Monday, December 9, 2002

The House met at 1:30 p.m.



Introduction of Guests

Mr. Speaker: Prior to Oral Questions, I would like to draw the attention of all honourable members to the public gallery where we have with us today Mr. Shiva Dulal of Kathmandu, Nepal, who is the guest of the honourable Minister of Family Services and Housing (Mr. Caldwell).

Also in the public gallery we have with us today journalism students from Red River College. These students are under the direction of Mr. Duncan McMonagle.

Also I would like to draw the attention of all honourable members to the Speaker's Gallery where we have with us today Mr. Binx Remnant, Sharon Dowell and Ellisha Remnant of Winnipeg.

On behalf of all honourable members, I welcome you all here today.

Also in the public gallery we have from Athlone School 27 Grade 5 students under the direction of Mrs. Renee McGurry. This school is located in the constituency of the honourable Leader of the Official Opposition (Mr. Murray).

Also we have from St. Paul's Collegiate 35 Grade 9 students under the direction of Ms. Kim Earl. This school is located in the constituency of the honourable Member for Morris (Mr. Pitura).

We have from Sisler High 16 Grade 11 students under the direction of Mr. Chris Bandfield. This school is located in the constituency of the honourable Member for Burrows (Mr. Martindale).

Also, on behalf of all honourable members, I welcome you here today.



Kyoto Protocol

Implementation Costs

Mr. Stuart Murray (Leader of the Official Opposition): Mr. Speaker, I believe everyone in this House is in favour of reducing greenhouse gas and the premise of Kyoto, but the problem is that no one can tell us the costs associated with the implementation of Kyoto and the impacts it will have on the economy.

The Energy Minister has been quoted as saying that the costs associated with implementing the Kyoto Protocol are irrelevant. Maybe that is the opinion of the Doer government, but on this side of the House we believe costs are relevant.

* (13:35)

Instead of telling Manitobans simply to trust him, can the Premier tell Manitobans and everyone in this House today the potential impacts, the costs of implementing Kyoto? What are those costs to Manitobans?

Hon. Gary Doer (Premier): I want to table in the House a news release from October 20, 1998, wherein a minister named Mr. McCrae and another minister named Mr. Newman talk about the absolute need for Canada and Manitoba to deal with the Kyoto Protocol. They go on to say hydro-electricity is clean, green power and a major tool for the reduction of greenhouse gases, within a time frame identified at Kyoto, said Mr. McCrae. Manitoba has made a commitment to put a viable plan in place to deal with climate change.

Mr. Speaker, I will table this document and ask the member opposite why the Tories never had a viable plan for Kyoto like we do.

Mr. Murray: Of course if the Premier would do his research he would understand at that time the indication was the United States was also going to be in the Kyoto Protocol, unlike today.

Mr. Speaker, some studies have said that job losses to the economy could be as high as 240 000 jobs. Federal Environment Minister David Anderson says implementation will only cost some 60 000 jobs to the economy.

I would ask the Premier today: Has he done an analysis of how many jobs, implementing the Kyoto Protocol will be impacted in Manitoba?

Mr. Doer: Mr. Speaker, as I say, when we came into office there was, quote: No plan available.

The press release from the Conservatives opposite said: "By speaking out to our federal, provincial and territorial counterparts we are helping send appropriate, timely signals to Canadian industry and the world at large that Canada will create the conditions industry requires to meet the Kyoto challenge."

This was the Conservative position on October 20, 1998. Why are the Conservatives flip-flopping again?

Mr. Murray: Mr. Speaker, the question is very simple: Does the Premier have a plan? Clearly there is no plan from the Doer government at all to do with Kyoto. He is hanging Manitobans out to dry. Why is that? Why, when we understand that the federal government is planning to invoke closure on Kyoto? The attitude in Ottawa of the federal Liberals is: We know what is best for Canadians and, no, we cannot provide the details of our plan for Kyoto and the impact it will have on the Canadian economy.

They say: Trust us. Well, the same attitude they have toward their plans for the federal gun registry. We all know how big of a boondoggle that has been for Canadians.

Other premiers on Kyoto have stood up and said we cannot agree on Kyoto until there is evidence of the impact it will have on Canada. Yet this Premier has stood idly by and supported it. I say the plan of action we need should ensure that Manitobans have a thorough understanding of the impact costs and benefits that Kyoto will have on Manitobans.

I ask the Premier today to provide evidence to all Manitobans of the impact Kyoto will have on the economy, the agriculture sector, the transportation sector, the manufacturing sector. Will the Premier unveil his plan?

Mr. Doer: I will table the three documents we have produced in our time and compare it to the vacuous amount of information we had with members opposite.

* (13:40)

Mr. Speaker, one must ask: Who is the Leader of the Opposition now representing? Is he representing Stephen Harper and the Alliance Party, or is he representing Manitoba in the great benefits that Kyoto will have, not only to the environment, to the future?

Why is the member opposite taking in the opposite view of former Premier Gary Filmon? He knew what was best for Manitoba: hydro-electric power, clean energy sources. It is time for this member to start representing Manitoba, not his extreme ideological friends as he did in health care debate last week in the Canadian Alliance party in Ottawa.

Mr. Speaker: The honourable Leader of the Official Opposition, on a new question.

Mr. Murray: On a new question, please. Mr. Speaker, we have repeatedly asked the Government, the Doer government, to outline the effects ratifying the Kyoto accord will have on the Manitoba economy, on the pocketbooks of everyday Manitobans. We have asked for a sectoral analysis that shows on an industry-by-industry analysis the costs of ratifying the Kyoto accord. We have asked what it will cost for the Manitoba government to build an east-west power grid, what it will cost Manitobans to build Conawapa and the cost to Manitobans of expanding the ethanol industry.

Manitobans have literally hundreds and hundreds of questions about Kyoto, Mr. Speaker, but instead of providing Manitobans the answer, the details they need in order to make an informed decision, the Doer government is blowing hot air and saying trust us.

Mr. Speaker, will the Premier today table a sector-by-sector analysis of the impact the Kyoto accord will have in Manitoba by ratifying that Kyoto accord? Will he implement that today?

Mr. Doer: Mr. Speaker, we have a number of documents that we will provide to the member opposite. We had climate change public hearings that took place 18 months ago. We had some material produced dealing with the materials. [interjection] I do not have three copies, but I will bring them for the member opposite.

Mr. Speaker, a couple of weeks ago we were meeting with the mining industry. For example, the sections that we were dealing with in terms of consideration for past successes being considered as part of the Kyoto Protocol is part of the federal plan. For example, Inco has reduced its emissions by 9 percent. Hudson Bay Mining and Smelting has reduced its emissions by 35 percent. Forestry has reduced its emissions.

We are trying to make sure that some of those–

Some Honourable Members: Oh, oh.

Mr. Speaker: Order. I would like to remind all honourable members that we are just into Question Period and there will be lots of time for members that wish to ask questions and other members who wish to try to answer the questions that are being hurled back and forth.

I ask you just to be patient and you will have your turn. It is very, very difficult to hear the questions and the answers, so I ask the co-operation of all honourable members, please.

Mr. Doer: I mentioned a number of the industries. It is interesting this weekend, Mr. Speaker, that the Husky Oil Company that has some investments here in Manitoba, in Minnedosa in particular, has come out and said that some of the criticisms of Kyoto are wrong, and that Kyoto is good for Canada and good for the investments that will be made.

Mr. Speaker, we know that 50 years from now if we do nothing we will have a situation where our boreal forests change to grasslands and our grasslands change to semi-arid land.

* (13:45)

Mr. Speaker, we have a choice. The former Filmon government and the two ministers had a choice to do something about climate change and they chose to do something. Members opposite have a choice and they are choosing to do nothing. I am proud that we are acting and acting in a way that shows that Canada can lead not follow the United States.

Mr. Murray: Mr. Speaker, with respect to the Kyoto Protocol, the Energy Minister is on record as stating that Manitoba will, and I quote: "earn the credits which in fact put us on the positive side of the ledger." That is according to the minister from the Doer government.

Can the Premier guarantee that Manitoba will receive credits, or is this merely wishful thinking designed to cover up the fact that they have no plan, no clue what to do when it comes to Kyoto?

Mr. Doer: We have a very, very extensive plan, but maybe–

Some Honourable Members: Oh, oh.

Mr. Speaker: Order. May I remind all honourable members that decorum is very important to the viewing public. If you just take a second and have a look up into the public galleries and look at all the students that are here today, I am sure each and every one of you would like to set a good example. So I ask the co-operation of all honourable members, please.

Mr. Doer: It is regrettable that the kind of vision we had with the former government on climate change and the work they did as ministers talking about low-carbon energy forms such as hydro-electricity, because of its importance as a renewable energy resource, it is important that they can play as a very major and useful tool in the Canadian greenhouse gas reduction strategy. They also emphasize the importance of Canadians pursuing the recognition within the framework of international negotiations.

Now, Mr. Speaker, it is important to note that we, too, believe and know that we will exceed the Kyoto Protocol provisions for Manitoba. The real question is: How are we going to deal with some of these issues with the national government? How are we going to deal with the Hudson's Bay Mining and Smelting reductions of 35 percent? How are we going to deal with the sink hole in the forestry industry? How are we going to deal with the areas of hydro-electricity and its place in renewable energy–[interjection]

Well, Mr. Speaker, maybe members opposite support the position of Alberta and of separatists in Québec that provinces themselves should ratify the agreement on their own. We actually believe in the Government of Canada, the people of Canada being able to ratify international agreements and we do not take the view of the separatists in Québec like the member opposite is doing.

Mr. Murray: You are only on-side with one out of ten.

Mr. Speaker, this from a Premier who rushes out to sign an agreement he knows nothing about while he pollutes the Red River with 57 Olympic swimming pools on a daily basis. Every day.

Canadians were told "trust us" when the Liberals created the gun registry. Members on the other side of the House in fact agreed with that creation. The NDP government agreed with that. We have seen the gun registry and we know it is a multi-million-dollar boondoggle.

* (13:50)

Will the Premier tell this House why Manitobans should trust him with our involvement with Kyoto when he says it will cost nothing, that it will be good to us and have absolutely no impact on the provincial economy? Can he come clean with Manitobans once and for all?

Mr. Doer: Mr. Speaker, our position on C-68 from 1995 in every debate is well known. Members opposite–

Some Honourable Members: Oh, oh.

Mr. Speaker: Order.

Mr. Doer: On the issue of Kyoto, Mr. Speaker, the only flip-flopping that is taking place is members opposite who have now adopted the Stephen Harper position on Kyoto and have rejected the Gary Filmon government's position on climate change, have rejected their own position of four years ago. We in opposition supported the–

Some Honourable Members: Oh, oh.

Mr. Speaker: Order.

Mr. Doer: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. We can certainly understand the position of the members opposite. The words "hydro development," "hydro opportunities," "hydro economic opportunities" are not in their so-called alternative plan. They are the mothball party of Manitoba. They put all the hydro-electric developments in mothballs. We negotiate deals, they cancel them, and I think the people of Manitoba know that if you want to go forward–

Some Honourable Members: Oh, oh.

Mr. Speaker: Order.

Mr. Doer: We are extremely confident that we can meet our targets and exceed our targets under the Kyoto agreement, where we are still working with the national government. We have said this before. You know, Mr. Speaker, with the greatest–

Winnipeg Child and Family Services


Mrs. Myrna Driedger (Charleswood): Mr. Speaker, front-line workers in Winnipeg Child and Family Services feel that Winnipeg's child welfare system is in crisis and that care of children is being compromised under NDP policy, such as the recent abrupt termination of counselling that we heard about last week.

I would like to ask the Minister of Family Services if he can confirm that his latest policy to save money is to create vacancies in front-line social work positions which, in turn, is also going to create larger caseloads for those left holding down the fort.

Hon. Drew Caldwell (Minister of Family Services and Housing): Of course not, Mr. Speaker. First of all, in the deliberations of the department and this Government, we are acting on the recommendations of the 1997 Mason Report that members opposite failed to act upon. That report said the cuts implemented by the previous administration to foster parents, parent child centres led to more kids in hotels, a higher cost to the system.

We are engaged, Mr. Speaker, in a very proactive way with initiatives to enhance services to child welfare programs in the province, to redirect resources to front-line services away from administrative services, to reducing the warehousing of children in hotels and shelters and providing treatment beds.

Mrs. Driedger: Mr. Speaker, the minister did not answer the question. I would like him to confirm that one board member has actually resigned from the board of Winnipeg Child and Family Services because of his concern that this new vacancy management policy is something that might be dangerous and put children at risk. Can he confirm that a board member quit?

* (13:55)

Mr. Caldwell: Mr. Speaker, members opposite will recall and certainly the public will recall that Child and Family Services in Winnipeg last year ran a deficit of some $10 million. That deficit has been dramatically reduced in this year's programming. Manitobans will also appreciate that stays in hotels are reduced as a result of our initiatives to redirect resources away from administrative support, away from warehousing children and into treatment beds.

Mrs. Driedger: The minister again has not answered any of these questions. I would like to table a letter right now. The letter is from Winnipeg Child and Family Services. I will just read one comment where it says: "these redirections" related to the vacancy management policy of the Government "will severely compromise our ability to provide service to children in permanent care."

I would like to ask this Minister of Family Services today if he can guarantee that by creating vacancies in front-line social work positions these will not in any way compromise the safety of children in this province, children that are coming into care.

Mr. Caldwell: Our Government is not reducing front-line services, Mr. Speaker. I know members opposite would like to propagate this sort of thing. Two weeks ago, we had a series of questions that ultimately proved to be in error, that was on the floor of this House for two or three days.

So our Government, as we have been since forming office in 1999, is engaged in restoring and renewing child welfare services in this province. We are acting very aggressively, in a proactive fashion in our efforts with the field to enhance child welfare services and will continue to do so.

Nursing Profession

Full-Time Employment Opportunities

Mr. John Loewen (Fort Whyte): Mr. Speaker, this Government in 1999 promised nurses that they would be able to find full-time jobs and that they would be part of the solution to solving the health care crisis. Here we are over three years later and this Government has done nothing. As a result, I hear on a regular basis from nurses who want to find full-time work but cannot.

I would ask the minister if he can take this issue seriously and if he will be willing to work with nurses in order to ensure that the health care crisis facing Manitobans can be resolved by the hiring of more full-time staff.

Hon. Dave Chomiak (Minister of Health): Mr. Speaker, as you know, part of our plan was the training and the working with nurses. Right now, as we speak, there are close to 300 full-time vacancies in the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority. The members opposite negotiated two collective agreements with nurses in which in one collective agreement not only did they roll back wages but they rolled back wages to a lot fewer nurses after they had let so many go.

But in that regard I should tell you that we negotiated a collective agreement with nurses and formed with them a committee to review something very novel to members opposite who mentioned nothing in their phoney alternative speech about nurses, not one word about nurses, not one word about nurses except when there might be one or two in the gallery.

Mr. Speaker, we put in place a program to work and talk with nurses so they could help us deal with that situation.

Mr. Loewen: The minister might want to explain why the committee is not meeting and why it is a meaningless committee.

I would ask the minister if he could explain to the licensed practical nurses that I hear from on a regular basis why, in spite of upgrading their education which they graduate from shortly, they have been unable to find full-time jobs. Why, for example, in Brandon, in spite of the fact that there are 38 vacancies for nurses, are there only two part-time term positions listed for licensed practical nurses? What does he have to say to them?

* (14:00)

Mr. Chomiak: Mr. Speaker, I am so happy the member asked that question. This was the government, that was the member's party, who cancelled LPNs at Health Sciences Centre. They cancelled LPNs, not only part time but full time, at St. Boniface, at Misericordia, at Victoria, at Concordia and at rural facilities. They cancelled the program. They were getting rid of them. Now the member says hire them all. We started. For the first time in a decade, we are putting LPNs back into Health Sciences Centre, not just full time but part time and full time. I find it extraordinary that a member of a party who cancelled LPNs in acute care facilities, never mind full time, never mind part time, you got rid of them all, would now say, gee, there are not enough full-time jobs. We are putting them back in as we speak.

Mr. Loewen: The nurses I hear from, they want answers from this minister, not misinformation about the past.

I would ask this minister if he can explain to the LPNs who have graduated from their advanced education programs why it is that there are no full-time jobs available for them in the system, despite the fact that the nursing shortage under his watch has risen to over 1500. Why is he not working with the nurses to allow the young graduates to find full-time jobs?

Mr. Chomiak: Mr. Speaker, that is why for the first time in the history of this province we have put together a committee that includes nurses, real working nurses, on the committee to work with us to deal with the job situation. If there is any problem with nurses it has to do with the fact that they cut the LPN program. They cut the diploma program. When we came to office, there were less than 150 nurses graduating a year from the R.N. program, down from historical highs of 500. We have it back up. They cut the programs. They fired the nurses. Now they say: Why are there no more nurses?

We have increased the programs. We have increased the job opportunities. There are job vacancies for nurses. Yes, it is a challenge. If we had put in place the kind of regime that they put in place where they got rid of nurses, where they did not pay them competitive wages, when they did not listen to them and they are still not. On Romanow, the nurses support Romanow. They support Stephen Harper. It never changed.

Gull Rapids Hydro Project

Partnership Agreement

Mr. Glen Cummings (Ste. Rose): Mr. Speaker, much thunder and lightning from that side of the House. They seem to be insisting on a lot of pomp and circumstances and high expectations around development of hydro-electric power in this province without a lot of strength to back up potential sales.

I have a question to the minister responsible for environment. There has been an agreement in principle signed around Gull Rapids that addresses construction, training and ownership which has passed its end date. I would like to know from the minister if that agreement has been renewed.

Hon. Steve Ashton (Minister of Conservation): Mr. Speaker, I assume the member is referring to the memorandum of agreement that was signed with TCN, Tataskweyak Cree Nation, and is referring to the ongoing discussions in terms of partnership with the four First Nations: York Factory First Nation, War Lake First Nation, Fox Lake First Nation.

I am glad the member has asked the question because, as is the tradition with this party, we are working on hydro development. In fact, for 33 years, I ask this as a trick question: When was the last time a Tory government built a hydro dam? You have to go back to the 1960s. We are working and working with First Nations communities towards that. I certainly hope that members opposite will be supportive because there is a tremendous potential benefit for Manitoba for renewed hydro construction.

Wuskwatim Hydro Project

Environmental Assessment

Mr. Glen Cummings (Ste. Rose): Mr. Speaker, one of the main tenets of building an additional hydro dam would be additional markets. I hope the Government would be prepared to talk about those markets. We have the Minister of Energy (Mr. Sale) saying that he will have a deal in 60 days. Well, the clock is ticking and we have not heard anything more from him.

The environmental guidelines for the assessment of the Wuskwatim project have been released. Has the Government set a federal-provincial panel to follow up on those guidelines and proceed with the assessment?

Hon. Steve Ashton (Minister of Conservation): Well, Mr. Speaker, in fact one of the things we will be ensuring through this process is that there is a proper environmental review, and, in fact, the member is now talking about the Wuskwatim dam. There was a signing with the Tataskweyak Cree Nation, once again the kind of partnership that is the hallmark of this Government in dealing with First Nations, and, indeed, we will be ensuring that there is not only involvement from First Nations but there is proper environmental scrutiny.

In fact, I invite the member to become aware of this because we are going to be setting a huge precedent for this country in the way we develop hydro in the future, learning from the mistakes of the past but working, most importantly, in partnership with First Nations, something I invite members opposite to support.

Hydro Projects

Potential Sales

Mr. Glen Cummings (Ste. Rose): Well, Mr. Speaker, despite their attempt to portray us as not supporting hydro-electric development, they have Conawapa, Wuskwatim, Gull Rapids, all proceeding and no proper assessment, no direction.

Will they indicate which one of these projects they will be proceeding with?

Mr. Speaker: Order.

Point of Order

Mr. Speaker: The honourable Government House Leader, on a point of order.

Hon. Gord Mackintosh (Government House Leader): Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. Would you please remind the honourable member that on a supplementary question no preamble is required?

Mr. Speaker: On the point of order raised, I would like to take this opportunity to remind all honourable members that Beauchesne Citation 409(2) advises that a supplementary question should not require a preamble. I kindly ask the honourable member to please put his question.

* * *

Mr. Cummings: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Energy (Mr. Sale), and I apologize, but on a point of order, I was trying to elicit from that minister of environment a correct and appropriate answer.

Mr. Speaker: Order. I need a little clarification here. Is the honourable member up on a point of order or his last supplementary question?

Mr. Cummings: A point of order.

Mr. Speaker: I ask all honourable members, when rising on a point of order, to let the Speaker know. So I will recognize the honourable Member for Ste. Rose on a point of order.

Point of Order

Mr. Cummings: You recognized me on a point of order, Mr. Speaker.

I was trying to elicit from the minister of environment information about where he was going to take the projects.

Mr. Speaker: The honourable Minister of Conservation, on the same point of order.

Hon. Steve Ashton (Minister of Conservation): Mr. Speaker, I believe the member will recall the questions he asked. He asked about an agreement with TCN and that move to the environmental side.

I suggest, Mr. Speaker, that there is no point of order here. In fact, if the member was perhaps to ask the question, we will provide that information. We are more than happy to talk about hydro development in this province, believe you me.

Mr. Speaker: On the point of order raised by the honourable Member for Ste. Rose, he does not have a point of order. It is a dispute over the facts.

* * *

Mr. Speaker: The honourable Member for Ste. Rose, with his last supplementary question.

Mr. Cummings: Mr. Speaker, my question to the Minister of Energy: Given that there are at least three projects that this Government is indicating they want to build, does he have any information he can share regarding potential sales?

Hon. Tim Sale (Minister of Energy, Science and Technology): Mr. Speaker, I can tell the member we have a $1.7-billion sale with the United States that has just gone through the process, and we hope there will be more to come.

I do want to take the opportunity, though, Mr. Speaker, to correct the honourable member opposite. What I said was that within 60 days we would know whether there was a business case for the building of Conawapa. If he will check Hansard he will find that is what I said, and that is indeed what we will have. We will have a clear picture of whether Conawapa has a business case for Ontario right now or whether there is further work that needs to be done.

* (14:10)

Mr. Speaker, we are looking at opportunities to sell our power to the west, to Saskatchewan, to Ontario, further power sales to the United States because we believe in hydro-electricity for Kyoto, for our future, for jobs, for energy. We believe in the future. We believe in hydro. We believe in the North. That is why we are going ahead to try and find the opportunities. We will make Manitoba a leader.

University of Winnipeg


Hon. Jon Gerrard (River Heights): Mr. Speaker, my question is to the minister responsible for post-secondary education. Recently, the Macleans survey showed that the University of Winnipeg had improved its position to fourth in the national rankings and is now the best in the West. Then, last week, it was announced that the president of the University of Winnipeg was being relieved of her position. I ask the minister why it is that the University of Winnipeg is removing the president when the University has shown such positive improvement under the presidency of Constance Rooke.

Hon. Diane McGifford (Minister of Advanced Education and Training): Mr. Speaker, government was very pleased with the University of Winnipeg's position in ranking. We think it is a testament to the generous funding from government to the University of Winnipeg. We are also very pleased with our tuition policy. We think it has been very instrumental in enrolment increases.

As to the specific question with regard to the University of Winnipeg's president, the member opposite knows, or ought to know, that is a matter which is decided upon by the board. For me to voice any opinion would be unforgivable political interference.

Mr. Gerrard: Mr. Speaker, my supplementary to the minister of post-secondary education. I would ask the minister whether the inadequate level of funding to the University of Winnipeg has anything to do with the fact that the chancellor is a well-known Conservative.

Ms. McGifford: Mr. Speaker, of course this member opposite was in trouble last week and could well be in trouble again for his votes in 1995 which cut transfer payments to the province by 33 percent, so I find his question quite impertinent at the very least. This Government in the past eight years has increased funding to the University of Winnipeg by 25 percent, which is more than generous.

Mr. Gerrard: Mr. Speaker, my supplementary to the minister of post-secondary education. I ask the minister whether it is her intent to fail to support those who achieve excellence so that those who are really excellent, like President Rooke, must go.

Some Honourable Members: Oh, oh.

Mr. Speaker: Order. I would like to remind all honourable members, when the Speaker stands, all members should be seated and the Speaker should be heard in silence. I ask the co-operation of all honourable members, please.

Ms. McGifford: Mr. Speaker, as the member knows, or ought to know, it was the board of the University of Winnipeg that hired the president of the University of Winnipeg. It is the board of the University of Winnipeg that will be making decisions about the president.

As I said in my first answer, it would be gross political interference for me to interfere in the president's hiring, in the president's continuity of her job or in the president's firing. This member is really out of line in directing me to violate legislation.

Teen Pregnancy

Prevention Campaign

Ms. Marianne Cerilli (Radisson): Mr. Speaker, teen pregnancy is a problem throughout Manitoba. Every day six teenage girls are becoming pregnant in our province. I want to ask the Minister of Family Services to share with the House initiatives this Government is taking to address this problem.

Hon. Drew Caldwell (Minister of Family Services and Housing): I am pleased to advise the House that earlier today at Tech Voc High School, Healthy Child Manitoba launched a new campaign aimed at preventing teen pregnancies. This province-wide strategy, including television, radio, billboard ads and a new Web site will ask teenagers to think again.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to share with you the most exciting aspect of this campaign, that it was developed by more than 500 young people from throughout Manitoba in partnership with–

Mr. Speaker: Order.

Point of Order

Mr. Speaker: The honourable Official Opposition House Leader, on a point of order.

Mr. Marcel Laurendeau (Official Opposition House Leader): Mr. Speaker, Beauchesne 417: Answers to questions should be as brief as possible, deal with the matter raised and not provoke debate.

I must say if the honourable minister is going to do another press release to copy the one he did at noon he did not have to have his member ask the question. He could have just tabled it in the House.

Mr. Speaker: So are you asking him to table it?

The honourable Minister of Family Services and Housing, on the same point of order.

Mr. Caldwell: Mr. Speaker, on the same point of order. I was advising the House and all Manitobans of a program that was developed by 500 young people from throughout Manitoba. I was not finished my remarks yet and had some time left.

Mr. Speaker: Order. On the point of order raised by the honourable Official Opposition House Leader, I would like to ask the minister: Is that a personally signed letter that you are reading from?

Mr. Caldwell: No.

Mr. Speaker: It is not a personal letter?

Mr. Caldwell: No, it is my notes, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker: Then the honourable–

Some Honourable Members: Oh, oh.

Mr. Speaker: Order. On the point of order raised by the honourable Official Opposition House Leader, he does not have a point of order because members can use notes to guide them in questions and answers.

* * *

Mr. Speaker: We will continue with the answer.

Mr. Caldwell: This program was developed by more than 500 teenagers from throughout Manitoba in partnership with the Manitoba Association of School Trustees, Klinic and the Sexuality Education Resource Centre.

I would like to encourage all honourable members, members opposite and members on this side of the House, to share this important information with their communities, with schools and churches, with community clubs and recreation centres throughout the province.

Department of Advanced Education

Training Component

Mr. Leonard Derkach (Russell): Mr. Speaker, my question is to the First Minister. The Premier, in shuffling his Cabinet in September, moved the responsibility for training from the former department of education, training and youth to the new Minister responsible for Advanced Education. However, the deputy minister is one and the same and answers to both ministers.

I would like to ask the Premier if he could provide the House with his rationale for moving the training component over to the Department of Advanced Education.

Hon. Gary Doer (Premier): There are two issues raised in the member's question. One is the issue of one deputy for two departments. That is a legitimate issue that we are reviewing and I am personally reviewing in terms of the workload. The number of deputies have been reduced since we have been in government, but it has been–[interjection]

No. I did not say that. I personally think it has been a very tough workload in the two departments for one deputy, just an honest assessment of the situation, if you will.

* (14:20)

Secondly, the issue of training, because of the community colleges and apprenticeship programs, especially the community college programs, which are now being expanded. In fact, we have increased the number of training programs in our community colleges considerably. We think the issue of co-op community college training, if my memory serves me correctly, in about 1998 we only had 4 percent of our students who were in co-op community college training. Some provinces have up to 30 percent of their students in that program, private sector training and public sector community college skill accreditation, and we certainly want to enhance that capacity. So that was the judgment that we used for those decisions.

Mr. Speaker: Time for Oral Questions has expired.

Speaker's Ruling

Mr. Speaker: I have a ruling for the House.

During Oral Questions on December 3, 2002, the honourable Official Opposition House Leader (Mr. Laurendeau) raised a point of order concerning the number of questions that had been asked in Question Period at that point. In conjunction with the rotation followed for the asking of questions at the time of the raising of the point of order, both the honourable Member for Dauphin-Roblin (Mr. Struthers) and the honourable Member for Ste. Rose (Mr. Cummings) were standing to ask a question. The honourable Official Opposition House Leader noted that the Question Period rotation was at the eighth question at that point. He contended that the honourable Member for Dauphin had missed his opportunity to ask a question. The honourable Government–[interjection] Order, please.

The honourable Government House Leader (Mr. Mackintosh) also spoke to the point of order. The Deputy Speaker took the matter under advisement for further study. I thank the honourable members for their contributions to this point of order.

The issue of when government backbenchers can pose a question during Question Period has been raised in the House before. As I have advised the House on previous occasions, the rotation and number of questions asked per caucus was discussed between the House leaders and the Speaker at the start of this Legislature.

The agreement that was reached was that the first five questions and corresponding supplementaries would be allowed to the Official Opposition party. The sixth question and corresponding supplementaries would go to the Member for River Heights (Mr. Gerrard). If a government backbencher rose to ask a question, he or she would be recognized to ask the seventh question with corresponding supplementaries. After question seven, or if no government backbenchers rose, the rotation of questions would then revert to the Official Opposition party.

In perusing the Hansard of December 3, the sequence of events indicated that the Official Opposition party had asked questions one through seven prior to the point of order being raised. The honourable Member for Russell (Mr. Derkach) did ask a new question instead of asking a supplementary after question three, and the honourable Member for River Heights did not ask question six. The issue is then: Should the honourable Member for Dauphin be recognized to ask a question during the question eight slot for Question Period because of these actions?

I must respectfully rule that the answer is no, because this is contrary to the rotation that was negotiated between the House leaders. This is also in conformity with the ruling that I made on June 28, 2001, when the honourable Member for Radisson (Ms. Cerilli) attempted to be recognized to ask a question when the House was on question 13. On that occasion I ruled that I would not allow the question because of adhering to the rotation negotiated by the House leaders and that if a member on the government side has a question it should be asked during the question 7 slot.

I must therefore rule that the honourable Official Opposition House Leader does have a point of order.


Grease Theatrical Production

Ms. Linda Asper (Riel): Dakota Collegiate is well known in our community for its musical theatre. From December 3 to 6, 2002, Dakota Collegiate staged the popular musical Grease directed by Ingrid Peterson, drama and musical theatre teacher and Mr. K. Rettig and Bill Quinn, teacher and musical director. One hundred Grades 9 to 12 Dakota Collegiate students were involved in the production.

Dakota alternates its major musical productions between December and April to give students who are involved in different sports and extracurricular activities a chance to participate. The collegiate added a musical theatre course to its programming last year so that students involved in time-consuming musicals get credit for their work. All but two of the school's performers in Grease are in the musical theatre course. Students in the course performed in the musical as well as they built props, created posters, sewed costumes, including poodle skirts and prom dresses. They also assumed additional assignments such as keeping a journal during rehearsals. Another important aspect of the school's musical drama program is community involvement. Last month I attended a seniors sing-along at Dakota where members of the cast led local seniors in musical numbers.

The female lead of Sandy was played by Heather Kozak; Blaine Badiuk played the role of Danny. Tamara Cook, Erin Dahlin, Tiffany Cook, Candice Koblun, Chelsea Berezuk, Kim Girling, Geoff Bergen, T. J. Edinger, Jesse Boulet, Cole Robson-Hyska, Justin Gibbs, Ryan Foss, Wes Cade, Mark McAvoy and Matt Funk rounded out the main cast of characters.

I want to congratulate the students, staff and parents and other supporters involved with the making of this production. Dozens of others had roles behind the scenes. Congratulations. I know the musical Grease was well received by its audiences. The staff and students of Dakota Collegiate should know their hard work is appreciated by the community at large.

Shaarey Zedek Synagogue

Mr. Stuart Murray (Leader of the Official Opposition): On Saturday evening I was delighted and honoured to attend along with my colleagues the MLA for Fort Whyte (Mr. Loewen) and the MLA for Tuxedo (Mrs. Stefanson) the dedication of the lighting of the menorah at the Shaarey Zedek Synagogue.

This was a very special evening filled with blessings, music and entertainment. The evening began with everyone gathering outside the building with Rabbi Alan Green for the blessing of the Hanukkah menorah, which was designed by Lloyd and Marcia Secter and was followed by a service in the main sanctuary.

The menorah is a very special symbol in the Jewish faith. Nearly 2200 years ago the Maccabees drove the Syrian-Greek army out of the city of Jerusalem. When it came time to light the golden menorah they found only one small vial of consecrated oil, enough to last just one day. The oil however burned for eight miraculous days.

Today this miracle is celebrated on Hanukkah by kindling the eight lights of Hanukkah. Celebrated during the season of maximum darkness for both sun and moon, Hanukkah marks the moment when light is born from darkness and hope from despair. The Maccabean revolt came at the darkest moment of Jewish history, but in that great darkness the Maccabees lit the little oil that they had and experienced great light.

I felt fortunate that we were able to attend the dedication of the menorah and would like to end by quoting Rabbi Alan Green, who said: "May the light of the Shaarey Zedek Hanukkah help to inspire a new era of peace, harmony, joy and abundance for the city of Winnipeg, for Israel, for Canada and for all of humanity everywhere."

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Footloose Theatrical Production

Ms. Bonnie Korzeniowski (St. James): Students from Silver Heights Collegiate began auditioning for the musical Footloose in June 2002. Parts were assigned before the school year ended and scripts were given to students to study over the summer break. This was the start of an incredible journey to stage a former Broadway musical. In September rehearsals began. Cast members spent five hours a week practising choreography, memorizing dialogue and learning songs. While students were rehearsing their roles, sets were being built and painted while tickets were being designed and printed. As well, lights and sound were being organized, sponsorship was established and the pit orchestra, made up of Silver Heights band teachers and students, was practising. The 80 students, staff and parents who were involved in this production were busy.

The endless hours of dedication and effort resulted in an extremely successful production. Footloose was performed to over 1000 people over the course of four incredible evenings. Sturgeon Creek Collegiate theatre came alive from November 20 to 23 to the sounds of popular eighties' tunes such as "Holding Out for a Hero," "Let's Hear it for the Boy" and "Almost Paradise." Laughter, awe and admiration were shown by audiences as students' faces beamed from the stage. The hard work required to put on the production has been well worth it.

Costumes are now put away, sets dismantled and theatre lights turned off, but the memories of Footloose will live forever in the minds of students, staff and parents of Silver Heights Collegiate. Commendations go out to the producer, Dawn Bohonos, drama director, Jennifer Peters, choreography, Brian Toms, Kristina Roberts, Joy Trenholm, Jordana Buchwold and to the entire production team. Their principal and vice-principal are also to be commended for their support.

Sterling Lyon

Mr. Edward Helwer (Gimli): Mr. Speaker, I rise today to offer my sincere congratulations to the Honourable Sterling R.W. Lyon, who was presented with the St. Andrew's Society of Winnipeg 2002 Citizen of the Year Award.

This prestigious award was presented to Mr. Lyon at the St. Andrew's Society of Winnipeg's 132nd annual dinner which was held on Friday, November 29, 2002. The Honourable Sterling Lyon is a fitting recipient for this award due to his lengthy and impressive history of public service to Manitobans.

First elected in 1958, he was sworn in as Attorney General at the tender age of 31, subsequently re-elected in 1959, 1962 and 1966. He also served as Minister of Mines and Natural Resources, Public Utilities and Municipal Affairs. In 1975, Mr. Lyon occupied the position of Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party, and from 1977 to 1981 he served as the Premier. During Mr. Lyon's term as Premier, he acted as the national chair of the Canadian Premiers' Conference and thus played a central role in the patriation of the Canadian Constitution. Mr. Lyon is fondly remembered as the Premier for several other notable accomplishments, such as increasing the availability of social services to the province's needy, reducing nearly all levels of taxation and setting a standard for modernizing the financial accountability and procedures of government.

Mr. Lyon was appointed to the Privy Council of Canada by Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau in 1982 and was selected to serve on the Court of Appeal in 1986. Earlier this year, Mr. Lyon retired from his distinguished position on the Court of Appeal. Mr. Lyon's commitment to Manitoba continues through his service on many wildlife organizations such as Ducks Unlimited and the Delta Waterfowl Foundation. The people in this House and the citizens of Manitoba congratulate and thank the Honourable Sterling Lyon for all that he has done for the betterment of the province of Manitoba.

Maples Youth Justice Committee

Mr. Cris Aglugub (The Maples): Mr. Speaker, on September 30, I attended the 17th Annual General Meeting of the Maples Youth Justice Committee with my colleague the Attorney General of Manitoba (Mr. Mackintosh).

Under Section 69 of the Young Offenders Act, youth justice committees can be established by the Attorney General to assist with the administration of the Young Offenders Act. Comprised of 13 volunteer members, the Maples Youth Justice Committee is an alternative to the formal court process. Instead of narrowly punishing the offender, in the alternative justice process, the emphasis is placed on the need for offenders to accept responsibility for their behaviour and to help offenders lead constructive and responsible lives in the community.

The community provides a range of consequences for offenders which may include curfew checks, school attendance checks, enactment of community supervision orders, referral of clients to agencies for assessment or treatment, assignment of research papers related to the offence committed or letters of apology to the victim and community.

This year, the Maples Youth Justice Committee handled 21 cases involving issues such as theft under $5000, vandalism, harassment, break and enter, joyriding and shoplifting. By handling these minor cases, the Maples Youth Justice Committee reduces the number of young people appearing in court, allowing the court to hear more serious charges. The offenders who have completed alternative justice measures have lower rates of recidivism than those who pass through the traditional justice system.

I want to thank volunteers Cory Juan, Ramona Gallos, Pawan Gill, Lloyd Gyles and Antonio Buccini, who make up the executive of the Maples Youth Justice Committee, for their work on the committee.

I also want to thank the other volunteer members who make up the Maples Youth Justice Committee. These individuals are performing a valuable service to the Maples community. I encourage them to continue their good work in the future.




(Seventh Day of Debate)

Mr. Speaker: Resumed debate on the proposed motion of the honourable Member for Selkirk (Mr. Dewar) and the proposed motion of the honourable Leader of the Official Opposition (Mr. Murray) in amendment thereto, standing in the name of the honourable Member for Minnedosa (Mr. Gilleshammer), who has seven minutes remaining.

Mr. Harold Gilleshammer (Minnedosa): Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to have had the weekend to consider some of the comments that I made last week. I continue to put on the record some of the issues where I think this Government has fallen short in the minds of the public and has been lurching along at a pace now to the point where the public is starting to question more and more the things they are doing.

I listed last week many of the areas that I think this Government has had a shortfall in, their failed promises and policies in health care; their destroying of the Department of Rural Development; some of the education issues that the new minister is going to have to pick up as he gets into his department. I would remind him that there were at least three of their promises that they have reneged on so far, the Grade 3 guarantee being one of them. I would ask the new minister to make himself familiar with that Grade 3 guarantee because there are still many Grade 3 students who are falling short of national standards, some of them being forced to repeat their school year.

This Government also had made a commitment to put nurses in schools. When I last talked to the Minister of Education about that, he said, well, it is not my problem, talk to the Minister of Health. Well, it is a problem when a party makes a promise like that and fails to live up to it.

Thirdly, they had promised to give every student an e-mail address. Again, after three years technology has moved on. I notice the new Minister of Technology is going to take up the fight and provide those e-mail addresses to students. Even though it is three years late, I would urge him to get on with that.

Another area that I wanted to talk about was immigration. The latest statistical report from the Manitoba government shows that at the end of November, after two quarters of 2002 the interprovincial net out-migration was 1484 persons. These tend to be young people, young people who feel that they do not have a future and a hope here in Manitoba and are moving west, most of them to Alberta, some going to Ontario.

Now, the Government's solution to this is to increase immigration to 10 000 people. That, in fact, is an admirable goal to set. I would state, however, that the practice and the history in Canada is that immigrants who have come to this country cannot be steered and confined to any particular city or province. Immigrants tend to end up either in Toronto, Vancouver or Montreal, the majority of them. We have had some successes with the Provincial Nominee Program, which was started in and about 1997-1998.

I can remember meeting with the federal minister here and signing that agreement. At that time they would only allow us to have 200 provincial nominees. That has since been increased and that has been very successful, because you can steer those people to actual jobs where we have shortages in the province.

I would caution the Government to speak clearly on the distinction between immigrants and refugees. Manitoba has certainly done more than its fair share in providing a home for refugees over the past many decades, but in aiming at this target of 10 000 new citizens immigrating to Manitoba, I would urge the Government not to take the easy way out and backfill that with refugees who have many needs and certainly have had some difficulty in acclimating themselves in this province, not only to the climate but to the community, and it is very difficult for them to get jobs. So I would urge the Government to pursue the immigration policy but to be sure that these are skilled, trained immigrants who have jobs to go to.

The final thing I would like to mention is I think this Government has really failed this province in the whole area of justice. We have seen more criminals walk away from facilities in this province than ever before. Whether it is the St. Norbert treatment centre in St. Norbert or the facility that houses inmates north of Winnipeg here, at Rockwood, it appears that many of these people who have been charged with serious crimes, serious assaults and murders, are simply walking away. [interjection] Or taking a cab away from these facilities. I would hope the Minister of Justice (Mr. Mackintosh) would take a serious look at these weaknesses in the justice system.

* (14:40)

Also, our critic has indicated that one of the ways of doing away with the court backlog is to contract with a private bar, I think an excellent example of where the Government can move on a policy that is not going to cost them a lot of money in terms of additional staff but one that could be very helpful in doing away with court backlogs, where people who have been charged with a crime deserve to have their case heard in a timely fashion.

We have heard of cases where people have been on bail since the late 1990s and have not had their day in court. This surely is of some concern to the Minister of Justice. I know that he has a reputation of having more press conferences and press releases than any other member and probably more than all the other members of the Government, and I would ask him to take this seriously and take a strong look at this.

Also, bail conditions: This Government has had people on bail over and over again, dangerous offenders who probably should be given a fair trial, and justice should be done with them. I would ask this Government to take a serious look at what they are doing in justice, because I think many constituents that I have talked to have serious concerns about the rise in the rate of crime in this province, the fact that this Government is not addressing any of these issues.

I would also mention the gang problem, which started in Winnipeg in the earlier nineties. Now it is spreading to many areas of northern Manitoba, and I would ask the Government to seriously consider these problems and take a look at this problem.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, for the time, and I look forward to voting on this speech.

Mr. Cris Aglugub (The Maples): I would like to begin my remarks by congratulating you, Mr. Speaker, for the efficient conduct of this Chamber during the past three sessions. You have shown firmness in your rulings between the Government and Opposition members when debate and issues at times become so intense.

I also want to express my thanks to the Clerk and staff of the Assembly for their assistance and guidance as we conduct ourselves in this Chamber and in conferences.

I would like to welcome, as well, our new pages and interns serving on both sides. I hope that they will find their experience at the Legislature rewarding and enriching.

Again this year, Mr. Speaker, I can take great satisfaction in affirming that the Speech from the Throne truly reflects the needs and aspirations of my constituents in The Maples.

Back in 1999, just after our Government came to power, my colleague the Member for St. Vital (Ms. Allan) had the honour of making the motion to thank His Honour the Lieutenant-Governor for his speech at the first session of this, the Thirty-seventh Legislature. She said the Speech from the Throne marked the end of an era of arrogance and the beginning of an era of concern and active government, a government that was both competent and compassionate, a government that truly represents the northern, rural, urban Manitoba and everyone in it from First Nations people to the most recent immigrant.

Mr. Conrad Santos, Deputy Speaker, in the Chair

I am deeply proud of how this Government has lived up to that vision. This year's Speech from the Throne substantiated that. As the Speech from the Throne acknowledges, we have acted with compassion, with a true understanding of what Manitobans want for themselves and their families. It also reflects our Government's resonance with the citizens in this province in all their geographic, ethnic and cultural diversity. We have performed competently, more than competently, many would say. We have garnered accolades for our accomplishments in many areas, ranging from health care management, post-secondary education, finances to urban renewal.

The plans for this legislative session outlined in the speech shows that our Government is going beyond merely expanding upon or embellishing our achievements. Our plans are innovative. We look at the Kyoto Protocol and the Romanow report. We see opportunities for innovation that will ultimately benefit Manitoba. We look at the changing rural economy and see opportunities for diversification into nutraceuticals and eco-tourism. We look at the workforce shortage and see many new ways of bringing about full Aboriginal labour-market participation and expanding our settlement support for new immigrants.

The responses of the members opposite to our successive speeches from the throne make amusing readings. In 1999, we had the previous Tory leader complaining that the speech had no vision, no plan. In 2000, the current Leader said once again there was no vision. In 2001, he dismissed the speech as a laundry list or a collection of disjointed announcements. Now, in 2002, after three years in a row alleging that our Government displayed no vision, we now have the honourable Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Murray) accusing our Government of having run out of vision, claiming that we are already out of gas. Out of gas? All we can say is that he need not jump to the pump on our behalf. We are fueled, fueled by a vision for the future that we share with all Manitobans.

Over the past few days, my colleagues on this side of the House have given very able and thorough accounts of our Government's achievements to date and the new initiatives outlined in the Speech from the Throne. There is no need for me to attempt to duplicate what they have already done so well. So, as in previous years, I would like to elaborate on some of the initiatives that are of special consequences for the constituents of The Maples in particular.

Mr. Deputy Speaker, this will be my fourth session. This is also the beginning of my fourth year serving the people I represent in The Maples. I have enjoyed serving them in the last three years. I want to thank my constituents for their support, understanding and distinct privilege of representing them in this Assembly. Last summer and the summers before, I have walked around the neighbourhood. I have met more interesting and fascinating people with varied interests and diverse issues, all wanting an ideal solution to issues that concern them. Some of that has already worked its way into government programs and some are in the works.

Indeed, Mr. Deputy Speaker, in the last three years, I have also had the opportunity to visit and talk to my constituents. Health, education, taxes and neighbourhood safety concerns still top the list of concerns in my constituency.

The Maples is a diverse constituency. If people know anything about The Maples they know about its cultural and ethnic diversity. This diversity is more than a source of pride. It is an asset for the whole province. This is particularly so because we now must look to immigration to fill the skill shortage and support the population growth needed to bolster Manitoba's economy.

Since many of my constituents have only recently put down roots in the country, they are still in close contact with relatives in their country of origin who would like to join them in Canada. Our East Indian community, for instance, is very interested in sponsoring relatives, many of them highly trained and highly skilled. The same is true for our strong Filipino and Portuguese communities in The Maples as well as many others.

As a result, my constituents welcome the announcement in the Throne Speech that we will be creating a new Manitoba council and immigration with a mandate to expand settlement supports and employment opportunities and to promote Manitoba as a destination. The council will be key to our success in the now global competition for new immigrants with skills in great demand, such as registered nurses, welders, computer programmers, carpenters, machinists and computer systems analysts.

* (14:50)

Increased immigration is an important plan in our action strategy for economic growth that arose from our year 2000 Century Summit with business, labour, Aboriginal, education and community leaders from across the province. It is only fitting then that this new council will comprise representatives from these groups. I am happy to note our Government's success with its Provincial Nominee Program, with fast-track applications for would-be immigrants who have been nominated by Manitoba businesses or church organizations.

In 1999 we recruited 2000 workers and their families. Next year we will be bringing 1500 nominees with accompanying family members. The nominees will come to know the advantages of living in Manitoba over living in other provinces; 90 percent of them ultimately stay in Manitoba, although there is no requirement that they do so.

Increasingly, Mr. Deputy Speaker, international immigration has played an important role in the province's growth because of the potential contribution of immigration to the social, cultural and economic development in Manitoba. Also welcome are the province's initiatives in removing barriers to the recognition of qualification of foreign trained immigrants. The issue of the skills and qualification recognition had been raised in 1986 with the NDP government. The PC government when they were in power did not do anything about it. Now it takes another NDP government initiative to remove barriers from recognizing the qualification of foreign trained immigrants.

We are developing a strategy with professional and regulatory organizations to ensure that we benefit from the skills that our immigrants bring. To this end we had a one-day think tank last month with all stakeholder groups. Our medical licensure program for international medical graduates is already paying dividends, with three persons about to take a practice in rural Manitoba and another eight to begin their one-year training program.

I am proud to say that the Manitoba Legislative Assembly unanimously passed two resolutions I put forward last spring to encourage more immigration. I want to thank members opposite for supporting these resolutions. Some of my colleagues on this side of the Chamber are a little jealous of me for the support of these resolutions. Certainly I am privileged to have your support but more so the recognition of the immigrants' concerns, needs, support and in terms of family reunification. I also want to thank my colleagues on this side of the Chamber for their support and recognition of the needs of the immigrant community.

The first resolution, Mr. Deputy Speaker, calls on the federal government to ease income requirements for Winnipeg residents wanting to sponsor family members as immigrants. In the current regulations, the qualifying income level for sponsors in Winnipeg is the same as for sponsors in Vancouver and Toronto. This leaves Winnipeg at a disadvantage in attracting new immigrants as the rules do not take into account the fact that the average income as well as the cost of living are considerably lower in Winnipeg than in other large Canadian cities.

As it stands, it is much easier for people in Toronto or Vancouver to qualify to sponsor a family of immigrants than it is for Winnipeggers. This disparity may be responsible in part for the disproportionately low numbers of immigrants the province receives. Only 2.02 percent of all immigrants to Canada come to our province. This is proportionately less than the 3.8 percent we would receive on the basis of our population relative to the rest of Canada.

My second resolution urges Ottawa to eliminate the right-of-landing fee for new immigrants. This fee, more commonly known as the head tax, was imposed in 1995 as a deficit-fighting measure. It now amounts to $975 for each adult immigrant. For new Canadians, the fee is another barrier to reunification with their family members who are still abroad. It is also an obstacle for would-be immigrants from less affluent countries and from low-income groups such as women. I hope that the new Manitoba Council on Immigration will add impetus to all of these initiatives and give our efforts to encourage immigration the prominence they deserve.

The Lieutenant-Governor acknowledged another area in which Manitoba is breaking new ground, that of creating a safe and nurturing environment for our children through the various programs that function under the umbrella of our Healthy Child Initiative. One of its more innovative programs has community-based groups working with parents who want to help their preschoolers develop the social, physical and learning skills they need for success in school and later in life. They also help the parents locate the medical and social resources available to them. One of the agencies which has pioneered this approach is in my constituency, the Elwick Village Centre project.

The Healthy Child Initiative has also been stabilizing the child care system with better wages for child care workers and more subsidized spaces increasing support for families receiving employment and income assistance, providing nutritional supplements to pregnant women on lower incomes through its Healthy Baby prenatal program and operating a home-visiting service for newborns under its BabyFirst program.

Individually, these are modest, common-sense measures, but their overall impact is dramatic. As The Globe and Mail noted in a recent editorial, the results of such measures, and I quote, "are a reminder of how much can be done with simple, relatively low-cost intervention with poor children." The editorial also points out that according to the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research, only 25 percent of the health of our citizens is attributable to the service of the health care system, while the social and economic environment accounts for 50 percent. Our Government's Healthy Child Initiative is designed to work on this 50 percent.

The Speech from the Throne makes building our communities another priority in our action strategy for economic growth. In this context, I would like to mention the upgrading and improvements being made in The Maples to the oil and gravel portion of Leila Avenue. Thanks to the funding from the City and the Canada-Manitoba Infrastructure program, we will be getting a two-lane concrete roadway, including a new sidewalk. This much-needed infrastructure work responded to safety concerns expressed by many of my constituents which, for years, have been urging and lobbying the city government and the provincial government to improve the roadway as cars and pedestrians sometimes end up in ditches, especially in wintertime when the street is so dark and no warning signs are to be found.

After the 1999 election, I took the issue up front and got the neighborhood to sign a petition to the city government to give serious consideration for the upgrading. Well, that move is paying off, and I want to thank the residents of Leila Avenue. Without them, the issue would still be at the bottom of the pile today.

In the 1999 election, back lane lighting was also raised during the campaign. Again, because of my constant lobbying and force, the residents of Leila Avenue got their back lane lighting from Manila Road to Agnes Arnold Place. There are a few more streets that have been asking for back lane lighting. Somehow, in The Maples, some streets have back lane lighting and some do not. I do not understand why there was a selected installation of back lane lights. Public safety is being addressed on many fronts, as the Speech from the Throne notes.

* (15:00)

Given that The Maples is a relatively young constituency demographically, it has been experiencing its share of youth crime, including mischief, disturbance of the peace and petty theft. But I am happy to report that we have been dealing with our young offenders constructively through the efforts of the Maples Youth Justice Committee. This committee of volunteers has earned a reputation over its 10 years of work as a model for other community groups to follow. I attended their annual general meeting recently, and I learned that they worked with 21 individuals over the past year. The committee members served as honorary probation officers who helped meet the needs of youth, who are also dealing with the harm that their offences have inflicted on the victim and the community at large.

These youth justice committee members are just one of the many initiatives funded by our Government to address youth crime and gangs. One is the gang strike force, announced in the Speech from the Throne, which will bring police and prosecutors in closer working partnership to crack down on gangs.

Another such initiative is our Lighthouse program, an after-school program that makes new activities available in the local community to youth who are at risk. Once again, I am proud to say that our Maples Youth Activity Centre has served as a model in this program as well, giving youngsters something active and creative to do, rather than just hang out on the streets. It has been attracting more youth than was planned or even hoped for, including a strong contingent of university students, who access mentors. The centre has high-profile participants in a number of community undertakings. Over the last couple of years, for example, youth from centre have assisted in mapping out a new Seven Oaks trail system, which is now the longest urban trail system in Canada.

Mr. Deputy Speaker, I spoke earlier of the cultural diversity to be found in my constituency. It could be said that The Maples now rivals the North End as it used to be in its rich diversity. Indeed, The Maples could stage its own Folklorama. So I would like to close by highlighting the Lieutenant-Governor's remark on the role that cultural festivals play in Manitoba tourism and growth strategy. The hundreds of volunteers from The Maples who participate in Folklorama each year should be thanked for giving us more than just an opportunity to get together and have a good time. They also contribute significantly to the growth of our economy.

I believe that the Speech from the Throne presents an exciting but responsible plan and vision for Manitoba. I would join my colleague the honourable member from Selkirk in inviting the members opposite to vote in its favour.

Finally, I would like to pay tribute to the Minister of Labour and Immigration and also the Minister responsible for Multiculturalism (Ms. Barrett). It is unfortunate that she already indicated her intentions not to seek re-election in the next provincial election.

I must say, however, she has worked so hard to address labour-related issues and has done a lot to address immigrant needs and concerns, from increasing immigration through the Provincial Nominee Program and the innovative approaches to skills and training of foreign-trained immigrants. As her legislative assistant, I do not have much input to some of her initiatives but I like her approaches.

The immigrant and multicultural community I am sure will miss someone who understands and has done so much in their behalf. Thank you, Mr. Deputy Speaker, for the opportunity to say a few things in response to the Speech from the Throne. Thank you, again.

Mrs. Joy Smith (Fort Garry): Mr. Deputy Speaker, I would like to put a few comments on the record today concerning the Throne Speech. I want to quote the Thursday, November 28th edition of The Winnipeg Sun, an article by Tom Brodbeck. I must commend Mr. Brodbeck, the city columnist, for his article, because it so eloquently cites exactly where the Throne Speech was coming from.

I quote from the paper. It says: What a snoozer. NDP Throne Speech dull, weak and shallow.

Mr. Deputy Speaker, he goes through the litany of alleged accomplishments that the present government has actually reiterated as they went along during their time in government.

This particular Throne Speech was indeed scattered and shallow. As Mr. Brodbeck so eloquently puts, and I will quote, he said: It talked about things Manitoba has been doing for decades, like exporting hydro power, but mostly it spoke about alleged NDP accomplishments. Most of those were either inaccurate or dramatically exaggerated. Mr. Deputy Speaker, we have seen that throughout the term in office, the NDP's term in office. There has been a litany of photo opportunities and press releases. In the area of education and the area of justice as well as the area of health care, it is very shallow. When you scratch beneath the surface, there is little substance to these programs.

Notably in Mr. Brodbeck's column, he took a quote from the current Government. The current Government said Manitoba has earned national recognition for progress on hallway medicine. Mr. Brodbeck goes on to say the so-called recognition is a report in a Québec newspaper that consists entirely of a reporter interviewing an official from the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority. Mr. Brodbeck goes on to say this is not recognition; that is spin.

So the hollow promise that hallway medicine would end with $15 million in six months under the NDP regime is indeed a hollow promise. In actual fact, three years later hospitals still have patients in the emergency room hallways, and, in actual fact, nothing has changed.

Mr. Deputy Speaker, also, in the area of justice, this morning we witnessed in Law Amendments a bill that is going through that members on this side of the House support 100 percent, but with the amendments that were put forth at Law Amendments time to add teeth to the bill, those amendments fell on deaf ears with this Attorney General and this Justice Minister.

Mr. Brodbeck goes on to say in his column also: Policing has been increased in all regions of Manitoba, as the present Government boasts, and they keep quoting that, and the present Attorney General keeps saying that. In fact, Mr. Brodbeck says: The Winnipeg Police department's complement has declined since 1999.

"Ours was the first jurisdiction to comprehensively assess the cost and opportunities of implementing the Kyoto accord." Mr. Brodbeck says: Really, I hope they can make that report available to the rest of us, because no government in Canada even knows how to implement Kyoto much less comprehensively assess its costs.

Now, Mr. Deputy Speaker, clearly the public is beginning to see that a lot of the mistruths that the present Government has foisted on the public have made the public very uncomfortable with the lack of depth and substance that the programs have in the area of health care, in the area of education, in the area of justice and other areas as well.

I will speak about a couple of them. It is a mistruth that the NDP will end frozen food. Now, on August 25, 1999, Premier Gary Doer said he would prohibit, and I quote, any expansion of frozen food in Manitoba. No Winnipeg personal care home will receive rethermalized frozen food.

That was in the election news release, Mr. Deputy Speaker. The truth is on December 6, 1999, the NDP announced plans to buy the Urban Shared Services contract and serve chilled foods at a cost of over $2 million more a year to health care facilities. This also includes extending it to personal care homes such as Misericordia Place that the NDP promised would never happen.

Mr. Deputy Speaker, this is what the columnist and the public are starting to talk about, is the misconception, the lack of depth, the mistruths that are foisted on the public here in the province of Manitoba.

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Another mistruth: Manitoba Hydro will not have to borrow to pay dividends. Now, the truth is that at a Public Utilities Board hearing, a representative of the PUB asked, and I quote: So in other words, Manitoba Hydro has to make a payment of $288 million, and to make that payment of $288 million, they not only have to pay $288 million, but they have to borrow money. The cost of borrowing that money is going to be $276 million. This was the question asked. Carolyn Wray, Division Manager, Business Analysis and Regulatory Affairs, replied: That is correct.

So at the Public Utilities Board, the answer to that by the Division Manager, the Business Analysis and Regulatory Affairs person Carolyn Wray had to say that is correct.

Now, Mr. Deputy Speaker, over and over again in this House we hear that the NDP has balanced the Budget, yay. Well, in actual fact, the NDP had a lot to say about balanced budgets. Members on that side of the House from the Premier (Mr. Doer) on down have done much to speak out of both sides of their mouths when it has come to talk about balanced budgets. In truth, the 2002 Budget had a $150-million operating deficit covered by a transfer from the Fiscal Stabilization or rainy day fund.

Mr. Deputy Speaker, there are many, many things that were said. The Premier said on October 17, '95, that when members on this side of the House brought balanced budget legislation in, the Premier himself at that time said: I know it is a cynical pre-election ploy. There are other members. There is another member from the other side of the House that kept repeating over and over again–these are some of the quotes. This is very much a public relations exercise on the part of this Government. Members from the other side of the House said: I think it is really a political gimmick. Another member from the present Government said balanced budget legislation is trendy. Yet another member from the opposite side of the House said balancing a budget every year cannot be defended on any economic grounds. Yet another member said this bill will not work, in speaking about the balanced budget legislation.

Yet another member of the present Government said this legislation does not correspond with any economic theory known to personkind, either historical theory or current economic theory. This is taken right out of the Hansard. In 1995, October 17, the Hansard quotes. This is taken directly out of the Hansard from members opposite who have stated their feelings about balanced budget legislation.


So clearly when we have a Budget, when we have a Throne Speech, as we have just heard, and when we also hear the present Government say, we have balanced the Budget, yet, in the 2002 Budget there is a $150-million operating deficit covered from a transfer from the Fiscal Stabilization Fund, we begin to wonder where they are coming from. It is called not being entirely clear or entirely forthright with the public.

Yet another member said, and I quote, one of the most odious parts of this bill is that it hamstrings future governments. Obviously, the members opposite meant their own Government that is in power right now, because I am sure that that balanced budget legislation does indeed hamstring the current budget with the things that have happened since they came into power.

Yet another member from the present Government said of the balanced-budget legislation, this is an election gimmick. It was an election gimmick. Another one said it is a good window dressing, but when you look right into the bill it becomes a sham. The bill is nothing more than a gimmick. There is another member, I will just give you two more quotes, because almost every member on the other side of the House has slammed balanced-budget legislation. Another quote: No government needs balanced- budget legislation. Obviously they are carrying through this philosophy. Yet another member said it is one of the most unthinking pieces of legislation.

I must say that there are many things that political parties can say, but it is almost blasphemy when you hear such a dichotomy of a litany of mistruths that have gone on in this province of Manitoba. Over and over again we wonder at the kinds of decisions that are made. The Throne Speech was void of anything of substance in terms of health care, in terms of justice, in terms of balanced-budget legislation, in terms of tax cuts, in terms of building the economy and making Manitoba a place where people would like to grow and live and raise their families.

Clearly, there are decisions being made that would cause us to wonder why those decisions were made. In this House, many questions were asked about the Kenaston Underpass, and yet it fell on deaf ears. Yet the cost of the Provencher footbridge is now an estimated $9.6 million. The original estimate was $14.1 million. The City will now be paying $9.5 million, with $5 million each being paid by the federal government and the Province.

We know that we have all experienced the spilling of raw sewage into the Red River. The current Premier did not feel that there should be a penalty put forward. He did not feel that it was prudent to take a very, very close look at what was happening to the ecosystem in the river. Yet, in actual fact, if a private company or if a farmer or if an ordinary citizen in the province of Manitoba compromised the ecosystem in the Red River to that extent, you can rest assured that that fine would be made available to them.

Mr. Deputy Speaker, right now, it is very worrisome when you see different strokes for different folks, a different standard for different people. When a governing body, a political party is in power, they are to be governing for all people. Right now, we hear about the Kyoto accord and the benefits of supporting the Kyoto accord. We support the reduction of greenhouse gases. We support building our environment and enabling our environment to be protected.

We also support finding out the cost of the Kyoto accord, the cost to the people here in the province of Manitoba. What is it going to take in actual fact for the ordinary citizen to be able to deal with environmental issues?

Here we have a government who is so loose and free with balanced budget legislation, we have a government who is so loose and free with taxpayers' money and who can blanketly say, you know, we are going to do this and this and this and this, promises, promises, promises, and yet when it comes to the Kyoto accord, they cannot produce a report that will show the people of Manitoba how much it will cost, what the impact will be on businesses, and here, Mr. Deputy Speaker, there are real problems.

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The other day in Question Period when asking this Government what the long-term plan was to put an infrastructure in to ensure that raw sewage is not spilled into the Red River, there was no plan, there was no reporting of the costs of such a plan. So on major issues that impact the future of the province, on major issues that impact the population and the business sector here in the province, we have little answers through this Government.

Mr. Deputy Speaker, since they came into government, we have seen some alarming things. We have seen a top-down, Big-Brother attitude toward the infringement on democratic society here in the province of Manitoba. We certainly have felt it in Fort Garry, where taxes were removed from the University of Manitoba, and we applaud that, but we do not applaud the fact that there was no plan to help the taxpayers in the Fort Garry area shoulder the cost of this offloading of the taxation.

We have a government here who sliced and diced Fort Garry, felt no remorse at all in sending back the original boundaries review and ensuring that Fort Garry now is sliced and diced and chopped up, one of the most historic communities in the province of Manitoba.

So, Mr. Deputy Speaker, it is very regrettable that we have a less than responsible government, when we hear that on paper the current Government wants to end hallway medicine and rescue health care, renew hope for young people and keep Manitoba Hydro and build new partnerships with business and labour for new and better jobs, make communities safer. These are all great little blurbs but with no plan and no substance to it. It is regrettable that the NDP is ducking the challenge that they have to meet the needs and requests to support the economy and support better lives, to develop jobs for young people here in the province of Manitoba and to make Manitoba a place where people want to grow and live and raise families.

Mr. Deputy Speaker, having said that, we look at the forced amalgamation issue, which was yet another issue that was foisted on the people in the province of Manitoba. Having said that, even though the plan was there, and I do not know whether the Minister of Education at the time took his colouring book and just shaded in the areas that the NDP wanted to amalgamate, but the forced amalgamation has had no strong indicators that it will save money, that it will build school divisions, that it will support better education for the students of the province of Manitoba. Yet it was done. It was done at a political whim.

So we have had major things happen in the province that undermine the very democratic society that we hold so dear here in Canada and in the province of Manitoba. I think it is regrettable that the current government has not supported some or most of the promises that they made prior to the 1999 election. Having said that, we have this Throne Speech that is devoid of any substance, that misses out a big part of our population, which is the seniors here in Manitoba. They still promise that there will be some sort of a safety system that seniors can have in their homes. That was promised in the 1999 election, and it still has not come to pass. It is my understanding that it is only going to cost about $350,000 so that seniors can have a loan program to make their homes safer and make them safe and be able to stay in their homes. Other than that, Mr. Deputy Speaker, there is no plan for the seniors here in Manitoba, no mention of our citizens who built this province.

Mr. Deputy Speaker, regrettably, this Government has definitely failed the people of Manitoba. They have definitely failed the education system, the justice system, the health care system and many other areas and certainly the promotion of business and the promotion of jobs. They have just been silent in many areas having to do with our farmers. Now we see that farmers are having very hard times on the farm and they do indeed suffer in silence, but they have become more and more militant because they refuse to accept this Government's lack of support for them here in rural Manitoba.

Regrettably, there is not much to say about the Throne Speech except that it is shallow and it lacks substance. It is regrettable that the people of Manitoba have to accept at this point in time such a Throne Speech because it is the basis of what they have to live with for the rest of the year.

Ms. Bonnie Korzeniowski (St. James): I would like to take this opportunity to offer my gratitude to the Speaker and all of the Clerks who helped get us through a difficult session last fall. To echo my colleague from Selkirk's words, the Clerks certainly went the extra mile and proved their endurance, flexibility and skill under most demanding and testing circumstances. We could not have pulled it off without you, also the stoic staff of the Chamber Branch.

I would also like to welcome the new pages and interns and hope these words have not given them reason to doubt they are in for anything but a tremendously rewarding experience. We do count on all of them as well to make our job not only easier but often possible. The Hansard crew has also to be recognized for their tireless and timely efforts. Their skills have aborted many a dispute, as we all know. I certainly do.

A special guest in the Chamber was Oscar Karllson, an exchange student from Sweden. He is here for one year, thanks to the generosity of the St. James Rotary international club. Bob Antymniuk and his wife, Olenka, are to be commended for hosting this young man in their home, although adopting seems a more appropriate word. It gave me great pleasure to offer this opportunity for this young man to observe the proceedings which he will share with his friends, family and schoolmates back in Sweden at year end, also a country with appreciation of the monarchy.

I would also like to recognize and thank six students from Silver Heights Collegiate for taking an interest in attending the Throne Speech as guests in the gallery. Jane Stone, Franklin Briston, Paul Szakacz, Andrew Klassen, Justine Zarnowski and Kyle Schmidt. Their principal, Len Harris, and vice-principal, Dick Monk, are to be commended for supporting and encouraging these young people to participate. It seems fitting that with our Government's focus on providing new hope for young people that they reciprocate with participating in the process by which this Government continues to enhance their lives.

The Throne Speech delivered by Lieutenant-Governor, Peter Liba, opened the Fourth Session of the Thirty-seventh Manitoba Legislature. It began by paying tribute to the Manitobans who ensured the success of such recent events as the Queen's visit and the North American Indigenous Games. It also paid homage to Manitobans called to serve overseas this past year, as well as those who work in other ways to contribute to international peace and stability.

One of my greatest pleasures has been in developing a relationship with the members of our military and their families at 17 Wing, as it is in my constituency. I include 2PPCLI in my remarks on the military, as they come under the umbrella of 17 Wing. It has been good to see these men and women recognized for their sacrifices recently in Operation Apollo and in 1993 in the Croatia mission. This has been a most rewarding job for me, as having come from two generations of military, I am an army brat, so to speak, although my grandfather was a band master in the air force.

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In terms of recognition it has also been an absolute pleasure for me to nominate Colonel D.G. McLennan for the Queen's Golden Jubilee medal. In view of all the responsibility he has shouldered while keeping the base operational after 9/11, I feel this is a most deserved award.

The most recent privilege my role in this constituency has allowed me was the incredible honour and experience for my husband and myself to be invited to greet the Queen on arrival at the 17 Wing Air Movement Unit's terminal at the base. The Lieutenant-Governor introduced her to his wife, Shirley; Rey Pagtakhan, M.P., and his wife; myself and my husband, Gerald; and the Wing commander and his wife, Vicki.

Of course, I cannot go without mentioning the white-hat article in the Free Press, referring to my second-hand shopping. I do much more prefer vintage shopping, thank you. Vintage or retro-chic will do. I am so grateful to Lindor Reynolds for the incredible compliment in her article, suggesting that I epitomized Manitobans. We do not, quote, "put on airs." We spend cautiously and still manage to put out a good image and a great party. This is our Government who knows what Manitobans want. I have never been so proud to be a representative of our Government and our province.

On our show for the Queen and the entire tour, I want to commend the protocol staff for a job well done under an incredible workload and tight timing. You guys are amazing, and to the security staff for efficiently, quietly, unobtrusively and professionally doing your job. The level of security I observed at the air terminal on the base during the arrival of the royal couple was most impressive, which reflected the seriousness of the measures of security and anti-terrorism our Government has undertaken since 9/11.

Having this air base in my constituency has certainly allowed me an appreciation of the impact on a community that even simple measures of security can effect. Traffic congestion and safety issues in terms of evacuation, with only one enter-exit route, has been but one problem affecting both the air base and the residential areas surrounding it. Our Government has been working closely with the City and 17 Wing in regard to alleviating these problems and ensuring safety to all.

On the note of appreciating our peacekeepers and peacemakers, I must say it has been gratifying to work towards making their lives somewhat less stressed with the mundanities of life through introducing legislation to alleviate these irritants. The legislation aimed at preserving driving and voting rights, the Canadian Forces Personnel Act, has been received gratefully. Our Government stands ready to address any grievance our military members may identify that we can help with. The Military Family Resource Centre has been most instrumental in this regard and innovative in helping their families.

I must mention that several civic leaders and businessmen, as well as myself, have had the privilege of touring the NORAD facilities in Cold Lake and Alaska hosted by the Canadian General Lucas and the American General Arnold. Out of these trips evolved a deep appreciation and recognition of the valuable economic asset the military is to our city and province. In addition to protecting our country, they are an integral part of making our communities vibrant and successful.

Volunteerism is a big part of what they do, in all aspects of social needs and responding to emergencies. This new awareness and appreciation resulted in the development of the military affairs committee, formed under the umbrella of the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce. I appreciate the efforts of this committee in advocating and profiling our military community. For instance, we together ensured that greetings for Christmas and Remembrance Day have been sent by the City, the Premier (Mr. Doer) and the Lieutenant-Governor to those abroad and their families left behind in appreciation of their sacrifices of separation and danger. Recently, parcels were sent to the HMSC Winnipeg crew.

The Honourable Pearl McGonigal, chair of the Canadian Forces Liaison Council, also hosted a trip to Colorado to tour the base there. This council promotes employers' support for reservists. These are civilians in all walks of life and represent many professions, trades and economic groups who are committed to serving their country part time.

I am proud to say that our province has signed a statement of support. Over 100 businesses in Manitoba now support them. I know that many businesses, particularly aviation, in St. James are supporters of these soldiers, sailors and airmen committed to serving their country while pursuing civilian careers. Businesses are recognized with awards for outstanding support and, recently, a deputy minister was recognized by General Henault on his visit here, for supporting an employee in government.

I also pay tribute to our peacekeeping and veteran associations for keeping the respect due to all who have served alive. The veterans have done a super job over many years and must feel relieved that respect and recognition is once again close to everyone's consciousness. The General Ray Crabbe chapter of the Peace Keepers has been particularly active in having all peacekeepers recognized. It has been expressed many times that having Peacekeeping Day proclaimed and subsequently passed in the Chamber unanimously has been a very important and meaningful event to them. Norm Van Tassel and Robert Barry are carrying on in promoting this association under the new director, Ray Sawchuk. Norm and Bob have also been nominated for the Queen's Golden Jubilee award, along with General Ray Crabbe, whose name graces the chapter. It was an honour and a pleasure to nominate him.

Other nominees were Russell Miller of the Queen's Own Highlanders, and Grant Tyler for his work in museums and who's grandfather, now deceased at 102, was the oldest living Royal Winnipeg Rifles veteran at Deer Lodge until his death.

Two other medal nominees were Allan Chapman and Elizabeth Kobold of the Western Canadian Aviation Museum for their phenomenal hours of volunteering. Elizabeth is over 80 and going strong. Well deserved.

Last but not least, Margaret Mackling, a retired VON, for her countless hours on numerous boards and committees. The most recent is as chair of the committee to fundraise and seek tenancy for the women's memorial tribute lodge.

In this vein of gratitude, I must state my appreciation of having served my first term alongside my colleague from Inkster. She has been an incredible role model. It is interesting that we have come to share this time frame in Legislature. We are both social workers, graduates within one year at U of M but did not know each other until the election. I am so happy to have shared my first term with her last.

When I was first elected, a piece of advice was given by a friend. Stick to her; she is a very smart lady. Great advice. I have admired her style, her sense of humour and unpretentious nature. She handily weathered some pretty tough storms due in part, I am sure, to these characteristics. I am particularly proud of the work she has done in health and safety. Having worked as a front line worker myself in health, I am well aware of the range and seriousness of issues. Here in St. James we have a huge industrial park and many potentially dangerous trade positions. A workplace health and safety plan has been introduced to reduce injuries by 25 percent over the next five years. It is reassuring to note that my constituents face far less risk than during the reign of the previous government.

The changes she made in labour laws have ensured fewer days lost to strike and lost income to struggling families and business. The presumptive legislation brought in for firefighters is near and dear to me as well. We have three fire stations in St. James, and I have seen our firefighters in action during a major winter fire which destroyed three businesses. I also have a deputy fire chief, retired in 1999, Dennis Lloyd, as a constituent, whom I greatly admire and appreciate the work he has done in fighting for this long overdue legislation. It was tremendously gratifying to be part of the process and declaration of this bill.

Consideration of compensation claims for part-time firefighters is clearly warranted and supported. The most recent legislation introduced fulfilled an election promise putting paramedics on par with police and firefighters in terms of arbitration.

On the workforce scene I want to comment on the work this minister has done in encouraging immigration to Manitoba and easing workforce shortages through our Provincial Nominee Program. This is another area our Minister of Labour (Ms. Barrett) is to be recognized for. Next year 1500 workers will be recruited, over seven times as many as in 1999.

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One project of the integration program exists in St. James and recently celebrated their success at success skills by giving awards to employers. I was amazed at the number and diversity of employers participating. One of the employers is our Stevenson-Britannia School in St. James as well. Good work, honourable minister, and bonne chance.


I cannot go without recognizing another MLA, who is going to be leaving us and will be sadly missed, our MLA from Lakeside (Mr. Enns). I would like to recognize him for the many years of public service. I have a piece of history to inform him of. I am wondering if the MLA knows that the mother of one of his colleagues ran in Lakeside: Hazel Allan. The mother of the MLA for St. Vital (Ms. Allan) ran in the Lakeside constituency in 1953 and 1958 against another long-serving MLA, Premier Douglas Campbell.

I would like also to mention that, although I have not had the honour myself, I could probably tell a lot of stories, but I will not because we do not have time. I know of the Member for Lakeside more than I can say. I know him personally, because he is in the constituency where my sister and her husband live. He knows them well and their families and their families' friends and their families. I feel like it is almost a second home. I spent 30 years coming and going to Lundar and at the lake, and I certainly recognized your prominence there. I do wish you well.

Speaking of business in St. James, I would like to speak out about a vital and rapidly growing asset found in our province, the aerospace industry. This industry presents some of Manitoba's most exciting and rewarding career opportunities. It is the fifth largest industry in Manitoba, employs over 5000 people in the province and is the third largest industry in the country. It is also one of Manitoba's most rapidly expanding industries with major expansions announced at Standard Aero, such as the Marine and Industrial Engine Service Centre and ACETEK Composites, Inc. during the year 2001.

Our Government has been committed to aerospace. Recently the Stevenson Aviation and Aerospace Training Centre at Red River College was officially opened with assistance from this Government, as well as a surprise gift from Air Canada when they contributed a DC-9. Very, very gracious of them and generous.

It will address a critical shortage of skilled technicians in Manitoba's aviation and aerospace industries. In addition to the components of the industry itself, Manitoba is blessed with the presence of the Manitoba Aerospace Association. This proactive body is a group of more than 39 organizations working to promote the advancement of the industry in Manitoba and address the human resource needs of its member companies.

It has also been active in the community. Paul Soubry has done a super job of taking over from Jim Sawyer in his personable and down-to-earth manner. For example, last year the Manitoba Aerospace Association held a very successful aerospace and aviation awareness camp. Among other things, students were treated to introductory flying lessons and an overview of the fundamentals of aviation and engineering.

The Aviation Council, our voice of aviation in Manitoba, reports that the new Stevenson Training Centre is in full swing. This council is invaluable in keeping me abreast of what is happening. Hats off to Fred Petrie, executive director, and Judy Saxby, president. Also, they say that the St. James-Assiniboia School Division reports that its technical-vocational-commercial pilot ground was successfully launched in September. As well, it recently received approval for a composite materials vocational program. These programs complement the R.D. Parker Collegiate, in Thompson, program in Introductory Aircraft Maintenance in co-operation with Skyward Aviation Ltd.

The MAC is very supportive of these aviation programs being available at the secondary school level and will be working with them and others to expand their availability in additional schools around Manitoba. This is so exciting not only to the industry of aviation but to the youth of our province. Needless to say, I am so proud of so much of it, and it is happening right in my own constituency.

I am not done here. Another relevant asset that has been cited is the successful Winnipeg Airport Authority. This year marked the fifth anniversary of the Winnipeg Airport Authority; 1997 saw initiatives such as new, high-intensity approach lights, free baggage carts and an air show, which continues to thrill onlookers despite our tragic 9-11. We have many renovations including runway paving and new restaurants and bars, the installation of touchless washrooms and barrier-free elevators, a rebuilt skywalk, exhibits and the seven-story millennium banner.

Last year saw the grand opening of the children's play centre. Then came the tragic events of 9/11. I would like to commend the Airport Authority for their resilience in management during the problems associated with this tragedy. I would also like to commend them for their efforts to keep the community involved and aware of any changes or problems that could come up. They make good use of communicating through local newspapers, my own newsletter and community meetings. They take an active role in working with groups like the Friends of Bruce Park to ensure our creeks are kept safe.

Last, but not least, I want to comment on the huge role two St. James firms played in restoring our Golden Boy. Pritchard Machine repaired the corroded support column. He was then moved to Bristol Aerospace where he had several coats of paint applied in preparation for the gilding of the gold leaf down at The Forks, where the public was able to watch. This all felt like such a community effort. The whole city, province and tourists took such an interest in this once-in-a lifetime event. All who were involved, I believe, felt a vested interested in this project. Everyone, from those taking him down, his many moves, repairing, displaying, painting and gilding to the restoration atop the dome and the lighting up extravaganza should be applauded for their efforts and commitment to this project. I must add a special thank-you to the Member for Thompson (Mr. Ashton) for making my mother's day and calling her the golden girl of the day when the Golden Boy was moved to The Forks.

On children in education, we have invested 32 percent more in child care and better wages for early childhood educators since 2000. By March 2003, funded spaces will have shot up almost 19 percent. In St. James, we have two major success stories with day cares. Discovery Children's Centre, who celebrated their 25th anniversary, has expanded to include an infant-toddler program. Prior to this they were already unique in providing services to accommodate shift workers. They are an extremely committed bunch, providing a much-needed service. I am proud our Government has allowed them to grow and expand.

Horizons day care centre has expanded as a satellite in Grace Hospital, also providing a valuable service in an area of need. As the Member for Assiniboia (Mr. Rondeau) said in his speech, we are currently working to provide daycare at Jameswood School to accommodate Second Start alternative school and Stevenson-Britannia Adult learning centre, both housed there. Both programs are extremely valuable and highly successful and dependent upon child care services.

The Stevenson-Britannia Adult learning centre has tripled its graduates in the last three years. It stands as an example of good quality programs and success that comes with accountability. This is in stark contrast to the previous government's mishandling of the adult learning centres and identified in the provincial auditor's report.

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We increased funding to public schools at a rate matching or exceeding economic growth for the third year in a row. St. James Collegiate is an example of public schools capital funding in the provision of $1.2 million of the $1.6-million gymnasium addition, the remainder being provided by the St. James-Assiniboia School Division. With its new face and arts and technology programs, this previously neglected school has evolved into a dynamic, progressive collegiate over the past three years.

Strathmillan and Stevenson-Britannia are the designated special-needs schools and have also benefited from expansion and Community Places funding to provide a safer and more comfortable area to learn in. Strathmillan already has an accessible play structure and park, thanks to the hard work of their parent council and park committees. Stevenson-Britannia has a new play structure and are working towards making it accessible as well.

In the area of health, I am most pleased with the number of doctors which has grown from 2037 in 1999 to 2122 licensed doctors in the province now. I once worked in the department of neurosurgery at St. Boniface General Hospital when one specialist left the department. I was thrilled to hear that he has since returned.

Almost three times as many nurses will be graduating this year than in 1999, and we have created 500 new training spaces for health professionals, technicians, nurses, health care aides, therapists and doctors. As I said before, I experienced the stress on the front lines of these shortages and this was instrumental in my decision to run in the last election. Thank you very much.

It is incredibly rewarding to see these changes happening. I am particularly happy to see the recent announcements in palliative care. I had also worked in that area and understand the need intimately. Margaret Clarke started the palliative care and hospice at the Deer Lodge Centre. When I first started working there she was in a little corner in the basement. It has certainly grown exponentially since.

I am also pleased to see the Grace General Hospital palliative care unit in progress.

Another progressive step is stated in the PricewaterhouseCoopers External Review referring to a comprehensive range of community-based programs as alternatives to visiting emergency departments. Our St. James-Assiniboia Seniors Centre is the best example, I believe, of the effectiveness of programs geared to prevention. They have continually expanded over the past three years to include fitness programs, social programs, a wellness centre to provide flu shots, blood pressure readings, et cetera. Merv Jones and his board, and Karen Pirnie and her staff are to be commended. They also host the largest site of computers and Internet access with industry in Canada across the province. They were very progressive in getting set up three years ago to teach computer skills. I am proud to say I worked hard to help get the computers, but our Government did provide them with 10. This has led to its natural progression of Internet access.

All our community centres have an access site as well. Bourkevale, Deer Lodge, Silver Heights and Sturgeon Creek. Bord-Aire, I want to mention, did a lot of work in fixing up the entire downstairs of the club to provide a warm, safe and secure atmosphere to house this service.

One last area I want to comment on is our Government's appreciation and preservation of parks and green space. We are not only adding parks and campsites throughout Manitoba, we care about our parks here in the city.

Mr. Speaker in the Chair

I live on the street at the beginning of our Assiniboine Park's north side. It is seen by St. James' residents like myself as the front gate to the park but hardly reflects the gold mine of tourism potential over the bridge. The City has welcomed my interest as well as that of my federal counterpart, and we hope that together we can develop an entrance which would reflect the grand plans for the Conservatory, zoo, Leo Mol garden, et cetera. I am grateful we can work in such co-operation at all three levels of government. By the way, the park will be 100 years old in 2004, thanks to the foresight of people with a vision back then. They would be proud of this vision today.

Mr. Speaker, I would speak to many more issues and things we have done as a government, but I wanted to touch on how the Throne Speech related directly to the constituency of St. James as I see it. It appears to me that Manitobans have liked what we have done and are doing, and this speech is about continuing to do so. In my travels coast to coast this past couple of years, I have yet to go anywhere that I do not hear how much people like our Premier (Mr. Doer) and what our Government is doing. Just on the weekend at the Christmas party at the Legislature, a Tory party faithful said just that. Too bad he is a dyed-in-the-wool. It is nice to be appreciated, though. Hey, mister, lots of people just hold their noses when they take medicine that they know is good for them.

In conclusion, I would just like to summarize the thrust of the Throne Speech: rebuilding health care by working with Ottawa and other provinces to implement the recommendations of the Romanow Commission; enhancing the quality of life for families by extending summer vacation with a return to school after Labour Day in 2003; opening 1000 new cottage lots and 1000 new campsites.

The speech pointed out that the Province has been working on economic growth initiatives since '99. At the 2000 Century Summit, Manitoba leaders outlined an economic growth strategy.

Recently, the Premier's Economic Advisory Council made specific recommendations that have been incorporated into an Action Strategy for Economic Growth. It focuses on these factors: Education First targeted training for leading-edge growth industries and continuing investment in post-secondary institutions and public schools; building through research and innovation; doubling venture capital and increasing a number of information technology and biotech firms; raising and retaining investment; new capital retention strategy; affordable government; cuts in personal income, property and corporate taxes to continue as promised, as well as a commitment to balanced budget legislation and debt reduction; growing through immigration, doubling immigration to 10 000 annually; building our communities; regional development that focusses on rural and northern areas and the major cities, Brandon and Winnipeg; building on the energy advantage, powering Manitoba's economy by expanding hydro, ethanol, hydrogen fuel technology, biomass and wind energy, while keeping hydro rates, local consumers and businesses.

Our Government has been working hard on environmental issues. The impacts of climate change are already being felt in Manitoba, the speech noted. Manitoba is the first jurisdiction anywhere in the world to assess the costs and benefits of implementing the Kyoto accord and to develop a strategy for meeting emissions targets. The strategy is already underway, and the Government is committed to continuing to implement a plan that will grow the economy while preserving the environment for future generations.

Mr. Speaker, I heartily support the Throne Speech and the future it promises. I take great pleasure in strongly recommending that our colleagues across the way also see the light and acknowledge this speech as having a clear vision of where Manitobans want to go and a strategy that is working. Thank you.

Mr. Denis Rocan (Carman): Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the people of Carman constituency, it is a pleasure, Sir, for me to rise today to respond to the Speech from the Throne.

I would like to take this opportunity to welcome you back, Sir, along with the table officers, the Sergeant-at-Arms and his trusty staff, including his deputy and the gallery attendants and the messenger room attendants. Thank you as well to the wonderful people who work invisibly down in Hansard. I would like to extend an extra special welcome to the new pages that have joined us this session. I am sure that you will find the program to be extremely beneficial.

Mr. Speaker, this year in Canada, along with the entire Commonwealth, we are celebrating the Queen's Golden Jubilee. One component of these celebrations was the creation of the Golden Jubilee Medal. Members of the Legislative Assembly were asked to submit the names of suitable candidates for this recognition. The medal is being awarded to Canadians who have made a significant contribution to their fellow citizens, their community, or to Canada.

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I would like to put on the public record the names of a few of the citizens that I know who will be receiving this wonderful award. They are, in no particular order, Sir: Lawrence Aubin from Carman; Arlene Billinkoff from Winnipeg; Richard Cameron, former Chief of the Swan Lake Indian Reserve; Jean Comte from Notre Dame de Lourdes; Marg Holliston from Carman; Bernice Howell from Treherne; Claude Jacques from St. Claude; Pat Nadeau from Fannystelle; Lynda Pritchard Roland; Dr. George Mabon from Somerset; Dave Rea from Rathwell; Sushil Kumar Sharma from Winnipeg, Lawrence Sierens from Swan Lake; Alex Stow from Graysville; Judy Undiks from Winnipeg; Charlie Scharien from Elm Creek; Brian Schwartz from Miami; and Roland Van Deynze from Somerset.

Mr. Speaker, each year the Government attempts to set out its vision in its Throne Speech. I must say that, as the member for the Carman constituency, this year's Throne Speech was a serious disappointment. One of its failings has to do with this Government's lack of understanding of and commitment to agriculture.

Simply put, agriculture matters. Ask someone to identify the key drivers of the Manitoba economy and you can be certain that they will say agriculture. In Manitoba one job in eleven depends on agricultural production. Agriculture accounted for almost one dollar in eight of production in the provincial economy in the year 2001.

Between 1997 and 2001, agriculture and related industries contributed an average of 11 percent to the provincial gross domestic product. For every dollar of net farm income produced in Manitoba, almost two dollars is generated in the overall provincial economy. But the Doer government seems loath to recognize the importance of agriculture. Just look at the Agricultural Policy Framework. Sure, the Doer government signed on to it. But they will not contribute their 40% share of the interim farm funding, monies that were set aside to help farmers deal with stresses such as drought and flooding.

If the federal government can recognize that our farmers are facing stress, then why can the Doer government not? Are our farmers 40 percent less valuable than their colleagues in Alberta and Ontario? I think not. When you look at Manitoba's failure to contribute its 40 percent, you could hardly be blamed for thinking that the Doer government is trying to balance its books off the back of our farmers.


Over and over again the Doer government has demonstrated that they are out of touch with our farmers and the needs for our rural communities. Last year the Agriculture minister was in the Yukon negotiating a new direction in Canadian agriculture. She signed on to a communique that included having farmers earn more off-farm income or choosing non-farm options as means of addressing the challenges facing farmers.


So her plan was to have Manitoba farmers farm part time or not farm at all. What a vote of confidence in our agricultural sector. The Premier (Mr. Doer) too has demonstrated his lack of understanding of agriculture. When the United States government announced its $73.5-billion farm bill, a bill that could take a $345-million toll on our producers, the Premier said Manitoba farmers would experience, and I quote, short-term income pain. That is what farmers, their suppliers and creditors want to hear. There will be short-term income pain. This type of comment only underscores the Premier's incredible ignorance about agriculture. This is the Government that put Manitoba Conservation planes in the air this fall to gather information on livestock operations. As one farmer remarked, he found this to be quite offensive. I would have to agree with this statement. Since when did we start spying on our farmers?


This is a government that has repeatedly promised to promote rural development. It claims that its objectives are, and I quote: diversifying the rural economy and ensuring a sustainable quality of life for rural residents. Yet Statistics Canada reported earlier this year that the greatest decline in the number of farmers occurred in Manitoba. When the farmers leave, our rural communities suffer immeasurable damage, and I daresay that some of these communities will not be able to survive the loss of their farmers.

Mr. Speaker, the Government has no business saying that its policies are paying dividends in rural Manitoba. This is the very government that cut the department of rural development, a real vote of confidence when it comes to diversifying the rural economy and ensuring a sustainable quality of life for rural residents.

This is the Government that through the Grow Bonds program, designed to help rural businesses, opened it to businesses in Winnipeg. It is the Government that slashed funding to the harness racing industry. It is the Government that ended the highly regarded CareerStart program, a program that benefited countless rural youth and rural businesses throughout its history. Sure, there are more conservation districts, but they are not adequately funded and are unable to do as much as they should.

The Government claims that knowledge-based industries will be at the forefront of future economic growth in Manitoba and will play a key role in economic diversification strategies in rural Manitoba and the North. Does the Government have a master plan for improving rural Internet access? They have yet to articulate it or to explain what types of knowledge-based industries they are planning to lure to rural Manitoba.

Peut-être que c'est l'énergie qui va sauver l'économie rurale. Le 4 décembre 2002 la province et Hydro Manitoba ont annoncé que Hydro Manitoba fera une recherche pour déterminer le potentiel de la génération de l'énergie éolienne au Manitoba. Si cette recherche détermine que le Manitoba possède le potentiel de la génération de l'énergie éolienne, comment cela va-t-il profiter à la province? Est-ce qu'on va construire les turbines nous-mêmes, en créant plus de mille emplois et des centaines de millions de dollars comme au Québec? Ou non, parce qu'on va acheter ces turbines éoliennes du Québec au lieu de les construire nous-mêmes?


Perhaps energy will save the rural economy. On December 4, 2002, the Province and Manitoba Hydro announced that Manitoba Hydro will conduct a study to determine the potential for the generation of wind energy in Manitoba. If this research determines that Manitoba possesses the potential to generate wind energy, how will that benefit the province? Will we construct our own wind turbines, creating more than a thousand jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars, as in Québec? Or will that not happen because we will be purchasing these wind turbines from Québec rather than building them ourselves?


Wind farms, Mr. Speaker, personally, I have not been approached by many rural residents clamoring to have a wind farm set up across the Carman constituency. Rural Manitobans are committed to making their communities stronger and more vital, ensuring that there are jobs and opportunities out there for their young people and for future generations of young people. They have the right attitude and it is essential that this Government share the same can-do attitude, this desire for success.

For example, with the expansion of potato production and other crop diversification, the need for expanded irrigation opportunities is greater than ever. The recent drought has shown that careful management of our water resources is essential. The Treherne Dam committee of the South Norfolk Treherne Community Development Corporation believes that the construction of a dam on the Boyne River north of Treherne would help minimize the water shortage and create opportunities in agriculture. Careful management of the dam would assist with municipal water needs for south-central Manitoba. The spin-offs for economic development in the region are immense. This project has been studied for over 35 years, and they feel now the time has come.

If this Government is serious about rural development, they should help the Treherne Dam committee with their next step, that being raising enough funds to begin the feasibility study which is expected to take a year to complete.

This Government is telling rural Manitobans that there is no need to be concerned about their future. Well, rural Manitobans are concerned about their future. Rural residents have grave concerns about the state of health care and of education. Sound health care and education systems are the building blocks for healthy and sustainable rural communities. Yet both are suffering under this administration. Shortages of health care professionals threaten both the ability of rural residents to access health care when they need it, and it can have a significant impact on the quality of care that they receive.

Rural Manitobans are faced with the daily frustration of doctors and nursing shortages all too often. Rural communities are like revolving doors for doctors. They leave faster than when they come. The lack of physicians in rural Manitoba forces my constituents to travel great distances in order to serve their basic health care needs. Yet this Government refuses to examine the possibility of using public funds to send Manitoba patients to private clinics in order to improve the timeliness of care. Some of my constituents have been given no choice but to travel to the United States of America in order to receive timely access to testing and treatment. This is appalling. We should not be relying on other countries to provide health care to our citizens. Yet many Manitobans, frightened by lengthy waiting lists for diagnostic services, have chosen to cross the border to have medical testing done. This is happening at the same time as a party that promised to put diagnostic facilities in communities such as Grafton out of business governs this province.

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In their Throne Speech the Government states that the number of nurses graduating this year will be three times the number who graduated in 1999. They also claim that 90 percent of nursing students have indicated they plan to stay and work in Manitoba. My question to the Government is: Where will these nurses be working? What is this Government doing to ensure that some of those graduating nurses work in rural Manitoba so that my constituents do not have to travel great distances in order to receive quality and timely health care?

Rural Manitobans are also concerned about their seniors and what types of services will be available to them in their golden years. How are rural communities going to provide for the health care needs of their aging population if the facilities and staff do not exist in their communities. Rural residents need assurances that there will be facilities available for our seniors in their own communities, that there will be adequate staffing levels in our personal care homes.

Just as there are many unanswered questions about how this Government intends to meet the challenges facing the health care system, there are questions about mismanagement of our education system. Rural residents want to be confident that their education system is sound and that their children are receiving access to the same quality of education as their urban counterparts. The Government has amalgamated school divisions, but it has provided no proof that this will result in cost saving that might be reinvested in improving the quality of education our young people receive.

This Government says that it is committed to flexible education and lifelong learning. Lifelong learning is what it is going to take for a junior high student to build a stable foundation in mathematics as long as this Government continues to ignore the poor state of our education system. Almost one-half of all 13-year-olds do not meet acceptable levels in math as defined by national testing. Yet the Government seems unconcerned about this. This Government needs to act now and take measures to ensure that our students are properly educated and will be able to compete with their colleagues across the country and around the world. While computer literacy programs are important our students need to be able to add and subtract and read and write first in order to master computer applications.

Our teachers need to be given the necessary tools and support to properly educate and evaluate the progress of their students. Our youth are the future and need to be equipped with the required tools to contribute to the work force and to be leaders in Manitoba. That is of course if they decide to stay in Manitoba. This Government boasts about the 19% increase in post-secondary enrolment in Manitoba. Increased enrolment is wonderful, but what is happening to our graduates? Why are they leaving in droves from this province? Knowing full well that Manitoba's skill shortages are the most pronounced in all of Canada, this Government makes no mention of its long-term or even short-term strategies to keep our graduates in this province. The Government should be looking into ways to show our students that opportunities for challenging and exciting employment do exist in Manitoba.

This could be done through increasing co-operative education programs between our post-secondary institutes and the professional community. However, we hear no mention of such initiatives in this Throne Speech. This Government appears to be content as enrolment rises and wishing upon a star that our grads choose Manitoba as a place to start their lives. This Government had a chance to let young Manitobans know why they should stay in this province, and they failed. This Government had a chance to outline a plan to address the very challenges facing our health care system, and they failed to do that. This Government had a chance to provide rural Manitobans with real solutions for their very real problems, and they failed there too. This Government had a chance to let Manitoba farmers know that their government believes in them and values the hard work that they do. Not surprisingly, they failed here too. I had been hoping that this Throne Speech would have properly addressed all of these most pressing issues, but, sadly, it has not. I just hope that this Government's upcoming budget will offer more to Manitobans than did their Speech from the Throne.

As I finish my remarks, I would like to leave each and every one of you with these words that were once left to me. I would like to quote from I do not know who, but I do know that these words do ring true. It is called "A Christmas Poem." Mr. Speaker, it says: I have a list of folks I know all written in a book and every year when Christmas comes, I go back and I take a look. That is when I realize that these names are a part, not of the book that they are written in, but of my very heart. For each name stands for someone who has crossed my path sometime and in that meeting they've become the rhythm of each rhyme. And while it sounds fantastic for me to make this claim, I really feel that I am composed of each remembered name. And while you may not be aware of any special link, just meeting you has changed my life a lot more than you think. For once I have met somebody, the years cannot erase the memory of a pleasant word or that of a friendly face. So never think my Christmas cards are just a mere routine of names upon a Christmas list forgotten in between. For when I send a Christmas card that is addressed to you, it is because you are on the list of folks that I am indebted to. For I am but a total of the many folks that I have met and you happen to be one of those that I prefer not to forget. Whether I have known you for many years or few, in some way you have had a part in shaping things that I do. Every year when Christmas comes, I realize anew, the best gift life can offer is meeting folks like you. May the spirit of Christmas that forever endures, leave its richest blessings in the hearts of you and yours.

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker, for according me this wonderful opportunity. Have a very Merry Christmas.

Ms. Marianne Cerilli (Radisson): Mr. Speaker, I am quite anxious to get into the debate on this Throne Speech. I want to tell you why I am excited about this particular Throne Speech. Because we are actually discussing real issues, and we have presented before the public, between the Government side and the Opposition, very distinctive, real choices and clear, distinct differences. I am going to focus on two issues that I think are defining this session, defining the debate, whether it is presented in the alternative throne speech and the Throne Speech and questions in Question Period. That is the distinct difference between the members opposite and their position on Kyoto and the distinct difference between the members opposite and the Government on medicare and our commitment to public health care services.

I think it is really great, Mr. Speaker, that we have at this time such a distinction and a clear difference between what the Government is saying and what the Opposition is saying. It is good for politics. I think it is good to have this kind of clear choice presented before the public.

I think it is rare. I think too often in this Chamber, we are bickering back and forth on he said, she said, who said what first, and not often enough having the debate so clearly focussed on issues and on having each side of the House put forward the reasons why they are taking the position they are, clarifying that and trying to persuade people to see things from their point of view. I think that that kind of healthy debate is what it is all about, Mr. Speaker.

So I am glad to see that members opposite are taking a position. I cannot believe, though, Mr. Speaker, that they have come out asking this Government not to support Kyoto. It is unbelievable. They had the same briefing that we did. They had the same briefing that explained the science. They can see clearly now that there is a link between an excess of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and an increase in temperature which is causing global warming. There is no doubt about it. Even George Bush's scientists are acknowledging that, yes, it is true that global warming is occurring and there is a need to do something, that we cannot continue with the kind of increased reliance on burning fossil fuels, that it is true we have to do something.

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Even the impacts are not disputed, Mr. Speaker, the fact that there is an increase in temperature, the fact that we are having what you could call wonky weather, that we are seeing in one part of the province droughts, that we are seeing plus five in December, that we are seeing in another part of the province floods. It is without doubt that we are seeing heat waves in July and August. We have particular attention to be paid in Manitoba with impacts such as a loss of boreal forests, with the impact on the North, whether it is in the Port of Churchill, the potential of droughts.

I think all of this is indisputable, so it escapes me why the Opposition has taken the position that they have, but I am glad that they have. This issue does present to Government a difficult challenge because what we are being asked to do and face, not only with this environmental issue but many others, is we are being challenged to act and change our economic practices, to do things where we may not be able to show down the road that what we did actually had an impact, but when you have presented to you the kind of scientific research that we are all seeing presented to us–members opposite have been given all the information on the Government's Web site, all the Government reports; they can go to IISD, the International Institute for Sustainable Development, just as we can, and get the information–I think that we have to act.

Some people might describe it as we are not able to empirically verify the inexplicable. Some of the things that we are being asked to do by the Opposition like predict what the effect is going to be on the GDP way down the road, I would challenge any one of them to predict what the GDP is going to be in even five years. So some of the things we are being asked to do is to simply do the right thing, because we know what the science is and we know we cannot continue on the track that we are on.

Then we have to take a look, Mr. Speaker, at a position against Kyoto is a position against that first small step. I would hazard to say that Kyoto is only the beginning. It is only saying we are going to reduce emissions by 6 percent of what they were in 1990. It is not saying we are going to shut down certain sectors of our economy or outlaw the use of coal burning as a form of fuel.

No, Mr. Speaker, it is not saying that. It is only saying that this was an agreement that we signed way back, 10 years ago. It is not something new. We knew this was coming. We knew we had to act and we are only committing to reducing our greenhouse gas emissions by 6 percent of what they were in 1990.

The Opposition is saying, well, what is the impact of that going to be in Manitoba, and what are the impacts going to be here? It is interesting, Mr. Speaker, because Manitoba is in such a unique position. We do not have a very high percentage even of the country's emissions and they are not predicted to change very dramatically. Plus we have huge areas of boreal forest; plus we have a huge area of untapped resources in non-CO²-producing energy, whether it is through hydro or now as we are seeing through wind.

So, Mr. Speaker, the position that Manitoba is taking is very unique because complying with Kyoto will actually be a benefit in the Manitoba economy. I was listening to the Premier (Mr. Doer) in the hallway today after answering questions in the House about this, and he was actually guaranteeing that we would be a net increaser in jobs if the Kyoto provisions come into force across the globe.

An Honourable Member: What was the analysis?

Ms. Cerilli: I would just say to members opposite to contact the people that are out there. I thought that you had the briefing that we had. You have the information. We have information that shows exactly what you are asking, that there will be advantages in a lot of sectors. Whether it is because we are a bus manufacturer, more communities across not only North America but elsewhere will be purchasing buses, because there is going to be increased reliance on public transit. The other thing we manufacture is windows, so more people installing more energy-efficient windows in their homes is also going to be good for Winnipeg and for Manitoba because we produce those kind of resources as well.

So, Mr. Speaker, as I was saying earlier it is great that the Opposition has come out and shown their true colours. They are speaking out against Kyoto. I think it is clear the majority of Manitobans and Canadians disagree with them. They recognize that we cannot stick our head in the sand. They recognize that we have been talking about this since the first summit on sustainable development in Brazil in 1992 when they signed these agreements, and now it is time to develop the plans and to start to take action.

Mr. Speaker, I want to talk a little bit about health care which is another topic that I feel very passionate about and feel very committed to. I am again pleased that our Government has been coming out so clearly in stating that they support the Romanow recommendations. Again, I think it is great that we are also saying what the majority of Manitobans and Canadians support. That is to continue a system of medicare that is publicly funded, that does not allow people a private option that will simply put people to the front of the line who have the fiscal resources to do that. That has not been the practice.

I am happy as well that it so clearly states that it is the federal government's responsibility to anti up and to start again reinvesting up to their historic contribution levels. It is actually only saying 25 percent. Back in the beginning days of medicare the federal government used to contribute 50 percent of the funds towards health care in our country, and now it is only 14 percent. The provinces have been the ones that have been saddled with the responsibility to answer to the public for those waiting lists, for those staffing shortages, and not recognizing, to the extent that we are now, that it is actually the federal government that has been reducing their contributions to medicare.

I am pleased too that this Government has been leading the way in also doing what Romanow is recommending, which is to address the training of health care professionals as one of the first things we have to do to meet our obligations. Investing in home care, another thing that the NDP in Manitoba has been a pioneer in going back to the days when Premier Schreyer was in office in developing programs like Pharmacare, imagine what we would be able to do in this country, Mr. Speaker, if we had a national home care and a national Pharmacare program in this country to take the weight off hospitals and emergency rooms. Imagine what kind of services we would be able to provide to seniors and people needing palliative care. I am very proud that our Government is now providing the same kind of coverage for Pharmacare for people who are at home as in hospitals when they are in their last days. Those are the kind of things that are going to solve the health care crisis we have found ourselves in because of the withdrawal of the partnership from the federal government.

Mr. Speaker, it seems like almost every time I get up to speak in this House, I talk about the demographics in our community. It is interesting. When you go into different parts in Manitoba people are talking about the relationship between housing and health care, the relationship between an aging population and the need for subsidized housing to take the stress off hospitals, to give people the kind of support in their homes they need so that they can have a quality of life when they are seniors that is going to be a healthy quality of life, that people are better off if they get those services early on in their own homes so they can remain active, they can remain independent and just getting those beginning supports.

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That brings us back again to another mistake that was made by the federal government way back in the early nineties. That was ending their commitment to public housing and to social housing in this province. I think the biggest thing we are going to be able to do to help health care is to start reinvesting into housing for seniors. It is all a variety of different services on a continuum.

I know I was just in Arborg recently, Mr. Speaker. That is what people were talking about. They were talking about the need to have support for seniors and people who are not well in the community in their homes because the other option of having them in hospital, the quality of life is not there and certainly the cost is multiplied a number of times.

In the Romanow report Manitoba was singled out by medical and government leaders for its commitment to accountability. The National Association of Radiologists as well as the federal government has recognized that transparency and accountability on the federal equipment fund is important. We continue to be committed to having some accountability for health care spending.

It is interesting, Mr. Speaker, when you listen to the questions that are raised by the MLA for River Heights (Mr. Gerrard). It is almost like he forgets he was part of the federal government that made a number of the decisions that are now having such a devastating impact on some of the public services that we rely on, that it was his government that created the Canadian CHST and lumped together the funding of post-secondary social services and health care to blur the accountability that he is now calling for.

I think there are all sorts of creative things that need to be done, whether we are dealing with regional health authorities, which were also a creature created by the members opposite, or a number of the various institutions. It has been very interesting to be on the Government side for the last three years, and to see, in more detail, the budgets and the budget development of a number of areas in health care, as well as a number of areas of government, but particularly in health care, to better understand the pressures on the system, whether it is the rising costs in Pharmacare, whether it is the costs associated with not having early intervention.

When I talked earlier about giving the same message whenever I speak in this Chamber, one of those other messages, and it is an important part of our alternative on health care, is prevention. I think this is one of the challenges of all governments, to try and fight the fast-pace, drive-through culture that we have, where you sit at your desk and you work on your e-mail, you go and drive through and have fast food and you have the kind of lifestyle that does not encourage you to be active. We are now seeing the results of that. It affects so many other areas of government policy, whether it is the way we design our cities, whether it is what we teach in schools. All of these areas will have an impact on that prevention that is so necessary in our health care system, to try and ensure that people who take care of themselves and who are conscious of health care costs and are conscious of the value of their own health, that that is recognized.

The other thing that this impacts on is the way that we budget for health care. I have not yet read the sections in the Romanow report on prevention, but I am wanting to do that. Again, to continue to be involved in developing new ways that the Government can ensure that Manitoba is going to be on the cutting edge in terms of developing preventative programs, whether it is the focus we are taking on primary care, whether it is what we are doing to try and encourage people to, even at the prenatal stage, to focus on their nutrition and development of their children and all the other things that we are doing on our Healthy Child program and early child development.

I said at the beginning of my remarks that I was going to just focus on those two issues that I think are shaping the debate. Those are two important issues that are defining the political parties in Manitoba. I think it is very clear the kind of choices that are before the public.

I want to thank you, Mr. Speaker, for your work in the House here and recognize the pages that are working in the House this year. I know that there is another page from Radisson and I want to welcome her here to the House. I also want to thank our caucus staff and all the other staff that work in the building. Since becoming the chair of caucus, I have also had the chance now to spend more time with people in the Clerk's Office and develop even more appreciation for the work that they do as well as the other services that I have used over the years here, whether it is at the Legislative Library or the support in this building through Government Services and Security. A lot of people go into making this place function. Sometimes we can, in our busyness and attempt to get our work done, not recognize their contribution enough, so I certainly want to do that.

With that, I just want to talk a little bit about a few things that are happening in my constituency that I am concerned about and interested in seeing. I was very pleased about a month ago to see that the Government is proceeding with plans to develop its community health centres which are going to be integrated services with family services and housing. It is a very important part of the services for the Transcona area in Radisson. I was pleased, as I, on Sunday was driving down Henderson Highway, to notice that the centre in River East is well underway and should be up and running. We look forward to having the service centre developed in Transcona this coming spring and have that integrated service where people can get help, whether it is with social allowance and family services, a number of programs through Child and Family or whether it is primary health care, counseling services, nutrition programs, and all those other services provided through public health in Transcona as well.

One of the other things that I want to comment on that the Government is doing in recognizing a first in Radisson is the other night I also attended a meeting for the first time that had Sheldon McLeod [phonetic], as an independent third party chairing at a very important community liaison committee.

There has been a lot of work going into addressing the emissions from New Flyer Industries. A lot of people have been confused that none of these emissions are greenhouse gas emissions. They are VOCs and solvents, so they do not affect what is going on with Kyoto and greenhouse gases and global warming, but they are providing odour and pollution problems. I am anxious to see this committee do its work, and that there is some resolution to this problem. I want to recognize that the Government and the company are sitting down with a group of residents to discuss the initiatives that are in the new licence and to ensure that residents understand and that their views are part of the decision making.

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I want to commend the Department of Conservation for having this process chaired by a third party, so they can participate as one of the parties and that we can make sure that when we have licences of industries under The Environment Act and that they include a clause for community liaison committee, that that is a meaningful process. In Transcona right now, we are pioneering some new ground because I think this is the first time that it is being done in this fashion. I am very happy to participate in that and to be part of that group that is going to find a solution to what is a difficult situation.

So with that, Mr. Speaker, I want to conclude my remarks and to just finish off by wishing everyone a happy holiday season and a wonderful new year. Thank you.

Mr. Peter Dyck (Pembina): I too want to put a few comments on the record. I will not be able to cover all the areas due to time restraints; however, I do want to cover just a few of what I feel are the more important aspects specific to the Speech from the Throne.

First of all, though, I do want to welcome the new pages and our new interns, and again, I am sure that they will find this a valuable experience, an insightful and learning experience, so again, thank you and we do appreciate the work that you do.

Then just a few comments regarding those members in this Legislature who are retiring, the Member for Minnedosa (Mr. Gilleshammer) and Lakeside, Morris and Inkster. Specifically to the members from Minnedosa, Lakeside and Morris, I have appreciated their comments and their input into our caucus, the meetings that I have had the opportunity to chair for the last three years and certainly have found them to be insightful and very valuable. Of course, when, as we call him fondly in our caucus, the dean of the Legislature, is going to be retiring, it is going to be a real loss to us. That experience that you gain over 36, 37 years is something that you cannot grasp within just a few short years within the Legislature.

Then, of course, to the Member for Morris (Mr. Pitura). We were of the graduating class–I guess the class of '95. We have not all graduated yet. A good class. I see another member. There are a few of us left, so, certainly, it has been a good number of years. I have appreciated the camaraderie that we have been able to have with one another over the years.

Mr. Speaker, I know that some of my comments here today are going to be talking about communities that grow, that expand, that have some of the fastest rate of growth within the province of Manitoba, and, with that, the implications of dollars being spent. There are some things that need to be done. I want to remind the Government that when they are in government they are to govern for the total province and not just in specific areas.

I guess in the southern part of the province, the constituency of Pembina, this is something that we have seen over the last few years, where it seems as though and appears as though some of the areas of concern that we had which are specific to the growth that we have been experiencing have been neglected.

So while I am going to be challenging them to look at certain areas specific to education, health and infrastructure and knowing that dollars are going to be required, I also look at what has happened within this province within the last three years. What is troubling to me is that the indebtedness of our province has increased by about a billion dollars within the last three years. These are dollars that are to be paid back by Manitobans. Somewhere down the line we, our children, someone is going to responsible for that indebtedness.

The Government in Manitoba is the biggest business within this province. I think we all know that running a business you need to have revenues that are going to be there in order to be able to service the debt that has been accumulated. It is troubling to me to see what has happened here within the past three years. The Government of the day pats themselves on the back and indicates that they have not increased the taxes. They have increased. They have not kept pace with what the other provinces have done. So a little tax here and a little tax there may not show up on the bottom line of that tax return, but these are all taxes that we as Manitobans have to pay. We have to remain competitive.

Consequently, on the one hand I am concerned about the indebtedness we have and the obligations that each one of us, that includes MLAs, has towards meeting our obligations. I am going to be talking a little bit, and I want to mention education first. I was talking to the minister a few minutes ago. Within Garden Valley School Division we have had an increased enrolment within the past two years. The board there has diligently been seeking to meet with the minister, to indicate to him the growth that we have. Right now we have 500 students in portable classrooms. Now, to me I find this interesting that this is the direction that this Government would want to go, who is in fact touting themselves as being really, really high on education and putting dollars out there.

Then, in conjunction with that, I hear that today the amount of dollars percentage-wise that this Government is contributing to education is the lowest that it has been in many years at 59 percent. I just find it troubling to see that, on the one hand, they are saying that they are really putting dollars into education, promoting education, and of course the reason we would do this would be so that it would be whatever is best for the children, yet, though, the dollars are not there to sustain that.

So, Mr. Speaker, I am concerned about the fact that, and I have got letters here, numerous letters that have been sent to the minister from the Garden Valley School Division encouraging him to come out, visit the community, but to look at the huts that are out there for these students. I want to reiterate the fact that there are 500 students that are in temporary classrooms.

Just in case I need to expand on that, to encourage the minister and the Government to look at this favourably, this is a community which is surrounded by the R.M. of Stanley, which last year, just a year ago was cited as having the lowest average age within rural Manitoba in all of Canada. The growth is there, the growth is sustainable. Plus, Winkler and Morden, again, in the census that was released just this past year it was clearly indicated that these are the fastest growing communities in rural Manitoba. So, you know, the history is there. The growth is there, and, consequently, that growth needs to be supported with some dollars.

May I add, Mr. Speaker, that just to sustain that part of the argument, we have businesses that are expanding, that continue to expand. As of last week, if the right people, and I am not talking about a high qualification of education right now, but if there were the right people who were willing to work and who were just willing to slip into certain areas, 200 employees would be hired immediately in order to fill the vacancies that are out there. That is only within the communities of Morden and Winkler.

So this is a growing area. It is an area that is sustainable, that is contributing taxes to the province of Manitoba, so, consequently, I would encourage this Government to govern for all Manitobans. You are taking taxes from all Manitobans, so then pour some of those dollars back into the communities where the growth is taking place.

That, Mr. Speaker, is specific to education. Another area I just need to touch on briefly is the area of personal care homes. Again, in the Morden-Winkler area, in the constituency of Pembina, people are retiring and are moving into condos, but, consequently, they are moving into the area and also needing the services of personal care homes.

* (16:50)

Tabor Home is a personal care home that needs to be replaced. When we were in government, we had slated them for an expansion of 20 beds, which then, in conjunction, was going to be put in place so that just down the road, they would be able to put in a totally new facility. It is imperative that this be done and be done sooner than later. It has been isolated as one of the units that needs to be done immediately from the RHA. They had this on their top list. So, again, I would encourage those who are involved in the Department of Health to look favourably on this and, in fact, to be able to give us the expansion that we need so badly.

Infrastructure: Again, with a fast-growing area, as I have just indicated, the infrastructure needs to be updated and needs to be rebuilt. The area that I am thinking specifically of today is Highway 32, which is just running south of Winkler and actually starts within the city of Winkler and then moves towards the border. The area that I am speaking specifically of is an area that right today is having on the average 13 000 vehicles. Consequently, in order to be able to keep up with that growth that is within the industrial sector of the city, we need to have four-laning put in place. I know that the councillors, the mayor have been in to see the minister, but, again, I have a feeling that this has been put onto a back burner, and it is always, well, maybe sometime. As the city continues to grow, we need to look at this and look at it in a favourable way.

Agriculture: Agriculture is the main industry within the province of Manitoba. Again, the Throne Speech, I just saw that there was absolute silence in this area. This is the No. 1 industry in the province of Manitoba. It is a big generator of dollars for this province, yet, really, it appears with the elimination of rural development by this Government in this province that the concern for rural Manitoba and specifically agriculture has been totally omitted.

I am concerned about that because in our area, again, it is an agricultural community. It is an expanding area. There are young people who are wanting to continue in agriculture. On a personal note, I have a son who is managing our farm. I have a son-in-law who is managing his father's farm. There are young people out there who do want to continue in agriculture. These are bright young people. They have got energy. They have got drive, but they have to be able to have that assurance that the Government is going to be there as well, to, at least, support the efforts that they are making. So again, I just see that this Government, the NDP, is, in my opinion, the way I read it, not concerned about agriculture and trying to keep the family farms going.

So, Mr. Speaker, I have a few more minutes, but I must touch on Kyoto just a moment, because the speaker before me did make a few comments and was talking about some of the things that were taking place. I would just like to draw her attention to the whole area of the balance of nature. Now what brings to mind was the Minister of, I think it is Conservation, when he flew up north to Churchill and was showing these polar bears, and yes, it is unfortunate to see that, but I must tell you, and my father and my grandfather would tell you, that the same thing has happened over the years with the foxes and the rabbits within our area. It is called balance of nature.

These things do happen, and as up north right now where–and I know that over the years the seals were gone, the bear did not get–well, I see a member shaking his head. I think that we are talking about warming of the climate. We had the coldest October in history just now, so you know, are we concerned about the environment? Absolutely we are. Should we do everything that we can to help sustain, to help to keep the environment the best possible that we can? Absolutely we should.

My argument with all of this is that somehow we have become fixated on this little thing of, yes, we are going to go with blinders on, and we have no idea of what the costs are. Now here is a government who has said they have costed out everything. They would be the only ones in the whole world to have costed out what this is going to cost the province, and yet consequently, they cannot give us those numbers. I would like to see that. So are we concerned about the environment? Absolutely we are, but I do think we do have a right, Manitobans have a right to know what the implications of this are. What is it going to mean to me? You know, what does this mean if I am farming? What does it mean on my farm? What kind of changes will I have to make? What are the costs going to be? Are these costs going to be passed on to someone else, or am I going to have to take these out of my own pocket?

So I just find some of the arguments that are being used by the NDP at this point, I find that somewhat inconsistent because we in Question Period have been asking some very, very straightforward questions and the answers are not there. So obviously you do not know. So what you have done here is, you have become involved in a debate where you do not have the answers. You have just said, yes, this is very nice. We can all say that, but what are the implications? I think that is where you have the responsibility of knowing what the implications are for Manitobans because, as Manitobans or as Canadians, we will pick up that tab. We are going to pick this up and somebody is going to have to pay for the costs that are out there.

Mr. Harry Schellenberg, Acting Speaker, in the Chair

So, Mr. Acting Speaker, on those few comments I want to thank you for the opportunity to put a few words on the record, and I will with that thank you very much.



Hon. MaryAnn Mihychuk (Minister of Industry, Trade and Mines): Mr. Acting Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise today to put a few comments on the Throne Speech and welcome the new pages who are with us. I hope they have a very enjoyable and meaningful time with us and that they look at the honourable profession of politics as a career option and that we can provide them with inspiration, and that they should look at our more honourable moments of debate and forgive us for those when we dip a little bit too low.

I would like to put a few comments on for my friend and colleague, the member representing Inkster, who has announced that she will be leaving. I, personally, will be missing her a great deal as a constituent, a friend, a mentor and a guide. She is an important part of my personal and my professional development. I am going to miss her a great deal.

To my critic from the riding of Morris, he has been an honourable member, a fine Cabinet minister in the past somewhat less stellar government, but, as an individual, shone brightly as a reasoned person who had a very challenging career as a Cabinet minister with the flood of '97 and all of the things that had to be dealt with. I think that he handled constituents' questions and a very serious crisis in a very professional way. He will be missed. The Member for Minnedosa (Mr. Gilleshammer) as well has announced that he will be leaving. Minnedosa, at the present time, is under a housing boom as new technologies have taken root. We have one of Manitoba's fastest growing companies residing and growing in Minnedosa. That is our International Pharmacy, which has created over 170 jobs over the past two years. The member has been a very knowledgeable member on education, finance, most portfolios in government. He also will be missed.

To the member from my second home, Lakeside, where my in-laws reside, my step-father has passed away but my step-mom is still in Woodlands and has known the member from Lakeside for many years. I am sure that he will be singing his way into retirement and providing a lot of colour and history for the riding of Lakeside. Lakeside provides our Government and our party an opportunity to make inroads into what is a naturally NDP seat. I look forward to the campaign coming up because the people of Lakeside have a choice and have a choice for good government.

* (17:00)

We had the opportunity to look at throne speeches. There are two visions of a throne speech: one that talks about economy, prosperity, building wealth and looking to the future, and the other side which, for the first time, presented an alternative throne speech. A very admirable process, I would say. It is about time, but really a document that is focussed on whining and a very narrow we are not doing enough. Perhaps, as Opposition, they need a few more years to develop their ability to work up an alternative throne speech. It is similar to a Mother Hubbard. When you open the cupboard, I am afraid it was bare. It is bare of substance, and when they are going to redo the whole tax system, exactly how, we do not know. I think that the alternative throne speech was the first baby step at trying to analyze a complex document and one that really should talk about the future.

I am proud of our Throne Speech. Talking about the economy, talking about creating jobs, talking about new opportunities and how we are going to get there. I know that the people of Manitoba are proud of our record over the past three years and in fact have seen accelerated job growth in virtually every single sector in Manitoba. There is a new sense of optimism and determination by Manitobans, from the business community to labour, from all political stripes, who have come together and said it is time for Manitoba to grow. No matter where our political alliances fall, we are going to put together a concerted vision and see Manitoba grow unless we are prepared to see us fall away like we did in the dark, dark days of the nineties where we were on the same track as those provinces that saw masses of people leaving, our youth finding no hope. We had to do something, and, I think, the people of Manitoba spoke and spoke clearly when they elected a new government with a new vision and new hope.

Again, we look at some of the indicators. The number of full-time jobs has been growing, exceeding predictions by numerous third-party sources. Manitobans have increased wealth and the telling statistic over and over again, Manitoba has the lowest unemployment in Canada for most months, second only, occasionally, to Alberta. That is because Manitobans are creating jobs, and opportunities are available for our young people.

Again, job growth, since 1999 if you looked at the previous government's record, we have doubled the job creation here in the three years we have been in office. Most of those jobs are full time versus part time, as in the dark Tory years.

In education, which is known to be the No. 1 economic tool for the knowledge-based economy, we are very proud to have seen an increase in enrolment which is double digits into, we understand, 19 percent more enrolment in education. That is a positive sign for Manitoba that shows there is a commitment on behalf of families, on behalf of our economy, on behalf of our Government, to provide those opportunities for knowledge-based industries to grow, to provide the very fuel for the new economy which is based on intellect rather than in the past which was based on more natural resources.

So we are now moving into a knowledge-based economy, and those economies that have done that have turned out to be the most successful economies in the world. Manitoba no longer competes with Saskatchewan or Alberta or Ontario. We compete with the whole world, with Ireland, with Germany, with the United States, with San Diego, with centres of innovation that compete head to head with us here in Manitoba.

We are one of only three provinces to have recorded growth in our investment each of the past three years, and I think that also is another signifier of the Century Summit three years ago. We came out with a clear voice, which is another recipe to success, that we should move to a knowledge-based economy, that all peoples joined with that one vision, and now we see that Manitoba's growth strategy has been helped and developed in consult with the Premier's Council which is a collection of very honourable individuals from all sectors of Manitoba's society.

Youth unemployment, a very important indicator, because if you remember during the late nineties, one of the critical issues was that our youth were leaving Manitoba. It was the concern of Manitobans that said do we want to see our children have to leave to fulfil their career goals? Manitobans said no, and, you know, since 1999 Canada West did a survey where 65 percent of Manitobans in those dark, dark Tory days said they would have to leave Manitoba. Now in today's new optimistic Government, Manitoba youth are saying they can fulfil their career goals right here at home. Over 63 percent of young people now surveyed believe that. Now, is that enough? No. We need to go for 100 percent who believe they can fulfil their career goals.

Now, are they all going to stay in Manitoba? Probably not, because some young people choose to move out, experience other parts of the world and country, but there is a great deal of confidence that those young people will come back home, as we know, that we have done under our focus groups that we have done in Calgary and in Minneapolis, Minnesota. So our focus on education has been very important, our focus on intellectual property and developing our ability to capture R & D and enhance R & D, our ability to develop technology transfer, training, apprenticeship. We now see what was a barren field actually blossom with a new incubator at the University of Manitoba, and what was on the drawing board is now actually a reality, thanks to the policies of this Government.

We see the SMART Centre working with Red River College in the downtown area for IT companies, the University College of the North. University enrolment is up, up, up, and we also see a government that is focussed on an area where we see direct benefits: BabyFirst, investments in K to 12, post-secondary investments, community college, infrastructure, finally repairing the damages created by the dark Tory years of the nineties. Stevenson aerospace is another key sector where we have engaged in an expansion to train more people to a very important economic sector, and that is aerospace.

ACCESS enrolment is up by 36 percent, and we have seen over and over again workforce development in conjunction with immigration and/or appeal to ex-pats, who are all over the world, to come back home, because what was once no opportunity is now the land of opportunity, and it is time for Manitobans to come on back, because we have opportunities in Manitoba that need you, and need them, to fulfill those positions that provide growth for our economy. We need it.

You know, I was down in Morris, Winkler and Altona, and in every single community–I was there about two weeks ago talking to a lot of people about the new economy, a knowledge-based economy–they were talking about the need for more people, more skilled workers. In fact, they talked about the need for more workers in general, that in fact they had a housing crisis. We are not seeing rural Manitoba depopulate. We are actually seeing that area grow by 10 percent. That was a success story, and what we do is work with the private sector and those communities to build a strong economy where we can see their success story apply to the whole province.

The Tories have a number of projects that they started and used as economic stimulators when they were in office, and one of them was their IT projects. They liked to take mega-projects for new innovation in the computer technologies area. Very high risk, very complicated, very high cost, and very much disastrous. Over and over again Manitobans lost their shirts on those mega-projects and Manitobans have nothing to see for it except disaster after disaster after disaster. So what other technology innovation have the members across the way got. Well, they got IT information technology. They had heard presumably of the information highway. They decided that, well, if it is a highway we better stick it under the Department of Highways. They had no idea that we were talking about technology. They had no concept about science and innovation and technology. They figured a highway is a highway. They would stick it with roads. No wonder we did not have a vision of the future.

We are talking about a party that is so backwards they did not even understand the definition of IT, and that was clear on where they put their investments. In fact, I understand that they thought that the definition of broadband or when people were talking about broadband they were talking about the size of their elastic waistbands, not the size of the fibre build, not the size of capacity. No, we are talking about a party of dinosaurs. Well, it is time to move into the new economy, knowledge based and one that is focussed on reality and optimism.

* (17:10)

Now what about the Liberal leader. I mean, what was his strategy in terms of ICT, information technology. It was the Liberal leader who said his biggest criticism when Nortel pulled out of Manitoba was: Manitoba should bail them out. Where would we be if we had bailed out Nortel? It is a clear, Liberal concept of economic development, one I am very proud to say we did not do because we are not in there bailing out companies that are, perhaps, overassessed, as the market, clearly, has indicated.

Now, not only that, the member from River Heights, the only sitting Liberal member, I believe, is the same one who was the Science and Technology Minister, I believe, for the federal Liberals, another party that did not seem to understand science and technology. In fact, his record is that he cut the National Research Council, whose signature piece, in our perspective, is the Institute for Biodiagnostics, cut the National Research Council by 15 percent. How does that record hold in terms of understanding or supporting knowledge-based economies? It does not. The member from River Heights has a long way to go to understand how to develop knowledge-based economies.

Biotechnology is one that we are very proud of. Manitoba has a huge opportunity in developing that sector. We are very pleased to see that over the past two years this sector has grown by 40 percent. In fact, the only time I ever heard about biotechnology from the other side was for the member from Lakeside, who at least had a little glimpse of the future when he said pig manure would one day smell like raspberry jam, a little exaggerated and a little far-fetched, but at least he had the concept.

In terms of taxes, now, the members opposite say they would destroy the tax system and that we indeed have not done enough, presumably. But I can tell them that we have reduced personal income taxes by a total of 11.5 percent, when fully implemented will be a saving to the people of Manitoba of $180 million a year, reduced property taxes and increased the property tax credit by $150. We have a five-year phase-out of the provincial special levy, which amounts to another $150 million per year. We have the phasing, the downgrading or the reduction of the small business tax from the heavy 8 percent of the Tory years to 5 percent now; increased the small business definition from $200,000 to $400,000, and we have reduced the corporate income tax rate for the first time since the Second World War. What did the Chartered Accountants of Manitoba have to say about it? In fact, in the Manitoba check-up of 2002, the reports indicates: In Manitoba the small business corporate tax rate was reduced one percent in each year from 9 percent in '98 to 6 percent in 2001. In 2002 it dropped by 5 percent, with the exception of B.C.

Mr. Speaker in the Chair

These are the most aggressive tax reductions and mean more to competitiveness with other provinces. What about a senior economist from the Bank of Nova Scotia, which has indicated Manitoba has kept up with its tax reductions, whereas other provinces have deferred some tax cuts. Oh, Manitoba continues to chip away at its rates. At the end of the day, all those things mean the province is much more attractive to new investment.

The senior vice-president of the Investment Dealers of Canada gave Manitoba a very positive rating and indicated that the Government has weathered a difficult storm and stayed on track with tax reductions, reducing the debt burden and creating a positive climate for business, investment and growth. That is May 16, 2002.

I would like to refute and actually put on record that some of the statements by members opposite are misleading the public of Manitoba in terms of the youth retention and the number of young people that are leaving Manitoba. You know, I would just like to indicate that during the last three years of the Tories' regime, we were losing net 615 young people from Manitoba every single year. Now the average, and we hope to do better, is 215, more than cutting it in half, almost three times less than the Tory years, where we did see young people leaving the province. Not only that, the young people that are staying are finding work. When I asked the Asper school of management of their rates of retention, they indicated that, in surveys for the class of 2002, they found that 90 percent have found employment in Manitoba, and for 2001, 87 percent found work in Manitoba.

For graduates of Red River College's computer analyst program, the survey from '99 indicates 96.2 percent found work after graduation, and 94.3 percent found work in a training-related occupation. Furthermore, 98 percent of these graduates were able to find these career opportunities in Manitoba. Note, once again, Manitoba has the lowest youth unemployment rate of all of the provinces in Canada at 10.7 percent.

Our record speaks to success. Our record speaks to providing opportunities for young people. Members opposite choose to put on the record doom and gloom and have nothing of substance in their cupboards in terms of options. I can tell you that the people of Manitoba will have a choice soon as to whether they want a government, a future, a vision of knowledge-based, of optimism or whether they want the past of backward thinking, high unemployment, the mothball party.

Now, when you look at their throne speech, did they talk about the new economy? Did they talk about hydro? Did they talk about science and technology? No. Did they talk about trade? No.

I just wanted you to know that we are here and we are able to show a record of substance on job creation for Manitobans, those who wish to come and all of the young people in Manitoba as we look to a future of success. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Jim Penner (Steinbach): Mr. Speaker, I am indeed pleased to have this opportunity to put something on the record that might not be as fictional as we have been hearing. Of course, I will also endorse the proposed motion delivered by the honourable Member for Kirkfield Park (Mr. Murray) in regard to the throne speech. We also feel that the throne speech is inadequate, that we cannot support and vote for that throne speech.

But, first of all, I think I should also put on the record that we certainly welcome and appreciate the pages: Laura Hudek, Akosua Matthews, Ashley Miyai, Buchi Nnadi, Blake Zawada, Vanessa Thiessen, Andrea Peters and Alexis Martin. As well, we as a party have a lot of appreciation for the staff, and, Mr. Speaker, we also applaud your work.

There are a number of people who have already announced that they will not be running for election in the next provincial election. We know, for example, that the Member for Inkster (Ms. Barrett), the Member for Minnedosa (Mr. Gilleshammer), the Member for Morris (Mr. Pitura) and the Member for Lakeside (Mr. Enns), the longest-serving member at this time, have tendered notice that they will not be running in the next election. Of course, we wish them well, and we trust that they will have the enjoyment of their retirement or whatever they choose to do.

* (17:20)

I know there will be many tributes to the Member for Lakeside and many farewells. When I was first elected to the Legislature in 1999, the Member for Lakeside treated me with respect even though I was a rookie. I noticed that he truly shared his life expertise to encourage us in our constituency work.

The Member for Lakeside, I peeked a bit into his background and his history. He writes a bit of a story. He says there was something different about the morning of September 3, 1939, as he urged his five-year-old brother and himself to get out of bed. His mother was starting a fire in the wood stove in their North Kildonan home. The father was attempting to listen to the radio, when I heard the shouting in the street: Extra, extra; war declared. A grey sombre mist shrouded the morning as Henry and I ran out of the house to catch up with the newspaper boy, and we mimicked his cries of extra. Thus began for him a lifelong interest in international politics as a young Canadian of German origin, preparing for his second year of school. The World War II years were an early lesson of how politics and events happening in distant lands would impact upon himself.

A few examples of how the politics of World War II injected themselves into the classroom: As was the practice in most of the elementary schools of the day, the students were seated in five or six rows that frequently were given imaginative names like robins, bluebirds, et cetera, instead of referring to them numerically. So they were using historic names and historic wars and occasions to educate themselves as to what was happening in foreign lands.

Mr. Speaker, with his election to the Manitoba Legislature in June of 1966, a life-consuming vocation had begun. He has the distinction of being the longest serving member of the Legislature, right now 36 years, and for a few years his family had representation in all three levels of government in our great country. His brother Ernest was elected to the council of the City of Winnipeg, sometimes serving as deputy mayor. His brother Sig, in rural Manitoba, was elected to the Parliament of Canada where he joined the Diefenbaker team, and he joined the government of Duff Roblin as Minister of Agriculture for the province of Manitoba. I know also that one of the brothers was a judge.

His increasing involvement in community affairs during the mid-sixties and his increasing involvement in his community at this time had become Woodlands in Manitoba's Interlake region. He had brought his young family and his sons, Nathan and John, to a 4000-acre livestock farm. In doing so, he was fulfilling an ambition that he had harboured since early childhood to return to the land.

When the Member for Lakeside was born on November 30, 1931, his parents still lived and farmed at Ste. Elizabeth, in the Red River Valley. It was only a few years later, 1932, that the family moved to Winnipeg. All his formative years were spent in the inner core of the city of Winnipeg. He received his education at inner-core schools, Victoria Albert, Hugh John Macdonald and graduated from a North End high school, St. John's. He spent a short few years in the suburbs of North Kildonan, '37 through '39, then moved back to the inner core of the city.

In 1948 when the family moved to the west end of the city it was a significant forward step in the economic wellbeing of the family, but despite this thoroughly urban environment, he cannot remember spending a summer day in the city. His summer address changed to Meadows, Manitoba, to a farm of Isaac Brown. He was now working for wages as a chore and tractor boy, and for the next five years, from the first day of summer holidays to the start of school in the fall, he was on the farm. Little did he realize that these summer experiences on the farm would stand him in good stead years later.

Some years later he experienced just a bit of professional show business at acting as a lead soloist at Rainbow Stage under the internationally acclaimed director John Hirsch in the play Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and in Showboat, which were among the Broadway musicals in which he performed. Music, particularly choral music, continues to be a life-long profession.

Then he talks about his first full-time job. The member from Lakeside became a teacher. When economy was blowing in those post-war years of the late forties, and the Department of Education needed to hire teachers and he was given a course in teaching and sent out to teach in a school in rural Manitoba. After teaching, he took off for the west coast and started to explore our great country, in some detail, together with his brother. Two notable events occurred to him during those years. One was the trip to the Yukon and Alaska and, on another occasion, to travel in Europe. In so doing, he visited London, Paris, Berne, Belgrade, Constantinople, Naples, Rome, Pisa, Monaco and many places in what was then still a very war-scarred Germany.

Upon his return, it was time to settle down. He started working at Monarch Industries, where his brother Ernie was also employed. This successful firm was owned and operated by J.J. Klassen, who was to become his father-in-law in 1953. Some years later, after some nine years of work at Monarch, the member from Lakeside and his young family left the security of the family business for the uncertain future of livestock farming or ranching on property he had purchased at Woodlands, Manitoba, some 45 miles northwest of the city.

He made the following observations about the consequences of acting on his never-extinguished desire to return to the land to farm. Number one was that it provided the challenge, frustration and satisfaction of being a self-employed owner-operator of a ranching enterprise. Number two, he experienced the pain and anguish of losing his son. Number three, the move from the city to the farm was a major career change. That it would trigger another equally major career change was totally unforeseen.

On June 26, 1966, he entered provincial politics by successfully winning the rural electoral seat of Rockwood-Iberville as a Conservative. He joined the Duff Roblin team who had been governing the province since 1958. The invitation to join Duff Roblin's government as Minister of Agriculture and Conservation was the beginning of many, many years of public service that have yet to end.

Mr. Speaker, I am sure that there will be many accolades and many opportunities to show our respect and appreciation for the member from Lakeside and for his 36 or more years that he will have spent in this House.

I just wanted to share some of his public record. During his 36 years of public service, he was privileged to serve the people of Manitoba in a number of Cabinet positions. They were Minister of Agriculture and Conservation, Minister of Highways and Transportation, Minister of Energy and Mines, Minister of Natural Resources, Minister of Government Services, and Minister responsible for Manitoba Hydro, Manitoba Telephone System, Manitoba Data Services and Manitoba Public Insurance. It is with a great deal of respect that we are seeing our colleague leave this House. On another occasion, we will, I am sure, want to bring more of these facts to light.

I could also say some kind words about the party in Government at the present time because they are very efficient at doing something. They are very efficient at making promises. They can promise and promise and promise and do this over and over day after day. They are also very efficient at making announcements. They know how to grab space–

Mr. Speaker: Order. Pursuant to subrule 43(3), I am interrupting the proceedings in order to put the question on the motion of the honourable Leader of the Official Opposition; that is the amendment to the motion for an address in reply to the Speech from the Throne.

* (17:30)

Do members wish to have the motion read? Dispense? Dispense.

THAT the Motion be amended by adding at the end of the sentence the following words:

But this House regrets

(a) the Government's inability to fulfil the promises outlined in its Throne Speech of November 13, 2001, including the following failures: not ending hallway medicine; not addressing the province-wide shortage of health care professionals; not reducing waiting lists for health care services; and

(b) the Government's failure to address Manitoba's growing court backlogs through such measures as contracting with private law firms; and

(c) the Government's failure to make a commitment for further provincial income tax reductions; and

(d) the Government's failure to institute mandatory standards testing in grades 6 and Senior 1 despite the fact that our students score lower on national testing than the Canadian average; and

(e) the Government's failure to make a firm commitment to relocating Assiniboine Community College to the former Brandon Mental Health Centre site; and

(f) the Government's failure to ensure a viable future for the family farm in Manitoba through measure such as providing the provincial government's share of the transition funding set out in the Agricultural Policy Framework, thereby not addressing the pressing challenges facing Manitoba producers and treating them as 40 percent less valuable than their counterparts in Alberta and Ontario; and

(g) the Government's failure to adequately promote rural economic diversification; and

(h) the Government's failure to prevent Manitoba parks from being carved up and protected for future generations, in spite of the fact that the Member for Concordia told a Winnipeg radio station that "the designation (of a provincial park) means the public owns the park and it can't be sold or bartered away. . ." ; and

(i) the Government's failure to set out a meaningful plan to protect the province's fish stocks from illegal fishing; and

(j) the Government's failure to set out a plan to prevent future spills of sewage into the Red River; and

(k) the Government's failure to provide a cost-benefit analysis of the impact of ratifying the Kyoto Protocol on Manitoba's economy; and

(l) the Government's failure to stem the outflow of Manitobans to other provinces; and

(m) the Government's failure to recognize the important role private-sector involvement has in growing Manitoba's economy.

AND has thereby lost the trust and confidence of the people of Manitoba and this House.

Mr. Speaker: Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Some Honourable Members: Agreed.

Some Honourable Members: No.

Voice Vote

Mr. Speaker: All those in favour of the motion, please say yea.

Some Honourable Members: Yea.

Mr. Speaker: All those opposed to the motion, please say nay.

Some Honourable Members: Nay.

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

Formal Vote

Mr. Marcel Laurendeau (Official Opposition House Leader): Yeas and Nays, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker: A recorded vote having been requested, call in the members.

The question before the House is the motion of the honourable Leader of the Official Opposition (Mr. Murray), that is, the amendment to the motion for address in reply to the Speech from the Throne. Do the members wish to have the motion read?

Some Honourable Members: No.

Mr. Speaker: Dispense. Okay.


A RECORDED VOTE was taken, the result being as follows:


Cummings, Derkach, Driedger, Dyck, Enns, Faurschou, Gerrard, Gilleshammer, Hawranik, Helwer, Laurendeau, Loewen, Maguire, Mitchelson, Murray, Penner (Emerson), Penner (Steinbach), Pitura, Reimer, Rocan, Schuler, Smith (Fort Garry), Stefanson, Tweed.


Aglugub, Allan, Ashton, Asper, Barrett, Caldwell, Cerilli, Chomiak, Dewar, Doer, Friesen, Jennissen, Korzeniowski, Lathlin, Lemieux, Mackintosh, Maloway, Martindale, McGifford, Mihychuk, Nevakshonoff, Reid, Robinson, Rondeau, Sale, Santos, Schellenberg, Selinger, Smith (Brandon West), Struthers, Wowchuk.

Madam Clerk (Patricia Chaychuk): Yeas 24, Nays 31.

Mr. Speaker: I declare the motion lost.

Hon. Gord Mackintosh (Government House Leader): Six o'clock, Mr. Speaker?

Mr. Speaker: Is it the will of the House to call it six o'clock? [Agreed]

The hour being 6 p.m., this House is adjourned and stands adjourned until 1:30 p.m. tomorrow (Tuesday).