continue to erode the disposable income that these people have.

      So they are not only going to lose this pay, which is the equivalent of a 3.8 percent tax on them, but they are going to have to eat the cost‑of‑living increases as well.  So it is well beyond the nearly 4 percent that is involved here.  It will be in range of nearly 6 percent to 7 percent a year.  That is what it is going to cost them. (interjection) Take a look at Statistics Canada, if the Minister of Rural Development (Mr. Derkach) does not believe me.  Take a look at the figures that they publish, what the cost of living is going to be for this year and what it is going to cost these people.

      It says that this act will prevail over and overrule all binding contracts.  So it takes away any fairness that was negotiated.  Any agreement, any willingness by the parties involved to come to an agreement in good faith, this act overrules it.

      The government likes to talk that this is a holiday for the public sector employees, as if you just take a long weekend and go off to the lake and go fishing, as if everyone can afford to do that.  What about the people that are making $20,000, $25,000 a year and have a family to support on that?  They do not view this as a holiday where they can go fishing.  God knows they have a hard enough time finding any money to take a holiday once a year to stay at home and continue to pay the bills.  Now they have to incur the extra days of lost pay for them.  It is a penalty on the public sector employees.

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      It says in the legislation here that the employees will be required to take a leave of pay each of two consecutive 12‑month periods.  So it is not just the one year that they are being impacted by this legislation, which was bad enough under Bill 70, but they are being hit again over a two‑year period this time.

      What is your next act going to be?  Are you going to impose it over a three‑year period?  Every time we see legislation come forward from this government where you think that the public sector employees that are overpaid and overcompensated for the services you perform, you hit them with a pay freeze or a pay rollback.

      Why can you not negotiate something in good faith with these people?  Why can you not sit down at the table and say, listen, we have a problem here with our finances, we have a $862 million deficit in this province.  You want to negotiate something in good faith so that everybody can work together to get out of this problem, but I do not see that taking place here.

      It says in the legislation, Madam Deputy Speaker, that the government is going to give, by this legislation, the ability for employers to act on a unilateral basis.  Now I do not understand why employers should have the ability to act on a unilateral basis.  Why can we not do something by co‑operation?  Is there something wrong with the word co‑operation?  Maybe it does not exist in the vocabulary of members opposite.  Maybe it is something that they have removed.  Maybe it is something they have never thought of or tried.  Why do you not try it for a change?

      What is wrong with taking a program‑‑if you have problems with your deficit and you have to have a system that says you want to have some cost containment or cost control, why can you not have a program that fixes a floor level?  Those members of our society who are working in the public sector, not all of them are paid the $50,000 or $60,000 or $100,000 like the members opposite obviously think.  Those people who are paid maybe under $30,000, maybe there should be a sliding scale in there.  Have you considered using a sliding scale that would kick in at anything above that point?  It is obvious that they have not thought of that.

      The people who are on those salary levels are having to pay the same bills that every one of us in this House have to pay. They have the same utility expenses and the same costs to run their homes as we do, yet on their salaries, they are being rolled back by those same amounts that the people at the higher levels are making.  That to me does not seem fair.  That does not strike the balance of the sense of fairness.

An Honourable Member:  They do not know the meaning of the word.

Mr. Reid:  It is removed from their vocabulary.

      The employer will have the opportunity to determine the number of days of leave without pay that each employee must take, up to the maximum of 15 per year.  When employees must take the days or portions of the days of leave without pay within the 12‑month period, the employer determines that.  The employer also determines the manner and the frequency of the deductions from the employee's wage, in connection with the days or portions of days of leave without pay and any other matter that the employer considers relevant.

      Why is it that the employer is the only one who is making the decisions in this process?  What about the people who occupy these jobs?  They have families to support.  Why can they not be part of the decision‑making process?  Why are they being excluded by this legislation from being part of that process?  In this legislation, I do not see anything in here that gives an appeal mechanism.  There is nothing in this legislation that gives an appeal mechanism where employees are unjustly treated.  There is nothing in the legislation.  Whom do you appeal to?

      So maybe fairness is not the objective here.  It is obvious then, if you are not going to consider an appeal mechanism, that fairness is not the objective.  Otherwise, if you wanted to be fair, you would have had something built in there so that if employees were unjustly dealt with as a result of this legislation, they would have had some place to go.  That is not in this legislation.  Why not?  Maybe that is something you should take back and look at an amendment if you are intent on moving forward with this legislation.  Put some kind of an appeal mechanism in there. (interjection) I am sure they will.

      If you want to call the by‑elections, for the Minister of Natural Resources (Mr. Enns)‑‑please, call the by‑elections, and we will let the members of the public in those constituencies determine whether or not the course of action that you are following now is the right course.  If not, they will let you know very clearly whether or not you are on the right course.

      By this legislation, Madam Deputy Speaker, there is another section here that causes me concern as well.  This is an area that I would hope that the members opposite would be interested in securing or protecting in some manner.  This is where there are employees in the province who do not fall under a bargaining agent or a union for that type of protection.  In this legislation, the employer can go to these people, whether they be middle management or employees not covered by a bargaining agent, and give verbal directions to the employees and tell them that they are going to have to take certain days off without pay. There is nothing in this legislation that says that those employees have to be informed in writing.  In other words, you would have some kind of an understanding, long term, of what days are going to be leave without pay that is going to be imposed upon them for the long term.

      In other words, it says here:  No further notice is required by the employer to the employee that is not covered by a bargaining agent.  So what is to prevent an employer from going along and changing those days that were verbally given by instruction to their employees?  There is nothing in this legislation that says employees have to be notified in writing. Maybe that is another amendment that the government should consider if they are intent on pursuing this legislation.  Give some protection to those employees not covered by bargaining agent status.

      The next section in here is the limitation on school boards. The school board implements a reduced workweek, discretionary obviously for the school boards.  I know in my own Transcona‑Springfield School Division No. 12‑‑and I know the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Findlay) is probably aware of this‑‑I believe they have imposed six days leave without pay for the teachers in that division, just like that.

      What about the other divisions in the province that have a surplus in their bank account?  The Minister of Agriculture knows this, because he went to the same meetings I did in discussion with the trustees.  Those divisions that have a surplus in the bank do not have to impose those unpaid days off for those teachers.  They can draw on the surplus, have the teachers continue to provide the training programs, the education programs for our young people in those divisions.  If their surplus is high enough, they might not even have to worry about this next year.

      Transcona‑Springfield School Division does not have that luxury.  They have had to impose six days leave without pay on their teachers this year.  If the program continues next year, it may be higher next year for those teachers.  That is another bridge we are going to have to cross.  Maybe they are going to go the maximum 15 days next year.  What is that going to do?  How is that going to impact upon the quality of education in the communities that we represent?

      I was fortunate yesterday to attend a citizenship forum in my community at Murdoch Mackay Collegiate high school.  We had 18 new citizens being sworn into Canada as citizens of this country.  I was very pleased to be invited and to take part in those ceremonies.  They came from 10 different countries, those people.

      In part of that ceremony and that activity we had the good fortune to be entertained for a short period of time by the school band.  The band was very well rehearsed, very professional, very polished in their performance.  I thought to myself, as I was sitting there listening to them playing their tunes, playing O Canada! and God Save the Queen after, as the Minister of Natural Resources (Mr. Enns) I know likes to take part in from time to time, as he does in this House, I often wondered, what is going to happen to those band activities should those teachers decide to withdraw their services voluntarily from extracurricular activities, like some have said.

      Now, that is their choice.  It is an extracurricular activity.  It is viewed as an extracurricular activity on the part of teachers who have very willingly over the years, even from the time when I was in school, participated in programs such as that to expand upon the education we are given, not just in the curriculum that is mandated by the province but the extras.

      Now, those programs are going to most likely have to be made up by the families who can obviously ill afford it, because I do not come from a very well‑to‑do community in a sense.  It is a very modest‑income community.  That program could be in jeopardy from what I am hearing in the community now.

      I hope the Minister of Agriculture will take back to his colleagues in cabinet the impact on the quality of life it is going to have upon the children in the communities that he represents, which is the same area because it is covered by the same school division trustees.  The programs are going to be impacted by the decision that his cabinet and his government are making.

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      Teachers, who continue to polish their skills and hone their skills to provide the best quality of education in the most effective and efficient manner possible, these professional development days are going to be eroded.  Now the teachers have to choose.  Are they going to continue to do these programs on their own, take time away from their own families, at expense to their families obviously, or are they going to pull back away from these and just rely on the education and the experience and the training that they have developed at this point?

      We are not sure, as my colleague says, if Bob Kozminski has to take more time or maybe he loses some days off without pay. It is highly unlikely that would be the case.

      Most of the teachers that I have had the good fortune and the experience in talking to, for my children that attend the schools in my community of Transcona, the teachers are very, very professional in the way that they deal with and interact with the parents of the community.  These teachers are there at the parent‑teacher meetings and the conferences and the special meetings that you have to have if there are problems that develop within the school and your children are involved.  The teachers willingly attend these meetings and they show their good faith.

      What is happening to them now?  Now they are losing those professional development days, those days that allowed them to go out and hone those skills that they were putting to use.  It might not be so critical at this point for the teachers that are currently employed and have had the good fortune to go through these programs over the course of the years that they have been teachers, but what about the new teachers coming along after them?  What happens to them?

      They will not have the same opportunities obviously to attend these professional development days.  How do they develop and acquire these skills then?  Where do they go for this type of training?

Hon. Harry Enns (Minister of Natural Resources):  How do engineers do it?  How do doctors do it?  How do lawyers do it? How do the farmers do it?  How do veterinarians do it?

Mr. Reid:  So what the Minister of Natural Resources says is that they should take leave of absence then from their jobs and go back to school.

Mr. Enns:  Right.  Why should it be at public expense?

Mr. Reid:  And if you have families that are involved and you have a family to support‑‑(interjection) In other words, from what the Minister of Natural Resources says, put your family considerations aside, quit your job, or go on a leave of absence from your job, and go back to school and put in jeopardy the income that your family has so that you can go back and upgrade and gain those skills.

      What supports the family in the meantime?  What is wrong with an educational program as you are working?

An Honourable Member:  Just tell us where the money is coming from.  Come on, tell us where the money is coming from.  You have got all these smart ideas, where is the money coming from?

Mr. Reid:  Well, if the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Findlay) and the Minister of Natural Resources (Mr. Enns) were that concerned, what they would do is they would call an election today and let us take those seats over there.  Then we will tell you what we are going to do, and then we will show you how to run good government in this province.

An Honourable Member:  We are still paying your debts you guys left behind.

Mr. Reid:  The Minister of Agriculture talks about debt.  Let him not for a moment think‑‑when the government changed in 1988, there was a $57 million or $58 million surplus left in the bank account in this province.  Since that time, this government has run up over $2 billion in deficit and debt in this province, at a cost of at least $160 million a year in interest that they have incurred by their debt.  Do not tell us about debt in this province when you have had deficit and debt problems ever since you took government.

      Moving back to the legislation, Madam Deputy Speaker, not so that I could be sidetracked for long by the rantings of the members opposite, I have concerns about how Child and Family Services are going to operate with this legislation.  It is my understanding that these employees as well will be impacted by this legislation and will be required to take the time off and are currently, from my understanding, I am told by the member for Wellington (Ms. Barrett), taking the time off as a result of this legislation.

      What happens to the families who are in the process of breaking up as I have a few in my community right now who have called me on a regular basis over the course of the last year? What happens when those children have to be apprehended, and it happens to occur on a Friday as has happened just in this month for one particular family in my community?  Who do they call? Who is going to be on in‑service to protect those children? Where are those children going to go?  Are they going to go to a hotel or a motel?  Who is going to look after them when they are in the hotel or motel and at what expense?  Are we saving any money by this?  What type of programs or services are we providing to protect these children?

      I do not understand the rationale of this legislation impacting upon essential agencies such as Child and Family Services, because these children are the most vulnerable children coming from these families.  A lot of them are in abusive situations.  That is why these families are disintegrating.  Now, these children, do they have to wait until Monday or do they have to be provided the protection and the services from Child and Family Services?  Do they have to wait for that skeleton staff that might be available from Child and Family to come and apprehend them and protect them?  What services are there to help them?

      I do not hear any answers coming from members opposite.  I am not sure that they have thought this through.  I hope to God that nothing unfortunate befalls any of these children, because it will be on your heads for making these decisions that have put these children at risk.  I hope you realize the seriousness and the consequences that can happen as a result of this decision.

      In the legislation, there is a section here that says leave is not to be considered as layoff.  So leave without pay is not to be considered layoff in the sense of loss of service.  At least that is my interpretation of the clause here.  It is my understanding, as well, that the purpose of this was so you could not collect unemployment insurance so you would lose up to 15 days pay and you could not collect unemployment insurance for those days.

      What impact is this going to have upon the long‑service employees of this province, those that by their long service are eligible by current contracts if the holiday provision is still in effect.  For those employees who after say 15 days or 12 days of service would be entitled to one day's vacation, do these employees then lose that one day's vacation for those lost days? (interjection) Now the member for St. Norbert (Mr. Laurendeau) does not understand the consequences of this obviously.  These are all of the factors.

      Now the point is, if it is not part of the debating process here to point out the deficiencies of a legislation, including the impact that this legislation is going to have on families‑‑I am now talking for the benefit of the member for St. Norbert (Mr. Laurendeau), who obviously has not read this legislation and is obviously not willing to enter the debate on this.  We would be very interested to hear his comments about this legislation.

      The impact that it is going to have upon the long‑service employees in the public sector:  They are not only going to lose up to 15 days pay per year for the next two years, is there a likelihood that they will also lose more pay as a result of lost vacation days that they would have been entitled to?

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      Pretty simple, pretty straightforward‑‑I am sure even the member for St. Norbert can understand this.  I remember the days back, I believe it was, into the late 1970s that the Trudeau government at that time imposed upon the workers of Canada the 6‑and‑5 program.  I remember my salary was affected by that.  I was employed as part of a Crown corporation, and I had my salary frozen.  It was impacted by that legislation.  We had had contracts negotiated in good faith, and they were rolled back to meet the will of the Government of Canada by imposing that legislation.

      The cost for all of those employees in this country who had to meet that government legislation was frozen at the 6 and 5, but the cost continued to escalate into double‑digit figures for those years.  I remember it clearly.

Mr. Enns:  And David Lewis and the New Democratic Party supported that policy . . . .

Mr. Reid:  The member for Lakeside obviously has a long memory and a long history when it comes to these programs, and I yield to his‑‑it was not a minority government at that time, for his information, and our leader at that time, Mr. Lewis, did not support those programs.  He did not support those programs, Madam Deputy Speaker.

Mr. Enns:  David Lewis kept Trudeau around to do it.

Mr. Reid:  Let the record not show, Madam Deputy Speaker, that the Minister of Natural Resources, the member for Lakeside, is putting these remarks, saying that our party supported the Trudeau government during the years of 6 and 5, because that is not the case.

      Not only did we have our contracts negotiated in good faith rolled back to the point to meet the government's legislation the same way that is happening here in this province now, but the employees had the cost‑of‑living increase on top of that, which was double‑digit figures at that time.

      Governments like to freeze the wages of their employees, as this government is demonstrating here and as the Trudeau government demonstrated in years gone by, but why do you not try taking a look at containing the costs at the same time?  Are you going back to your suppliers for this government saying, listen, we have got to roll back our employees by imposing this nearly 4 percent tax on them to contain our costs, to keep our costs of government operation down?  Are you doing the same to your suppliers?

Mr. Ducharme:  In some cases, yes.

Mr. Reid:  Why not all of the cases?  You are doing it to all of your employees. (interjection) Oh, you have got to renegotiate. Well, why do you not impose things?  You had a contract that was negotiated in good faith for your employees.  Why should contracts with your suppliers be any different than your employees?  Where is your logic there?

      I do not understand the logic, how you can have a contract negotiated in good faith with your employees and you have a contract you have broken by this legislation, and now, with your suppliers, you say you have a contract that you are not going to break because you cannot do it.  Why can you not do something like that?  Obviously the Minister of Government Services (Mr. Ducharme) is way out of touch with this.

      I know that the members opposite are not too interested.  I know the member for St. Norbert (Mr. Laurendeau) will have the opportunity to add his comments after my time here has expired, Madam Deputy Speaker.

      In this legislation it goes on to impose its will upon the medical community of this province.  Now, from my understanding of the legislation, it is going to limit the medical services that doctors' offices and doctors themselves will provide to the community, and that where doctors have exceeded the cap or the amount the government has imposed that the differences will be deducted back from the doctors.

      Now the doctors, I imagine, keep fairly good records through their accounting procedures during the operation of their offices, or at least I hope they do, but there is nothing in this legislation that says that where the doctors have overbilled Manitoba Health Services and the government is going to collect back these amounts that are overpaid, the time frame is not specified in here for recovery of those overpayments.

      Does this mean it is going to go on for a month before they have to pay it, going to stretch out to six months?  Will it be a year or two years or will it be indefinite giving doctors the opportunity to repay?  I know most doctors out there are very responsible people, and they do not want to impose any extra cost burden upon the province.

      It will be interesting to see when this bill moves to committee whether or not the government is going to explain whether or not there is going to be a time frame that is going to be attached for the recovery of those fees from the doctors, for any of them that might be exceeding the cap that this government has put on.

      Now, in the final section of this legislation the government has said that members of the Legislative Assembly will be reducing their amount of the indemnity payable to each member by 3.8 percent.  Now there has been some debate that has been taking place on this for a period of time here, and it also says that the constituency access allowance will be reduced by a similar amount.

      Now for each of us this creates a bit of a problem in that it will curtail, at least for members on this side, the opportunities for us to provide services to our constituents. Because there are varying amounts of rent that each of us pay in the operation of our office, it will somewhat crimp the operations of those offices to our constituencies.

      In that sense I can assure members of my community that I represent that I will continue to provide, despite the cutback in fees or monies that are available to the operation of that office, that we will continue to operate that constituency office on the basis that we have in the past, and we will continue to provide the services‑‑

Mr. Marcel Laurendeau (St. Norbert):  Do what I did.  I went for a rent reduction, and I got it.  I got the rent reduction.  I said, listen, I want a rent reduction.

Mr. Reid:  I hope that when the member for St. Norbert went to Mr. Kozminski he did indeed get a rent reduction for his property and that Mr. Kozminski was very willing to co‑operate with him knowing the precarious financial position that this government finds itself in, obviously through its own fiscal mismanagement.

Mr. Laurendeau:  I do not rent from Kozminski.  You are close though.

Mr. Reid:  I just assume, Madam Deputy Speaker, that because the member opposite was bringing in used vehicle inspection legislation last year that it had something to do with the members of the Motor Dealers Association that Mr. Kozminski happened to be the president at that time, so I just assume that he was renting property from Mr. Kozminski.

      I can assure you my constituents will continue to receive the level of service they have come to expect in the community.  We will provide at every opportunity to assist them with the concerns that they bring to our office despite the government's cutback of funding necessary to operate those operations.

      The teachers themselves have said that they consider this legislation to be a lockout, and it will erode the programs that the people in our communities have come to be used to.

      Also, Madam Deputy Speaker, in my last few moments, I know I have a very short time left on this bill.  This legislation is going to have an impact upon the single parents of my community. Parents who now have their children enrolled in daycare programs have to make a choice now because their incomes are being cut, daycare spaces for them are no longer available in the community.  The Minister of Family Services (Mr. Gilleshammer) has refused, as this correspondence states, to respond to my constituents' concerns for several months after having received or been sent several letters from my constituents.

      The people of my community are being seriously impacted by the decisions of this government, as they impose their will through Bill 22 on the people in the province, this nearly 4 percent tax increase, despite what this government likes to term it.

      With those few comments, I thank you for the opportunity to add my comments to those other members wishing to speak on Bill 22.

(Mr. Speaker in the Chair)

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Mr. George Hickes (Point Douglas):  I am pleased to be able to speak on Bill 22, because the whole principle of this bill is that it is straightly imposed by one party.  Before I even get into discussing the bill, I would like to make it clear that I oppose this whole bill except for the clause where we as MLAs have agreed to reduce our salaries and our constituency allowance.

      The reason I agree to that is because it was negotiated by all three parties.  It was not imposed by one party on other parties.  All three parties sat down and agreed to it and brought it back to us as members, and we caucused it.  We all agreed to it‑‑(interjection)

An Honourable Member:  That is right.  Straighten Daryl out on that issue.

Mr. Hickes:  I am not straightening anybody out.  I am just making my own views known here.

      The other problem, the rest of the bill, what I have a real problem with is that it is a direction given by a government that has not been negotiated with the public sector.


Point of Order


Mr. Speaker:  Would the honourable member for St. Norbert (Mr. Laurendeau) like an opportunity to put his remarks on the record?

Mr. Laurendeau:  I guess I left my seat, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker:  We will give the honourable member an opportunity. The honourable member for Point Douglas does have the floor at this point in time.

* * *

Mr. Hickes:  What I was saying was that this whole legislation was imposed by a government without any consultation with the parties that it is going to affect.

      I have spent almost all my life in northern Manitoba and mostly in small remote communities.  In those small remote communities deals are made on people's word, and they are not broken unless a person goes back to the individual that they have made a deal with and they renegotiate whatever deal they had, because in a lot of those small communities there are no lawyers, there are no offices to draw up contracts, so it is word of mouth.  Even boats and motors and skidoos and everything are sold on those basis.  If those individuals or any individual breaks their word, they do not make too many deals in whatever community that they are living in.

      That is the problem that I really have with this bill here, because it is going to have an impact on all employees of Crown corporations.  It is going to have an impact on provincial governments.  It is going to have an impact on hospitals.  It is going to have an impact on personal care homes.  Also, a great impact is going to be felt by the employees of Child and Family Services.

      I received a call only last week from a social worker who was working for the Province of Manitoba, and what this individual was telling me was that they were going to a meeting the following week and in that discussion they were going to look at a caseload of over 300.  That is what they are trying to service, 300 individuals for one social worker.  To begin with, that is an impossible task.

      I said, how many do you have now?  He said, I have 280, and that is in a five‑day workweek.  How could you do any justice at all to the people that you are supposed to be working with?  The individuals that you are supposed to be helping to hopefully overcome some of the barriers in their life and hopefully to become taxpaying citizens, and hopefully to take care of our children of Manitoba.

      That is going to be reduced to four days.  It is already an impossible task under a five‑day system, and now it is going to be reduced to four.  Also, when you look at providing alternative services‑‑I have heard some members say that the work will be done by other people.  In order to work with families or children, you have to build a trust relationship between the worker and the families or not very much will get accomplished. So I really think that government should really look at this very seriously, and look at the impact that it is having on the citizens and especially the children of Manitoba.

      Also, when you look at the impact it is going to have, it is going to affect municipalities.  It will affect school boards that were elected by citizens of this province, just as the government was elected by citizens of the province, and just as the Member of Parliament was elected, the representatives of Manitoba were elected by the citizens of Manitoba.  When you have one level of government dictating to another, where is the democracy in that?  You are elected by the people to represent the interest and the best judgment that the party or board would have, and that should be left to the individuals who were elected by the citizens of Manitoba.

      Also, when you look at the impact it is going to have, it will have a big impact on our education system, our universities, our colleges, our schools.  We have seen students come to the Legislative Building.  We have seen teachers come to the Legislative Building, and I have heard some people say, well, the teachers have a responsibility to continue with the extracurricular activities.

      I do not know if all members understand that a lot of these teachers have been given added responsibilities because of these cutbacks.  Some have been given additional classes, and larger classes, more students, so that time they had for extracurricular activities, whether sports or band or music, what have you, that time now is being taken up by the extra responsibilities that they have had to take on.

      So, when you say on top of that, the extra responsibilities on top of that, to continue volunteering your time to sports and bands, it does have a direct impact on students.  Because some of the students are fortunate enough to excel in either music or in a sporting event, some of them get scholarships.  Some of those students, that is the only, only way that they would continue on into their chosen education careers, either through universities or colleges.  Some of them do get scholarships that do pay their tuition, some pay room and board.

      Without the valuable services of the teachers and their coaching abilities and supports and friendships they develop with students and encouragement they give to the students, some of these students that are fortunate enough to have the ability for scholarships, that will reduce that sort of opportunity for these students.

      Also, when you look at the government actions, the government has taken into consideration that any publicly funded agency, organization, Crown corporation is fair game.  A lot of these individuals and corporations, like Manitoba Hydro for instance, are on work schedules already.  They are nine days in and so many days out and nine days in and so many days out.  How is that going to impact?

      We have been asking, when you refer to essential services, what are you saying?  What is considered essential services? What is considered nonessential services?  Is it a straight cut right across the board?  That has never been explained to us and we have tried to get that information.  We have never gotten an answer.

      It is scary when you look at, if you cut back services at personal care homes, for example, where a lot of the individuals are very elderly and they need the companionship and support services that the care workers give.  When you look at a new relationship that would have to be built, if there are new workers having to be brought in, experienced people would be replaced by some individuals that would not have the amount of experience that some of the workers have.

      Personal care homes, what happens to them?  What happens to home caregivers?  Are they still going to be meeting the needs of the community?  Some of the individuals are very fortunate and they really enjoy being in their own home.  A lot of them have lived in their own home since‑‑some of them I know personally in my constituency have lived in that same house since they came to Canada.  That should be an opportunity that those individuals should have until they choose otherwise.

      If that program, the assistance to the individuals in those homes, the Home Care Program, is going to be reduced, we should know about it.  Also the family should know about it, because that way maybe the families could do something to assist some of their elders and their grandparents and some of their mothers and fathers.

      When you look at an increase or a decrease in earning potential and you say that it is a fair impact on citizens across Manitoba, I really, really do not think the government thought out the difference between an individual earning a salary of $70,000 and a single parent that is fortunate enough today to be working for the government or a Crown corporation or a hospital or personal care home who is earning $18,000 to $20,000, the impact, the difference that it has on those two levels of salaries.

      When you say that it is 10 days pay or without pay for 10 days, that is a full two‑week salary.  There are not too many families I know or friends I know that that would not have a negative impact if they lost one complete pay cheque out of every year.  A lot of individuals budget from pay day to pay day.  They budget to meet their basic family needs, budget to meet their rent or their mortgages and all of a sudden now you lost a whole pay cheque.

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      Where do you make that up?  How can you make that up?  Even with that extra day that is imposed off, it is almost impossible for someone to try and make that up or try and get a part‑time job somewhere to make that up.  There are no jobs out there right now.  The economy is really hard.  A lot of times those part‑time jobs are $5‑an‑hour jobs, so when anyone says that it is level right across Manitoba, it is not level across Manitoba.

      You see the reduction of a whole pay cheque and then almost in the same breath you see a single parent who has lost one whole pay cheque in the year and then you see that same single parent who now has an increase in household costs because of some of the taxes that were imposed by the government in the last budget. Even single mothers who have a little baby at home, you cannot tell me that their costs have not gone up because of the increase.  Just look at the baby products and baby stuff that has been taxed, school supplies that have been taxed.

An Honourable Member:  Children's clothing.

Mr. Hickes:  Children's clothing over a hundred dollars has been taxed, so it goes on and on.  When you take from one side and then you are taking from the other side, what are you doing?  Who are you really hurting?

      If you look at this rollback or cutback or whatever you want to call it, 2 percent decrease in salaries, who is it having the most negative impact on?  It is having the most negative impact on middle‑class people and low‑income civil servants.  That is who it is having the hardest hit on.  It is no different on middle class and lower‑income civil servants than the GST that was brought about.  That is who it hurt the most.

      If you have a healthy income or you have dollars in the bank, you can always make do.  You can always hire someone to do something if you have the funds.  If you do not have the funds, where do you turn to?  You have nowhere to turn.

      When I hear the government talking about, we have brought in six budgets in five years, we have never raised the taxes.  That is what they say over and over but if you look at what the increases cost families, that is not a fair statement.  It has been snuck in the backdoor.  It has been snuck in through the back way.  When you have a single family of four earning $20,000, they are already living below the poverty line.  That is below the poverty line.  It does not matter if the federal Conservative government wants to lower the poverty line to make the stats look better, you still do not have enough earnings to put the meals on the table, to clothe your kids, to pay your rent, without having to make some sort of sacrifice.

      When you look at lowering the poverty line, what is the purpose of it?  The poor people are still going to be poor.  The hungry are still going to be hungry.  The homeless are still going to be homeless.  So what have you accomplished?  All you have accomplished is making the numbers look better, and I do not feel that it is very fair to do that.

      When you look at collective bargaining agreements, just like I mentioned earlier, collective bargaining agreements are no different than a handshake agreement in Tadoule Lake or a handshake agreement in Garden Hill or a handshake agreement in Split Lake where you do not have access to lawyers and contract agreements.  If you did not live up to your agreement that you made in your own home community, not too many people in that community would ever make a deal with you, because your word is not worth anything.

An Honourable Member:  Did you see the legislation that Bob Rae tabled today?

Mr. Hickes:  No, I have not.

      I am very concerned about Manitoba, and that is what I am speaking to, the Manitoba Bill 22.  What Bob Rae has done in Ontario I have no control over, but at least here I hope I have a voice here in the House to speak on behalf and to pass the messages on behalf of the constituents of Point Douglas and the people that I have spoken to and met with in northern Manitoba recently.  I have been in northern Manitoba recently because that is my critic area, Native Affairs, and I was very happy to be handed that critic area because it is an area that needs a lot of work and needs a lot of support.

      Well, we have been without a critic since November.  I do not know why the government will not call the by‑election because, whether it is a Conservative member or Liberal member or New Democratic member, those constituents should have the opportunity to have an MLA.  They should have an MLA represent them in this House so that at least their voices can be heard.

      When I was travelling in northern Manitoba just recently there was a mention about this bill.  A lot of people did not understand it, so they asked about the cutback in government and they said a lot of people will be laid off.

      One of the questions that was asked for the Minister of Natural Resources (Mr. Enns) was what happens to the resource officers that we have in northern Manitoba?  An individual I will not mention was looking at that as an excellent opportunity.  If that individual is only going to work for four days, then I have three days where maybe I can get additional food on my table without the resource officer knowing.  So I said, well, I do not really know what the impact will be.  I said, we have asked in the House what services will be cut back and what will not be.  I said, well, we have not heard.  That was the context of that question, and I did not encourage it, because I do not agree with poaching, but that was the context of that.

      So when you look at services that are being cut, I wish the government would table in the House for the members to pass on to their constituents or people that do call and want to know what will be cut and what will not be cut because, like I mentioned earlier, in the northern communities, for the Minister of Northern Affairs (Mr. Downey), he knows exactly what I am talking about because he knows that those isolated communities do not have lawyers, do not have contracts.  He knows that.

An Honourable Member:  Has he ever been up there?

Mr. Hickes:  Oh, he has been up there a few times.  They know of him, you know.  By reputation they know him.  They had very high hopes for him.

      I will tell you a little story.  When I was first elected, I did not really know the minister, and I still do not, but I have grown to have some respect for him.  When I first got elected, I got calls from my friends and associates that I had from the North congratulating me.  We got discussing about who the new minister was.  Everybody, a lot of people knew him, and there were very high hopes, very high expectations, really high‑‑

An Honourable Member:  And now there is high praise.

Mr. Hickes:  No.

An Honourable Member:  Have you seen his ring, George?

* (1620)

Mr. Hickes:  Yes, I have seen his ring.

      Right now the question that is being asked is, where is the minister when you have the cuts and negative impacts on aboriginal people?  Is he not standing up for us?  I said, I do not know what happens in cabinet.  In the context of that was the cuts to the aboriginal organizations in the last budget.  That is a serious concern in northern Manitoba right now, a very serious concern.

      They had really, really, high, high, high hopes.  They thought a lot of good things were going to happen in northern Manitoba, that some of the roads would be paved and some highway work would be done in the North and there would be job opportunities.

      One very, very important conversation I had, and I hope the Minister of Northern Affairs (Mr. Downey) is listening to this, because it was passed to me that a lot of the teens and the children in those remote northern communities are wondering what they are going to do this summer to try and earn some badly needed dollars to continue with their education wishes.

      They talked about the northern careers programs and various programs that used to be delivered in these remote communities. That was the only opportunity a lot of these northern children had.  I hope the minister is listening and will take it back to his cabinet colleagues, because that was the youth of the North that were talking.

      They were saying we need employment opportunities for the summer.  They said, we used to be able to work in recreation.  We used to work in cleaning up our communities.  We used to work in swim programs.  We used to be able to work with the bands and with the mayors and councillors.  That is where we were supervised.  We were able to help our community.  We were able to get a few dollars to buy some badly needed clothes, to save some money for our school supplies and stuff because our parents did not have those kinds of funds.  They said this summer we have no hope for that because those programs have been cut.

      I hope the minister will reconsider that, take it to his cabinet colleagues, because that was brought up more than once. It was brought up by students over and over again.  They are very concerned about it, because they see their school year ending soon and they have nowhere to go.

      That was a very interesting trip I had.  I learned a lot.  I was sort of saddened to hear the sort of disappointment, I guess what you would refer‑‑you would say disappointment that the northern people were expressing‑‑(interjection)

      Well, you talk about disappointment in the North, I will give you a good example.  I was up in Churchill when they announced that spaceport.  They had half the community at the complex. Half the community was at the complex.  They announced that they were going ahead with the spaceport that we have been discussing for how long now.  The government had gone up and given a promise to at least help them with their feasibility study of $70,000 and were hoping to get $600,000 to offset their private investor funding investment.  They were so disappointed they even made a statement that it was no thanks to this government or the federal government that we are going ahead with the spaceport, so now we have to work extra hard to try and get the private investors' dollars to come forward.

      Well, where is the commitment to northern people?  Where is the commitment, when you see this Bill 22 is going to have a further negative impact on all Manitobans?  There are a lot of people who live in northern Manitoba who work for the government or the Crown corporations who do rely on those‑‑

Hon. Clayton Manness (Minister of Finance):  Do you not wish that your team had managed better, 14 of the last 18 years?

Mr. Hickes:  Well, I do not know, Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Finance raised a very good question.  He said, has your party managed better?  Well, all I can say to the minister is that I do not think our party in government has ever brought a deficit of $862 million.

      To my recollection, I believe, I think this is the highest that has ever been accumulated in Manitoba.  So I guess if he says, has your party managed better in the past, I would have to say, yes, I guess our party has.  Because I do not think the NDP government in Manitoba has ever, ever come in with a deficit of $862 million.  That is $862 million.

      Do you imagine how many programs, how many services, how many Manitobans that this government could have helped with that $862 million?  Could you imagine that?  You could have had almost every northern Manitoban working.  It boggles my mind to try and think of that, because it would be such a rejuvenation for the north, and what a shot in the arm it would be.

      Northern Manitoba right now is looking at really, really tough times.  There is hardly a job out there.

An Honourable Member:  What is the unemployment level there?

Mr. Hickes:  Very, very high unemployment.  You have to give people hope, you have to give people some assistance.  When I say, well, how did your government do?  I guess compared to $862 million, it did not too bad, I guess.

      I was not part of NDP when they were government, but all I can do is go on numbers, because I was not part of the government, I was only elected in 1990.  But comparing those numbers, well, I do not know.

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

Hon. Donald Orchard (Minister of Health):  You are ashamed of Howard Pawley.  We know that, George.

Mr. Hickes:  The member for Pembina stated that I am ashamed of Howard Pawley.  I can tell the member that I was in northern Manitoba, working in northern Manitoba in the Pawley years.

An Honourable Member:  Well, we know all about that, George.

Mr. Hickes:  Well, sure, I worked there and I am proud of that. When I run into people who are now still working and still fulfilling their careers‑‑(interjection) Go into the northern communities, see who is running the housing programs, have a look.  See who has their journeyman tickets and that are running these programs for the aboriginal people.  You can knock the program all you want.

      You go and see who the individuals are that are working in those communities that are fixing the roads.  You go and see who they are.  That is the career that I have had in the past.  I feel no shame for it, because I run into people over and over that we worked with.  Even in Sterling Lyon years, I run into people who had graduated from New Careers programs, in the Sterling Lyon years, who have graduated and are still working in their careers, who are aboriginal people who would never have had a chance otherwise.  They would have been still spinning their wheels somewhere.

      So when you talk about responsibilities of governments, I think the responsibility of government is for all Manitobans.  I wish the government would look at the impact it is having on the working poor and the poor people.  Like I said, even the federal government if they lower the poverty rate, it is still not going to impact.  It is not going to make anyone feel better that is trying to go to school or trying to go to work on an empty stomach, or people that have no homes, that is not going to have an impact.  All it is going to do is look better on a piece of paper, and what good is that?

      You look at the impact of this rollback of services on school boards.  I mentioned earlier in one of my other speeches about the impact.  I still would like to see the federal government impose something on the provincial government and say, whether you agree, you do it.  I would like to see what the Minister of Finance (Mr. Manness) would tell his Conservative cousins.  It will not be thank you, yes sir, thank you, I will do it.  I am sure of that, because I am sure he will stand up for the people that represented him, and he will stand up for his government. (interjection) Well, I know one thing, a lot of the corporate tax loopholes and all of the entertainment tax and stuff like that‑‑(interjection) I read somewhere in a paper that you would save $1 billion‑‑I do not know whose writing, if it was Frances Russell or who‑‑but if you cut out the free lunches of the corporations you would save $1 billion.  Do you know how many families you could feed for $1 billion?  A lot of families.

      When you talk about imposing the rollback or cutback, whatever you want to call it of 2 percent, right across the board, I am against the rollback.  I have made it very clear here, the only part and portion that I agree with is the MLAs' salaries and the MLA constituency allowance.  I made that very clear before I even spoke.  I made it very clear.

An Honourable Member:  So you disagree with the NDP in Ontario then, right?

Mr. Hickes:  I am speaking on behalf of Manitobans.

      When you talk about imposing and telling people that this is what you have to do‑‑if the government would look at the City of Winnipeg as an example.  The City of Winnipeg negotiated with their workers and with the unions a cutback.  It was negotiated through the interests of the unions and civil servants.

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      So when you talk about rollback or cutbacks, what you are saying is that you have no respect at all for the bargaining and the collective agreements process.  What future and what trust will those workers have if the government has no respect at all for that?

      Also, the other thing is that when you look at individuals' days and hours that were cut from five days to four, like my colleague the MLA for Kildonan (Mr. Chomiak) was saying, what impact is this going to have on children across Manitoba if the services are not there when individuals need them?  What will happen to those children?

(Mr. Speaker in the Chair)

      Also, what are they going to do?  Through this bill, are you going to be giving people a day off and then calling people in or calling people in on overtime?  That has never been explained.  I do not think you would save any money if you started doing that. If you bring somebody in on overtime, it is either time and a half, double time, whatever have you.  So I do not know how this will have a positive impact on citizens.

      When you talk about the government saying‑‑like, I have mentioned other hidden back‑door taxes.  When you say one thing to elected representatives who were elected by citizens of Manitoba, such as a school board, and you say, you can only increase property taxes by 2 percent, then, shortly after, the government comes in and raises property taxes by $75 right across the board, where is the fairness in that?  There is no fairness in that.

      When you compare it to a home in Tuxedo, you might be getting 1.5 percent, maybe 2 percent property tax increase, but if you compare it to some of the homes in the constituency of Point Douglas, some of them are increasing‑‑their property tax increase has been 7 percent, 8 percent.  That is not very fair.

      Also, there was nothing looked at when you imposed that 2 percent right across the board.  A single person earning maybe $15,000 government salary or Crown corporation salary that is trying to raise four children, five children as a single parent, what kind of an impact is that going to have on that individual? I am sure that they could afford, of all things, to give away one full pay cheque out of every year.  I am sure that they are having a tough enough time as it is to make ends meet for the whole year.  Sure, if you rolled back someone making $50,000, $60,000, $70,000, they will have a much easier time of it than hitting some poor single person trying to raise a family that is barely making ends meet.

      Even if you look at a single person, a single parent raising four children, earning $20,000 a year, did the government even know, did the government even realize, or did the government even care that that individual is still living below the poverty line already without being hit that additional 2 percent?  The government is hitting people that are still living below the poverty line.  You are adding to the burden.  Where is the justice in that? (interjection) Lowering the poverty line is not going to do a darn bit of good. (interjection) Well, even raising it, you can raise the number all you want, it is still the same number of people that are going to be having not enough to eat. It is going to be the people who do not have a home. (interjection)

      Well, you can draw the line where‑‑if you do not have programs in place to help the people that need the help the most, if you take those programs away from the people that need the help the most, what are you accomplishing? (interjection) Well, the government should ensure fairness for anybody, whether they are capable, right across Canada.  The government is there to ensure fairness to all citizens of Manitoba.  That is my belief of government.  That is what I always thought, and by imposing some of the cuts that‑‑(interjection) You are right, and you, like most citizens, believe that.  The member for Portage (Mr. Pallister) said, most citizens.  That is true.  Most citizens believe that very strongly.

      So when we see a cut that is impacting harder on the people that have the least, that is why you get people that do react the way they do, because they see it as being unfair, as hitting the hardest, the most negative impact on the people that can least afford it.

      So when you talk about fairness, the government should have looked at fairness, but it came about, I believe, without much thought to it.  I believe that things could be negotiated, things could be worked out and, at the end, common sense always prevails, in most cases anyway.  But just to go forcefully ahead and impose one's will on another I think is wrong, because the affected parties should have a say on what is going to happen to individuals and what kind of an impact it is going to have on one's life.

      That is one of the things.  There is only a small, other issue that I do not know if it has been addressed or not, but a lot of the civil servants, there are individuals that become civil servants or are fortunate enough to work at Crown corporations or for the government, a lot of them look at working for the government and then eventually retiring on a decent pension.

      Well, if you look at the cutback of 2 percent, you will see a negative impact on people's pensions because, as far as I understand it, the pensions are allocated according to a person's income and contributions towards it.  So if your income and your contributions are lowered, then your contribution to your pensions are going to decrease.

      So I do not know if that has been mentioned or thought out, but maybe the government would explain that, send a letter to the civil servants and explain that, yes, your pension will be affected at the end.

      When you look at any kind of an impact on people, you should sit down with the individuals that it is going to affect and negotiate something that is reasonable, that is trying to be reasonable for the individuals.

      I see my time has run out, so I would like to thank you for the opportunity to put a few things on the record.


House Business


Mr. Speaker:  Prior to recognizing the honourable member for Kildonan (Mr. Chomiak) on Bill 22, I will recognize the honourable Government House leader at this time I believe with the sitting hours for tomorrow.

Hon. Clayton Manness (Government House Leader):  Mr. Speaker, I have two items.

      Firstly, House Business‑‑I would like to announce that the sitting hours for tomorrow, after discussion with the other parties, will be somewhat similar to last week.  We will start at ten o'clock in the morning and we will, though, extend the day a little bit longer than last week.  I think we are prepared to go to 4:30 p.m.  So I would like the consent of the House to sit those hours tomorrow.

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Mr. Speaker:  Is there unanimous consent to change the sitting hours tomorrow so that the House would start at 10 a.m. and that we would finish at 4:30 p.m.?

Mr. Steve Ashton (Opposition House Leader):  Mr. Speaker, there is consent.  I just have the qualification that there should be some ability of the committees to adjourn for at least half an hour for lunch for both the committee members and staff.  I would suggest that we perhaps leave that up to the discretion of the committees, but I would like that understood prior to that.

Mr. Speaker:  The committees would have the power to recess for a lunch break if they so wished, but right now is there unanimous consent of the House to sit from 10 a.m. tomorrow to 4:30 p.m. tomorrow? (agreed)


Concurrence in Reports


Mr. Manness:  Mr. Speaker, at this time‑‑and I had discussed this with the opposition House leader‑‑I am wondering whether or not there is agreement that I might introduce a motion or have leave to introduce a motion, seconded by the Minister of Energy and Mines (Mr. Downey), that the First Report of the Standing Committee on Privileges and Elections respecting The Freedom of Information Act review received by the House on June 1, 1993, be concurred in.

      I guess I do not need leave to bring this motion, but I ask that it be concurred in.  His Honour the Lieutenant‑Governor, having been advised of the motion, recommends it to the House.

Mr. Speaker:  Is there leave to allow the honourable Minister of Finance to introduce a report on the Standing Committee on Privileges and Elections? (agreed)

Motion agreed to.

Mr. Speaker:  His Honour the Lieutenant‑Governor, having been advised of the contents of this motion, recommends it to the House.  The honourable minister has also tabled said message.  Is that agreed? (agreed)

* * *

Mr. Chomiak:  I‑‑

An Honourable Member:  When Orchard is gone, then he wants to speak.

Mr. Chomiak:  I believe the Minister of Health (Mr. Orchard) has the capability to read Hansard, and I anticipate he will do so.

      Nonetheless, Mr. Speaker, I rise to deal with this rather important bill, and I rise having probably done more homework and more preparation for this than the government did and probably talked to more people than the government did prior to bringing in this bill.

      Mr. Speaker, I was very impressed by the comments of the members for Point Douglas (Mr. Hickes) and Transcona (Mr. Reid) prior to that, very impressive comments, very heartfelt comments and very representative comments of the public of Manitoba and by someone who has actually been out there, who has had an opportunity, an occasion, particularly the member for Point Douglas, who talked about his experience in the North and rural Manitoba.

      I only hope that members opposite listened to those words closely and will take the opportunity of reviewing them in Hansard, because I think he made some very valid points, particularly when he talked about the attitude of the government opposite in terms of a wholesale, across‑the‑board imposition of a rollback or freeze.  It is reminiscent of the great French poet who said that the rich are equally capable of sleeping under the bridges of France as the poor.  I think the member for Point Douglas made that point very clear when he talked about the effect of this on someone, say, earning $70,000 and somebody earning $20,000.

      Mr. Speaker, this government has a serious attitude problem, and I will get into that in some detail.  They also have a terrible management problem.  We are now six budgets into the Tory regime.  We are not one budget into the Tory regime.  We are not two budgets.  We are six budgets into the Tory regime.  What is the response from members opposite and their explanation and their defence for the introduction of this bill?  Blame the previous government.

      Mr. Speaker, that might wash in budget one.  That might wash in budget two or year three or year four, but six years down the road, the response and the defence position is blame the previous government.

      Can this government blame the previous government for the largest debt in provincial history, $862 million, the largest debt in provincial history, and their attitude is to blame the provincial government?

Some Honourable Members:  Oh, oh.

Mr. Chomiak:  The other attitude, Mr. Speaker‑‑(interjection)

Mr. Speaker:  Order, please.  At this point in time the honourable member for Kildonan has the floor.


Point of Order


Mr. Ashton:  Mr. Speaker, on a point of order, I wonder if you could ask the member for Portage (Mr. Pallister) not to be yelling insults across the way which, if they are put on the record, would be unparliamentary.  If you could ask members generally perhaps to show some consideration to the member speaking.

Mr. Speaker:  On the point of order raised, I have already indicated to the members that the honourable member for Kildonan does have the floor, but if some honourable member would like the opportunity to put some remarks on the floor, I think the House would grant them that opportunity.

* * *

Mr. Speaker:  Right now, the honourable member for Kildonan.

Mr. Chomiak:  Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

      It is ironic that when I was talking about the issue of an attitude problem for members opposite that a furor should suddenly occur with respect to my arguments.  That more than anything perhaps makes my argument.

      When one suggests alternatives, when one suggests criticism of the government that has basic bunker and siege mentality these days, response‑‑and that is a classic response of a government that is in trouble, that any suggestion or any criticism or in fact any positive suggestion is viewed as criticism.  They go into their bunker mentality and they trot out their defensive measures.

      I could just see the memo from Barb Biggar on this debate or any other debate.  Point No. 1, Mr. Speaker, it is blame the previous government.  I think it is fairly clear after six years that it is fallacious to try to even attempt to blame.

      Point No. 2, Mr. Speaker, defence measure No. 2 is to point to the other provinces, point to Ontario and point to Saskatchewan and point to British Columbia.  I dare say, in the comments that I have sat in here listening to Bill 22 the members opposite spent more time talking about other provinces than Manitoba by at least 200 percent.  It is unbelievable that these members are not prepared to take responsibility for their own actions and constantly have this blame mentality‑‑blame the other provinces.

      You know what, Mr. Speaker?  Point No. 3, which is worse, it is blame the teachers, blame the nurses, blame the doctors, blame the public servants; it is their fault.  That is the government's attitude.  That is point No. 3 defensive measure.  I have heard it from members opposite all through speeches yelling out and charting out blame, blame, blame the teachers, blame the civil‑‑

An Honourable Member:  Do they blame themselves?

Mr. Chomiak:  That is the key act of responsible government, is you take responsibility for your actions.  Sometimes you are right; sometimes you are wrong.  Mr. Speaker, you take some responsibility for your actions.

      I have listened, Mr. Speaker.  I sat in committee of Education.  When I heard the Premier (Mr. Filmon) voice up his‑‑he was in there to defend his Minister of Education (Mrs. Vodrey) and in fact answered a number of questions that the Minister of Education did not want to or was unable to respond to.  It was blame the teachers.  I heard it yelled out here today.

      It is an attitude problem, Mr. Speaker.  It also is indicative of a government that has a siege mentality that is somewhat in trouble.

      The fourth defensive measure is to just impose legislation and listen to nobody, which gets me to the basis of Bill 22.

      Mr. Speaker, I probably talked to more people about this bill before I introduced it.  I probably talked to more constituents on this bill than the government did.  There was no consultation.  There was no negotiation.  That is what is abhorrent, and that is why we oppose this bill.  That is why I oppose this bill, with the exception, as raised by the member for Point Douglas (Mr. Hickes) as well, because we want to set an example to our constituents, I will support the reduction in my salary and I would do no less.  I think it is appropriate that we set proper examples, and I could do no less when I look at some of the things that are happening in my constituency.

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      But there is no‑‑that is what is abhorrent about this legislation, and members prior to me‑‑I think very eloquently the member for Transcona (Mr. Reid) pointed out some of the defects in the bill, and I am not going to get into those specifics, because I think it was well laid out‑‑but the attitude problem that I return to that there was no attempt to negotiate, no attempt to consult.  It was simply imposed.

      It is consistent with a series of other measures by the government.  It is consistent with what they did in Child and Family Services in terms of the centralization.  It is consistent with what they did in this budget to the Children's Dental Program where they did not consult, Mr. Speaker.

      Now, the only people that they are consulting‑‑well, they are now forced to consult and their own backbenchers are forced to say, we will try to reinstate the program now that we have heard what a program it is.

      It is consistent with their user fees that they have introduced on home care supplies.  Was anyone talked to from the associations?  Was anyone talked to about flexibility in terms of the home care supplies?  No, so this siege mentality results in noncommunication, and I sincerely believe it; this mentality that now pervades this government has resulted in a bill of this kind.

      Members opposite frequently chant across the way, what would you do, what is your alternative?  The dilemma and part of the dilemma is that for six years this government has been running the affairs of this province.  Most Manitobans, I think, for the minority years, gave benefit and said that, you know, the Filmon government in a minority situation was not a bad government.

      That was reflected on the doorstep, but it is also reflected on the doorstep now that there has been a perceptible change in this government and now they are on their real agenda.  It is perceived by Manitobans, Mr. Speaker, that this government is on its real agenda and its real agenda is fundamentally a neoconservative sort of Ronald Reagan kind of attitude.

      I know the Minister of Finance (Mr. Manness) applauds that kind of attitude because it is consistent‑‑and I have read his old speeches‑‑with everything that he has said for the past 12 or 13 years.

      If blame has to be cast anywhere, members opposite should take a look at their federal counterparts.  They ought to take a look at the‑‑and perhaps they can reflect this weekend when they go off to the national convention because this perception in Ottawa and that‑‑they have supported wholeheartedly.

      Members opposite support the government's lack of transfer payments to the province.  Now they use it as an excuse when they tell hospitals to cut their budgets, and they tell school boards to cut their budgets, but where has the Minister of Finance or the Premier (Mr. Filmon) taken a stand on the cutbacks in transfer payments?  Where have they taken a public stance?  And where are they now, Mr. Speaker, in terms of their support for the Tory leaderships who are talking about imposing user fees, et cetera.  It is the same people; it is the same agenda.  But I digressed slightly.

      The part of the major problem created in this country is the lack of equality and the lack of redistribution of income in this country, partially as a result of the unilateral cutback in transfers from the federal government to the provinces, and nary a word from members opposite.

      One of the reasons we are in this financial mess is because of the lack of cutbacks.  Members opposite will not admit that. They will not admit it because they support it.  In fact, they welcome it.  The reason I know that is because they have done the same thing to third levels of government.  They have done the same thing to school divisions and the likewise.  They have offloaded.  They have cut back payments and then they have sort of said, it is not our responsibility.

      If one has to attach blame, one has to attach blame on (1) the federal government, and (2) on mismanagement, terrible mismanagement of the economy by this government.  Six years into their mandate, Mr. Speaker, six years of Filmon government has seen the largest deficit in the provincial history and at the same time we are mired, we are absolutely mired, last place in economic statistics right across the board.

      The response of members opposite and response of the Premier (Mr. Filmon) and the Minister of Finance (Mr. Manness) generally is to‑‑and I guess I understand that from a psychological standpoint‑‑blame, and try to deflect the blame off of themselves and onto those individuals and those people whom I enumerated earlier.

      Mr. Speaker, in 1950, about half of all the income tax was paid by businesses and about half was paid by individuals.  Today less than 10 percent of all income tax is paid by businesses and over 90 percent is paid by individuals.  The taxing regime of this government, the offloading of this government, the unfairness of taxing of this government has further exasperated those differences in Manitoba as well as has been horribly done by so‑called tax reform in Ottawa, not just the tax loopholes but the whole‑scale rejigging of the tax system by the Mulroney Conservatives to make, in the words that I said earlier, the rich can equally sleep under their bridges as the poor, which is their entire attitude.

      Mr. Speaker, this bill is an admission of their failure to negotiate.  This government has a terrible record on negotiation, be it on Repap, be it on the Hydro developments, be it on their own‑‑and I am surprised because this government supposedly has the business sense and supposedly was elected on the ability to negotiate and to somehow come to some kinds of conclusions.  They hopelessly have failed in almost every single area of negotiation and this bill is an admission of that failure.  Was there even an attempt to negotiate?  No, there was the unilateral imposition of a bill of this kind that crossed the board with no sensitivity to particular issues, imposes cutbacks and freezes.

      I want to talk about some of the specifics, Mr. Speaker. Members opposite somehow have the impression public school teacher bashing is a pastime of members opposite.  I say that with all sincerity, because I suppose their polling would show that public school teachers are not popular in the public's mind and they decided they will now become one of the straw people whom members opposite will attack.

      They have no comprehension, I think, of what goes on in a classroom, of the complexity‑‑(interjection) Now the member says that it is not true.  That certainly is my impression, because hearing what the Premier (Mr. Filmon) said and hearing the comments during debate, that is clearly my impression from the government.  The government does not have an understanding‑‑and the member for Minnedosa (Mr. Gilleshammer) probably does.

      The government generally does not have an understanding of what goes on in the classroom today, the complexities and the difficulties of being a teacher.  The amount of time that is involved in preparation, the amount of time that is involved with extracurricular activities, et cetera, has completely been missed, Mr. Speaker, and the consequence when teachers say, well, we are going to stop extracurricular activities, the government somehow, and members opposite, and they said it during the course of these speeches, say, where is the dedication of the teachers, et cetera.

      Mr. Speaker, it is not a question of dedication of the teachers.  It is a question of fairness.  It is a question of recognizing what these people go through.  There are people in the justice system, parole officers and the like who, in their spare time, prepare programs to try to help people, to try to decrease the waiting lists for those involved in violent crimes, to provide programs for wife‑abuse people, et cetera.

      A lot of these people, and I talked with the spouse of one of these people the other day, she said:  He comes home, my husband comes home and on his own hours, he prepares for programs that assist people who are involved in violent crimes and abuse.  He does that on his own time.  Now he is going to be asked, on his own time as well, to take a cutback in salary and to lose working time.  The overall, comprehensive way that this bill has been introduced is part of that.

      It applies to home care, Mr. Speaker.  I am advised that the home care resource co‑ordinators, as a result of this bill, are not being replaced in terms of their time.  The result of that is that patients are being backed up at acute care facilities and are not being released from hospital and are being forced to stay in hospitals and are not being put into their own homes in order to receive home care, as a result of Bill 22 or the anticipation of Bill 22.  The consequence is, the government is incurring greater cost by keeping patients in acute care beds rather than having them in home care, so they are defeating their own purpose of their bill.

      That crosses the board, Mr. Speaker, be it the justice system or the education system or the social services system.  It happens over and over and over again right across the board. That is part of the problem with this sledgehammer approach, this inability to negotiate, notwithstanding, and I do not even want to get into my philosophical difficulties with collective agreements that have been negotiated by individuals freely that have been entered into, contractual arrangements.

      We are not talking about a crisis.  The only crisis is that created by the government's mismanagement, because they have effectively being saying for six years the same thing.  They have been saying for six years, we are in trouble, we are in trouble, we are in trouble, and slowly they have been whittling away at the civil service, they have been cutting back programs and creating a crisis situation, and‑‑

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Mr. Speaker:  Order, please.  I am interrupting the honourable member for private members' business.  When this matter is again before the House, the honourable member for Kildonan will have 22 minutes remaining.  As previously agreed this matter will remain standing in the name of the honourable member for The Pas (Mr. Lathlin).

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

Some Honourable Members:  No.

Mr. Speaker:  No.  Okay.






Res. 32‑International Year of the World's Indigenous People


Mr. Jack Reimer (Niakwa):  Mr. Speaker, I move, seconded by the member for Gimli (Mr. Helwer), that

      WHEREAS the United Nations has declared 1993 the International Year of the World's Indigenous People with the theme, "Indigenous People:  a new partnership"; and

      WHEREAS the United Nation's primary objective for this proclamation is to strengthen international co‑operation to solve problems faced by indigenous communities on issues such as human rights, the environment, development, education and health; and

      WHEREAS the official opening ceremony for this International Year will take place on December 10, 1992, which is also International Human Rights Day; and

      WHEREAS in co‑operation with the proclamation of International Year of the World's Indigenous People, we in Manitoba would like to recognize the aboriginal people who were the founders of our great land.

      THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba encourage all Manitobans to join with the members of the Legislative Assembly to commemorate International Year of the World's Indigenous People.

Motion presented.

Mr. Reimer:  Mr. Speaker, indeed it is a pleasure for me to introduce this resolution, as mentioned in the resolution, to recognize the aboriginal people who were the founders of our great land.

      I must begin by commenting, just the day before, coming into the Legislature, there was a demonstration out on the front steps of our Legislature by a group of indigenous people from Manitoba here.  To confess, I am not too sure what the protest was for, but I did stop, and I did listen to the individual for a moment. The reason that it is striking, in a sense, is the fact that what we had was the ability and the opportunity for an individual to come forth and to express his concerns regarding what he felt was important for his people and himself in regard to a certain issue.  The fact that the individual could come forth in this community, in this environment and within our country and with our government to express himself and to have the opportunity to try to bring focus to his certain situation, in a sense, gives us the freedom of being in a great country such as Canada.

      Mr. Speaker, we are blessed with a sense that we have a government, not only here in Manitoba but in Canada, that has the ability for people to come forth and to express themselves.  They can express themselves by public meeting, by public presentation and by lobbying or by coming to their MLA or to their elected officials and to try to make change, because change is something that we have to recognize.  Indeed, in all the presentations and the various educational programs that are being brought forth regarding indigenous people, they are looking for government and they are looking within themselves to make change.

      The one thing that this individual said on the steps that sort of stuck in my mind was the fact that he does have a weapon, and he says his weapon that he will use and the weapon that he will bring forth is his ability to vote, his ability to make things happen.  He has that right to vote.  He has that right to make a change.

      This, Mr. Speaker, I think, is a very profound statement in the sense that there is a process, there is the ability, for people to make a change.  They can come forth.  They can vote in, they can vote out, they can make laws, they can amend laws, they can change laws, because they have that powerful weapon of the vote.  It is one of the most powerful things we cherish here in our province and in our country, and this is what a lot of the people are realizing is a vehicle for change.  The fact that there is more and more awareness of this by the indigenous people‑‑because the indigenous people, when we talk about the indigenous people, we are not only talking about this resolution in the sense of Manitoba primarily, which we should in a sense because this is our province and we should be concerned about it, which we naturally are, but the International Year of the Indigenous People applies to well over 300 million indigenous people living in over 70 countries.

(Mr. Jack Penner, Acting Speaker, in the Chair)

      These are countries right from the Arctic to the Amazon and Australia.  We have indigenous people that we associate with the high Arctic.  We have indigenous people in the Amazon.  We are reminded of the rain forests and the indigenous people that are being affected so drastically because of the cutting of timber and forest in that area.  We are also in Australia where we have been exposed to the aboriginals in that country and the fact of their situation.

      There is more and more coming forth by concerns that the rest of the world or the people that should be taken account to are becoming aware that the indigenous people are asking for this type of resolve of some of the problems or some of the situations that are perceived.

      Here in Manitoba, bringing it to home, if you want to call it, this government, we are in a continual addressing of the concerns of the indigenous people in the native community.  We are placing an emphasis on resolving some of the issues such as the Treaty Land Entitlement.  In negotiating and settling the claims, we are getting into the Northern Flood Agreement which is ongoing through the Minister of Northern and Native Affairs (Mr. Downey).

      There is an awareness and there is a focus on trying to come to resolve.  There is the negotiating of treaties, agreements with the First Nations on the gaming and the taxation on reserves, which we have been exposed to in the last while through some of the articles in the papers and through communications regarding the gaming on reserves.

      We are also addressing concerns such as Child and Family Services and the overall concern regarding the federal‑provincial jurisdiction and the financial responsibility.  The responsibility and the accountability is always something that has to be brought into account with any type of negotiations in the addressing of entitlements and claims.

      Manitoba has formally stated a strong commitment to undertake an expeditious and comprehensive settlement on all outstanding Treaty Land Entitlements and the fact of negotiations.  We are currently negotiating the processing of the major Treaty Land Entitlements encompassing the four northern First Nations, Mr. Acting Speaker.

      There are also outstanding claims relating to the Manitoba Hydro projects in northern Manitoba, which we are pledged to resolve without delay, through the various departments and through the various ministers responsible in trying to get a resolve on it.

      There is an ongoing involvement and an ongoing commitment to try to bring these things to a resolve and to try to come to an understanding and a direction of acceptance on all parties to these various claims.

      The negotiations that have come forth have resulted in settlements to the Grand Rapids forebay claims, which was recently.  The Northern Flood Agreement has also outstanding obligations to many of the First Nations affected by the northern Hydro projects.  Manitoba has placed a high priority on settling these outstanding obligations, as mentioned previously by myself.

      A comprehensive settlement was achieved with the Split Lake Cree First Nation with the various departments here in this government.  The negotiations have commenced with the Nelson House First Nation with the objective of finalizing a comprehensive settlement some time in the very, very near future, I understand, Mr. Acting Speaker.

      There is an ongoing dialogue; there is an ongoing commitment; there is an ongoing involvement with the departments that are variously affected with the land entitlements and the native aboriginal groups here in Manitoba.

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      It is this type of commitment, Mr. Acting Speaker, that makes for a constructive relationship and a constructive settlement, because a settlement needs a negotiation factor, and in a negotiation, there has to be the realization of expectations. The expectations are not only for the government's availability to settle, but the recipient's availability to comprehend the extent of how and what is expected and the amount of entitlement that is perceived.

      In negotiation, there is always the expectation of getting exactly and everything that everybody wants, but there is a reality within negotiations of coming to an agreement so that there is an understanding, there is an acceptance, and at times, these negotiations do take time.  Sometimes, I guess, there is the frustration when time is involved with any type of banter of positions, but at the same time, there is a realization that a negotiated settlement is the best way to come about, and negotiations have to continue, trying to come to a resolve.

      In 1990, the Manitoba government signed an agreement with The Pas Indian Band to establish the first Indian gaming commission in Canada, which was a very significant comeabout regarding the government's commitment.

      The negotiation approach has been successful also with other First Nations in the sense that there are now 19 First Nations operating under the authority of our gaming commission.  The fact there is a willingness by the First Nations to take responsibility is in a sense directed towards some of the philosophy of self‑government, of coming to the realization that the first self‑government has the responsibility of commitment and of accountability.  So accountability is part of any type of negotiations, Mr. Acting Speaker.

      The agreements were entered into with the Indian bands to provide provincial tax exemption for Status Indians purchasing gas and diesel fuel at service stations on the reserve.  I understand there are currently 24 agreements signed involving 31 stations on reserves.

      The provincial exemption on tobacco tax, which is a unique concept, has been implemented, which involves the province operating as a tax collector for the tobacco purchases on reserve, and the province refunds to the band a prearranged percentage of the tax attributed to purchases made by the Status Indians on the reserve.  So there is an amount of rebate and involvement here because of the negotiation factors as mentioned previously.

      Also the First Nations Child and Family Services Task Force was established to address immediate service and operational issues, as well as long‑term structural change aimed at improving service delivery, quality and management.  Manitoba also provided funding support for the aboriginal initiative to establish a safe house in Winnipeg for the aboriginal street kids and youth.

      There is a process of incorporation of local government being implemented in Northern Affairs communities, most of which have a majority of aboriginal residents, Mr. Acting Speaker.

      Mr. Acting Speaker, there are numerous other initiatives that have taken place by this government.  A lot of them have all come about because of the factor of trying to come to a resolve, and this is an ongoing process.  The resolve is trying to come along the same way as an understanding, an understanding between the expectations, the understanding of accountability, and the expectations of trying to be of a nature that the targets and the amount of people involved with the decision making is ongoing.

      So, Mr. Acting Speaker, I would hope that all members in the House would pass this resolution.  I believe that as it applies to the aboriginal indigenous peoples here, that it is of worthiness, and I would hope that all members would, indeed, support it.

      Thank you very much, Mr. Acting Speaker.

Mr. George Hickes (Point Douglas):  I am pleased to be able to rise to speak to this resolution, because I was pretty surprised this winter when I was in Little Black River, when I was meeting with the chief and council and some of my old hockey friends there.  I looked on the wall, and I saw this beautiful thing on the wall.  It was in a frame, and then I went closer to read it, and here it was exactly what we are dealing with today.  I was not aware that it was passed already.  I do not know why we are even talking about it now.  So I was surprised to see that.

      I looked at it and it was beautifully framed.  This was prior to the budget.  Now that we have heard the budget and the impact this budget has on aboriginal people, I know why that resolution was framed.  I think it was the member who was framed by his members, because in order to bring this resolution forward, after all the negative impacts that aboriginal people are feeling across Manitoba‑‑I have a hard time understanding how the government could bring this forward.

      If they were doing positive things in the North, I would gladly support this.  I would agree with it, but coming from a government that I believed supported aboriginal self‑government‑‑that was one of the inherent rights in our Manitoba task force, was the whole aspect of aboriginal self‑government, and when you look at it, what is the key to aboriginal self‑government?  The key to aboriginal self‑government is education.  Simple, very simple.  It is educating the aboriginal community to govern and to deliver services to one's own people.

      When you look at the cuts that resulted from this government in the last budget, that is not supporting aboriginal wishes and aboriginal dreams of aboriginal self‑government.  I cannot blame the member.  He brought forward this resolution with good intentions and good thoughts.  I do not know how much impact he had on the budget, but I would assume as a backbencher, it would be very little.

      What I am very surprised at is that the Minister of Native Affairs (Mr. Downey) did not stand up to his cabinet colleagues and say, yes, I support aboriginal self‑government, and the only way aboriginal people will eventually have self‑government is through education.

      That is understood by all aboriginal people.  Yesterday, there was a caravan at the steps here that is going to Ottawa. Ron George, who was speaking, mentioned in his speech‑‑he said, the federal government has celebrated the International Year of the World's Indigenous People by massive cutbacks and a poster contest.

      The only thing that is missing from the provincial government is the poster contest, but the cutbacks are there.

      I have just come back from northern Manitoba.  I was at a meeting in Berens River.  They were talking about the cutbacks to the freight subsidy program.  That is affecting hundreds and hundreds of aboriginal fishermen.  They are not even going to bother going out fishing this year.  So how are they going to exist?  Traditionally, they have been out there fishing year after year after year to look after their families.  Now they cannot.

      The co‑op right now in Berens River, the co‑op there, it is in tough shape.  They said even their auditing services were taken away and removed‑‑their auditing services.  So what are they going to do?  They are going to hire an accountant from Winnipeg, fly the individual up there, put up room and board, and pay whatever the cost is.  Where are they going to get that money from?  The fish prices have gone down.  They have not gone up. They have gone down.

* (1720)

      So where is the subsidy for that? (interjection) Well, the Minister of Finance (Mr. Manness) says, subsidy.  The Minister of Finance knows full well that if you are a farmer, there are subsidy programs in case the prices go down to make sure that the industry of farming continues on.

      Well, the fishing industry, especially the fishermen in remote northern communities who have no other option of employment, why can that same subsidy not be there to help the individuals if the prices go down?  That is fairness.  There is nothing wrong with that.

      So I am very surprised to hear the Finance minister say subsidy in sort of a negative tone, because I am sure that farmers and individuals who make their living through farming must access those subsidies once in a while, or maybe all the time, I do not know, but that is the kind of negative impact that these cutbacks have had.

      The friendship centres right across Manitoba, the federal government, the federal Conservative Tory government came along and introduced a 10 percent cutback.  What did the provincial government do?  What did the provincial government do?‑‑100 percent.  They never even stopped at 10 percent, never even discussed 10 percent‑‑100 percent.

      So when you look at the programs for aboriginal peoples, let us look at fairness here.  When you talk about aboriginal community leaders who are saying something‑‑the member who represents thousands and thousands of non‑Status people taking a caravan across Canada to make a statement in Ottawa, and we have our own Grand Chief in Manitoba making statements, and this is in a press release.  It is not private information.  It is in a press release.

      I will just quote a few of the things.  It says the same government which lectures and criticizes aboriginal leaders about accountability and responsible governance has no hesitation in making crass, cynical decisions in favour of their political friends.  This hypocritical double standard must cease.

      Later on it goes:  Chief Fontaine noted that while taxpayers subsidize Tory business people dabbling in real estate, the federal Department of Indian Affairs reports that on reserve, First Nations endure housing conditions in which overcrowding is 16 times the Canadian rate.  Fifty percent of the houses are unsuitable for human habitation; 31 percent lack running water; 31 percent lack sewage systems.

      Chief Fontaine also stated:  The federal government acknowledges a housing backlog on reserves of 12,000 units.  So when you have aboriginal leaders that are making these kinds of statements, the government has to realize that we are living in 1993, not in the 1800s when bureaucrats or governments could go in and hand a piece of paper to aboriginal leaders and say, well, everything is going to be fine, and everything is going to be okay.

      You are now dealing with a lot of very educated aboriginal leaders that see through this piece of paper without the proper backing being behind this.

      Also, when we talk about cutbacks that have impacted on aboriginal people, who will be impacted the most by the student social assistance programs?  It is mostly aboriginal people.

      So how are they going to get educated when there are no jobs for continuing on?  Look at our ACCESS programs; they have been cut by 11.2 percent.  ACCESS programs deal with and educate aboriginal people, like I said earlier, hopefully to administer aboriginal self‑government.

      When you look at that, when you see the elected representatives by the aboriginal people, like the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs, when their total funding is cut off in hopes of silencing the voices of the people that were elected by the people, and MKO‑‑

An Honourable Member:  You lose with your own people on that one, George.

Mr. Hickes:  I do not think so.  The Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs, the Manitoba chiefs are elected by the people from those communities.  As long as they are in there, they represent their people.  They are the voice of their people.

      The MKO is also made up of northern chiefs.  They are the voice of the people that have elected them. (interjection) Well, it is just like the government.  The government is the voice of the people of Manitoba right now.  They elected a Conservative government.  Whether they voted for Liberals or NDP, it is the Conservatives that govern Manitoba.  Whether we all agree with that or not‑‑

An Honourable Member:  That is called democracy, is it not?

Mr. Hickes:  That is exactly what it is called‑‑democracy.  So when you talk about the support of gaming, the government is missing the whole point.  The government is missing the whole point on the issue of gaming.

      It is not the communities that are asking for agreements throughout Manitoba.  What the aboriginal community is looking for is a gaming agreement where casinos or gaming operations can be set up to raise funds to help some of the communities that do not have the dollars to help the communities.

      When I say that, for example, are you going to go into an agreement with Shamattawa?  Are they going to raise millions of dollars to overcome a lot of their problems?  They do not have those resources within their own community.  What they are talking about is a gaming agreement that will be structured under‑‑whether it is the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs, however it will be structured.  But the money will flow to all the communities, whether they have a bingo hall or whether they have a casino in each of their communities.

An Honourable Member:  Do you support centralizing all of the money?

Mr. Hickes:  Well, there is a model in Minnesota right now that the aboriginal people have discussed and support very, very strongly.  Yes, I support that model.  You may be only speaking to one or two of the individuals, then when you are talking about the needs in the communities. (interjection) I cannot hear you.

An Honourable Member:  Who ripped up their agreements when Phil asked them to, George?

Mr. Hickes:  Well, because the whole gaming issue wants to be under one umbrella, like Shamattawa, Tadoule Lake.

An Honourable Member:  You are on the wrong ticket, George.

Mr. Hickes:  Well, I will live with that because I have talked to the aboriginal leaders.  I have talked to the aboriginal communities, so when you talk‑‑go to Shamattawa, go to Tadoule Lake.  Do not just talk to a few people here in Winnipeg.

      Go into those remote communities and ask them, and they will tell you the same thing, exactly what I am telling you.  That is what the people are saying out there.  If you talk to them about structuring‑‑so when you talk about those kinds of negotiations‑‑and then when you talk about antisniff, you know, a solvent abuse centre in northern Manitoba, the government says, we cannot do it because it is a federal responsibility.

      All the people are not going to be from reserves, or if they are, why can we not‑‑

An Honourable Member:  Is Oscar working on this one?

(Mr. Speaker in the Chair)

Mr. Hickes:  Exactly.  Ask him, he will tell you the same thing. He will tell you exactly the same.  Oscar has been in touch with the people, not only just a few of the leaders who maybe disagree with it.  We are talking about the people on reserves.  I have stated this publicly many times.

      So when you talk about this resolution, it has a lot of good points to it.  Mr. Speaker, I would just like to make a positive amendment that I am sure the government will be very pleased to support.

      I move, seconded by the member for Wellington (Ms. Barrett),

      THAT all the words after the first WHEREAS be deleted and the following words be added:

      WHEREAS this government has neglected to support aboriginal people and organizations in this province, and in fact instituted massive cutbacks in programs which enabled aboriginal people to get training and job opportunities; and

      WHEREAS the provincial government has chosen to eliminate funding to aboriginal organizations, friendship centres, and native communications incorporated counter to the principle of the International Year of the World's Indigenous People; and

      WHEREAS the provincial government has abandoned the principles and recommendations of the Aboriginal Justice Inquiry; and

      WHEREAS the provincial government should be acting to advance the cause of aboriginal people in this province in this United Nations Year of Indigenous People.

      THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that this Legislature recommend that the provincial government to consider seriously negotiating with aboriginal organizations and to consider restoring funding to the friendship centres and aboriginal organizations in this province; and

      BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this Legislature request the provincial government to consider restoring the over $1 million funding cuts to the Access Programs in the 1993‑94 budget; and

      BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba call upon the provincial government to consider committing itself to seeing a solvent abuse centre started this year in northern Manitoba; and

      BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba call upon the provincial government in consultation with the aboriginal organizations to consider implementing the major recommendations of the Aboriginal Justice Inquiry as its commitment to the International Year of the Indigenous People.

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Motion presented.

Mr. Speaker:  The honourable member's amendment is in order.

Mr. Jack Penner (Emerson):  Mr. Speaker, I was sitting listening very closely to what the honourable member for Niakwa (Mr. Reimer) was saying about the indigenous people and the Year of Indigenous People.  It was also very interesting the comments that the honourable member for Point Douglas was making in his comments in rebuttal to what the honourable member for Niakwa had said.

      I think it is extremely important to recognize the indigenous people, not only of this country, but of all the nations of the world.  I think that is what the original resolution that the honourable member for Niakwa put forward does, recognizing the indigenous people, recognizing their contribution and recognizing that the world had set aside a year to recognize those efforts that those indigenous people had made.

      I find it rather interesting that the honourable member for Point Douglas (Mr. Hickes), in his amendment, has basically waived all that aside, saying that government should be acting to advance the cause of the aboriginal people in this province in this United Nations Year of Indigenous People.

      I think all of us on this side of the House have watched with interest, Mr. Speaker, the previous government's record over a 15‑year period of time in their inactions and waiting for actions by them in recognition of the contribution of our native people. When I look at their record and when I look at the record of the Pawley administration and, yes, even the Schreyer administration, I have to wonder how a member from that side of the House can stand up with straight face and honestly put forward an amendment such as this.

      I would say to you that our Minister of Northern and Native Affairs (Mr. Downey), our Minister of Natural Resources (Mr. Enns) and, indeed, this government have by far outacted and demonstrated our willingness to advance the cause of native people.  Not only have we said very openly that we would be willing to discuss self‑government, not only have we very openly negotiated the Northern Flood Agreement, not only have we come to terms with many of the native communities in this province on flooding and agreements that have been signed, we are still continuing to negotiate and discuss the needs of those people and land claim settlements.

      For 15 years, Mr. Speaker, the opposition sat in government, had a golden opportunity, because they had members of the aboriginal communities as members of their caucus, had a golden opportunity to listen to firsthand representation by members of their own community to their own caucus, to their own government.  Yet what did they do?

      I say to you, the NDP party's record is nothing short of being deplorable when it comes to acting, not‑‑(interjection) Oh, I have listened to the verbiage.  I have listened to the debates.  I have listened to the cases put forward by the honourable members opposite, yet it is plain talk, and that is all it is.  That is all it has been because they did have a 15‑year period of time when they had ample opportunity to act very positively on some of the things that our ministers have not only acted upon but have in fact resolved.

      Are there other things that can be done?  Yes, there are, many, as has been recognized in this House many times over, but it has taken the Filmon administration to approach in a very real manner as a team the addressing of the needs of those communities.  When one has had the opportunity to travel in many other countries of the world, such as I have had, visiting Africa, visiting Australia, visiting South America and visiting on all those occasions communities of their aboriginal people, you have to recognize the contributions that those peoples have made in their own countries, in their own rightful manner and in their world.

      You have to recognize the contribution they have made internationally.  We recognize this year, the year of the aboriginal people, the contribution that our aboriginal communities have made not only provincially, nationally, but also internationally, because we have had and we have today some very influential people, some very articulate people representing the views of the aboriginal community.

      We, as a government on this side of the House, recognize and appreciate that.  I wonder sometimes when you look at action taken versus comments made, how real their rhetoric really is on the opposite side of the House because they did really have an opportunity.

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      Where can we make some major advancements?  Where, as a nation, should we start?  Let us say today was Day One.  Where are the real advances that can be made?  First of all, recognizing that there have been significant advances made in education of the aboriginal community, if we look at education as we see it, not as they see it, when we look at it in our terms, we say there have been major advances made.

      When you listen to their community, when you listen to what they say and what they propose, I would suggest to you, Mr. Speaker, that we have come only a very short distance in meeting their needs, because their languages are important to them, their culture is important to them.

      Having recognized how closely they were associated with nature prior to the so‑called white man coming to this country, recognizing how close they lived to nature, how dependent they were on the land to provide a living for them, how closely tied they were to wildlife, the land and the waters, one must recognize that the changes they have made over the last 100 years, the last century, have been major, major.

      Not only did we encourage them to move into communities that they might not have chosen to move to, had they had their will and their way, but we encouraged them by incentives that probably are not today appreciated.

      I believe, Mr. Speaker, that it behooves all of us in this House, no matter which party we are from, no matter which side of the House we sit on, to recognize that there must be major changes made to bring them fully into today's society.  Whether it is in Canada, whether it is in any other nation of the world, we must bring them fully into society.

      However, how that is done is a matter of negotiation, consideration and co‑operation.  When we are able to come to agreements with the aboriginal community on what their true needs are, when we come to agreements on how they want to evolve into the so‑called modern‑day society, whether it is in this country or other countries, once they demonstrate clearly, by action and agreement, then I think we, as governments and other parties as governments, will have the opportunity to take some very real, real action and initiate programs and actions that will accommodate them.  I think all of us in society are prepared to put our arms around each other and go forward as true Canadians, not the segregated, segmented Canadians that some would want us to be, but true Canadians, no matter what colour, what creed or what race we are from, because that is what I believe that the Good Lord really wanted all of us to be.  Never did He intend us to recognize each other by our skin colours, to recognize each other by our ability, but to recognize each other truly for what we are, and  that is human beings.

      So, Mr. Speaker, I appreciate much, the resolution that the honourable member for Niakwa (Mr. Reimer) put forward and find it hard to understand the amendments that have been put forward by the opposition.  I would ask the honourable members opposite to join with us in recognition of the humanity and the human needs of the indigenous people across the world.

Mr. Kevin Lamoureux (Inkster):  Mr. Speaker, I, too, would like to put a few words on the record on this particular resolution. First, to start off by commending the United Nations for its forethought in declaring 1993 the International Year of the World's Indigenous People.

      I, too, like many, like all individuals inside this Chamber, believe that there are a number of things and barriers that are put up in front of the indigenous people of the world and would like to see them in fact addressed.  Resolutions‑‑we are in, at least in part, the discussion of talking about how we can make private members' hour that much better, so that when we get resolutions of this nature, which, I believe, the intent is very good, and we want very much so for individuals to feel that this Chamber is doing something that is very productive.

      If a resolution of this nature gives a sense of good feeling to people outside of this Chamber, whether it is in a frame or wherever it might be, I think that that is a positive thing. Hopefully, what we will see in the form of rule changes is resolutions of this nature being able to be passed so that in fact they can take a proper place and make people feel that much better about who they are and that this particular Chamber does care.  It does not matter what political party you belong to.

      No doubt, Mr. Speaker, it does not matter which government in office throughout the country is there, you can find things in which government has done, which they would say is to the benefit of the aboriginal people, just like you can find things that are not necessarily in the betterment of our aboriginal people, whether it is the embetterment such as the Northern Flood Agreement that this government has entered into, or some of the things in which this particular government has not done, things such as the cut to ACCESS program and so forth.

      But the bottom line for me is the fact that there are many different problems that are out there facing our aboriginal people, things such as stereotyping and racism, substance abuse and economic opportunities, the whole concept of aboriginal self‑government or native self‑government.

      I have had the opportunity to talk to a number of individuals, particularly natives, in particular on one reserve, and other aboriginal people throughout the province to talk about the concept of self‑government.  I firmly believe that there is a lot of good will that is out there.  It is just a question of whether or not politicians of the day from all three political parties are prepared to stop giving the platitudes to our aboriginal people and to start sitting down and talking about what it is that self‑government means, and what does it entail.

      We have seen other provincial jurisdictions enter into or try to better define self‑government in the role that plays in society as a whole, in Manitoba's case, the society in the province of Manitoba.  I think that there are a lot of questions and a lot more questions, for sure, than answers.  I think that can be healthy as long as you have individuals that are sitting around the table, and that you are talking and allowing for vehicles in which the aboriginal people in particular do have some form of input in terms of what that self‑government model should be.

      I have found, in the discussions that I have had, that it comes out of a feeling of helplessness, out of a feeling of betrayal from former governments that they want so very much to get a better sense of direction, a better sense of opportunities in all of the different fields, whether it is political, social or economic.  Because they have felt that frustration through negotiations of all different governments of all political parties, or all different levels of government, I should say, of all different political parties, that at least, in part, they are at a stage in which they believe that there has to be a self‑government model that holds them equal to a provincial power or, in many cases, some would argue as a country within themselves.

* (1750)

      We saw that in terms of the Charlottetown accord.  We saw that in a sense with the whole Meech Lake discussion and debate. Mr. Speaker, I believe that, in fact, there was a general good will of individuals from all sides and all of us have a concern. Aboriginal self‑government has an impact on each and every one of us that live in Canada and vice versa in terms of the way in which we govern the province of Manitoba.  So there is definitely a mutual interest.

      Earlier, the member for Point Douglas (Mr. Hickes) was talking about the issue of gambling.  In the discussions that I have had with aboriginal people, it is not necessarily the issue of gambling as much as who has the right, the authority to establish gambling, whether it is a casino, whether it is VLTs, on reserves.  That is really, from what I understand, the issue.

      This is the issue in which I believe the aboriginal people do have a right to know and to fight for, and hopefully this is the issue first and foremost that will be dealt with in the future, and in particular in the province of Manitoba, trying to come up with a better definition of aboriginal self‑government, and I believe that the lead has to come from the aboriginal people. There are things that we in this Chamber can do to foster better dialogue.

      I was here when the Minister of Justice (Mr. McCrae) was talking about the chiefs in the province of Manitoba and the diatribe that he had on that.  Mr. Speaker, I would argue that sort of a diatribe does not bode well for future positive discussions and dialogue.  This is the type of thing that we have to prevent from occurring and concentrate our efforts on a much higher road, higher level of aboriginal discussions and dialogue to address some of those very serious problems, because if, in fact, we do not come to grips with this particular issue, we are going to have serious problems by the turn of the century.

      We can all recall what happened in the province of Quebec with the Oka crisis.  This is something that we do not want anywhere else in Canada.  We want to see all aspects of our society prosper into the turn of the century and to neglect this very, very important one will be at our own detriment.  I will conclude by saying that, Mr. Speaker, thank you.

Mr. Steve Ashton (Thompson):  Mr. Speaker, I wish to speak on this resolution and fully endorse the amendment.  I find it unfortunate with the original motion that, perhaps, members opposite, particularly the member from Emerson (Mr. Penner) did not read the amendment carefully, because it did not delete the first three WHEREASes.  But what it did is it took the irony of the fact that in this year, the year of the indigenous people, we have a government member, and I realize that this was introduced prior to this year, who has brought in a resolution during a year in which we have a government that is doing everything possible to ignore the spirit and the intent of the year of indigenous people.

      Mr. Speaker, the intent of the year of indigenous people is to recognize the contributions of indigenous people and to work towards greater enhancement of their role in society.  What has this government done in 1993 for the year of the indigenous people?  It has cut all provincial funding to the friendship centres.  Is that in keeping with the spirit?

      It has cut funding for New Careers, a program that has been involved with training for aboriginal people.  Is that in keeping with the spirit of this year?

      It has cut the funding for ACCESS.  Is that in keeping with the spirit of this year?

      In fact, just a few hours ago, a number of us went to the Winnipeg Education Centre, including the member from Point Douglas (Mr. Hickes), to move this resolution.  We talked directly about what many of the students, many of whom are aboriginal, feel at that particular centre about what this government is doing.

      Mr. Speaker, I could run through a whole series of things this government has done in this year and in other years that are hurting aboriginal people.  It has cut back in terms of job creation in northern Manitoba, eliminated the Northern Youth Corps.  Is that in keeping with the spirit of this year, when many aboriginal young people are without a job this summer?

      Mr. Speaker, this government has cut back in terms of assistance for the fishing industry, the freight assistance.  Is that in keeping with the commitment to indigenous people?

      This government's failure to implement many of the recommendations of the Aboriginal Justice Inquiry because this government, in particular the Minister of Justice (Mr. McCrae), as the member for Inkster (Mr. Lamoureux) pointed out, has a difficulty in dealing with the fact that aboriginal people, through their elected officials, through the chiefs and the councils have expressed concerns to this government.  This Minister of Justice (Mr. McCrae) does not like those concerns, Mr. Speaker.  Is that in keeping with the spirit of this year?

      I mean, I can run through many, many examples of the fact that this government does not understand and does not particularly care about issues of concern to aboriginal people.

      Mr. Speaker, I remember the words of the Minister of Native Affairs, the Minister of Northern Affairs (Mr. Downey) who talked in this House about people not voting right.  I remember many of the statements made by the Minister of Justice (Mr. McCrae) when it has come to aboriginal issues.

      I see around the member that introduced this resolution, I am sure in good faith, many examples of not only people that do not understand but just do not care.  I would invite the member to come up perhaps with myself, join the member for Point Douglas (Mr. Hickes), a number of us who have been travelling in the North on a regular basis.

      I commend the member for Point Douglas, whose roots are in the North, for continuing his contact, and perhaps come into some of those communities where those nicely framed documents have been put up in good faith by people in those communities and perhaps take the time to come with us and visit the people and look at the housing conditions they live in.

      I am going into Thicket Portage this Friday.  Perhaps the member would like to come with me on the train and come visit some of the people and look at the conditions they have to live in or listen to the people that are going to be clobbered by some of the things that are happening in terms of the fishing industry, or people who have already been hurt economically by what is happening, or talk to the young people who do not have any jobs this summer or talk to the leadership in that community who are concerned about it.  That is in Thicket Portage.

      I can take the member into Pikwitonei.  He can also talk to people about what the reality is of living in a community or take him into Nelson House, where this past Saturday 19 graduates from high school are now in the position of having to look for work in the North where there is very little employment.

      Mr. Speaker, I could take him into Split Lake and look at the circumstances in that community, in York Landing, in Alfred, in Wabowden.  I think what the member would find, because it is very easy to bring in motions in this House and talk in very glowing terms about the need to recognize aboriginal people, is that the reality of the situation for many people, particularly in my area, is quite different.

      What we need out of this member is for him to be lobbying his government ministers to be doing not only a lot more for aboriginal people but not to be cutting back in areas of particular concern to aboriginal people.

      Mr. Speaker, that would be the real commitment to the year of the indigenous people.  That would be some real substance.  We can get into the comparisons of what we did when we were in government, the training and education initiatives, the employment initiatives but let us talk about the reality of 1993.

      The reality, in the year of the indigenous people, is that there are many indigenous people in this province who, when they hear a resolution such as the one brought forth by the member, must be asking where were members of the government when he discussed this in his caucus in bringing this in.

      I will be sitting down and I hope we can have a vote.  They will be asking where the other members of his caucus stand on the need to have fairness for indigenous people, for aboriginal people.

      With that, I would ask that we would have a vote so we could determine the will of this Chamber about some substance on this particular issue.

Mr. Marcel Laurendeau (St. Norbert):  Mr. Speaker, let us not leave on the record the rhetoric of the member for Thompson.  He is an expert at laying blame, but he was a member of the government prior to 1988.  The government, prior to 1988, did absolutely nothing for the North.

      It is since this government took power that this minister, the Minister of Northern and Native Affairs, has taken action to see that the‑‑

Mr. Speaker:  Order, please.  When this matter is again before the House, the honourable member for St. Norbert will have 14 minutes remaining.

      The hour being 6 p.m., the House now adjourns and stands adjourned until 10 a.m. tomorrow (Thursday).