ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
School Boundaries Review
Mr. Gary Doer (Leader of the Opposition): Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Premier.
In 1988, the government promised to review school boundaries, particularly in the city of Winnipeg. In 1990, again, the government promised to review school boundaries across the province of Manitoba. In 1991, the government promised in one Speech from the Throne to again review school boundaries.
In 1991, in the second Speech from the Throne, they again promised to review school boundaries, Mr. Speaker. In 1993, after over five years in government, the government created a commission to look at their promise that they had made five years previous, and now, past the deadline that the government established of 16 months, we are still awaiting that school boundary report.
I would like to ask the Premier: Has his government been apprised of the contents of that report, and when can the public see the report dealing with school boundaries in Manitoba?
Hon. Gary Filmon (Premier): Mr. Speaker, we did not appoint a committee to review the promise we had made. We appointed a committee to review the school boundaries. They have done so after extensive public hearings throughout the province, and we are awaiting their report.
Mr. Doer: The Premier did not answer the question. The question was: What date can the public expect to receive the report?
It is over the deadline, Mr. Speaker. The deadline was November 30, 1994. The government has promised a school boundaries review from 1988 on. Five and a half years, six and a half years now, we still do not have the report.
Can the Premier tell us: When will the public receive a copy of the school boundaries report?
Mr. Filmon: Mr. Speaker, the review has been done. The report has been drafted, as I understand it, and is about to be printed, and when we receive a copy, then shortly thereafter the public will be aware of it.
Department of Education and Training
Mr. Gary Doer (Leader of the Opposition): After six and a half years, Mr. Speaker, the government has proceeded to bulletin and hire five regional consultants to implement the government's so-called blueprint of action for education of the province of Manitoba.
The five consultants, Mr. Speaker, have been hired to implement the government's plan with the various school divisions. We are not aware of the cost of this program, whether it is up to a quarter of a million dollars or not. I guess we will find out when we receive the Estimates, but many of the functions of the government's hired people appear to us to be the creation of another set of bureaucracy within the Department of Education, between the Department of Education, the school boards and the communities.
I would like to ask the government: Is this not another creation of a bureaucracy, Mr. Speaker, when the intent of the school boundary review allegedly was to remove bureaucracy, not create new sets of bureaucracy, as the government has done?
Hon. Clayton Manness (Minister of Education and Training): Mr. Speaker, the short answer to the question is no. When we came to government, we inherited a massive bureaucracy on the program side, and what we tried to do, particularly given the fact that we are bringing significant education renewal into place--and I know the NDP party is against decentralization. They are against the fact that the Department of Education should have a presence within the regions of this province.
Mr. Speaker, all we have tried to do is begin to have into place a governance structure so that the implementation of the new renewal document will be carried in an efficient and a systematic fashion. That is what we are building into place. We are trying to break down the big bureaucracy of government that the NDP like and make it more responsive to the needs of the regions.
Core Curriculum--Canadian History
Ms. Jean Friesen (Wolseley): Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Education.
All Manitobans are aware that 6 million of our fellow Canadians in Quebec will soon be facing a decisive referendum which will affect the future of our country, yet this third Minister of Education has decided that now is the time that an understanding of Canadian history is not required for young adult Manitobans.
I would like to ask the minister to table the letters, the petitions, the groundswell of public opinion which has called for this.
Hon. Clayton Manness (Minister of Education and Training): Mr. Speaker, the member is just so far off base. This government, in its renewal document, is making a new and a renewed and a much stronger commitment to Canadian history and Canadian study, within the reform area.
Mr. Speaker, as I have said on many, many occasions at speaking engagements and indeed in response to the letters that have come forward, we will restructure the social studies curriculum in this province so that once and for all there is a firm focus on Canadian studies and Canadian histories that has never existed in this province. That is a guarantee and a promise by this government.
Ms. Friesen: Mr. Speaker, well, I am enjoying watching the minister back-pedal as fast as he can because nowhere in this document does it talk about the renewal of Canadian social studies nowhere does it say that.
I would like to ask the minister to confirm to this House that under his educational proposals as they are listed in here it will be possible to graduate from Manitoba high schools with European history, American history, but not Canadian history.
Mr. Manness: Mr. Speaker, the member is deadly wrong in her assertion, and I say furthermore, as I indicated in July when the directions document came out, I indicated fully to the member opposite, to all the members opposite that there would be a companion document, that it would be coming out and if not December, in the beginning of the new year, that would lay out all the detail with respect to course requirements, graduation requirements, time requirements of study and the full detail of course that is wanted by way of answers to the questions.
I have indicated that to the education community and we will keep our word with respect to that.
Ms. Friesen: Mr. Speaker, will the minister explain the cost-effectiveness of abandoning the universal use of the current Grade 11 course whose development involved the work of over 500 teachers, took more than 10 years, created a made-in-Manitoba textbook and which has recently in this past year been revised and enhanced by the aboriginal teachers of this province?
Mr. Manness: Mr. Speaker, the government is not abandoning all the work that has been done. We are going to build, they are going to build in a co-operative fashion with other provinces, as requested by both opposition parties, that we work more closely with other provinces in western Canada to build a common curriculum. We are going to do that.
More importantly, and most importantly, the local school advisory committees, the parents will decide whether history and Canadian studies will continue to be not only compulsory in Grade 11 but also in Grade 12.
Mr. Speaker, trust the people. That is our motto. It is not in opposition to what the members are saying.
Mr. Paul Edwards (Leader of the Second Opposition): Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister responsible for the Manitoba Lotteries corporation.
We have had confirmed by the Addictions Foundation this morning that fully 20 percent of their clientele have admitted to committing a criminal act to support their gambling addictions. This does not include those who have gambling addictions and have committed criminal acts that have not admitted it. Mr. Speaker, 20 percent are admitting it. This is hardly making good things happen. It comes at a time that the government is now producing and showing on TV another set of ad campaigns--$200,000-plus in the production, a million dollars in buying air time, $1.2 million at least for this next ad campaign, the second one this year.
My question for the minister is: When is he going to acknowledge the real cost of gambling, the human cost of gambling in this province and allow Manitobans to have a full investigation and debate into what is happening with gambling in this province?
Hon. Jim Ernst (Minister charged with the administration of The Manitoba Lotteries Foundation Act): Mr. Speaker, first of all you have to look at the context of the allegations put forward by the member for St. James.
The Addictions Foundation, to date, I think in some 16 months of operation, has dealt with about 400 people. About 200 of those have been in treatment at the present time and in treatment over a period of time.
Out of somewhere between 6 and 8 million visits to the variety of facilities that are available in this province, that is not a huge number. So if 20 percent of those people have, as the member alleges and I am not aware that there is any basis in fact for that if it is as he alleges, then it is still a few people that have been involved in such activity.
Mr. Speaker, we have not for a minute ever suggested that there would not be problems. We in fact conducted the Volberg study to deal with the questions of addictions and the ramifications therefrom and have in fact put $2.5 million toward treatment, education, counselling and a variety of other activities related to that particular problem. I have recently, within the last month and a half or so, written to the Addictions Foundation again asking them if they need additional resources, if they see a need for additional kinds of work that are necessary.
They are the experts in this business, not the member for St. James, not myself. They are the people who need to address this issue. As I say, I have written to them, and we will be having a discussion with them sometime in the next week or so to discuss the results of that.
Mr. Edwards: Mr. Speaker, the minister consistently tries to downplay the number of people with problems by saying that because of the millions that are entering the facilities, there are only 400.
What he fails to tell members and be open about is that you do not become a client of the Addictions Foundation until you voluntarily go and you have reached rock bottom. The reality is that those are 400 people who have walked in and asked for help, and 20 percent of them are admitting to committing crimes for their gambling addiction. Mr. Speaker, 34.2 percent of them say they have thought about suicide.
Today, in addition to what I have said, the Community Financial Counselling Services, a voluntary organization that counsels families on financial matters, released their annual report. In it they say: Gambling related financial crises are becoming alarmingly common among our clients.
They saw another 600 families this last year.
When is this minister going to acknowledge the true human cost of what is happening when you spend millions and millions of dollars promoting gambling to your own citizens?
Mr. Ernst: Mr. Speaker, again, to explain to the member opposite, we have put $2.5 million towards treatment, education, counselling, in addition to the money, quite frankly, that we have put into that organization through my department.
The fact of the matter is, we are dealing with those few problems that do arise from this matter. We have never said there would not be problems. We are attempting to deal with those problems as they arise, attempting to counsel them.
What the member also did not say, Mr. Speaker, is, you do not become an addicted gambler in six months. It is a dysfunctional activity that takes a considerable length of time to build up to the point where you are an addicted gambler. In fact, I would say most of those who have expressed concern to the Addictions Foundation to the present time had a problem before any of these new facilities were introduced to the province.
Mr. Edwards: Mr. Speaker, finally, for the minister, the $500,000 per year that has been committed in total to deal with the problems created by gambling in this province represents less than half of what is going to be spent just on this most recent set of ads.
My final question for the minister is: Why does the government not seek the input of the Addictions Foundation when they create their ads? As the minister says, they are the experts. Why does the government not go to the Addictions Foundation to get their input to make sure that the ads are not going to increasingly promote and create gambling addicts? Do they do that? I do not think they do, and I want to know why not.
Mr. Ernst: Mr. Speaker, let me say firstly that we do consult with the Addictions Foundation on a regular basis.
With respect to [interjection]
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. You have put your question. The honourable minister is responding to the question.
Mr. Ernst: Mr. Speaker, we do consult with the Addictions Foundation on a regular basis with respect to all kinds of things related to [interjection]
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Mr. Ernst: Once again, we do consult with the Addictions Foundation on a regular basis with respect to all sorts of problems associated with problem gambling.
As I said, they are the experts. We do deal with them on a regular basis. I can point out that notwithstanding and the member is quite wrong with respect to the numbers he alluded to with respect to the advertising, totally wrong, Mr. Speaker.
Apart from that, the fact of the matter is, it is not a percentage of how much, but it is a question of how much is required, how much is needed.
Can you provide effective treatment? Can you provide effective counselling? Can you provide services to those members of the public who need it? That is exactly what we are doing. We have requested the Addictions Foundation to advise us and if they find those inadequate to let us know and see what else is required.
Port of Churchill
Mr. Daryl Reid (Transcona): Mr. Speaker, I believe it was in the summer of 1993, the then-Manitoba Minister of Transportation travelled to the Port of Churchill with the federal government's junior Transport Minister Shirley Martin.
Now we have learned that Ms. Martin has issued a report. After the then-Minister of Transportation boasted how Ms. Martin would come back with a report in favour of Churchill, Ms. Martin has come back with a report filled with inaccuracies and false information. This report spells a death sentence for the Port of Churchill.
Mr. Speaker, can the Acting Minister of Transportation or the Premier (Mr. Filmon) tell us: When did this government receive a copy of the Martin report, and what action did this government take on that report?
Hon. Albert Driedger (Acting Minister of Highways and Transportation): Mr. Speaker, I think the member makes reference to the fact that it was myself that took that trip down there at that time, and I was very optimistic at the time when we took that trip that there would be positive support for it.
I can only express deep regret and chagrin at the fact that it has not been fully supported, but this is not unusual, I suppose, because we have a federal minister by the name of Axworthy who had made a commitment of some many millions of dollars to be supportive, $92 million that would be committed to the Port of Churchill, and that with his new government and the red book, things would be improved for Churchill, and we find that nothing has basically changed.
The question itself, Mr. Speaker, I will take that as notice on behalf of the Minister of Highways and Transportation as to whether a report has been received and when it was received.
Arctic Bridge Agreement
Mr. Daryl Reid (Transcona): Mr. Speaker, I would like to table a copy of a graph showing the dismal failure of this government in the exports of grain products through the Churchill port for the years this government has been in office, a dismal record.
I would like to ask this government: Since this government boasted widely and loudly about their agreements that they signed with Russia starting in September 1991 and again on February 17, 1993, for the Arctic Bridge agreement, what happened to this Arctic Bridge agreement and the 500,000 metric tonnes of grain export that was promised? Can this government table any report, since not a single kernel of grain has been shipped through the port for this agreement?
Hon. Albert Driedger (Acting Minister of Highways and Transportation): Mr. Speaker, let me first of all repeat and again indicate to the House members here that our government has been very supportive of Churchill. From the time that I had the privilege of being the Minister of Highways and Transportation in 1988, one of the instructions that I received from our Premier (Mr. Filmon) at that time was to do everything possible to enhance the position of the Port of Churchill. We worked on that.
The member is putting forward figures in terms of how much grain has moved through there and is saying that the government provincially is responsible. If the province had been responsible, the port would have been shipping 700 million tonnes-plus every year. It is not the government that makes that decision.
Mr. Speaker, the people in Churchill do not think this is that funny, but it is the federal government and the Wheat Board that basically are the instruments that dictate how much grain goes through the Port of Churchill. We will continue to push in that direction.
I can recall initially when we had an all-party committee, because everybody is on the same side on the issue here. You know, the member for Transcona (Mr. Reid) is trying to take and make this a political issue. I wonder if I could ask if there is one member out of the 57 in this House here or 55 that is not supportive of the Port of Churchill. Everybody is. Now the onus is on the people, the federal Liberals, to come to task with this thing and deliver on the statements that their federal minister has made here for Manitoba.
Mr. Reid: Mr. Speaker, obviously we did not get an answer from that.
I would like to ask this government: In light of the fact that we have spent taxpayers' dollars here in the order of several hundreds of thousands of dollars of taxpayers' dollars on the consultants for this Arctic Bridge agreement, what do we have to show for those hundreds of thousands of dollars that we have spent?
Mr. Driedger: Mr. Speaker, the initiative was initially taken in terms of trying to see whether we could assist CN, the Port, everybody in terms of doing more trade through the Port of Churchill. That is why the Arctic Bridge concept was developed. The reports have been coming forward. We are still hopeful that there is going to be activity taking place.
The federal minister Axworthy has said that he himself will also be working in that direction to see whether we can get new enhanced business coming through the Port of Churchill.
So it is not a matter that we are trying to keep the Port of Churchill down. We have been and will continue to do everything we can in terms of enhancing it, including the aerospace thing, the national park out there. If we can get some activity going through the Port of Churchill, I think we have a positive thing going.
Mr. Conrad Santos (Broadway): Mr. Speaker, the author of Don Quixote, Miguel de Cervantes, once said: La differencia entre un rico hombre y un pobre hombre es el rico come cuando le deseo pero el pobre come cuando lo busco.
The difference between a rich person and a poor person is this: the rich person eats when he decides, but the poor person eats when he can find it.
Last September 21, I wrote the Manitoba Housing Authority, as MLA for Broadway, on behalf of residents of 185 Smith because one of the 10 grievances I presented was the closing of their only cafeteria in that complex. Acknowledged by the honourable Minister of Housing (Mrs. McIntosh), a month later I received a reply saying
Mr. Speaker: Question, please.
Mr. Santos: All right. My question to the honourable Minister of Housing is: Where does she expect the seniors to eat in the 21 housing complex?
Hon. Linda McIntosh (Minister of Housing): Mr. Speaker, the matter of meals for seniors, which I believe is what the member is referencing, is something that has been considered by the MHA. That matter has been referred to staff and to the board, is being looked at and trust will be satisfactorily resolved to the member's satisfaction and to the people who live in that area.
Mr. Santos: Would the honourable Minister of Housing consider opening a modest eating facility so that the seniors can at least have some nutritiously balanced meals?
Mrs. McIntosh: Mr. Speaker, certainly those matters are under consideration, and certainly in every instance where issues like that involving the care of seniors who live in our senior complexes, they are very seriously taken by the board and by the staff.
You know that we are in the business of providing shelter to people, but we do have in many of our facilities other services that are provided as well as shelter. Those are over and above what is normally offered, but in all instances the needs of the tenants are taken into consideration to make sure they are properly provided for.
Mr. Santos: Mr. Speaker, given that even the nearby eating facility at the legion is now closed, would the honourable Minister of Housing consider even opening a self-serve, soup-and-snack centre so that these people can eat without going outside in the hostile climate of this province?
Mrs. McIntosh: Mr. Speaker, as I indicated to the member in the earlier two answers to the same question, all those needs of seniors are taken into consideration to ensure that while we provide the shelter, they have access to other needs that they have. Those matters are taken seriously and looked into with due consideration by both board and staff.
Ms. Rosann Wowchuk (Swan River): Mr. Speaker, earlier this year the Minister of Agriculture called for a review of the hog industry, and that review resulted in recommendations to move to a dual marketing system and doubling the number of hogs produced in Manitoba by the year 2000. However, hog producers across the province are rejecting the recommendation to move to a dual marketing system. Processors and packers agree that the present system is serving them well.
Will the Minister of Agriculture now stand with the hog producers across the province and reject the recommendation to move to a dual marketing system of hogs?
Hon. Harry Enns (Minister of Agriculture): Mr. Speaker, it was my pleasure to attend the Hog and Poultry Days today, which are going on at the Convention Centre today and tomorrow. I invite honourable members to visit them. There are some excellent displays that give everybody a pretty good indication of just how sophisticated the industry has become over the last two years.
Mr. Speaker, I have as the honourable member is well aware she was in attendance as indeed was the Leader of the Liberal Party at a meeting with a large number of hog producers earlier on in my constituency where I listened to a great deal of advice. I will continue to listen to advice. There are some very challenging recommendations within that commission's report.
Certainly not restricted to the marketing alone, but to a wide range of issues, a number of initiatives that I have begun to initiate with Manitoba Pork, particularly those dealing with the environmental questions, which are critical questions to the future of the hog industry in the province of Manitoba, and will be continuing to work with the hog producers, with the processors, with all stakeholders in the industry to ensure that hog production continues to be the very important economic activity that takes place in Manitoba.
Ms. Wowchuk: Mr. Speaker, the recommendations that are made, if implemented, will make serious changes to the industry in Manitoba.
I would ask the minister if he will table any information he has of any analysis his department has done as to the impact of doubling the industry in Manitoba, the impact on the independent producers, the impact on the processors and other aspects of the industry in Manitoba? What are the impacts on the independent producers if we go to this? What analysis--
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. The honourable member has put her question.
Mr. Enns: Mr. Speaker, I can tell her what this government and this minister will not do.
Unlike the Liberal government in New Brunswick, we are not going to try to bribe the hog producers into raising production. New Brunswick--would you believe it?--during this critical time of financing is putting upwards to $20 per hog as an outright subsidy to encourage hog production.
No, Mr. Speaker, what we are saying is that there are great opportunities as a result of the tremendous international trade obligations that this country has entered into.
People who have travelled to the Far East, to China, to Japan come back and they come back in growing numbers in trade delegations telling us they will and are demanding our quality food, pork being among them. When and if these markets develop, I want to position Manitoba farmers into taking advantage of that, and they will.
That is the job of the Minister of Agriculture. That is the job of the hog industry in the province of Manitoba. When that all comes together, we believe, from these analyses, that a doubling of the hog production by the year 2000 is not out of keeping.
Ms. Wowchuk: Mr. Speaker, the hog industry has done well under the single they are selling. It has doubled in the last 15 years. There is no need to change the marketing system to move to a dual marketing system.
Will the minister commit today that he will not accept the recommendation to move to a dual marketing system for marketing of hogs in Manitoba? That is what the hog producers want to hear from this minister.
Mr. Enns: Mr. Speaker, I kind of long for the day when the New Democrats actually stood for change, actually were in some instances progressive. They are the aegis. They are the reactionaries. They do not want change.
We are the ones who are constantly looking at newer and better ways of doing things, and we will continue doing so.
You know what, Mr. Speaker? As long as the Conservative Party represents the agents of change, we will continue to be government. We will be the government after the next election. You can believe it. Those reactionaries--[interjection]
Western Institute of Reading Recovery
Mr. Kevin Lamoureux (Inkster): Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Education (Mr. Manness).
After six and a half years and three Ministers of Education, we finally have a government that is prepared to do something with respect to literacy in the province of Manitoba. In fact, in the throne speech--[applause] After six and a half years, yes, you should give some applause, I guess. A bit slow, but better late than never.
In the throne speech, the government is saying that a Western Institute of Reading Recovery will be established in the city of Winnipeg.
My question to the Minister of Education is: Has the Minister of Education sat down with counterparts in the western region to discuss this particular initiative? If so, can the Minister of Education indicate to the House what the response has been?
Hon. Clayton Manness (Minister of Education and Training): Mr. Speaker, the very essence of all the discussions that we have had with counterparts across the west is with respect to the whole area of literacy, with respect particularly, though, to the whole area of rebuilding curriculum, starting with mathematics and then following therefrom into areas of language arts and social studies.
The institute that the member references, Mr. Speaker, there will be greater detail provided with respect to that. I referenced earlier on in Question Period a companion document that will be laying out all of the detail. At that time, there will be more detail presented with respect to the Western Institute of Reading Recovery.
Mr. Lamoureux: Mr. Speaker, can the Minister of Education indicate to the House if in fact he does have any of the western provinces that are onside with this western institute? Would he be prepared to indicate to the House at this time?
Mr. Manness: Mr. Speaker, what we have found is that we are taking the lead as a province with respect to this whole reading recovery initiative.
We are training certain of our specialists, indeed some of our exemplary teachers within the province in certain school divisions. We are investing into their learning. When they return to Manitoba--because you either take this training somewhere in the U.S. or somewhere in Australia. Once these people come back, then they will train many other individuals within the whole activity of this reading recovery course which seems to be gaining great favour throughout the western world.
Mr. Lamoureux: Mr. Speaker, did the minister explore the possibility of having the Morris McDonald resource co-ordinator trained in Scarborough, Canada, instead of having this individual sent to New Zealand? Did the minister look at that as an option?
Mr. Manness: I have looked at many options, Mr. Speaker. I have searched for individuals throughout the province who might want to be part of this course. I reached into all school divisions to look for names of individuals who may be interested in becoming that trainer of trainees once they have had the course given to them.
Ms. Marianne Cerilli (Radisson): Mr. Speaker, on Monday we asked the government why they had not implemented recommendations for mining safety in mines throughout Manitoba. As stated in the department's summary sheet, these provisions would have prevented a fatality in a Manitoba mine.
Today I have the mines inspector's report which outlines specific safety recommendations, and I want to ask the Minister responsible for Labour: If we visited a mine in northern Manitoba today, would we find that there are spotters in the areas where there are open stope mines as recommended until they installed the overhead flags, the lights and the other safety recommendations, or would we find that these miners are still working alone?
Hon. Darren Praznik (Minister of Labour): Mr. Speaker, first of all, the member's reference to the department sheets that she refers, I think, have some inaccuracies in her reference from those particular sheets.
We discussed this incident on Monday in Question Period. As I indicated at that time that following a death at HBM&S and another particular incident, orders were issued on a specific mine for proper safety procedures to be followed in opening up a stope and, in the case of the second death in May, that those were not followed after the company had undertaken to comply with those particular orders. That matter is now before the Department of Justice, where charges are contemplated being laid against that particular company.
My understanding would be today that in any situation across Manitoba--and by the way, this has not been a problem with other companies operating mines in Manitoba. To my knowledge at this particular time, perhaps the member has other information that she would care to share with me and my department, but my understanding would be, I would hope, that in any instance where a stope is being open that proper procedures are being followed and where our inspectors are present that they are ensuring that is in fact happening.
Ms. Cerilli: Mr. Speaker, it has been over a year since the fatality up north that we have been waiting for an inquest and still some of the recommendations are not being implemented into Manitoba mines which would be saving lives. The minister did not answer the question with respect to having spotters, but there are also procedural concerns related to these cases.
Can the minister tell the House if the distribution procedures following a death, the inspectors' reports, are going to be distributed to all mines from all companies in Manitoba so that all mines can make sure that proper precautions are going to be implemented?
Mr. Praznik: Mr. Speaker, first of all, the member raises a whole host of issues. She made some reference to a procedural problem, a process problem. I do not know, quite frankly, to what she is referring.
I have to tell the member that the cabinet has approved the new mines regulation which was developed by all players in the particular industry. But I want to stress very, very clearly to the member opposite that the requirement to operate safely in opening up a stope is there and is there as part of the general requirement of The Workplace Safety and Health Act, and that in these particular instances the clear rules as to what should have been followed were, in the opinion of our staff who were on scene, not followed, that our regulations were breached. So it is not so much the difficulty of not having the legal framework in place; it is in this particular incident that they were not followed and the consequences will have to be met by the company involved.
Ms. Cerilli: Mr. Speaker, the minister is not answering the specifics of my question. One specific recommendation has been made that these miners would not be working alone on open stopes, that until the technology can be implemented they would have spotters.
I want to know if that is occurring in Manitoba mines currently, and if all mines were given that report after the fatalities that occurred in the mines up north.
Mr. Praznik: Mr. Speaker, I will undertake to find out specifically for the member the process for providing information on accidents, because there is a process with our mines inspectors throughout the province.
I would say to the honourable member if she reads the entire package--I do not know all the information she has available, what particular pieces she has--but when I reviewed this particular file, there were a whole host of recommendations that were made to ensure the safety, including a proper align system and lighting and having other warning devices, that the spotter was not entirely the be all and end all that she makes it out to be. If those, quite frankly, had been followed, we would not have had the deaths, Mr. Speaker.
Endangered Spaces Program
Mr. Gord Mackintosh (St. Johns): Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Natural Resources.
I was pleased to see a commitment in the throne speech last week to establish a network of natural regions in each Manitoba ecosystem to be protected from development, and that was to meet the Endangered Spaces Program of the World Wildlife Fund. But then, Mr. Speaker, on looking further, I found that in last April's throne speech there were the words, there was a promise that more dedications to the Endangered Spaces Program would be made in the coming months.
Nothing was done, Mr. Speaker. Actually, the government promised four and a half years ago something.
Mr. Speaker, the World Wildlife Fund itself has just released what it calls a warning, that this government is seriously behind schedule and in danger of failing to meet its commitment.
My question to the minister: How will this government now possibly avoid breaking its promise to protect our heritage by meeting Endangered Spaces Program standards?
Hon. Albert Driedger (Minister of Natural Resources): Mr. Speaker, our Premier (Mr. Filmon) made a commitment to the province here some time ago that 12 percent of the geographic area would be set aside for endangered spaces by the year 2000. The Premier raised the question some time ago as to a progress report on it.
I am very pleased to announce that in spite of the article that the member makes reference to, we have a strategy in place. We will be making some very positive announcements in the very near future, hopefully before January 1. We will have further announcements in March. We feel that we are well on target and that we are in a position to be able to achieve the 12 percent by the year 2000.
Mr. Mackintosh: Mr. Speaker, the government's plan was set out in its action plan and the World Wildlife Fund says this plan has been breached line after line after line.
My question to the minister is: Given that this action plan says that for each of our 12 regions the government is going to complete resource inventories, to find boundaries within which development will be restricted, a public review, legal protections, all in 1994, will the minister explain to the international community how the government is going to do this in the next three weeks?
Mr. Driedger: Mr. Speaker, I believe the member answered his own question to some degree when he outlined exactly the process in terms of how we established this. There are a lot of stakeholders involved when we set
aside endangered spaces areas. That process has been taking place in terms of consultation. There is a formula that basically has to take place in terms of how we arrive at it.
Mr. Speaker, we are well on course with these things. All I ask is for the member to have a little bit of patience--[interjection]
Mr. Speaker, well, what goes around comes around. Ultimately when these announcements are going to be made, I hope that there are going to be accolades coming at that time as well.
Mr. Speaker: Time for Oral Questions has expired.