Monday, April 11, 1994


The House met at 8 p.m.






(Second Day of Debate)


Mr. Speaker:  Resuming debate, debate standing in the name of the honourable member for Wellington, who has 13 minutes remaining.


Ms. Becky Barrett (Wellington):  Mr. Speaker, I have spent most of my speech so far talking about the throne speech, more what is not in the throne speech than what is.  What is in the throne speech is a series of platitudes that have been reworn and reworked for the last six throne speeches, and as my Leader this afternoon pointed out, very few of the fine‑sounding phrases have actually come to pass.


          Mr. Speaker, I would like to spend the last few minutes of my time talking about some of the other issues that were raised in the throne speech.  On page 7 the throne speech talks about social justice and our traditional values of sharing and fairness, and the social safety net is one of the most important distinguishing features of our Canadian way of life.  Again, no one on this side of the House would disagree with those fine‑sounding words.  Where we disagree is in the inability or unwillingness of this provincial government to act on those high‑sounding, fine‑sounding phrases.


          Most particularly, the Speech from the Throne goes on to say:  At the same time, there is a growing recognition in our province and across the country that some of the component programs of the social services and social safety net are flawed and can, and I quote here, "increase the vulnerability and dependency of people instead of helping them overcome their difficulties."


          Mr. Speaker, I was trained as a social worker, and I know that one of the major components of social work theory for at least 25 years now has been a concept called blaming the victim.  I think this phrase and a couple of others in the Speech from the Throne in this area typify almost better than anything else I have ever heard, blaming the victim.


          The interesting thing about this concept is that‑‑and the Speech from the Throne goes on to say that the "initiatives will strengthen the incentives to work, remove some disincentives, and increase work expectations and economic independence for employable welfare recipients."


          Again, this statement in the Speech from the Throne in the context of high unemployment, fewer jobs in the province of Manitoba than ever before, cutbacks to social assistance programs such as Single Parent Job Access training, New Careers, ACCESS programs, cutbacks in child care that mean that a parent can only now have two weeks of grace once they leave university to get a summer job or if they have been laid off from their job‑‑it used to be two months; now it is two weeks.  In this economic climate, Mr. Speaker, who can find a job in two weeks?  This is a mean‑spirited Conservative government, which I have said before.


          The other thing I would like to say about this is that it is not only this provincial Conservative government that is mean spirited and preaching the old‑style conservatism, it is the newly elected federal Liberal government.  This newly elected federal Liberal government campaigned all last year and certainly in the election campaign itself on their red book, which talked about how greater equality of social conditions would be engendered by a federal Liberal government.


          Once it came into power, the Liberal government has instituted a new book called Keeping the Promise, which I find interesting, because what they are doing is negating the promise of their election campaign.  Instead of greater equality of social conditions, the new book talks about the elimination of disincentives to work, which should be a key element of a reformed social security system.


* (2005)


          Now I ask you:  What is the difference between the Liberal elimination of disincentives to work and the Conservative strengthening of incentives to work and removing some of the  disincentives?  Nothing.  It is exactly the same idea.


          What both of these concepts say, their underlying theory is that people choose not to work, that it is only because people are lazy, there are disincentives to work, there are not enough expectations‑‑[interjection] Well, Mr. Speaker, I have their attention.  I have the attention of both right‑wing parties in this Legislature.


          Mr. Speaker, if we were living in a society, in an economy, as we were 25 years ago, which was expanding, where there were all kinds of job opportunities and there was still a large social assistance roll, then I could perhaps understand the concept that maybe people were choosing not to work, but for any person in the province of Manitoba or the country of Canada today to say either directly or indirectly that people are choosing not to work is beneath contempt.  I think that the Liberals federally and the Conservatives provincially have a great deal to answer for to the people of Manitoba and Canada, and believe me, certainly in the province of Manitoba, the Liberals will answer very shortly.


          Again, Mr. Speaker, in the little red book, and I am not referring to the little red book of Mao Tse‑tung, but to the little red book of the Liberals in the last federal election, they talked about Medicare being one of Canada's proudest achievements.  In their Keeping the Promise, the second book, the updated version, there is a question, if the insured core services of Medicare have become too broad.


          Now, that sounds to me very similar to what is actually happening in the province of Manitoba in the health care system, where we are having an onslaught against the core principles of Medicare.  A $50 contribution, as the Minister of Health called it, for northern members of the constituencies in the northern part of the province to take medical treatment in Winnipeg, requirements for home care recipients to spend the first $50 on each of a whole range of services that used to be provided free, these are not discretionary items.  These are items that are required for people to maintain their health.  Colostomy bags, excuse me, Mr. Speaker, that is not something that you can have discretion on, but this government is saying, as the federal Liberals are, perhaps our core insured services have become too rich, so we will just cut them back a bit.


          Finally, Mr. Speaker, I would like to talk about the North American Free Trade Agreement.  In the Speech from the Throne, it talks about all kinds of economic opportunities, and members on the government side have talked about NAFTA and how wonderful it is and that kind of thing.  In 1988 John Turner wrapped himself in a Canadian flag and said the Free Trade Agreement was the fight of his life.  What did they do?  They had an opportunity in the Senate of this country to defeat the Free Trade Agreement, and they chose not to do it.  They said that they would only renegotiate NAFTA and would not pass it if it was in its present form.  The Chretien Liberals, what did they do?  One of the first things they did when they were in government, they passed it with virtually no changes.  In their red book in the election campaign, they said they would cancel it if there were not major changes.  In the red book too, they say how Canada can best take advantage of NAFTA.  It is the same thing that this government did with their six conditions.


* (2010)


          No wonder the member for Brandon East (Mr. Leonard Evans) is a bit concerned about the possibility of McKenzie Seeds being privatized.  The Minister responsible for McKenzie Seeds said, waved six conditions Friday in the House, six conditions that have to be met in order for McKenzie Seeds to be privatized.


          We on this side of the House know what six conditions mean to this government.  It means capitulation and caving in to private multinational corporate interests without any kind of sense of the responsibility to the people of Manitoba.


          Mr. Speaker, I know I do not have very many minutes left.  I would like to talk about a couple of other items in this Speech from the Throne.  There is one comment about Child and Family Services on page 8:  The government renews its commitment to supporting the family and the importance of family responsibility.  It says:  New approaches will be introduced in Child and Family Services to emphasize that responsibility.


          Now, I am really looking forward in the Estimates or in any legislation that might be tabled as to what specifically these new approaches will be, after we have had an elimination of volunteer boards for Child and Family Services, a reduction in services, we have Filmon Fridays for Child and Family Services workers so the children who are taken into care on Thursday night are often not dealt with until Tuesday morning of the following week.  This is a wonderful way to celebrate the International Year of the Family.


          Mr. Speaker, in closing I would like to say, many of my caucus colleagues have and will be discussing other elements of this Speech from the Throne and they will be going into more detail as to the problems with the Speech from the Throne.


          I just would like to end by saying that this has been a disappointing Speech from the Throne for me and for my caucus colleagues.  I will be honest with you, we did not have very high expectations to begin with, but we have been disappointed, the people of Manitoba have been disappointed.


          The people of Manitoba, very shortly, we hope, will have the opportunity to speak with our votes and in the ballot boxes and give this Conservative government the lesson that it needs to learn very badly, that it cannot continue to disregard the needs of the people of Manitoba.  It cannot continue to disregard the voices of the people of Manitoba and the people of Manitoba will speak shortly.


          Thank you, Mr. Speaker.


Hon. Glen Findlay (Minister of Highways and Transportation):  Mr. Speaker, it is indeed a pleasure to rise and make a few comments on this, the throne speech for the fifth session of the 35th sitting of this Legislature.  I think it goes back through a lot of history, a lot of the people who have sat here over the course of the time.


          Mr. Speaker, I wish you the wisdom of Solomon in dealing with the affairs of the House that are going to go on over the next number of months, I guess it is fair to say, at least a hundred days.  I will say one thing in terms of the first couple of days of the House.  Things are relatively calm and quiet, so I will give you credit for keeping it that way.


          I would certainly like to welcome the six new Pages, whose experience of the next few months will be something they will remember for the rest of their lives.  I hope that they do not get too disillusioned by some of the banter that goes back and forth in this House but is part of the democratic process whether we like it or not.


          I would like to welcome the five new members to the House, all of whom are here for their first time.  I wish them well in their process of trying to represent their constituents here.  They do not necessarily think the same way I do, but I wish them the best anyway.


          Mr. Speaker, one of the more significant events that is happening this year is that this is the International Year of the Family, 1994.  It is a recognition of one of the most important frameworks of our whole society, the family unit.  I think we will all pay tribute to the International Year of the Family as the days of 1994 go by.


* (2015)


          I think if we look at some of the problems we have in society, particularly with youth crime and lack of jobs and maybe questionable education, I think the role of the family is in trying to overcome some of those problems, to help young people get educated, get adjusted to society, and I guess we will call it follow the straight and narrow, obey the laws of the land.  The family plays a very large role in that.


          My own personal belief is that in some cases our families have failed those young people in terms of giving that direction and getting them involved and started in society.  I think it is good at this point in time when some of those issues are more important now than they have ever been that we pay attention to the family, not only the existing family, but the broader family unit that we now know of today.  It is middle‑aged and older people who are trying to help young people who have run into some of the wrong ways of life to get adjusted and be a contributor to society as a whole.


          In terms of paying tribute to people of significance, I would like to spend a few minutes just paying tribute to a couple of citizens of Springfield, one a very young citizen, a 13‑year‑old young girl who is now known as Canada's top junior rhythmic gymnast.  Andrea Sellen, thirteen years of age, started into rhythmic gymnastics three years ago, and now she is a world‑class athlete, as I said earlier, recognized as Canada's junior rhythmic gymnast.  She has travelled to many places around the world, such as Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, France in the last year, and her family has really supported her.  At the age of thirteen, you can imagine a young person like that travelling around the world by herself is not a desirable thing, and her parents accompany her; at least one parent accompanies her at every one of these international meets.


          That young girl, to see her perform is amazing.  The time and effort that she puts in to accomplish what she is doing and her parents and her family are to be recognized.  I might say, in that case, her grandparents also are playing a role in helping her travel to her events and get her education.  For your information, she is a Grade 8 student at Springfield Junior High and a world‑class athlete at that age.


          Another one I would like to pay attention to is a lady who served the Dugald Costume Museum for some 41 years, who I had the good occasion to present the Order of the Buffalo Hunt to a few days ago.  She started back in 1953 with the Springfield W.I. at that time.  They were going to put on one fashion show, and at this point in time she has been the narrator at every one of those fashion shows.  They have done 500 of them, and in 1983 they opened the Dugald Costume Museum, which is‑‑maybe I am stretching it a bit, but I feel it is the best in Canada and certainly would class it as one of the premier costume museums in all of North America.


          So, Mr. Speaker, I would like to pay tribute to Edna Holland, who received the Order of the Buffalo for those 41 years of continuous service, narrated every show, all across Manitoba, western Canada and Ontario.  That kind of community service does not happen all the time, but people who put in those years of service should be recognized.


          As we move through this session, certainly the Speech from the Throne highlighted the main objective of this government and that is jobs, to create an environment where jobs can be created in this society, and I hear the opposition critics talking about jobs, jobs, and I always find it striking strange that the opposition will not accept the fact that we are going through change in this society, change in the country, global change.


          Things are not going to stay the way they were.  We have gone through evolution of change for the last 127 years in this country, and that change will not stop.  I think it is fair to say that, if you sit back and look at the last 30 years, it would be a fairly obvious statement that change was only going to accelerate.  It is because mankind has a brain between his ears and he is trying to do things better, faster, more efficiently.  In this society of global competition, it is being able to produce the best quality products for the consumer at the lowest price and supply the service that goes with it.  That is the kind of change that is not going to stop.


          I hear over there always about we want it to stay the way it was, take it back to the way it was.  It is totally unrealistic.  When I hear the NDP governments or the Liberal governments across this country talk, those who are in power, whether it is the five Liberal governments in the East or the three NDP governments from Ontario west, they talk the same language I am talking:  change is about us; change is not going to be stopped.  You have to adapt; the workforce has to be trained for the jobs of the new technology.  We have gone from the manufacturing age to the information age.


          I was a little surprised today that somebody from the opposition did not raise a question about the announcement this morning by the customer service centre of CP Rail.  I mean, you always ask for jobs, and when jobs come, you go quiet.  If you really believed that you want jobs, you would recognize those people that are creating the jobs.  It is the private sector, and it is happening regularly.  Yes, some jobs come to an end; yes, people rationalize‑‑they have to for cost control.  At the same time there are many new jobs being created, and the Speech from the Throne talks about 6,000 net new jobs.  That is fairly positive; in general, that is very positive.


* (2020)


          Mr. Speaker, we recognize that people do not like the uncertainty of change.  It is difficult to adjust to that, but we are trying to create an environment through education that people can become trained in their formative years and then retrained as time goes by.  Those opportunities exist out there.  Anybody in the private sector that I have talked to is very supportive of trying to help people.  If there is a dislocation from the job, help them get reoriented back into another job with that company or elsewhere.  They are not mean spirited, as I hear people across the way say.


          The jobs of the future are going to be created by the private sector, particularly the small‑business sector of the private sector.  They are the motivators of jobs.  Governments are not going to create jobs in the future.  All we can create is an atmosphere in which jobs can be created here.


          I have heard lots of comments across the way about our trade activities.  How has Manitoba built its economy in the last 127 years?  One of the primary functions has been trade, export trade, in a wide variety of commodities, whether it is raw resources, food‑related, mineral‑related, or manufactured items, export has been the way we have developed our economy; it is the way of the future.  But to constantly, relentlessly hear from the opposition that CUSTA is bad, that NAFTA is bad‑‑I mean, what world do you live in?  That is the only way we are going to have the jobs.  If we are going to close the borders and not export, we are dead in the water.  You become a Third World country real quick.


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


          You have to export.  You have to have access to those markets, and access means two‑way trade.  We have been competitive in this province, and we will continue to be competitive in this province. [interjection]


          For the member for Brandon East (Mr. Leonard Evans), I want to tell him that we have free trade in agricultural products with the United States, have had as long as we farmed in western Canada, with little or no restrictions on the border.  Yes, there are a few harassments now, but you have to have a process to deal with it.  If CUSTA was not in place, you would have no mechanism to negotiate our position in a trade dispute.  The old way was they would shut the border, you could say nothing about it.  I mean, the Americans have more product coming to Canada than we have going there.


          The member for Brandon East, all he does with his rhetoric is fuel these people in the United States who are opposing us.  You fuel them.  By pure chance, a couple of weeks ago, I had a discussion with a senator from Florida.  We got into the trade issue.  He was a very polite man, and he said, what is the real issue?  How do you see it from Canada's side?  I told him, you know, that we do 95 percent of our trade in food commodities with them free, no restrictions, no hassles.  Durum is particularly one issue now, sugar and hogs have been a bit of a hassle, a bit of an irritant.


          He said, after I talked to him for about five or 10 minutes giving my side and how we have a willing buyer down there, we have quality products and if they are going to run their pasta mills they have to have durum from somewhere‑‑he says, everything you have told me is quite opposite to what I am hearing from my senators from the northern states.  Exactly right, and as long as we on this side of the border fuel that opportunity for them, we are going to expect more and more of that kind of rhetoric.


          So the member for Brandon East (Mr. Leonard Evans), now that I am on his case, I guess I might say that I was really shocked last Friday when he made the comments he did about McKenzie Seeds.  He asked the question in this House.  The minister responsible gave him the six criteria on which anything would be entered into on McKenzie Seeds.  I go home at night and I watch the member for Brandon East on television; he has not even listened to the answer.  He is still giving the same negative rhetoric that the jobs will go to Ontario.


          The member for Brandon East does a complete disservice to the residents of Brandon, particularly the people that work for McKenzie, saying that we cannot be competitive, the job are automatically going to leave.  How come, under our administration, that operation has become so profitable where under his administration, it was losing money big time?  Obviously, the leadership there knows how to compete.  In fact, they acquired an Ontario firm.  Now he says that they are automatically going to go to Ontario, and he is doing a disservice to Manitobans in terms of us being competitive, a disservice to the people who work there, and in terms of the fearmongering, the unsubstantiated statements he made, a complete disservice.


* (2025)


          I think the member for Brandon‑‑particularly to Ray West, who ran as businessman of the year, that was an unreprehensible attack.  I cannot believe that the member for Brandon East (Mr. Leonard Evans) would do that to that member.  You may have your ideology, but when you are given the answer in the House, why would you go out to Brandon, on television, give the same rhetoric as if you had never listened to the answers to the question?  You were told specifically that jobs would not leave Brandon. [interjection]


          I say to the member for Brandon East (Mr. Leonard Evans), you may think that fearmongering sells politically.  I would ask him to look at the polls.  At 22 percent you might wonder if it really does sell.  All you do is scare people unnecessarily.  If you look at the track record of that company and many more in Manitoba, we can compete.  We can compete, and we have done it very, very well.  We must continue to do it.


          Manitoba is recognized as a place you can locate jobs, where the cost of living, the standard of living, various other factors are to our favour.  It was the Boyd and Company in the U.S. that did a survey here a couple of years ago where we ranked third in North America as the best place to locate a light manufacturing business.  That is not political rhetoric.  That is fact by somebody from the United States doing an assessment of all the states in the U.S. and the provinces in Canada.


          I think it is very unfortunate that that member would have done what he did last Friday.  I would think he did himself some political damage in the way he attacked relentlessly without listening to the answers.


          That member also took a shot at GWE locating jobs in Brandon, telemarketing.  We have noticed recent comments that they have gotten a bigger contract than they ever expected to hire more people.  A job is a job is a job to anybody who is looking for work, and those are good, clean, high‑tech jobs.


          The announcement today by Canadian Pacific is moving in the same direction, more jobs in the telecommunication area.  Unitel is moving towards 400 jobs in the province of Manitoba, a service centre for all of Canada.  Canadian Pacific amalgamating nine regional service centres and 40 other positions‑‑other centres across the country to Winnipeg, Manitoba, the centre of Canada, not because we offered them money to come here, but because it is the place to locate that kind of business for a variety of reasons. [interjection]


          The member opposite obviously thinks government is the only one that creates jobs by so many funny mechanisms.  It does not work.  He has tried it, and it does not work.  It has not worked anywhere in this country.  The real jobs of the future are in the private sector.


          It is funny that every time somebody tries an initiative in this province the NDP is particularly opposed to it, whether it is hog operations, whether it is Louisiana‑Pacific.


          Is the member for Brandon East (Mr. Leonard Evans) going to stand up for Ayerst and the PMU business creating hundreds and hundreds of jobs across Manitoba when one of his back‑bench members is really quite opposed to it?  Is he going to stand up and support that industry?  It is a new industry.  It has located only one processing plant in the world in his home riding, Brandon.  It has been there a long time, but your party is speaking out against it.  Your party is really wanting to see that industry fall flat on its face.  Does the member for Brandon East stand for that?


          I think the member for Brandon East needs to get up and speak right after I sit down.


* (2030)


          Mr. Acting Speaker, there is another issue that I would like to put some comments on the record on, and this is the issue of grain movement that has happened in western Canada or the slowness of it, I guess.  There has been some people take some shots at the railroads for not handling the grain as fast as maybe they should have.  I have talked with both railroads in the last number of days and, clearly, I would like to make the House aware of some of the events that happened that have made it very difficult for the grain movement to have maybe happened as fast as some of us would have liked.


          Both railroads, CN and CP, are going to have about 14,000 cars in their rolling stock.  They have both leased around 3,000 cars‑‑I think one of them is 4,000 cars‑‑to achieve that 28,000 in total.  The whole episode started way back last summer when we had the massive floods down in United States of the Mississippi, caused the barge movement down the Mississippi to halt, actually stopped a lot of rail movement, too.  Then there was a built‑up demand for movement of grain commodities to the southern states, and they used up all the cars available.


          Secondly, there was a tremendous loss of the corn crop because of the flooding down in the Mississippi.  In July of this year, the forecast ahead of the probable grain movements in western Canada did not call for very many cars, and both railroads had enough cars in their fleet to meet the projected movement.  About three months later, by the end of September, they were obviously very short of cars.


          As this started to develop, there was not a big movement of board crops of wheat and barley initially, but there was a tremendous movement of the nonboard crops:  the peas, the canola, and the lentils.  For those crops, when they go into Thunder Bay or into West Coast, they are nonpooled crops so they have to go to a specific terminal; whereas wheat and barley can go to any terminal because they are pooled commodities.  That caused the four‑and‑a‑half day increase in the turnaround time of cars.


          At the same time, there was a growing demand in the United States, particularly for feed grains, in such places as Florida, California and Arizona.  It was because of the shortage of feed grains in the United States, a shortage of corn, corn that would traditionally go to those markets, that they were coming to Canada to look for the product, and that caused a lot of cars to be going south hauling those commodities, even unit trains up to 75 cars.  That, unfortunately, lengthened the car turnaround time to at least two times or three times the normal for east‑west movement in Canada.


          The railroads responded as fast as they could, but they could not get a hold of the lease cars they wanted because they were in use in the United States.  They are now becoming available.  I have asked the railroads, okay, that is what has happened in 1993 crop.  What is going to happen to the 1994 crop?  I think they are all convinced that we have had a fairly dramatic shift in where our marketing is going to occur in the future.  Certainly, more commodities are moving south.  Give or take a few trade harassments with the United States, we think that will continue, specially for the special crops‑‑your canolas, your peas, your lentils and a few other crops, particularly our feed grains that continue to move south.  It will require more turn‑around time for cars.


          The expectation is we will have more special crops moving to the European market‑‑a big surge last year in canola and peas.  Again, it takes longer to move those crops because of their nonpooling capacity in the terminals at the Lakehead.


          So, although it is easy to criticize the railroads for not having got the job done, you had all those factors that happen with the movement of the crop, plus we had a strike on the West Coast for some two weeks, plus we had a slowdown in January and February because of the very cold weather, plus the Lakehead is still not open because of the thick ice, so you can see why we have a backlog of grain movement.  They believe they have enough cars, and if the system runs efficiently between now and the end of July, the end of the crop year, they believe they will catch up with the orders that they have in front of them.


          There is no question that probably some sales were lost because there is just no way to fulfill it in this crop year, but the railroads, I can say from my discussion with them, are very committed to catching up, and one has to recognize the constraints that they faced over the past few months going way back to August of last year.


          Certainly another thing that I would like to make a few comments on is the overall role of Winnipeg in a transportation sense.  You know, going back to the railroad days, we called it the railway hub of Canada.  In terms of the trucking industry, we have got six of what we will call the 13 largest trucking companies in Canada headquartered here.  Certainly we have a 24‑hour air terminal where we have a tremendous amount of air traffic moving in and out.


          As we look forward to the future, there is no question that there will be more integration between those various commodities of moving freight, in particular, in road, rail and air.


          I was really pleased to see that in the infrastructure program Route 90 will be upgraded to some fair extent because we must have access to that airport with an RTAC route, and that is Route 90.  If it is upgraded right from the Perimeter to the north and right from the Perimeter to the south over the next few years, with the inner motoring centre along there and all the trucking companies along Route 90, it increases our capacity to attract businesses to this city and this province that have to move freight in and out, and anybody who is accessing export markets must have access to move commodities in and out.


          In terms of the jobs created in that sector in the province of Manitoba, it is interesting to look at the figures.  If we look at the airport jobs, or air‑related jobs, in 1992, in Manitoba it is 3,100; trucking jobs, 5,900; rail jobs, 7,800.


          As we look ahead, and this is University of Manitoba projections, they project an increase in the number of jobs in the air sector, an increase in the number of jobs in the trucking sector, but, unfortunately, a decrease in the rail sector.  That reflects what is really going on in the rail sector where they are decreasing the amount of employment, trying to become more efficient, cut their costs, but we do see a net gain of transportation jobs because of the growth in trucking and air in the province of Manitoba by the year 2000, taking us from about 16,000 jobs in that sector up to 17,000 jobs.


          Add to that another 7,000 to 8,000 in what is called urban transit and intercity bus, in other words, taxis and those kinds of activities.


          The other area of job creation in the transport sector is the employment of transport equipment manufacturing where we have in this province right now around 7,500 jobs in transport equipment manufacturing, which is projected by the university to grow to about 10,500 jobs by the year 2000, again to produce commodities primarily which go into export from this country.


          Another area of significant interest certainly right now in this new information age is the electronic highway.  I have had the opportunity to talk to many people who are pretty key in that communications sector, and I asked here and there, what is the concept of electronic highway, the information highway that we see talked about a fair extent now.


          I certainly appreciate that the federal Liberals are showing some interest in that particular concept.  What it is really is an integration of all the means of communication we now have, whether it is by fiberoptic cable, by copper wire, by coaxial cable, by satellite, by microwave‑‑all those various networks working together to transmit information.


          Whether it is involving business transmission or whether it is personal transmission, certainly the information highway will play a key role in terms of distance education in future, delivery of medical services, particularly to communities outside the major cities, and it will help to decrease the cost of educational and health care services.


          Certainly two announcements that have happened in the last two to three weeks in Winnipeg are of significance in this area.  TR Labs opened their lab out in Fort Garry, which is an integration of government, university and industry funding a lab to do research to expand our opportunities in the electronic field.  Companies can come in there and do research that will help them explore the marketplace that they are trying to explore.  It is a co‑operative venture where anybody who is participating in the funding of it has access to the research information that comes out of it.  I think it is a very positive initiative.


          TR Labs are located in Edmonton, Calgary, Regina, Saskatoon and now Winnipeg, so we are part of that overall network to do leading‑edge technology kind of research.


          Another announcement that happened just last week was by Stentor announcing the beacon initiative.  It is a conceptual view of the future, saying that as the information highway develops we expect as a whole to be a network of networks.  In other words, no matter whether it is Stentor that has the transmission system or whether it is private companies or cable television companies that have the network, the overall information highway will be a conglomeration of all of those networks working in some co‑operative way to help deliver communications globally, nationally, for business, education, health care and whatever other users there might be for the system.


* (2040)


          Certainly they talk in terms of equal access for all citizens, and that has been key in communications.  Certainly the mission of the Manitoba Telephone System is to supply the basic telephone network to all citizens of the province and Stentor talking in terms of equal access.


          It is critical because it allows jobs that in the past had to be, like the member for Brandon East (Mr. Leonard Evans) would like to believe today, in the big population centres, no longer has to be.


          Jobs in telemarketing and telecommunications can be located anywhere.  As long as you are at the end of a single line, then you can communicate with the world.  And that is really what the role of the information highway will be in the future, an ability to communicate from anywhere to anywhere in a top‑quality, high‑calibre fashion.


          As we move through this session, there will be lots and lots of talk beyond the job in question into the economic sector.  There is no question that all governments in this country‑‑I think it is fair to say in all the western world‑‑are facing the crunch of having to control the expenses.  We sit in this country right now with a total combined debt of $661 billion.  That is a rather substantive pile of money to have to pay back to somebody.  It increased by some $66 billion last year between the federal government and the provinces.  The federal government has a budget now, and they are going to increase that this fiscal year by another $40 billion.


          Our future in terms of our credit rating is certainly going to be suspect if we continue on that path.  It has been interesting to watch the NDP governments of Saskatchewan, B.C. and Ontario talk about having to be more fiscally responsible.  I think I heard B.C. would have a balanced budget in three years.  That is quite a reversal of thinking, but it is a reflection of the reality we live with.


          The Liberal governments have always talked that way in the last year, must be more fiscally responsible, maybe not because governments absolutely want to do it because it is not popular with the electorate in a general sense.  It is more popular to offer people things, but the reality is we have to be more responsible of what we do in government just as business does.  Like any member over there will realize, if they spend more than they take in in their household, there is trouble down the road.  You do that in your business, somebody knocks on your door and says we are going to pull the string on you.  Do we want that to happen to us as a province or as a country?  I think not.


          Certainly, in terms of analyses that have been done, and I point particularly to one that was done by the Dominion Bond Rating Service.  I would like to read from their comments that Manitoba strengths are the most fiscally responsible province of Canada, stringent expenditure controls, and its intent is for little growth in year term expenditure.  One of our weaknesses is the high cumulative debts in the 1981 to '88 period, in other words, the NDP governing years.


          So, clearly, they have identified that overexpenditures of the NDP years have weakened the province's fiscal capacity, and the strong control of the deficit by our Minister of Finance over the last six years has been a very positive move towards [interjection] What I hear across the benches from the NDP is they have not changed their thinking from the '80s when they did exactly what was wrong for the long‑term interests of the province.


          When you look at this as the International Year of the Family, I would suggest that you think about the debt you are passing on to your children and your grandchildren and their children, because it will not get paid off in the next four generations.  This issue that we must spend, spend, spend and listen to every interest group and spend, that has to come to an end.  I would like to hear the first responsible question come from across the floor about the financial capacity of this province.  It is always spend, spend, spend, never any respect to the control that must be brought on by government.  Every government in this country is forced to follow that theme.  There is no other choice.  Mr. Acting Speaker, I am going to be interested in the next period of time to see whether anybody on the opposition side is able to understand the reality we live with.


          I would just also like to point to a viewpoint in the Minnedosa Tribune.  This is for the good of the Liberals, and I would read from it.  The provincial Liberals have come out of the blocks fairly softly.  A recent poll of the local coffee shops reveal that the majority of people do not remember the name of the Liberal Party Leader.  So out there in rural Manitoba, they recognize the message that we are talking about fiscally.  They are much more responsible than the opposition members across the way.


          As we move into the budget in this province, I would like to see those members start to understand that reality and start to recognize what government must do.  I also would like to hear them start talking about what their platform might be in the future.  All we have heard is negativism, negativism coming across the way, nothing positive, nothing to build on the future.  It is just spend, spend, spend and negative on everything that anybody is doing out in society where the real jobs are created.


          Mr. Acting Speaker, with those few comments I would like to thank you for this opportunity, and I look forward to a very productive session as we move through the next number of days.


Mr. Leonard Evans (Brandon East):  Mr. Acting Speaker, I would like to congratulate the Speaker and wish him the very best for a very positive session.


          I also want to take this opportunity to congratulate all the new members.  I think they may find it a rather frustrating place at times, and they may find it also a little exasperating, especially when you get half‑truths yelled at you from the other side.


          Nevertheless, I believe that being a public representative is indeed a high calling and generally the people of Manitoba and of Canada, by and large, are well served by their representatives.  We may have differences of policies.  That is what politics is all about, of course, to have policy differences, but generally members are conscientious and they try to do their best.  I have no hesitation in describing the profession of a public representative to be one of the highest callings that one can have in a democratic society.


          (Mr. Speaker in the Chair)


          Having said that, I can say that I would be among the first to say that it is discouraging at times, particularly when decorum gets out of hand in the Legislature, or when one in the opposition in our particular type of system feels very frustrated.


          You are either in or you are out in our parliamentary system.  If you are in, you have all the power, you pull all the strings, you make the decisions.  We in opposition, or whoever is in opposition, has the responsibility of being critical, of keeping government on its toes, of being ever vigilant.  You are seen to be a very negative force all the time.  I guess it is not the best way to be portrayed, but that is the British parliamentary system that we have inherited.


          If people across the way in the government think I have been negative or we have been negative on this side, I would only refer you to speeches made in this House and statements made in the public when the Conservative Party in Manitoba was the opposition.  You could hear the outpouring of negativism at that time and the dumping on the government with regard to the economy, with regard to health care, with regard to education and whatever.


          The fact is, if you cannot stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.  We say, maybe it is a good time to call an election and let the people of all the constituencies, including my own, make a decision as to who they want to have to represent them in the next few years.


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          As a matter of fact, the Brandon Sun had a very good editorial just the other day which urged this government to resign and call an election.  The Brandon Sun said, obviously this government has run out of steam.  It has no new ideas.  It has no‑‑and it was referring to the throne speech‑‑there is nothing of any substance in it.  They do not expect anything of any substance to happen.  We will go through the budget exercise and so on, but no new initiatives.  It is time for an election.  It is time for a fresh House.  It is time for a new House.  Let us put all of our jobs on the line.  I will put mine on the line, and I invite the members opposite to put their jobs on the line too in an early election.  Let us go.  The weather is great.  The people of Manitoba‑‑


An Honourable Member:  Before seeding.


Mr. Leonard Evans:  Right, before seeding even.  The people of Manitoba are waiting.


          Mr. Speaker, we have had about eight months I guess since we were in here last, and people out there do not understand why we have been away from this Assembly so long.  They feel that we have a responsibility, if you are on the government side, to bring in the laws and to provide the budgets for debate by the whole House and for us to do our criticism and so on.


          Where have we been?  Well, we have not been here.  We have been in our constituencies.  We have been communicating with our constituents, and maybe that is the one advantage of not being in the House.  You have more opportunity to be closer to your constituents.


          I can tell you, members on this side have gotten an earful about the unhappiness of the people of Manitoba with regard to many, many program cutbacks that have occurred.  I meet with groups of senior citizens from time to time.  I met just about two weeks ago with two groups of senior citizens in Brandon, and we discussed many things, but health care was the big issue.  They did not understand why home care was being denied to so many people in the Brandon area.


          One example, this one lady who lives in Lions Manor has to have a supply of oxygen just to live and yet she has been refused home care.  She does not have the strength to make her own bed and the people in the home were telling me:  Why is this woman not entitled to home care?  She has been denied home care after a serious heart operation.


          Then there was another case a few months ago.  I ran into this lady who lived in another seniors apartment in downtown Brandon.  She was walking with a bit of a cane and I said to her, and I was at her apartment, I said, oh, well, I guess you are getting home care.  How is the home care service?  She said, I was cut off home care.  I said, oh, well, that is too bad.  Then I proceeded to find out that she had just turned one hundred years of age.  She was one hundred years of age and she told me she was cut off home care a month or two before.


          That just boggles my mind.  That boggles my mind that we have a home care system that is supposed to look after the elderly, the people who are handicapped and so on.  I figure once you hit a hundred years of age you should be entitled to home care, no questions asked. [interjection] Yes, anyone a hundred years or over should be entitled to home care for sure.  In fact, I would say‑‑[interjection] I am just joking‑‑anyone who is in need of home care should be getting home care, but that is not happening. [interjection] You were not listening.  I have just told you the lady who lives in another seniors apartment who has to go around with oxygen, and she cannot make her bed, and the neighbours say she should have home care and she is not getting home care.


          Well, you know there are all kinds of horror stories about the inadequacies of the home care system.  Incidentally, Mr. Speaker, this home care program was established back in the Schreyer years.  It was extended in the Schreyer years to become the best home care program to be found anywhere in North America.  I am sure we cannot say that today because it has been eroded under this government and its policies.  This is the sad fact that there has been a major erosion of home care.  People do not have the home care that they need.


          You go to another area, you go to nursing homes, and people have come to see me to say they do not understand why the government is turning the clock back on nursing homes.  You know, back in the Schreyer years, in 1973, we put nursing homes under the medicare system.  It did not used to be before that.


          What happened before that is you as an individual paid the entire shot, and you would pay and continue to pay until you used up all your savings.  Normally the person would sell their house; that would all be spent.  The value of their house would be spent, all their savings would be gone, then when they had nothing left, they went onto welfare, and they were kept on welfare in the nursing homes of this province.


          But in 1973 we put it under medicare and said that a portion of nursing home service is indeed room and board, and there should be a payment for that.  At that time it was set at $4.50, but the balance would be considered as being in a hospital and would be covered by the medicare system.  Well, that is a system we have had ever since.  What has happened in the past year the nursing home rates have gone up so high, Mr. Speaker, that many people are finding it difficult to manage in the nursing homes.


          I am talking particularly about those who have got just the basic old age pension, and I think they are paying, what is it, $26.50 a day to be there.  At that level we have determined that there is very, very little left for those individuals, very few dollars left for those people to pay for all their personal effects, to pay for batteries for hearing aids, to pay for clothing.  That all has to come out.


          In fact, I wish I had it with me.  I have a sheet issued by the Health Services Commission as to what the residents of a nursing home are responsible for.  They are responsible for many items, and they do not have it.  And do you know what?  The irony of it is these people can qualify for welfare.  These people have so little left that they have applied to the welfare office, the provincial assistance office,  and they obtained supplementary welfare‑‑


An Honourable Member:  It is your own policy.


Mr. Leonard Evans:  What do you mean, our policy?  The fact is, this government has socked it to the poor people that they have insufficient funds to maintain themselves. [interjection]


          Well, you can laugh about it, but I will tell you the people out there ain't laughing.  They are not laughing; they are damned mad.  They are damned mad.  You can smirk and call me names or whatever you want to do.  I do not care.  It does not bother me.  I do not care, but the fact is that people out there are upset with the atrocious increase in nursing home rates.  So here is another example of erosion of a health care system that was put in by the Schreyer NDP government.


          Then there is another example in Pharmacare.  Again, senior citizens and people who use a lot of medicine because of their health condition are very, very upset about the increase in the deductible and the decrease in the percentage that the government will pay.  So what the government is doing, Mr. Speaker, is making it more difficult for people to afford to buy prescription medicine.  We are talking about medicine prescribed by their doctors.


          The fact is that medicine can be seen as a method of prevention.  It is a method of keeping people out of hospitals, out of nursing homes.  If they follow their doctor's orders and take the medicine that presumably is going to help cope with the illness, then they can stay out of medical institutions, but when you make it more difficult to purchase, when you put more of the costs, when you transfer the costs to them‑‑and I am thinking particularly about those who have serious illness and the elderly who buy thousands of dollars of drugs a year, that it is costing them an awful lot more and is discouraging them from presumably buying the medicines they should be.  So there is no question that it has a negative effect on people who should be buying prescription medicine according to their doctor.


          I can tell you various cases of this, and I raised some in the past in this House, where people have been hurt by these increases in the deductibles and particularly by the decreases in the amount that the government will reimburse Manitobans.  So that is another concern that people have out there.


          Then they are concerned about the elimination of the rural dental program, and even the former minister said he was sorry about that.  That was a very good program.  For the life of me, we are going backward, because, Mr. Speaker, as a society, I venture to guess that we are going to be paying more for dental care in the future.  If you do not look after the children's teeth when they are young, they can have more problems, more expense in the future.  Unfortunately, many people cannot afford to go to dentists.  Unfortunately, some are some distance from dentists.  I venture to say, and I have been told this by a lot of people, that the care will not be given to many children, many hundreds and perhaps thousands of children in this province that used to have good service in the rural dental program.


* (2100)


          You know, even Sterling Lyon did not get rid of the rural dental program for children.  He did not get rid of it.  He changed it a bit, but he did not get rid of it.  He was the Premier who said he wanted to engage in acute, protracted restraint.  Indeed, he did cut back, but he did not eliminate the rural dental program.


          Then there is the whole question of cutbacks to hospitals and insufficient hospital staffing.  You get all kinds of horror stories.  I get letters, I get phone calls about people who are unhappy because there is not the nursing staff available.


          One person told me just two days ago in Brandon, and I do not want to reveal any names, but this person has someone very close to him who is a nurse in an operating room‑‑O.R., the operating room‑‑and it is her opinion that they are so rushed off their feet that there is going to be a tragedy there one of these days, because they do not have enough nursing staff in the operating room.  I am not an expert, I am not there, but that is what they told me.


          At any rate, Mr. Speaker, that is another area.  In fact, you talk about other kinds of staffing, you have cases, I was told that one woman in Brandon went to visit her friend in the hospital in the room, the floor was so dirty, so sticky, they did not have enough staff to clean it, she got a pail of hot water and went down on her hands and knees and cleaned the floor herself.


          Then there is the case of waiting lists for surgery.  There are serious cases where people are waiting and waiting.  I had one individual who has been waiting for heart surgery and he is getting progressively weaker.  He says he does not know how he is going to manage.  His doctor says, the reason he cannot have the operation, he is still on the list, is that there are insufficient dollars for those kinds of operations.  That is what his doctor tells him, that is what the specialist tells him, so who am I to argue with a specialist in this field?  But that is another serious problem that has been presented to me by my constituents.


          Then on the other hand, we get very dismayed about the cutbacks to programs to help people who are on welfare, to get them off of welfare and into the job market.  I am to be the first one to admit that there are not enough jobs out there and, even if you trained someone, that does not mean they will necessarily get a job.  Nevertheless, there were some very fine programs designed to help people who are disadvantaged.


          One of the very best was New Careers, so here is the New Careers program.  The government says, on the one hand, and it talks about it in its throne speech, about providing training for welfare people to get them off of welfare, and here is one major program, New Careers, that was cut back.  Even in the city of Brandon it was cut back.  They originally had seven and a half positions when the office was open.  Last year two positions were eliminated, and this year another one and a half positions were cut.  Two staff are leaving, and the last I had heard they were not going to be replaced, although there has since been a statement by the deputy minister that those two would be replaced.


          The fact is that the program is being decimated, not only in Brandon but around the province.  Do you mean what you say when you tell us you want to train welfare recipients so they can get into the job market?  Obviously there is some hypocrisy here that boggles the mind.


          The fact is that we have had recent high levels of unemployment, and surely one way to help people to get off of welfare is to train them.  This was an excellent program.  Not only did you scale it back but you are reversing the so‑called decentralization that you boasted about in the past.


          Mr. Speaker, there are other examples.  This government, a couple of years ago, cut out the northern youth employment program which was of some assistance to young people in northern Manitoba.  The CareerStart program, which still exists, has been cut in half.  On the one hand, you say you are interested in providing jobs for young people and for disadvantaged people, yet on the other hand you are cutting back on these programs.


          Mr. Speaker, among other groups, I met with the pre‑employment program people in Brandon.  These are young people who are very frustrated.  They are on city welfare and they just do not see any hope down the line.  They are totally frustrated.  They had a program that was partly financed by the federal government.  The federal government, in its wisdom, has shut it down.  They may open it up under new parameters, new guidelines, in a couple of months, but the fact is there are young people out there who are very, very bitter.  In fact, I would invite members opposite to come with me and meet with these young people and listen to their views and listen to the frustration they express about not being able to get a job in this province.


          Mr. Speaker, there are a lot of reasons why people are unhappy with this government out there, and they would love to have an opportunity to have an election right here and now.


An Honourable Member:  Would you, Len?


Mr. Leonard Evans:  Yes.  You have not been here, but I said 10‑15 minutes ago that I would like to have an election, put my job on the line and let everyone else put their job on the line.  I am quite prepared right here and now.  Call it today.  Call it tomorrow morning.


          At any rate, Mr. Speaker, we have been listening to all this talk about decentralization and especially about telecommunications and all that and so on.  I wonder why the minister can sit in his seat and allow at least 15 technical jobs transferred from Brandon to Winnipeg.  This is a result of the decision to centralize the long‑distance routing in Winnipeg.  The new toll switching equipment is being installed in Winnipeg while the existing toll switches in Brandon are going to be put out of service.


          MTS and the government had the option of keeping one in Brandon and one in Winnipeg, but they rejected it in favour of centralization in Winnipeg.  Instead of investing $750,000 in the city of Brandon and $750,000 in Winnipeg, all of it, the entire $1.5 million, is being spent in Winnipeg.  I simply ask why.  How does this jibe with your policy of decentralization?  What you are doing is centralizing.  Not only that, but there are all kinds of operator and clerical jobs now that are at risk in MTS in Brandon and, indeed, this is true I suppose throughout the system.  I can tell you the employees are very, very upset about this, and they feel very threatened.  The morale is very low.  So I say, so much for decentralization.


          Mr. Speaker, I had been much maligned about my position on McKenzie Seeds.  My position on McKenzie Seeds is the same position that I had 25 years ago when their predecessors, when the Weir Conservative government, passed a cabinet motion which said that they would either sell or liquidate the company.  In fact, I happen to have a copy of a memo back to November of 1967 which says, pursuant to the cabinet decision of November 3, McKenzie Seeds will be sold or liquidated.


* (2110)


          It goes on to say, it asks the Minister of Industry‑‑[interjection] The point is, Mr. Speaker, at that time, the acting chair of the board, who was also given the responsibility to find a buyer, stated it should be appreciated that the sale could cause the eventual removal of the company's operations for Manitoba. [interjection] Okay, it is 1994, but the economics of the business are the same.  Obviously, the members‑‑[interjection] Just sit down and listen for a moment, just listen, listen, listen.


          The economics of the business is such that it dictates the most profitable location for a private company would be in the centre of a market, because it is a market‑oriented business.  Their market‑‑[interjection] Well, just listen.  Eighty percent of the market is in central Canada or a good percentage.  If it is not 80, it is 70; it is a high percentage.  Not only that, but all the materials and the packages and so on are made up in Ontario, in central Canada, and they are shipped to Brandon.  We package them, put them in boxes and so on and the bulk of them are shipped all the way back again.  The fact is if you had an independent economic analysis done, you would find and determine that this was a market‑oriented business.


          Now the best way therefore to keep them in Manitoba and in Brandon is to have it remain as a provincially owned and controlled company, because the Province of Manitoba surely should have as its objective the maintenance of jobs in Brandon and in Manitoba.  It does not have as its objective‑‑[interjection] Yes, we want to make money, but we do not have to make that additional money that a private company would want to make and would therefore change the location.  Now I say that in all sincerity.


An Honourable Member:  Yes, you took an awful lot of cheap shots at Great‑West, you know.


Mr. Leonard Evans:  Mr. Speaker, those cheap shots, I said this earlier that the press misrepresented what I had said.  I have no problem with what I said in this House or on television, none whatsoever.  I will repeat it, and I stand by that.


          Mr. Speaker, the fact is that in 1979 and in 1980, '81, a previous Conservative government put it up for sale coast to coast, advertised in the financial papers coast to coast even though Sterling Lyon said in '77 that a Conservative government would never sell McKenzie Seeds.  That was a front page story.  At any rate, Bob Banman, a former minister, came to Brandon and said that McKenzie Seeds was technically bankrupt and that is one reason they wanted to sell it or to get a partner.  So what happened?  Fortunately what happened, instead of this government consummating the sale, along came the fall of '81 and the Conservatives lost the election.  We became government, and within about three or four months we refinanced it and put it on a sound financial basis.


          If that refinancing package had not been in place, the company would not exist today.  It is as simple as that.  You can sneer, you can laugh, but do a hard analysis of it and you will see.  It would not exist today.  We saved it back in '69‑70, and we saved it again in 1982.  I have a sincere great fear that any partnership‑‑you may be well‑meaning‑‑but I say the economics lead me to fear that the company could be put in jeopardy if it is in a minority position.  It would seem to me that is the way you are heading, because if you are not in a minority position you do not need to demand any conditions about keeping it in Brandon.  If you are a majority, you call the shots.  If you are a minority, then you have to ask for guarantees.  We will see.  We will see how it comes along.


          Mr. Speaker, I have worked to keep those jobs in Brandon long before some members were in this House, long before they ever thought of politics, and I have no problem in calling an election and letting the member for Arthur‑Virden (Mr. Downey) run against me any time, right now, in Brandon East. [interjection] Come on, if Jim wants to run against me in Brandon East on this issue, I invite him to do so.


          At any rate, Mr. Speaker‑‑[interjection] Well, you can misconstrue statements and you can make statements and allege them to me that I never made.  Do what you wish.  I feel flattered that I am getting so much attention from the opposite side.  You know, there are a few others around here too.


          At any rate, Mr. Speaker, the fact is that the people in my constituency are particularly upset about health care, as I said.  They are particularly upset about the loss of jobs at MTS, and the workers are very unhappy.  I kid you not.  They have had meetings, not even with the union, they have had meetings on their own.  They are so upset about it.  I kid you not.


An Honourable Member:  How do you know, Leonard?


Mr. Leonard Evans:  How do I know?  Because I have had dozens of phone calls, that is how I know.  Many, many times, and many, many meetings.  Many, many.  Come on with me, come on, we will have a meeting this weekend in Brandon.  Come on with me.  Do you want 50 or 100 employees to meet with us?  We will go ahead. [interjection] You do not know what you are talking about.


          At any rate, they are very concerned about the loss of MTS jobs in Brandon, and I mentioned just a moment ago about the decision to centralize the long‑distance tolling in Winnipeg and moving it out of Brandon.  We are very unhappy.  We are losing 15 technical jobs on that account, and that is a fact.


          Mr. Speaker, the fact is that generally speaking this economy of ours has not done well for the last many years, and I would be the first one to say that we are not an economic island to ourselves.  We are part of the national economy, and that has obviously a bearing on our economic health.


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


          But the fact is that we were told when this government was in opposition, when the Conservative Party was in opposition, that great things would happen.  Well, they were going to eliminate, not reduce, but eliminate the payroll tax.  Well, they were going to reduce the debt.  The payroll tax is still here, and how much does it bring in?  It brings in a lot of money, Mr. Acting Speaker.


          The levy for health and education, I just got the nine‑month figure, is $142 million, and that is only nine months.  Well, it is still there, is it not?  I can get you speeches from Hansard from the Premier (Mr. Filmon), from the former Minister of Finance, that said, we will eliminate, not reduce, the number of companies who pay for it.


          Listen, you have been in government all these years since 1988 and it is still there.  It is still there.  It is bringing in more money today, I think, than ever.  So this government has not lived up to its expectations, to its promises.


          Likewise, it said it was going to reduce the debt.  Well, per capita debt in Manitoba is higher today than it ever was.  Why?  Because you have had extraordinarily high deficits and, again, this is revealed in the latest Quarterly Report of the Minister of Finance (Mr. Stefanson) indicating how the deficit is projected to increase higher this year than it was forecast in the budget last year.  It is projected now to be $460.8 million, and then you look elsewhere in this report and you will see where the debt per capita is now.  Well, March 31 of '93 it was $11,420 per person but, by the end of the year, it had risen to $12,264 per person, a substantial increase.  The debt per capita is higher today under the Conservatives than it ever was under the NDP.  You have not lived up to that promise, and people therefore are also dismayed and discouraged about that failure on the part of this government.


* (2120)


          The unemployment rate continues to be very high.  The actual rate this March was 10.7 percent, higher than last year, 9.8 percent, considerably higher than last year.  The sad part of it is, Mr. Acting Speaker, that the forecast that we get from the banks and the other forecasting agencies are for unemployment to remain high.  The Toronto Dominion Bank in its latest March 1994 projection projects Manitoba's unemployment rate to average 9.3 this year, 9.2 the next year.  There is not any substantial diminution or reduction of the unemployment rate, so I cannot see that as being a very happy future for our young people or indeed any of our people.


          The number of jobs today, as my Leader said earlier on, is fewer than when this government was elected.  If you were going to do all these great things, encouraging private investment and so on, which is the source of jobs, where are they?  Why are the jobs not here?  In 1988 there were 494,000 jobs.  By 1993, and these are annual averages, we have dropped to 490,000.  So there are fewer people working today than in 1988.  In fact, if you take the first three months of this year, the latest data that we got, we are down to 476,000.  So there is no sign of jobs increasing, and that is why we lose a lot of people.


          We have lost thousands of people during this government's regime, and that is the reason why our population growth is extremely slow.  Here are charts showing the rates of growth since 1988, and they show a very, very low population growth compared to what happened prior to '88, and the reason for that is the loss on interprovincial migration.  It is not a change in the birth rate.  It is the interprovincial migration loss.  Why do we lose people to other provinces?  Simply because there are not enough jobs here.  Where are they going?  They are going to Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia.


          Then there are other signs of a very weak economy.  Our weekly wages paid to Manitobans, on average we ranked nine out of 10.  We are just about the last of the 10 provinces.  Retail trade last year, we were eight out of 10.


An Honourable Member:  What is the cost of buying a house here versus Toronto?


Mr. Leonard Evans:  Well, talking about houses, yes, there is no question, but that is not the point I am making.  I am talking about the increase in weekly wages. [interjection] No, no, we are talking about the increase in weekly wages.


          As a matter of fact, if you want to talk about housing, that is a very pitiful situation.  You know, we used to have housing starts‑‑well, back in '87 we had 8,174 starts.  But we really reached a low point.  By 1991 we had dropped to 1,950.  Even now we are only about‑‑in fact, for 1993 they estimate it was about 2,425 compared to 8,000 prior to this government taking office.  There is just no significant new housing construction taking place in this province for various reasons, but one of which is the fact that the population is not growing.


          You know, this government always brags about how its fiscal policy is attracting capital investment into the province.  Well, Mr. Acting Speaker, if one were to look at the figures issued by Statistics Canada on the intentions of investment spending this year, they will find that private capital investment spending is going to be negative.  It is going to be 4.8 percent less than it was last year.  In fact, if you can see this chart, we are the last of the 10 provinces.  We are right at the bottom.  We are negative.  So I say, if you have such great fiscal policies, if you have got such a great taxation regime, why is it that we are not getting private capital investment?  Why is it going down the hill, going down the tube?  It is negative. [interjection] Well, it is.  It is negative.


          In fact, Mr. Acting Speaker, if you go back, and you can go back through the years, since 1988, the dark bars are private investment, and it is a pretty pitiful situation since this government has been in office.  It is one, two, four years, it is negative; '89, '91 and '94 are negative, oh yeah, and 1990.


          The two years that it was positive, it was only 2.5 percent one year and 1.9 percent the other year, very, very pitiful.  The other sad fact is that for this year, and the Minister of Industry (Mr. Downey) should listen to this, the forecast projected by Stats Canada, which does the survey of all businesses, of all manufacturers, among others, shows that manufacturing investment is going to be down by 15.7 percent.  Why?  Why is manufacturing investment down by 15.7 percent?  In fact, we have negative figures right across the board.  We have them in mining communities, utilities, agriculture and so on.


          The fact is‑‑[interjection] Well, you know, you want to make light of this, fine, but this was the key.  This was supposedly the key of the taxation and fiscal policy of this government.  We were going to attract private investment because, if you bring in investment, you create the basis for jobs.  So that is correct.  That is an obvious observation, but the fact is, we are not getting the investment and we are not getting the jobs.  Again, people of Manitoba have every right to be very upset and disappointed with the performance of this government.


          As my Leader said, the only growth industries‑‑[interjection] One minute, half a minute?  The only growth industries we have in this province regrettably are welfare and gambling, and that indeed is a tragedy.  It is a tragedy that this government has not made job creation a priority.  It is a tragedy that this government has failed.  It is a tragedy that we have so many people in poverty, the biggest percentage of people in poverty of any province in Canada, and a large part of that is due to the failure of the economic policies of the government.


          Thank you very much.


Mr. Ben Sveinson (La Verendrye):  Mr. Acting Speaker, I am honoured to speak today on our government's throne speech.  First, I would like to welcome back all members of the Legislature and especially those who are with us for the first time:  the honourable members for The Maples (Mr. Kowalski), Rossmere (Mr. Schellenberg), Osborne (Ms. McCormick), St. Johns (Mr. Mackintosh) and Rupertsland (Mr. Robinson).


          I ask them to follow the example, or perhaps set the example set by the past member for The Maples, Mr. Gulzar Cheema, who put forward constructive criticism and suggestions.  I would ask all opposition members to try this and truly, truly represent their constituencies and the people of Manitoba.


          A special welcome to our new Pages‑‑you have an interesting task ahead of you, and I hope you will find it to be a real learning experience.


          I would also like to welcome the new legislative interns.  I know this will also be a learning experience for them, and I thank them for the time and effort in advance.


          I believe, Mr. Acting Speaker, that the throne speech is an excellent road map or blueprint of the direction this government intends to take over the coming months.  I will find it clearly marks where this government stands on the issues, something our friends across the floor might want to follow instead of the silliness they espouse each day.


          We would like to tell the people of Manitoba where we stand, but we also make them a part of that process.


          I want to start off today by discussing some of the areas in the throne speech that have already been announced.  I am referring to the announcements of the parents' forum on education.  This was announced on Friday by Education minister Clayton Manness.


          I welcome this initiative because it makes parents a central part of improving the education system. [interjection] No, it is not.  Again, we have to get our facts straight, and it has not been six years.  Thank you.


          As the throne speech pointed out, our top priority must continue to be jobs and economic growth.  I will speak more about that later, but I think it is important to mention it here as well.


          In order to make jobs and economic growth a priority we must also address where the education system is going.  The reality is, the workforce is changing rapidly.  Who would have known 10 or 15 years ago that such a dramatic shift would be taking place?


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          During the 1970s we saw a change in the workplace that was driven by the advance of the computer age.  That electronic age has evolved into something more.  The coming of the electronic highway requires us to be prepared.  Otherwise, it will pass us by.  I am happy to say that Manitoba is well on its way to becoming a leader and innovator in the electronic information highway.


          We are already seeing companies set up in Manitoba that will create employment and marketing opportunities as they continue to grow.  The types of jobs that will be created will require different skills.  That is why we are working now to ensure our children will be able to compete in this changing workplace.  This is one area where the parents will help us draft a blueprint for education.


          As part of that, the government must also look at uniform standards of achievement and improved teacher training.  There is also a pressing need for our universities and colleges to examine their role in education to ensure they are prepared for the changing requirements of the job markets.  That means apprenticeship programs must also be updated.


          Our country is spending more on education than most countries in the world, but on academic tests we continue to fare poorly against some of those countries.  We need to examine the reasons for that and find a solution.


          (Mr. Speaker in the Chair)


          This government has also announced its intentions to implement recommendations contained in the report of the University Review Commission.  The commission was chaired by the former Premier Duff Roblin.


          Mr. Speaker, I am pleased that our government is also planning immediate action to strengthen and expand the distance education opportunities for all Manitobans.  Clearly, we are faced with unique challenges in Manitoba, and we must ensure that those who are in remote areas do not suffer just because they live far from a facility.


          This government is also continuing to help women by continuing efforts to encourage them to seek nontraditional fields of study and occupation.


          I should also mention here that this government is also in support of the International Year of the Family.  We do more than just support it though.  We are taking action to help improve the quality of life for Manitoba families.


          Mr. Speaker, this government has worked closely with rural and agricultural communities.  I am pleased to say that will continue and be further enhanced in months ahead.


          Now that the long and difficult negotiations on the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade are completed, we should see a great improvement in the agricultural sector.  The GATT talks left so much uncertainty in the world that it depressed the prices for our producers and jeopardized their markets.  GATT sets out some new rules, and that will mean we in Canada and here in Manitoba will have to work closely in the coming months to adjust the way our farm safety net programs work.


          We can and will work with producers to fight protectionist measures brought forward from time to time in the United States.  We also note the tremendous increase in agricultural products exported to the United States since the Free Trade Agreement was signed.


          Mr. Speaker, I commend the farming community for the tremendous increase in hog production here in Manitoba, and indeed especially in my constituency.  The increase in hog production has doubled in the last decades.  If people really knew the jobs, the literally thousands of jobs, that will mean and does mean in our society, it would be good if they did realize it.


          There are from time to time hog operations that have to be looked at to ensure that environmental guidelines are being met.  Good farming practices are ensured by the act, and a board to receive legitimate complaints is in operation.


          Manitobans will continue to benefit under initiatives from this government.  Along with the federal government we are pleased to take part in the program to improve our infrastructure.  As members of this House know, Premier Filmon and the members of this government have called on Ottawa for some time to become a partner in this type of program.  The benefits of this program are immense.  Rural Manitoba will receive in the area of $60 million.  So far about $20 million of that money has been announced.  There are still dozens of projects to be awarded, ranging from street and road repairs to building sewage facilities and other projects vital to our smaller communities.


An Honourable Member:  More good ones coming.


Mr. Sveinson:  More good ones coming.


          There are a number of smaller communities that will be installing, enlarging lagoons and sewer systems that will allow them to grow both residentially and also allow them to go after businesses or create businesses who could not move in because of water and sewage capacities.  Lorette, Ste. Anne, Landmark, Whitemouth are just some of those communities.  They will be benefiting from some of the ones that we have already announced.


          As a part of that infrastructure program we are also pleased to work with Centra Gas to establish natural gas service to 23 communities.  What pleases me about this project is that it will help improve the quality of life for rural Manitobans by giving them a cheaper, cleaner source of energy.  It will also have long‑term benefits for the province and those communities, like enhanced business possibilities.


          We all know that the cost of living in Manitoba is among the lowest in Canada.  We also know the work ethic of Manitobans is second to none.  That is why I am confident that these two factors will lead to more businesses setting up shop in rural Manitoba, creating jobs, thus giving a boost to our economy.


          The philosophy of creating a climate that is attracted to business will continue to lead us out of the recession that has gripped our country for so long.  Our agri‑food companies will benefit from the natural gas service and help them continue to grow and become major players in that global marketplace.


          Mr. Speaker, while I am discussing the rural economy I must also praise what this government is doing in the area of mining.  The throne speech mentions that this government will be assisting and encouraging exploration and development in the mining and petroleum industries.  We are actively seeking new projects.


          I was pleased with the announcement last month of the largest mining claim in Manitoba's history.  The Rhonda Mining Corporation of Calgary has filed more than 4,000 claims covering the southeast area of the province.  That area goes from Winnipeg south to the U.S. border and all the way east to the boundary with Ontario.  There are actually some other claims even outside that area which goes farther out into the area around Whitemouth‑Seven Sisters area.


          This news was one of the most exciting things to hit the industry in some time.  It was also very exciting for the people who live in those areas.  Just the thought of the exploration was one thing and looking at the possibilities of a company spending on exploration between $5 million and $10 million over the next several years, just thinking about that alone adds jobs in the different communities.  Whether it is cafes, restaurants, stores, trucking outfits carrying different materials, it is endless the different jobs it can create.


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          Mr. Speaker, this news was one of the most exciting things to hit this industry.  The company says fingerprints in southeastern Manitoba show there could be diamonds, gold and other base metals found in these areas, but there was a negative side to this thing that was shown through the media.  They were saying something to the effect that it was not found yet.  Nobody said anything that there were any mines found or any diamonds found.  It was simply the exploration, but there was quite a to‑do on radio and in the newspapers that indeed the minister had announced and was literally saying that there would be diamonds there and the mines would be opened up.  That was not it at all, and it was not even said that way, but it is quite incredible the negative sides that some people can take.  It seems to come from across the way a considerable part of that time.


          Mr. Speaker, I would also say that I have always known the yellow brick road led to La Verendrye, and we do not need to give away any red ruby slippers to encourage development.  All the NDP would do is scare off companies with threats of increased taxation like putting the payroll tax back.  I think I heard something about that today.  The Liberals would not know enough to look for new companies for exploration.


          The reason we are seeing an interest in Manitoba is because of the things that this government is doing to encourage exploration.  Mining companies can deduct 150 percent of their exploration expenditures.  That means we are encouraging them to spend more of their money in this province.  Further to that, new mines are not required to pay the mining tax until their profits equal the money they actually spend on the development.  Just think of the spin‑off benefits to small‑business owners in this province and to those people who receive jobs as a result of new business and investment.


          I would also like to point out that it was encouraging to see the recent opening of the gold mine in Lynn Lake and the two new gold developments in the North.  There has also been recent news about other mineral deposits in our province.  This I would say is a sure sign that the long drought in the mining industry is coming to an end.  That improvement in the industry is also a signal that the economy is improving.


          Mr. Speaker, I would like to mention some of the environmental initiatives containing this government's throne speech.  Our plans are to continue what we set out years ago to lead all provinces in the principles and practices of sustainable development.  We are not interested in leading for the sake of being first.  We are doing it because it is the right thing to do.


          I am looking forward to the introduction of the sustainable development act, which will be the first of its kind anywhere in North America.  The Manitoba Round Table on Environment and the Economy is the driving force behind this initiative, which will be a model for others to follow and perhaps even improve.


          Since we are on the topic of leaders and followers, when it comes to the environment, I want to mention the provincial Liberals, who are not even in the picture.


          Our government's efforts to get our environmental side agreement to the NAFTA accord and Manitoba's centre for sustainable development should have made Manitoba the obvious choice for the headquarters of the North American Commission on Environmental Co‑operation.  The federal Liberals decided otherwise and, as Sheila Copps was quoted, the decision was made for political reasons.


          The honourable Leader of the third party did not think it was important to stand up for Manitoba and instead acted like an apologist for his federal cousins.  The Liberal Leader, the Leader of the third party, was quoted as saying, this was possibly five to 10 jobs for Manitoba. [interjection] Thirty?  I am corrected, no big deal.  It is unfortunate that the Manitoba Liberal Leader decided to act like a turtle on this issue, frankly.  His constituents really deserved better.


          Mr. Speaker, I would like to draw your attention to the topic of tourism.  As all members of this House know, the constituency of La Verendrye is one of the most beautiful areas of our fine province.  Many visitors come to this area every year, and tourism is a significant industry in my area.  The success which Manitoba has had in attracting visitors is a direct result of this government's aggressive efforts at promotion of Manitoba.  Our government's campaign is continuing to improve Manitoba as a major vacation destination.  We are attracting people from all over North America to visit Manitoba and enjoying everything it has to offer.


          As proof of this success of our government strategy, the number of American visitors to Manitoba is four times the national average and last year the number of international visitors increased by 25.5 percent.


          Our government is also committed to ensuring that the resources are available to help tourism businesses to expand.  We have provided assistance to Whiteshell Resort to winterize their cottages and cabins and extend their seasons.  The extension of those seasons I will talk about a little bit farther on and why it will help in the Whiteshell area especially, and that simply is the increased usage of snowmobiles all over our area and into the United States, into Ontario and Saskatchewan and so on, and they are coming up here.  It is nice to see.


          In addition, new walking and hiking trails will be added to the Jessica Lake area to add to an already successful tourist area.  You could jog down these trails also.  As the government announced this winter, Manitoba will be pursuing a very significant program of snowmobile trail improvements and expansion.  This will bring in more and more tourists from the south, east and west of us.


          The Can‑Am International meet is an outstanding event yearly.  For the last three years, I have worked with people from the Whiteshell each year in putting on the Can‑Am International Trail event.  It is truly an international event.  People from the United States come down to the Whiteshell into West Hawk, Falcon, Rennie area.  They travel the trails throughout our Whiteshell area and this year we added some into Ontario.  Eventually those trails will be over most of Manitoba.  Just think of the more time involved for those tourists, stopping in to all the different towns throughout rural Manitoba.  It is an exciting thing.  I must say that the group was very nice again to me this year.  Each year they are very nice. [interjection]  They did.  Polaris was again, and their representative was very nice to me.  They gave me a real top quality machine, and I thanked them very much for that.


An Honourable Member:  How much is it worth?


Mr. Sveinson:  Offhand I am not sure of the exact cost of that machine, but they were very nice and I thanked them for it.


          The establishment of this trail improvement fund will increase the enjoyment of trails for snowmobilers throughout this province and will certainly contribute to a large number of visitors to our province.


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          Mr. Speaker, I want to assure all my constituents that as their representative I will continue to work to ensure that our tourist facilities are first class.  However, I must say that it would not be possible without the support of many people and organizations in my area who share this goal with me.  I have to thank the West Hawk and Falcon Lake business association, the Whiteshell cottages association, the Whiteshell Provincial Park staff, the organizers of the Can‑Am International, the local government officials in all the different areas from the Ritchot municipality, the town of St. Adolphe, Landmark, the UVD of Landmark, the R.M. of Tache, the beautiful town of Lorette, the beautiful town of Ste. Anne, the R.M. of Ste. Anne, the R.M. of Whitemouth and the LGD of Reynold.


          Actually, just for the members' interest, in the last year‑‑and for many members here who might wonder and have mentioned a few times the different areas in my constituency.  I have a very large constituency, and last year I put on in the neighbourhood of 50,000 miles in my constituency.  I was seeing the people throughout my constituency, and all the different organizations that I have just mentioned are people that I am working with.


          The local government officials in all the areas that I have mentioned and the business associations and residents work hard to provide a friendly setting for all visitors to our area.  We all have to look forward to a successful summer and a round of golf on many golf courses in La Verendrye. [interjection] I swing a club now and then.


          As well, I will continue to work on the promotion of PR207 as Dawson Trail or the Dawson Road.  Once again the municipalities, towns and businesses are gearing up to make this a real tourist attraction.  The Dawson Trail has major significance in Manitoba's history since it was the old land and water route between Thunder Bay and Winnipeg.


          A trip down the Dawson Trail brings visitors to many beautiful scenes and attractions, such as Falcon Lake, areas in the Richer area, the village of Ste. Anne, Dufresne, Lorette.  If you take a little jaunt off around Richer, off to Giroux, you will run into the home of Philip's Magical Paradise, which features the magic of Winnipeggers Dean Gunnarson and Doug Henning. [interjection] No, no.  I said it features the magic of, but it was built for a young fellow, Philip, who was into the magic field, if you will, and was very good friends with Dean Gunnarson and Doug Henning.  That itself too is a tourism draw, and it is in a small town called Giroux.


          These attractions and the accomplishments I have highlighted here are only a sampling of what La Verendrye has to offer, and this government will continue to promote Manitoba tourism and provide support to our valuable tourism industry.


          I hope that the members of this House will have the opportunity to visit this beautiful part of this province this summer. [interjection] The honourable member for Inkster (Mr. Lamoureux) I think is trying to egg me into a golf match or something.


          Mr. Speaker, I would like to express to this House my concerns about the increase in youth crime and violence.  My constituents have also expressed their fears surrounding this problem.  However, I would like to commend this government, especially the Minister of Justice, the Honourable Rosemary Vodrey, for the consultative approach to this problem.


          I am very pleased that a wise cross section of Manitobans were given the opportunity to express their feelings and discuss some of the problems and possible solutions at the summit on youth crime and violence this last fall.  The Minister of Justice has reflected wisely upon the views expressed at this summit and provided a progressive nine‑point plan that I feel will help in reversing this disturbing trend.


          I would like to stress immediately that I believe that preventative programs should be the first choice for combatting youth crime and violence.  This means that communities must help support law enforcement officials and schools in their effort to prevent youth crimes.


          In addition, it is important to recognize that most, and I say most, young people are upstanding and understanding members of their communities and that we are speaking only about a small segment of the youth.


Mr. Kevin Lamoureux (Inkster):  I am still waiting for you to talk about the boot camps.


Mr. Sveinson:  The member for Inkster was lost.  He was not sure where I was.  However, for those young people who violate the law‑‑[interjection] You are right.  However, for those young people who violate the law and do so repeatedly, we must have tougher consequences.  Mr. Speaker, I believe that our young people are fully rational, and when presented with a serious deterrent to violent and criminal behaviour, they will recognize the consequence of their action and change their way.  Therefore, I feel that a toughening of the Young Offenders Act is an important step in stopping youth crime.


          Another important step in dealing with youth crime is the concept of boot‑‑the honourable member for Inkster (Mr. Lamoureux) is not listening.  He was asking me about boot camp, and I am into it now‑‑and wilderness camps for young people who come in conflict with the law.


          I have already gone on record as a wholehearted supporter of boot camps for young offenders, and I feel strongly that they can have a positive impact on some of these young people.


          Mr. Speaker, I have seen the results of giving young people discipline and structure in this sort of setting.  I believe that the idea of boot camps and wilderness camps works, and I would even welcome a facility in my constituency.  I believe that the approaches that the public put forth in the youth crime summit will be very helpful in correcting the trend of increased youth crime.


          The solutions which this government is now aggressively pursuing were democratically arrived at in consultation with the public.  However, the community involvement which determines our strategy to arrest youth crime must also involve the implementation of these recommendations.  It is imperative that the community get behind the government's efforts.  I urge parents, educators, the police and especially the media to join us in our efforts.


An Honourable Member:  The media has a responsibility in this area.


Mr. Sveinson:  Very strong.  Mr. Speaker, clearly we have established the framework for continued growth and prosperity for Manitoba.


Mr. Speaker:  When this matter is again before the House, the honourable member for La Verendrye (Mr. Sveinson) will have six minutes remaining.


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