Mr. Peter Dyck (Pembina): This has been a long legislative session, and members opposite have done everything they can to prolong it. Well, if we are to sit here every day until members opposite decide what it is they are attempting to accomplish, then I would prefer to concentrate on positive things. While members opposite are trying hard to--[interjection]
Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order, please. I am having great difficulty hearing the honourable member. Those who are not interested in listening could either attend out in the hall and have their conversations or do so in the loge. But I think the honourable member is attempting to put some words on the record, and we should give him that respect. The honourable member for Pembina, to continue.
Mr. Dyck: While members opposite are trying hard every day to make the front page of the Free Press, I am sure that they were disappointed last Saturday to read another glowing article about the state of our province's economy. I would like to read parts of the article to the members opposite just in case they did not get a chance to browse it themselves.
Two major economic reports say Manitoba's already expanding economy will really get cooking over the next two years. Royal Bank of Canada and the Conference Board of Canada are predicting the Manitoba economy will expand next year by as much as 4.3 percent, creating about 12,000 new jobs and increasing the take-home pay of the average family by $854. In 1998, two forecasts call for even better times with unemployment dipping to 5.7 percent and housing starts improving to levels not seen in decades. Also, by 1998, even after inflation and income taxes, the average family's take-home pay will be $2,093 more than today.
John McCallum, chief economist of the Royal Bank, said in an interview, and I quote: Manitoba will continue to be steady but growth will not be so slow in the future and what we will see is economic growth that the average Manitoban will feel.
Manitoba is well on its way to building a stronger economy and a stronger society. This government will continue to provide strong leadership in shaping and managing the change. We continue working to make Manitoba strong. Thank you.
Ms. Diane McGifford (Osborne): Mr. Deputy Speaker, on Saturday, November 16, my colleague the member for Wolseley (Ms. Friesen) and I attended a celebratory evening and fundraising dinner in support of Herizons magazine. Herizons editor, Penni Mitchell, and business manager, Yvonne Block, hosted the evening, held at the Franco-Manitobain Cultural Centre restaurant. The event included the music of harpist Erica Schultz and a draw for an Air Canada ticket. Food, company and music were excellent, and I congratulate the organizers for their ideas and hard work. As well, I want to take this opportunity to draw attention to the role Herizons plays in the women's community, both locally and nationally.
The magazine could be described as a Canadian sister of Ms magazine. Herizons is now in its second incarnation, having run aground in the late 1980s when funding sources failed. I understand that when the magazine again began publishing, the editorial collective was determined to be self-supporting, a courageous stance for any small Canadian publication and especially for a feminist magazine.
To date, several years into its second mandate, Herizons continues to offer Canadian women different perspectives, perspectives from the feminist point of view. The magazine includes regular and feature columnists and keeps Canadian women abreast of controversial issues such as, for example, alternate health care and treatments and women's spirituality. Herizons encourages letters to the editor and prints many, so that women's issues are often hotly debated through these letters. Regular readers of Herizons are soon educated as to the current debates within the feminist community.
In closing, congratulations to Herizons on its contribution to Canadian culture, its editorial integrity and its determination to survive financially. Such initiative commands our respect.
Mr. Frank Pitura (Morris): I would like to expand on what my colleague for Pembina (Mr. Dyck) said earlier about the state of Manitoba's economy. I think there is even more good news to report. Manitobans have been telling us that the economy and then jobs are the most important issues facing our province today.
Well, while members opposite remain fixated on one issue, our government continues to maintain an economic climate that invites investment and growth. Just last month the economy created more than 5,000 jobs, giving Manitoba one of the fastest growing job markets in Canada. It is the second straight month the economy has created that many jobs, pushing the year's total to about 13,000, mostly full-time jobs. The Conference Board of Canada recently described the Manitoba economy as firing on all cylinders.
The Royal Bank has reported that after leading the country in retail sales last year, Manitoba consumers will continue to spend more than any other province this year and the next two years. It is also reported that 3,000 new homes will be built next year and 3,500 new homes in 1998. Industry Canada figures show that the value of shipments of manufactured goods was up 35 percent in the first quarter alone and this growth is coming from a variety of areas, including agri-food, aerospace, machinery and bus manufacturing.
Manitoba's diversified economy means that our province does not have to rely on the success of just one sector. Our government understands what matters to Manitobans most, and we will continue to foster an economic environment that promotes job creation and opportunity. Merci.
Ms. Marianne Cerilli (Radisson): Mr. Deputy Speaker, I want to recognize the opening of the Chief Peguis health and fitness centre. There have been a number of events recently marking the opening of this co-operative which is in the basement of the Chief Peguis Junior High School. Developing this track and making it safe and opening it up for the public to use as a health and fitness and recreation centre has been a good idea and a dream for many years. Ever since the school was built in the 1970s, and I also attended that junior high school, people have been talking about and planning to have that track opened as a fitness centre. Well, the official opening was October 1 and then their annual general meeting was November 2, 1996, where they elected an executive and passed their by-laws.
I want to pay tribute and recognize the contributions by many volunteers and members of the community, the core group that have been developing the resources and the unique partnership which involves the school division, the City of Winnipeg Parks and Rec which provide the staff and run the programs, as well as the provincial government who have supported through the Community Places grants program. This facility is also looking to be used in the Pan Am Games and hopes to leave a further devout legacy in the North Kildonan community after the Pan Am Games.
The successful fundraising banquet this past Saturday, November 16, at the Nor-Villa Hotel had more than a hundred people and also heard a great motivational speech by Michelle Sawatzky, a resident of Steinbach who was a member of the Canadian Women's National Volleyball Team that competed in the Atlanta Olympics. She gave an excellent speech about her own path as a national and international athlete where she herself came up against a number of barriers and was told a number of times that she was too short to play volleyball, to play university volleyball and to compete at the international level, as so many of the participants and volunteers developing the Chief Peguis fitness centre also came up against similar barriers where they were told a number of times that they could not accomplish their goals. I want to congratulate them.
I know that the member for Rossmere (Mr. Toews) across the way won a door prize or a silent auction prize where he has a membership to the track, and I will look forward to seeing him there where we can enjoy this community asset for our neighbourhood. Thank you.
Mr. Jack Penner (Emerson): Mr. Deputy Speaker, today I rise in the House to make mention of the Manitoba Investment Pool Authority. The commencement ceremony for the first short-term investment pool took place this morning at the Legislative Building in Room 254. MIPA is a pooled investment program which is open to municipalities, universities, school divisions and health facilities. Our government, through Bill 56, The Manitoba Investment Pool Authority Act has provided a tremendous opportunity for all members of the public and the public sector. The pool of money for investment will provide better returns for investors with no increase in risk due to the fact that the larger amounts of principal are accorded better rates of return by investors. What does the pool offer? Increased investment returns through professional management and economies of scale, convenience with same-day transfers, the ability to fax requests on a toll-free line, investment flexibilities through liquidity and future investment options.
I would like to congratulate the communities of Swan River and Portage la Prairie who along with the UMM, the MAUM, have placed an initial $1.5 million to the first short-term investment fund. Through co-operation and vision, all Manitobans will receive increased benefits. Mr. Deputy Speaker, I believe that this flows from the initiatives taken by others and also by the investment community to create jobs in this province, to invest in this community and by our municipalities and others to be able to put their money into opportunities that will in the long term create jobs, industries and indeed a better economy for this province.