Friday, June 25, 1993


The House met at 10 a.m.








Hon. Clayton Manness (Minister responsible for the administration of The Crown Corporations Public Review and Accountability Act): Mr. Speaker, I would like to table the Fourth Annual Report for the year ended December 31, 1992, of the Crown Corporations Council.

Hon. Leonard Derkach (Minister of Rural Development):  Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to table the Supplementary Information for Legislative Review for Departmental Expenditure Estimates for Rural Development.


Introduction of Guests


Mr. Speaker:  Prior to Oral Questions, may I direct the attention of honourable members to the Speaker's Gallery, where we have with us today His Excellency Alexander Belonogov, the Russian Ambassador to Canada.

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

      Also with us this morning, from the Parkland Elementary School we have seventy‑five Grades 5 and 6 students under the direction of Ms. Doreen Prazak.  This school is located in the constituency of the honourable Minister of Health (Mr. Orchard).

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

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Grain Market Impact

U.S. Enhancement Program


 Mr. Gary Doer (Leader of the Opposition):  Mr. Speaker, I would like to start off by congratulating the member for Brandon East (Mr. Leonard Evans) on his 24th anniversary of elected office to this fine, fine House, the 2 i/c dean of the Legislature here.

      Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Deputy Premier.

      In December of 1990, and again in April of 1992, we asked questions about the action that Canada and Manitoba would take dealing with the U.S. enhancement program on grain.

      I asked the Premier (Mr. Filmon) then to worry about the U.S. subsidy program, because they were in fact competing against markets that Canada was relying on, which we believe to be contrary to Article 7 of the Free Trade Agreement.

      At that point, we were told the only culprits in the grain war were the GATT countries, and that there would not be action taken.

      Today we have confirmation of the rumours over the last couple of days that I am sure all members will join in condemning, that the United States is moving directly against our exports to Mexico.

      I would like to know from the government, what action will they be taking and what strategy will they be taking to deal with about the third initiative of the United States directly against Canadian and Manitoba producers in terms of their enhancement program?

Hon. James Downey (Deputy Premier):  Mr. Speaker, we are‑‑as well as the government, representing a lot of our rural constituencies‑‑extremely alarmed with the predictions of impact on Canadian wheat prices and, in fact, causing them to be lowered, and fully support the federal minister responsible for Agriculture, who is reported in the press as making comments that they will be drafting a letter of protest to the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture.  We fully support the protest that is being put forward.


Grain Market Impact

U.S. Enhancement Program


Mr. Gary Doer (Leader of the Opposition):  Mr. Speaker, we would have wished that the federal government and the provincial Conservatives would have moved on the U.S. enhancement program a couple of years ago when the billion‑dollar program was announced by former President Bush.  That has directly impacted‑‑we believe has been part of the impact along with some of the GATT countries on the prices for Manitoba farmers.  We, too, deplore the predicted reduction in grain prices by about 14 percent with this latest move by the American government.

      Mr. Speaker, what will the impact of a decline of 14 percent in grain prices be on Manitoba producers?

Hon. Glen Findlay (Minister of Agriculture):  Mr. Speaker, I want to also join with the Deputy Premier (Mr. Downey) in saying it is very unfortunate that the U.S. has taken this position.  In fact, it is contrary to fair or free trade as we understand it in this country.

      I want the member to know that this is a very complex issue. I think if we look at what has happened over the last three or four years, we have seen the Americans using EEP in the world and actually lowering the value of grain in those various markets beyond North America.  I can also tell the member, in the same course of time, because EEP has removed a lot of grain, particularly wheat, out of the United States, we have sold a lot of grain out of western Canada down into the United States to fill the vacuum of the wheat that they removed from the country. We have received very good prices in that domestic U.S. market to counter the low prices we are receiving in the export market in other countries around the world.  That is the complex issue.

      I am very disturbed at the action of the present Clinton administration.  They are rattling the sabre on sugar.  They are now doing things on wheat that are obviously targeting our markets.  The Mexican market particularly has been developed by the Canadian Wheat Board in the last three or four years.  We have gone from zero sales to 500,000 tonnes sold there.

      I want to tell the member also, the Leader of the Opposition, that the farm community is somewhat protected because GRIP is in place.  If we get less from the marketplace, GRIP will kick in and make payments to help subsidize or stabilize the farm community.

      Nonetheless, the actions taken are very contrary to fair and free trade.  Yes, they started out saying Europe was the target. Now it is no question, we have become a target, and our income as a country in terms of export grain sales has been hurt, and it is reprehensible.

Mr. Doer:  Mr. Speaker, the minister will recall the questions we asked about the U.S. enhancement program and the billion‑dollar announcement in 1990.  This is a question we have been raising in the Chamber for three years.  It is unfortunate that when the United States took its first action, an enhancement program into our export markets, we did not take any action.

      Mr. Speaker, the member of the Crop Insurance Board has stated that this decline in prices will have a direct impact on the taxpayers of Manitoba and the federal government because of changes that will be necessary through GRIP.

      Can the government today indicate what the potential impact will be to the taxpayers of Manitoba with the decline of 14 percent in agricultural prices?

Mr. Findlay:  Mr. Speaker, the Wheat Board has given estimates on what the final return of the wheat pool for the 1992 crop has been.  They have also given projections for what the pool results have been for '93.  That figure has changed over the course of the last month, gone lower.  It is difficult to give an actual estimate of what the cost will be to the taxpayer of Canada.

      I can tell the member that their deficit was run up in the GRIP program in the 1991 crop of, I believe it was a $40‑million cost to the taxpayers of Manitoba.  The 1993 crop, all indications are that there will be no deficit in the program, so the only cost will be the premiums that we pay on behalf of farmers.

      For the 1993 crop that is currently in the ground, it is very difficult to project at this time, although I will tell you what the initial estimates were.  Given grain prices as we saw three or four months ago, it looked like there would be no deficit on the 1993 crop.  Now, that is obviously somewhat in doubt.


Youth Violence

Red River Exhibition


Ms. Becky Barrett (Wellington):  Mr. Speaker, tourism is a one‑billion‑dollar industry in the province of Manitoba.  One of the main attractions of our very short summer season for Manitoba families and visitors is the Red River Exhibition.

      Last night, there was an extremely violent incident at the Ex involving over 400 people, including many youths.  I would like to ask the Minister of Justice today what his government is doing to protect families and tourists, such as the 40 school bands that are here today to participate in the Red River Exhibition, from such violent incidents.  What is he prepared to do?

Hon. James McCrae (Minister of Justice and Attorney General): Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the honourable member's concern, and this matter was raised just last month in Quebec City, when I attended a federal‑provincial meeting of Attorneys General and Ministers of Justice.  Led by Manitoba and Alberta, the other provinces and the federal government have all agreed to a complete review of the Young Offenders Act.

      There was also, at the urging of the Province of Manitoba, agreement that the Attorneys General would not wait another year to get together, but would get together in the fall to review the work done by officials on the Young Offenders Act, so that hopefully next spring, the federal government could move to make changes in the Young Offenders Act which might help.

      In addition, Manitoba has played a key role in discussions on a national strategy on crime prevention with a focus on young offenders, so that the honourable member can be assured that throughout this country, there is concern about youth crime that is indeed on the increase.  We are concerned too, and we are doing something about it.

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Reduction Strategy


Ms. Becky Barrett (Wellington):  The government talks about things that will happen next spring.  It talks about federal issues, such as the Young Offenders Act.  It talks about national issues.  It does not do anything about preventing incidents from happening in the future here in Manitoba.

      Mr. Speaker, there have been no clear answers to questions on youth violence that we have raised in the House before, no clear answer from the Minister of Justice today, the same kind of misinformation that the government gave us on the Family Violence Court backlog.

      When is the government going to stop talking, stop hiding behind incorrect answers or no answers at all, like the Minister of Justice just gave us, and start doing something preventive to stop the increase‑‑

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

Hon. James McCrae (Minister of Justice and Attorney General): There is one thing I have never done, Mr. Speaker, that has been to hide from anything.

      I am very pleased also that in Manitoba we have 61 Youth Justice Committees.  It has been decided and acknowledged nationally that the police alone cannot stamp out crime and that communities have to take ownership, partnership and control of the things that go on within their jurisdictions.  The people in the communities, working with law enforcement agencies and other agencies in our society, have to get together and focus their efforts.  Those are exactly the kinds of things that we are trying to do.

      We are pleased with the work being done by the Youth Justice Committees, RCMP advisory committees working in the communities, and I encourage that in every community in the province of Manitoba.

Ms. Barrett:  Committees and ministerial meetings are not going to make the Red River Exhibition this summer safe.

      I would like to ask the Minister of Justice one more time: What specific preventive steps is he prepared to take to make the Red River Exhibition, a major tourist attraction and a major family event in the province of Manitoba, safe, so that it can be seen as something that all Manitobans can go to in comfort and enjoyment, not in fear and‑‑

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

Mr. McCrae:  Mr. Speaker, I am sure that the City of Winnipeg Police Department is vigilant to problems that might arise, especially in the light of incidents that have taken place.

      The City of Winnipeg Police are there to provide protection to the people of the city and those visiting the city and coming to the Red River Ex.  I am sure that the City of Winnipeg Police are well aware of the issues raised this morning by the honourable member.


Gambling Government Strategy


Mr. Paul Edwards (Leader of the Second Opposition):  Mr. Speaker, today, the second bingo and VLT gambling palace opens up in the city of Winnipeg on McPhillips Street, all the while‑‑(interjection) It is abundantly clear that the government does not take the gambling issue in this province seriously.  The fact is, the vast majority of Manitobans do.

      My question is for the Minister responsible for the Manitoba Lotteries Foundation.

      All the while the government has given the people of this province no indication as to where they are going with gambling in this province, and our party has called for a halt on the expansion of gambling until such time as we have had some public consultation, Mr. Speaker.

      My question for the minister is:  How much is going to be enough?  Where are we going with gambling in this province?  Can the minister articulate that?‑‑because it has been the Crystal Casino, then it is open Sundays, then we take it to the riverboats, then we take VLTs to the rural areas, then we bring them to the city, and now we have these gambling palaces in this city.  Where are we going with gambling in this province?

Hon. Bonnie Mitchelson (Minister charged with the administration of The Manitoba Lotteries Foundation Act):  Mr. Speaker, we have made a conscious decision here in Manitoba to keep our gaming and our facilities age‑controlled so that no one under 18 years of age can enter and play or gamble in any way in the province of Manitoba‑‑unlike Liberal New Brunswick which has video lottery terminals on every street corner and in the grocery stores‑‑in the province of Manitoba, throughout the width and the breadth of the province.

      We have committed to act responsibly in expansion of gaming so that, indeed, minors cannot play.  The Leader of the Second Opposition does not talk about the 300 jobs that have been created in the two new entertainment facilities that mean jobs for Winnipeggers, for Manitobans.

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Expansion Moratorium


 Mr. Paul Edwards (Leader of the Second Opposition):  Mr. Speaker, what the minister never talks about is the social consequences of going the route she is going.  This is the minister, by the way, who called this good family entertainment just a few years ago, so it is interesting that her whole answer is based on the nonaccess of minors.

      Mr. Speaker, my question for the minister:  Given the concerns which are being raised today and going to be raised today by the native community, who are claiming that they have rights to expand gambling on their reserves, will the minister halt the unrestricted, unthinking expansion of government‑sponsored gambling until such time as this government has consulted with the people of this province, including the native community, to try to define and understand and consult to know where we are going with gambling and what the consequences are?

      Will she stop the expansion until we have had that debate?

 Hon. Bonnie Mitchelson (Minister charged with the administration of The Manitoba Lotteries Foundation Act):  Mr. Speaker, we have indeed been dealing with the native community on gaming issues. We presently have in place 12 native gaming agreements that deal with 19 different bands in the province of Manitoba, and we are continuing to negotiate.  In the very near future, the opposition will be able to understand, because there will be more bands that will be signing, and we will be making announcements in the very near future.  As negotiations continue, we have native bands that are acting very responsibly and falling within the guidelines and the criteria to sign native gaming agreements, and we will continue along that path.

      So we have been acting responsibly; we have been dealing with the issues that affect our aboriginal people and native gaming in the province of Manitoba.

Mr. Edwards:  A sign of the minister's wonderful success at consultation, they are going to be demonstrating today from the Roseau River Reserve at the new location on McPhillips.  That is a sign of how successful she has been.


Video Lottery Terminals

Social Costs


Mr. Paul Edwards (Leader of the Second Opposition):  My final question for the minister is:  There are 1,700 or 1,800 VLTs scheduled for 225 locations in this city for September.  The minister has not yet produced the paper that she has asked to be presented on the social consequences.  The mayor of this city has expressed a great amount of concern not knowing the social consequences and has expressed a lot of concern about those VLTs going into the city.  Will the minister at least stop the expansion to the extent of those hundreds and hundreds of VLTs in the city until she has produced some evidence that she has any idea about the social consequences of what she is doing?

Hon. Bonnie Mitchelson (Minister charged with the administration of The Manitoba Lotteries Foundation Act):  Mr. Speaker, it never ceases to amaze me how the City of Winnipeg could put over $3 million in their budget as a result of VLT revenues in the city of Winnipeg, and then, on the other hand, say, oh, no, we do not want video lottery terminals.

      It is really nice to be able to have it both ways, just like the Liberal gaming policy that says that they would expand and build four casinos throughout the province of Manitoba.  We have not committed to that, and we do not agree with their policy, Mr. Speaker.

      We are the third province across the country that has entered into a study on the effects of gaming in the province of Manitoba.  We will be making an announcement very shortly on the results of that study.

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Student Social Allowances

 Program Reinstatement


Ms. Jean Friesen (Wolseley):  Mr. Speaker, this government has always maintained that no other province had a program like Student Social Allowances.  They used this as a justification to eliminate the Manitoba program.  Yesterday, I presented evidence from Saskatchewan, Toronto and New Brunswick, each of whom have similar programs.

      I want to ask the Minister of Education again today to treat this as a matter of common sense, as a matter of educational urgency to get those more than a thousand students back into the classroom and to begin to get on the ladder of post‑secondary education.

Hon. Harold Gilleshammer (Minister of Family Services):  Mr. Speaker, Manitoba is the only province which had a category in law that creates eligibility for persons wishing to attend school.  It is the only province where attending school made people eligible for social allowances.

      Now the member is indicating that there are not other avenues.  Yesterday, members opposite were saying that people who were accessing the single‑parent social allowances are not eligible to attend school.  That is not true.  Those people have the ability to attend school when they are on the single‑parent social allowances.

      We have some 11,000 or 12,000 cases in the province who do access that social allowance.  As well, we spend upwards of $12 million on programs and training for people who are on social assistance who want to get into the workforce.

Ms. Friesen:  Mr. Speaker, since it is the minister of social services who is going to answer this, I will ask him.  Will he confirm that Prince Edward Island has a social assistance program which allows students who are unable to live at home for reasons acceptable to the department, unlike this minister who told them all to go home?  Will he reopen those doors of education to those students who were in classrooms this year and who will be out of the classroom next year?

Mr. Gilleshammer:  Mr. Speaker, we have indicated that there are options available for students.  We have thousands and thousands of students throughout the province who work summers, who work part time, and attend school.  We also have students who are accessing the children's social welfare system who, where the agencies are responsible for them, also attend schools.

Ms. Friesen:  Mr. Speaker, will the minister acknowledge that Nova Scotia has a special student aid program for high school students who attend regularly and keep their marks at the passing grade, the same regulations that Manitoba had?  Will he now reconsider, in light of the evidence that at least five Canadian jurisdictions have similar programs with similar functions, and get those students back into the classrooms?

Mr. Gilleshammer:  Mr. Speaker, the member fails to realize that Manitoba was the only province where attending school made people able to access social allowances.  We have many programs.  We spend some $12 million on training programs for social allowances recipients.  As well, through the child welfare system, we have many young people who are attending school and who are aided by the child welfare agencies.

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Firearms Control

Government Policy


Hon. James McCrae (Minister of Justice and Attorney General): Yesterday, Mr. Speaker, the Premier (Mr. Filmon) took notice for me of a question from the honourable member for Crescentwood (Ms. Gray).  It appears that the honourable member is concerned that I might have suggested that law‑abiding citizens ought not to be treated like criminals.  I, frankly, do not know why that would concern the honourable member.

      I would like the honourable member to know that, indeed, the policy of this government is today and has been that guns should not be held in the hands of criminals.  Everything that we have done here in Manitoba has been consistent with that.  We are trying to beef up the Canadian police information computer to assist law enforcement agencies to track down people who are not supposed to have guns and who do, so that we can protect the members of the public.  We have supported and continue to build a better system so that people who should not be getting firearms acquisition certificates do not get them.

      The perception is, amongst a lot of people who are law‑abiding gun owners, that our gun control laws could be better received if criminals who use guns were handled more effectively and more sternly.  I think that is what maybe has got the honourable member a little confused about it, but surely the honourable member and her colleagues would not suggest that law‑abiding gun owners or anybody else ought to be treated like criminals when they are not criminals.

       Oak Hammock Marsh Bird Count

Ms. Marianne Cerilli (Radisson):  Mr. Speaker, I have the study on Oak Hammock Marsh which shows the bird numbers have declined substantially, some 77 percent, since this government and Ducks Unlimited undertook the construction of the office complex there in the marsh.

      The cover of the report says November 1992.  I would ask the Minister of Natural Resources:  When did the government receive the report, and what happened with the report between the end of 1992 and June 1993?

Hon. Harry Enns (Minister of Natural Resources):  Mr. Speaker, knowing precisely that this question was going to be asked and partly as a condition of the licence granted, Ducks Unlimited Canada themselves carried out this report.  This is not a government report.

      This report covers those precise four acres of land that were disturbed during construction.  Now, Mr. Speaker, the meadowlark, the little red, red robin that goes bob‑bob‑bobbing along knows that when a Caterpillar is about to come near its nest, it is not going to nest there.  He flew 50 feet over and nested in the other 8,000 acres of the marsh.

      This report only involves the three acres, and next year Ducks Unlimited is going to do another study‑‑not the government; Ducks Unlimited is going to do it, and they are going to find that, when the tall grass prairie is growing over all the four acres and in among the 6,000 trees and shrubs that have been planted, there will be twice as many birds, twice as many red robins.  There will be no little dickeybird sitting on a branch shaking its head about a sorrowful song.  There will be lots of nests there.

Ms. Cerilli:  Mr. Speaker, it has been suggested that the minister's answers are for the birds.


Point of Order


Mr. Enns:  It is hardly relevant whether or not my answers are for the birds.  What counts is whether my actions are.

Mr. Speaker:  The honourable member does not have a point of order.

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Ms. Cerilli:  Mr. Speaker, this is a serious issue.  I would ask the minister:  Why was the report not released at the end of 1992?  Could it be because this would be very, very bad for the public relations that went on for the opening of the Ducks Unlimited complex on May 1, '93?

Mr. Enns:  Mr. Speaker, as indicated in my initial answer, this is part of the provisions that Ducks Unlimited Canada agreed to when it was awarded by the Clean Environment Commission the licence to proceed with the construction.  They indicated that they would undertake to do precisely this kind of a study of the actual construction area.

      Mr. Speaker, I simply have to repeat over and over again. The misleading headline that suggests that bird life is down in the overall 8,000 hectare or acre site of Oak Hammock Marsh is totally misleading.  The study site is the four acres of the actual construction site alone‑‑four acres.  In anticipation that precisely this kind of a suggestion might be made, there has been no net loss of habitat, actually none.  In fact, the marsh grew by 156 acres.

      Just so that no criticism could be made that not one single square inch of habitat would be lost to wildlife, before the construction program started Ducks Unlimited Canada acquired another full quarter section, 160 acres of land, of which four acres were given up for the construction of the facility.  So the net increase to habitat is 156 acres of undisturbed habitat for the marsh.

Ms. Cerilli:  Mr. Speaker, can the minister explain how then, if there is no comparative study, he can table any comparative study for other regions so that we can make this comparison?  How can they claim that this study is showing a decline in birds and it is not due to the building itself or the construction of the building?  Can he table a comparative study, and how can they say that the decline in these birds is not related to the construction of the building?

Mr. Enns:  Mr. Speaker, it is precisely the comparative studies that were done.  Ducks Unlimited Canada carried out, did a study before any construction took place on these four acres.  They did one after the construction took place so that we could have a comparison, and we will continue doing them for another four or five years so that we can have the comparative database that the member speaks about, so that two years from now, three years from now, five years from now, because that study was taken before the site was started, surely this is precisely what environmentalists would want us to do.  Certainly we are carrying out exactly the intent of the act.

      Now we will have a study that said this was the actual wildlife and bird life activity on this four‑acre site before construction started.  This is what the study showed right after the construction period ended, and they are committed to doing it for the next five years.  That will provide the kind of database that I am sure the honourable member for Radisson would sooner or later stand up and say‑‑she will regret this line of questioning at this time‑‑

Mr. Speaker:  Order, please.  I hesitate to interrupt the honourable minister who is in full flight at this time.


Family Violence

 Court Backlog


Ms. Avis Gray (Crescentwood):  Mr. Speaker, we were guaranteed from this government that the court backlog in Family Violence Courts would be reduced to three months.  It is now six months, and the 12 extra court days the Premier (Mr. Filmon) espoused in this House the other day do not result in extra service.

      Can the Minister of Justice tell us what he is prepared to do to ensure that his promise of zero tolerance can become a reality by ensuring that family violence cases are dealt with quickly?

Hon. James McCrae (Minister of Justice and Attorney General): Mr. Speaker, the court referred to by the honourable member has been used by many, many people since its inception.  In fact, in the two years, this year there is expected to be a 70 percent increase in the caseload from the initial year, from 1,800 cases to 3,000‑plus this year.

      So the honourable member will understand that we acknowledge the pressure that we are creating for ourselves by trying to open up the system for victims so that we can deal with their cases more sensitively than we have in the past.

      We need to look at that pressure, and we are indeed doing that.  The number of sittings has indeed increased, but only marginally, so we are looking at bringing on a new Crown attorney in July.  There are judicial vacancies.  Those vacancies we hope to fill just as soon as we can.

      As I say, the implementation committee, which keeps an eye on the operations of this court, will be meeting on Monday of next week.  So perhaps we will hear further from them on how we can keep a control on the traffic in that court.


Reduced Workweek


Ms. Avis Gray (Crescentwood):  Mr. Speaker, the committee may be meeting, but there is a very obvious suggestion for this minister and the suggestion is:  Why is there a workweek reduction for individuals who are working in the Family Violence Courts, when in fact you know that your workload has increased tremendously? Why are you going ahead with the workweek reduction?

Hon. James McCrae (Minister of Justice and Attorney General): The workweek reduction is a policy of the government of Manitoba.  The honourable member has to recognize, needs to be reminded, I guess, every day, that we are operating under some fiscal realities that all governments across this country are operating under.

      However, by using the flexibility that exists in the court system which the honourable member's Leader is very well aware of, we can make this court work and we are determined to do that.  We have been completely committed to doing that since the inception of the court.  We are the ones who brought the court into existence in the first place.  We are the ones who are going to make sure it continues to work properly.

Ms. Gray:  Mr. Speaker, with a final supplementary for the Minister of Justice.

      If I can just ask the minister then‑‑this minister is stating that he is prepared to sacrifice the safety of women, to sacrifice his policy of zero tolerance to save a few dollars in the case of the staff who would be working throughout the summer and not taking the days off.  He is prepared to sacrifice safety of individuals.  He is prepared to sacrifice zero tolerance policy for the sake of a few dollars.

      Is that his policy?

Mr. McCrae:  The honourable member's rhetoric does not match the reality of the situation.  There is no government in this country more committed to stamping out domestic violence than the government of Manitoba.  The honourable member ought to be aware of the statistics that go with the operation of this court, how sentencing is far more appropriate today than it was prior to the inception of this court, even with the difficulties we are experiencing right now, how the times have been held well below the Askov guidelines.

      I point out to the honourable member that in Liberal and NDP Ontario, 50,000 cases had to be thrown out because of the Askov decision‑‑under Liberal and NDP Ontario.  So honourable members ought to note that we have not lost any of those kinds of cases because of the lapse of time in the court system.

      The honourable member can be assured that we will give every attention to the operation of this court.


Gretchen FamilyRomanian Adoption


Mr. Dave Chomiak (Kildonan):  Mr. Speaker, the federal Department of Immigration has recommended the Gretchen child be allowed into Canada on compassionate grounds.  Unfortunately, I am not sure that this same theory has applied to the provincial government's handling of the situation, because they did not know the child was adopted when they asked that the bond be posted when they sent the letter to the family, and now things do not seem to be moving expeditiously in terms of the arrangements.

      Can the minister confirm whether or not the family will have to wait the entire weekend for an official to come back to make the decision or to review the documents that have been filed by the Gretchen family, or will the department be expeditiously on it today in order to resolve this matter, because it is very pressing and urgent, Mr. Speaker?

Hon. Donald Orchard (Minister of Health):  Mr. Speaker, again my honourable friend attempts to put incorrect information as to process on the record.  We become accustomed to that.

      When my honourable friend's colleagues governed the province of Manitoba, they required the same letters of credit from medically inadmissible immigrants to Canada, a process started in 1975 out of the commission, carried on all during NDP years of Schreyer and Pawley.  So let my honourable friend not try to charge, by his incorrect allegations in his preamble, that this is a new policy.

      Secondly, Mr. Speaker, we have only received as of yesterday afternoon the information that we expected to have on Wednesday. We are expediting the review of that in order to ascertain whether there is any opportunity for the pediatrician to provide these services at a cost that he says is significantly less, et cetera.  We will deal with this case as expeditiously as people who say they can provide different processes agree to same.


Department of Northern Affairs

Assistant Deputy Minister


Mr. Jerry Storie (Flin Flon):  Mr. Speaker, Manitobans are indeed tired of Tory patronage, certainly when it comes to the Senate, but also when it comes to appointments in the province of Manitoba.

      Mr. Speaker, can the Minister of Northern Affairs explain why a defeated Tory candidate was appointed to be the Assistant Deputy Minister of Northern Affairs without competition when the previous incumbent in that position resigned effective June 12, 1992?  Can the minister explain why the government found it impracticable to hold a competition so that northerners and natives in northern Manitoba might have a chance for this position?

Hon. James Downey (Minister of Northern Affairs):  Mr. Speaker, first of all, positions are filled with qualified people. Secondly, the individual whom the member refers to is from northern Manitoba, born and raised in northern Manitoba. Thirdly, it is an acting position, and there will in fact be a competition held for that job in the long term.

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Mr. Storie:  Mr. Speaker, northerners suffer high unemployment. They suffer from the ignorance and the indifference of this government every day.

      Mr. Speaker, will the minister now bulletin that position so people in northern Manitoba who understand the concerns of those communities, members of the Northern Association of Community Councils, the MKO can have a chance and have an open competition, so we can get rid of this backdoor Tory patronage?

Mr. Downey:  Mr. Speaker, from a member of a government that some way found a way to hire Phil Eyler, who was a former NDP member of the Legislature, and put him in the department, to find a position for Mr. Terry Sargeant, who is a former Member of Parliament for Selkirk, now has the audacity to stand in his place and criticize this government for going through a normal hiring practice, an acting position for a long‑term position that will be panelled, I think the public of Manitoba will see the member for Flin Flon for what he is.


Manitoba Hydro

Workforce Reduction


Mr. Steve Ashton (Thompson):  Mr. Speaker, details are coming out about the impact of the elimination of 480 positions at Manitoba Hydro.  It appears that the initial announcements have not dealt with the fact that many of the jobs are going to be from rural Manitoba.  In fact, it is ironic that the same Minister responsible for Hydro is also the minister supposedly responsible for Decentralization.

      I would like to ask the minister if he can confirm that many of the positions that are being eliminated will come from rural Manitoba, including 70 from the central region, 35 from the eastern region, 35 from the western region.  Can the minister indicate that many Manitoba communities are going to be hit hard by the loss of Manitoba Hydro jobs as a result of the announcement on Wednesday?

Hon. James Downey (Minister responsible for The Manitoba Hydro Act):  Mr. Speaker, what I can confirm is that the board and management of Hydro, in their decision, started at top management levels to reduce some of the high‑paid people, unlike decisions made of the former administration who spent $27 million to send telephone people to Saudi Arabia.  This has been done by the management and the board of Hydro, and it started at top management levels.

      I will check into the details as to where the reductions will come from, but the member has to acknowledge that approximately 200 of those positions are early retirements and less than 100 are actual people who are going to be laid off.

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




Mr. Speaker:  Does the honourable member for Emerson have leave to make a nonpolitical statement? (agreed)

Mr. Jack Penner (Emerson):  Mr. Speaker, today I would like to pay tribute to a number of events that are very closely related.

      First of all, the Post Road Heritage society unveiled a heritage interpretive plaque on June 16 at the Emerson travel information centre depicting the history of the Emerson‑Fort Dufferin area.

      Also, the Emerson Chamber of Commerce is organizing a wagon train, which will leave Emerson on July 5 and travel west on the Boundary Commission Trail up to the Pembina Crossing area around the Manitou area.

      These two events remind us of our rich heritage in the Emerson area.  Whenever we pay tribute to the past, as the Emerson Chamber of Commerce is doing, it gives us an opportunity to preserve important pieces of our history.  For example, the Northwest Mounted Police once followed the same Boundary Commission Trail to establish and to enforce Canadian laws in western Canada.

      I feel privileged to be able to share with all of my honourable friends our heritage that is very much a part of our everyday lives.  I would like to commend all the hardworking people who have spent countless hours organizing this train ride and other similar events.  They help to build a sense of being true Canadians by increasing our knowledge and our pride of our own Canadian history.

      I salute those who will be travelling on the wagon train and the trail ride next week, as well as the hard workers at the Emerson Travel Info Centre who are trying to identify for travellers into Manitoba the centres of interest that we have and the great heritage that we have in this province.  Thank you, Mr. Speaker.


Committee Changes


Mr. Edward Helwer (Gimli):  Mr. Speaker, I move, seconded by the honourable member for St. Vital (Mrs. Render), that the composition of the Standing Committee on Economic Development be amended as follows:  the member for Emerson (Mr. Penner) for the member for Portage (Mr. Pallister); the member for Arthur‑Virden (Mr. Downey) for the member for St. Norbert (Mr. Laurendeau).

      And I move, seconded by the honourable member for St. Vital (Mrs. Render), that the composition of the Standing Committee on Municipal Affairs be amended as follows:  the member for Riel (Mr. Ducharme) for the member for Lakeside (Mr. Enns); the member for Kirkfield Park (Mr. Stefanson) for the member for St. Norbert (Mr. Laurendeau); the member for Brandon West (Mr. McCrae) for the member for Turtle Mountain (Mr. Rose).

Motions agreed to.




Hon. Clayton Manness (Government House Leader):  Mr. Speaker, I would like to announce formally that the Standing Committee on Privileges and Elections, which was going to consider the Freedom of Information report, which was scheduled tomorrow morning at ten o'clock if necessary, I think there has been agreement between the parties that that committee hearing is no longer necessary.  So we will cancel that.

Mr. Speaker:  Okay, I thank the government House leader.

Mr. Manness:  I will make an announcement, Mr. Speaker, that standing committee will, with leave of the House, sit next Tuesday at 2:30 p.m.  But, of course, I require leave of the House to have it sit at that time.

Mr. Speaker:  Does the honourable government House leader have leave to have that committee sit at 2:30, I believe he says on Tuesday?  Leave is needed because we have to have leave‑‑the House will be sitting‑‑for that committee to be going.  There is leave?

Some Honourable Members:  Leave.

Mr. Speaker:  Okay, the honourable government House leader does have leave for that.

Mr. Manness:  Mr. Speaker, at this time, would you call Bills 46, 48, 49, 50, 51, 52, 53, and then 42, in that order.




Bill 46‑The Criminal Injuries Compensation 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 46, The Criminal Injuries Compensation Amendment Act (Loi modifiant la Loi sur l'indemnisation des victimes d'actes criminels), be now read a second time and be referred to a committee of this House.

Motion presented.

Mr. McCrae:  The purpose of this legislation is to effect an adjustment to The Criminal Injuries Compensation Act, to bring it in line for fiscal 1993‑94, at least, with some of the economic realities that have already resulted in the reduction of services and programs across government.

      Honourable members will recall that The Criminal Injuries Compensation Act provides that people who are the victims of crime and who are injured as a result of this crime may apply for financial compensation for such injuries.  This act established the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board which is an agency of my department.  This board reviews and administers claims for compensation as they arise.

      The intention of the bill is to amend Section 23 of this act.  Currently, the bill provides that if a crime victim is determined to be entitled to receive benefits on an ongoing basis, he or she should be subject to a similar benefit scheme as an injured worker would be under The Workers Compensation Act.

      Worker compensation benefits have been automatically indexed to the cost of living, and thus so have benefits received by the injured victims of crime.  As of June 30, 1993, this element of the compensation package will end, and thereafter, benefits to injured crime victims will not be automatically indexed.

      Clearly, this change is regrettable for current and future crime victims injured during the course of a crime.  We believe, however, that it is a necessary adjustment to further our government's commitment to a fair and comprehensive approach to controlling and reducing the costs of government and avoiding any increase to the provincial debt.

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      The legislation now before the House would also give this or any future government the power by regulation to index these compensation benefits at any time.  This means that should our fiscal circumstances ease to any extent, we might again look at the option of returning to full indexation without having to bring a further amendment before this House.

      We believe this legislation balances the immediate and urgent need for this government to pursue all reasonable means of fiscal responsibility and responsible spending practices with the right of injured crime victims to receive fair and adequate compensation.

      I commend this bill to honourable members, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker:  Is the House ready for the question?  The question before the House is second reading‑‑oh, the honourable member for Wellington.

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

Motion agreed to.


Bill 48‑The Statute Law Amendment (Taxation) Act, 1993


Hon. Clayton Manness (Minister of Finance):  Mr. Speaker, I move, seconded by the Minister of Justice (Mr. McCrae), that Bill 48, The Statute Law Amendment (Taxation) Act, 1993 (Loi de 1993 modifiant diverses dispositions legislatives en matiere de fiscalite), be now read a second time and be referred to a committee of this House.

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

Motion presented.

Mr. Manness:  Madam Deputy Speaker, usually when the Minister of Finance in any government tables The Statute Law Amendment (Taxation) Act, it is an indication that the session is coming to a close.  I do not know whether that is necessarily the case or not around this time.

      Nevertheless, as I will say a couple of times through my notes, I request of the opposition parties that speedy passage be given to this particular act, only in the sense that the federal government is prepared to collect provincial tax at the border, but they will not do so until this act has been passed.  So I ask the members to take that into consideration.

      In the 1993 Budget Address, I announced our government's planned fiscal measures.  Bill 48, The Statute Law Amendment (Taxation) Act, 1993, provides legislative authority for these changes as well as for various technical and housekeeping amendments.

      I will touch only briefly on the contents of Bill 48, as I believe the fuller discussion and debate will provide all members with the opportunity to express their position on its content. To assist in the deliberations, I have provided opposition critics with a detailed explanation of the provisions of the bill, and I hope they received those yesterday.

      Madam Deputy Speaker, since taking office in 1988, this government has presented a coherent and sensible policy of encouraging growth in the private sector, the driving force of the economy.  I think members would all agree that the private sector is the driving force of the economy.

      Bill 48 builds on the foundations we have set in the past five years.  It maintains and strengthens our efforts at developing a competitive taxation environment, a prime ingredient in encouraging business investment.

      The bill contains provisions to encourage the transportation industry by reducing railway, diesel and aviation fuel taxes by 3.15 cents and 0.8 cents per litre, respectively.  It eliminates entirely the aviation fuel tax for cargo flights from or to overseas destinations.  It encourages small businesses to create new jobs by increasing the exemption from the payroll tax by 25 percent to $750,000.  It encourages investment in manufacturing and processing by extending the 10 percent manufacturing investment tax credit for an additional year.

      The bill introduces a new environmental tax preference of 5 cents per litre for recycling used oil into diesel fuel, along with two other measures to assist recycling in Manitoba.  The bill allows newspapers to apply levies under The Waste Reduction and Prevention Act against their retail sales tax liabilities. It also extends the application of the $3‑per‑tire tax for another year.  These measures will ensure adequate funding for important recycling initiatives in Manitoba.

      Bill 48 includes legislation to permit taxpayers to request advanced tax rulings under The Corporation Capital Tax, The Health and Post Secondary Education Tax Levy and The Retail Sales Tax Acts to assist businesses in their corporate planning.

      Of course, Madam Deputy Speaker, the bill also contains clauses which will affect most, if not all, Manitoba taxpayers directly.  As I stated in the Budget Address:  "Despite our best efforts to reduce spending and stimulate the economy, the serious financial situation . . . has forced changes aimed at generating more revenue."

      Bill 48 authorizes a one‑cent‑per‑litre increase in gasoline tax to 11.5 cents, the fourth lowest in the country.  This bill also reduces the tax preference on gasohol by one cent per litre.  Effective midnight June 21, as I announced previously, raw leaf tobacco is taxed at four cents per gram or 57 cents per ounce, a lower rate than that applied to fine cut tobacco.

      The largest single tax measure is the broadening of the retail sales tax base to include many items previously exempt. Most of the broadening measures were essential to secure federal approval for collection by Customs and Excise of the provincial sales tax at the border starting on July 1, 1993.  I ask the members to please receive that date when they are contemplating the process of time required to debate this bill‑‑July 1, 1993. We believe this is important to help protect local jobs and level the playing field for retail business.

      Since May 1, sales tax has been payable on restaurant meals under $6, snack foods, nonprescription drugs, newspapers and magazines, personal hygiene supplies, certain safety equipment, school supplies, baby supplies, sewing patterns and children's clothing items costing more than $100.

      Effective August 1, 1993, the application of provincial sales tax to private sales of automobiles will be tightened under the provisions of this bill.

      The changes to Manitoba's tax credit programs announced in the Budget Address are contained in Bill 48.  Effective for the 1993 tax year, the $175 pensioner school tax assistance is income tested for all recipients.  Pensioner homeowners with incomes under $23,800 will apply for benefits on their income tax return next spring.  Pensioner tenants will continue to apply to Manitoba Housing for their assistance.  By income testing benefits for all claimants, it has been possible to preserve the full $175 maximum in assistance for those pensioners who need it most.

      The minimum property tax credit is reduced from $325 to $250.  Most nonseniors with income under $20,000 will receive higher property tax credits through the income tax system sufficient to offset the reduced minimum.  Generally, senior citizens with income under $30,000 will also receive $75 more in property tax credits through the income tax system next year. All claimants to the property tax credit will be required to make a minimum contribution of $250 towards local property taxes, directly as homeowners or through rent for tenants, before they are eligible for provincial tax credits.  Claimants of Manitoba tax credits will continue to have maximum credits reduced by 1 percent of family income.

      Now the federal definition of income, including Workers Compensation, guaranteed income supplements, social allowances and foreign pensions, will be used to ensure that people with the same level of income, even from these sources, will qualify for the same level of tax credit assistance.

      I would ask all members to support passage of this bill before July 1 so that border collections may start on time and help level the playing field for Manitoba businesses.

      Madam Deputy Speaker, I commend Bill 48 to all the members. Thank you very much.

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Mr. Leonard Evans (Brandon East):  Madam Deputy Speaker, before I adjourn the debate, I wonder if I could ask the minister one question.

Madam Deputy Speaker:  Would the honourable Minister of Finance be prepared to accept one question from the honourable member for Brandon East?

Mr. Manness:  Yes.

Mr. Leonard Evans:  Madam Deputy Speaker, because of the claims made by the distributors of raw leaf tobacco regarding the unfairness of the tax, I wonder if the minister would undertake to review or reanalyze the proposed raw leaf tobacco tax that is proposed in this bill, to ensure that the tax burden on raw leaf tobacco is no greater than the burden on the tailor‑made or manufactured tobacco products?

Mr. Manness:  Madam Deputy Speaker, the short answer is yes, although I have looked at this at many angles.  I will try to give him more information on this on paper, but at this time I would indicate to the member that basically a raw leaf of tobacco is 225 grams in weight, and taking into account the waste that is associated with the stem, a full 25 grams, we sense that what we are comparing then is 200 grams of raw leaf versus 200 grams of cut tobacco which most of us are familiar with.  It comes within the can that we have seen for some time.

      The comparable rates of taxation are the following:  5.3 cents per gram on the processed, refined tobacco in a can, and 4 cents a gram, basically, on 200 grams of raw leaf tobacco after the stem has been removed.

      I will undertake to give him something on paper with greater clarity if that is what he so wishes.

Mr. Leonard Evans:  I would move, seconded by the member for Elmwood (Mr. Maloway), that debate be adjourned.

Motion agreed to.


Bill 49‑The Summary Convictions Amendment and Consequential Amendments Act


Hon. James McCrae (Minister of Justice and Attorney General):  I move, seconded by the honourable Minister of Finance (Mr. Manness), that Bill 49, The Summary Convictions Amendment and Consequential Amendments Act (Loi modifiant la Loi sur les poursuites sommaires et apportant des modifications correlatives a une autre loi), be now read a second time and referred to a committee of this House.

Motion presented.

Mr. McCrae:  Madam Deputy Speaker, the purpose of this legislation is twofold and relates to the manner in which this province deals with parking and traffic offences.

      The first objective is to remove parking tickets and traffic fines from this department's fine‑option program.  The second is to remove incarceration as the penalty for failing to pay such fines incurred for parking and traffic violations.

      We fully expect these measures to help set the stage for more effective and proportionate measures for collecting and enforcing these fines in the future.

      Honourable members will recall that Manitoba introduced the fine‑option program in January of 1983 as an alternative for people who are unable to pay fines.  This program gives such people the option of performing community work for which they receive credit towards the fine at the minimum wage rate.

      The province has agreements with nonprofit groups to deliver this program.  There is now a network of more than 140 community resource centres and over 500 work centres.

      In 1992, nearly 15,000 people registered to work off their fines; 62 percent completed their required hours; 10 percent did some work and then chose to pay off the remainder of the fine. However, some offenders have had to be arrested and jailed for failing to carry out the fine‑option program.

      Expenditures for the program are increasing as well.  The province pays a fee of $40 per work assignment to the nonprofit organizations.  In fiscal year 1992‑93, these fees totalled $453,000.

      One weakness of the program is that people can use the fine‑option program for small fines, including parking tickets and minor traffic violations.  In some cases, the fine may be less than the $40 fee paid by the province.

      This amendment proposes to eliminate this shortcoming by removing the fine option for parking and Highway Traffic Act offences.  Combined, these types of fines account for almost 55 percent of all fine‑option registrations.  By removing them, we could save the province in the order of $250,000 annually, beginning with just under $125,000 this fiscal year.

      As I stated, the second objective of this amendment is to remove incarceration as a penalty for nonpayment of parking tickets or Highway Traffic Act fines.  Quite simply, the punishment is too severe for the crime.  It offends our sense of fairness and may also contravene the Canadian Constitution.  This is an issue many jurisdictions in this country are now addressing.

      In Manitoba, the courts and this government are developing alternative and generally simplified approaches to collecting fines.  First, 85 percent of offenders pay their fines willingly.  Second, for the 5 to 10 percent of people who have difficulty paying fines, due to low incomes, the courts now regularly extend the time to pay and accept payment in installments.  For the rest, there is a variety of collection measures that can be employed ranging from warning letters and refusing to renew driver licences to seizure of vehicles.  This last option is currently being addressed in another bill before this House.

      The present amendments address primarily the removal of parking tickets and traffic fines from the fine‑option program and the removal of jail as the penalty for nonpayment of these fines.  We believe that in combination with other legislation these measures will strengthen the ability of the courts to enforce and collect fines and continue our progress towards a more effective and proportionate approach to this issue.

Ms. Becky Barrett (Wellington):  Madam Deputy Speaker, I move, seconded by the member for Elmwood (Mr. Maloway), that debate be adjourned.

Motion agreed to.


Bill 50‑The Statute Law Amendment Act, 1993


Hon. James McCrae (Minister of Justice and Attorney General): Madam Deputy Speaker, I move, seconded by the honourable Minister of Highways and Transportation (Mr. Driedger), that Bill 50, The Statute Law Amendment Act, 1993 (Loi de 1993 modifiant diverses dispositions legislatives), be now read a second time and be referred to a committee of this House.

Motion presented.

Mr. McCrae:  Madam Deputy Speaker, as honourable members are aware, The Statute Law Amendment Act is the omnibus bill presented each year to the Legislature.  The primary purpose of this legislation is to correct minor errors in statutes that have been identified in the course of the year.

      This year's bill is made somewhat lengthy by the inclusion of Part 2, which corrects all references to the titles of ministers and departments, made necessary by changes made over the years under The Executive Government Organization Act.

      Part 1 of the bill contains the usual range of minor changes to correct typographical and other errors in the statutes.  There are a few changes in Part 1, however, which I would like to highlight for honourable members because of their substantive effect.

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      Changes are included here to The Communities Economic Development Fund Act.  These changes bring the provisions of that act into line with the provisions of The Crown Corporations Public Review and Accountability Act in that the chairperson of the board and the chief executive officer will now be separate positions, and the fund will be required to prepare quarterly financial statements.

      A minor change to The Provincial Court Act is included to clear up an ambiguity concerning the status of the chairperson of a nominating committee under Section 8 of that act.  The Financial Administration Act is changed to authorize the minister to write off uncollectible debts due to the government without prejudicing the government's right to collect them in the future.  The amendments to this act also extend the minister's power to collect debts due by way of setoff from monies payable to a debtor by any government agency, rather than just from monies payable to the debtor by government departments.

      Certain points of clarification that must be implemented before the new Homestead Act comes into force have also been included.  These changes are required to ensure an orderly transition to the new act.  They will also serve to clarify the definition of homestead, as will a provision governing equalization payments under The Marital Property Act.

      A minor change to The Housing and Renewal Corporation Act has been included in authorizing the appointment of employees of certain housing authorities and Crown agencies to the board of the corporation in addition to civil servants.

      Changes to The Marriage Act have been included to ensure consistency with federal laws.  There is also one change to delete an obsolete requirement regarding marriage certificates.

      Several acts are being amended to implement a decision to authorize the Land Titles Office to charge fees for the services it provides to government agencies.  In addition, this bill includes an amendment to ensure awards of the board of reference under The Public Schools Act are valid, notwithstanding a failure to comply with the technical requirements of The Regulations Act.

      Subsection 11(7) of The Public Trustee Act is being changed to reflect the current office practice as it relates to calculation and payment of interest on client accounts.  The current office practice is more beneficial to clients of the Public Trustee's office.  A change included in this bill to The Rural Development Bonds Act will remove from financial institutions the benefit of the government guarantee that is available to other bond holders.

      Finally, I would note that a minor change to The Teachers' Pensions Act has been included.  This change corrects a subsection reference that creates an ambiguity between the role of the investment committee and the role of the board in connection with investment decisions.

      I will be pleased to provide any background information that honourable members may wish at the committee stage on Bill 50. Thank you, Madam Deputy Speaker.

Ms. Becky Barrett (Wellington):  Madam Deputy Speaker, I move, seconded by the member for Thompson (Mr. Ashton), that debate be adjourned.

Motion agreed to.


Bill 51‑The Municipal Amendment Act (2)


Hon. Leonard Derkach (Minister of Rural Development):  Madam Deputy Speaker, I move, seconded by the Minister of Finance (Mr. Manness), that Bill 51, The Municipal Amendment Act (2); Loi no 2 modifiant la Loi sur les municipalites, be now read a second time and be referred to a committee of this House.

Motion presented.

Mr. Derkach:  Madam Deputy Speaker, the amendments to The Municipal Act before this House are in response to the urgent need to replace some outdated sections of this legislation.

      The proposed amendments reflect changing needs of municipal bodies in a wide variety of areas.  The proposed amendments to The Municipal Act include several changes.  The first one is changing the expropriation provisions to allow a municipality to assemble land for municipal purposes without restricting the proposed use of this land.

      Madam Deputy Speaker, the City of Thompson has encouraged us to move ahead with this legislation for some time.  It provides similar authority that is now, at present, in the city of Winnipeg, through The City of Winnipeg Act.  It will assist municipalities outside of Winnipeg to acquire land for development purposes and make their authority consistent with that of The City of Winnipeg Act.

      The second item, Madam Deputy Speaker, is the deletion of the requirement for public transit fares to be approved by the Public Utilities Board.  The City of Brandon has requested this for some time.  The current provisions cause problems for those communities with small transit systems such as Brandon, Flin Flon and Thompson in that the requirement for the Public Utilities Board approval causes unnecessary administrative and time delays.  This applies to transit fares applicable to the communities of Brandon, Flin Flon and Thompson, and makes them consistent with the city of Winnipeg.

      The next one, Madam Deputy Speaker, is absolving municipalities from liability for nuisance claims resulting from sewer backups.  This provision parallels that of the city of Winnipeg through The City of Winnipeg Act.  It is attempting to limit municipalities' liability only to situations where they were negligent in some way.  The need for this amendment has been highlighted in recent years because of the number of insurance claims coming forward in these instances.  This new provision has been requested by the UMM to give them consistency with the city of Winnipeg and other jurisdictions.

(Mr. Speaker in the Chair)

      The next one, Mr. Speaker, is the correction of an inconsistency between The Municipal Act and The Intoxicated Persons Detention Act.  Municipal by‑laws dealing with drunkenness are no longer required since this is covered by other provincial legislation.

      Another amendment, Mr. Speaker, is providing municipalities with authority to invest in treasury bill mutual funds.  The Municipal Act currently restricts investments made by municipalities as to security.  Municipalities, as well as two chartered banks, have requested this amendment to allow them to invest in mutual funds which invest exclusively in treasury bills.

      The original intent of the provision in the act was to restrict investments to those that are guaranteed.  As such, this amendment is consistent with the original provision.  This amendment has been, again, requested by municipal associations and chartered banks to be included as authorized investment opportunities under the act.

      Another amendment is to allow municipalities to appoint their own municipal auditors and negotiate their own rates of remuneration for those auditors.  This amendment is necessitated both by request of municipalities, and, indeed, we have seen fit to include this as part of the revisions or amendments to The Municipal Act.  This change in legislation will give municipalities the responsibility to appoint their own auditors and to negotiate their own audit fees.

      Another change, Mr. Speaker, is the clarification of indemnity allowances for municipal councillors.  This is a housekeeping amendment to correct, if you like, housekeeping issues, to correct references and numbering of subsections in order to clarify consistency of expenditures and indemnity provisions between rural and urban municipalities.

      The last change, Mr. Speaker, is to allow for a change of references to local government support services branch, which reflects the recent restructuring of the Department of Rural Development.

      Mr. Speaker, all of these proposed amendments arise from significant consultation between rural municipalities and urban municipalities as well as our department.  Rural Development supports these amendments to The Municipal Act as a means of providing municipal authorities with the means to meet the needs of their residents that they have responsibility for.

      With that, Mr. Speaker, we recommend this bill to the House. Thank you.

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

Motion agreed to.

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Bill 52‑The Manitoba Foundation Act


Hon. Clayton Manness (Minister of Finance):  Mr. Speaker, I move, seconded by the Minister of Energy and Mines (Mr. Downey), that Bill 52, The Manitoba Foundation Act (Loi sur la Fondation du Manitoba), be now read a second time and be referred to a committee of this House.

Motion presented.

Mr. Manness:  Mr. Speaker, the province of Manitoba is endowed with a number of excellent public institutions which provide key educational and medical services to our citizens.  Although these institutions secure most of their funding from provincial coffers, they also obtain substantial support in the form of charitable donations from individuals, trusts and corporations.

      Under The Income Tax Act, an individual or trust donor may claim a nonrefundable tax credit which reduces both federal and provincial income tax liabilities subject to donations not exceeding 20 percent of the donor's net income for the year. Corporations may deduct their gifts subject to the 20 percent limit from taxable income.

      However, Mr. Speaker, donations to the Crown, to Canada or to a province are not subject to this limit.  A Crown agency foundation provides designated agents of the Crown, such as universities, colleges, hospitals and museums, with a means to attract donors who would otherwise not make contributions in excess of 20 percent of net income limit.  Several provinces have established such foundations for the universities, hospitals and museums in those provinces.

      Mr. Speaker, Bill 52 establishes the Manitoba Foundation, the Crown agency foundation announced in the 1993 Budget Address, an umbrella foundation to receive and distribute gifts destined for Manitoba universities and colleges, hospitals and museums.  The Manitoba Foundation will issue receipts for contributions which will be 100 percent eligible for nonrefundable credits or deduction.  This tax advantage will encourage contributions to support public entities throughout the province operating for the benefit of all Manitobans.

      The Manitoba Foundation will act as a conduit from donors to designated institutions, the universities, colleges, hospitals and museums which the province primarily supports.  Such institutions will be designated where they are registered charities under The Income Tax Act and receive most of their revenue from the province.  The institutions will continue their own fundraising.

      Bill 52 establishes a fund into which gifts of money will be deposited or to which property will be transferred.  When a potential donor needs deductability for a gift in excess of 20 percent of net income, the donor may make the gift to the Manitoba Foundation.  The foundation will receive the gift, deposit it into the fund, issue a receipt and, per the trustee's directions, subsequently forward or transfer the gift to the appropriate institution.

      Administrative expense of the foundation will be drawn from the fund.  The board of trustees overseeing the fund will consist of up to 13 members, the majority of which are appointed directly by the Lieutenant‑Governor‑in‑Council, with additional members nominated by the designated institutions.  Other members concerning the operation of the foundation will be provided in notes accompanying Bill 52.

      Mr. Speaker, I call on all members to support this bill.

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

Motion agreed to.


Bill 53‑The Justice for Victims of Crime 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 53, The Justice for Victims of Crime Amendment Act (Loi modifiant la Loi sur les droits des victimes d'actes criminels), 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 clarify the intention of The Justice for Victims of Crime Act. Honourable members will recall that this act was passed in 1987 to provide for a Victims Assistance Fund that could be used to fund programs to assist people who have been the victims of crimes.  In due course, the Victims Assistance Fund was established and a committee set up to review proposals.

      The wording of the existing act is somewhat unclear as to whether the government is able to access funds from the Victims Assistance Fund to use in government‑sponsored victims' programs.  The amendments put forward in this bill will allow for the cost recovery of government‑driven programs from the Victims Assistance Fund.  This will enable these programs to expand and provide better service to victims of crime in Manitoba.

      I commend this bill to all honourable members.  Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

Motion agreed to.


Bill 42‑The Liquor Control Amendment and Consequential Amendments Act


Hon. Linda McIntosh (Minister charged with the administration of The Liquor Control Act):  Mr. Speaker, I move, seconded by the Minister of Culture, Heritage and Citizenship (Mrs. Mitchelson), that Bill 42, The Liquor Control Amendment and Consequential Amendments Act; Loi modifiant la Loi sur la reglementation des alcools et apportant des modifications correlatives a d'autres lois, be now read a second time and be referred to a committee of this House.

Motion presented.

Mrs. McIntosh:  Mr. Speaker, I am pleased today to introduce The Liquor Control Amendment and Consequential Amendments Act which will update and improve The Manitoba Liquor Control Act through a series of amendments.

      The proposed legislation would allow for a better selection of wines for Manitoba consumers by permitting private retailers to sell wine and would improve beer selection by permitting hotel beer vendors to sell imported as well as domestic beer.

      To reinforce our government's commitment to the responsible consumption of alcohol, the act would also provide for stiffer penalties for those who sell liquor to intoxicated people or to minors.  The amendments also include several changes designed to update the entire regulatory framework governing the sale and consumption of alcohol in the province.

      Mr. Speaker, as well, in order to increase convenience to consumers, the MLCC stores, specialty wine stores and beer vendors will be allowed to accept credit cards.  Consumers have been able to purchase beverage alcohol by glass with credit cards for many years, and this privilege is now being extended to the purchase of alcohol beverage by bottle.  Beer vendors will be permitted to sell imported beer as well as domestic beer as a result of these changes.

      With these proposed changes, Mr. Speaker, the Manitoba Liquor Control Commission would allow a limited number of specialty wine stores throughout the province which we hope to see target new niches in the marketplace with a wider variety of specialty wines and wine‑related products and services to customers.  These stores would be able to sell wine exclusively or in addition to specialty foods.  They would not sell any other type of liquor.

      The Manitoba Liquor Control Commission would regulate sales by such specialty stores to on‑premises licencees.  Specialty stores would sell wine by the bottle and only wine by the bottle, although sampling would be permitted, as in the MLCC stores. They would be able to sell wine products that are sold in MLCC stores, as well as the ones that are not currently available through that source.

      Any products also available at MLCC stores would have to be sold at MLCC prices, while products not sold in our outlets could be sold at prices set by the retailer.  The wine boutiques would be subject to The Retail Businesses Holiday Closing Act, and wine producers and holders of licences permitting the serving the liquor would not be able to hold a specialty wine store licence.

      In proposing this bill as well, Mr. Speaker, we are acting to discourage people from abusing the privilege of purchasing alcohol through the imposition of stiffer penalties.  Our laws will become among the toughest, we believe, in the country with respect to people who sell to minors and intoxicated people. Under the changes, both these offences will become major rather than general offences, which, in turn, would allow for more severe penalties.  In fact, the penalties will approximately double.

      In the future, a photo driver's licence or a government‑issued photo identification would be the only acceptable form of proof of age ID for the purchase of liquor. Moreover, under proposed changes to The Highway Traffic Act, anyone who lends his or her driver's licence to a minor for the purpose of buying liquor or who borrows another's for that purpose would automatically have their licence suspended. Currently, licence suspension is an optional penalty.

      Other amendments designed to update The Liquor Control Act include the following legislative changes.  The hours of operation of cabarets would change from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. to 4 p.m. to 2 a.m., allowing the cabarets to have better access to the after‑work trade.  Hotel beer vendors would be permitted to remain open until 2:30 a.m. instead of the current 2 a.m.  This is actually a return to a practice of beer vendors being allowed to stay open for half an hour after their licensed premises close.

      Licensed dining rooms will be given the flexibility to close at 9 p.m. instead of 11 p.m. and keep their cocktail lounges open.  Minors will be allowed in cabarets only when accompanied by a parent, guardian or spouse who is of legal age.  Licencees would be responsible for their outside property and parking lot, and a definition of a boat, vessel or launch as a residence will be added to the act, allowing for charges to be laid against people drinking in a boat that is not a residence.

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      The regulation of the MLCC can dictate which store the holders of occasional permits can buy liquor from would change in form which store they will buy from, and that store must be printed on the permit.

      The MLCC would encourage and aggressively pursue discounts from wine producers, and the MLCC would allow and encourage point of sale mail and rebate coupons from producers.

      In addition, Mr. Speaker, there are a large number of regulations under The Liquor Control Act that would be eliminated, and generally these affect issues where we feel the MLCC regulation is not appropriate or necessary or is outdated and no longer current practice.

      These include such issues as the type of glasses used in licensed premises; credit arrangements offered by licencees; food and liquor menus; the decor of licensed premises; their washrooms or patios; and the type of cutlery used in dining rooms.  All of these matters and others are currently regulated by the MLCC, and we feel that is no longer necessary.

      Mr. Speaker, in conclusion, as Minister responsible for The Manitoba Liquor Control Act, I believe these amendments are necessary to provide for better service to consumers, to increase selection of wines and beers, and to make the act more effective and appropriate in its regulation of licensed premises.

      As well our government is committed to promoting safe and responsible consumption of alcohol through stiffer penalties for those who violate the law.

      I believe this bill reflects our commitment in that regard, and with these few brief remarks, Mr. Speaker, I submit this bill for second reading.

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

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

Motion agreed to.

* * *

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

Hon. Clayton Manness (Government House Leader):  Mr. Speaker, would you call on adjourned debate, Bills 41, 47 and 37.




Bill 41‑The Provincial Parks and Consequential Amendments Act


Mr. Speaker:  On the proposed motion of the honourable Minister of Natural Resources (Mr. Enns), Bill 41, The Provincial Parks and Consequential Amendments Act; Loi concernant les parcs provinciaux et apportant des modifications correlatives a d'autres lois, standing in the name of the honourable member for Swan River (Ms. Wowchuk).

An Honourable Member:  Stand.

Mr. Speaker:  Is there leave that this matter remain standing? (agreed)


Bill 47‑The Residential Tenancies Amendment Act (2)


Mr. Speaker:  On the proposed motion of the honourable Minister of Consumer and Corporate Affairs (Mrs. McIntosh), Bill 47, The Residential Tenancies Amendment Act (2); Loi no 2 modifiant la Loi sur la location a usage d'habitation, standing in the name of the honourable member for Transcona (Mr. Reid).

An Honourable Member:  Stand.

Mr. Speaker:  Is there leave that this matter remain standing? (agreed)


Bill 37‑The Manitoba Public Insurance Corporation Amendment and Consequential Amendments Act


Mr. Speaker:  On the proposed motion of the honourable Minister responsible for the Manitoba Public Insurance Corporation (Mr. Cummings), Bill 37, The Manitoba Public Insurance Corporation Amendment and Consequential Amendments Act; Loi modifiant la Loi sur la Societe d'assurance publique du Manitoba et apportant des modifications correlatives a d'autres lois, standing in the name of the honourable member for Transcona (Mr. Reid).

An Honourable Member:  Stand.

Mr. Speaker:  Is there leave that this matter remain standing? (agreed)

* * *

Hon. Clayton Manness (Government House Leader):  Mr. Speaker, would you call Bills 34, 32, 3, 39 and 29.


Bill 34‑The Public Schools Amendment (Francophone Schools Governance) Act


Mr. Speaker:  On the proposed motion of the honourable Minister of Education and Training (Mrs. Vodrey), Bill 34, The Public Schools Amendment (Francophone Schools Governance) Act; Loi modifiant la Loi sur les ecoles publiques (gestion des ecoles francaises), standing in the name of the honourable member for Wolseley (Ms. Friesen).

An Honourable Member:  Stand.

Mr. Speaker:  Stand?  Is there leave that this matter remain standing? (agreed)


Bill 32‑The Social Allowances Amendment Act


Mr. Speaker:  On the proposed motion of the honourable Minister of Family Services (Mr. Gilleshammer), Bill 32, The Social Allowances Amendment Act; Loi modifiant la Loi sur l'aide sociale, standing in the name of the honourable member for Radisson (Ms. Cerilli), who has 19 minutes remaining.

An Honourable Member:  She is finished.

Mr. Speaker:  Is there leave for that one to stand?

An Honourable Member:  No.

Mr. Speaker:  No?  Okay, leave is denied there.

      Also standing in the name of the honourable member for Burrows (Mr. Martindale), who has 13 minutes remaining.

An Honourable Member:  He is finished.

Mr. Speaker:  He is finished also?  Leave is denied there.

Ms. Becky Barrett (Wellington):  Mr. Speaker, I would like to put some comments on the record on this piece of legislation, The Social Allowances Amendment Act.

      Mr. Speaker, for those people, and there are many in this province who have been following this issue as it has unfolded over the past months, they are aware that this piece of legislation has absolutely only‑‑well, I guess it has two main principles and purposes, neither of which is stated in the minister's comments, either in the House on debate on second reading or in response to the many questions that have been asked by our caucus, particularly the member for Wolseley (Ms. Friesen), and in response by the Minister of Family Services when he appeared before a large group of young people who will be adversely affected by this piece of legislation, should the government, in its lack of wisdom, see fit to actually pass this bill.

      The government states that the reason behind this legislation is that no other jurisdiction has the categorical program Student Social Allowances that Manitoba does, and in these "tough economic times, tough choices had to be made," and this was one of those tough choices.

      Mr. Speaker, we in this House do not believe for a moment that this was a tough choice for this particular government to make.  It was no tougher a choice to do this than it was to cut programming to the ACCESS education system.  It was no tougher a choice for this government than the removal of government funding from Indian and Metis friendship centres, from other groups such as the Manitoba Anti‑Poverty Organization.  The list could go on and on of the nontough choices this government has made in its five years, six budgets, but most particularly this last session since the throne speech and since the budget was brought down by the Minister of Finance (Mr. Manness).

      It was not a tough decision, Mr. Speaker, because it did not impact on the people who matter to this government.  The cut in the Student Social Allowances Program does not hurt Bob Kozminski.  The cut to the Student Social Allowances Program does not hurt Arni Thorsteinson.  The cut to the Student Social Allowances Program does not hurt the hundreds of profit‑making corporations in this province that support financially and politically the Progressive Conservative government.  The cut to the Student Social Allowances Program has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that the government is allowing its chair of the PC Manitoba Fund to get away with $6 million in monies owing to the province. (interjection)

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       The Minister of Finance (Mr. Manness) talks about the debt that this government is facing, the debt that the people of Manitoba are facing, largely because, the Minister of Finance says, of interest rates and interest on debts.  Why does he not do something about the $6 million that is owing to the people of Manitoba by Arni Thorsteinson?

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

      There are lots‑‑(interjection) Madam Deputy Speaker, the Minister of Finance says that it is not owing to the people of Manitoba, that it is owing to the people of Canada.  The Minister of Finance cannot have it two ways, because the Minister of Finance is always saying there is only one taxpayer.  In this particular instance, we agree with him.  There is only one taxpayer, and the taxpayers of Canada and Manitoba are out $6 million and the interest arising from that.

      Madam Deputy Speaker, people on social assistance who fall behind in their bills are not given a cushion.  They are not allowed to go months and perhaps years before being asked by the government to pay what is owed by them to the people of Canada and Manitoba.  No, but the Tory fat cats who support this government provincially and the Conservative government federally have the free ride.

An Honourable Member:  I thought it was pigs, actually.

Ms. Barrett:  Well, the Tory fat cats‑‑yes, as an owner of cats, I would like to change the analogy.  Of course, I do not like using the analogy "hogs" either because they are very positive animals, but I digress, Madam Deputy Speaker.

      I would like to talk specifically about the bill under discussion here, The Social Allowances Amendment Act.

Some Honourable Members:  Oh, oh.

Madam Deputy Speaker:  Order, please.  I am experiencing great difficulty hearing the member for Wellington.

Ms. Barrett:  Madam Deputy Speaker, the discussion about the‑‑(interjection) I would like to ask the Minister of Consumer and Corporate Affairs (Mrs. McIntosh) that, if she really wants to discuss this issue, she is free to get up and debate the issue in the House on the record.

      Madam Deputy Speaker, the government's real reason, I am convinced, behind the initiation or the introduction of Bill 32 is not so much to cut back on the expenditures of this government, but it is to follow up on a principle that I think was very clearly enunciated last night by the Minister of Finance (Mr. Manness) in the discussion and debate in public hearings on Bill 22.

      The Minister of Finance stated, and I am looking forward with a great deal of anticipation to Hansard to be able to get the exact quotes, but the gist of his comment was in talking and asking a question of a presenter who was saying, please do not implement Bill 22, the horrible damage that it will do to the education of our children in this province, and the Minister of Finance asked this presenter if he did not agree with the fact that the poor in this country or this province will not be helped by the destruction of the rich.  The Minister of Finance (Mr. Manness) said, in the gist of his comments, not word for word, but what the parallel was, that you cannot help the poor by destroying the rich.

      Madam Deputy Speaker, that is exactly, in one phrase, what the Reaganomics, the Thatcherite monetarist trickle‑down economics of the discredited economics of the 1980s states, that you protect the rich and somehow that is going to make everything better for the poor.  Well, the obverse of that is, if you do not ask the rich and the affluent to pay their fair share to support the children, the young people, the families of this province and this country, if you do not ask them to do that, then by definition, you have to take it from those who have less.

      Madam Deputy Speaker, that is exactly what this bill does. It eliminates a program that has proven itself over the years of its existence to be a very successful program.  Statistics have shown that the vast majority of the young people who have made use of the Student Social Allowances Program have completed their education and have been given a leg up on the ladder of success. As the member for Wolseley (Ms. Friesen) has stated on numerous occasions in this House, what this government's Bill 32 does, is it takes those rungs away from those people.

      What I find particularly reprehensible about the Minister of Family Services' (Mr. Gilleshammer) comments on second reading dealing with this bill, and even most particularly reprehensible, was when he went out and spoke to the people who are going to be affected by this bill, when he suggested the alternatives and the options.

      Madam Deputy Speaker, he must have been doing it with tongue‑in‑cheek, because the reality, if the Minister of Family Services (Mr. Gilleshammer), the Minister of Finance (Mr. Manness), the Minister of Native and Northern Affairs (Mr. Downey), the Minister of Consumer and Corporate Affairs (Mrs. McIntosh), and most particularly, the person who must take ultimate responsibility for this and other actions of his government, the Premier (Mr. Filmon)‑‑if they had gone outside of their own narrow little constituencies and actually talked to people who are affected by the actions of this government, they would know that the options put forward by the Minister of Family Services (Mr. Gilleshammer) and his government bear no relation to what is actually available to the young people in this province, the people who were taking advantage of this program.

      The option of going home, now, the minister of Family Services‑‑this is just incredible.  The Minister of Family Services has spent almost three years now‑‑

An Honourable Member:  Three years?

Ms. Barrett:  Yes, the Minister of Family Services became Minister of Family Services in October of 1990.  He has spent almost three years cutting and slashing and decreasing programs and services to the families of Manitoba, with one exception, and that exception is the welfare budget line.

      The reason the welfare budget line is increasing year after year after year is that the Minister of Family Services (Mr. Gilleshammer), the Minister of Finance (Mr. Manness), the Minister of Education and Training (Mrs. Vodrey), the Minister of Industry, Trade and Tourism (Mr. Stefanson), are doing nothing to provide an economic, a social framework within which the people of Manitoba can grow and prosper.

      So the outcome, the unalterable outcome of all of their easy decisions for them to make, difficult decisions for the people of Manitoba to live with, is that we have more people on welfare because there is no work in this province, because there are no education programs allowing young people and people who want to come back to school to get an education.

      So the Minister of Family Services (Mr. Gilleshammer) is right.  His department's budget has increased, but it has increased in the wrong places.  It has increased in social assistance payouts to the record number of people who are on municipal and provincial social assistance.  It has not increased in the areas that we feel it needs to be increased to provide meaningful support and assistance.

      Madam Deputy Speaker, it interests me because the government always says that they know how to manage the economy.  They know how to deal with finances, and New Democrats could not manage a peanut stand. (interjection)  Yes, I remember that phrase.  Well, when we left government six budgets ago, there was an operating surplus.  We were the first province out of the 1981‑82 recession.  We had a booming economy, as did the rest of the country.

      On all indicators, we have gone downhill in relation to the rest of the provinces in this country due to those "tough" choices this government has had to make.  Those tough choices have made Manitoba not one of the best places in the country and in the world to live, but one of the worst places if you have any problems, any difficulties, if you are not part of the small and getting smaller corporate and financial elite that this government listens only to.

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      Madam Deputy Speaker, if we had not eliminated the Student Social Allowances Program, which, as the member for Wolseley (Ms. Friesen) has pointed out over the last two days in Question Period, is a program similar in its benefits and in the people whom it serves to five other provincial jurisdictions, if we had not eliminated this program which is being seen across the country to be the kind of program that is effective in helping people get out of welfare and to get on to the work rolls, then we would not see the need for increasing welfare rolls to the degree that we have seen in the past.

      Madam Deputy Speaker, this is cynical.  It is regressive.  It is a typical classic Conservative move.  It is a typical classic Conservative program cut.  I will tell you, not just in New Democrat parts of the city and the province, but in talking with people throughout this province, many of whom are not New Democrats, when they talk about the problems with this government, there are two things that they mention.  They mention two programs:  one is the Children's Dental Program cuts that the Minister of Health (Mr. Orchard) initiated months ago, and two is the Student Social Allowances cutbacks.

      You want to know why people of all political persuasions in all parts of this province pick these two programs, because these two programs show that this government does not care about providing services for people who need them.  This government does not care about being fiscally responsible because people say, in discussing these two programs, where is the logic in this?  Where is the financial prudence?  Where is the management skills in these decisions? (interjection) As the Minister of Health said, there is no logic.  He is accurate in this.  There is no logic.

Point of Order

Hon. Donald Orchard (Minister of Health):  Madam Deputy Speaker, on a point of order.  I did say there is no logic in the NDP.

Madam Deputy Speaker:  The honourable Minister of Health does not have a point of order.  It is a dispute over the facts.

* * *

Ms. Barrett:  I was engaging, I must admit‑‑and I am ashamed of myself, because I was engaging in the kind of behaviour that the Minister of Health engages in every day in this House and that was taking‑‑(interjection) Yes, my comments were not nearly in the same category as the Minister of Health's.

      Madam Deputy Speaker, Bill 32, the Student Social Allowances bill is going to be seen and is being seen by many people in this province as‑‑

Madam Deputy Speaker:  Order, please.


Point of Order


Hon. Linda McIntosh (Minister of Consumer and Corporate Affairs):  Yes, I wonder if the member would be willing to entertain a question.

Madam Deputy Speaker:  The honourable Minister of Consumer and Corporate Affairs is requesting leave to ask a question of the honourable member for Wellington.  Is there leave?

Ms. Barrett:  Madam Deputy Speaker, absolutely not.  She will have her opportunity when she‑‑

Madam Deputy Speaker:  Leave has been denied.

* * *

Ms. Barrett:  Madam Deputy Speaker, I would suggest to the Minister of Consumer and Corporate Affairs, and particularly the Minister of Health (Mr. Orchard), and most particularly the Minister of Family Services (Mr. Gilleshammer) and the Minister of Education and Training (Mrs. Vodrey), that they will all have an opportunity not to ask questions of me, but to ask questions of the students who are directly affected by these cuts at one o'clock at the rally outside.

      I throw down the gauntlet and urge, if not demand, that the representatives of this government go out and try to explain yet again, ask the questions the Minister of Consumer and Corporate Affairs was going to ask me, ask the questions of those people who are directly involved.  Ask them. (interjection)

      Madam Deputy Speaker, the Minister of Consumer and Corporate Affairs makes a very good point, an accurate point from her chair, when she says that I do not have to answer questions because I am not accountable.  She is accurate because I am not yet in government, but I am accountable to the people whom I represent, and I am accountable to the people in the province of Manitoba in my role as an opposition member.

      My role as an opposition member is to ask the government for clarification and justification for its actions and to bring to this House the concerns raised by the people of the province of Manitoba dealing directly with the issues raised and as a result of the actions of the government of the province of Manitoba.

      Finally, it will not be very long before I will be a member of the government benches, and I will certainly take my responsibilities to all of the people of the province of Manitoba far more seriously than any of the members of the government benches to date.

      Madam Deputy Speaker, I would like to conclude my remarks by, again, inviting members of the government to remain in the Legislative Building for one‑half hour after the close of the official business of the day so that they can dialogue with the people who are affected by their actions, so that they can talk to people who are going to have their opportunities sharply curtailed by the actions of the government, not only in Bill 32, but specifically by the impact of Bill 32 and the cuts to the other education and social service programming this government has undertaken.

      Madam Deputy Speaker, I would just like to close by saying the choices that this government has made, not only in this budget but in its previous budgets, have not been tough choices. They have not been difficult choices.  They have been stupid choices, and the people of the province of Manitoba, more and more every day, are beginning to realize and understand that, not only in this budget but in its previous budgets, have not been tough choices.  They have not been difficult choices.  They have been stupid choices.

      The people of the province of Manitoba, more and more every day, are beginning to realize and understand that, not only from a personal, human, socially conscious point of view but from the point of view of the supposed strengths of this government, which is the financial point of view, Madam Deputy Speaker, and taken in context along with the other actions of this government, they will be held accountable to the people of Manitoba, and the sooner the better.

      Thank you, Madam Deputy Speaker.

Mr. Steve Ashton (Thompson):  Madam Deputy Speaker, I just have a few very brief remarks on this bill.  I do want to speak on it, because I want to put on the record my opposition to the bill.

      In doing so, I just want to relay the comments of many of my constituents, who, upon hearing of this bill and the action of the government in taking out the Student Social Allowances Program, quite frankly, from a common‑sense point of view, do not understand why the government is now saying it is better for many of these students to be on welfare, period, than to be in the position where under the current system they are eligible for social assistance and they can attend school.

      I want to say, Madam Deputy Speaker, I have had a number of cases in my constituency of people who have been unable even to get on the current program, who have been in the position of making the very difficult choice of having to quit school because they cannot get into the program and cannot continue with their education.  What could make more sense than encouraging students to continue their education through this social assistance program?  What can make more sense for the people involved, to give them the opportunity to get ahead in terms of their education?

      Madam Deputy Speaker, study after study shows that if you complete Grade 12, you have a much better chance of getting a job.  You have a much better chance of getting off welfare.  So common sense dictates that this bill is wrong.  It makes no sense, and I would ask members of the government not to base their vote on this bill on our speeches but to base it on the views of the people I have talked to who say this bill just does not make sense.

      I will, Madam Deputy Speaker, be voting with them on the common‑sense approach of rejecting this bill.

      Thank you.

* (1200)

Mr. Neil Gaudry (St. Boniface):  Madam Deputy Speaker, I move, seconded by the member for St. James (Mr. Edwards), that debate be adjourned.

Motion agreed to.


Bill 3‑The Oil and Gas and Consequential Amendments Act


Madam Deputy Speaker:  On the proposed motion of the honourable Minister of Energy and Mines (Mr. Downey), Bill 3 (The Oil and Gas and Consequential Amendments Act; Loi concernant le petrole et le gaz naturel et apportant des modifications correlatives a d'autres lois), standing in the name of the honourable member for Elmwood (Mr. Maloway).

      Is there leave to permit the bill to remain standing?

An Honourable Member:  No.

Madam Deputy Speaker:  No?  Leave has been denied.

Mr. Steve Ashton (Thompson):  Madam Deputy Speaker, as critic for this area, I can indicate I will be putting some comments on the record.  We will be passing it into committee, because we want to hear from people in the industry, the oil and gas industry.  We want to hear from municipalities and other residents of this province who are impacted by this bill.

      I have had the opportunity, Madam Deputy Speaker, to correspond with many people in the industry and also in areas affected by the oil and gas industry in Manitoba, particularly southwest in the province, to talk to people about this bill.

      I will note and I am sure the minister will acknowledge that some suggestions have been made to the minister.  He has received correspondence, I know, in a number of cases, making a number of suggestions.  We look forward to the minister responding in committee with some possible amendments.  I know of a couple of amendments that have been suggested.  Of course, this being second reading, I cannot get into the detail of it, but I do think they are quite reasonable amendments.

      I think it is important to put on the record the intent of the bill, which is to replace Parts 2 and 3 of the present Mines Act, The Pipe Line Act and Part 1 of The Gas Storage and Allocation Act.  Really it is a similar theme, I assume, Madam Deputy Speaker, to the act that consolidated laws in terms of the mining industry which we just dealt with in the previous session.

      The legislation purports to address environmental concerns through recognizing principles of sustainable development. Obviously, that is a commendable statement.  I think a committee, some members of the public, may question the degree to which that is followed, but that is certainly something that has to be governed, I think, by all particular acts.

      There are also a number of provisions in this particular bill that do refer to, as I said, principles of sustainable development.  There is a very fine‑sounding statement that decisions respecting development of oil and gas resources be integrated with decisions respecting protection and management of the environment so that oil and gas industry activity is conducted with due regard for its impact on the environment, and environmental programs and initiatives are instituted with due regard for their economic impact.  I would stress that I feel that is absolutely fundamental in this particular case, and I hope the words will have some impact in terms of governing the industry.

      I would point to a number of other aspects of the particular bill which were, I think, quite important.  Some concerns have been expressed about the powers of the minister.  That is something we will be dealing with in committee.  I know that is something that has come up in my contact with people in the industry.

      I feel there is a real judgment called for when it involves the power of the minister, Madam Deputy Speaker.  If that power is used wisely, obviously there is no great difficulty involved, but there is always the temptation for political influence. (interjection) Well, the minister says, not for me, but I would note that the minister just happens to represent an area of the province that is the area where this focus is in place.  It is very important to his constituency.

      I am not arguing that he should not, as a member of the Legislature, represent the interests of his area, but it does involve some potential conflicts between the role as a constituency MLA and the role of a minister.

      I just point in another context, for example, to the kinds of difficulties that arose in Nova Scotia with the Westray Mine development, where you essentially had the Premier of the day who prior to being Premier‑‑a former Premier now‑‑Madam Deputy Speaker, just happened to be the MLA for the area. (interjection) That is right, off to the U.S. on another Tory patronage appointment, the Tory pension system.  They sure know how to take care of their retired political people.  He is off.

      I mean that as no offence, and I do not want to get into Westray specifics, but I am talking about the potential for conflict.  I think in this particular case, I think the minister may wish to address that, either in his concluding remarks or certainly on third reading.

      I think that is important, Madam Deputy Speaker, because in going through most of the regulations, most of them are fairly technical and deal with the development and construction operation of not only oil and gas operations, but also pipelines and also development and operation of underground storage reservoirs involving oil and gas.  So it is fairly comprehensive, fairly technical, but I think that is one more significant concern that has come up in my consultation with, as I said, people in the industry, and I think that is something that has to be addressed.

      I would also note, Madam Deputy Speaker, that there are tough times even in the minister's own area in southwest Manitoba.  I note, for example, in Virden this year, the welfare office has been very busy.  We are hoping some of the incentives that have been put in place in terms of drilling may return the oil‑ and gas‑producing areas of this province to some of the better days, but I think the minister will be the first one to acknowledge that, in the Virden‑Waskada‑Melita area, exploration has been pretty well at a standstill since the price of oil dropped in the late 1980s.

      It is a very difficult time in the industry.  We are looking already at 50 wells being abandoned in the area because they are no longer considered economical.  I think that is something that has to be of significant concern.

      If you look at the impact on some of the small communities, I know, for example, in Waskada, and Waskada's population is about 350, I believe; if you look at the impact, for example, of Omega Hydrocarbons, which was in operation in the area in 1992, basically spent half a million dollars in municipal taxes to the R.M.s of Arthur and Brenda; $640,000 in payroll to 17 people in the community; $1.7 million in freehold royalties to people holding mineral rights; $550,000 in land rental around the wells; $325,000 in mineral taxes; and a hundred thousand in corporate taxes.

      I use that example to point out the significance to this industry of the very small communities, 350 or so people, and our concern certainly on this side of the House with the difficult times that have developed in the industry in that area.  As I said, much of that is the result of lower prices.  We will see, Madam Deputy Speaker, if some of the drilling incentives that have been put in place will have an impact.  The difficulty, of course, is that, when you have low prices, all the incentives in the world cannot compensate for that fact.

      I want to indicate that certainly I hope to see a thriving oil and gas industry.  We have had much promise and hope over the years, and it has been very much dependent on those cycles in the industry.

      As I said then, the act is fairly technical in nature, Madam Deputy Speaker.  I have raised some questions with the minister on the question to ensure that treaty land entitlements in northern Manitoba are not affected by the sections related to the Crown lands and drilling rights in the Crown lands.  I would appreciate some statement to that effect.  I know that is not the intent of the legislation; but, as the minister, I think, can appreciate, legislation can often have the best of intentions and may not follow up on those intentions.

      We will have some detailed questions in committee on some of the specific sections, and, in particular, as I said, on the question of the impact of the minister.  I also requested a spreadsheet, Madam Deputy Speaker.  I think that might be useful at the committee stage to help people work through what is a very detailed bill.  I want to indicate that, while I have not received that spreadsheet, which I think would be normal protocol, I am still prepared to see the bill go to committee with appropriate notice, because I think it is also important to get the members of the public, the industry and southwest Manitoba in particular‑‑to give them the opportunity to participate on this bill.

      With those comments, Madam Deputy Speaker, we are prepared to see this bill go through to committee.  I just, as I said, ask that the government House leader not call it overnight, so to speak.  At least give a number of days notice, particularly given the fact there are a lot of out‑of‑town people who may wish to present, given the opportunity, particularly from southwest Manitoba.

      I think that, if we give adequate notice, the committee stage can be quite useful.  I find committee stages on bills are particularly useful in this kind of bill, a very technical redrafting to a number of acts.  With that, we look forward to committee discussions.

Hon. James Downey (Minister of Energy and Mines):  Madam Deputy Speaker, let me say I am pleased to close debate and deal with two or three points that the member raised, the first one being his concern for any form of conflict.

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      I personally do not believe I have any conflict as it relates to activities that would be in relationship to this bill, and would consider it not unlike the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Findlay) passing an agricultural bill, or the minister responsible for Autopac passing Autopac legislation.  I would see it not any different from that.  As I said, I would not perceive as having any personal conflict as it relates to this.

      As far as the area is concerned, Madam Deputy Speaker, the member refers to some of the difficulties that are faced. Really, the reasoning for this bill is the separation of the oil and gas and The Pipe Line Act from The Mines Act, which has now taken place.  This is the second step.  This initiative was started under the previous Minister of Energy and Mines, and is just completing that process.

      I do have a couple of other good areas to report, and take this opportunity to do so.  Last year, we saw a substantially reduced drilling activity in southwestern Manitoba; however, that has reversed.  The incentive program that has been put in place for the oil industry has helped, and there has been some success within that program of additional investment being encouraged into the area, particularly for new oil field search and find, or wildcat well activity.  I know there has been some success in that area.

      I particularly want to compliment a Manitoba company known as Tundra Oil and Gas, which has been very active in that area, and I think they are to be complimented for it.  As well, it is my understanding that the number of wells to be drilled this year is going to be substantially greater.  We are anticipating probably upwards of 75 new wells drilled compared to last year's 28 wells.  So that is a tremendous increase in the activity.

      As well, we are seeing new technology, for which this government introduced a royalty holiday for some of the new well activity in horizontal drilling.  I know of at least one horizontal well‑‑which is new technology‑‑for increased production has been completed.  I am not sure‑‑I have not got a report on the results of it, but that has happened as well as several others.

      Again, we have seen a record sale on Crown lands this year, again, important to indicate how the oil industry, I believe, is coming back to life again in southwestern Manitoba.  I look forward to debate, and any opportunities that the public want to present will be given to them by this government.

Madam Deputy Speaker:  Is the House ready for the question?

      The question before the House is second reading of Bill 3. All those in favour, please say yea.

Some Honourable Members:  Yea.

Madam Deputy Speaker:  All those opposed, please say nay.

      The motion is accordingly carried.


House Business


Hon. Clayton Manness (Government House Leader):  Madam Deputy Speaker, before you call the next bill, I would just like to announce the Standing Committee on Economic Development will reconvene on Monday morning, 9 a.m., to consider Bill 22, in Room 255.


Bill 39‑The Provincial Court Amendment Act


Madam Deputy Speaker:  To resume debate on second reading of Bill 39 (The Provincial Court Amendment Act; Loi modifiant la Loi sur la Cour provinciale), on the proposed motion of the honourable Minister of Justice (Mr. McCrae), standing in the name of the honourable of member for Inkster (Mr. Lamoureux).  Is there leave to permit the bill to remain standing?

Some Honourable Members:  No.

Madam Deputy Speaker:  No.  Leave has been denied.

      Is the House ready for the question?

      The question before the House is second reading of Bill 39. All those in favour, please say yea.

Some Honourable Members:  Yea.

Madam Deputy Speaker:  All those opposed, please say nay.

      The motion is accordingly carried.


Bill 29‑The Minors Intoxicating Substances Control Act


 Madam Deputy Speaker:  To resume debate on second reading of Bill 29 (The Minors Intoxicating Substances Control Act; Loi sur le controle des substances intoxicantes et les mineurs), on the proposed motion of the Minister of Justice (Mr. McCrae), standing in the name of the honourable member for Point Douglas (Mr. Hickes).

Mr. George Hickes (Point Douglas):  I am pleased to speak on this Bill 29, which is The Minors Intoxicating Substances Control Act.

      Madam Deputy Speaker, I have been receiving a lot of calls, and a lot of people are very concerned about what is happening across our province.

      Under this act, it proposes to promote the health and social well‑being of children and young people by protecting them from the availability of certain products whose effects, when used as intoxicants, are harmful to health and social development.

      The intent of this bill is excellent.  It is an excellent outline to the purpose of this bill.  When I was reading the comments made by the Minister of Justice (Mr. McCrae), I was very surprised wherein one of his comments‑‑he was making a statement that it is not hard to recognize solvent abusers because you can tell by the way they are dressed.  They are unkempt, they smell, and that way, when they try to get these products late at night, they are easy to recognize.

      I have to disagree with that because you do not know who is purchasing these products and for what purposes, and when you have someone who is not totally unkempt and does not smell and is a minor, how do you know that this individual is not going to be abusing those solvents?  So I really had a hard time understanding those comments, and I guess it was to try to justify the reason behind this bill, that it would be easier to identify and charge individuals.

      You know, when you talk about solvent abuse, all you have to do is just look across Manitoba.  I have seen a lot of individuals in my travels, especially in northern Manitoba, who had abused solvents.  In the North, it is usually gasoline, nail polish remover, paint thinners, and some of the effects you see in these young children and young adults we should try and do whatever we can to try and stop because it takes away so much potential from these youth, and then it just escalates to a more serious problem as they get older.

      It becomes a real, real health issue where the brain cells are killed off, and their motor functions rapidly decrease, and even if we looked at the dollar sense of it and looked at how much it is costing us in health care by not providing adequate treatment for the abusers early in the stages of abuse.

      We had an agreement.  I do not know if it was the best bill possible, but it was Bill 91 that was brought in three years ago, which was brought in with agreement of all three parties at that time.  The opportunity was there.  If you could not enforce it or if it could not work, the opportunity was there to make appropriate amendments, to make adjustments, to make it a workable bill.

      At that time, all three parties must have agreed and must have thought, at least at that time, that it was a bill that could be enforced and that it was a bill that would help us alleviate the serious problems we have across Manitoba.

      It is not just a problem we have with youth.  The bill that we have before us, Bill 29, strictly deals with youth up to 18 years old.  What happens to the adults over 18 years old?  Does their abuse problem just disappear?  It goes away and they no longer abuse these solvents?  I do not think so.

      That is why we have to look seriously at making appropriate amendments and looking at something that is workable to meet all citizens of Manitoba, because if you just go down into the constituency of Point Douglas and go down to Main Street, you will see some adults that have been really, really drastically impacted by solvent abuse.

      We need to look at the whole picture.  We cannot just look at children under 18.  We have to look at even the adults who are over 18 who have this terrible, terrible problem.

      When we look at dealing with a bill, hopefully, we could look at‑‑


Introduction of Guests

Madam Deputy Speaker:  Order, please.  I would like to draw the attention of all honourable members to the loge to the left where we have Mr. John Angus, the former member for Fort Garry.

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Mr. Hickes:  Madam Deputy Speaker, what I was saying was that the solvent abuse problem, this bill, to me anyway, has negative impacts where it does not deal with adults.  Also, what this bill does is, it is looking at ability to charge and incarcerate our youth.

      That is fine and dandy if you are going to be charging and putting the youth into group homes, but without the availability of proper treatment, what happens?  All you do is put them in. They stay for possibly the weekend.  Then they are out again, and they are right back to square one.

      With ability to charge these youth, I think we should be looking at trying to remove the source that these individuals get their solvent from.

      When you look at this bill, and it talks about the ability to charge the individuals who are supplying these individuals under 18 years old, and it says in there, upon reasonable doubt that it is okay to sell‑‑"that the person would not use the substance, or cause or permit the substance to be used, as an intoxicant."

      Well, what would happen, Madam Deputy Speaker, if these sellers and individuals who are supplying the solvents to the youth‑‑all they would have to say, the only comment they would have to make as soon as someone came in to buy paint thinner or nail polish remover or any of the solvent abuse products, no matter how they looked, how they smelled or if they were reeking of gasoline or reeking of paint thinner, all they would have to do is make one statement like, you are not going to use this for sniffing, right?  Of course, they are going to say right.

      So that automatically would remove the ability of the police to lay charges, because they would say, well, within my understtanding of a reasonable doubt, I did try to ascertain the information that this individual was not going to use this for other purposes than what it is really meant for.  So, if you have an unscrupulous owner or dealer, that is exactly the line they will use.  Every time someone walked in, that is what they will use over and over, that you are not going to abuse this.  They will say no, and that is the end of it.  So that is very weak in this bill.

      When you talk about the problem that we have right across Manitoba, it is a much, much broader picture than what we are trying to talk about here today.  The economy across Canada has been devastated for the last few years.  With the impact on families, with the negative impact it has on families and they feel the pressure, a lot of the times what it does is it leads people to try to find ways and means of escaping the hardship and the realities of today.  The harder our times become, of course, the more and more individuals we will have abusing all kinds of products, not only solvents, but alcohol and drugs and what have you, because they are trying to get away to survive for today without having to deal with the reality of unemployment and added hardships on families.

      When you have that economy going down, what you end up with, you end up with more people living below the poverty line.  By some great mind in Ottawa, one of the answers was to lower the poverty line and you will lower poverty.  Well, that is one of the most ludicrous statements I have ever heard in my whole life.  If your stomach is empty and you are hungry, someone's lowering the poverty line is not going to fill it up.  It does not happen that way.

      When you look at the whole economy picture right across Canada, not only in Manitoba but right across Canada, when the economy is down so terribly, your poverty increases; people without homes, the homeless, increase; and then what you have is you have an increase in child care abuse situations, people abusing each other, because people lose track and they lose hope.  Once that is taken away from individuals, once that hope is removed from people, then they try to forget the world around them.  That is what happens; that is why you have people who are abusing all kinds of products.  We talk about products.  You could talk about glue sniffing, Lysol, nail polish remover.

      I have to say again, Madam Deputy Speaker, locking up our youth will not make the problem go away.  One of the comments that I read in a letter from the Justice department to the police force was that the opportunity of charging these young offenders gives the police the opportunity to interrogate the youth to find out where they got the product.  Well, that is putting the young offenders into much more serious circumstances and in very, very dangerous situations. (interjection) The Minister of Health says that is wrong.  If they squeal on their seller and their seller finds out, what do you think will happen to that youth?

An Honourable Member:  The seller will go to jail.  That is what will happen.

Mr. Hickes:  If they can prove it. (interjection) No, I do not want to keep them on the street, but we do not want to put the youth into more dangerous situations than is already there.

      When you have young children who are saying so‑and‑so sold me this, and the police go and question, they say, what are you talking about?  I never sold anything.  Who told you this?  In order to try and prove it, they have to say, well, John Doe there told us that.  So what happens to John Doe?  Of course, the seller is going to go after those youth.  That is common sense, so that puts the kids into more danger.

      Those are the kinds of things in this bill that I think‑‑

An Honourable Member:  That is silly.

Mr. Hickes:  No, it is not silly.  If you think about it, you know that a lot of people even in school‑‑think about the time you were going to school.  If anyone told on the student to the teacher, how many times did that student get beat up by either the person they told on or the friends of that student.  So it is not silly.  Just think about it.  That is what scares me about that bill. (interjection) It is not protecting the sellers.  You have to protect the youth, and you have to try and help the youth.

      What you want to do is you want to be able to go after the sellers and not put the youth in jeopardy.  You know that is a silly, silly comment.

      When you look at it that way, you are putting the youth in more danger, so how well thought out was this bill?  What the whole bill should do is try and get after the suppliers and the sellers, not give them loopholes to try and get out without the police being able to lay adequate charges.

      I know by the Minister of Health's (Mr. Orchard) comments, his party never thought that angle out.  All we have to do is, like I said, revert to our‑‑

Madam Deputy Speaker:  Order, please.  When this matter is again before the House, the honourable member for Point Douglas will have 24 minutes remaining.

      The hour being 12:30 p.m., this House is adjourned and stands adjourned until 1:30 p.m. on Monday.