Tuesday, April 11, 2023

The House met at 1:30 p.m.

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


Madam Speaker: Intro­duction of bills? Com­mit­tee reports?

Tabling of Reports

Hon. Kelvin Goertzen (Minister of Justice and Attorney General): I'm pleased to table this after­noon for the infor­ma­tion of the House two reports: The Fatality Inquiries Act, section 43(1) report for 2022; and the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner annual review for 2022.

Madam Speaker: Min­is­terial statements?

Members' Statements

Dr. Netha Dyck

Hon. Sarah Guillemard (Minister of Advanced Education and Training): Madam Speaker, I rise today to recognize and honour an accomplished and distinguished resident of Fort Richmond who was recently named as one of Canada's Top 100 Most Powerful Women.

      Dr. Netha Dyck was named dean of University of Manitoba's college of nursing in the Rady Faculty of Health Sciences in 2018 and has served admirably in this leadership role.

      Dr. Dyck's professional journey in nursing over the past 49 years is quite impressive and has earned her countless accolades and awards from provincial, federal and international bodies.

      Recognition of her leadership qualities was noticed early on in her career. Within the first six months as work–as a registered nurse, Dr. Dyck was named head nurse of an operating room in a rural hospital.

      This experience was the catalyst for her to pursue opportunities to assist in many other leadership roles, including spending more than a decade as dean of the school of nursing and health sciences at Saskatchewan Polytechnic in Saskatoon.

      During this time, Dr. Dyck was successful in developing and leading the transition from a college to a degree-granting in­sti­tution, all while completing her doctorate in higher education leadership.

      Madam Speaker, we all know that successful people have discovered that building relationships is the key to reaching goals. I can personally attest that Netha's reputation for building collaborative relation­ships and strong teams to tackle challenges that arise.

      She brings a firm vision to problem solving and carries herself with grace and kindness, which brings out the best in her teams.

      Dr. Dyck has been a role model to many women who are pursuing a career in nursing and leadership. Her focus on supporting others and building their confidence is a gift that will continue well beyond the years spent at university.

      Madam Speaker, like many of is–us in this Chamber, Dr. Dyck attributes her accomplishments to the example of service for others that her parents demonstrated for her. Volunteering began at an early age and provided a firm foundation of caring for the wider community.

      Madam Speaker, Dr. Dyck has joined us in the gal­lery today along with family and friends who have supported her through the years. I ask for their names to be added into Hansard.

      And now, colleagues, please join me in cele­brating a truly remarkable woman.

Henry Dyck, Dr. Netha Dyck, Jack and Dianne Froese, John and Lottie Froese, Melvin and Margaret Klassen, Stephen and Catherine Klassen, Dr. Nicole Harder, Harry Siemens

Manitoba Skateboarding Coalition

MLA Uzoma Asagwara (Union Station): I'm honour­ed to rise today to recognize the Manitoba Skateboarding Coalition.

      In 2019, Maddy Nowosad started attending The Edge Skatepark run by Youth for Christ, finding community and friendships there on the ramps. However, when she realized that the skate park wasn't an inclusive space for 2SLGBTQ+ community mem­bers, Maddy, alongside her partner, Em, other youth and staff, took a stand.

      Bravely, Maddy and others spoke publicly about how important it is that youth-centred community spaces are safe and affirming for all those who seek to use them, and that discriminatory practices like what she learned was happening at Youth for Christ are unacceptable.

      Their voices echoed concerns which have been raised for years and calls for governments to stop providing public funds to organizations which actively discriminate against Manitobans.

      Not only did Maddy, Geoff Reimer and others speak up, but they took action and founded the Manitoba Skateboarding Coalition. They are actively raising funds to create an inclusive skate park in Winnipeg, one where 2SLGBTQ+ communities, BIPOC and equity would be at the heart of what it means to connect and celebrate the sport they love.

      Their vision recognizes that the diversity of Manitoba is served well when all people are welcome. They've formed relationships with organizations in my con­stit­uency of Union Station, a community which is in need of safer recreational spaces, and I look forward to not only getting a skateboarding lesson during the coalition's pride skate at the Pride festival this summer, but also supporting the park once their vision fully comes to life.

      I encourage folks to follow them on social media, support their GoFundMe campaign and their upcoming fundraisers.

I ask that all members of this House join me to not  only welcome Maddy Nowosad and coalition co‑organizer Lyndsey Wallis, who joined us today, but to also thank them for their courage and for actioning what love for sport and love for community looks like.

Thank you.

Madam Speaker: The hon­our­able Minister of Families (Ms. Squires). [interjection] No?

      The hon­our­able member for Keewatinook.

Orange Shirt Day

Mr. Ian Bushie (Keewatinook): The Premier (Mrs. Stefanson) has publicly stated that she's refusing to make the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, also known as Orange Shirt Day, a statutory holiday.

      This is another disrespectful and blatant example of the gov­ern­ment's out-of-touch approach with Indigenous communities and lack of political will to reconcile with Canada's horrific past.

      For multiple years, this government has com­mitted to passing recognition of Orange Shirt Day into law, and once again they have gone back on their promise.

      The Premier constantly places blame elsewhere: on consultation, on the pandemic, on everyone but herself. This is a continuation of Brian Pallister's tactics, and is disgraceful.

      The Premier's defence of the status quo in regards to the relations with Indigenous nations and the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation is disrespect­ful. This decision shows the government's complete lack of respect for residential school survivors and their families who have been calling on this government for years to acknowledge and respect the lives of Indigenous children.

      Last fall, the Premier stood up in her orange shirt with her entire PC caucus and voted against our bill that would make Orange Shirt Day a statutory holiday here in Manitoba. And, to be clear, each and every one of the members opposite stood up in this House and voted against that.

      This is all the evidence that Manitobans need to show that the PC government has a complete disregard for advancing reconciliation with Indigenous people and that the PC gov­ern­ment's status quo is unacceptable.

Théâtre Cercle Molière

Mr. Dougald


(St. Boniface): Today I raise–I rise to pay tribute to a truly remarkable cultural institution here in Manitoba. Now, in Quebec and elsewhere across Canada, people would surely be surprised to learn that the oldest French-speaking theatre company, Théâtre Cercle Molière, is here in St. Boniface.

      In fact, it's not just the oldest French theatre company in Canada, it's the oldest theatre company in Canada in any language. It's an incredible testament to the vision of Cercle Molière's founders, and to the hard work, creativity, and resilience of all those who have followed.

      En 2025, le Cercle Molière fêtera son 100e anniversaire et, ce jeudi, il lance sa marque pour célébrer l'événement.

      Dès le début, l'entreprise a parcouru les régions rurales du Manitoba. Sous la direction de Pauline Boutal, de 1925 à 1968, le Théâtre Cercle Molière a remporté de nombreux prix au Dominion Drama Festival, et en 1970, il a été la première troupe non professionnelle à se produire au Centre national des Arts à Ottawa.

J'aimerais souligner le travail de Geneviève Pelletier, une interprète et metteuse en scène métisse de Winnipeg qui, depuis 2012, est la directrice artistique du Théâtre Cercle Molière.

TCM a également mis l'accent sur les histoires franco-manitobaines, avec quelque 70 pièces d'auteurs franco-manitobains jouées sur la scène de TCM, la compagnie continuant à rechercher de nouvelles voix au sein de la communauté.

 Le Théâtre Cercle Molière vous invite à participer à ses auditions générales et rencontres artistiques ce printemps.

Que vous ayez un intérêt particulier à l'interprétation, la mise en scène, le décor, la régie, l'éclairage, le son ou autres formes artistiques, on veut vous rencontrer.

 Les auditions et rencontres artistiques auront lieu les 18 et 19 mai en personne, dans le Studio du TCM. Contactez le théâtre via leur site web : cerclemoliere.com. La date limite est le 5 mai 2023.

Merci bien.


In 2025, the Théâtre Cercle Molière will celebrate its centennial, with events starting this Thursday to celebrate this milestone.

Since its inception, the theatre has travelled through Manitoba's rural areas. Between 1925 to 1968, the theatre has won many awards at the Dominion Drama Festival under the direction of Pauline Boutal, and in 1970, it became the first non-professional theatre group to have a show at the National Centre for the Arts in Ottawa.

I want to highlight the work of Geneviève Pelletier, a Winnipeg Métis actor and director who has been the artistic director of the Théâtre Cercle Molière since 2012.

TCM has also focused on Franco-Manitoban stories, with some 70 plays by Franco-Manitoban writers produced on the TCM stage, and the theatre is always looking for new voices within the com­mu­nity.

The Théâtre Cercle Molière invites you to its spring general auditions and artist meetings.

Whether you have a parti­cular interest in acting, directing, decor, stage managing, lighting, sound or other art forms, we want to meet you.

Auditions and artist meetings will take place on May 18 and 19, in person at the TCM Studio. Please contact the theatre via its website: cerclemoliere.com. The deadline is May 5, 2023.

Thank you.

Movin' On Choir

Hon. Rochelle Squires (Minister of Families): I'm pleased to rise today to recognize a remarkable choral group comprised of talented seniors who live in my Riel constituency at Dakota House.

The choir is called Movin' On, and it has 23 exuberant members under the directorship of Irene Young and the accomplished pianist, Margaret Rempel.

* (13:40)

      Movin' On got its initial start years back when it was known as the Dakota Dazzlers, with Bob James as conductor and the late Irene Milne as pianist. Their  dedication will never be forgotten for their 12‑plus years of weekly practices and monthly con­certs. And, the Dazzlers left a huge legacy, one that instills the belief that there is a place for amateur singing, even for retirees.

      Each week at Dakota House, you can hear the harmonious Movin' On choir lifting their voices and the spirits of everyone around them, filling the halls with laughter and harmony and song. They truly em­brace music as a way to feel forever young.

      Rarely does a week go by when this choir isn't hard at work in practice and preparing programs for special events and holidays to celebrate with their fellow neighbours. The reward for their dedication is a full‑house attendance and an exuberant spirit of com­munity created through song.

      Members of this community often say that this choir helps promote a sense of belonging and happi­ness and creates a pathway for truly aging with flair. Dakota House residents feel proud and very lucky to have a choir with this talent right in their very own home. They are an inspiration for all.

      Madam Speaker, we're very fortunate to have with us in the gallery some members of the Movin' On choir, with many more watching from home. I am pleased that their names will all be recorded in the Manitoba Legislature's songbook, also known as Hansard, and ask that all of my colleagues of the Manitoba Legislative Assembly help me honour the talented and inspira­tional members of the Movin' On choir from Dakota House.

      Thank you, Madam Speaker.

Gloria Baker, Marion Biebrich, Lori Botan, Betty Bouchard, Mary Brooke, Jeanne Carlson, Wilma Coffin, Leone Durham, Vivian Gibson, Hortense Hodge, Bob Love, Romeo Montsion, Olive Norberg, Glennys Propp, Margaret Rempel, Yvonne Schneider, Esther Schroeder, Ida Schwab, Addie Thoroski, Herb Wagner, Mildred Wright, Anne Yanchyshyn, Irene Young.

Introduction of Guests

Madam Speaker: Prior to oral questions, I have some guests that I would like to intro­duce to you.

      Seated in the loge to my right is the former MLA for Portage la Prairie, David Faurschou.

      And seated in the public gallery, from Windsor Park Collegiate, through­out the day I believe we are going to have 100 grade 9 students, under the direction of Angela Bunkowski, and this group is located in the con­stit­uency of the hon­our­able member for Southdale (Ms. Gordon).

      On behalf of all hon­our­able members here, we welcome you to the Manitoba Legislature.

Oral Questions

Edu­ca­tion Property Tax Credit Revenue
Edu­ca­tion System Funding

Mr. Wab Kinew (Leader of the Official Opposition): You know, Madam Speaker, the Premier has a choice to make this year. She has to decide whether she wants to keep sending million‑dollar cheques to out‑of‑province billionaires or if she'd prefer–like on this side of the House, what we say to do–to invest that money in Manitoba schools.

      For most Manitobans, seems like a pretty simple choice. If there's reve­nues for schools, that should probably be spent on helping feed hungry children. But, you know, the PCs, just like Brian Pallister, insist on: no, let's mail out these massive cheques to billion­aires who don't even live in the province of Manitoba.

      So, what's it going to be? Is the Premier going to continue sending millions to billionaires who don't need it or is she going to start feeding hungry kids in Manitoba schools?

Hon. Heather Stefanson (Premier): Manitobans know that in the recent budget that we tabled in this House, we are investing more than $100 million more, a 6.1 per cent increase, where every single school division right across the province got a sig­ni­fi­cant increase in their budget, Madam Speaker.

      Those are the facts, unlike the Leader of the Opposi­tion, who continues down his path of putting false infor­ma­tion on the record in this Chamber.

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

Mr. Kinew: Here's a fact: Charles Koch is an American who is the 21st richest person in the world.

      Here's another fact: this Premier and her gov­ern­ment sent him for–sent him a cheque for nearly a hundred grand last year. That's at the same time that school divisions, like the Interlake School Division, are debating which school they need to cut a teacher from. That's what is going on in Manitoba these days.

      Cadillac Fairview–this is a Bay Street real estate holding company with a market cap of $20 billion–they got a cheque for $1 million from this Premier. We think that that money should be spent on kids in schools and not–[interjection]

Madam Speaker: Order.

Mr. Kinew: –mailed out of province to the billionaires.

      Will the Premier stop sending these cheques to out‑of‑province rich people who didn't even ask for this?

Mrs. Stefanson: Well, I know the Leader of the Opposi­tion doesn't understand this, and perhaps mem­bers opposite don't understand this, but this is the fact, Madam Speaker: The private 'secture'–sector is the engine of growth in our economy.

      Now, I know that leader–the Leader of the Opposi­tion, every single member opposite–[interjection]

Madam Speaker: Order.

Mrs. Stefanson: –doesn't have any idea how to grow our economy–[interjection]

Madam Speaker: Order.

Mrs. Stefanson: –but Manitobans want us to put in place programs that will help grow–[interjection]

Madam Speaker: Order.

Mrs. Stefanson: –our economy here in Manitoba.

      So we will continue to make those invest­ments in Manitoba because Manitobans know, Madam Speaker, that if we're growing our economy, that means more money for health care, for edu­ca­tion and for social services.

      We will take no lessons from the members opposite.

Madam Speaker: I'm going to remind all members that we have students in the gallery, and they're here to see demo­cracy in action, which means listening carefully to the questions that are asked and the ones that are answered. And I'm going to ask for every­body's co‑operation please.

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

Mr. Kinew: Well, it's very telling to see the Premier, supposedly of Manitoba, not standing up for the people of Manitoba, but instead standing up for the billionaires. On this side of the House, we'll stand up for working people every single day.

      It's just like Brian Pallister. This gov­ern­ment con­tinues to mail out a million‑dollar cheque this year, just like last year, to the owners of the Polo Park mall. They're going to send another half‑million-dollar cheque to the owners of the St. Vital mall. These are resources that could be going into our schools to help kids.

      You know who benefits when everyone in Manitoba gets a strong edu­ca­tion? The people of Manitoba, but so does the private sector as well. On this side of the House, we believe that the best economic plan is a good edu­ca­tion plan.

      Why does the Premier continue sending all these resources out of province to billionaires when they're supposed to be going toward our schools?

Madam Speaker: And for clari­fi­ca­tion, that was the second sup­ple­mentary.

Mrs. Stefanson: The Leader of the Op­posi­tion and all of the members opposite have absolutely no plan to build our economy here in the province of Manitoba.

      Madam Speaker, what they have is a hidden agenda to raise Manitoba taxes. They have it–a hidden agenda to make life more expensive for Manitobans. The have a hidden agenda to kill private-sector jobs in the province of Manitoba.

      Well, we will stand on the side of Manitobans who want to see us grow our economy. That's what we stand for, Madam Speaker.

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

Orange Shirt Day
Statutory Holiday

Mr. Wab Kinew (Leader of the Official Opposition): You know, on this side of the House–and I assume that there was a unanimous belief in the Chamber on this–we believe in honouring resi­den­tial school survivors.

      I think it's a credit to the good work of educators that kids in this province today are now learning about the horrors of resi­den­tial schools. They're learning about the truth-telling process under–that was taken by the TRC, and they're learning about the Calls to Action as well as the calls to justice that paint a picture of what this country might be in our future.

      However, one of the calls to justice is for the National Day of Truth and Recon­ciliation, better known as Orange Shirt Day, to be made a statutory holiday from coast to coast to coast. There is a consensus amongst this, among Manitobans. The only people who don't agree sit in the PC caucus.

* (13:50)

      Will the Premier explain–[interjection]

Madam Speaker: Order.

Mr. Kinew: –why Orange Shirt Day will not be a stat holiday in Manitoba this year?

Hon. Heather Stefanson (Premier): Well once again, Madam Speaker, the Leader of the Op­posi­tion continues to fear monger in the Chamber of the Manitoba Legislature.

      We will continue to recog­nize Orange Shirt Day on September 30th. We believe that it should be a day of reflection. We believe that it should be a day of listening to those with lived ex­per­ience. And we believe that it's a day that we should be learning from those with lived ex­per­ience.

      And so, Madam Speaker, we will continue to recog­­nize Orange Shirt Day as a prov­incial day of observance in the province of Manitoba each and every year.

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

Mr. Kinew: The Truth and Recon­ciliation Commission of Canada was very clear: it should be a statutory holiday.

      Every working person should have the op­por­tun­ity to gather with their families and observe, and every person in this province, regardless of their back­ground, should take some time on September 30th to learn about the impacts of resi­den­tial schools. That's why the TRC said it should be a statutory holiday.

      I'll point out to the PCs that they only needed two weeks to decide that P3s were the way to build new schools. Two years later, they're still consulting on Orange Shirt Day.

      What is going on with this gov­ern­ment, that Orange Shirt Day is still not a statutory holiday in Manitoba?

Mrs. Stefanson: We want to recog­nize all Manitobans and honour those who are resi­den­tial school survivors, and the horrific acts of the past, Madam Speaker. That is why we are recog­nizing Orange Shirt Day on September 30th. We will continue to do so every single year as a prov­incial day of observance in the province of Manitoba.

      This is a day for reflection. It shouldn't be considered a quote-unquote holiday, Madam Speaker. It should be a day of observance, a day of reflection, to show respect for those families and the horrific acts that took place in the past.

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

Mr. Kinew: I was very proud to walk with students from Windsor Park Collegiate on Orange Shirt Day a few years ago, and I strongly encourage Manitobans from all walks of life, of every age, to partici­pate in this day, each and every year.

      I would also be remiss if I did not remind the House that the PCs voted against making Orange Shirt Day a statutory holiday while wearing orange shirts, I would add.

      The Truth and Recon­ciliation Com­mis­sion was clear: this should be a statutory holiday from coast to coast to coast so that every Canadian can freely partici­­pate in its observance. The prov­incial gov­ern­ment is the one that sets regula­tions for most people's work places with regard to stat holidays.

      So, the question for the Premier is this: Why is she ignoring the voices of resi­den­tial school survivors as articulated in the Truth and Recon­ciliation Commis­sion's Calls to Action?

Mrs. Stefanson: Madam Speaker, I feel compelled to let the students in the gallery know that we all partici­pated in Orange Shirt Day as well on September 30th and walked side by side with those individuals, some of them in the gallery today, those students that are out there.

      So, we need to let them know; we need to put the facts on the record. We will recog­nize, and we do recog­nize, Orange Shirt Day as September 30th, a prov­incial–[interjection]

Madam Speaker: Order.

Mrs. Stefanson: –day of observance, Madam Speaker, a time to reflect, a time to remember, a time to listen to all of those families who went through the terrific–these horrific atrocities of the past.

      We will continue to stand side by side those families and observe Orange Shirt Day on September 30th.

Orange Shirt Day
Statutory Holiday

Mr. Ian Bushie (Keewatinook): I will point out to the students that if they choose to walk with their parents and loved ones, they will not have that op­por­tun­ity because Orange Shirt Day is not a statutory holiday here in Manitoba.

      The Premier (Mrs. Stefanson) announced today that she will not make Orange Shirt Day a statutory holiday this year. This is extremely disappointing. It's disappointing for Indigenous people and for Manitobans as a whole, who have called on this PC gov­ern­ment and this Premier to not follow in Brian Pallister's steps and instead to do the right thing and make Orange Shirt Day a statutory holiday here in Manitoba.

      The Premier claims ongoing con­sul­ta­tion is to blame, yet we know this is just a deflection from a Premier who refuses–who, much like Brian Pallister, mind you–refuses to lead, refuses to advance recon­ciliation for Indigenous people here in Manitoba.

      Can the Premier explain why she continues to refuse to make Orange Shirt Day a statutory holiday here in Manitoba?

Hon. Eileen Clarke (Minister of Indigenous Reconciliation and Northern Relations): I want to take this op­por­tun­ity, in light of students here, to recog­­nize not just students, but teachers, busi­nesses, com­mu­nities through­out this province; that since orange shirt initially became an event that they could learn more about resi­den­tial schools and learn more about the culture of our First Nations and Indigenous peoples, they are attending willingly. They do not have to be legis­lated. They are going out and each year the crowds are getting larger and larger and they're encouraging more people.

      This is being recog­nized and it will continue to be recog­nized.

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

Mr. Bushie: They are partici­pating willingly, but at the same time having to skip and miss work just to be able to partici­pate in events that every Manitoban should be able to be a part of.

      Just last month, the Premier pretended to support Orange Shirt Day. She supported Bill 203. Our bill would have made Orange Shirt Day a statutory holi­day here in Manitoba. But now, the Premier shows us her true in­ten­tions and that is to quietly try and show her op­posi­tion to making Orange Shirt Day a statutory holiday. It's clear the Premier didn't truly support Bill 203. She was only trying to avoid making head­lines once again.

      Today, the Premier (Mrs. Stefanson) says Indigenous issues will remain the, and I quote, status quo. That's disappointing and, quite frankly, it's disrespectful.

      Will the Premier apologize to Manitobans for misleading them on Orange Shirt Day–on making Orange Shirt Day a statutory holiday here in Manitoba?

Hon. Jon Reyes (Minister of Labour and Immigration): Our gov­ern­ment gives careful con­sid­era­tion to any proposal with broad impacts, such as those presented by a proposed statutory day.

      Our gov­ern­ment consulted with Indigenous leader­ship, resi­den­tial school survivors and Labour Manage­ment Review Com­mit­tee, as we were collaborating to advance truth and recon­ciliation.

      Obviously, the NDP did not consult with prov­incial stake­holders.

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

Mr. Bushie: The PC gov­ern­ment last year said there wasn't enough time to do the due diligence to make Orange Shirt Day a statutory holiday. Yet, here we are almost a year later, and this PC gov­ern­ment is still standing still on recon­ciliation.

      Making Orange Shirt Day a statutory holiday would give all Manitobans the op­por­tun­ity to learn about the history of resi­den­tial schools. That's what the Premier said when she supported Bill 203, The Orange Shirt Day Statutory Holiday Act.

      Yet, now, she's shown her true–and her party's true colours, just like Brian Pallister. They don't care, and they continue to mislead Manitobans to try to convince them that they actually do.

      Why did this Premier mislead Manitobans about Orange Shirt Day, and will she reverse course and sup­port and give royal assent to Bill 203 to make Orange Shirt Day a statutory holiday here in Manitoba this year? Yes or no?

Mr. Reyes: Madam Speaker, our gov­ern­ment is committed to recon­ciliation with First Nations and recognizes the importance of Orange Shirt Day. We have met with various Indigenous leaders and 'stakehurdles' through­out the process, including col­lab­o­ration with the National Centre for Truth and Recon­ciliation.

      We've also partnered with com­mu­nity-led events across the province that honour survival of resi­den­tial schools. This includes public awareness, sharing circles for survivors and op­por­tun­ities for Manitobans to learn more about the legacy of resi­den­tial schools.

      Recon­ciliation remembrance of the lives affected is im­por­tant 365 days of the year and cannot be regulated to just one day, Madam Speaker.

Some Honourable Members: Oh, oh.

Madam Speaker: Order.

New School Construction
Use of Public/Private Model

Mr. Nello Altomare (Transcona): To no one's surprise, the PCs are yet again making decisions that are not based on evidence. They've pledged, Madam Speaker, to use a P3 model to construct schools, despite their own findings in 2018 showing that it would cost taxpayers more.

* (14:00)

      Provinces like Alberta, Saskatchewan, Nova Scotia have learned their mistakes from P3s. The minister claims it will be different in Manitoba, but he's provi­ding no explanation as to how. Manitobans, Madam Speaker, deserve answers before PCs give millions to private cor­por­ations.

      Can the Premier explain why she's failed to do her due diligence before giving millions to private cor­por­ations?

Hon. James Teitsma (Minister of Consumer Protection and Government Services): Madam Speaker, the priorities of our gov­ern­ment are very clear: it is to ensure that schools get built in this pro­vince and that they get built quickly and that they get built to a high quality.

      Now, under the previous NDP admin­is­tra­tion, 17 years went by with hardly any schools being built and with temporary classrooms being set up in school divisions–[interjection]

Madam Speaker: Order.

Mr. Teitsma: –sometimes 20–over 20–temporary class­rooms on a single site under their admin­is­tra­tion. That is a failure we don't want to repeat.

      We are committed to building schools. We've been building them, we're going to continue to build them and we're going to build nine more this way.

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

Mr. Altomare: Let me correct the record. During 17 years of NDP gov­ern­ment, we built 35 schools, with 85 additions, con­sistently and properly; not this revisionist history.

      And, Madam Speaker, the minister–[interjection]

Madam Speaker: Order.

Mr. Altomare: –knows–[interjection]

Madam Speaker: Order.

Mr. Altomare: –the minister knows that, unlike public procurement models that have built-in mechanisms for trans­par­ency and account­ability, P3s don't. They have what are called con­fi­dentiality agree­ments–I'm sure he knows that–and those won't be released.

      So, Madam Speaker, Manitobans deserve an answer and they deserve it right now. How is this P3 model going to work in this province? [interjection]

Madam Speaker: Order, please.

      For some reason, people feel that they should natter a lot today and I'm not sure why. So I'm going to ask everybody to please co‑operate here.

Mr. Teitsma: My ex­pect­a­tion is that these–this model will work very well.

      And I would just–if the member claims to have built I don't know how many schools there, but how on earth did that result in 23 portables on one site under their admin­is­tra­tion? How is that even anything remotely near respon­si­ble gov­ern­ance?

      Now, we have reversed the tide. We have been building schools. We've continued to build schools even through the pandemic. Even as supply chain issues cropped up during the pandemic, we continued to build schools.

      We continue to get the job done. Manitobans have every reason to trust that we will continue to do so with this model as well.

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

Mr. Altomare: Let's bring it back to the question at hand. In 2018, the PCs them­selves abandoned the P3 process because it would cost taxpayers more. And now, yet again, they're claiming they can do it using a cheaper model. Their source: just trust us.

      But Manitobans, Madam Speaker, they know better. Their claims are nothing but empty promises.

      So, can he finally explain why they're committed to constructing schools using a P3 model despite knowing they cost taxpayers more?

Mr. Teitsma: Madam Speaker, the member opposite purports to have been an educator in our system. I hope he's not good at math, he doesn't seem to be good at math; I hope he wasn't instructing that.

      But our ex­pect­a­tion and our focus–our ex­pect­a­tion may be that the costs come in lower, but our focus is not on that. Our focus is on building these schools quickly. Our focus is on building these schools to a high quality. Our focus is on ensuring that Manitoba students don't have to go to school in portables; instead, they get to go to school in modern, beautiful buildings.

      That's what we're going to get done.

Manitoba Hydro Privatization
Gov­ern­ment Intention

Mr. Adrien Sala (St. James): This PC gov­ern­ment's political inter­ference and mis­manage­ment of our Crowns is well known by now. They've shuttered Manitoba Hydro Inter­national's profitable consulting services, and they've privatized access to Manitoba Hydro Telecom's dark fibre network. Those are facts.

      They hired their Conservative buddy, Brad Wall, to further under­mine the strength of our publicly owned utility and set it up for further priva­tiza­tion.

      Will the Hydro minister confirm whether his PC gov­ern­ment will come clean with Manitobans regard­ing their plans to further priva­tize Manitoba Hydro?

Hon. Cliff Cullen (Minister responsible for Manitoba Hydro): Well, Madam Speaker, here we go again. We've got the NDP out there trying to fear monger Manitobans. I'll take them back to the previous election. They tried to fear monger Manitobans about Manitoba Hydro and priva­tiza­tion.

      Nothing could be further from the truth. Manitobans didn't buy it then, and Manitobans are not buying what the NDP is trying to sell today.

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

Mr. Sala: Manitoba Hydro is a Crown jewel that benefits all Manitobans, but this PC gov­ern­ment's secrecy continues to demonstrate–[interjection]

Madam Speaker: Order.

Mr. Sala: –why Manitobans can't trust them.

      Last year, this PC gov­ern­ment responded to the Wall's report recom­men­dations indicating that they would amend Hydro's legis­lative mandate this spring and then review, quote, its various sub­sid­iary elements and deter­mine if those operations are core to its mandated duty. If they are not core to its mission, then they should be considered for sale or shut down. End quote.

      Will the minister commit today to reveal, before the election, his PC gov­ern­ment's in­ten­tion for Hydro's mandate and their secret plans to sell it off bit by bit?

Some Honourable Members: Oh, oh.

Madam Speaker: Order.

Mr. Cullen: Well, Madam Speaker, I can understand why that member is mad and upset, because it was his gov­ern­ment were in charge of the biggest capital boon­doggle in Manitoba's history. This is how Manitoba Hydro ended up with a $24‑billion deficit–$4 billion over budget.

      Our gov­ern­ment has taken steps to stabilize Manitoba Hydro and, at the same time, provide low rates for Manitobans. We've done this by reducing water rental rates and the debt guarantee charged to Manitoba Hydro by 50 per cent. That is exactly oppo­site of what the NDP did, because the NDP doubled those rates.

      We're saving Manitoba Hydro and helping Manitobans.

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

Mr. Sala: Manitobans are upset because the only focus this gov­ern­ment has had on Hydro is jacking up Manitobans' hydro rates as quickly as possible. That's shameful, Madam Speaker.

      Last week, we asked the Environ­ment Minister where he's hiding his PC government's overdue prov­incial energy strategy that they spent $1.2 million on with nothing to show for. This strategy is key to informing Hydro's rate planning and their application to the Public Utilities Board, and, according to this PC gov­ern­ment, it's going to be used as an input in their rewriting of Hydro's mandate. Manitobans are rightfully concerned with the silence from this PC gov­ern­ment on their plans for Hydro's mandate as we approach an election.

      When will the minister release the prov­incial energy strategy, or will he keep it hidden, like their priva­tiza­tion agenda, until after the prov­incial election?

Mr. Cullen: Well, Madam Speaker, I find it interesting that the NDP have a new interest in Manitoba Hydro and the Public Utilities Board.

      Now, we know they created $24 billion of debt over at Manitoba Hydro, and they did that without even consulting the Public Utilities Board. They went into–made the most largest capital invest­ment in Manitoba's history, went all around the Public Utilities Board altogether.

      Madam Speaker, what we have done, we've invested more money in the Public Utilities Board, we've strengthened the Public Utilities Board and we've saved, this year alone, $180 million for Manitoba Hydro to strengthen Manitoba Hydro and to save ratepayers money.

      Madam Speaker, we're taking no lessons from the NDP.

Families Ex­per­iencing Miscarriage or Stillbirth
Guaranteed Paid Em­ploy­ment Leave

Ms. Amanda Lathlin (The Pas-Kameesak): This morning, members of this House voted to extend unpaid leave when women and their partners ex­per­ience a miscarriage or stillbirth from three to five days.

* (14:10)

      However, this must be on record, Madam Speaker, that three separate times–twice previously and again during this Legis­lative Assembly–we intro­duced legis­­lative amend­ments that would've provided guaranteed paid leave while–through Bill 210, while families grieving their loss.

      Now that we have taken one im­por­tant step in extending this im­por­tant leave, will the Labour Minister agree that it's long past time for the Province to provide guaranteed paid leave for those families that have had a miscarriage or stillbirth?

Hon. Jon Reyes (Minister of Labour and Immigration): I thank the member for the question. I want to thank the member for Rossmere (Mr. Micklefield) for doing the second reading on this bill and suc­cess­fully passing of this bill. We listened to many Manitobans with regards to this bill, to ensure that we help Manitobans in this dire situation. And we want to ensure that we continue to help Manitobans with regards to these situations to ensure that they don't suffer from anxiety and stress when a situation like this occurs.

      Thank you, Madam Speaker.

Madam Speaker: The honourable member for The Pas-Kameesak, on a supplementary question.

Ms. Lathlin: Extending unpaid leave for miscarriage and stillbirth is just really one small step. More help is needed.

      The society of 'obstrecians' and gynecologists of Canada estimates that one in five pregnancies end in a miscarriage. Families ex­per­iencing this grief, pain, loss need our collective support, not just so they're–aren't fired, but also that they're aren't depleting any sick time or losing any of their income.

      After seven years of inaction from this PC gov­ern­ment, will this minister acknowl­edge that the approach of his PC colleagues is full of half measures this–that fails to support families in their time of grief?

Mr. Reyes: Whether it's a miscarriage, loss of life or any dire situation that affects workers personally, Madam Speaker, we want to ensure that these people are taken care of.

      Our gov­ern­ment will always be working for the workers, whether it's the begin­ning of the day, the end of the day, anytime, Madam Speaker. So, our doors will be always open to recom­men­dations, to listen to Manitobans to ensure that we–ensure that they're treated fairly with regards to these situations and in these dire situations.

      Thank you, Madam Speaker.

Madam Speaker: The honourable member for The Pas-Kameesak, on a final supplementary.

Ms. Lathlin: You know, Madam Speaker, if he really, truly, want to take care of our workers, you know, paid leave makes much better sense. And all we get is excuses from the Labour Minister and this PC gov­ern­ment.

      Under the PC gov­ern­ment's approach, many parents have to choose between properly grieving their preg­nancy loss or putting food on the table. Money, eh? This is an impossible choice for many, and can lead to longer term trauma if parents aren't given enough time to grieve.

      Will this minister do the right thing and confirm for the House that this PC gov­ern­ment will support our bill to provide paid leave for families that have ex­per­ienced a pregnancy loss?


Hon. Kelvin Goertzen (Minister of Justice and Attorney General): I, like many in this House, have suffered and known the challenges of when a family has a miscarriage. I've spoken about that many times in the House, and I know many other members have as well. It's not a political point to be made.

      This morning, a member brought forward a private member's bill, it was–passed second reading and will go to com­mit­tee. And I commend the members, and I would commend all members of the House, for moving that bill forward.

      This isn't a political point. These are difficult circum­stances that many families, including those in this House and my own, have gone through. This bill will go to com­mit­tee–[interjection] The member could maybe heckle at a different time.

      But this bill will go to com­mit­tee, amend­ments can be brought forward and we can look at the bill further, Madam Speaker.

PPE Purchased During Pandemic
Request for Spending Audit

Mr. Dougald Lamont (St. Boniface): There's an article in the media today, which I table, that shows this gov­ern­ment spent $35 million for 500,000 N95 masks that have never been used; an untended con­tract for masks that sat in storage.

      Now, this isn't the only example. There was a court case relating to another untendered contract for millions of masks that couldn't be used and didn't fit, for $35 million US which is nearly 15–$50 million Canadian. And there was hand sanitizer made from fuel-grade ethanol. All together over $86 million in PPE that wasn't used, was useless or dangerous, as these tabling docu­ments show.

      Are we ever going to get an explanation, inquiry or audit into this gov­ern­ment's wasting money during the pandemic?

Hon. James Teitsma (Minister of Consumer Protection and Government Services): I do take a sig­ni­fi­cant issue with the tone that the member oppo­site is taking on this matter. If the House will recall, there was a time when there was no PPE available; where N95 masks were in such high demand and low supply that we couldn't get a shipment to come to Manitoba.

      And in that context, a Manitoba innovative com­pany said, you know what? I can build a reusable N95 mask to guarantee that your health workers, that your nurses and your doctors will have the pro­tec­tion that an N95 mask offers them, no matter what happens to supply chain.

      That's impressive innovation. I am so glad that we supported it.

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

Mr. Lamont: It's remark­able that, you know, this gov­ern­ment boasted about how much they spent on PPE, which was a hundred times more than Saskatchewan. They just skipped the part where no one could actually use it. There needs to be an explanation.

      We're talking about $80 million in untendered contracts for products that couldn't be used. Those 500,000 masks–which are excellent–from a local com­pany, were sitting in boxes while teachers, EAs, early learning child-care workers and staff and family in personal-care homes could have used them. They were pleading for them.

      We paid $35 million for these N95 masks, and the Premier (Mrs. Stefanson) was Health minister. Did she know about them or why they were left in boxes while Manitobans were left with nothing?

      Will this gov­ern­ment call the Auditor General to review this gov­ern­ment's $85 million in misguided pandemic spending?

Mr. Teitsma: As I was saying, very impressed with the innovative ideas of this Manitoba company. Very happy to see that what this did was it took Manitoba from–in a place where we might not have PPE to knowing for certain that we would, no matter what, and that's what's im­por­tant.

      Now, the member seems to think that we should be using this PPE now in our health-care system. But we won't–[interjection]–we won't because when the traditional N95 masks–[interjection]

Madam Speaker: Order.

Mr. Teitsma: the member for St. Johns (MLA Fontaine) thinks this is some­thing that should be heckled about. I take the health of Manitobans very seriously; I take our health-care system very seriously, and I would just like to remind that member that–[interjection]

Madam Speaker: Order.

Mr. Teitsma: –what we want to do is provide health-care workers with the most efficient and most effective–

Madam Speaker: The member's time has expired.

      And I'm going to have to call the member for St. Johns to order. There's been a lot of heckling there today and it makes it very difficult in here. And the next person I hear doing the same, I will call you to order as well.

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

Prov­incial Nominee Program for Skilled Workers
Timeline for Point System Review

Ms. Cindy Lamoureux (Tyndall Park): When it comes to Prov­incial Nominee Program, spe­cific­ally skilled workers, the point systems need to be reviewed. There are serious labour shortages and retention prob­lems across the province.

      Policies need to be adjusted to recog­nize these issues and be more inviting for skilled workers. Madam Speaker, busi­ness owners met with the minister respon­si­ble for immigration a couple of months ago, and they were told a solution would be made public by the end of March. But now, almost mid-April, no solution has been presented.

      Can the minister please provide a specific date as to when skilled workers can expect the promised solutions?

Hon. Jon Reyes (Minister of Labour and Immigration): Solutions have made–have been made public via the immigratemanitoba.com site. There have been normal draws, there have been special draws. I want to thank the federal minister for giving us 9,500 allocations, an increase of 50 per cent from last year.

      There was a record number of allocations pro­cessed last year–the last two years. The PNP was created by a PC gov­ern­ment back in 1998. There are 70 recom­men­dations in the IAC report and some of those recommendations are–being actions, and those solutions have been made public.

      And we're going to continue to welcome more Manitobans to this province, future new­comers, and advocate for them to ensure that they make Manitoba their home of hope.

      Thank you.

Homelessness Pre­ven­tion Initiatives
Funding to Com­mu­nity Organizations

Mr. Len Isleifson (Brandon East): As you're aware, our gov­ern­ment has recently released Manitoba's first homelessness strategy, and I know, along with other further an­nounce­ments that were made recently in Brandon, are outstanding for this province.

* (14:20)

      I want to ask the Minister of Families to outline how our gov­ern­ment's invest­ments to support com­mu­nity‑wide approaches will help prevent chronic home­lessness and build stronger com­mu­nities right across our entire province.

Hon. Rochelle Squires (Minister of Families): I'd like to thank my friend from Brandon East for asking that question.

      And I'd also like to thank him for hosting us, my de­part­ment and myself, in Brandon last week, where we were very pleased to meet with members of the Blue Door Project, Samaritan House, Massey Manor and Housing First to see some of the great work that they're doing to ensure that all unsheltered people have a safe place to call home.

      While in Brandon, we also announced $330,000 in increased annual funding to Samaritan House to operate its Safe & Warm Shelter. We also expanded the homeless outreach mentor program by increasing the annual funding from $25,000 to $185,000. We also announced $4.6 million to help kids aging out of care.

      Madam Speaker, we know there is a lot of work to do–

Madam Speaker: Member's time has expired.

Adanac Apartment Complex
Health and Safety Concerns

Ms. Lisa Naylor (Wolseley): Last week in this House, my colleague from Notre Dame raised concerns regard­ing the Adanac, an apartment building on Sargent Avenue that has become a health and safety hazard for residents and neighbours.

      The Adanac used to be a decent building that families called home but now it's an illegal dumping ground full of garbage. There's multiple bylaw infrac­tions leading to fires, property crime, drug and sex trafficking.

      Will the minister for munici­pal affairs advise the House whether he is aware of the problems at build­ings like the Adanac, and what support his de­part­ment is able to offer the city in helping these residents?

Hon. Rochelle Squires (Minister of Families): On the issue of provi­ding safe and affordable housing units for all Manitobans, that is some­thing that this gov­ern­ment takes very seriously.

      It is unfor­tunate that when that member's party was in power, we saw an erosion of 17,485 units of affordable housing that were lost during their time in office, between the years of 2011 and when voters showed them the door.

      Madam Speaker, we know a lot more work needs to be done to ensure all Manitobans have a safe and affordable place to call home, but we're the ones to get the job done.

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

Ms. Naylor: The MLA for Notre Dame has been re­peat­edly calling on the PC gov­ern­ment to address the public health and safety concerns at the Adanac and other buildings like it. The Daniel McIntyre coun­cillor, Cindy Gilroy, seconded by Mayor Gillingham, tabled a motion requesting the Province to step up to provide wraparound services that folks need to survive.

      Will the minister step up and answer the mayor of Winnipeg's call for help in responding to the housing crisis at the Adanact [phonetic] and other buildings where vul­ner­able people are housed in this city?

Ms. Squires: I know this member wasn't in the Chamber at the time when her NDP party were seeing the erosion of 17,485 units of affordable housing, so I'll table the docu­ments for her review and reflection on their time in office.

      But what our gov­ern­ment is doing is we recently announced $126-million homelessness strategy to ensure all unsheltered people have a place to call home, with wraparound mental health supports for those who need it.

      We're getting the job done, Madam Speaker.

Madam Speaker: The time for oral questions has expired.

* * *

Ms. Squires: Madam Speaker, can I ask for leave to recog­nize ad­di­tional members of the Movin' On choir that are here in the gallery, including Anne Yanchyshyn, Irene Young, Jeanne Carlson, Romeo Montsion and Lori Baton.

Madam Speaker: Is there leave to allow the names to be included in Hansard?

Some Honourable Members: Leave.

Madam Speaker: Leave has been granted.

Anne Yanchyshyn, Irene Young, Jeanne Carlson, Romeo Montsion, Lori Baton


Mr. Nello Altomare (Transcona): Thank you–oh. Okay.

Madam Speaker: Order.

      I did call the–say that the time for oral questions has expired.

      The hon­our­able member for Transcona, on petitions.

Health-Care Coverage

Mr. Nello Altomare (Transcona): I wish to present the following petition to the Legislative Assembly.

      To the Legis­lative Assembly of Manitoba, the background for this petition is as follows:

      (1) Health care is a basic human right and a fundamental part of responsible public health. Many people in Manitoba are not covered by provincial health care: migrant workers with work permits of less than one year, international students and those undocumented residents who have lost their status for a variety of reasons.

      (2) Racialized people and communities are disproportionately affected by the pandemic, mainly due to the social economic conditions which leave them vulnerable while performing essential work in a variety of industries in Manitoba.

      (3) Without adequate health-care coverage, if they are ill, many of the uninsured will avoid seeking health care due to fear of being charged for the care, and some will fear possible detention and deportation if their immigration status is reported to the authorities.

      (4) According to the United Nations Human Rights Committee, denying essential health care to undocu­mented, irregular migrants is a violation of their rights.

      (5) Jurisdictions across Canada and the world have adopted access-without-fear policies to prevent sharing personal health information or immigration status with immigration authorities and to give uninsured residents the confidence to access health care.

      (6) The pandemic has clearly identified the need for everyone in Manitoba to have access to health care to protect the health and safety of all who live–[interjection]

Madam Speaker: Order.

Mr. Altomare: –in the province.

      Therefore, we petition the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba as follows:

      (1) To urge the provincial government to immediately provide comprehensive and free health-care coverage to all residents of Manitoba, regardless of immigration status, including refugee claimants, migrant workers, international students, dependant children of temporary residents and undocumented residents.

      (2) To urge the minister of Health to undertake a multilingual communication campaign to provide information on expanded coverage to all affected residents.

      (3) To urge the minister of Health to inform all health-care institutions and providers of expanded coverage for those without health insurance and the details on how necessary policy and protocol changes will be imple­mented; and

      (4) To urge the minister of Health to create and enforce strict confidentiality policies and provide staff with training to protect the safety of residents with precarious immigration status and ensure they can access health care without jeopardizing their ability to remain in Canada.

      This petition, Madam Speaker, is signed by many Manitobans.

      Thank you.

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

Prov­incial Road 224

Ms. Amanda Lathlin (The Pas-Kameesak): I wish to present the following petition to the Legis­lative Assembly.

      The back­ground to this petition is as follows:

      (1) Prov­incial Road 224 serves Peguis First Nation, Fisher River Cree Nation and surrounding com­mu­nities. The road is in need of sub­stan­tial repairs.

      (2) The road has been in poor con­di­tion for years and has numer­ous potholes, uneven driving surfaces and extremely narrow shoulders.

      (3) Due to recent popu­la­tion growth in the area, there has been increased vehicle and pedestrian use of Prov­incial Road 224.

      (4) Without repair, Prov­incial Road 224 will continue to pose a hazard to the many Manitobans who use it on a regular basis.

      (5) Concerned Manitobans are requesting that Prov­incial Road 224 be assessed, repaired urgently to improve safety for its users.

      We petition the Legis­lative Assembly of Manitoba as follows:

      To urge the Minister of Infra­structure to complete an assessment of Prov­incial Road 224 and implement the ap­pro­priate repairs using public funds as quickly as possible.

      This petition has been signed by many, many fine–many Manitobans.


Security System Incentive Program

Mr. Jim Maloway (Elmwood): Madam Speaker, I wish to present the following petition to the Legislative Assembly.

      The background to this petition is as follows:

      (1) Cities across Canada and the United States, including Chicago; Washington, DC; Salinas, California; and Orillia, Ontario, are offering home security rebate programs that enhance public safety and allow for more efficient use of their policing resources.

* (14:30)

      (2) Home security surveillance systems protect homes and busi­nesses by potentially deterring burglaries, reducing homeowners' and busi­nesses' insurance costs.

      (3) Whole neighbourhoods benefit when more homes and busi­nesses have these security systems.

      (4) A 2022 Angus Reid In­sti­tute poll found 70 per cent of Winnipeggers surveyed believed crime had increased over the last five years, the highest percentage found among cities in Canada.

      (5) The same survey reported half of Winnipeggers polled do not feel safe walking alone at night, and almost 20 per cent of them said they were a victim of police-reported crime in the last two years.

      (6) Although the public understands what the criminologists and com­mu­nity advocates point to as the main drivers of crime, namely the larger issues of lack of food, addictions and poverty, they support rebate programs like these as they help the most vul­ner­able in our com­mu­nity by removing financial barriers for personal protection.

      We petition the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba as follows:

      To urge the prov­incial gov­ern­ment to work with munici­palities to esta­blish a province-wide tax rebate or other incentive program to encourage residents and busi­nesses to purchase approved home and busi­ness security pro­tec­tion systems.

      And this petition is signed by many, many Manitobans.

Com­mu­nity Living disABILITY Services

Hon. Jon Gerrard (River Heights): Madam Speaker, I wish to present the following petition to the Legis­lative Assembly.

      The back­ground to this petition is as follows:

      Currently, people with specific or non-specific dis­abil­ities, or a combination of dis­abil­ities, such as ADHD, autism, dyslexia, dysgraphia, dyscalculia, auditory or lan­guage processing disorders and/or non-verbal learn­ing dis­abil­ities, will be denied access to services under the Province of Manitoba's com­mu­nity living and disability services, CLDS, if their IQ is above 80.

      People with these or other borderline cognitive functioning issues also have extremely low adaptive skills and are not able to live in­de­pen­dently without supports.

      Recently, it has become widely recog­nized that access to CLDS should not be based solely on IQ, which is only a measure of a person's ability to answer questions verbally or in writing in relation to mathematics, science or material which is read.

      Very often, persons with specific or non‑specific dis­abil­ities or a combination of these dis­abil­ities have specific needs related to their executive function for support when they are adults or are transitioning to adulthood, which are not necessarily connected to their IQ.

      Executive function is the learned ability to do the normal activities of life, including being organized, being able to plan and to carry out plans and adapt to changing con­di­tions.

      Those who have major defects in executive function have a learning dis­abil­ity requiring assist­ance under CLDS to be able to make a con­tri­bu­tion to society and be self‑sustaining.

      Provision of CLDS services to individuals with specific or non‑specific dis­abil­ities or a combination of these dis­abil­ities or executive function dis­abil­ity, would free them from being dependent on Employment and Income Assist­ance and have the potential to make an im­por­tant change in the person's life.

      Newfoundland and Labrador have now recog­nized that access to services should be based on the nature of the dis­abil­ity and the person's needs, rather than on IQ.

      We petition the Legis­lative Assembly of Manitoba as follows:

      To urge the prov­incial gov­ern­ment to change the require­ments for accessing com­mu­nity living and dis­abil­ity services so that said require­ments are based on the needs of individuals with specific or non-specific dis­abil­ities, including executive function or a com­bination of dis­abil­ities, rather than solely on the basis of their IQ.

      Signed by Heather Groom, Kelly Lewis, Christine Defoe [phonetic] and many other Manitobans.

Madam Speaker: Grievances?




Speaker's Statement

Madam Speaker: I have a statement for the House.

      I'm advising the House that I have received a letter from the Gov­ern­ment House Leader and the member for St. Boniface (Mr. Lamont) indicating that the member for St. Boniface has identified Bill 215, The Non-Disclosure Agree­ments Act, as his selected bill for this session.

      As a reminder to the House, rule 25 permits each in­de­pen­dent member to select one private member's bill per session to proceed to a second reading vote, and requires the Gov­ern­ment House Leader and the member to provide written notice as to the date and time of the debate and the vote.

      In accordance with this rule and the letter, Bill 215 will be called for debate on Tuesday, April 18th, 2023, as follows: debate at second reading will begin at 10 a.m., question put on the second reading motion at 10:55 a.m.

House Business

Hon. Kelvin Goertzen (Government House Leader): Pursuant to rule 34(11), I'm announcing that the private member's reso­lu­tion to be considered on the next Tuesday of private members' busi­ness will be the one put forward by the hon­our­able member for Tyndall Park (Ms. Lamoureux). The title of the reso­lu­tion is Calling on the Prov­incial Gov­ern­ment to Recog­nize the Valuable Role that Foster Parents Play in Manitoba Com­mu­nities.

Madam Speaker: It has been announced that the private member's reso­lu­tion to be considered on the next Tuesday of private members' busi­ness will be one put forward by the hon­our­able member for Tyndall Park. The title of the reso­lu­tion is Calling on the Provincial Gov­ern­ment to Recog­nize the Valuable Role that Foster Parents Play in Manitoba Com­mu­nities.

* * *

Mr. Goertzen: Could you please call for second reading debate this afternoon Bill 16 and Bill 17.

Madam Speaker: It has been announced that the House will consider second readings of Bill 16 and Bill 17 this afternoon.

Second Readings

Bill 16–The Domestic Violence and Stalking Amendment Act

Madam Speaker: I will therefore call Bill 16, The Domestic Violence and Stalking Amend­ment Act.

Hon. Kelvin Goertzen (Minister of Justice and Attorney General): Madam Speaker, I move, seconded by the Minister of Health (Ms. Gordon), that Bill 16, The Domestic Violence and Stalking Amend­ment Act, be now read a second time and be referred to a committee of this House.

Motion presented.

Mr. Goertzen: In Manitoba, there are legal measures to help protect Manitobans from domestic violence and from stalking. There are well known to many members of the House. This includes pro­tec­tion orders that prohibit contact, com­muni­cation or attend­ing any place where the person concerned for their risk happens to be. Pro­tec­tion orders may also contain exceptions that allow the respondent to go to court; as an example, when the other person is present. This is an im­por­tant part of the judicial process.

      Out-of-court family reso­lu­tion options have expand­ed in recent years and now include family law arbitration and other alternatives to court, in addition to the traditional court process. This is some­thing that has been asked for by families for many, many years as a way to avoid the often confrontational court process.

      A focus on inter­ven­tion, pre­ven­tion and restorative justice in situations of intimate partner and family violence aims to intervene earlier, prevent es­cal­ation of violence and, over time, breaks the cycle of recurring and intergenerational intimate partner and family violence.

      Family law service providers and Manitoba super­vised parenting agencies have expressed concern about inadvertent breaches of pro­tec­tion orders during court-ordered supervised parenting time and child exchanges.

      We've also heard of situations when the parents, who are the parties of the pro­tec­tion order, have a safety plan and are prepared to resolve family law issues with the support of a lawyer, mediator or arbitrator.

      The amend­ments in this bill will help address the negative impacts to families ex­per­ienced–ex­per­iencing intimate partner and family violence who are also engaged in a wide range of family dispute reso­lu­tion services and support. This bill aligns with The Domestic Violence and Stalking Act, with new federal and prov­incial legis­lation for separating families.

      These amend­ments were developed with an aware­­ness of the best interests of the child and informed by com­mu­nity en­gage­ment through the family law modernization col­lab­o­ration table. They align with the gov­ern­ment's framework of addressing gender-based violence and represent another step in advancing the Family Law Modernization Action Plan. Addressing gender-based violence of all forms continues to be a priority for this gov­ern­ment, and this bill is another step forward in that direction to make our province safer for all Manitobans.


Madam Speaker: A question period of up to 15 minutes will be held. Questions may be addressed to the minister by any member in the following sequence: first question by the official opposition critic or designate; subsequent questions asked by critics or designates from other recognized opposition parties; subsequent questions asked by each independ­ent member; remaining questions asked by any oppo­sition members. And no question or answer shall exceed 45 seconds.

* (14:40)

Mr. Matt Wiebe (Concordia): I wish to ask the minister just a few questions here this afternoon.

      First of all, he mentioned in his opening statement that this change in legis­lation will have an impact on support organi­zations. So I simply want to get a better picture of who was consulted with regards to formulating this bill.

Hon. Kelvin Goertzen (Minister of Justice and Attorney General): I thank the member for the question. It's a thoughtful and ap­pro­priate question.

      There was en­gage­ment with supervised parenting and exchange agencies, and it–that's taken place along with en­gage­ment of the family law modernization col­lab­o­ration table regarding these proposed amend­ments.

Mr. Wiebe: I also do believe that public com­muni­cation will be an im­por­tant part of this new legis­lation. So I'm just looking for some context about how the minister sees infor­ma­tion being disseminated to the public.

      Parti­cularly, the people who have sought or sub­ject to a pro­tec­tion order, how would they learn about some of the changes that have been made in Bill 16?

Mr. Goertzen: It's also a good question, because any time there are changes to legis­lation, that's often only as effective as the infor­ma­tion that's provided around it. I can inform the member and other members of the House that the Victim Services branch of Manitoba Justice will develop and provide an edu­ca­tion pro­gram for the pro­tec­tion or their designates.

Ms. Cindy Lamoureux (Tyndall Park): Can the minister please speak to what measures are in place to protect the applicants of a pro­tec­tion order during trial, visitations and transfers?

Mr. Goertzen: So, there are a number of different pro­tec­tions that are put in place when an individual has a pro­tec­tion order that is given to them. Of course, there's a number of orders that an individual who has one applied against them has to follow, including court supervision at times; when there are visitations, as an example; or for mediation, that there is super­vision at those times as well.

      So there are some built-in pro­tec­tions when it comes to those pro­tec­tion orders. This is ensuring that when two parties agree to some­thing like mediation, that it can happen without inadvertently breaching an order.

Mr. Wiebe: What sort of direction is being given to courts with regards to how the–this new provision for pro­tec­tion orders might be–it might impact a pro­tec­tion–sorry, might impact a mediation judgment? Is there some­thing specific in the bill that gives direction to courts about how this might be utilized and imple­mented?

Mr. Goertzen: And so in some ways, this–another good question–in some ways, this comes about be­cause the exceptions for when a pro­tec­tion order doesn't apply are often ambiguous currently.

      So, for example, right now, the act allows for mediation only upon court referral and only in relation to custody access or a related matter, meaning parenting issues.

      So, in this situation, the parties could be inad­vertently breaching their court order. This act will give clarity in terms of where the exceptions apply so the judges and others in the court system will be able to more spe­cific­ally ensure that it's being used in the ap­pro­priate way.

Mr. Wiebe: While looking into the impact of pro­tec­tion orders, did the minister explore ways to make pro­tec­tion orders less complicated to apply for? I know this is some­thing that we've certainly heard about as legis­lators many times. What measures are being taken to make them more ac­ces­si­ble for people who need them?

Mr. Goertzen: No, I ap­pre­ciate the question. It's a little bit out of scope of this legis­lation, but I know the member brings it forward with the right heart and with the right in­ten­tion.

      I can assure him that we're always looking for ways to ensure that while the judicial process still is fair and is maintained, also is ac­ces­si­ble to those who need to access it. And that's often an issue parti­cularly in more rural com­mu­nities where it's not as easy to access somebody within the justice system. But I'm happy to enter­tain that a little bit further when this bill gets to com­mit­tee.

Madam Speaker: Are there any further questions?

      If not, debate is open.


Mr. Matt Wiebe (Concordia): I do ap­pre­ciate the op­por­tun­ity to put a few words on the record with regards to Bill 16, and spe­cific­ally, I guess, to talk about ways that we can focus on making these–making sure that these pro­tec­tion orders are respected, that they are enforced, and that we are certainly protecting those organi­zations that will be doing a lot of the heavy lifting, so to speak, when it comes to ensuring that people remain safe when court orders are–and mediation is pursued when a pro­tec­tion order is in place.

      I actually wanted to start by picking up exactly where the minister left off, and that is my eagerness to get to com­mit­tee to hear more about how this will impact organi­zations out in our com­mu­nity. Because we know that the work that they do is certainly–they would have a very close knowledge about how these changes will impact their services, but we want to hear more about how we can, you know, in a broader sense, improve these sorts of orders and make sure that folks are always protected as the No. 1 most im­por­tant thing that we can do.

Mr. Dennis Smook, Acting Speaker, in the Chair

      So, I know in Manitoba, we are very lucky to have this as part of–in the process for every bill. But this, in parti­cular, would be one of those bills where I'm looking forward to hopefully having some folks come–take the time to come down to the Legislature to, you know, educate us, to give us some perspective and some context about this bill and how this might impact them and, you know, put some words on the record that, ultimately, may end up shaping either this bill or future bills, which I think is an im­por­tant part of the process as well. So I'm excited about the op­por­tun­ity to move this forward beyond second reading here today.

      We know just how im­por­tant pro­tec­tion orders are. They are an im­por­tant safety measure that people count on and rely on and trust as part of the system to protect them and to protect the most vul­ner­able in our com­mu­nities. Domestic violence, especially gender-based violence, is an absolute epidemic that needs to be addressed and needs to be first and foremost on our minds when changing legis­lation or making any kind of amend­ments that impact pro­tec­tion orders.

      We know that domestic violence is also often racialized and so we need to ensure that we're pro­tecting, again, those who are most vul­ner­able and making sure that any kind of changes don't negatively impact those folks who, right now, count on those pro­tec­tion orders to have some sort of safety in their lives.

      And we also know that, ultimately, this comes down to support and invest­ment for women's health and safety in general, but in parti­cular when it comes to those organi­zations, as I said, who are on the ground, who are doing this work, doing the heavy lifting, that we count on and it's so im­por­tant for our society.

      We know that pro­tec­tion orders, Mr. Deputy Speaker, can be obtained quickly and without cost to the applicant, and so they are an im­por­tant tool that is used very often. It's made–it is made without notice to the alleged abuser or stalker, and that's an im­por­tant piece of this legis­lation, as well, that anonymity and that pro­tec­tion of the individual is paramount.

      Such pro­tec­tion orders can prohibit the respond­ent against whom the order is made from having contact with a parti­cular person, following them or attending their residence, school or work­place. The pro­tec­tion order will normally be granted for three years but could be longer or renewed, if necessary.

      The Child Sexual Exploitation and Human Trafficking Act came into effect on April 30th, 2012, and this act provides that the pro­tec­tion orders can be granted in relation to child victims of sexual ex­ploit­ation or adult and child victims of human trafficking.

      A person who has been subjected to domestic violence by a person with whom they have a family or domestic relationship can then apply for a pro­tec­tion order, and these relationships include the following: so, people who are living together or have lived together in spousal or conjugal or intimate relation­ship; family members, regardless of whether they have lived together or not; people who have been dating or in any kind of relationship; or persons who are the biological or adopted parents of a child regard­less of their marital status and whether or not they have ever lived together.

* (14:50)

      In addition, a person who has been subjected to stalking can apply for relief regardless of the nature of the relationships to or with the stalker or, you know, in cases where they have no relationship to the stalker, can also be applied for then. Applications are made in person, but the application can also be made by telephone; and this is im­por­tant, you know, with the assist­ance of a police officer, a lawyer, a person who has been spe­cific­ally trained and designated by the Province of Manitoba, can assist with pro­tec­tion order applications. And these are in­cred­ibly im­por­tant rules–resources and tools that are available to individuals.

      An adult can apply for a pro­tec­tion order on behalf of a child and a court-appointed com­mit­tee or substitute decision maker can apply on behalf of some­one who is deemed to be unable to make deci­sions on their own, if the court has granted that author­ity. Anyone who applies will have to provide evidence under oath about the domestic violence or the stalking infraction that they are concerned about. But after that pro­tec­tion order is made, the respondent will be notified and the respondent then has 20 days to go back to the court of queen's bench to set it aside or to make that case, and has the op­por­tun­ity at that point to present evidence.

      Pro­tec­tion orders that prohibit contact, com­muni­cation or attending any place where the other person happens to be may also contain exceptions that allow the respondent to go to court or attend a mediation for the purposes of a court-ordered assessment when the other person is present. The Domestic Violence and Stalking Act currently specifies some basic pro­tec­tions that must be included when this type of exception is made, such as staying a certain distance away from the other person.

      This is why it is so important that when we're making changes with regards to pro­tec­tion orders and their ability to protect somebody that we get it right, and that we always think about how this will impact somebody who is currently using this tool to protect them­selves or their family. We know that it can also–a pro­tec­tion order may also include any of the follow­ing provisions necessary for the applicant's pro­tec­tion: prohibit the respondent from coming to the applicant's home, to their work­place or being within a certain proximity of other specified people as well; prohibit the respondent from following the applicant or others; prohibit the respondent from contacting or com­muni­cating with the applicant or others, either directly or even indirectly, Mr. Deputy Speaker; give the appli­cant or a respondent temporary possession of neces­sary personal effects–so, to provide a peace officer assist­ance ensuring the orderly removal of personal effects.

      Again, all of these are tools that are used to pro­tect the individual. The anonymity, the supports that are surrounding this person and any kind of help that they might need, is what is–what gives the meat to the bones of a pro­tec­tion order. And that's why it is so vital that we are so careful when making these changes that there's not any impacts when it comes to the pro­tec­tions that are offered.

      We also know that the pro­tec­tion order can provide–or can allow for a peace officer to assist somebody in removing the respondents from a residence. So, calling in that extra little bit of help and require the respondent to turn over any weapons or–and author­ize the police to search and seize weapons when that is some­thing that's involved in the case.

      We know that certain civil orders of pro­tec­tion do not expire after a set period of time unless they spe­cific­ally say so. So these are sometimes pro­tec­tions that are in place for good reason, for a very long time. And this is so im­por­tant to add that sense of stability and sense of security that people need when they're victims of domestic violence or sexual ex­ploit­ation or human trafficking.

      Orders without expiry dates are in effect or–until changed or ended by a court order, even when the parties reconcile. A person who disobeys a civil order of pro­tec­tion can be charged with breaching a court order and, if convicted, can be fined, bound by prohibition–probation, rather, or imprisoned, Mr. Deputy Speaker. These are serious cases, and this is serious when a pro­tec­tion order has been violated.

      The Domestic Violence and Stalking Act that came into effect in 1999 was the first to lay out these–some of these provisions that I'm speaking of, and prior to that The Family Maintenance Act allowed for a judge or magistrate to make an order forbidding the abuser to molest, annoy or harass a spouse or partner. This has certainly been strengthened over time, and we want to ensure that it continues to be strengthened.

      I do think it is im­por­tant to put on the record, Mr. Deputy Speaker, as I mentioned earlier, the impact that this has on racialized com­mu­nities, on Indigenous com­mu­nities, but more spe­cific­ally, how it impacts missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls and 2S peoples. You know, this has been on every­one's–in everyone's hearts and on everyone's minds over the last–certainly over the last year, two years, and most recently with regards to news how this is continuing to impact those most vul­ner­able women and girls in our Indigenous com­mu­nities.

      This is a point of–this is such an im­por­tant point to get right, Mr. Deputy Speaker, an im­por­tant point to make sure that we're always protecting those who are most vul­ner­able. Intimate partner violence impacts many in our com­mu­nities, from all back­grounds, but we know that violence against Indigenous women and girls and two-spirit people is dis­propor­tion­ately higher.

      We know that Indigenous women are more likely to ex­per­ience this domestic intimate partner violence: 61 per cent versus 44 per cent, according to Statistics Canada in 2018, and we know that that's only gotten more–gotten worse. Indigenous people are twice as likely to be victims of spousal violence, as opposed to non-Indigenous people, and we know that the inter­generational trauma ex­per­ienced by many Indigenous people as a result of colonization, as a result of the resi­den­tial school system and specific harms that result from those, perpetuates these systems of abuse and makes those folks even more vul­ner­able.

      Intimate partner violence ex­per­ienced by Indigenous women is often underreported or it's poorly reported, making it difficult to get an accurate picture of the scale of the problem, and this problem continues to be an epidemic that we know is certainly a reality in our province, but across Canada, the epidemic of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.

      This is why it is so im­por­tant for us to go into this, any kind of changes to pro­tec­tion orders, any kind of changes with regards to family law, any kind of changes that impact individuals, why it's so im­por­tant to–for us to go into it very carefully, thoughtfully and in a real part­ner­ship stance, with a partnership stance, because we know that the folks who need these pro­tec­tion orders, that are most impacted by intimate part­ner violence, they need the support of the prov­incial gov­ern­ment and they need it in a real way.

      They need to ensure that any changes that are made aren't going to impact them negatively. And as I said, I think this is a real op­por­tun­ity for members of the public, for experts, to come to our Legis­lature to help us understand how these changes are going to impact them and to ensure that there's not going to be any negative impacts that we might see because of Bill 16.

      Bill 16 makes some changes that will impact local organi­zations. It will–we will be asking more, even more, of those organi­zations, once again, to act in a supervisory role, to act in a support role, to act in a way that gives people the con­fi­dence that the pro­tec­tion order will remain in place, will be honoured and will be secure, while at the same time, there is an oppor­tun­ity for them to pursue, if they so choose, any kind of mediation or negotiated settlement or visita­tion in person, that the pro­tec­tion order comes first, that it's primary.

      That is, as I said, paramount. And then beyond that we, you know, we can allow for the supports to come around. But, ultimately, what we're asking, once again, is for these organi­zations, these support organi­zations, these family law support organi­zations and women's support networks, to once again step up, to once again be the ones who are imple­men­ting this.

* (15:00)

      And not to say that they're not up to the job, because we know that they are, and they are there and willing and able to do the work. But once again, if they don't have a partner in the prov­incial gov­ern­ment, there is concern that this will be a further downloading of respon­si­bility or pressure on organi­zations that are already stretched thin.

      We know that the prov­incial gov­ern­ment has con­tinued to cut social services across the board, and these have an impact. You know, as I often say, cuts have real con­se­quences in the real world.

      In this case, these organi­zations are seeing spikes in domestic violence. They're seeing more pressures on their organi­zations because of poverty issues, housing issues, justice issues that are unresolved or have been made worse by this gov­ern­ment. And so now we're asking them to, once again, to step up to provide these supports.

      And as I said, they're, you know–I know that they are doing that work already and I'm sure they're willing to do as much as they can, because this is their–this is what they do. But if it's not being done in a way that's supported, that is holistic as part of an overall gov­ern­ment strategy–a whole-of-gov­ern­ment strategy it's often called–that's very con­cern­ing to me.

      So, what we're hoping is that as we go through this process, that we are thoughtful about it, that we take the time to ensure that we understand the impacts that it's going to have and, ultimately, how it's going to impact our courts. Because courts want to have more tools. They want to have more op­por­tun­ities to, you know, not sort of go the hard line one way or another kind of judgments, and that's, I think, you know, a very positive dev­elop­ment.

      But, ultimately, if there's going to be any impact on the pro­tec­tion orders, that's where we're going to be very, very interested to hear more about those impacts and how those are going to play out.

      We do not want anyone to be put into any kind of situation where their safety is com­pro­mised. And so we need to ensure that just because the changes are made and there is an impact or there's going to be an impact in a positive way, that on the flip side, that the negative isn't able to happen either by an order of the court or, you know, potentially by just the fact that there won't be the kind of resources available to somebody to give them the kind of pro­tec­tion that they need.

      Anonymity is a big part of this and needs to be part of what we're talking about here, how we can protect individuals so that they can feel confident that any kind of court order doesn't expose them in ways that maybe aren't intended or could be intended. We really don't know. That's the kind of thing that we want to hear.

      We know that it's been just one cut after another with this gov­ern­ment, and these things cumulatively impact the day-to-day lives of people, right? So, I mean, we often talk about, as I said, the poverty crisis and the housing crisis, the homelessness crisis, the addictions crisis, right? We talk about these things as if  they're siloed, and they're not. They are all inter­connected and they all impact, you know, folks in ways–in a myriad of different ways that we're seeing in domestic violence here in this province.

      And we know that, spe­cific­ally, this gov­ern­ment has–there's been an attack on women's rights in Manitoba. Pro­tec­tion orders are only helpful if victims of domestic violence have the ability to leave the relationship. And that requires those robust social services that I talked about: domestic violence shelters for vul­ner­able women who have no other options.

      We need an–and we need an ally, quite frankly, for victims of intimate partner violence in the prov­incial gov­ern­ment. It's incumbent on the prov­incial gov­ern­ment to show to individuals, and we talked about this in the question period, as well–com­muni­cation, how will this–can be disseminated and communicated to individuals about the changes that are made and how they're still protected, ultimately still protected under pro­tec­tion orders, but gives more tools and more oppor­tun­ity for them to see a path forward.

But ultimately, we've–we haven't seen that from this prov­incial gov­ern­ment. And no clear evidence of that is in this prov­incial gov­ern­ment, you know, taking a whole year just to get around to scheduling a meeting for the ending gender-based violence Cabinet–com­mit­tee of Cabinet.

      We know that that was supposed to be a priority. It was certainly a priority we heard on the doorstep, we hear every day in our com­mu­nities; we see in the impact in our com­mu­nities. And yet it wasn't a priority of this gov­ern­ment.

      We also know that there was a number of cuts by this PC gov­ern­ment with regard to women's health-care funding. You know–well, I mean, all of this is–could be certainly–and will be better said by my colleagues and friends on the op­posi­tion benches here, but–and has, you know, it's not just said today, it's been said, you know, as I said earlier, we–day after day, month after month, year after year, it feels like we have seen these cuts and how the impacts to women's health care has impacted individuals in–across our society and across our province.

      So we know that intimate partner violence is a women's health issue. It is a violence that's often–it often has devastating effects on a person's physical and mental health, and so these cuts do have a parti­cularly negative impact on women who are ex­per­iencing intimate-partner violence. The PCs, again, have made deep cuts to those health-care services that support women and are part of the larger picture that are impacting people who are in the most vul­ner­able positions.

      They cut lactation consultant positions from Women's Hospital, they closed the mature women's health centre–which, you know, served 5,000 women a year here in this province–and their budget cuts forced hospitals to ration pads and mesh underwear for people who had just given birth. I mean, this is just the begin­ning of the list, and I could go on and on and on, but this is the kind of impact that we have seen and the kind of cuts that have impacted women, and now we're making changes that potentially put women in more danger. That's where we have to be sure that we're making the right decisions, that we're making the right call.

      So we look forward to seeing this bill come forward through the process, through the legis­lative pro­cess, to see it come to com­mit­tee and to learn more about what these impacts are going to have. You know, I hope we hear from those–as I said–those organi­zations.

      And if there are individuals who have gone through this process, who have had a pro­tec­tion order, and maybe it is the one thing that's, you know, kept them safe, that is their lifeline, but they have looked for other tools and other ways to work through their own domestic violence situation or contact with the family law system in our province. I hope to hear from them as well. And I do hope that that learned ex­per­ience and that individual context will help us to ensure that this bill is making the right decisions, that it's making the right call and that this is going to then ultimately not make changes that are going to negatively impact people who rely on those pro­tec­tion orders.

      And I guess just in the few minutes that I have left, Mr. Deputy Speaker, I also want to just, you know, put out a call to this gov­ern­ment to end these cuts and to end these freezes and to end these impacts that we've seen across the health-care system, across the domestic violence support system, to actually step up and, as I said, be a true partner with–for folks who are victims of domestic violence. We truly can be, in this province, we can be a partner and we can listen to those organi­zations, we can step up, but at the end of the day what it really takes–or what it will take in this province–is a gov­ern­ment that is going to invest and is going to put money to protect those who are most vul­ner­able in our society.

      We haven't seen that over the last seven years. We've seen a gov­ern­ment who has made these, you know, thousand cuts and thought, well, nothing's, you know, nothing bad is going to come from this; they're just small little cuts, or they're, you know, just one line on a budget sheet, let's make that cut and let's move on. But what we're seeing is we're seeing the actual impact of that. We're seeing what actually happens out in com­mu­nity when those cuts happen. And this is just one example of those kinds of cuts and how they can seriously impact folks.

      So I do hope that as we hear from people, as I said, who come to com­mit­tee, that we not just listen to them when we take their good advice, but we think about ways–collectively, as legis­lators–that we can actually support them more comprehensively. There are ways that we can do this better. There are ways that we can do this more comprehensively, and I do believe that if we work together there will be an op­por­tun­ity to do that.

      So I do hope that there will be an op­por­tun­ity for others to speak this afternoon. I ap­pre­ciate the op­por­tun­ity to put just a few words here on the record. We're going to spend more time, as I said, at com­mit­tee, and hopefully at third reading, getting some more of this–you know, what we've heard and how we can improve this.

* (15:10)

      And then, you know, going forward, I think the idea is, is that this is–continues to be a focus of certainly our caucus–it will be–and it will be an im­por­tant way that we can make sure that people are safe in this province, parti­cularly women, parti­cularly those who are most vul­ner­able. That's who we're going to focus on and that's who I think we should all be focusing on as legis­lators.

      Thank you very much, Mr. Deputy Speaker.

Ms. Cindy Lamoureux (Tyndall Park): I'm glad to be able to rise this afternoon and just put a few words on record about Bill 16, The Domestic Violence and Stalking Amend­ment Act.

      Women account for almost eight in 10 victims of intimate partner violence, and Manitoba has the second highest rate of it in the country.

      And I think it's of utmost im­por­tant to recog­nize that safety remains the priority in granting of pro­tec­tion and pre­ven­tion orders. This is in part because we need to ensure that the process to apply for a pro­tec­tion or pre­ven­tion order should not be overly burden­some on the applicant, who in many cases may be deal­ing with sig­ni­fi­cant threat to their own safety.

      Mr. Acting Deputy Speaker, although the deci­sion to grant or dismiss a pro­tec­tion order made by a judicial justice, work must continue to ensure that sup­ports are in place to ensure that applicants are safe from intimate partner violence and can continue to access services to help them escape domestic violence and abusive situations.

      When I was doing a practicum, I actually had the op­por­tun­ity to work spe­cific­ally with immigrant women who were, in some cases, in abusive relationships and situations with their family and, unfor­tunately, even to this day some of them are still in these situations. And that's because abusive situations and relationships are actually very complex and not very easily, often times, to get out of.

      There are different types of abuse that occur, from physical to mental and spiritual, and abuse can often overcome, overtake a person. It may often be seen as normalized for a person who is ex­per­iencing it and often times people don't have the resources in their lives to access the resources that they may need.

      And I think about how there are individuals here in Winnipeg who I've had the op­por­tun­ity to get to know over the years who were in abusive relation­ships and they have no in­de­pen­dence within the relationship where they were able to even access a phone to contact a place for help, never mind have to escape–quite literally escape–from their houses to get to the resources that they needed for their own safety.

      I know in Tyndall Park we have the NorWest Co‑op Com­mu­nity Health Centre that provides family violence programs and offer legal support to assist women applying for pro­tec­tion orders. And I really want to thank them for the work that they continue to do.

      And, Mr. Acting Deputy Speaker, Manitoba has grappled with the issue of high dismissal rates for pro­tec­tion orders in recent years. In 2019, 52 per cent of pro­tec­tion orders were dismissed or withdrawn. The number was at 62 per cent in 2015-16. I'm actually tabling a copy of this from a CBC article.

      And part of–out of speculation, Mr. Acting Deputy Speaker, the reason for the high rates of dismissed pro­tec­tion orders could be the application forms them­selves, which are legal docu­ments and can contain infor­ma­tion that may be very over­whelming or in a–difficult to understand and use and utilize by the applicant, especially when they're often in quite a fearful state for their own safety.

      The main thing is that when this is rolled out, Mr. Deputy Speaker, that it's rolled out in the best way possible, it is user-friendly and we continue to do every­­thing we can to make sure that it is ac­ces­si­ble for those who need it here in the province of Manitoba.

      With those words, I look forward to further debate at com­mit­tee.

      Thank you.

MLA Nahanni Fontaine (St. Johns): Well, I'm pleased to get up this afternoon and put on about 30 minutes of remarks in respect of The Domestic Violence and Stalking Amend­ment Act.

      I think that it's fair to say that any amend­ments or im­prove­ments to The Domestic Violence and Stalking Amend­ment Act is a good thing. I think that we all know in this Chamber that we can use, you know, the greater under­standing and the more knowledge and more research and more expertise that we have in respect of any variety of issues. But, certainly, domestic violence and stalking, when we can use that and enhance on current legis­lation and create stronger legis­lation for Manitobans, that's a good thing.

      So, certainly, we will be supporting Bill 16 today, but before we do that I want to put some words on the record.

      My colleague, the member for Concordia (Mr. Wiebe) did a really good job laying out, you know, the need for pro­tec­tion orders and, you know, those that are most at risk and in need of pro­tec­tion orders. And, certainly, I think it's no big shock that here in Manitoba we have very disparaging statistics in respect of domestic violence and gender-based violence. We have, actually, some of the highest levels of violence across the country. And I don't know if people often think about that.

      I do. And I wonder and worry about the fact that we have such high statistics in respect of domestic violence and stalking. And I worry about that at night and I think about that constantly because those–you know, behind those statistics are real people, are real Manitobans that are struggling to safeguard their lives. They're struggling to navigate systems that often they don't understand because those systems are so confusing and bureaucratic and, you know–and there are gaps. There are gaps in services and pro­tec­tions.

      And I have said recently, in the last many months, you know, the need to, for instance, prioritize the pro­tec­tions of Indigenous women, girls and two-spirited because of the lethal and deadly con­se­quences when we don't.

      And so, certainly, we can speak about Indigenous women, girls and two-spirited in offering those pro­tec­tions but we can talk about all Manitobans in offering pro­tec­tions and ensuring that our system, the infra­structure that we have, is able to support and able to protect those Manitobans that need it.

      We should be all taking into account and should be all really concerned with the high levels of violence that Manitobans face on the daily basis. That should be some­thing that each and every one of us is concerned with and, certainly, each and every one of us, as legis­lators, would want to address–[interjection] and I'll wait until all the noise–certainly would want to–addressed in a very sub­stan­tial, com­pre­hen­sive manner.

      And I don't know and I don't believe we have been doing that. Otherwise, we wouldn't see these levels continue to grow, or these statistics continue to grow, year after year after year.

      And, you know, I've said this many, many times, you know, inside this House and outside this House, that there are–there is no Manitoban, there is no woman or girl or two-spirited that I've ever met in my life that wants to be unsafe and wants to be in a situation where they know that their life is at risk. And for a variety of different reasons, Manitobans will find them­selves staying in parti­cular situations and parti­cular circum­stances because there are–there is no other option for them.

      And that's where we, as legis­lators–or those that are in gov­ern­ment, administering gov­ern­ment–fail. We fail to put in those pro­tec­tions and those measures and those supports to be able to protect Manitobans.

* (15:20)

      You know, actually, I'm just going back and forth in the last 24 hours; I've been supporting this young woman–an Indigenous woman–for a couple of months now, in respect of her acquiring a pro­tec­tion order. And we know, in this House, because we debated it–I believe a couple of years ago, it was certainly made aware in the media, at–how difficult it was in Manitoba to actually obtain a pro­tec­tion order.

      And even though I believe it was in, I don't know, maybe 2014-2015, my predecessor–the former Justice minister, Gord Mackintosh–had put forward a bill that would strengthen the pro­tec­tion orders. So, that bill was in response to how difficult it can be for Manitobans to get pro­tec­tion orders. And he put forward that bill–and it did pass–as a means of ensuring and stream­lining the ability for Manitobans to get pro­tec­tion orders, so that it's not so difficult.

      And where we get into the dif­fi­cul­ty is that, you know, there's, you know, JJPs that have–their respon­si­bility, then, is to interpret what imminent danger may mean. And so, I think that that's where we get into some of this different inter­pre­ta­tions and then, you know, lack of response or lack of con­se­quence in respect of getting a pro­tec­tion order, because there are different inter­pre­ta­tions of what imminent danger means.

      And so, for instance, a couple of months ago I had a young Indigenous woman who had reached out that was denied a pro­tec­tion order, despite the fact that her ex had been violent and had threatened not only her, but her child's life; and not only that, had access to a gun. And that young woman was denied a pro­tec­tion order.

      And so, when we look at strengthening legis­lation, I mean, I–you know, it seems on my end that those variables constitute imminent danger in the lives of this–or, in the life of this parti­cular woman. But yet, she was denied a pro­tec­tion order. Luckily, she per­sisted and went back, and finally was granted a pro­tec­tion order.

      But that is like a little snapshot of, you know, how difficult it can be to be granted or retain a pro­tec­tion order against somebody, because of this inter­pre­ta­tion of imminent danger.

      And so, I think that on–like, on all sides of the House, we should be wanting to strengthen that piece. You know, make it more clear what imminent danger means. Because, again, I think a couple of years ago when we were debating this in the House, I think it was like 50 per cent of individuals who apply for pro­tec­tion orders weren't granted them.

      Now, I'm not the–I will suggest to the House that there are probably folks that apply for pro­tec­tion orders that don't meet the criteria. I can–I wouldn't say–I wouldn't stand up in the House and say that every single person that applies for a pro­tec­tion order should be granted one. I'm not going to say that. But, certainly, 50 per cent of pro­tec­tion orders that are not granted, there's some­thing going on there.

      And again, like I said, this was only in the last couple of months, trying to work with this young woman who, her pro­tec­tion order, despite these different evidence that she had presented in respect of why she was in imminent danger, was not granted. So I think we still have a lot of work to do there.

      In respect of Bill 16, you know, one of the con­cerns that I have–you know, if you have a pro­tec­tion order on somebody, often, you know, if it works the way it's meant to work, that individual who the pro­tec­tion order is against cannot come into however many feet or distance it is.

      Often, though, in parti­cular, women who apply for pro­tec­tion orders–if they're able to–will change phone numbers; if they're able to, they'll move, because that's how scared they are for their life and the lives of their children. So, they'll move. Often, you know, the person who the pro­tec­tion order is against won't know where to find this particular person, right.

      So, what I'm concerned about in respect of Bill 16 is that now we're creating the op­por­tun­ity–and again, I–you know, I know that everybody has to agree to it–if it were creating the opportunity where someone–you're bringing two folks together, one that has a pro­tec­tion order against the other.

      And, you know, from every­thing that I know and every­thing that we ought to know in respect of individ­uals who would harm their partner or their ex-partner or their children, is that if somebody is deter­mined to harm that individual, they are deter­mined to harm that individual and they will seek out and make plans. It becomes obsessive that they will do every­thing that they can. They'll drive down a certain street because they know that maybe their partner or their ex-partner sometimes walks the kids that way or goes to the store this way or takes this route to go to work.

      And so, you know, if you have an individual like that, that maybe even might present as perfectly reasonable or fine, is fine with the pro­tec­tion order, but meanwhile, in the back­ground, is planning to harm, now we're potentially in a situation where you're bring­ing these folks together.

      And so, my concern is that, if an individual is really out to harm, what are the pro­tec­tions that we're putting in place when we talk about, you know, dealing with, you know, parenting arrangements and–or custody or whatever it is that would bring these two folks together, what measures are we putting in place to ensure that the person that has a pro­tec­tion order against them doesn't have the op­por­tun­ity to harm?

      So, that is a really big concern that I want to get on the official record here in the House. And I don't see any discussion in that regard. I don't–I didn't hear any of those remarks from the minister, you know, that they've actually thought that piece out or they've had discussions with other experts in respect of, you know, how you're going to protect individuals.

      Now, the other piece to this legis­lation that I think is con­cern­ing that also was not in this legis­lation or that I haven't heard anything from the minister, is–and my–the member for Concordia (Mr. Wiebe) brought it up–about the ad­di­tional respon­si­bilities or stresses that we're putting on organi­zations that are now charged with bringing folks together and mapping out what­ever it is, custody agree­ments, whatever it may be.

      We're assuming–the bill is making the assump­tion that those organi­zations or those individuals that work in that organi­zation actually have the training to be able to navigate all of those different dynamics. And we don't know that. We don't know if those in­dividuals, in fact, have that.

      What I would suggest and argue to the House is very specialized training to be able to navigate all of those different potentialities and all those potential personalities if–that's probably not the best word, but–so, I didn't hear any commentary from the minister in respect of that and whether or not there would be a require­ment, when you're bringing individuals together, to have that type of–that more specialized training to be able to do this work.

      Now, again, I'm not saying that this isn't–you know, this is a bad bill, but I'm just saying that there are some things that have been omitted or perhaps not thoroughly thought out or discussed. And so I would put that on the official record.

      I want to talk a little bit about, again, going back to the fact that Manitoba has some of the highest levels of violence against Manitobans, in parti­cular BIPOC: Black, Indigenous and women of colour. New­comer com­mu­nity: we know that the levels of violence that new­comer women have faced are also quite extensive.

* (15:30)

      And so, I have yet to see from this gov­ern­ment since they took–since they formed office in 2016–and, again, we know that this gov­ern­ment, you know, since it took gov­ern­ment in 2016, under the leadership–or lack thereof–of Brian Pallister and now, the Stefanson gov­ern­ment–we know that their kind of raison d'être, every­thing that they were concerned about, was always the saving of punny–a penny, right, cutting, not giving dollars.

      But what we haven't seen in the last seven years under this admin­is­tra­tion is really any kind of comprehen­sive prov­incial strategy, or even acknowl­edgement or discussion, on the levels of violence that we face here in Manitoba.

      And there's some­thing to be said about, you know, a gov­ern­ment taking a lead in a prov­incial strategy to address domestic violence, like a public awareness campaign to address domestic violence.

      In fact, we know that under this gov­ern­ment, they've pretty much starved women's shelters in the province, and I know that, you know, the next PC–if they do get up–that does get up is going to say that they, you know, just increased the budget to the shelters. That's a good thing; I think everybody will agree that that's a good thing. But certainly that's long overdue, like, seven years after the fact that they took gov­ern­ment.

      And we know that they're making all of these an­nounce­ments because, first off, Manitobans are fed up, absolutely fed up, with this admin­is­tra­tion. And Manitobans see the progression from 2016 to 2023, how things have just gotten significantly worse and worse and worse, year after year after year after year of their admin­is­tra­tion.

      And so, now, in the–in, you know, what some might suggest is the dying days of the Pallister-Stefanson govern­ment–now, all of a sudden, they're like kind of throwing money all over the place.

      But the damage is done. When you starve services, when you sell off social housing, when you don't increase rates to EIA, when you take away, you know, women's children, when you don't put any measures in place to have pro­tec­tion orders, the damage is done.

      And that is why these rates continue to go up in respect of the violence that is perpetrated against, again, pre­domi­nantly Manitoba women, girls and two-spirited, and again, pre­domi­nantly BIPOC.

      So I know that members opposite like to get up in the House and say, you know, all that they've done, and they'll start throwing out numbers now, of what they're giving, they're supposedly–again, and nobody believes them–but they're purportedly going to give whatever it is.

      But that comes at a cost: year after year after year of them not caring, not giving any thought or concern to what their decisions and their policies and their actions have done to Manitobans.

      And so, you know, one of the examples, and I–you know, one of the most–I could–I would suggest one of the most grotesque examples of it's too late, it's–you know, and the damage is done, is that, you know, this gov­ern­ment has not, in any way, shape or form, really supported addressing the national inquiry's calls to justice in respect of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls and two-spirited.

      And I think that, you know, the members opposite think because they give a bit of money every year to do the Wiping Away the Tears, which, of course, was started under the NDP and, certainly, was started under–when I was special adviser on Indigenous women's issue–I think they think that just because they give a little bit of money there that brings families together–which is im­por­tant. That is im­por­tant work, and I'm glad that Ka Ni Kanichihk spearheads that, that work of bringing families together.

      Yet, somehow, that absolves them of any need to sub­stan­tially deal with the National Inquiry's calls to justice. You give a little bit of money here, we know that they've give a little bit of money to another organi­zation, and again, I think that in their mind, they think that they've actually–they're actually doing some­thing about the calls to justice.

      But in reality, they're not. The calls to justice are more than–are actually quite extensive. I mean, I'm sure that the House knows there's 231 calls to justice.

      And it goes from, you know, from policing to housing to CFS, to–as the Leader of the Op­posi­tion said today in his QP questions, to recog­nizing Orange Shirt Day which, of course, they refuse to, which is, you know, performative.

      Every time they get up in this House and they say that, you know, we are–we support Orange Shirt Day and we support resi­den­tial school survivors and we support the calls to justice or, you know, the Calls to Action, that's all performative. It's all performative in this House, and nobody believes them.

      And they had an op­por­tun­ity where they could have, you know, within–with one thing, you know, addressed at least, you know, two recom­men­dations: one out of the TRC, and one out of the National Inquiry, but they chose not to.

      And we saw last year when they were wearing their orange shirts–which, again, is performative–and I don't know if members opposite understand what I mean by that, but I mean it means nothing. It's just some­thing that you're acting as if you care. But every­body remembers them standing up in the House and voting against legis­lation that would have done that.

      And then we find out today that they have absolutely no in­ten­tion of formally recog­nizing in the province, Orange Shirt Day.

      Again, it's all performative. And then, you know, they, you know, to–for members opposite to get up in the House and say that they care about these things when they truly don't. They're literally gov­ern­ment. You don't have to perform in this Chamber. They are gov­ern­ment and they can literally make things hap­pen, including making Orange Shirt Day a statutory holiday.

      And whether or not the members opposite can put two and two together, there's–when you perform, when you do only performance, when you, you know, express wasted breath about commit­ment, but you actually don't follow it up with action, and you actually don't prioritize those Calls to Action and calls to justice, there are con­se­quences.

      And the con­se­quences are what we've seen in the last many months of Indigenous women ending up in our landfills. And, again, I don't think members oppo­site have the capacity or wherewithal or compassion or even care to realize that when you, as gov­ern­ment, can't do what's right in this Chamber, there are con­se­quences to that.

      And the con­se­quence is that, for many, many gen­era­tions, until this present time, Indigenous women, girls and two-spirited are considered less-than, and they are considered disposable, so much so that it's okay to create a space in which violence against Indigenous women, girls and two-spirited goes–is without con­se­quence.

      And I know that the member for Radisson (Mr. Teitsma) is chirping right now, the same one that compared having to wear masks and COVID restric­tions to resi­den­tial schools, which is utterly ridiculous and so wholly offensive.

      And he's still blabbering on. And you would think that in the context of talking about the disposal of Indigenous women and girls in our landfills, you'd think that the member opposite, with all his Christian values that he performs in the House, would actually just listen; would actually, just for a second, quiet himself in this Chamber and actually try to strengthen this bill, or go to his leadership and say, you know what, as a good Christian man, I think we need to do more for Indigenous women, girls and two-spirited.

* (15:40)

      But instead of doing that, he yammers on; he tries to interrupt my debate. And the thing is, you know, members opposite see through members like the member for Radisson. They see through all of that performance. And that is literally what these members do in this Chamber–is performance.

      And, you know, it's a shame, because you would think that when you reflect on your life, and your time in this Chamber, you would want to have some­thing that is more sub­stan­tial, some­thing that you can be proud of and that you can say to your kids one day, you know, I was a part of a gov­ern­ment that actually did what was right and, you know, and the bare minimum of what I can do as a gov­ern­ment official, as a minister–the bare minimum that I can do is actually do the Calls to Action, do the calls to justice and make Orange Shirt Day a statutory holiday here in the province.

      And I know that all of the non-Indigenous people opposite–and, again, there are no Indigenous members opposite, there–want to say on this side of the House, like, oh, it's not a holiday. Trust me, Assist­ant Deputy Speaker, we on this side of the House, with six Indigenous members, know it's not a holiday.

      We know it's not a holiday. We know that in our families, we can barely talk about resi­den­tial schools, because of the trauma and the pain that it elicits in our family members; we know that. We live with that every single day. We don't need non-Indigenous members opposite to tell us what Orange Shirt Day is.

      And so, again, here are members opposite that could do what's right, but are choosing not to; are choosing not to do what's right, choosing to yell down an Indigenous woman in this Chamber who's–who is the granddaughter of two resi­den­tial school–well, actually, four–who–[interjection]–and who are mocking that.

      Who said that?

An Honourable Member: That was McPhillips.

MLA Fontaine: McPhillips. Jesus.

      And so, we don't need any of the members there to perform and to tell members on this side what Orange Shirt Day is and what it isn't. We know, because we live it every day.

      And I hope that Manitobans can hear and see that the member for McPhillips (Mr. Martin) is–thinks it's funny that I'm the granddaughter of four resi­den­tial school survivors, and the niece of many resi­den­tial school survivors; I think–I hope that they know he thinks that's funny.

      I hope that Manitobans know that the member for Radisson (Mr. Teitsma) had to pipe up this whole–almost this whole debate, when we're–here we are, we're talking about domestic violence. We're talking about that Manitoba has some of the highest levels in the country; you think that members opposite would be quiet, and would just listen. And more than just listen; would actually want to do some­thing and tackle this issue.

      But no. In their arrogance, they can't. They don't have the capacity to listen.

      And, as our elders teach us, one of the best things that you can do is listen, is that you can listen, and you can try to learn and you can try to do better. And, unfor­tunately, members opposite have proven time and time and time again they are simply unwilling and incapable of doing so.


Ms. Lisa Naylor (Wolseley): I'll start by saying that I do support the measures in this bill. Pro­tec­tion orders are an im­por­tant safety measure for people ex­per­iencing violence in their home or in their relationships. And, in parti­cular, gender-based violence is an epidemic that we do need to address, and this will help us make a move towards improving how that is addressed in this province.

      But we also need to invest in women's health and safety and in all areas that can better provide support to people ex­per­iencing dangerous situations in their homes or in their relationships.

      While abuse can affect anyone, it is much more common for women to ex­per­ience intimate partner violence and much more common for men to perpetrate intimate partner violence. According to police data from 2019, women were 3.5 times more likely to ex­per­ience intimate partner violence then, and made up 79 per cent of the victims of intimate partner violence.

      Intimate partner violence is a highly gendered issue, and it is crucial that we see solutions through a gendered lens. As of 2018, 44 per cent of women who had been in an intimate partner relationship–so, over 6 million Canadian women–have reported ex­per­iencing abuse at some point in a relationship.

      Rates of intimate partner violence are also sig­nificantly higher among 2SLGBTQ women and among women with dis­abil­ities. Between 2014 and 2019, 80 per cent of intimate partner homicide victims were women. And Manitoba has the second highest rate of intimate partner violence among all the provinces, and that's some­thing that we really need to be thinking about and dwelling on.

      Certainly, this bill could make some positive changes for some people, but there's so many other things about our systems that are creating this problem. We also have the second highest rate of killings of women among the provinces.

      Intimate partner violence is often not reported, due in part to the stigma and the lack of trust in the courts and the justice system, so the actual rates of intimate partner violence are truly unknown. Reported violence represents only a small part of the actual amount of gender-based violence in Canada, and there is also a problem with pro­tec­tion orders. As of 2020, more than half of the requests for pro­tec­tion orders were denied or withdrawn, due in part to the fact that the application forms are in­access­ible and can be confusing.

      While physical and sexual abuse are most com­mon­ly associated with intimate partner violence, abuse can also be emotional, psychological, financial and spiritual. These ad­di­tional types of abuse can be much harder to track than physical and often go unreported.

      It's also very im­por­tant to reflect on how racial­ized an issue and how colonial an issue intimate partner violence is in this country and in this province. My colleague from St. Johns spoke extremely eloquently to the issues surrounding missing and murdered women, but I'm going to reflect on that as well, because I think that it is a sub­stan­tial issue that we need to address to make any kinds of inroads to making change for violence in this province.

      While intimate partner violence affects women from all back­grounds, violence against Indigenous women, girls and two-spirit people is dispro­por­tionally higher. Indigenous women are more likely to ex­per­ience intimate partner violence than non-Indigenous women. Intimate partner violence ex­per­ienced by Indigenous women is often unreported or poorly reported, making it difficult to get an accurate picture of the scale of the problem. And the problem contributes to the epidemic of missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls and two-spirited people.

      Between 1997 and 2000, Indigenous women were killed at a rate that was almost seven times higher than that of non-Indigenous women, and that is why it is so crucial that we do not just see this as a gendered issue, as statistics that only fall along gendered lines don't tell the full story of the racialized and colonialized nature of violence against women.

      It is im­por­tant that sexual assault is reported and taken seriously. Unfor­tunately, survivors of sexual assault often come up against myths and stereotypes when navigating reporting their abuse.

* (15:50)

      In a study done by the Vancouver-based West Coast LEAF called We Are Here: Women's Experiences of the Barriers to Reporting Sexual Assault, 95 per cent of survivors chose not to report assault. Nine out of 10 women do not report incidents of sexual assault. They often cite fear of the police in­vesti­gation and the court process as a deterrent to reporting.

      And other problems, such as the underfunding of programs like the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner Program, also can lead to survivors choosing not to report their assault, choosing not to seek help that they need due to the long waits or the staff being unavail­able or, simply, they maybe chose to report or chose to get help, but were turned away because of under­funding by this gov­ern­ment.

      We need to address the root causes of this–rape culture, misogyny and a lack of trust–in order to end the under-reporting of abuse.

      Pro­tec­tion orders are only helpful if victims of domestic violence have the ability to leave the relation­ship. This requires robust social services, such as domestic violence shelters for vul­ner­able women who do not have other options. Victims of intimate-partner violence need an ally in their prov­incial gov­ern­ment, but it took this gov­ern­ment a whole year to get around to even scheduling a meeting for the ender–ending gender-based violence Cabinet com­mit­tee.

      The PC gov­ern­ment has made harmful and con­sistent cuts to women's health-care funding. Intimate-partner violence is a women's health issue, as violence often has devastating effects on a person's physical and mental health. So these cuts have a parti­cularly negative impact on women ex­per­iencing intimate-partner violence.

      We know–we all know–the Conservatives have made deep cuts to health-care services that women depend on, whether that was closing the Mature Women's Centre, cutting other services like lactation consultants, cutting funding levels for the Healthy Baby program.

      You know, programs like the Healthy Baby pro­gram are sometimes where women who are ex­per­iencing violence first can share and talk about what's going on for them, right. But they show up because they have a newborn baby; they're there to get some support through the baby milk program, they're there to just talk to folks about a new child, but that's where their story comes out. And so, cutting these kinds of services is very dangerous for women.

      And last week, you know, the Premier (Mrs. Stefanson) was on CBC–and there's been a lot of talk about this in the Legislature, as there should be. When the Premier was asked to name any recom­men­dations–any of the calls to justice, rather, from the national inquiry on missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls that this gov­ern­ment had imple­mented, the Premier was unable to do so.

      You know, the same night that happened, I was at a dinner gathering, and there was a guest there from the United States who doesn't really know anything about our politics. He heard that interview on the radio, and he didn't even really know who was talking, but he said, well, you can tell she didn't even read the report. Right; so, that's very trans­par­ent to Manitobans.

      I'm sure a handful of people on the other side of the House some time in the last number of years maybe have looked through this report, but I don't think that it's an accident that the Premier could not point to one single thing that has been imple­mented from the national inquiry.

      And there's so many things–I've listed these here in the Legislature before, and I know other people have, as well. But if we're actually going to make inroads into dealing with the issues of violence against women in this province, then it's critical that the calls to justice are imple­mented and, in parti­cular, all the ones that have to do directly with violence.

      So, you know, for example, the report spe­cific­ally calls on the prov­incial gov­ern­ment to publicly acknowl­edge and condemn violence against Indigenous women and girls. It talks about the need for greater public edu­ca­tion on this issue.

      The report calls for the need for properly resourced initiatives and pro­gram­ming to address root causes of violence against Indigenous women and girls. And those root causes include improved access to safe housing. It's spe­cific­ally listed in the calls to justice. And yet so little has been done to improve housing and safety for women–for any women in poverty, and spe­cific­ally Indigenous women in this province.

      The report calls on us to address poverty among Indigenous women and the need for culturally ap­pro­priate health, mental health and addiction services for Indigenous women.

      But when it comes to mental health and addiction services and health care, we know that this gov­ern­ment has cut, cut, cut, cut since they came into power, without any awareness, without–or any care, I guess, is more accurate, because there's been lots of chance for awareness, because we keep pointing it out that cutting health care, cutting housing and cutting mental health and addiction services only increases vul­ner­ability for the most vul­ner­able people in our province, and it has the most dramatic effect on Indigenous women.

      Another call to justice from the report includes the need to heal Indigenous male perpetrators of vio­lence and prevent the 'perpetation' of cycles of gender violence in Indigenous com­mu­nities. We've seen no action taken by this gov­ern­ment.

      There's also the need for evaluation of programs intended to address violence against Indigenous women and girls and the need for Indigenous-led pro­gram­ming. This gov­ern­ment could go a long way to–you know, could make decisions that could go a long way to effecting the safety of Indigenous women and girls in this province.

      There's also the call to justice for the need for law reform of discriminatory legis­lation. And we know that, you know, by the levels, the numbers of in­car­cer­ated Indigenous people across this province and across this country, there's no question that the legis­lation is discriminatory and the justice system is discriminatory.

      Another call to justice from the national inquiry is to address human trafficking of Indigenous women and girls.

      You know, just earlier today, I was standing in question period to ask this province to support the City of Winnipeg in some­thing very im­por­tant that they're trying to do. When folks have been taken–like, have been moved from an encampment into a building, moved into an apartment that may or may not have heat, that may or may not have running water, and, you know, the gov­ern­ment just sends the money off to the building owner, to the landlord, without question­ing whether or not people are being well cared for, and then gangs have access in that building, it is just setting up the human trafficking situation.

      So, one of the buildings I recently toured, you know, the police told me that it was the worst building in the city for the amount of children who were trafficked out of that building. So, you know, you see the obvious things, like the sewage in the basement or the lack of heat, but knowing that that's happening right there in that building, that they have frequent calls on that issue.

      So, what's a young girl to do, you know, if she's been–a young Indigenous girl has been trafficked out of that building. Unfor­tunately, it's very unlikely that she's going to be using this justice process in order to get a restraining order against the perpetrator.

      So, so much more needs to be done to address this issue. There's the need for measures to improve relation­ships between police services and Indigenous com­mu­nities, and that's spe­cific­ally called for in the calls to justice. And the need for culturally ap­pro­priate and affordable judicial process and supports and the need for restorative justice alternatives to court.

      These are all things that our side of the House has continually referenced and called on in different ways over the time that I have been in this Legislature, and that we will continue to look to–we will continue–at–just as we look to the Truth and Recon­ciliation report, we look to the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls as a guide­post for what is needed to heal the justice system, to end violence, to end the murders of women in this province.

* (16:00)

      So, Mr. Deputy Speaker, although I would love to talk about the issues of violence against women for hours and days, as it's an issue extremely close to my heart, I think that I will leave it there and just implore members on the other side of the House, you know, you can make little policy changes like this, but if you really want to make a difference in violence against women, read the report. Read the inquiry. And commit in your heart and on the floor of this Legislature to implement the justice calls in that report.

      Thank you, Mr. Deputy Speaker.

The Acting Speaker (Dennis Smook): Is there any further debate on this motion?

      Is the House ready for the question?

Some Honourable Members: Question.

The Acting Speaker (Dennis Smook): The question before the House is second reading of Bill 16, The Domestic Violence and Stalking Amend­ment Act.

      Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt this motion? [Agreed]

Bill 17–The Regulated Health Professions Amendment Act (2)

The Acting Speaker (Dennis Smook): We will now move on to Bill 17, the regulated health professions amend­ment act.

Hon. Audrey Gordon (Minister of Health): Thank you–[interjection] Oh. Yes, I'm going to–thank you, Mr. Acting Deputy Speaker.

      I move, seconded by the Minister of Sport, Culture and Heritage (Mr. Khan), that Bill 17, The Regulated Health Professions Amend­ment Act (2), be now read a second time and be referred to a com­mit­tee of this House.

The Acting Speaker (Dennis Smook): It has been moved by the Minister of Health, seconded by the Minister of Sport, Culture and Heritage, that Bill 17, the regulated health professions amend­ment act, be now read a second time and referred to a com­mit­tee of this House.

Ms. Gordon: I would like to make a change.

      I move, seconded by the Minister of Finance (Mr. Cullen), that–can I–is that okay? Can I–he wasn't in his chair, so.

The Acting Speaker (Dennis Smook): Yes, the Minister of Health, please.

Ms. Gordon: I move, seconded by the Minister of Finance, that Bill 17, The Regulated Health Professions Amend­ment Act (2), be now read a second time and be referred to a com­mit­tee of this House.

Motion presented.

Ms. Gordon: I'm pleased to rise again to provide comments on Bill 17.

      The Regulated Health Professions Act, or RHPA, is the umbrella legis­lation that is to apply to all health profession regula­tory bodies. Regulated health pro­fessions are being transfer–transitioned to the RHPA, RHPA, over time, and the de­part­ment has found that the work to complete the regula­tions required to transi­tion a profession to the RHPA is complex and takes a con­sid­erable amount of time to complete.

      This work was also impacted by the COVID‑19 pandemic due to the work required to support the prov­incial measures imple­mented to protect Manitobans.

      Currently, five health profession regula­tory bodies are under the RHPA. This includes, most recently, the College of Registered Psychiatric Nurses of Manitoba, effective June 1st, 2022. Seventeen health pro­fes­sion regula­tory bodies are still governed under their own profession-specific legis­lation while waiting to transi­tion to the RHPA. The de­part­ment is currently actively working to transition four of these regula­tory bodies to the RHPA.

      The author­ity of health profession regula­tory bodies to self-govern the profession is delegated author­ity, and it is necessary for the minister to have author­ity to deal with issues relating to their admin­is­tra­tion or operation or the state of practice of the pro­fession if necessary. However, the existing profession-specific acts govern­ing the health pro­fession regula­tory bodies that have not yet transitioned to the RHPA do not provide such author­ity.

      The amend­ments to the RHPA presented in this bill will enable the minister to take action in the public interest to address issues relating to the admin­is­tra­tion and operation of health profession regula­tory bodies that has not yet transitioned to the RHPA or the state of practice of the profession. This can include, among other things, matters related to health, safety or quality assurance in the practice of the regulated health profession.

      These changes will help keep Manitobans safe and healthy as we move past the pandemic and con­tinue to work to transition all regulated health professions to the RHPA.

      Thank you, Mr. Acting Deputy Speaker.


The Acting Speaker (Dennis Smook): A question period of up to 15 minutes will be held. Questions may be addressed to the minister by any member in the following sequence: first question by the official opposition critic or designate; subsequent questions asked by critics or designates from other recognized opposition parties; subsequent questions asked by each independent member; remaining questions asked by any opposition members. And no question or answer shall exceed 45 seconds.

MLA Uzoma Asagwara (Union Station): Can the minister advise the House who was consulted when writing this bill?

Hon. Audrey Gordon (Minister of Health): Mr. Acting Deputy Speaker, there are no issues identified by the regula­tory bodies to be transitioned to RHPA who are waiting. It's taken some time, as I mentioned, to transition professions to the RHPA, and it's–this is about making sure that they are the–that we have the tools in the tool kit if and when issues arise.

Hon. Jon Gerrard (River Heights): I would ask the minister how many dedi­cated staff in the de­part­ment are respon­si­ble for helping organi­zations transition to being under the registered health professions act?

Ms. Gordon: We have five professions that have transi­tioned to the RHPA: the College of Audiologists and Speech-Language Pathologists of Manitoba; College of Registered Nurses of Manitoba, College of Physicians and Surgeons of Manitoba; College of Paramedics of Manitoba, formally regulated by the de­part­ment under The Emergency Medical Response and Stretcher Trans­por­tation Act; and the College of Registered Psychiatric Nurses of Manitoba.

      Thank you.

MLA Asagwara: I'm just going to repeat my question because I didn't actually get any clarity in the minister's response.

      Who spe­cific­ally was consulted in writing this bill?

Ms. Gordon: There are no issues identified by the health professions that are listed. And, as I mentioned before, it's taken some time to transition professions to the RHPA.

Madam Speaker in the Chair

      And, Madam Speaker, it's about making sure that there are tools in the toolkit for when–if and when issues arise.

* (16:10)

Mr. Gerrard: Madam Speaker, it's my under­standing that part of the slowness in moving organi­zations under the registered health professions act has been the small number of dedi­cated staff in the de­part­ment who have been working on this file.

      Can the minister tell us how many dedi­cated staff have been working on this transformation and whether that number has changed over the years?

Ms. Gordon: So, there are many factors that have affected the timeline for the transition to the RHPA, and it depends on how ready the profession is and how many changes they need to make to their own legis­lation, the extent of the reserved acts that they may want to take on and how other professions may react to that.

      A handbook was actually developed to help the pro­fessions as well as taking them to the health leader­ship to announce the upcoming transition–contract a senior retired health-care leader to try and shepherd the association through the process.

      So, it may take time based on the profession's readiness, Madam Speaker–

Madam Speaker: Member's time has expired.

MLA Asagwara: If there–can the minister clarify, if there was an association, a regula­tory body, that was ready and willing to transition under the act and had reached out to the gov­ern­ment to ask for support in making that happen, can the minister advise whether or not her gov­ern­ment would be positioned to expe­dite that process for any organi­zation that is ready, that has every­thing they need aligned and has reached out to the gov­ern­ment for support in order to make that happen in a timely manner?

Ms. Gordon: As I mentioned, there are–we have transitioned five professions to the RHPA, and it really depends on the readiness of the organi­zation. The de­part­ment is currently working with, I think it is four or more professions, on transitioning them.

      So, we certainly wouldn't want to send a message out that we're going to allow any college to skip that queue. There's a process, there's a protocol, and the de­part­ment is following that.

Mr. Gerrard: It's my under­standing that when this was looked at carefully a number of years ago, that there were a number of the organi­zations just stacked up trying to get in, but they were–kept on telling us that they didn't have enough staff to process them and that they had to work on one at a time.

      Clearly, this process has taken a long, long time and we need better answers than we've got–than the minister blaming the organi­zations rather than talking about the problems within her gov­ern­ment and the previous gov­ern­ment.

Ms. Gordon: I want to correct the member for River Heights (Mr. Gerrard) for putting words into my mouth that I don't recall saying, Madam Speaker.

      There is a lot–this is very complex work. This is not work that we want to take lightly. When a pro­fession is transitioned, under the RHPA, it really sets out what the individuals who work in that profession will be regulated to do and not do. It takes time. We want to be very aware of how the changes will affect other professions.

      So, the de­part­ment is working with several pro­fessions, and we will continue–

Madam Speaker: The member's time has expired.

MLA Asagwara: So, I guess, what would be helpful is if the minister could clarify whether or not she will be provi­ding greater staffing resources within the de­part­ment to address this area.

      The minister has stated that there is a queue, that there's a process; and we also know that there are organi­zations who have identified that they are ready and would like to transition to under the act, but have been told that now is not the time from this gov­ern­ment.

      So, can the minister clarify whether or not she will be ensuring that there are more staff in the de­part­ment in this area supporting these organizations who have identified that they are ready and want to come under the act?

Ms. Gordon: We are certainly working with the RHPA council, and they are available to look at transitioning as quickly as possible a number of professions, and the de­part­ment is currently working through the numbers as quickly as possible. And any resources that they need, they know that they can always come forward to our gov­ern­ment–we're the gov­ern­ment of the yes–to get those ad­di­tional supports.

      So there are a number of bodies that are working on this–the profession, the council and the staff–that need to be ready to take on more.

Mr. Gerrard: The answer I got from the minister was strikingly like an answer I got a number of years ago from an NDP Health minister, who told me that it was a complex problem and that she wasn't really able to solve it very well.

      But my concern is that we've had a number of organi­zations approach us, and they've gone to the gov­ern­ment: We want to be registered under the act. And the gov­ern­ment has come back and said, now is not your time; we're dealing with another organi­zation now. We can't talk to you until some later date.

      So there have been extra­ordin­arily–delays, and we've heard of this time and time and year after year. And could the minister please stand up and tell us what she's going to do to solve this delay?

Ms. Gordon: Madam Speaker, the changes to the bill that have been intro­duced would allow for the minis­ter to be able to take action when the need arises with the professions if issues emerge.

      And that would apply once the profession is transitioned to the RHPA. And what we are intro­ducing is the ability for it to apply now while they have not transitioned.

      Madam Speaker, it's a very complex process. I know the member for River Heights (Mr. Gerrard) doesn't understand how it works, although he does come from a health back­ground. And we want to ensure that there is proper scrutiny to ensure that safe–

Madam Speaker: The member's time is expired.

MLA Asagwara: Madam Speaker, I will say that it is perfectly reasonable for any member of this House to seek clari­fi­ca­tion from the minister as to why it's taken so long for organi­zations, for regula­tory bodies, who are ready to make that transition to get support from this gov­ern­ment in order to do so.

      I think it's unfair of the minister to imply that anybody in this House doesn't know what they're talking about simply because they're asking for account­ability from the Minister of Health (Ms. Gordon).

      Can the minister explain why school psychologists have not been included in this transition under the act?

Ms. Gordon: There's absolutely nothing wrong with a minister standing in this House to raise awareness and to educate members of the Chamber about how a process works.

      It's a very complex process, Madam Speaker, and we want to ensure that there's proper scrutiny to ensure that safe care is provided and readiness of professions.

      The attempt has been made to stream­line the pro­cess, which includes a lot of con­sul­ta­tion, socialized at various leadership tables within the health-care system, and to bring in someone who has an expertise in the area to help move the professions through their transition.

      Madam Speaker, the member doesn't know, but I'm pleased to raise the awareness that a profession has to be one that is regulated now to fall under this bill.

Mr. Gerrard: Which brings me to the point that there are organi­zations which have been lined up, some for a number of years, trying to get under this act, and haven't been helped and haven't been facilitated, and are just waiting.

      And now, they're going to be excluded from this act because the gov­ern­ments for many years haven't worked enough with them to help them be ready.

Ms. Gordon: What the member has placed on the record is not factual.

      Individuals who are–professions that are not currently under RHPA will not be excluded from the change that is being–the amend­ment that is being made now.

      What we are attempting to do is to bring those individuals in line with the professions that have transitioned. They're not being excluded, Madam Speaker. We are adding them into some of the powers that the Minister of Health has.

* (16:20)

MLA Asagwara: Can the minister clarify whether or not the school psychologists–their repre­sen­tatives, were consulted in the dev­elop­ment of this bill and the amend­ments?

Ms. Gordon: Madam Speaker, the regulated pro­fessions waiting to transition to the RHPA, I can provide a list of that: Psychological Association of Manitoba, College of Licensed Practical Nurses of Manitoba, College of Physio­thera­pists of Manitoba, College of Medical Laboratory Tech­no­lo­gists of Manitoba, Manitoba Chiropractors' Association, College of Dental Hygienists of Manitoba, Manitoba Dental Association, Denturist Association of Manitoba, College of Dieticians of Manitoba, College of Midwives of Manitoba, Manitoba Naturopathic Association, College of Occupational Therapists of Manitoba, Opticians of Manitoba, Manitoba Association of Optometrists, College of Pharmacists of Manitoba, college of–

Madam Speaker: The member's time has expired.

MLA Asagwara: Can the minister–and she just read off a number of folks that she's saying she and her gov­ern­ment consulted with, which is helpful and I ap­pre­ciate that.

      I'm going to ask spe­cific­ally about the Manitoba Association of School Psychologists. Can the minister clarify whether or not she and her gov­ern­ment con­sulted with that organi­zation?

Ms. Gordon: The–I do want to add the last two that I missed in my earlier answer: The College of Podiatrists of Manitoba, and the Manitoba Association of Registered Respiratory Therapists.

      These are the professions that have come forward to state their readiness to transition to RHPA. These are the organi­zations we are consulting and working with, Madam Speaker.

      And I welcome others who feel that they are now ready to begin that process of transitioning, to come forward, put their organi­zation's name forward.

Mr. Gerrard: Just to clarify, organi­zations which have been waiting but have not yet been considered, even like the school psychologists–I believe the massage therapists might be another one–are they included in this legis­lation or not?

Ms. Gordon: Again, the profession has to be one that is regulated now to fall under this bill.

      Thank you.

MLA Asagwara: Can the minister advise if there are any organi­zations that–sorry.

      Can the minister advise which specific organi­zations have reached out to gov­ern­ment stating that they are ready, but that the gov­ern­ment had to decline bringing them under the act because they don't have the capacity in the de­part­ment?

Ms. Gordon: Madam Speaker, I can state that we have not said, as the member opposite has stated, that we decline anyone from begin­ning the transition process.

      These are–these 17 professions that I listed are going through the process of transitioning. It takes time, Madam Speaker. It's not put your name forward and the next day you're transitioned. It takes time.

      We need to ensure that the transitioning and the reserved acts and all of the work that needs to be done takes into con­sid­era­tion the safety and health of Manitobans and the impact it can have on other professions.

Madam Speaker: The time for this question period has ended.


Madam Speaker: The floor is open for debate.

MLA Uzoma Asagwara (Union Station): I, of course, welcome any opportunity to stand in this House and talk about health care in Manitoba.

This bill–and I appreciate that I was able to attend a briefing on this bill several weeks ago now and was able to ask some questions there. Those briefings tend to be somewhat concise, and so I wasn't able to ask all my questions. But I did get a good bit of insight into why this bill has been never brought forward and the  impact that it will have on different regulatory associations.

      So I recognize that this bill is, you know, bringing forward amendments that are necessary and that there are a lot of associations that do want to be brought under this act, and I recognize that it's important that they are.

      So, certainly, this bill makes sense in terms of what it is trying to achieve.

      The–there are some concerns that I have. I think I articulated those a bit in my questions to the minister. I also heard plainly that there are likely others in this House who share some of those concerns that there are regula­tory bodies, there are associations–health-care associations–which would like to be brought under the regulated health pro­fes­sionals amend­ment act but, unfor­tunately, have not been able to do so as of yet.

      And there are a number of reasons for that, Madam Speaker. I'm well aware of some of the challenges that different associations have. Not all associations are resourced the same way, have the same member­ship base, have the same level of infra­structure as others. And so, certainly recog­nize that not every association is going to have maybe the same level of capacity to take the steps that they would like to in terms of this transition.

      And that is where, quite frankly, this gov­ern­ment could do a much better job. The Health Minister, along with her Premier (Mrs. Stefanson) and other PC caucus members, has a habit of talking about the things that they're doing and, unfor­tunately, do not align those comments or an­nounce­ments or press releases or whatever form it is that those–that com­mentary takes, it doesn't align, necessarily, with an adequate amount of resource in order to realize what they're saying their commit­ments are.

      And so, when we talk about the regulated health professions amend­ment act, we do have to talk about whether or not there are adequate resources available to associations to support them. I do recog­nize that there are many very bright, hard-working, you know, well-informed, dedi­cated folks working in the de­part­ment who are doing this work, and we certainly recog­nize that, especially during, you know, the pandemic, the last few years has not been easy for those folks.

      Which is all the more reason why it's im­por­tant that this minister take very seriously the op­por­tun­ity that she and her gov­ern­ment have to better resource this aspect of the de­part­ment to ensure that regula­tory bodies who are prepared and who have done the heavy lifting to get their organi­zations in a place where they can make that transition, have the ap­pro­priate sup­ports in place to do so.

      And, you know, I've had the pleasure of meeting with a number of regula­tory bodies organi­zations over the last few years, and I've heard directly from these folks what their concerns are, what their hopes are, for their associations. Every single organi­zation talks about the fact that they really need and want a strong part­ner­ship, strong relationship, with the gov­ern­ment of the day.

      And recog­nizing, of course, how these organi­zations operate and how they function in­de­pen­dently and how their decision-making processes work, that is fully respected and acknowl­edged. But they also point out that, you know, a gov­ern­ment really sets the tone for the culture within our health-care system, and that has an impact on associations. It does.

      And so, you know, one step this gov­ern­ment can take really right away, one thing this minister could do right away is enhance the resources–bolster the resources in the de­part­ment to support organi­zations in making that transition. That, to me, is a pretty clear-cut step that can be taken.

      And we know that the civil service has been cut, thousands of jobs lost under this gov­ern­ment. Brian Pallister had this obsession with cutting–Brian Pallister cut every­thing he possibly could. If there was a slab cake in the room, hadn't been cut yet, Brian Pallister was cutting it. You know, like anything that could be cut, Brian Pallister was focused on that. And, unfor­tunately, health care was an area that Brian Pallister, you know, ran around cutting absolutely every­thing that he could.

      And, unfor­tunately, you know, we have all been impacted by the COVID‑19 pandemic and on–you know, his approach really led to a near collapse of our health-care system here in Manitoba, because he had–with the full support, mind you, of his caucus.

      I mean, every single member of the PC caucus enthusiastically–they were like, you know what, Brian, you don't have a knife to cut that cake, I got you covered. Let me cut that cake for you. Every single member of that caucus was happy to cut whatever Brian Pallister said needed to be cut. My goodness.

An Honourable Member: And then they cut him.

MLA Asagwara: And you know what–and then, ironically enough, they cut him. Oh my goodness. You know, like, it's in­cred­ible.

* (16:30)

      It's like, you know, he really had the support of his team in all of his health-care decision making, and then his team, when they realized that, you know, maybe they were all being viewed the same way he was being viewed–which was not in a good light, as a result of their decision making, especially in health care–they cut him loose.

      But you know, unfor­tunately, the thing that they seem to not recog­nize is that they were in lockstep with Brian Pallister the whole way. And I think that's a big part of the reason why we continue to see this gov­ern­ment and this Health Minister fail and really resist the–fail to take the necessary steps to adequately resource our health-care system, to adequately resource aspects of the de­part­ment that would allow for a more expeditious transition for these associations under the act.

      And that's really disappointing because we are in this place in Manitoba where our health-care system, just as one example, is really struggling due to the deci­sion making of this gov­ern­ment. We really do need all organi­zations that support our health-care system, that function as a part of our health-care system, to be functioning and operating at their maximum capacity, really at their best.

      That is the way that we're going to support our health-care system, our health-care workers and Manitobans who, you know, access health care on a daily basis on the spectrum of what it means to need health care in our province. You know, taking those steps would ensure that, across the board, folks are able to do their jobs and serve Manitobans in the best way possible.

      And so, I've–I talked about this before, that it is not enough for this gov­ern­ment to bring forward legis­lation–that does make sense–this gov­ern­ment also needs to take steps to ensure that what is in that legis­lation can actually be actioned in a productive manner.

      You know, we've seen this gov­ern­ment fail to take adequate measures, like during the pandemic, they were very, very slow to take the necessary steps to ensure that we had enough health-care workers working on the front lines of our health-care system. We know that this gov­ern­ment has, you know, over the past several years, they fired hundreds of nurses from our health-care system, they displaced nurses from their jobs.

      I really and truly–and I know this, because I've heard several members opposite make the comment that nurses weren't fired, I–it just shows me that there's a lack of willingness to understand what it means when a nurse's position is deleted and they're displaced from their em­ploy­ment entirely and forced to compete with other nurses for jobs that they haven't been working or specialized in for years, or maybe never. It's a bit bizarre that, at this stage of things, members opposite still don't understand the impacts of that.

      We saw, during this pandemic, the impacts of this gov­ern­ment's unwillingness to act in terms of sup­port­ing internationally educated health-care workers like nurses and doctors to work in Manitoba, to become a part of our health-care system and our–the family fabric of our province. And it took a lot of advocacy, a lot of pressure–not only from this side of the House, but from Manitobans generally, from health-care pro­fes­sionals–in order to push this gov­ern­ment to take the necessary steps to, you know, encourage–the college is one example, College of Registered Nurses of Manitoba–to take steps to ensure that we can get inter­nationally educated nurses in the workforce.

      And, you know, it–there are still concerns around this area. You know, a good example would be the fact that this gov­ern­ment cut the physician recruitment and retention fund. Millions of dollars cut from that fund for several years now, during a time where Manitoba is short over 400 doctors. We need over 400 doctors in Manitoba.

      You know, and the Health Minister can heckle and try to yell at me all she wants from her seat across the way, but what she should really be doing is just listening. Just listening and reflecting on the fact that she is in a position–the highest position of author­ity on health care in this province–and makes decisions like cutting the physician recruitment and retention fund, which isn't the right move when, again, we're short over 400 doctors in our province.

      And, over the next few years, we're going to see an attrition–a loss–of about a third of the physicians that we do have, due to retirement, due to burnout, due to areas that this gov­ern­ment has done nothing to adequately support in the seven years they've been in power.

      And I know–I know–members opposite, the Health Minister, they don't like me talking about the fact that they've been in power since 2016. They would like everybody in Manitoba to just blink and forget that they've been in power since 2016 in the hopes that they can bring forward legis­lation or in the hopes they can bring forward a budget that, you know–they use all kinds of language to describe what's in there in terms of funding. I've heard astronomical used. I've heard the largest amounts ever; 71 billion trillion people will be impacted, but the reality is–

Madam Speaker: Order, please. Order.

      I think the member is straying a little bit from the bill that is on the floor, so I would ask the member to bring their comments back to the bill that is before us.

      The honourable member for River Heights (Mr. Gerrard)–[interjection]–oh, sorry. The hon­our­able member for Union Station.

MLA Asagwara: I–thank you, Madam Speaker, for your guidance. I certainly am not intending to stray away from the substance of this bill. I raise the points that I have because they are interconnected, right. The–this act, The Regulated Health Professions Amend­ment Act, is actually connected to all of these health pro­fes­sionals I'm talking about who work in our health-care system, or who we need working in our health-care system but are not because of this gov­ern­ment's cuts, mis­manage­ment and mistreatment of health-care workers since 2016.

      And so, you know, I think it's im­por­tant for me to draw those connections because we cannot–we can't act as though this bill, this piece of legislation, exists in isolation.

      It doesn't. We're talking about regula­tory bodies, associations that work very, very hard on behalf of their members who work in various aspects in–across the spectrum of our health-care system to make sure that the system is there for Manitobans when they need it.

      And, right now, we see time and time again, that different aspects of our health-care system are simply not able to respond to the needs of Manitobans. And I bring up these health professions and I bring that up that the system hasn't been able to respond to the needs of Manitobans who need it at times, because it's a reflection of the fact that this gov­ern­ment doesn't make the decisions needed for that to be realized.

      You know, again, this bill is being brought forward, and it would be great–the minister knows–the minister, you know, talked today about who has been brought under this act. The minister acknowl­edged that there are folks who would like to be brought under this act. But nowhere in the minister's responses did she say that they're going to take more initiative, that they've got more solutions ahead of them in terms of how they're going to make sure organi­zations who are ready to be brought under the act are able to do so.

      Madam Speaker, I had a meeting, probably now about three weeks ago, with an association that told me very plainly they are ready to be brought under this act, that they actually let the gov­ern­ment know, they let the minister's de­part­ment know, we're ready; we've done every­thing we need to do. We need a little bit of support now from your de­part­ment to just make that transition happen. This is what we want. This is what our members want.

      Unfor­tunately, Madam Speaker, this association was met with, essentially, a no.

      And so, I think it is valid to talk about areas of our health-care system that are struggling right now, areas of our health-care system that have regula­tory bodies that are trying to take steps to advance their organi­zations but are unable to do that because they're met by a minister, they're met by a gov­ern­ment, that refuses to step up and provide the resources they need and the supports they need to make that transition in a timely manner.

      You know, it's a shame, because you've got these associa­tions, you've got these organi­zations, you've got health pro­fes­sionals across the province who, since 2016, certainly, you know, in the time that this has been brought forward, have reached out to this gov­ern­­ment and said, we want to strengthen our organi­zation.

      We want to do our part to improve health care in Manitoba because we see these–to borrow a word used from that side of the House–astronomical wait times in emergency rooms or for surgeries and diag­nos­tic tests. We see that, you know, our com­mu­nity members aren't able to access a primary-care provider in their neighbourhoods, and they want to be a part of the solution.

* (16:40)

      Madam Speaker, how many times do these organ­i­zations, these health-care pro­fes­sionals, need to offer up their resources, need to show up and say, we're here for our health-care system, only to be met with a gov­ern­ment that is unprepared, unwilling, unable to rise to the occasion and work as a partner with these organi­zations? How long and how many times does that happen until folks just say, enough?

      And that's what we're seeing happen in Manitoba. We're seeing that because this is a gov­ern­ment that will bring some­thing forward, they'll bring forward an an­nounce­ment, they'll send out a press release, bring forward legis­lation, but they won't back it up with the resources necessary to make any of those an­nounce­ments or pieces of paper a reality.

      And what's the result? The result is a health-care system that is actively losing the expertise of health-care pro­fes­sionals who also serve in these regula­tory organi­zations, actively losing health-care pro­fes­sionals and experts to other juris­dic­tions, because in those other juris­dic­tions, there are health ministers and there are gov­ern­ments whose No. 1 priority isn't making them­selves look good for an­nounce­ments but making the health-care out­comes of Manitobans their top priority.

      That's why our health-care system is in the state that it's in, because of empty an­nounce­ments, broken promises and a failed approach since 2016, starting with Brian Pallister, continued under this current Premier (Mrs. Stefanson) and executed by countless–at this point–Health ministers over the past seven years.

      Madam Speaker, my hope is that in the midst of hearing all of what's been brought forward from dif­ferent members of this House in regards to this legis­lation, that the minister will take that step, the minister will listen, you know, practise an approach that has been missing from this gov­ern­ment for the past seven years, listen to what people are saying, recog­nize that the criticism is, in fact, very constructive, and take steps to appropriately resource this area so that we can support more regula­tory bodies, more organi­zations to come under the act and be able to shift their focus to other areas that address what's going on in our health-care system.

      Allow these folks to, you know, pivot away from this area that, you know, several folks, again, that I've talked to are ready to make that transition; they just need a bit of support. So, you know, they need a gov­ern­ment that acts as a partner so that that can be realized for them and that they can put their energy in other areas and strengthen health care in Manitoba that right  now is, unfor­tunately, struggling under this Conservative gov­ern­ment.

      So, Madam Speaker, I really am thankful for the op­por­tun­ity to stand and talk a bit about this parti­cular bill, talk about the state of health care in Manitoba and to reiterate the really im­por­tant point that, you know, even legis­lation which makes sense, even legis­lation which we support, doesn't exist in a vacuum. You know, this is connected to other aspects of our health-care system, and we have to treat it that way in order to make sure that we're strengthening our health-care system as a whole.    

      So, I thank you for the time today, and I look forward to hearing from my colleagues on this side of the House in regards to this bill.

Madam Speaker: In the order of debate, the next member would be NDP, but has there been some–[interjection]

      Okay, the hon­our­able member for Notre Dame.

MLA Malaya Marcelino (Notre Dame): The Regulated Health Professions Amend­ment Act–the purpose is to amend the existing Regulated Health Professions Act and that the minister's powers relating to inquiries, directives and orders are extended to the regula­tory colleges and associations of health pro­fessions that are not yet governed under the act.

      You know, Madam Speaker, over the last few years–especially as we wrangled through those dif­ficult years, the early part of the pandemic–it really became painfully obvious that we were suffering from health human resource staffing shortages, and that there was a huge role to play, and that there were many barriers in play for inter­nationally trained health-care pro­fes­sionals, and that there were many issues that were resulting from barriers to accreditation from dif­ferent regula­tory bodies, and that this gov­ern­ment was unable to navigate those dif­fi­cul­ties very well at all.

      And so, we have this act here today that will be adding more regula­tory professions but, in the existing act, there are already regula­tory bodies that the gov­ern­ment did have the ability and powers to relate to inquiries, directives and orders, but they failed to do so.

      It got to the point where I, as an op­posi­tion mem­ber, had to do so much research, including reaching out to Crown Counsel here at the Legis­lative Assembly to try to find out what is going on with our legis­lative powers, so that–why isn't there more direction coming forth from this gov­ern­ment to try to deal with the barriers to accreditation that we were seeing.

      I did get an opinion from Crown Counsel here, especially about section 221 of The Regulated Health Professions Act. Because under this act already, the council of a college has a sig­ni­fi­cant amount of author­­ity to make regula­tions respecting the practice of their profession and, in parti­cular, clause 221, section (1), subsection 1 states that a council may make a regula­tion respecting registration and the quali­fi­ca­tions, ex­per­ience and other require­ments that must be met by candidates of registration.

      This was when I was looking into many barriers, including language exams that had to be taken multiple times, over and over again, even though they were already passed. Or clinical competency assessments for internationally trained nurses whose anecdotal fail­ure rate was 90 per cent and needed recalibration.

      The opinion goes on that while a council has broad author­ity to make regula­tions respecting their profession, there is existing already sig­ni­fi­cant over­sight author­ity on the part of the Lieutenant Governor-in-Council and the minister.

      First, before a council can make a regula­tion, the Lieutenant Governor-in-Council must approve the regula­tion. The section on the approval of regula­tions is found in clause 221, section (9). A regula­tion does not come into force until it is approved by the Lieutenant Governor-in-Council. And this section is applied, for instance, when the College of Registered Nurses of Manitoba general regula­tion was first made, the Lieutenant Governor-in-Council had to approve it.

      However, even after regula­tion has been approved and is in force, the minister has an oversight function. The minister may require a council to make, amend or repeal a regula­tion if it is in the public interest. So, there lies the rub, Madam Speaker. The power was always there already for the minister, and for this Cabinet, to act to remove unfair accreditation barriers. The regula­tion is required by minister–by the minister.

      Clause 221, section (10), if the minister considers it to be in the public interest, he or she may require a council to make, amend or repeal a regula­tion made by a regula­tory council under this section. In the case of unfair barriers to accreditation for nurses, the minister could require the College of Registered Nurses of Manitoba to amend the College of Registered Nurses of Manitoba general regula­tion to make it easier for internationally trained nurses to be registered in Manitoba if the minister considers it to be in the public interest. If the college refuses to act as the minister requires within 90 days, the Lieutenant Governor-in-Council can make, amend or repeal the regula­tion itself.

* (16:50)

      Clause 221, section 11 of this act: If the council does not comply with a require­ment under subsection 10 within 90 days, Lieutenant Governor-in-Council may make, amend or repeal the regula­tion.

      All told, the opinion said, the minister and Lieutenant Governor-in-Council have the oversight power to require a college to change their regula­tions if the minister considers it to be in the public interest.

      Now, the term public interest interest isn't defied–defined in The Regulated Health Professions Act. But anybody going to emergency rooms or ex­per­iencing what we've been ex­per­iencing in personal-care homes would say that, you know, Manitoba's health-care needs and our health staffing shortages that we've been experiencing–like, to the tune of 2,600 vacancies for nurses in our province, especially in northern, rural and remote areas–likely would qualify as being in the public interest.

      And under this power that's already there in this act, the minister could require the CRNM to amend their regula­tion to remove unfair barriers to inter­nation­ally trained nurses. So, there you have it, Madam Speaker. The power was always–

Madam Speaker: Order. Order please.

      If the member is reading from a specific letter that was sent to her, I–my under­standing is that three copies of that should be tabled in the House–[interjection]–if it's private cor­res­pon­dence, and I under­stand that that was an opinion provided by legal counsel privately to you?

MLA Marcelino: Be okay if I get it photocopied and present it at a later time?

Madam Speaker: Somebody would be happy–probably one of the–

An Honourable Member: Okay.

Madam Speaker: One of the pages could take it and get it photocopied.

      Thank you.

MLA Marcelino: So, you know, I'm very happy to see that there are going to be more, you know, pro­fes­sional regula­tory bodies are going to be included under this Regulated Health Professions Act.

      But my point is that with the ones that are already there–especially the major bodies, where we're seeing so many bottlenecks happening due to unfair barriers to accreditation for internationally educated nurses–I would like to continue to urge the ministers and the Cabinet to use their power judiciously and to be able to make those inquiries and those directions and changes, if necessary, to make sure that they are continuing to act in the public interest.

      You know, but, obviously, every single member here, all the colleges, everybody wants to make sure that there is safe practise occurring, and that is always going to be our No. 1 priority.

      But in the cases where we're seeing really unfair barriers to accreditation that I would argue has made Manitoba the least, you know, least popular destina­tion for internationally trained health pro­fes­sionals. There was even a campaign, a social media campaign, going on that said, anywhere but Manitoba for internationally trained nurses.

      And that is really ridiculous to say that we got to that point here as a province. And we have to do so much more in order for us to get to the level where we can really continue to attract the world's best talent and com­pas­sion­ate care here to our province.

      And with those comments, I'll leave off for now because we are very interested in seeing this bill pass.

      Thank you, Madam Speaker.

Hon. Jon Gerrard (River Heights): Yes, Madam Speaker, a few words on this bill.

      As the MLA for Notre Dame has outlined, the minister actually has a lot of powers that she's not adequately using to address various circum­stances.

      This bill is interesting because when the registered health professions act was initially intro­duced, it was envisaged at the time that probably all the registered health professions would be brought under that act in about five and maybe a little more years.

      But, clearly, the process has taken a long, long time, and indeed it's taken so long that now, the minister wants to start regulating the situation of–

An Honourable Member: Point of order.

Point of Order

Madam Speaker: The hon­our­able member for Notre Dame, on a point of order.

MLA Marcelino: Table the letter from the Crown counsel that was referenced in my earlier speech.

Madam Speaker: Thank you.

      I would indicate that it's not a point or order, but we ap­pre­ciate the tabling.

* * *

Mr. Gerrard: So, where we are now, is that after many, many, many, many years, we have five pro­fessions under the act, we have 17 professions trying to get under the act and we have an unknown number of professions, which includes, from what we know, school psychologists, massage therapists and we don't know how many others, which would like to get regulated and under the act, but are not even a chance–given a chance to get in the door.

      I am aware that there have been times–going back, in fairness under the NDP, as well as under the PCs–when various pro­fes­sional organi­zations have been lined up to try and get under the act, but there has been insufficient staff in the gov­ern­ment dedi­cated to this matter, with the result that things have gone very, very, very, very slowly.

      So, it is–we're now in this position where we're moving forward on this legis­lation, which we will support, which is trying to take things a step further and make up for the length of time that it has taken to get pro­fes­sional organi­zations under the act.

      It is an admission by the gov­ern­ment that they have failed to deliver over the many years that the registered health professions act has been in place.

So, with those few comments, Madam Speaker, I will let this matter move on to a vote and hopefully pass, and move on to com­mit­tee.

Thank you.

Madam Speaker: Are there any further members wishing to speak in debate?

      Is the House ready for the question?

Some Honourable Members: Question.

Madam Speaker: The question before the House is second reading of Bill 17, The Regulated Health Professions Amend­ment Act (2).

      Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion, agreed? [Agreed]

      I declare the motion carried.

Hon. Kelvin Goertzen (Government House Leader): Is it the will of members to call it 5 p.m.?

Madam Speaker: Is it the will of members to call it 5 p.m.? [Agreed]

The hour being 5 p.m., this House is adjourned and stands adjourned until 10–until 1:30 tomorrow.



Tuesday, April 11, 2023


Vol. 39b


Tabling of Reports

Goertzen  1381

Members' Statements

Dr. Netha Dyck

Guillemard  1381

Manitoba Skateboarding Coalition

Asagwara  1381

Orange Shirt Day

Bushie  1382

Théâtre Cercle Molière

Lamont 1382

Movin' On Choir

Squires 1383

Oral Questions

Education Property Tax Credit Revenue

Kinew   1384

Stefanson  1384

Orange Shirt Day

Kinew   1385

Stefanson  1385

Orange Shirt Day

Bushie  1386

Clarke  1386

Reyes 1387

New School Construction

Altomare  1387

Teitsma  1387

Manitoba Hydro Privatization

Sala  1388

Cullen  1388

Families Experiencing Miscarriage or Stillbirth

Lathlin  1389

Reyes 1390

Goertzen  1390

PPE Purchased During Pandemic

Lamont 1390

Teitsma  1391

Provincial Nominee Program for Skilled Workers

Lamoureux  1391

Reyes 1391

Homelessness Prevention Initiatives

Isleifson  1392

Squires 1392

Adanac Apartment Complex

Naylor 1392

Squires 1392


Health-Care Coverage

Altomare  1393

Provincial Road 224

Lathlin  1393

Security System Incentive Program

Maloway  1394

Community Living disABILITY Services

Gerrard  1394




Speaker's Statement

Driedger 1395

Second Readings

Bill 16–The Domestic Violence and Stalking Amendment Act

Goertzen  1395


Wiebe  1396

Goertzen  1396

Lamoureux  1396


Wiebe  1397

Lamoureux  1402

Fontaine  1402

Naylor 1407

Bill 17–The Regulated Health Professions Amendment Act (2)

Gordon  1410


Asagwara  1411

Gordon  1411

Gerrard  1411


Asagwara  1414

Marcelino  1417

Gerrard  1419