Tuesday, May 29, 2018

The House met at 1:30 p.m.

Madam Speaker: Good afternoon, everybody. Please be seated.


Introduction of Bills

Bill 225–The Human Rights Code Amendment Act
(Genetic Characteristics)

Mr. Andrew Swan (Minto): I move, seconded by  the member for Concordia (Mr. Wiebe), that Bill  225, The Human Rights Code Amendment Act (Genetic Characteristics); Loi modifiant le Code des droits de la personne (caractéristiques génétiques), be now read a first time.

Motion presented.

Mr. Swan: Genetic testing is becoming more and more common. It can be a useful tool for Manitobans concerned they may carry genetic markers which show an increased risk of developing a disease in future. Genetic testing is important and the science is improving and expanding.

      This bill will ensure that someone's choice to undergo or not undergo a genetic test will not impact their employment, their ability to purchase life or disability insurance or anything else, and I hope all members of this House will support this important piece of human rights legislation.

      Thank you.

Madam Speaker: Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion? Agreed? [Agreed]

      Committee reports?

Tabling of Reports

Hon. Cliff Cullen (Minister of Crown Services): I would like to table a document entitled Modernizing Manitoba's Conflict of Interest Legislation. These are the recommendations of the Conflict of Interest Commissioner, Jeffrey Schnoor, dated April 2018.

Madam Speaker: Further tabling of reports?

Hon. Blaine Pedersen (Minister of Growth, Enterprise and Trade): I'm pleased to table the Manitoba Labour Board 2016-2017 Annual Report.

Madam Speaker: And in accordance with section  42 of The Ombudsman Act, and subsection  58(1) of The Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, and subsection 37(1) of the personal health act, and subsection 26(1) of The   Public Interest Disclosure (Whistleblower Protection) Act, I am pleased to table the Annual Report of the Manitoba Ombudsman for the year ended December 31st, 2017.

Ministerial Statements

Madam Speaker: The honourable Minister for Infrastructure, and I would indicate that the required 90 minutes notice prior to routine proceedings was provided in accordance with our rule 26(2).

      Would the honourable minister please proceed with his statement.

Wildfire Update

Hon. Ron Schuler (Minister of Infrastructure): Safety and security of Manitobans is always our first priority. Thus, I wish to provide the House with an update on the current wildfire fighting activities in the province of Manitoba.

      The Manitoba Emergency Measures Organization is currently monitoring the provincial wildfire situation. There are wildfires burning in various locations that have affected communities due to the proximity of the fires and related smoke. Multiple provincial, federal and local authorities, as well as non-governmental agencies and organizations have been engaged in responding to the fires and their consequences.

      Precipitation expected for southern areas of the province beginning tonight is anticipated to assist firefighting efforts in affected areas. Resources are being repositioned to address increasing fire danger levels in the northwest and northeast regions.

      Good progress is being made by crews on a fire near Shamattawa First Nation in the northeast region and no issues are expected. Good progress is also being made by crews on the fires near Sapotaweyak Cree Nation and the community of Pelican Rapids in the western region and no issues are expected. Fires in the central region are now being scanned for any remaining hot spots and mop up operations are being completed.

      Suppression efforts continue on the fire near the communities of Little Grand Rapids First Nation and Pauingassi First Nation. Increased fire behaviour was observed on parts of the fire yesterday afternoon and additional resources are now being deployed to this fire.

      And Madam Speaker, total fires to date: 191, as compared to the average for this date at 116.

      Indigenous Services (Canada) has engaged the Canadian Red Cross to manage evacuations from Little Grand Rapids First Nation, Pauingassi First Nation and Sapotaweyak Cree Nation. The Canadian Red Cross reports that approximately 900 evacuees from Little Grand Rapids First Nation and 433 from Pauingassi First Nation are being housed in Winnipeg, and that 897 evacuees from Sapotaweyak Cree Nation are being housed in The Pas, Swan River and Brandon. The Canadian Red Cross is working with provincial departments and agencies and stakeholders in the host communities to ensure continuity of health care, provision of social services and evacuation supports for evacuees.

      Indigenous and Northern Relations reports that 49 evacuees from the community of Pelican Rapids are being housed in Dauphin. 'Manito' EMO will continue to monitor this ongoing situation across the province and co-ordinate teleconferences with the agencies involved.

      Madam Speaker, we wish to thank all governments, agencies and individuals who are involved in this very important work which is undertaken in very challenging circumstances to ensure the safety and security of all people affected by the current wildfire situation.

      We wish to remind everyone to obey all fire bans and to keep their properties clear of any combustible materials to reduce your risk.

      Thank you, Madam Speaker.

Mr. Jim Maloway (Elmwood): This challenging spring does not seem to be nearing an end as two new fires started yesterday, bringing the total to 191 here in Manitoba.

      As the wildfires continue in our province, relief efforts would not be all possible without the ongoing support of the two water bombers from Quebec and the 120 firefighters from Ontario.

      Though some rain has fallen in eastern Manitoba over the last 48 hours, more is needed as this blaze continues to encroach on Pauingassi First Nation. Our thoughts are there with the evacuees from Pauingassi who continue to face uncertainty over their community. Thanks to efforts of first responders, their homes will likely remain safe, as crews have set up sprinklers.

      We know that evacuees from Little Grand Rapids are eager to get back into the community. It's important that all of us here in the House ensure their safety and quality of life by ensuring that their services get restored promptly.

      Those living in Ashern remain safe, thanks to firefighting efforts, and Mother Nature will help suppress the fire.

      Though many of us feel lost in what to do to help those who have been affected by the wildfires here in Manitoba this spring, donations are always welcome to the Canadian Red Cross to assist in providing evacuees with shelter, clothing and food.

      Thank you, Madam Speaker.

Hon. Jon Gerrard (River Heights): Madam Speaker, I ask leave to speak to the minister's statement.

Madam Speaker: Is there leave for the member to speak to the ministerial statement? [Agreed]

Mr. Gerrard: I'd like to thank the minister for the update.

      I want to thank all the emergency and personnel and volunteers who are helping out. A specific thank you to the Red Cross, Shawn Feely and his staff, who are doing an amazing job. And also, a thank you to those who've come from Ontario and Quebec to help.

      I was pleased to hear that the Shamattawa fire looks like it's receiving close attention. Also pleased to hear the update on the Little Grand Rapids and Pauingassi fire situation.  

      I was surprised yesterday that the minister didn't provide the details on when the Manitoba Hydro hookup was likely to occur, and tell us, in his update, that there could be a delay of up to a month before people from Little Grand Rapids return. I suspect in future fire plans it would be important to pay some attention to the protection of hydro lines and the electricity supply to communities in order to enable people to get back quicker.

      I'm still waiting for the fire plan, which the minister has promised, and hope that arrives soon. And I hope that he can send the one for 'shamatta' as well as the one for Little Grand and Pauingassi. And I thank the minister for his help in that regard.

* (13:40)

Members' Statements

St. James Anglican Church

Mr. Scott Johnston (St. James): It is my honour today to pay tribute to the original St. James Anglican Church. This quaint church is located south of Portage Avenue across from the Polo Park shopping centre and is a significant part of Manitoba's history.

      In the early 1850s, this church was a very important part of the settling–of the establishment of the Hudson's Bay Company, the French fur traders and Selkirk settlers.

It is important to note the guidance received from the local indigenous people in helping them settle.

Upper Fort Garry and The Forks area was the   social and economic centre of this vibrant multicultural community .

On June 17, 1851, the Parish of St. James was built to meet the religious needs of the new district of Assiniboia. The site of the parish was chosen firstly because it's situated on the high ground of the north side of the Assiniboine River. The St. James Anglican Church was the centre of parish life in St. James until November 26, 1922, when their 'ner'–new churched opened.

As a Canadian centennial project, the City of St. James and the parish restored the building in 1967 and was designated a Provincial Heritage Site on June 25, 1978.

On occasion, the member of Kirkfield Park and myself have attended the traditional service at the heritage site. At that service, the congregation dons the historic dress.

Joining us from the St. James Anglican Church are Angela Brandson, Elizabeth Bonnett, Yvonne Still, Dale Philips and Rosalie Gill.

      Madam Speaker, I would ask that my colleagues join me in paying tribute to this historical gem in sunny St. James, as well as the people who maintain its historical value.

Ann Thomas Callahan

Ms. Nahanni Fontaine (St. Johns): I have the great privilege of recognizing the amazing life of Ann Callahan today.

Taken from her First Nation at a very young age, Ann lived through 14 years of residential school. Ann continued her education towards a nursing degree, becoming one of the first indigenous nurses in Manitoba's history, paving the way for other indigenous women to follow in her footsteps, like Annabelle Thomas and my own aunt, Mary Carol Fontaine.

Despite facing racism and sexism, Ann excelled academically. Just recently, Madam Speaker, Ann celebrated the 60th anniversary from Winnipeg General Hospital's nursing program alongside her graduating cohort.

Ann's professionalism, expertise and demonstrated love for others meant she quickly became the head nurse of the gynecology ward at the Winnipeg General Hospital.

Ann saw first-hand language and cultural barriers that our people face as patients within hospitals and worked diligently to shift this culture, attempting to establish a safe and inclusive environment for indigenous patients. She is a strong advocate for indigenous interpreters at the hospital.

She left the hospital in 1973 to provide services to clients in Winnipeg's inner city. Ann worked on many projects outside of nursing throughout her 30  years of volunteerism and went on to become a nursing instructor for 13 years at Red River College.

Ann went back university to further her education in psychology and interdisciplinary studies, which is where I had the opportunity to first meet her when we were both doing our master's degrees together.

Ann Thomas Callahan has dedicated herself to   service, healing, wellness and learning. Ann exemplifies the strength, determination, generosity and courage of indigenous women. I am so blessed to know her and to call her one of my role models.

And I say miigwech to Ann for all of your service for all of us here in Manitoba.

      I ask my colleagues to help me recognize this extraordinary woman.

Noah Penner

Mr. Cliff Graydon (Emerson): I'm happy to rise in this House today to recognize an exceptional young man working to improve our watersheds here in Manitoba.

Noah Penner, a grade 11 student at W.C. Miller Collegiate in Altona, has won first place in the Nutrien Caring for Our Watersheds program here in Manitoba.

Each year, Nutrien asks students to submit proposals that answer the question: what can you do to improve your watershed? This requires students to research local environmental concerns and come up with realistic solutions.

Since 2007, almost 12,000 students have participated; 150 projects have been 'implemated'–implemented with support of their communities in 12  contest locations in Canada, the United States, Argentina and Australia.

      The contest has received over 280 entries from over 360 students in Manitoba. Community judges evaluate a verbal competition between the top entries.

      Noah's winning project, called Parkland Greenway, Grass Planting, aims to improve the health of ditches in Altona. His initiative will plant native grass species in a ditch near the northwest end of Altona. This will slow down the drainage and remove excess nutrients from the water before it runs off into waterways. Excessive nutrients create a lack of oxygen and are a threat to fish species. They can also lead to the growth of invasive species and poor water quality.

      Noah's project was awarded $3,000 for its completion, as well as a $1,000 cash prize.

      Madam Speaker, Manitoba's students are innovative and creative and are providing solutions to improve our communities and ecosystems.

      I would invite all members of the Legislative Assembly to join me in congratulating Noah on his accomplishment, and we wish him all the best in the implementation of his winning project.

      Madam Speaker, I ask that those accompanying Noah today have their names recorded in Hansard.

Madam Speaker: Is there leave to include those names in Hansard? [Agreed]

Sheryl Penner, Ryan Penner

Implementation of Accessibility Act

Hon. Jon Gerrard (River Heights): Madam Speaker, Barrier-Free Manitoba reported today on the 2013 Accessibility for Manitobans Act.

      At third reading, in support of this bill I said, it will be up to all of us, and to those in the disability community in particular, to keep a close eye on the government in terms of actually implementing and making sure that those standards are actually set.

      Barrier-Free Manitoba reports today that the promise of The Accessibility for Manitobans Act is being broken due to major shortfalls in the act's implementation.

      Implementation is also falling well short of clear commitments made by the Progressive Conservative Party leading up to the last provincial election. Government continues to miss its targets.

      The government has not yet provided for the development, enactment, operation and reporting on mandatory and date-specific standards in all areas related to accessibility. I am particularly concerned that the government has not yet even committed to  the vitally important education standard. The government has not been sufficiently transparent, open and accountable. Legislated deadlines have been missed. Wait times for complaints are lengthening.

The rights and the needs of those in our society who have physical or mental disabilities must be a priority.

In Canada, Mark Wafer of Tim Hortons has led the way in hiring people with disabilities and in showing that they are among the best employees a person can have. Yet the government of Manitoba is  delaying making legislated changes to reduce barriers and is breaking its campaign promises to those who are among the most vulnerable in our society.

Robb Nash

Mr. Andrew Micklefield (Rossmere): Madam Speaker, I would like to acknowledge Mr. Robb Nash from Kleefeld, who recently was named as an upcoming recipient for the Order of Manitoba.

      Robb founded the band Live on Arrival with fellow member Jonny Holliday, with the purpose to reach troubled youth through songs and presentations in schools and youth detention centres.

      Robb's story is remarkable. At the age of 17, Robb was hit by a semi-trailer in a terrible head-on collision. The impact knocked him onto the highway,  where he cracked his skull and he was pronounced dead. In hospital, his vitals returned but he remained unconscious for many months. He awoke disoriented, with surgical steel bolts in his broken skull, no memory of the accident and very angry at his helplessness.

      Now, 16 years later, Nash calls that moment the wonderful opportunity of dying, and he offers this advice: don't wait to get hit by a semi to start living with purpose.

* (13:50)

He subsequently found that his purpose was to help kids find theirs, and he does so through the Robb Nash Project, through the power of music and storytelling to inspire hope and courage and encourage positive life choices.

      Robb has done 750 performances over the last six years in 1,250 schools. That's over 1 million young people who have heard his message.

      He has been selected for the Order of Manitoba, the Queen's Diamond Jubilee medal, the Toronto police Partnership Award, the Bell Kaleidoscope of   Hope Award, the Mood Disorders Association helping hand award, and in 2016, Robb was named by the Washington Post as one of the top 16 most inspiring people.

      His most important accomplishment, however, is that over the past five years, more than 800 students have relinquished their planned suicide notes to him and hundreds more have stopped self-harming behaviour.

      Jarret Hannah and Tom Hiebert, who are representatives from the Robb Nash Project, are here with us in the gallery today, so please join me in recognizing Robb Nash.

Introduction of Guests

Madam Speaker: Prior to oral questions, we have a number of guests with us today visiting us.

I would like to draw everybody's attention to the Speaker's Gallery, where we have with us today His Excellency Mr. Dionisio Pérez Jácome, ambassador of Mexico to Canada, and we welcome you here to the Manitoba Legislature.

      Joining the ambassador we also have the former MLA for Arthur-Virden, Mr. James Downey, who is the honorary consul for Mexico in Manitoba, and we welcome you to the Manitoba Legislature.

      Also in the Speaker's Gallery we have with us today students from Oak Park High School: Ranjan Sehgal, Anna Kozak and Mahyer Mirrashed, who happen to be my guests, and I welcome you and all of us welcome you to the Manitoba Legislature.

      Seated in the public gallery from Winnipeg Mennonite Elementary school Katherine Friesen campus we have 22 grade 4 students under the direction of Wes Krahn, and this group is located in the constituency of the honourable member for Fort Richmond (Mrs. Guillemard).

      Also seated in the public gallery from Interlake Mennonite Fellowship School we have 21 high school students under the direction of Rollin Heide, and this group is located in the constituency of the honourable member for the Interlake.

      We also have seated in the public gallery from Shevchenko School 24 grade 6 students under the direction of Pamela Storoschuk, and this group is located in the constituency of the honourable member for La Verendrye (Mr. Smook).

      On behalf of all of us, we welcome all of you to the Manitoba Legislature.

* * *

Madam Speaker: We also have departing pages, and I would just like to make a comment on both of them.

      Clèche Kokolo, is a grade 11 student, will be   graduating from Collège Louis­Riel in the spring of 2019. She plans to study political science in university in order to pursue a career in law. This summer, Clèche plans to work at a day camp and continue to volunteer on weekends.

      Working as a page for Manitoba Legislative Assembly has been an experience she thoroughly loved. From the staff to all the members, everyone was very welcoming and truly amazing for all the work that everybody does. From late-night shifts to   calling votes, she found her experience here unforgettable and will always remember being nervous as she called her very first vote on her very first day.

      Also, Anika Moran is graduating from Miles Macdonell Collegiate this year, and she will be attending the University of Winnipeg in the fall to study environmental science. Anika is an avid swimmer and was part of both water polo and synchronized swimming teams this year.

      This summer, Anika is participating in a six‑week wilderness canoe trip from southern Manitoba to Lake Superior.

      Anika has loved her time at the Legislature and   enjoyed learning more about issues in our province. She is sure that she will remember her experiences here forever. She appreciates the kind and welcoming nature that all members extended to her during her time as a page.

      And on behalf of all of us, we welcome both of you. Much success in your futures.

Oral Questions

Special Drug Program

Request to Retain

Mr. Wab Kinew (Leader of the Official Opposition): Just like to add a congratulatory note to the two pages who are departing, and to say hello, gracias and Sat Sri Akal to everybody who's in the gallery today.

      Madam Speaker, we know that the Premier, without warning, cut the special drugs program in Manitoba and that this has had a big impact on people with conditions like cystic fibrosis and diabetes, and we've heard the impact that it's having on many of those people.

      There's many other people affected by other conditions, though, who haven't been able to speak out and who we haven't heard from yet.

      We know that patients on the special drug program, some of them take a medication called darunavir, which is an antiretroviral medication used to treat and prevent HIV and AIDS. Now, as a result of the Premier's cuts, patients who have HIV, potentially AIDS, will no longer have access to this life-saving drug.

      Will the Premier listen to families and patients who are asking him to reverse his cut to the special drugs program?

Hon. Brian Pallister (Premier): Well, we recognize, Madam Speaker, that the challenges that must be faced to manage sustainably in government are the same challenges that Manitobans must face, as well, in their own homes with their own management of their own resources. And the reality is those resources are often scarce, and so you must do the best you can with what you have.

      We were handed a mess by the previous government, growing deficits every year, increasing debt obligations, declining credit rating–all of this meaning that this year, Madam Speaker, for the first time, the NDP debt service costs will pass $1 billion in our province.

      So, we recognize the mess we were handed, Madam Speaker. We recognize that it was important to clean it up. And that's precisely what we're doing.

Madam Speaker: The honourable Leader of the Official Opposition, on a supplementary question.

Mr. Kinew: We know that taking prescriptions away from people who need those drugs in order to live is not going to make it easier for them to get by.

      I would table–[interjection]–I'll table the list of all the different drugs–a rather extensive list, I would add–of all the different drugs that will no longer be covered by the special drugs program, and just share a few of the conditions that they help to treat. There's two drugs in particular, vigabatrin and phenobarbital, that will no longer be covered by the special drugs program.

      Now, these are anti-epileptic drugs, drugs that are used to treat epilepsy. We know that the Premier and his Minister of Health didn't talk to patients, they didn't talk to the family members of those with epilepsy before they made this cut; otherwise, they would have heard just how important these medications are.

      But now, with the evidence, confronted with patients who are asking for the Premier to back off, will he cancel his misguided cut to the special drugs program?

Mr. Pallister: Well, Madam Speaker, I repeat that no government in the history of our beautiful province has ever invested more in health care than this government. In fact, we're investing over a half a billion dollars more this year alone in health-care services for Manitobans than the previous NDP government ever did.

      But, interestingly, Madam Speaker, while they were borrowing $10 million a day in additional borrowing costs they were handing ahead, which was endangering the sustainability of our health-care system, of our education system, of our social services, of every aspect of government, we are reducing our deficits in this province, and in so doing, strengthening the province for the future of our young people.

      We'll continue to do that, Madam Speaker, because we are vitally concerned about today on this side of the House, but we are also, unlike the previous government, concerned about making a stronger future for those who follow us as well.

Madam Speaker: The honourable Leader of the Official Opposition, on a final supplementary.

Mr. Kinew: We want Manitobans to stay alive today so that they can enjoy the beautiful future in this province. It used to be called the Life Saving Drug Program. The one they cancelled, it's called the special drugs program.

      Another one of the medications, the needed prescription medications that patients needed is   another drug called furosemide. Now, this medication, at least as I understand it–which, albeit, is a layperson's understanding–is used to treat fluid buildup due to heart failure or kidney disease. Again, if the fluid builds up, then potentially this can cause a cascading, you know, chain of events and could impact a patient's heart.

      Again, this is truly life-saving medication. We're talking about the health of somebody's heart and this is a program that this Premier has cut.

      Again, we have heard over and over from patients on the special drugs program about the impact that it is going to have on them, but now that it's becoming more and more clear as to the life‑saving benefits of these medications, will the Premier back off his plan to cut the special drugs program?

* (14:00)

Mr. Pallister: Well, again, not much new over there with this new Leader of the NDP. The same old philosophy: let's just worry about today and maybe tomorrow will just take care of itself and, Madam Speaker, it doesn't work that way. And Manitobans are now saddled with $1 billion, this year alone, of interest on NDP debt that they ran up in the past because all they cared about was then, and they didn't care about the now we live in.

      And, Madam Speaker, we live in a now–and the member talks about the cascading chain of events, we're not going to repeat the mistakes of the past government. We're not going to do that because there is a cascading chain of events that will be inflicted on the future Manitobans we love and care for too. And it will be an increased obligation for them if we follow the advice of the member opposite.

      We will not follow that advice, Madam Speaker. What they got wrong, we'll get right. What they made weaker, we'll make stronger.

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

Bureau de l'éducation française

Assistant Deputy Minister Position

Mr. Wab Kinew (Leader of the Official Opposition): Well, Madam Speaker, you know, if the Premier is going to make cuts, patients on the special drugs program wonder why he had to start with the life-saving drugs.

      It’s the same way that many people in the francophone community or those with children in the French immersion system are wondering why the Premier had to start his cuts with the person in the Department of Education who works on French education. Again, it's a question of priorities.

      We saw 1,800 parents from across the province both in Winnipeg and rural Manitoba, other cities as well, signing a petition calling on this government to reverse that mistaken decision to cancel the assistant deputy minister position in the Bureau de l'éducation française.

      Ces parents ont déclaré que le futur de la francophonie dépend de l'appui de l'éducation du française en Manitoba.

      Alors quand est-ce que le premier ministre va restaurer le poste du sous-ministre adjoint pour le BEF?


These parents have stated that the future of the Francophonie depends on support for French language education in Manitoba.

So when will the Premier restore the ADM position for the BEF?

Hon. Brian Pallister (Premier): Well, there they go  again, Madam Speaker. Another old idea just rebranded is an old idea.

      The fact is the member is advocating for bigger government at the top and ignoring the fact that il n'y a pas de réduction des financements au Bureau de l'éducation française. Aucune position du BEF ont été transférées au partie anglaise du département d'Éducation et Formation Manitoba.


There has been no reduction in funding to the Bureau de l’éducation française. No BEF positions were moved to the English side of the Department of Education and Training.


      We are not, Madam Speaker, more concerned about protecting the top on this side of the House. We are more concerned about making sure the services at the front line are protected, and that is what they forgot about when they increased the size of government at the top, grew the debts of our province, grew the size of government at the top but decreased the service levels at the front line.

      So while they're focussed on protecting the top of the organization, we'll continue to remain focused on the front line and protection of the services offered there.

Madam Speaker: The honourable Leader of the Official Opposition, on a supplementary question.

Mr. Kinew: Madame la président, je suis engagé de   protéger le–un système bilingue dans notre gouvernement et puis dans notre système d'éducation.


Madam Speaker, my job is to protect a bilingual system in our government and in our education system.


      Madam Speaker, I'm concerned with standing up for a bilingual government and bilingual French education system.

      Le coupure de la poste du sous-ministre adjoint dans le Bureau de l'éducation française, ça crée un situation où les francophones 'doient' avancer leurs idées pour l'éducation française en anglais, et puis ça a bouleversé toute le département.


Cutting the ADM position at the BEF created a situation where francophones have to put forward their ideas for French education in English, and that has disrupted the whole department.


      The impact of the cut is that francophones who want to be able to advance their own ideas for their own education system must now advance those ideas in English. It's not really a bilingual system after that, and it's caused a ripple effect through the department and caused many other negative impacts, which are going to be felt by the students in French immersion, as well as in écoles françaises [French language schools].

      Alors quand est-ce que le premier ministre va renverser cette décision de couper le poste du sous‑ministre adjoint pour le BEF?


So when will the Premier reverse this decision to cut the ADM position for the BEF?

Mr. Pallister: A more cynical and less charitable observation, Madam Speaker, might be that the member is less concerned with bilingualism and more concerned with by-electionism.

      Le BEF continuera de recevoir les appuis nécessaires pour répondre aux aspirations du communauté français, francophone et du système éducatif de la langue française au Manitoba.


The BEF will continue to receive the necessary support to meet the aspirations of the francophone community and of the French language school system in Manitoba.


      The bureau of education–French education, Madam Speaker, is going to continue to have the resources that it needs to advance the aspirations of the francophone-Manitoba community, and also the aspirations of Manitoba's French language education system.

      It should be mentioned, Madam Speaker, that that is not just the job of an assistant deputy minister. That is the job of the department itself, and it'll  continue to remain focused on that job and co‑operation and with the support of those concerned, as we are on this side of the House, with French education in this province.

Madam Speaker: The honourable Leader of the Official Opposition, on a final supplementary.

Mr. Kinew: The First Minister pays lip service to the aspirations of the French community, but the wishes of the French community are very clear. Eighteen hundred parents with kids in either the école française [French language school] system or the French immersion stream dropped off a petition here calling on this government to reverse their cut   to   the ADM for BEF. Canadian parents for French education–predominantly anglophone parents involved in that–surveyed their members. Zero of those parents that were surveyed agreed with this government's decision.

      So why won't they listen to the parents–whether they speak English or French at home–who want  their kids to be able to get a good French education? Again, we know that their cuts to other community organizations like Maison Gabrielle-Roy and Festival du Voyageur are going to have an impact on the community's future. But it really begins with this cut to the BEF, because this is something that the community is demanding plain and simple.

      Alors, quand est-ce que le premier ministre va renverser cette décision mauvaise de couper le poste du sous-ministre adjoint pour le BEF?


So when will the Premier reverse this bad decision to cut the ADM position for the BEF?

Mr. Pallister: Well, the member speaks from   an   eroding pedestal, Madam Speaker, because he  demonstrates no understanding–nor did his predecessors–of the fundamental truth that $10  million a day of additional debt foisted on the people of Manitoba is a cut. It remains a cut.

      And doubling the debt of our province, as the   NDP did in just the last six years of their failing   administration, was a massive cut, an historic cut, an erosive cut, to all the services we must offer on a sustainable basis. And so without a fundamental understanding of that basic truth, which all Manitoba households understand, which all Manitoba taxpayers understand they must live by, the member speaks from a pedestal that has no supports under it.

      Now we are demonstrating our willingness to do the things that Manitobans do on a common sense and necessary basis, because if they didn't do those things, they couldn't offer support to their own children, let alone support anyone else, Madam Speaker.

      We care about future generations. We care about today too, and we will balance those concerns with proper and prudent management now and always, Madam Speaker.

Safe Injection Site

Request for Facility

Mr. Andrew Swan (Minto): Yes, you know, it's been a curious few days of learning for the Minister of Infrastructure (Mr. Schuler). After five years of criticism, the minister now agrees that we have a fantastic stadium in Winnipeg. And then, of course, after his government denied the value of advertising in local newspapers, yesterday this minister told us that he advertised his open house in six local newspapers. And the other day, the Minister of Infrastructure tried to justify the upcoming closure of the Pine Grove rest area by reason of the many needles that are being found there.

      The Minister of Infrastructure now understands, I guess, the depth of the opioid and meth crisis in  Manitoba. Why doesn't the Minister of Health? [interjection]

Madam Speaker: Order.

Hon. Kelvin Goertzen (Minister of Health, Seniors and Active Living): Madam Speaker, I'm not sure if the member opposite or the former government ever understood the depth of the meth situation in Manitoba. It's one of the things that I did as a member of the Legislature, just individually: go and get information to distribute around the province on methamphetamine because none existed in the province of Manitoba.

      I'm most proud of this government, however, Madam Speaker, that's taken the lead on a number of different initiatives: not just having report done, the VIRGO report which was released, but also taking action with the RAAM clinics, the five RAAM clinics, two of which will be in Winnipeg, one in Brandon and the remainder in other parts of Manitoba. That'll have a significant impact for those who are looking to access treatment and help.

      That member opposite speaks a good game, but when he was in government, he did nothing, Madam Speaker.

Madam Speaker: The honourable member for Minto, on a supplementary question.

Mr. Swan: Renowned medical experts from the   University of British Columbia and Brown University said it clearly last week: this minister and this Premier (Mr. Pallister) are wrong when it comes to safe injection sites. These facilities save lives.

      Not one person has ever died from an overdose at a safe injection site anywhere in the world. These are some of the most studied health facilities in the world. But it appears the Premier (Mr. Pallister) and the minister are not interested in looking at the evidence. [interjection]

Madam Speaker: Order.

Mr. Swan: And we know this minister even interferred with the report he commissioned to generate the result he wanted.

      Will this minister stop ignoring the evidence and support a supervised injection site in Winnipeg?

* (14:10)

Mr. Goertzen: Well, Madam Speaker, I suppose we  all wish that there were simple solutions to a   difficult problem. I suppose that over many generations, different individuals who've struggled with addictions would have hoped that there were simple solutions.

      I did recently read, and I think I shared it with the member opposite during Estimates, that there were a quarter million needles found in Vancouver, Madam Speaker. Clearly, there are not simple solutions to what is a difficult and complex problem.

      However, Dr. Rush has given us a significant path forward, Madam Speaker, with the VIRGO report. We've looked at the recommendations. We'll be putting a plan forward in the fall in terms of the implementation of those recommendations.

      But we're not waiting. Where there are things that we can do like the RAAM clinics, we've already taken action and announced them, Madam Speaker.

Madam Speaker: The honourable member for Minto, on a final supplementary.

Mr. Swan: You don't have to go to Vancouver to see the sight of needles on the streets and in our parks, and if the minister wants, he can come over with me to Greenway School and see the needles laying on the ground around there.

      He's refusing to consider a key measure to combat–[interjection]

Madam Speaker: Order.

Mr. Swan: –the uncontrolled use of meth that is plaguing our streets and destroying lives in our communities, Mr. Premier.

      When the men street–Main Street Project–[interjection]

Madam Speaker: Order.

Mr. Swan: –approached this government with a   recommendation for a safe injection site, this minister refused to even consider the expert evidence. He refused to listen to the front-line workers dealing with the crisis, and it's not too late for this minister and for this Premier to do the right thing.

      Will they support the creation of a safe injection site in the city of Winnipeg?

Mr. Goertzen: Madam Speaker, there he goes again, attacking Dr. Rush, saying that Dr. Rush wasn't telling the truth, that he wasn't a man of integrity. I think that's disgraceful, Madam Speaker.

      I know his colleague from Concordia tried to do the same thing with Dr. Peachey. I guess that's just what they do on the NDP. They don't just attack others, Madam Speaker. They attack each other, and it's just their nature. They can't seem to let go of that attacking nature.

      But I'm surprised that the member opposite, who now wants to travel around Winnipeg–I'm not sure when he was the Justice critic if he never got out of his office, Madam Speaker, never saw all the challenges that were happening in Winnipeg at that time. Maybe that would explain why, if he didn't get out at that time, why he voted against the RAAM clinics, the funding for the RAAM clinics.

      He says he wants action to be taken, but he doesn't actually support the action when it is taken, Madam Speaker.

Manitoba Judicial System

False Confession Prevention

Ms. Nahanni Fontaine (St. Johns): Richard Catcheway was wrongly convicted and–[interjection]

Madam Speaker: Order.

Ms. Fontaine: –no one within the justice system saw   the obvious truth: it was impossible for Mr. Catcheway to commit the crime for which he was convicted.

      Yesterday, the minister refused to explain how this happened, saying, and I quote, I'm not going to comment on the specifics, end quote, of the case.

Some Honourable Members: Oh, oh.

Madam Speaker: Order. Order.

Ms. Fontaine: However, Madam Speaker, the case is not before the courts anymore. The Court of Appeal has overturned this guilty plea. The minister needs to take responsibility. She needs to ensure that this incident never takes place again.

      What steps will the minister take to ensure that no innocent person pleads guilty to a crime they haven't committed?

Hon. Heather Stefanson (Minister of Justice and Attorney General): I think I addressed this question, yesterday, of the member opposite. But, certainly, I can assure her that Manitoba Justice, our department, is committed to ensuring that justice is done in every case, Madam Speaker. And I know our Crown attorneys do incredible work under pressure and take these issues very seriously, and we want to look at ways to find better ways to communicate across our justice system.

      We recognize that we inherited a justice system that was a mess, from the previous NDP government. That's why we implemented our Criminal Justice System Modernization Strategy, and this is a part of it, Madam Speaker.

Madam Speaker: The honourable member for St. Johns, on a supplementary question.

Wrongful Conviction Case Concern

Request to Review

Ms. Nahanni Fontaine (St. Johns): The public deserves to know how this miscarriage of justice occurred. Certainly, Mr. Catcheway deserves the   same. False confessions and confessions of individuals who suffer from FASD have been subject to inquiries and reviews across the country.

      The minister needs to step up and take responsibility and take this issue very, very seriously. Vague references to communication are not sufficient response to a miscarriage of justice.

      Will the minister instruct her department to conduct a review of Richard Catcheway's case, and will she report on that information back to the House this year?

Hon. Heather Stefanson (Minister of Justice and Attorney General): As I've already stated, our senior management in Justice take these situations very seriously and are committed to determining a process and methodology to prevent any person from being convicted of a crime where a person was in custody at the time it was a committed.

      We take these situations very seriously. It's why we have put together–we inherited a mess from the previous NDP government with respect to our criminal justice system. It's why we have put in place our Criminal Justice System Modernization Strategy, to ensure that we find better, more efficient ways to  ensure timely access and safe–to justice in our province and safer communities for all Manitobans.

Madam Speaker: The honourable member for St. Johns, on a final supplementary.

Legal Aid Services

Request for Funding

Ms. Nahanni Fontaine (St. Johns): And yet, time and again, this Pallister government–and under the direction of the Minister for Justice–has frozen funding under program reviews.

      It's a flimsy excuse for something as important as Legal Aid, and it is certainly not acceptable–an   acceptable answer to those facing wrongful convictions like Mr. Richard Catcheway. The demand for these services continues to grow, and we–and as we have seen, the dangers of liberties to individuals are very real in this province.

      Will the minister do her job, revisit her budget this year and increase much-needed supports to Legal Aid immediately?

Hon. Heather Stefanson (Minister of Justice and Attorney General): Well, I know with members opposite, when they were in government, they continuously threw more money at systems that are not working and yielding the results that are needed. We take a very different approach, and that's why we are concerned with creating efficiencies within the system to better manage the system. That's what Manitobans asked us to do, and that's exactly what we're going to do.

      That's what we–that's why we have introduced our Criminal Justice System Modernization Strategy, to do that. Part of that, and something else we inherited from members opposite, is a Legal Aid system that needs review. And so we have committed to that review of Legal Aid, and we will move forward on that.

      We will continue to do things and move forward things to provide safer communities and greater and better access to justice for all Manitobans.

Education System

Funding Concerns

Mr. Matt Wiebe (Concordia): Day after day, the Minister of Education continues to misrepresent his government's record on education cuts, but parents and teachers in the classroom aren't buying it.

      He says in one breath that the cupboard is bare  and there's no money for education. And then in the next, he says he's giving more. And then, finally, he blames school divisions for his cuts. [interjection] I'm surprised they would applaud that, Madam Speaker.

      The minister should know by now that it doesn't matter what story he makes up in the House, that his cuts to education are being felt by teachers in the classroom who are paying thousands out of pocket for classroom supplies while our class sizes are getting bigger, giving students less one-on-one time with teachers.

      I ask the minister: Cutting education won't get our kids a better education. Will he stop making up stories and start listening to parents and teachers?

Hon. Ian Wishart (Minister of Education and Training): I thank the member for the question.

      If he was listening so diligently to teachers, what is his explanation for the period of time when they were in government when they went from fifth place, in terms of outcomes for students, to dead-last place in literacy and numeracy?

Madam Speaker: The honourable member for Concordia, on a supplementary question.

Government Plan

Mr. Wiebe: No plan for better outcomes starts with cuts, Madam Speaker.

      We know that this Premier's motives are clear for his cuts to education. This Premier looked across the country, he saw Nova Scotia launching an unconstitutional attack on the rights of workers, and now we have bill 28 here in this province doing the  same. Well, after Nova Scotia implemented this attack on labour rights–[interjection]

* (14:20)

Madam Speaker: Order.

Mr. Wiebe: –they then attacked public education. They forced through legislation that breaks up teachers' unions and dissolves local school boards, eliminating local community input into education and concentrating power into the hands of the minister.

      This is exactly the sort of ideological step that this Premier might attempt here.

      So I'm asking the Minister of Education: Will he stand up to his Premier and protect education in this province?

Mr. Wishart: The member knows that we have fully committed to a review of the K-to-12 system starting in 2019. I know that many teachers, many parents and many school trustees are looking forward to the  opportunity to have the best discussion about education and the future of education that they've had in more than a generation.

      Previous government would certainly never   commit to doing anything like listening. [interjection]

Madam Speaker: Order.

      The honourable member for Concordia, on a final supplementary.

Mr. Wiebe: Well, Madam Speaker, this minister has an important responsibility to public education in this province, and his decisions that he's going to be making about the future of our education system through his review will have a lasting impact on our children.

      So far, the decisions that he's made have shortchanged our children. He's shortchanged those students, those teachers. He's made class sizes bigger and he's set us back on school capital projects.

      The fact is is that the minister gives parents little reason for hope that he will listen to their concerns now and he'll do best–the best for our kids.

      Parents in Manitoba want to know: When this Premier asks the minister to gut our education system, to upend decades of labour peace with our teachers and destroy local autonomy and community input into our schools, will he have the guts to say no?

Madam Speaker: I would just encourage members to be careful with their–the language that is used in the House and the tone in which it is being used. I think it lends itself to being provocative, which just gets everybody riled up. I would ask members' co‑operation to be very careful and respectful in terms of how they pose their questions and their answers.

Hon. Brian Pallister (Premier): Well, Madam Speaker, I believe it does take courage to listen. That's what this government is doing.

      I believe it also takes courage to recognize there's a problem with our education system when we are 10th out of 10 Canadian provinces as well. It takes courage to make commitments to fix and repair things that are–were not fixed and repaired for a long time, Madam Speaker, and our education system was one of those things.

      It takes courage also to face up to the reality we have a very, very, expensive, top-heavy structure in our education system, and we're facing that reality. It takes courage to stand with parents and stand for better quality of education, Madam Speaker; that's precisely what we're doing. And it takes courage to build seven schools and we're committed to doing that.

      We're playing catch-up with a system that was ignored, that sunk to the bottom of the barrel in our country under the NDP, Madam Speaker. But because we value education and the people who work in the system and the children of Manitoba families, we'll continue to dedicate ourselves to repairing the system they broke.

Education System Improvements

Government-Teacher Relations

Hon. Jon Gerrard (River Heights): Madam Speaker, last Friday, more than 1,000 teachers came to the Manitoba Legislature to protest against the awful behaviour of the Pallister government.

      The Pallister government has promised to improve teaching and learning and education in Manitoba.

      I ask the Premier: How will he improve learning when he has started a war with teachers, teachers who are the–central to improving education and learning for our children?

Hon. Brian Pallister (Premier): Well, I know it's a   tendency of some guys, Madam Speaker, to militarize their analogies, but I would say that the member needs to understand–[interjection]

Madam Speaker: Order.

Mr. Pallister: –and the member for Minto (Mr.  Swan), in particular, needs to understand–[interjection]

Madam Speaker: Order.

Mr. Pallister: –the member from Minto, in particular–[interjection]

Madam Speaker: I would call the member for Minto to order. I mean, yelling across isn't going to serve any purpose in this room.

      I think I made myself fairly clear yesterday that we are expecting better decorum from everybody, respect, civility. We've got a lot of guests in the  gallery, and I would ask members for their co‑operation please.

      And I don't think we want to move beyond–and be careful with the words that we're using, because they can be very provocative and just lead to a lot of problems. So I would urge the member for Minto to be cautious with his language.

Mr. Pallister: As a former teacher and as someone who worked very diligently for a brief time, Madam Speaker, within the Manitoba Teachers' Society, I would encourage the member for River Heights to understand that the views as they may be loudly expressed by senior people within my old union are not necessarily unanimously supported by members of the teaching profession.

      And so I would encourage the member not to overdramatize the reality of a protest. He's seen some. I remember when he cut health-care funding in this province and across the country. He saw some then. And I think, Madam Speaker, we need to understand that the goal here is to improve our education system for the future, and I believe that teachers want to be involved in making sure that happens.

Madam Speaker: The honourable member for River Heights, on a supplementary question.

Request for Accessibility Plan

Mr. Gerrard: Madam Speaker, a good way to improve overall student learning, if the Premier wants, is helping those who are struggling, including indigenous learners and including students with learning disabilities, speech, hearing and vision issues in children. Yet the government has not presented a credible plan to help those who are struggling and having difficulty and has not even committed to develop an accessible education standard under The Accessibility for Manitobans Act.

      Why has the government not presented a plan to address and help learners who are struggling?

Mr. Pallister: I can share with the member that in my few years of teaching, that some of the most rewarding experiences I had personally were working with the children he describes in his preamble and assisting them in upgrading their reading skills and learning skills. And I know that teachers across the province who have so engaged would share that same view with him.

      It is a view that I think all members of this House share, that we want to upgrade the skills of young people, in particular those who are challenged in their ability to read, and their cognitive skill development is very, very critical. So we continue to advance the cause of sustainable education system in our province with a focus on making sure that we can help every child find the real potential that exists with–inside them.

Madam Speaker: The honourable member for River Heights, on a final supplementary.

New Approaches to Education

Mr. Gerrard: And yet the Premier has not even committed yet to implement the education standard for–under The Accessibility for Manitobans Act.

      Madam Speaker, as we learned at a forum I held recently on primary and secondary education, we need improved support for teachers; we need to   be quicker at taking effective innovations province‑wide, like the Roots of Empathy, Kids at Play and effective alternative learning approaches, as have been used in the Seine River School Division–approaches using music and art to promote learning and support for Manitoba's strengths in French language education.

      Why has this government, which has promised so much, done so little?

Mr. Pallister: Well, I'm not accepting at all the premise, the preamble, the member offers, Madam Speaker, because he does so without analysis or without the ability to support with fact. I would only say that we are investing close to half a billion dollars more in education this year alone that was the case, ever, under the previous government.

      And so, if the member has suggestions on reallocation of the funds we are investing, he should first recognize, quite accurately, that contribution and that willingness to direct the resources that Manitobans entrust to us as a government towards education as a top priority.

Workplace Harassment Policy Review

Civil Service Consultations

Mr. Wayne Ewasko (Lac du Bonnet): Madam Speaker, our PC government takes both harassment and sexual harassment in the workplace very seriously. Unlike previous administrations, who would tell employees to suck it up and deal with this type of unacceptable behaviour in the workplace, we have implemented a no-wrong-door policy so that no  employees are turned away and so complaints receive their due consideration.

* (14:30)

      This morning, I was made aware of an important update to our PC government's no-wrong-door policy.

      Can the Minister for Status of Women please inform this Chamber on how our PC government is working to protect all government employees?

Hon. Rochelle Squires (Minister responsible for the Status of Women): I'd like to thank my friend from Lac du Bonnet for that really good question.

      Our government takes the issue of sexual harassment and harassment in the workplace very seriously. That is why, last month, the Minister of   Finance and our Premier (Mr. Pallister) had announced a no-wrong-door policy so that all employees could feel supported if they have experiences that they'd like to report and we also announced round tables and consultations.

      Today we're expanding that to include all former civil servants and all former political staff in this building who have worked for the Manitoba government to come forward and participate in the consultations and the round tables and ensure that their voices are heard so we can build a workplace that is free of sexual harassment and harassment of any kind.

Public Services Sustainability Act

Request to Repeal Bill 28

Mr. Tom Lindsey (Flin Flon): Today working people in Manitoba are standing up to this Premier's attacks. They're saying no to bill 28 and its unconstitutional attack on workers' rights. We learned that the judge has already determined that the bid to block bill 28 is legitimate and can proceed.

      So instead of wasting more money on a pointless fight both here and in Nova Scotia, will the Premier repeal a bill that his own high-paid climate change advisor said was just plain wrong?

Hon. Cameron Friesen (Minister of Finance): I thank the member for the question.

      The member understands the context, that we are dealing with tremendous challenges in this province restoring sustainability to our province's finances after years of it careening out of control under the NDP, with expenditure going to a $1.6-billion deficit if left uncontrolled, so we must control that. We must return the system to stability.

      That involves tough decision-making and it involves all of us. We have said it's all hands on deck. That member asks, can labour be exempt from these challenges? We say no; we need to all be in this together.

Madam Speaker: The honourable member for Flin Flon, on a supplementary question.

Mr. Lindsey: Madam Speaker, this Premier doesn't know what life is like for front-line workers. Nurses and teachers don't spend eight weeks a year in Costa Rica. Pilots and doctors don't turn off their phones–[interjection] 

Madam Speaker: Order.

Mr. Lindsey: –and never answer emails for two months at a time. They don't refuse to communicate, Madam Speaker. Home-care workers don't give themselves a 20 per cent raise like this Premier did.

      It's always one set of rules for this Premier and one set of rules for everyone else.

      Will he just listen now and withdraw, repeal bill 28? [interjection]

Madam Speaker: Order.

Mr. Friesen: Well, Madam Speaker, that is just regrettable and there's just nothing in that member's statement that was not wrong.

      For one thing, if that member had any grasp of this Premier's job and the way he does that job, he would understand that there's no harder working member on this side of the House.

      And second, if he had any grasp of the facts he would understand that where this government has forgone 20 per cent of ministers' salaries, that are only refunded if we meet $100 million of deficit reduction, they all gave themselves a wage increase when they failed to make themselves subject to the conditions of the former balanced budget law.

      Madam Speaker, this is all hands on deck. We take this seriously. [interjection]

Madam Speaker: Order.

Mr. Friesen: They make empty accusations. We're making real progress for all Manitobans.

Madam Speaker: The honourable member for Flin Flon, on a final supplementary.

Mr. Lindsey: It seems that it's not just the Premier that's out of touch with reality.

      For two years now this Premier's given himself a raise. Now he's continuing his attack on working people, all the while he takes his vacation, takes his 20 per  cent raise. That's a Premier who's out of touch. That's a government that's out of touch.

      Madam Speaker, why doesn't this government and this Premier care about Manitobans? Will they just quit fighting with Manitobans and back off on this bill, repeal bill 28, stop the court challenge and just get down to business?

Hon. Brian Pallister (Premier): I want to sincerely thank the member for that preamble, which illustrates why the NDP is where they are: because they stand for higher union dues; because they stand for more red tape; because they stand for more restrictions at work for working people; because they stand for less job security; because they stand for more time spent at bargaining tables and less time spent doing the job you were trained to do; and most of all, Madam Speaker, because the member's taken an intellectual holiday in preparing his preamble.

      He's ignored the fact that the NDP always–always have and always will–stand for higher taxes, and working families are tired of it. And that's how they voted two years ago and that's how they'll vote again and again and again until the NDP fix themselves, which, Madam Speaker, they have no desire to do because they're going for their base now. They're going to prop up their base of support, Madam Speaker, as small as it is. Only Manitobans who want more waste, less services and higher taxes are ever going to vote for that crowd over there ever again.

Madam Speaker: The time for oral questions has expired.


Tina Fontaine–Public Inquiry

Mrs. Bernadette Smith (Point Douglas): I wish to present the following petition to the Legislative Assembly.

      These are the reasons for the petition.

      (1) Tina Fontaine was murdered at the age of 15 years, and her body was found in the Red River on August 17th–[interjection]

Madam Speaker: Order.

Mrs. Smith: –2014.

      (2) Tina Fontaine was robbed of her loving family and the Anishinabe community of Sagkeeng First Nation.

      (3) Tina Fontaine was failed by multiple systems which did not protect her as they intervened in her life.

      (4) Tina Fontaine was further failed by systems meant to seek and pursue justice for her murder.

      (5) Tina Fontaine's murder galvanized Canada on the issue of missing and murdered indigenous women and girls, MMIWG, as she quickly became our collective daughter and the symbol of MMIG across Canada.

      (6)  Canada has failed to fully implement the   recommendations of numerous reports and recommendations meant to improve and protect the lives of indigenous people and children, including the Manitoba Aboriginal Justice Inquiry, Royal Commission on Aboriginal People and the Phoenix Sinclair inquiry.

      We petition the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba as follows:

      (1) To urge the Premier of Manitoba and the Minister of Justice to immediately call a public inquiry into the systems that had a role in the life and death of Tina Fontaine, as well as the function of the administration of justice after her death.

      (2) To urge that the terms of reference of a public inquiry be developed jointly with the caregivers of Tina Fontaine and/or the agent appointed by them.

      Signed by Ray Caribou, Réal LaQuette and Shannon Rue and many, many other Manitobans.

Madam Speaker: In accordance with our rule 133(6), when petitions are read they are deemed to be received by the House.

      Further petitions?

Ms. Nahanni Fontaine (St. Johns): I wish to present the following petition to the Legislative Assembly.

      These are the reasons for this petition.

      (1) Tina Fontaine was murdered at the age of 15 years, and her body was found in the Red River on August 17th, 2014.

      (2) Tina Fontaine was robbed of her loving family and the Anishinabe community of Sagkeeng First Nation.

      (3) Tina Fontaine was failed by multiple systems which did not protect her as they intervened in her life.

      (4) Tina Fontaine was further failed by systems meant to seek and pursue justice for her murder.

      (5) Tina Fontaine's murder galvanized Canada on the issue of missing and murdered indigenous women and girls, MMIWG, as she quickly became our collective daughter and the symbol of MMIWG across Canada.

      (6)  Manitoba has failed to fully implement the   recommendations of numerous reports and recommendations meant to improve and protect the lives of indigenous peoples and children, including the Manitoba Aboriginal Justice Inquiry, the Royal Commission on Aboriginal People and the Phoenix Sinclair inquiry.

* (14:40)

      We petition the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba as follows:

      (1) To urge the Premier of Manitoba and the Minister of Justice to immediately call a public inquiry into the systems that had a role in the life and death of Tina Fontaine, as well as the function of the administration of justice after her death.

      (2) To urge that the terms of reference of a   public inquiry be developed jointly with the caregivers of Tina Fontaine and/or the agent appointed by them.

      Signed by many Manitobans.

      Miigwech. Thank you.

Madam Speaker: Grievances?




Madam Speaker: The honourable member for Riding Mountain.

Mr. Greg Nesbitt (Riding Mountain): Point of order, Madam Speaker.

Madam Speaker: On a point of order.

Point of Order

Mr. Nesbitt: Madam Speaker, I am rising to indicate that I have a potential conflict of interest in a portion of Bill 19. The conflict arises because I own a corporation that operates two community newspapers in Manitoba. This legislation may or may not result   in a financial change for my corporation. However, out of an abundance of caution, I will withdraw from the House when Bill 19 comes up for further discussion and will not participate in any voting on amendments or third reading.

Madam Speaker: We thank the member for the information–indicating that he does not have a point of order, but we appreciate his declaration.

House Business

Hon. Cliff Cullen (Government House Leader): Madam Speaker, can you please canvass the House to see if there is leave for the government to bring forward report stage amendments to Bill 19, given that the notice requirement for bringing forward report stage amendments has passed, with the understanding that the report stage amendments will be distributed as soon as they are ready and also with   the understanding that these report stage amendments will be considered this afternoon, Tuesday, May 29th, along with the other report stage amendments listed on the Order Paper?

Madam Speaker: Is there leave for the government to bring forward report stage amendments to Bill 19, given that the notice requirement for bringing forward report stage amendments has passed, with the understanding that the report stage amendments will be distributed as soon as they are ready and also with the understanding that these report stage amendments will be considered this afternoon, Tuesday, May 29th, along with the other report stage amendments listed on the Order Paper? Agreed? [Agreed]

Mr. Tom Lindsey (Flin Flon): On House business, Madam Speaker.

Madam Speaker: Oh, on House business.

Mr. Lindsey: I wish to inform you that I will not be proceeding with either of my two report stage amendments on Bill 19.

Madam Speaker: So noted. We thank the member for that information.

Mr. Cullen: I certainly thank all members for allowing us leave on that particular bill.

* * *

Mr. Cullen: Madam Speaker, would you call concurrence?

Madam Speaker: It has been announced that the House will consider Estimates this afternoon. The House will now resolve into Committee of Supply.

      Mr. Deputy Speaker, please take the Chair.

Committee of Supply

Concurrence Motion

* (15:10)

Mr. Chairperson (Doyle Piwniuk): Will the Committee of Supply please come to order.

      We have before us the consideration for the concurrence motion moved by the Government House Leader on May 28th, 2018.

      The Official Opposition House Leader (Ms. Fontaine) previously tabled the following list of ministers to be called for questioning in debate on the concurrence motion: the Premier (Mr. Pallister), the Minister of Justice (Mrs. Stefanson), the Minister of Sustainable Development (Ms. Squires), and the Minister of Municipal Relations (Mr. Wharton). The ministers are questioned concurrently.

      And the floor is now open for questions.

Mr. Jim Maloway (Elmwood): Like to ask the minister two or three questions here regarding a   conversation and a discussion that we had previously. I'd like to table a letter, if I may, table a letter so the minister can see it and read it.

      And so the minister will recall that on or about  May 14th, I believe, when the Minister of Infrastructure's (Mr. Schuler) Estimates were on, I'd  asked him some questions regarding riverbank erosion occurring at 404 Desalaberry, and the minister, the Minister of Infrastructure, agreed to come out and examine the erosion with me the very next day, in fact, and I want to thank him for doing that. And he also informed the minister of municipal affairs of the issue, and I had a chance to speak to both of them about it.

      So what has happened, of course, is that we have   sent a letter to the minister of municipal affairs and Minister of Infrastructure, which–a copy of which I just sent to him for refreshment, and it deals with riverbank erosion damage occurring at 404 Desalaberry. And so I would just like to read from that letter, if I may.

      Further to the Minister of Infrastructure's (Mr. Schuler) visit to the city-owned property and building at 404 Desalaberry on May the 11th, where I and Councillor Schreyer surveyed the ongoing riverbank damage: I'm asking the Province to contact   the City of Winnipeg with a view to determining if a joint provincial-city solution can be found to prevent further damage to the city-owned property and prevent possible damage to the seniors residents' building which is also owned by the City. While the City has a responsibility to take the lead in this important local issue, it's clear precedent for provincial assistance when damage like this occurs. As mentioned, this is city-owned riverbank property and the recent sidewalk collapse puts the failing bank just 15 feet from the building.

      As Minister of Infrastructure is aware, the damage occurring at 404 Desalaberry is one of several riverbank problems in the Elmwood area that have resulted in the complete loss of property. This includes–'cluded' private homes collapsing into the river and city-owned property at the Elmwood Cemetery in the 1990s, where the City did step in at   that time and initiated a City and provincial assistance package to solve the problem. We need the same co-operation once again at this location to prevent further loss of property and liability issues. Thank you for your attention and consideration.

      Special thank you to Minister of Infrastructure for personally surveying this damage in his old Elmwood neighbourhood where he grew up and attended school.

      I signed it. It was sent to Mayor Brian Bowman, Councillor Schreyer and Sylvia Symchyshyn, who's the president of the seniors centre.

      So I'd like to ask the–this was dated on May the 14th. The minister's had some time to look into this and solve the problem. So I would like to ask him for an update.

Hon. Jeff Wharton (Minister of Municipal Relations): I thank the member from Elmwood for following up.

      You know, when–we're elected by the people to do events or things just like this. We get issues in our community and we're asked to come out and see the situation and, of course, lead the folks to areas where they should be able to get support and information as they go forward.

      This is in speaking with the Minister of Infrastructure, I can appreciate–and the member from Elmwood–that this is an issue that's been around for quite some time. And I know, in conversations with the member from Elmwood that–I remember the conversation quite well where, you know, the   member had mentioned that the councillor responsible for the area was–should have been taking the lead on it and, unfortunately, wasn't in a position at the time to get any traction from his council colleagues.

      And I would in turn ask the question back to the member from Elmwood if he could please update myself and my colleagues to find out exactly where the member–Councillor Schreyer is with respect to his ability to get the City of Winnipeg to essentially listen for the assistance that they need on this particular project.

Mr. Maloway: Well, thank you, Mr. Chair, and it's sad that the minister is not taking a more proactive role in this. I mean, he was–he did promise at the time that he would make an inquiry, but, subsequent to this time, we have had a article in the local Herald by Sheldon Birnie in which the Province–the provincial representative, whoever that is, from the department, noted that 'riverbrank' stabilization is the responsibility of the property owner–which, by the way, in this case, is the City, and the Province has no role in this particular matter.

      Now, I would want to know who that person is that made a statement like that. Maybe somebody that doesn't have a lot of history in the department. But that's not what happened back in the 1990s. In  mid-1990s, we had a situation with Elmwood Cemetery, which was a privately owned cemetery. The owner had defaulted and left for Toronto, and the grass had grown very high over a couple years. And the City had to take it over through the process of back taxes. And shortly after they took it over–and at that time, the minister should also know, that there were coffins that were showing in–on the riverbank showing out from the riverbank itself because of the erosion.

      So the City got involved with this problem, and they approached the Province and the government of Gary Filmon–minister might want to listen to this–the government of Gary Filmon–and guess what? Even though they had their talking points at that time, too, that it wasn't a provincial matter, guess what? The problem got solved because the mayor at the time sat down with the premier of the day and made the argument that this cemetery, you know, had to be fixed up, and the City and the Province were the only possible options for shoring up the bank. And that's exactly what they did. And they did a phenomenal job.

      I invite the minister to come with me, if he would like, and I'll take him for a little ride out there, and he can see the whole–you know, what was done with the Elmwood Cemetery at the time. And that was not done, as he would like to pretend, by a local city councillor, or an MLA for that matter. That was done by Mayor Norrie, whose mother was buried in the cemetery, and Charlie Birt, a former MLA for the Conservatives, sitting right back, you know, over there. Charlie Birt's mother was buried there too.

      And, you know, when the issue was dealt with at that level, boy, things started to move. Next thing you know, we had brand new rip-rap by Elmwood Cemetery. And where was all this money coming? Coming from the Filmon government. You know, we found out during Estimates.

      So, yes, Mr. Minister, it can be done. You've got to have the will to do it. Yes, it's convenient to go and shovel it over to somebody else and say, not my problem, after you initially said, oh, I'll be happy to take a look at it.

* (15:20)

      You know, but it is a joint problem. And I'll tell you something else. This issue is only going to get worse. Over the last seven years that it's been an issue, it's been–the bank has been falling in the river. And now it's literally 15 feet away from the building itself. The Minister of Infrastructure (Mr. Schuler) was there. And he even fell into one of the cracks as well. And part of their sidewalk is fallen over. It's–to think for a moment that it's going to get better is delusional. That cannot happen. Next year at this time, we'll probably be, you know, five feet away from the building itself and next will be the building, and then you will have a real problem on your hands.

      So don't just try to shovel this off to somebody, to a local councillor who's actually been trying to do something about it. Just take responsibility for it.  You'll be the better for it and the Minister of Infrastructure will be as well, so I'd like you to take another look at this and try to get back to me as soon as you can with a proactive approach to this.

Mr. Wharton: And again, you know, the member from Elmwood talks about this has been going on for   almost in excess of seven years. Well, you know, the member sat across–matter of fact, sat on this side of the House for a number of years and, obviously, was aware of this situation. I'm not–well,  I guess I probably do have an idea why he wasn't able to move this initiative forward within his own party, obviously, because there's probably some communication issues there; you know, teamwork, the whole thing.

      But, you know, certainly, I took, and I still take this matter very seriously as I do any matter that's brought to me, whether it be a member of the public or members opposite or a colleague of mine here on  this side of the House. That's–we're not scared of   the hard work and, you know, I suspect the member has a little bit more respect for the work that this government is doing and the work that our department is doing and, quite frankly, building on the relationship with the municipalities and the City of Winnipeg.

      And, you know, a prime example of that, and again, I'll remind the member that the City of Winnipeg enjoys some of the most generous funding of any municipality in Canada; as a matter of fact, top two in Canada. Boy, don't we wish we had education outcomes and health wait times that are one in two or three in four instead of 10 out of 10. So, certainly, we feel that we're building on the right track on that.    

      And basket funding is available for the City of   Winnipeg now and with basket funding, of course, and the member–I hope the member is paying attention because this is something that's very  important. Basket funding allows the city and   municipalities, through their operations, to essentially apply funding to where they see fit. This  sounds like an ideal case for the councillor, Mr.  Schreyer, and the member from Elmwood to follow up, and I will also make that call with the member from Elmwood.       Certainly, I see that, you know, we could work together on ensuring that the City does prioritize this and their unconditional operating basket because we definitely see that there is a challenge here.

      And I might add–remind the member, too, that, you know, the City of Winnipeg is dealing with a deficit on shoreline erosion on all our rivers that run through the city, the Assiniboine and the Red, and I know we've started some dialogue on that with the City and we communicate, of course. We have many discussions about prioritize and working on shared priorities with the City of Winnipeg and, of course, our municipal partners right across this province. So, you know, I certainly, with that, I would certainly encourage the member to follow up with, again, the councillor and essentially try to ensure that the City of Winnipeg and his colleagues at the City of Winnipeg really have the opportunity to address this concern with the unconditional operating basket that they currently enjoy.

Mr. Maloway: And the minister is totally, you know, ducking the issue. The fact of the matter is that he is right. The original bank started to fall in around seven years ago, and I might remind the member that at that time, Councillor Steen was the councillor and he did try as well to do something about it. In fact, he was in very good terms with Mayor Katz and they had a plan at that time to deal with this erosion issue with the rebuild of the Louise Bridge, which they said was going to happen very shortly, which, of course, still has not happened, and the MP at the time was Lawrence Toet, a Conservative, you know, and the Conservatives were in the federal government too.

      So don't–you know, don't make suggestions somehow that, you know, this issue is one that only a one or two people have been involved. We've had the  previous mayor involved in this; we've had the previous Member of Parliament involved–both conservatives. We've had Conservative Councillor Steen working on this. We worked very closely with Councillor Steen, had a very good relation with–relationship with him.

      And this is just an issue where it's an obvious problem that is not going to get any better. It's like having a tooth that's decaying. You know, it might hurt you a bit today and then get a little bit better, but you know at the end of the day, a week from now, it's not going to improve. It's going to only get worse. And now you have–this spring alone, you have the erosion problem so bad that the Minister of Infrastructure (Mr. Schuler) fell into one of the holes when we were there with him. And it's now literally 15 feet away from the building itself. I can show you pictures where the sidewalk has collapsed.

      So now the seniors in the building, a lot of whom have walkers, cannot even make it down their own sidewalk. And we can show you a picture, a pre-picture, of how this used to look only 10 years ago where it was beautifully terraced down to the river. It had been that way for years. And now all this damage has happened. Your final bill is going to be way bigger than had you done something about it a couple of years back.

      So all I'm telling you is the bill's going to get higher.

      Now–lest–the minister should know that entire houses have fallen into the river. There was one about five or six years ago that fell into the river on Helmsdale and Kildonan Drive. Peter Markesteyn, who was the medical examiner for Manitoba back in  the '70s, he had a house on Kingston Row or somewhere around there. His whole house ended up falling in the river as well. He had, you know, enough money to sue the federal government, to go after reparations. I think he was out the money at the end of the day.

      We're not talking about an individual homeowner here who, we understand, are on their own, whether it be Peter Markesteyn or the lady who owned the house on Helmsdale; we're talking about a senior citizens' home sitting on land owned by the City whose bank is falling in just around the corner from the Elmwood Cemetery where the Filmon government came up with a lot of money for that.

      We also had La Salle Hotel, which is right beside this place. La Salle Hotel, in 2011, got I think a half a million dollars worth of work done, and I'm told that half of that–half of the half million dollars came from a level of government. Whether it was shared by the City and the Province, whether it was paid by the Province completely, I don't know. You're the minister. You can find these things out. But there's a lot of precedence. But to turn around and say somehow that we have to go back to the city councillor and the MLA to solve the problem is not recognizing the fact that you've had the previous mayor involved, the previous Member of Parliament involved, the previous city councillor involved, and nothing got done at the end of the day. You're the minister now. It's your problem. It's going to get worse. So I want to know what you're going to do to help these people out.

Mr. Wharton: I guess a couple of points that I guess the member from Elmwood was referring to–and, you know, as far as–it sounds like there were a number of officials, members of Parliament, MLAs, councillors involved in this over the last several years. And, you know, I'm so pleased to have received the letter and the input from the member from Elmwood so that we can move forward, as of May 14th. So we're talking the better part of 15 days ago or so when we received information on this. I had asked the member from Elmwood to ensure he wrote a letter, and he followed up, and certainly I commend the member for that and appreciate that he, in his tenure as a Member of Parliament and MLA, would understand process and certainly appreciate the fact that, unfortunately, like–not like the private sector, the wheels of politics don't move as quickly as we anticipate.

* (15:30)

      So, you know, in respect to a couple of comments made by the member, as well, he had mentioned that the former councillor, Mr. Steen, was in touch with Mayor Katz and seemed to be moving the ball forward. Well, obviously, that changed when Mr. Steen and Mr. Katz moved on to other areas of their life.  

      And then comes Mr. Schreyer and the current mayor, and I guess, I'm not sure, but I'm still asking whether the current councillor and mayor are on the same page when it comes to recognizing that this is a serious issue.

      And it's an area that, certainly, my department is following up on, and I can assure the member that in briefings that we've had over the last several days, that this area has come up as discussion. And I can assure the member that he will see a correspondence coming soon in respect to his letter.

      And I take this issue very seriously. I understand infrastructure; being a business owner and owning commercial property in Winnipeg, I can appreciate that if you let maintenance go, you end up paying longer–more in the long run than you do in the near future.

      So I certainly appreciate that, and I'm sure the member may have more comments, but I just wanted to remind him that, you know, this decaying tooth was pulled back in April 2016 when Manitobans chose the Conservative government to lead this province.

      So, with that, I hope the member now understands how committed we are as a government and our department is to this issue. And I thank him for bringing it to my attention.

Mr. Rob Altemeyer (Wolseley): We had a dialogue yesterday with this minister around Bill 19 and the threat that is posed to rural democracy, and I just wanted to make sure that the minister and I have a common understanding. He was making reference to technical review committees that have been added under Bill 19.

      Now, he said that in response to a question I asked around conditional-use hearings. I believe the   minister was referring to technical review committees that will now be happening around quarry mining.

      So my first question for the minister is just to clarify that that's what he was talking about, and that he recognizes that while his government is adding technical review committees to quarry operations, they are, in fact, deleting them from conditional-use hearings governing industrial agriculture in rural Manitoba.

Mr. Wharton: I thank the member for bringing that  question forward again. And, you know, I can assure the member that Bill 19 effectively does not change any environmental requirements necessary, whether it be productions in hen barns, chicken barns, cattle‑producing, calf-cow operations or hog operations, that certainly our local municipalities and  councillors elected by their constituents are responsible forms of government and certainly they will make responsible decisions as they go forward.

      Pits and quarries is–their technical review is in addition to–and I think I shared this with the member yesterday, but I will remind him again: when it comes to sitting on–a councillor and essentially hearing from the public and stakeholders on issues like aggregate mining and pits and quarries, and we'll talk specifically about that right now.

      It comes down to ensuring that you have the best science and the best information. And, you know, I'm sure the member from Wolseley, he appreciates that, because he is the critic for member of Sustainable Development, my colleague, and he obviously has a passion for our environment and–along as–with this side of the House.

      And I know that for 17 years, it–they essentially didn't really do anything for the environment. As a matter of fact, we talked about it yesterday when we had the invasion of zebra mussels in Lake Winnipeg from Winnipeg Beach to Gimli and the harbours, and how $600,000 in potash didn't solve the problem.

      So I can appreciate the member does accept the technical review in pits and quarries as an addition in Bill 19 to ensure that councillors and the mayor and reeve and the general public who are there at a meeting have the best information provided to them to inform them on decision making that is in the best interests of their communities.

      For sure, that's something that this side of the House takes very seriously and our government takes very seriously, and certainly working with our partners and, of course, and our colleagues here in government, and in particular when it comes to the   environment, the member from Sustainable Development–the minister, pardon me–we will certainly make sure that we give the community and the councils and the folks that are directly involved in decision making the tools they need, much needed tools, to ensure that the safety of our environment are first and foremost for Manitobans.

Mr. Altemeyer: Well, the minister just finished saying something really quite remarkable, that he's actually interested in making sure the best science and information is available. And yet his legislation will do away with the technical review committees in many, many circumstances that would've provided exactly that type of information.

      He claims that there were–there'll be no weakening of environmental protections under this legislation. That's just fundamentally not true. The government has given municipalities the ability to decide on their own what size of animal unit limit, if any, that municipality will put in place to require a conditional use hearing. If there is no conditional use hearing, then there is no technical review committee and there is no data provided to the public.

      So my question to the minister is this: If a resident of the Gimli constituency comes to him with a concern about a proposed expansion or a new industrial agricultural operation and there is no information available to that member of the public, what's this minister going to say to them?

Mr. Wharton: You know, essentially, I think the member is a little confused, but not surprisingly, that he hasn't quite done the research. Perhaps maybe he's only potentially put together his own view of what Bill 19 actually does.

      Under the conditional use with municipalities, essentially, municipalities will have fair say when it comes to livestock operations. So, essentially, they were forced at a 300-animal unit and right now always had the technical review in place. So, if the technical review is there and conditional use is set by the municipalities on the basis of fair say and land planning and land zoning requirements, then I'm not sure where the member is going with his question, because, as I said to him earlier, and again I'll repeat, certainly the concern again is, No. 1, to ensure that we get this right and ensure that the environmental aspect of any legislation that is brought forward is–it's front and centre to the concerns.

      And, living in the Interlake and living along the beautiful shores of Lake Winnipeg, I can appreciate it as much as anybody else in this House. And having grandkids that want to swim in that lake and have fun for generations to come, you can bet that this member and this side of the House is going to be keeping a close eye on that as we go forward.

      So, again, I remind the member that if they wanted–if the municipality wants to change the threshold from 300 to 200, they can do that. They have fair say to do what they wish, and that's the–essentially the reasoning behind Bill 19 with respect to conditional use and technical review.

Ms. Nahanni Fontaine (Official Opposition House Leader): I just want to advise everybody that we'll be using the same list as yesterday in respect of tomorrow's concurrence.

Mr. Chairperson: Okay. It's been accepted, and we'll have the same list for tomorrow. The honourable member–and thank you for that information, the honourable member from St. Johns.

Mr. Andrew Swan (Minto): I've got a question for the Premier, so I'll just let him get into position.

Mr. Deputy Speaker: I guess the honourable First Minister, if you can get to your chair.

* (15:40)

Mr. Swan: Thank the Premier.

      And I'm going to start with a really serious question. I know the Premier was just at the western premiers' meeting dealing with issues of dispute between western premiers. I'd like to know whether the Premier has straightened out Premier Moe of Saskatchewan with his misguided ideas on which NHL team that you cheer for.

Hon. Brian Pallister (Premier): I think it was deeply concerning, not only to the people of Manitoba, but I also think, and I communicated to Premier Moe in no uncertain terms, to significant, significant majority of the hockey fans in Saskatchewan that he would even remotely entertain supporting a hockey team from that mecca of gambling, Las Vegas–that he would even consider that. And he was, after it was explained to him in no uncertain terms, somewhat apologetic, I will share with the members.

      As much as we know in Manitoba we have a rivalry on occasion, as the member for Minto (Mr. Swan) knows very well, on the football field–we have a rivalry with Saskatchewan in that respect–it is clear to me and should be clear to the premier of Saskatchewan that they do not have an NHL team and nor do they have, very frequently, a very good football team. And so it's dangerous, I think, to take sides against what was truly team Canada in the NHL playoffs.

      And to do that–and understanding that, for people in Saskatchewan and elsewhere, Las Vegas is an attractive travel destination at times. People do like to go there. As opposed to Saskatchewan people coming to Manitoba, where they go home better for the experience, they usually come back from Vegas worse off for the experience, though I know they don't share the details, because what happens, of course, in Vegas stays in Vegas.

      The premier needs to, I think, in future when the Jets make the playoffs–as the member for Minto and I know very well they will again, and they will have an even better run next year. The–Premier Moe will, I'm sure, want to be clearer in his allegiance to Canada's team than he was this year.

      So I thank the member for raising the topic. It's an important topic and it's one that we need to continue to remind Canadians of. In particular, I think, though, not just the premier of Saskatchewan but, rather, those Canadians who, for some indefensible reason, want to support other NHL teams besides the Winnipeg Jets.

Mr. Swan: I thank the Premier (Mr. Pallister) for that.

      Of course, we haven't always seen eye to eye on every issue, so I want the Premier to know that I was completely behind him in straightening out Premier Moe of Saskatchewan.

      One area where I believe the Premier and I would have similar concerns, although we might address it somewhat differently, is with the legalization of cannabis and the concerns about making sure that our roads are as safe as possible.

      I was interested to see a press release that came out from the government out on March 26 of   this year, just after we'd started our spring constituency week, entitled: Premier meets with leading researchers on impacts of drugged driving. The Premier went down to Iowa City and met with Dr. Timothy Brown and Dr. Garry Gaffney.

      I'd just like to ask the Premier, who did he take with him for these meetings with Dr. Brown and Dr. Gaffney?

Mr. Pallister: My wife, Esther, accompanied me down to those meetings.

Mr. Swan: Okay, so there were no staff, there was nobody from the Liquor & Lotteries Corporation or anyone else, it was just the Premier and his wife?

Mr. Pallister: Correct.

Mr. Swan: And I guess, with the Chair and I–we know exactly how far it is to central Iowa, as we drove there last year for Des Moines to encourage our American friends to come up here for MLC in August. And we appreciate, Mr. Premier, that you've been part of that process of inviting people to come.

      It is a long way to go. Did the Premier drive down there or fly into Des Moines?

Mr. Pallister: Drove.

Mr. Swan: Okay. And, again, I think, the Chair and I–again, we know exactly how far it is to Des Moines and I take it, Iowa City is just a couple of hours further east, Chicago-side of there. I don't want to minimize the importance of meeting with individuals about cannabis, it just–for someone who tells us he's very busy, it just seems like a strange place to drive for what appeared to be a one-day meeting.

Mr. Pallister: It wasn't a question.

Mr. Swan: Okay, why did the Premier, then, drive all the way to Iowa City and then drive back, for a one-day meeting with two individuals?

Mr. Pallister: Because I thought it'd be a worthwhile use of time. And I left on Saturday morning, early, drove all day Saturday; Sunday, got down there for Monday meetings and was back, Wednesday, I believe.

Mr. Swan: Okay, so the Premier met with these researchers. And I've had a look at some of their work. The meeting actually happened after the Minister of Justice (Mrs. Stefanson) had introduced the bill dealing with–some of the new provisions dealing with impaired driving from cannabis. Did the meetings result in any changes to those bills, or any improvements to government policy?

Mr. Pallister: No, I don't think the intention was  ever to alter the legislation as a consequence of   this; I was just interested in the topic, as a result  of discussions I've had. And I know many members have had discussions with other legislators in jurisdictions where cannabis has been, or is potentially going to be, more available. And I think we all share a concern about what's going to happen. I guess, frankly, I thought it would be interesting to explore our opportunities.

      These are renowned researchers we're talking about, that have worked on–not just cannabis research, should be clear on that–that they work on impaired driving research.

      They do research that's been recognized globally, and granted, it's a long drive. And I should mention that also, they had in some parts of northern Iowa, on the Friday night and the Saturday, had over 10 inches of snow, so it wasn't particularly an opportune thing. I think, in second thinking, you might say, well, it would've been better to have flown, but, frankly, it was an opportunity to meet with some people that are among the elite researchers certainly in the United States and, I think, globally. They–interestingly, their research institute–which for members who are interested in learning more about some of these issues–they're very open to accommodating our, you know, entreaty to see if we could meet, they–and I'm sure would accommodate other members who have interests in learning more.

      Their expertise is so renowned. I think they're one of nine, if I recall correctly, facilities in the entire United States that's recognized for their research–had been acknowledged nationally by the national government of the United States and certified for their–the quality of the research.

      They actually don't live off government funding. They generate their funding through work they do, sometimes for agencies that are funded by government, for sure, but also, for–by companies that are concerned about safe driving. I believe one of their–they were doing a study at the time we were there for Toyota, as an example. Their driver simulation facilities are most impressive as well. I would say approximately a football-sized field. The simulator itself is like a–it's hard to describe. It would be like a lunar landing capsule, I think. You could put a vehicle of any description inside it. You  could put a John Deere tractor. You could put a   semi-trailer–not the whole semi-trailer, but a semi‑trailer cab, in there, or a, you know, farm implement, whatever you like. And they have. And they do, do testing for various manufacturers on the effects of impairment as it pertains to the operation of those, which can be different. Different machinery is operated differently by impaired people. I wasn't–I never really thought of it in that way before. It was interesting, too, to note, that–they showed me video of the results of some of the testing they've done with–you know, case studies, various age groups and so on. And it was fascinating to note some of their observations and gather a bit of personal data.

* (15:50)

      But I think, just to answer the member's question more accurately, I would say concerns aren't just about today and our legislation today. I think our legislation is very well thought out and makes sense. I am concerned about the impact when edibles come on. And the feds are talking about this as soon as, you know, a year and a couple of months from now. And so we did have some good discussion around the potential additional dangers of that as well. And  that seems to be, in part, at least, why the spike  in morbidity, mortality, in jurisdictions that have legalization is happening. It's because of the additional changes that occur when edibles are introduced into the product mix as opposed to just the traditional smoking of cannabis.

      So there–I think a lot of useful information came of it, and it's just more–I would say wasn't done to so much gather information in the short term but more just to learn more about the research that's being done fairly close to us. You know, it is a bit of a drive, but fairly close to Manitoba. They do work for Canada transport, as well, actually, at that same facility in Iowa.

Mr. Swan: I thank the Premier (Mr. Pallister) for then–yes, there are many of us who've had an interest in seeing what happens. I don't want to keep implicating the Chair, but he and I were actually at a conference, in December, where an entire day was spent on trying to learn from the experience of Colorado, of Washington, of Nevada, which actually moved ahead quite quickly. And I appreciate that there is–there has not been a great body of research because it simply hasn't been practical to do studies. And the Premier knows full well, if, as Attorney General, I had said five years ago we were going to   undertake a study of what happens when people  are driving under the influence of cannabis, I  expect  there would have been, if not from the Premier (Mr. Pallister) certainly from the member from Steinbach, a lot of issue with that.

      I do want to talk a little bit about the one study that the Premier referred that found its way into the press release. And it's–I think the Premier knows which one I'm talking about. It's from the Office of National Drug Control Policy dealing in Colorado. And it did, on the face of it, seem to suggest that there was an increase in cannabis-related driving deaths after legalization in Colorado.

      But I'm sure the Premier is also familiar with other reports–again, provided by private industry–that say although it is a serious issue and something that we need to manage and to keep our eye on, that it's not simply the legalization of cannabis that is the sole issue. And, in particular, I'm going to throw out two other reports that I expect the Premier discussed. There's one prepared by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, and it did find a higher number of collisions from those who were found to be under the  influence of cannabis. It was a relatively small number, but a number nonetheless, which I know the Premier and I would agree is important.

      There was also a study published in the American Journal of Public Health, which found no increase in vehicle crash fatalities in Colorado and Washington relative to similar states after legalization, which might fit with what the folks in Iowa say about marijuana use, which is that it tends to have people driving below the speed limit, increasing their following distance, but yet, not for those reasons, being safer drivers, and an issue for concern but perhaps not as striking as the numbers of the one press–or the one study referred to in the news release.

      Why did the Premier decide that was the one report that would fit into this news release as opposed to the broader research, which we know is now happening in the United States?

Mr. Pallister: Well, I appreciate the line of questioning the member is raising, because it is important to learn from the research, and there isn't a wealth of research at this point in time. We're kind of right in the stage of a change that we need to respond to, and, as Anne McLellan said, you know, when I met with her and she visited us briefly here in her time as–I forget what her title was, but heading the commission, or whatever–chairing–

An Honourable Member: Chair of the commission.

Mr. Pallister: –chairing the commission that advised the federal government. She said, you know, under  these time frames, mistakes are going to be made, was her comment. And, you know, none of us wants to see an increase in the–in mortality on our highways. We have serious upswings now, as the member knows, and it isn't, of course, just cannabis; it isn't just cannabis that causes accidents. I mean, we're seeing an increased incidence prior to the legalization of cannabis. We recognize there's an illegal use. We recognize there's an underground distribution system in existence and that there are people using the product now, but there are obviously other problems. One of the researchers, actually, in one of the introductions that–and I'm sorry I don't have the names–there were actually–there were three other scientists that we met with, as well as the two the member mentioned; I don't have their names right with me. But, anyway, they were very generous with their time. And they said, let's face it; the major problem isn't cannabis, and it's not going to be cannabis. Major problem is alcohol. And it was one of–just straight introductory comment from a person who is engaged in this research for a number of years. So alcohol is the major problem.

      Part of the–of–I would say the beneficial changes in our relative numbers of impaired drivers under the influence of alcohol, which, generally, have been going in a better direction, I will say, over the last decade, is because of a real focused effort to advertise and to promote better habits, you know, going beyond television advertising into other areas of advertising and promotion, going into the school system, organizations like Mothers Against Drunk Driving and others, family members going and speaking as a consequence of having lost someone in their family; this has an impact. Driver education as a focus has helped to educate, not exclusively young people either, but to a great degree, younger people who are beginning to develop their behaviours and driving habits. I guess my point would be, I think that we need to see better co-ordinated efforts in respect of cannabis as well, in terms of driver–deterring impaired driving.

      One of the researchers said that–he shared with me that he–his–and he hadn't done research on this; it was just a personal observation. But he said that the best ad that he'd seen in terms of deterring alcohol use was just an instructional ad. And it–and you may–the member may remember this from years ago, but it was–showed a beer and said this equals this much wine, and then equals this much hard liquor. And he said it was an educational thing to help people understand how to self-dose better. And he said, now we need to add to that and say, this much cannabis in this form equals that. This, he said–it–you may–he said that simple advertisement may well change more driving habits by educating people.

      But then, when we got into the discussion around edibles, it became more complex, and I'll just say that the changes in the pattern of intoxication or level of impairment with edibles are, I guess, in part, as a consequence of the fact that the high is different. On a graph, people who smoke cannabis get high, and then are not as high three hours later. So it–on the graph, it would be a sharper upswing and a sharper downswing so that a–someone, say, going out to a party or a social gathering of some kind, that's for a–you may consume a marijuana cigarette at the start of the gathering, and then, three hours later, be relatively fine to drive. But someone eating a cannabis product, is–it's different: lower level and then a longer protracted high.

Mr. Swan: You know, in looking at some of the materials provided by the National Advanced Driving Simulator the Premier visited in Iowa, one of their comments is that although illicit drug use is a  significant public health risk that also impacts driving safety, the number of users is dwarfed by those using over-the-counter and prescription drugs for medical reasons. I guess a very–I hope an easy enough question for the Premier–it's something we have never really addressed in Manitoba–but does the Premier agree that–

* (16:00)

Mr. Chairperson: The hour being 4 p.m., the committee rise.

      Call in the Speaker.


Madam Speaker: Order, please.

      The time being 4 p.m., I am now interrupting debate to put the question on the remaining report stage amendments without further debate or amendment on the following specified bills: 11, 19 and 26. The House will not adjourn until all of the applicable questions have been put.

      If there are any applicable report stage amendments that have yet to be moved, the member bringing the report stage amendment forward will move the motion but with no debate.

      For each report stage amendment, the sponsor will move the report stage amendment and send the motion up to the Speaker who will start reading the report stage amendment back to the House.

      The Speaker will then rule on the orderliness of the report stage amendment. Then the question will be put on the report stage amendment without further debate or amendment.

Report Stage Amendments

Bill 11–The Safe and Responsible Retailing of Cannabis Act
(Liquor and Gaming Control Act and Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries Corporation Act Amended)

Madam Speaker: On Bill 11, the honourable Minister of Justice (Mrs. Stefanson)–the honourable member for Burrows.

Ms. Cindy Lamoureux (Burrows): I move, seconded by the member for River Heights (Mr. Gerrard),

THAT Bill 11 be amended in Clause 12 in the proposed section 101.1 in the definition "young person" by striking out "19 years" and substituting "18 years".

Motion presented.

Madam Speaker: The report stage amendment is in order.

      Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the amendment?

Some Honourable Members: Yes.

Some Honourable Members: No.

Madam Speaker: I hear a no.

Voice Vote

Madam Speaker: All those in favour of the amendment, please say yea.

Some Honourable Members: Yea.

Madam Speaker: All those opposed, please say nay.

Some Honourable Members: Nay.

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

Recorded Vote

Ms. Lamoureux: A recorded vote.

Madam Speaker: Does the member have the support of three other members?

* (16:10)

      A recorded vote having been called, call in the members.

      And I would confirm that the member did have support.

      The question before the House is the report stage amendment on Bill 11, moved by the honourable member for Burrows.


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


Allum, Altemeyer, Fontaine, Gerrard, Kinew, Lamoureux, Lathlin, Lindsey, Maloway, Marcelino (Logan), Marcelino (Tyndall Park), Saran, Smith (Point Douglas), Swan, Wiebe.


Bindle, Clarke, Cox, Cullen, Curry, Eichler, Ewasko, Fielding, Friesen, Goertzen, Graydon, Guillemard, Helwer, Isleifson, Johnson, Johnston, Lagassé, Lagimodiere, Martin, Mayer, Michaleski, Micklefield, Morley-Lecomte, Nesbitt, Pallister, Pedersen, Piwniuk, Reyes, Schuler, Smith (Southdale), Smook, Squires, Stefanson, Teitsma, Wharton, Wishart, Wowchuk, Yakimoski.

Deputy Clerk (Mr. Rick Yarish): Yeas 15, Nays 38.

Madam Speaker: I declare the amendment lost.

Bill 19–The Planning Amendment Act
(Improving Efficiency in Planning)

Madam Speaker: We will now move to report stage amendments, to Bill 19, The Planning Amendment Act (Improving Efficiency in Planning).

Hon. Jeff Wharton (Minister of Municipal Relations): I move, seconded by the Minister of Indigenous and Northern Relations (Ms. Clarke),

THAT Bill 19 be amended by striking out Clause 19(2).

Madam Speaker: It has been moved by the honourable Minister for Sustainable Development, seconded by the honourable Minister for Indigenous and Northern Relations,

THAT Bill 19 be amended by striking out Clause 19(2).

      The report stage amendment is in order.

      Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the report stage amendment? [Agreed]

      I declare the amendment carried.

      The honourable Minister of Municipal Relations, on a second amendment.

Mr. Wharton: I move, seconded by the Minister of Indigenous and Northern Relations,

THAT Bill 19 be amended by striking out Clause 25.

Motion presented.

Madam Speaker: The report stage amendment is in order.

      Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the report stage amendment? [Agreed]

      I declare the amendment carried.

Mr. Wharton: I move, seconded by the Minister of Indigenous and Northern Relations,

That Bill 19 be amended by replacing Clause 32(2) with the following:

Coming into force: proclamation

32(2) Sections 18, 20 and 26 come into force on a day to be fixed by proclamation.

Madam Speaker: It has been moved by the honourable Minister for Municipal Relations, seconded by the Minister of Indigenous and Northern Relations,

That Bill 19 be amended by replacing Clause 32(2) with the following:

Coming into force: proclamation

32(2) Sections 18, 20 and 26 to come into force on a day to be fixed by proclamation.

      The report stage amendment is in order.

      Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the report stage amendment? [Agreed]

      I declare the report stage amendment carried.

Bill 26–The Impaired Driving Offences Act
(Various Acts Amended)

Madam Speaker: We will now move to report stage  amendment for Bill 26, The Impaired Driving Offences Act (Various Acts Amended).

Hon. Heather Stefanson (Minister of Justice and Attorney General): I move, seconded by the Minister for Crown Services,

THAT Bill 26 be amended by adding the following after Clause 11(4):

Transitional regulations
11(5) The Lieutenant Governor in Council may make regulations to remedy any difficulty, inconsistency or impossibility resulting from changes to the federal Act made between

(a) this time the–the time this Act was introduced as Bill 26 in the Third Session of the 41st Legislature; and

(b) the time the federal Act receives royal assent.

Madam Speaker: It has been moved by the honourable Minister of Justice, seconded by the honourable Minister for Crown Services–

An Honourable Member: Dispense.

Madam Speaker: The report stage amendment is in order.

      Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the report stage amendment? Agreed?

Some Honourable Members: Agreed.

Some Honourable Members: No.

Madam Speaker: I hear a no.

Voice Vote

Madam Speaker: All those in favour of the amendment, please say yea.

Some Honourable Members: Yea.

Madam Speaker: All those opposed, please say nay.

Some Honourable Members: Nay.

Madam Speaker: In my opinion, the Yeas have it.

Recorded Vote

Ms. Nahanni Fontaine (Official Opposition House Leader): A recorded vote, Madam Speaker.

* (16:20)

Madam Speaker: A recorded vote having been called, call in the members.

      The question before the House, is the report stage amendment on Bill 26, The Impaired Driving Offences Act (Various Acts Amended), moved by the honourable Minister of Justice.


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


Bindle, Clarke, Cox, Cullen, Curry, Eichler, Ewasko, Fielding, Friesen, Goertzen, Graydon, Guillemard, Helwer, Isleifson, Johnson, Johnston, Lagassé, Lagimodiere, Martin, Mayer, Michaleski, Micklefield, Morley-Lecomte, Pallister, Pedersen, Reyes, Schuler, Smith (Southdale), Smook, Squires, Stefanson, Teitsma, Wharton, Wishart, Wowchuk, Yakimoski.


Allum, Altemeyer, Fontaine, Gerrard, Kinew, Lamoureux, Lathlin, Lindsey, Maloway, Marcelino (Logan), Marcelino (Tyndall Park), Saran, Smith (Point Douglas), Swan, Wiebe.

Deputy Clerk (Mr. Rick Yarish): Yeas 36, Nays 15.

Madam Speaker: I declare the amendment carried.

* * *

Hon. Cliff Cullen (Government House Leader): Madam Speaker, would you canvas the House to see if there's a willingness to call it 5 o'clock?

Madam Speaker: Is there leave to call it 5 o'clock? [Agreed]

      The hour being 5 p.m., this House is adjourned and stands adjourned until 1:30 p.m. tomorrow.



Tuesday, May 29, 2018


Vol. 55B


Introduction of Bills

Bill 225–The Human Rights Code Amendment Act (Genetic Characteristics)

Swan  2651

Tabling of Reports

Cullen  2651

Pedersen  2651

Driedger 2651

Ministerial Statements

Wildfire Update

Schuler 2651

Maloway  2652

Gerrard  2652

Members' Statements

St. James Anglican Church

Johnston  2653

Ann Thomas Callahan

Fontaine  2653

Noah Penner

Graydon  2654

Implementation of Accessibility Act

Gerrard  2654

Robb Nash

Micklefield  2654

Oral Questions

Special Drug Program

Kinew   2656

Pallister 2656

Bureau de l'éducation française

Kinew   2657

Pallister 2657

Safe Injection Site

Swan  2659

Goertzen  2659

Manitoba Judicial System

Fontaine  2660

Stefanson  2661

Wrongful Conviction Case Concern

Fontaine  2661

Stefanson  2661

Legal Aid Services

Fontaine  2661

Stefanson  2661

Education System

Wiebe  2661

Wishart 2662

Pallister 2662

Education System Improvements

Gerrard  2663

Pallister 2663

Workplace Harassment Policy Review

Ewasko  2664

Squires 2664

Public Services Sustainability Act

Lindsey  2664

Friesen  2664

Pallister 2665


Tina Fontaine–Public Inquiry

B. Smith  2665

Fontaine  2666




Committee of Supply

Concurrence Motion

Maloway  2667

Wharton  2668

Altemeyer 2671

Swan  2672

Pallister 2672

Report Stage Amendments

Bill 11–The Safe and Responsible Retailing of Cannabis Act (Liquor and Gaming Control Act and Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries Corporation Act Amended)

Lamoureux  2676

Bill 19–The Planning Amendment Act (Improving Efficiency in Planning)

Wharton  2677

Bill 26–The Impaired Driving Offences Act (Various Acts Amended)

Stefanson  2678