1973 Legislative Session: 3rd Session, 30th Parliament
The following electronic version is for informational purposes
The printed version remains the official version.
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 20, 1973
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An Act to Amend the Veterinary Medical Act (Bill 3).
Hon. Mr. Stupich
Introduction and first reading — 109
An Act to Amend the Agricultural Land Development Act (Bill
5). Hon. Mr. Stupich
Introduction and first reading — 109
An Act to Amend the Milk Industry Act (Bill 7). Hon. Mr. Stupich
Introduction and first reading — 109
An Act to Amend the Oleomargarine Act (Bill 8). Hon. Mr. Stupich
Introduction and first reading — 109
Guaranteed Minimum Income Plan (Bill 17). Mr. Richter
Introduction and first reading — 109
An Act to Amend the Income Tax Act (Bill 19). Mr. Richter
Introduction and first reading — 109
Labour shortage for Okanagan apple harvest. Mr. Curtis — 110
Hiring of women in liquor stores. Mr. McClelland — 110
Copper smelter. Mr. D.A. Anderson — 111
Proposed cut-back on natural gas. Mr. Wallace — 111
Proposed formulation of a new immigration law for Canada. Mr. Phillips — 111
Proposed new stumpage rates. Mr. D.A. Anderson — 112
Cruise ships and trans-oceanic liners for British Columbia. Mr. McClelland — 112
Problem of Highway 97. Mrs. Jordan — 113
Throne Speech debate
Hon. Mr. Hartley — 113
Mr. Fraser — 117
Ms. Brown — 124
Mr. McClelland — 129
Hon. Mr. Levi — 137
The House met at 2:05 p.m.
MR. E.O. BARNES (Vancouver Centre): I'd like to take the opportunity, Mr. Speaker, to welcome the students and their two teachers, Mr. Frank Simpson and Eric Schieman from the Britannia Secondary School in Vancouver.
HON. E. HALL (Provincial Secretary): Mr. Speaker, today is a very historic day in the history of British Columbia. During these current three days in the capital city we have with us a large number of B.C. Association of Non Status Indians who today presented a brief to the cabinet. It's a history-making day, a precedent-setting day, and I want the House to welcome to the capital city, to the legislative precincts and the gallery representatives of the B.C. Association of Non Status Indians.
HON. W.S. KING (Minister of Labour): Mr. Speaker, we have in the galleries today two visitors from the City of Revelstoke, Mr. and Mrs. Earl Young of that city. I would ask the House to join me in extending a warm welcome to them.
Introduction of bills.
AN ACT TO AMEND
THE VETERINARY MEDICAL ACT
Hon. Mr. Stupich moves introduction and first reading of Bill 3 intituled An Act to Amend the Veterinary Medical Act.
Bill 3 read a first time and ordered to be placed on orders of the day for second reading at the next sitting of the House after today.
AN ACT TO AMEND
THE AGRICULTURAL LAND
Hon. Mr. Stupich moves introduction and first reading of Bill 5 intituled An Act to Amend the Agricultural Land Development Act.
Bill 5 read a first time and ordered to be placed on orders of the day for second reading at the next sitting of the House after today.
AN ACT TO AMEND
THE MILK INDUSTRY ACT
Hon. Mr. Stupich moves introduction and first reading of Bill 7 intituled An Act to Amend the Milk Industry Act.
Bill 7 read a first time and ordered to be placed on orders of the day for second reading at the next sitting of the House after today.
AN ACT TO AMEND
THE OLEOMARGARINE ACT
Hon. Mr. Stupich moves introduction and first reading of Bill 8 intituled An Act to Amend the Oleomargarine Act.
Bill 8 read a first time and ordered to be placed on orders of the day for second reading at the next sitting of the House after today.
GUARANTEED MINIMUM INCOME PLAN
Mr. Richter moves introduction and first reading of Bill 17 intituled Guaranteed Minimum Income Plan.
Bill 17 read a first time and ordered to be placed on orders of the day for second reading at the next sitting of the House after today.
GUARANTEED INCOME ACT
Mr. Richter moves introduction and first reading of Bill 18 intituled Guaranteed Income Act.
Bill 18 read a first time and ordered to be placed on orders of the day for second reading at the next sitting of the House after today.
AN ACT TO AMEND
THE INCOME TAX ACT
Mr. Richter moves introduction and first reading of Bill 19 intituled An Act to Amend the Income Tax Act.
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Bill 19 read a first time and ordered to be placed on orders of the day for second reading at the next sitting of the House after today.
FOR OKANAGAN APPLE HARVEST
MR. H.A. CURTIS (Saanich and the Islands): Mr. Speaker, to the Minister of Agriculture, the Canada Manpower Farm Labour Bulletin for the Okanagan-Kootenay Area, dated September 18, indicates:
"The MacIntosh apple harvest is fully underway in the Okanagan Valley. There is a shortage of pickers at present in Kelowna, Rutland, Winfield, Oyama, and Vernon. Shortages are expected to continue and become more serious over the next two weeks."
By telephone this morning I learned that the shortage of harvesters or pickers is fairly extensive; more serious than in recent years, was the information I received.
While this is a federal Manpower report, could the Minister inform the House, Mr. Speaker, if any steps are being taken to assist in the harvest?
HON. D.D. STUPICH (Minister of Agriculture): I appreciate volunteers from the other side of the House, Mr. Speaker. There have been discussions between my department and people in the Interior about this problem. It was anticipated to some extent in that the crop this year has generally been a little earlier and larger than usual. So at the moment all I can report is that we are in constant touch with them and doing what we can to improve the situation, but beyond that, nothing to report.
HIRING OF WOMEN IN
MR. R.H. McCLELLAND (Langley): Mr. Speaker, my question is addressed to the Attorney General and I'd like to ask him if the Liquor Control Board has a policy which prohibits the hiring of women in its retail liquor stores?
HON. A.B. MACDONALD (Attorney General): Mr. Speaker, there's no policy in the retail liquor stores that prohibits the hiring of females. However…(Laughter)…in the retail liquor stores, the staff are very interchangeable as to the work they do; somebody who would be doing the cashier's work one day is unloading trucks another day. In the past that has meant that it has not been particularly suitable work because heavy work has been involved.
Since I have been Minister, I have taken care to look into the matter and I would ask the House to note that in the administrative offices of the Liquor Control Board the proportion of women who are hired there and doing very useful work has increased quite dramatically. It almost amounts to a preference in that end of the business. But in terms of lifting of heavy weights, I haven't come to the conclusion that that is proper work for the girls of the province.
MR. McCLELLAND: Could you tell us if you have any women employed in the retail stores in the Liquor Control Board, and do you plan to employ any?
HON. MR. MACDONALD: You'd have to put that on the order paper. I can't answer….
MR. McCLELLAND: I'm sure you know right now.
HON. MR. MACDONALD: No, not of all the stores in the province.
MR. McCLELLAND: Are there any?
HON. MR. MACDONALD: I can't answer that right now. Put it on the order paper.
MR. D.M. PHILLIPS (South Peace River): Mr. Speaker, a supplementary question on the same thing. I'd like to ask the Attorney General if there are any plans by the Liquor Control Board to cut down the size of the cases so that women will have less weight to lift?
MR. McCLELLAND: Mr. Speaker, I'd like to ask a supplementary question. Does the Liquor Control Board have any plans to hire women in its retail liquor outlets? Because I've had a number of requests from women who have been turned down flatly in their request for jobs with the Liquor Control Board. I'd like to know whether the board has any plans to hire women, not in its administrative offices but in the retail outlets.
HON. MR. MACDONALD: I wish, Mr. Speaker, that the Hon. Member would draw those cases to my attention. I'll be glad to look into them.
MR. D.A. ANDERSON (Victoria): Mr. Speaker, I trust that the most distinguished tennis player in the Legislature will be sitting this afternoon watching television so he can see Bobby Riggs defeat Billie Jean King.
AN HON. MEMBER: What time?
MR. D.A. ANDERSON: At 6:30. We're going to
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adjourn before that. In any event he will then see that women are quite capable I'm sure of at least playing tennis, if not lifting heavy weights.
MR. D.A. ANDERSON: Can I ask Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Mines whether or not the statement by the chief executive officer of Cominco that the prospects of getting a copper smelter in the province are receding, because of delays caused by both levels of government, has led him to revise in any way his statements regarding government intentions in this regard?
HON. L.T. NIMSICK (Minister of Mines and Petroleum Resources): In regard to that question, Cominco never got in touch with me before they made that statement. And the statement hasn't changed our opinion with regard to the bounty, which is not in force today. And so if Cominco doesn't want to have any participation on an equity basis, well then they'll have to get their money someplace else.
MR. D.A. ANDERSON: I'm confused by this because the chief executive officer of Cominco declared it was caused by the delay in the discussions they had had. But the question comes to mind, is it necessary for the head man of Cominco to ask permission of the Minister before making statements, or making a speech to his service club?
HON. MR. NIMSICK: Well I think he made an incomplete statement, but his statement was really aimed at the federal government, because it's the federal government that has been dilly-dallying with this question over a long period of time.
MR. D.A. ANDERSON: Well, Mr. Speaker I quite realize the Minister's belief in the incompetence of NDP opposition MP's in Ottawa; I share it. But we happen to be here in the province discussing also the provincial subsidy.
MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Would the Hon. Member not engage in debate. If you have a question, please ask it.
MR. D.A. ANDERSON: Well if the reference is being made to the federal government's subsidy, I'd like to talk about the provincial government's subsidy. This happens to be, Mr. Speaker, the provincial Legislature. Is there any change in the subsidy programme for proper smelters in the province or in your plans?
HON. MR. NIMSICK: No, not at this stage at all.
We wiped out the bounty Act last time and there is no provision for subsidy. We asked for participation.
PROPOSED CUT-BACK ON
MR. G.S. WALLACE (Oak Bay): Mr. Speaker, might I ask the Attorney General whether or not in the last two days he's had any further communication with Ottawa regarding his approach to Ottawa on the proposed 10 per cent cut-back on West Coast Transmission natural gas?
HON. MR. MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, in answer to the Hon. Member, I received a telegram this morning from the Hon. Donald Macdonald, the Minister for Energy, Mines and Resources, in which he said he had received our own telegram, the representations of the Province of British Columbia, that he was referring the matter at once for urgent consideration to the National Energy Board, and that he would speak to me about the matter within a day or two.
MR. WALLACE: Could I ask a supplementary question? Is the Attorney General or the cabinet considering delegating anyone from the cabinet to specifically remain in close liaison, or to go to Ottawa on behalf of the province?
HON. MR. MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I think that question has been heard by the Premier. If it becomes advisable and a very important matter to send somebody to Ottawa for discussions there, I'm sure the Premier will issue that kind of direction.
MR. D.A. ANDERSON: To the same Minister, Mr. Speaker. What is the reason for the delay in releasing to the Members of this House the B.C. Energy Board Report, which the Premier referred to earlier this week and which, I understand, has been in the government's hands for approximately a week?
HON. MR. MACDONALD: Well, a little less than a week, Mr. Speaker, considerably less than a week I think. I'm a little bit out of touch with the actual days. But we want copies for all Members of the Legislature, and for the media. It will be released tomorrow morning.
PROPOSED FORMULATION OF A NEW
IMMIGRATION LAW FOR CANADA
MR. PHILLIPS: I'd like to direct, Mr. Speaker, a question to the Premier. In response to the Minister of Manpower and Immigration's (Hon. Mr. Andras) request that the provinces participate in formulating a new immigration law for Canada, does he intend to
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set up a special committee of the House? If so will Members of the opposition parties have the opportunity to participate on this committee? How does he plan to participate in….
HON. D. BARRETT (Premier): Mr. Speaker, I have acknowledged receipt of such a request from the federal minister. However there is no government policy as to proceed. I would be fearful of allowing the opposition the right to define immigration as it might drastically reduce the membership of the government side of the House. But, if we do it on an impartial basis, perhaps it would affect the opposition just as well. We have not formulated any policy; we have received a request and acknowledged the request.
MR. PHILLIPS: Mr. Speaker, will the Premier give consideration to having an impartial committee — if he forms a committee? Would it be an impartial committee of the House so as to have some input? I think it's very important, British Columbia being the province that it is with a lot of immigration, that certainly the Province of British Columbia have a great deal of input into this new law that's going to be formulated by the federal government.
MR. SPEAKER: May I point out to the Hon. Members that any matter of question period must deal with the parliamentary responsibility of this government and not another government. If there is some action on the part of this government it's a different matter. But if there isn't, the question is really not appropriate.
PROPOSED NEW STUMPAGE RATES
MR. D.A. ANDERSON: Mr. Speaker, I'd like to pose a question to the Minister of Lands, Forests, and Water Resources. Could he inform us whether or not new stumpage arrangements have been agreed to, and whether these were discussed with the council of Forest Industries. Finally, and most important, when will Members of this House, and the public be aware of the discussions that took place and the new thoughts in stumpage rates and stumpage arrangements?
HON. R.A. WILLIAMS (Minister of Lands, Forests and Water Resources): I'm pleased to say, Mr. Speaker, that we have carried on discussions with the industry since mid-summer, with respect to improving what was in fact a fairly irrational system — I think that's conceded by both sides, both government and industry. There have been some modifications as a result of the discussions. I think it's been an excellent learning process for some of those involved. And once all modifications are completed by our professional people, they'll be made available to the Members of this House and others.
MR. D.A. ANDERSON: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister. Is there no way for Members of this Legislature to be at least as aware as members of the Council of Forest Industries as to what is taking place, prior to the final package being placed in this Legislature?
HON. MR. WILLIAMS: The matter is still being dealt with internally by our professional staff and the Minister's office. As soon as resolution is achieved the House will be the first to be informed.
MR. D.E. SMITH (North Peace River): A question Mr. Speaker, on the same matter of stumpage rates. The indication that we have received from the forest industry is that, if the plan goes ahead as was proposed, the average increase in stumpage rates will in many cases be better than 50 per cent over what they had previously paid, taking everything in consideration. Have you done any research into the matter with regard to the type of impact this would have if you proceed with the proposed new rate of stumpage?
HON. MR. WILLIAMS: I'm sure that any system that this government brings in will benefit the people of British Columbia.
MR. SMITH: Oh, what an answer!
CRUISE SHIPS AND TRANS-OCEANIC
LINERS FOR BRITISH COLUMBIA
MR. McCLELLAND: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I'd like to direct my question to the Minister of Municipal Affairs. Could the Minister advise the House what specific plans his department and this government have to go into the cruise ship and trans-oceanic liner business in British Columbia?
HON. J.G. LORIMER (Minister of Municipal Affairs): I'm pleased you've asked the question, The plans are not finalized yet, but…. (Laughter.)
MR. McCLELLAND: Mr. Speaker, the Minister treats this question as a joke, but his employee, the director of transit in his department, is quoted in a letter to the City Council of Vancouver that this government has plans for long distance passenger, rail and bus traffic, fast bus services to suburban communities, and trans-oceanic and cruise ships. Now, all we want to know is what type of cruise ship business this government plans to get into. Will the committees now be travelling on some of these cruise ships?
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Does the provincial government intend to use provincial money for harbour facilities which are traditionally financed by the federal government? What are their plans? Obviously your director of transit feels that you're going into this business? We have a right to know what those plans are.
MR. SPEAKER: One question at a time, please.
MR. McCLELLAND: Well, I'm just trying to speed things up in the House, Mr. Speaker.
HON. MR. LORIMER: I think the Member should realize that they haven't got the whole control of the Titanic at the moment.
PROBLEM OF HIGHWAY 97
MRS. P.J. JORDAN (North Okanagan): I hate to detract from the thought of ocean cruises for the cabinet, but I would like to address a constituency question to the Hon. Minister of Highways and ask if, in his meeting with officials of the City of Kelowna and other interested officials in the last week, he came to a conclusion and commitment for the problem of Highway 97 in the north part of the Okanagan Valley; and if, in so doing, he is prepared to meet the commitment made by the Social Credit government that no decision would be made until there had been a public hearing — particularly in the area of Winfield, Oyama, Okanagan Centre — to present the alternates that are viable and realistic, and to have some input from the people in that area?
MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. You've put your question.
HON. G.R. LEA (Minister of Highways): Well, there have been no plans finalized for any expansion or widening of Highway 97 through the Okanagan Valley. I did meet yesterday with the mayors of Vernon, Kelowna and Penticton. I went there to listen to them and to see what they had to offer in the way of ideas. The one area that became obvious is that there hasn't been a great many things done there which should have been done in the past, so we're trying to rectify that problem by working with them.
MRS. JORDAN: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker….
MR. SPEAKER: Sorry, it's too late.
MRS. JORDAN: I appreciate that….
MR. SPEAKER: Would the Hon. Member be seated, please?
MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Would the Hon. Member send him a note?
Orders of the day.
SPEECH FROM THE THRONE
HON. W.L. HARTLEY (Minister of Public Works): Mr. Speaker, I would like to start by welcoming all Members of all parties to the refurbished chamber. I would particularly like to welcome the newly-elected Member for South Okanagan (Mr. Bennett). He enters at rather an onerous time — I guess this puts one more contestant into the leadership race for the Social Credit Party of this province.
HON. MR. HARTLEY: We're working on that too. As far as opening the windows — unfortunately, while the workmen in charge of refurbishing did complete the assembly as we see it, the air circulation is not complete and they tell me that….
MR. G.S. WALLACE (Oak Bay): Hot air.
HON. MR. HARTLEY: There has been up until now, Scotty. But we hope before too long that that will be complete. The sooner they can turn these Klieg lights off, I guess the sooner the assembly will cool down.
I would like to start, Mr. Speaker, by giving credit to the members of the staff of the Department of Public Works, those mechanics, tradesmen and carpenters who actually worked on the restoration of the chamber, who actually worked on the restoration of the first three suites on the third floor. Sometimes we hear it said that you can't hire a good workman in Canada. Now, a good deal of the work that has been done to date, because of the time element, because the fact that we didn't have time to let tenders, was done by in-House people and it is my pleasure to be able to tell you that I find we have some first-class cabinet finishers, first-class and competent tradesmen of all types.
I'd also like to state this: apart from the tradesmen, or along with the tradesmen, I was very fortunate to inherit a very conscientious and competent department; this goes right from my secretary, Mrs. Boyd, to her staff, to the planning and design people and to the maintenance people.
This summer I had the opportunity to travel and visit with some of our northern communities. There I met our northern superintendent and his foreman. I found these people were very interested in the work they were doing and they were concerned in doing a very proper job. Knowing this and finding this, I can
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appreciate the frustration of the workmen, working men and women, who have had to look after the maintenance of this building and the buildings in this precinct area over the years. I can appreciate the frustrations they must have had. To know that this building needed repairs, and the people who control the purse strings would not loosen those strings and release moneys to do work as it should be done, and they had to patch here and patch there, I'm sure it would be very, very frustrating.
A year ago, before we took office, I heard rumours that there were truckloads of paper being hauled out of the Minister's office and hauled away from these buildings, and that the paper shredders were going night and day. Of course, until you have some evidence of this, you have to just treat that sort of a story as rumour. But when we started to look into some of the problems in restoring and renovating this building, I found, not in my office because there were no papers in my office — my predecessor had considered those papers as his personal papers and had them removed — but I did find in staff reports a report with regard to this building. A report that states that this building was in a very, very serious state of disrepair.
HON. MR. HARTLEY: The Member for West Vancouver–Howe Sound (Mr. Williams) asks the date of the report. Well, I can tell you, the report is over seven years old.
HON. MR. HARTLEY: The first Member for Vancouver–Point Grey (Mr. McGeer) asks what was done. I'll just give you a brief run-down on this. As I said at the outset, this document had been removed from my office — the original — but I did find I was given a copy. It states on page 2 that the remaining items recorded are self-explanatory; it goes into great detail on work that should be done. But the magnitude of the work required, in my opinion….
MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Would the Hon. Member withdraw that statement?
MR. J.R. CHABOT (Columbia River): What statement?
MR. SPEAKER: The statement you made, sir. You know your statement. Will you withdraw it?
MR. CHABOT: I withdraw the words "Mr. Magoo."
MR. SPEAKER: Thank you. Would you proceed? If you're going to start indulging in insults in this House, and you intended it as an insult, then you'll have to realize the House will have to censure Members who do.
MR. CHABOT: That's fine, but you stop insulting the Members too, Mr. Speaker.
MR. SPEAKER: I don't insult the Members.
HON. MR. HARTLEY: Mr. Speaker, on page 2 of the report it states, "The magnitude of the work is such that it is not capable of being implemented over a reasonable period of time by using the limited funds currently available for us for the maintenance of this building." It goes on to page 3, and I'm just quoting in part, but I will table this document for anyone who wishes to see. The final paragraph on page 3, "There is little doubt that unless major work is immediately implemented, each year that passes will make the task of restoration and preservation of the character of this structure more difficult to achieve and will add great cost to the work."
The first page is a covering letter from the then Deputy Minister to the then Minister, and it states in the first paragraph, "In summary, these reports indicate that close to $1 million will be needed to be expended to restore the whole exterior to a good standard."
Now that was over seven years ago, Mr. Speaker. Since that time, the building has further deteriorated, costs have gone up; so I would dare say that if we can do it for twice that amount today, we are doing well — and this is merely on the exterior of the building.
MR. P.L. McGEER (Vancouver–Point Grey): Was that report before the centennial celebrations?
HON. MR. HARTLEY: This was in 1966, yes, before the centennial celebrations.
MR. D.A. ANDERSON (Victoria): What's the date of the letter?
HON. MR. HARTLEY: The letter is dated September 19, 1966, seven years ago yesterday. The report was made prior to this, so it's a good, clear…better than seven years ago.
Now I have noted in the media many comments made by different people that the building has been maintained over the years, that it has been maintained in first-class shape. I notice in the press that the former Minister also chose to become involved.
I have brought with me several samples of the dry-rot and the state of deterioration of the roof, on outside and inside, and I will table this too with the
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Speaker. One Member asked that we table evidence; we are always willing to table evidence.
HON. MR. HARTLEY: I don't know; I have no way of knowing.
I believe many of you, at least some of you, will recall going back prior to 1972, that the Members of the opposition groups at that time — I believe there were just the two, the New Democratic Party and the Liberal Party…but I know there were 17 Members in the New Democratic Party caucus room, and we had one room and one table, and two telephones for 17 Members.
When the Second Member for Vancouver East (Hon. Mr. Williams) was elected and came in and saw this mess, he said there was no way that he would get involved with that. He got himself a table and he sat out in the hall. This was one of the first protests that I recall.
MR. H.A. CURTIS (Saanich and the Islands): Did he mean the room or the party? (Laughter.)
HON. MR. HARTLEY: Good point. I notice he is still with the party but he has left that room. (Laughter.)
He is also one of the leading voices in demanding that a proper restoration job be done not just in this chamber and in this building but in the entire precinct area. The Second Member for Vancouver East (Hon. Mr. Williams), the Minister of Lands, Forests and Water Resources, is a planner by profession. I think we are very, very fortunate to have a man of that capacity sitting with us on the government side of the House.
MR. D.M. PHILLIPS (South Peace River): He sits occasionally.
HON. MR. HARTLEY: One of the pictures that I have — and I will pass this book about for all to see — shows the way the previous administration allowed offices to be built out into the halls. Of course, you could crowd more people in, but in crowding in more people, in case of fire, they had just that much less of a chance to get out; so we were creating real hazards.
In further checking I found that the fire marshal said that all persons on the third floor of this building were up against a real hazard. Because of that we are building two stone and concrete staircases from the third floor down so these people can have proper exits.
Speaking of fire escapes, one day the Minister of Labour (Hon. Mr. King) said, "I have something to show you."
When the Member for Revelstoke-Slocan became Minister of Labour, he found one of his offices was over in one of those little wooden shingle buildings at the side of the Queen's Printer. This is where the former Minister was. One of the discoveries the new Minister made was their fire escape…a two-storey building…and what was it?…A great piece of two-inch rope fastened to a great eye-bolt on the wall.
They tell me that whenever they hired any new stenos, the standing joke was that they'd take them over and say, "Now girls, the first thing you have to learn is how to slide down this rope in case of fire." (Laughter.)
That was standard procedure under the old way, by the old Minister in the old days, and they did nothing about it.
HON. MR. HARTLEY: Yes, the Hon. Member says that that's the way he used to avoid delegations — to slide down the rope. (Laughter.) Apparently the old building and the old rope fire escape have had a humorous ending; but it could have been very, very serious.
In referring to halls: you see coats, desks…very cluttered up. Clerk-stenos are crowded into the vaults…no windows, no air circulation, and a very, very poor environment for working in. Yes, I'll pass the book about.
We found, up in the attic, that great masses of paint and plaster were dropping from the ceiling of the rotunda, so we went up and investigated and we found great plastic tents hanging there.
At about the time we made this discovery, someone dropped me a little cartoon in the mail. It shows a picture of quite a large church, quite a good attendance, and the minister is in the pulpit giving them a report on their appeal for a new roof. He said, "You know, we didn't get enough money for the new roof, but we did get enough money for six new buckets to catch the drips."
That's precisely the way the old government used to operate. When the roof sprung a leak they stretched some plastic and bought some more pails and put the pails here and there. (Laughter.) They were operating like poor church mice.
Now, concerning stone and concrete walls — and we have had to, as you know, let a contract for over $100,000 to dig a trench around the building, a drainage trench, and place proper drainage tile — but in the walls in the basement, the walls in the tunnel from here to the Douglas Building, were constantly wet. At one point, the maintenance people had put little galvanized troughs into the wall, so it would catch a little water here and it would drip to there, and there would be another trough and it would drip to here — and finally end up in the bucket. (Laughter.)
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So they had a full-time bucket brigade here. (Laughter.) Rather than spending a dollar in attempting to maintain and restore this fine old building, they had a bucket brigade doing that. So, Mr. Speaker, you make no wonder that the group that was so incompetent to cope with dry-rot, sooner or later were bound to take the bite. (Laughter.)
I will pass this along without any further elaboration.
For those who say there was no dry-rot, what is this? (Laughter.)
HON. MR. HARTLEY: You shouldn't do that; you make me lose track of my speech. (Laughter.)
Now, Mr. Speaker, I will just give you a rundown on some of the renovations that we feel should be made. When Francis Rattenbury designed this building, starting, I believe, in 1893, he had great visions. He was one of the world's top architects. It was planned in the early Victorian design, not quite as opulent as the later Victorian design.
But I believe the early parliamentarians, the early leaders of this province, are certainly to be commended in having chosen an architect of that stature and then daring to build a building of this type and nature, because it is a major building of interest in North America. When I tell you that since the new government…. Maybe the restoration has something to do with it, but in the summer months this year we had over 120,000 visitors go through. They're not just Victoria people; they're not just B.C. or Canadian people. They are from all parts of the world. That's more than twice as many visitors as we have had in the two previous summers. Their total for the two previous summers was 102,000. This year, it was 120,000. So there is interest, and I think it is due in part to this very fine building that Mr. Rattenbury designed.
Now, the first item I have listed is the matter of the restoration of the library. It was designed to have stacks going through the full floor, stacks to store books, and it had never been allowed to function in that fashion. The stacks have been bought and they are now pretty well installed. I believe the tasks and work of the librarians will be easier. Their service has always been good, but I hope their work will be easier.
Rattenbury designed two elevators, one for each side of the main building. A second elevator will be installed.
On this floor, the second floor, Mr. Rattenbury planned provision for the legislators — that is, for both government and opposition — also room for the press and the Sergeant-at-Arms and so on, those working with the Legislature. The plans on this are not complete. I see there are differences of opinion, Mr. Speaker, on just what should be done with the Members' rooms, and it may be wise to have a committee set up so that we can get all points of view, the press, the Members in the opposition of the various parties, the government members, and so on. I'm certainly open to that consideration if the Members would like to have some input, because we haven't done anything really other than refurbishing the chamber on this main floor.
Now, on the third floor, there will be a total of eight suites; three that are now complete, another three that should be complete by mid-December, and two more complete, I hope, for when the spring session takes place.
MR. D.A. ANDERSON: What is the cost per suite?
HON. MR. HARTLEY: I can't give you that. The Member asks the cost per suite. As yet that hasn't been broken down, and I think you can appreciate that with the type of restoration that we have had to do, it wouldn't be fair to charge a $100,000 ditch against any one suite. It is part of the whole building.
HON. MR. HARTLEY: On the third floor, we will have a total of eight suites.
HON. MR. HARTLEY: We are planning on moving the executive chamber over into the west wing to give more room for private Members on the main floor.
I have made mention of the two stairwells that had been recommended years ago by the fire marshal. We are going ahead with this.
Now, I would say it will probably take, in all, three years to complete this project, and I should mention that in the original design Mr. Rattenbury planned an extension to the west of us where the Motor Vehicle building is, and one to the east where the Queen's Printer building is.
MR. SPEAKER: It's east of this building. Try again. (Laughter.)
HON. MR. HARTLEY: I didn't realize we had changed the setting of the sun since we took office. (Laughter.)
HON. D. BARRETT (Premier): You thought you were still on the other side of the House. (Laughter.)
HON. MR. HARTLEY: Oh, I see. Right on.
Oh, yes. I should mention that on the third floor we have worked in a committee room between the
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three Ministers' suites on the west side, and another committee room between the three Ministers' suites on the east side. So there will be two more committee rooms on the third floor.
Now, as we were researching this, and working with the planning and design people, I recalled having made a trip to Europe a few years ago with my wife, and one of the very interesting places that we visited was the House of Commons and the precinct of Westminster. At that time, we were told how this very historic and now hallowed site was started over 900 years ago. It was started by Edward the Confessor, but he didn't live to make too much use of it because, as you will recall, William the Conqueror came along, and he was crowned there. But that precinct has been in use for over 900 years. After the original Westminster Hall had been in operation for 300 years, they had to put a new roof on it. They did very well to get 300 years out of their first roof; we haven't done quite so well.
Those buildings, the Abbey and all, are the site of thousands and thousands of people visiting there from all over the world. I believe, just as we respect and you respect this building today, by doing a proper job of restoring it and refurbishing it, it is going to last not just for the term of this government or another government, but it will be here for all time.
As you know, the House of Commons was bombed during World War II, and when it came to restoring the House of Commons following the war, Winston Churchill saw to it that some of the stonework and the masonry was taken from the rubble and the ruins and built right into the new building. He said that he wanted this as a monument to some of the ordeals that Westminster has passed through.
Now, we are often inclined to take historic buildings such as this, and such fine architectural masterpieces, we take them for granted. We have torn down a lot of fine old buildings in B.C. They certainly don't go back any 900 years, but they go back 100 years. Indeed, Mr. Speaker, some people seem more intent in pulling down buildings than preserving them, so I am very delighted that we have the craftsmen and the materials, and I am delighted that we have a Premier who takes pride in our history and is prepared to pay for preserving it.
HON. MR. HARTLEY: I think it is only right that while Mr. Rattenbury, the architect, didn't live to see the building completed….
HON. MR. BARRETT: He was done in.
HON. MR. HARTLEY: That's right. We should give credit to Premier John Herbert, who was Premier in B.C. in 1895, and to Premier Turner, and again to the Conservative Premier. The early Premiers didn't have parties, so I can't attach a party label to them. But between 1903 and 1915 we had a Conservative premier, Sir Richard McBride, and it was under his aegis that the extension, the second extension, the 1915 extension south of here, was completed.
Now, whether we can complete this in this term of office or when, we don't know, but they say about three years time is required to complete it. We've been less than a year at it now.
Now, buildings are buildings, they are material things. But I believe there is a great deal more to life, and a great deal more to democracy, than just building buildings or effigies. I believe that when the new government brought in the matter of a question period, I think this was a step forward for democracy in this province. I believe that this added greater dignity and greater prestige to this assembly and to the institution of democracy throughout the world.
I think that the fact that we have a Hansard means the constituents, whether they live in the east in Columbia, or Atlin in the north, or in the South Okanagan, they can read what goes on. I think this was another step that the new government did that contributed to democracy, to greater democracy in this province.
When the whole or part of this assembly is televised, I hope this will interest more people in what is going on. Because so long as the students in school, so long as the constituents in the home riding are interested in what is going on in this Legislature, I have no fear for democracy. But when people become callous, apathetic and indifferent, then we are in real danger. So I ask your support in seeing that the restoration and refurbishing of this building be completed as best it can.
Now the cost could be great, as I said in tabling the 7-year-old report. They said then that it would cost $1 million to attempt to restore the exterior. That figure could well be $2 million today, because of the increased costs of materials and work, and also because greater damage has been done when that work was not done earlier.
Now that, along with making new suites and restoring the whole building, could well amount to $5 million. I don't know. We haven't those figures; the contracts haven't all been let. But we feel that it is a worthwhile building, that democracy is worthwhile elevating and perpetuating and we're dead serious about that.
MR. A.V. FRASER (Cariboo): Thank you, Mr. Speaker, I am happy to take my place in this throne speech debate today, as the representative for the great riding of Cariboo.
I would first of all like to take this opportunity of
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congratulating the new Member for South Okanagan (Mr. Bennett) and wish him well, as well as a long stay here. I would also, Mr. Speaker, like to say to you that I thank you very much for my new seat on the front benches. It has taken me a long time to get here and I certainly appreciate your thoughtfulness. I would like to make a comment that I don't think I would ever have made if we had remained the government. (Laughter.)
The only observation I have to make about that is the fact that I don't think I'm going to have a very long stay on the front bench, because there are a few things going on within our party that will probably send me back to the backbench for the spring session. However, time will only tell. (Laughter.)
MR. R.H. McCLELLAND (Langley): No way. You're going to stay there.
MR. FRASER: Mr. Speaker, it's a privilege to stand once again in these gloriously refurbished premises. The Minister of Public Works (Hon. Mr. Hartley) is probably one of the most interesting and devastating personalities on the other side of the House. Little did we know last September that he would so quickly become a member of the jet set.
I understand that he has more time logged on the government aircraft than all the rest of the cabinet put together, Mr. Speaker.
MR. CHABOT: "Flying Bill."
MR. FRASER: However, we understand that it is very important for him to travel across the province giving a critical examination to the foundations of all government buildings; and when he isn't working in Victoria we appreciate the diligent way and the critical eye with which he has looked upon these buildings.
HON. MR. BARRETT: How come you lost the bull throwing contest?
MR. FRASER: I'm coming to that, Mr. Premier.
We appreciate as well today the expensive set of pictures which he presented to this House, Mr. Speaker. Who else on the other side of the House would willingly spend $2,500 on photographic time and effort to give us the benefit of knowing that these buildings are in danger of falling down. The Minister of Public Works, of course, is an expert on buildings. We all know that he purchased the Glenshiel Hotel but, for some unknown reason, he couldn't give us the price that was paid for it.
HON. MR. HARTLEY: If you sit down I'll tell you right now.
MR. FRASER: Now, Mr. Speaker, we have examined these buildings as well, especially the offices which we occupy as the opposition. We have noted the hours and hours of jackhammer efforts that went into drilling through the massive reinforced concrete floors, and we know that while it was extremely noisy that these buildings can be described as "solid British Columbia."
As a matter of fact, Mr. Speaker, we measured these reinforced floors and found them to be 12 inches-plus of well-seasoned concrete. And while we're at it, the Members of the official opposition want the Minister opposite to know that if he is looking into our offices with an idea of covering those reinforced concrete floors with any fancy, high-priced plush rugs, we don't want them.
So, Mr. Minister, cancel any orders that you might have made, through you, Mr. Speaker.
We have noted as well the interesting little holes that have been gouged out of the walls of the crumbling structure. We have measured the plaster and find that it is two inches thick in places. We have examined the solid brick interior wall and we know that it is faced with very substantial quarried stone.
However, Mr. Speaker, we did not want the photographic effort of the Minister of Public Works to be the sole presentation to this House this afternoon, and so we went out and got $2.50 worth of pictures to show some of the excavations that have been made through the walls of this sturdy structure. Having had the benefit of the opposite Minister's photographic display, I'm sure the Members of this House and the public would like to see as well some of these other pictures, which I have prepared for you.
It is clear, Mr. Speaker, that if, in fact, there was a danger of these buildings crumbling or collapsing, as the imaginative Minister opposite would have us believe, they would indeed be crumbling upon the fancy drapes, the high-priced rugs, the bed-sized desks and the stuffed chairs and chesterfields in the Ministers' offices. Yes, Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Public Works (Hon. Mr. Hartley) was sent forth to do a camouflage job of pictures in living colour in order to cover up the biggest cost-plus fiasco since the over-run in the Ottawa cultural centre. (Laughter.)
Mr. Speaker, the economy of the Cariboo riding has been very good this year, but there is uncertainty about the future. The lumber industry has been in full production, but have had their problems all this year getting adequate transportation for their products.
The cattle industry is happy with the prices they are receiving, but it appears there will be a shortage of feed for the coming winter caused by a late cold spring and a very dry summer.
I am quite surprised, Mr. Speaker, when I look across at the government benches. Members of the
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executive council now take up over half the seats provided on the government side; the cabinet has been increased by a net of four. It certainly makes one wonder how long it will be before cabinet posts are found for all NDP MLAs. They are now more than half. I know the backbench would like that. Thank you, fellows.
I would like, at this opportunity, Mr. Speaker, to congratulate all the cabinet ministers. I wish them well in their positions, but I also say that I hope they don't hold them too long.
MR. D.E. SMITH (North Peace River): Only till the next election.
MR. FRASER: The NDP has been the government for a year now, and I feel it is time for an appraisal of some of the various departments. The Premier and Minister of Finance (Hon. Mr. Barrett) has had a busy year. When the Premier was Leader of the Opposition, he was opposed to creating surpluses. However, for the past year he has continued to add new taxes to our citizens and I'm sure will create in this fiscal year the largest surplus that any finance Minister has ever collected.
Mr. Speaker, the Premier and some Members of his cabinet attended the Williams Lake Stampede in the great riding of Cariboo at the end of June. We have heard something about this but we have only heard part of the story.
I'm sure that while they were there they enjoyed themselves, because the Williams Lake Stampede is the largest one put on in the province and it provides entertainment for all sections of the community.
One of the major events, Mr. Speaker, is called the bull throwing contest. The event is arranged for visiting and local dignitaries. They must be people who hold elective office such as MLAs, MPs, aldermen and mayors. The entrants to this contest must drink a bottle of beer as fast as possible and then throw a piece of dried cow manure as far as they can throw it. The participant who throws the farthest is crowned the Champion Bull Thrower of the World.
HON. MR. BARRETT: The whole world! (Laughter.)
MR. FRASER: The whole world. Mr. Speaker, this year there were about 30 participants, including the Premier of British Columbia, and I am happy to advise you that the Premier won the contest fairly and squarely. He threw the bull much farther than any other participant and won the contest by many feet over his nearest competitors. Mr. Speaker, the Premier was presented with the trophy which acknowledged him as the Champion Bull Thrower of all this world.
I want to advise you, Mr. Speaker and Hon. Members, of this achievement because I feel this title is most appropriate.
I don't think that all observations of this government's performance for the past year should be directed to the Premier as there are 17 other Cabinet Ministers and I intend to discuss some of their activities as well.
The Minister of Agriculture (Hon. Mr. Stupich) has had a difficult year and continues to have one. This is caused by the strong dissatisfaction with Bill 42 passed at the last session. Bill 42 has caused great concern in this province and continues to do so. It has successfully doubled the cost of land available for housing to our citizens and it is almost impossible to acquire any reasonably-priced land in this province for housing for our ordinary citizens who need it the most.
Bill 42 has angered all our farmers as well as our locally-elected municipal and regional officials. Bill 42 has taken away most of the zoning powers of our locally-elected officials and given them to a government-appointed bureaucracy in Victoria known as the Land Commission. The Attorney General's department has had a year of non-performance and I am sorry, Mr. Speaker, that the Attorney General has seen fit to go and play tennis because I would have liked him to be here and maybe he would have had a few answers to what I have to say.
As I said, he has had a year of non-performance. This I cannot understand because earlier in the year this Minister had two departments. He had the Attorney General's department and the Department of Industrial Development, Trade and Commerce. However he has been relieved of the Department of Industrial Development, Trade and Commerce and now only has the Department of the Attorney General.
By being relieved of this portfolio you would think that the performance of the Attorney General would improve, but, Mr. Speaker, it has only deteriorated. The Attorney General has so many advisers and executive assistants to help him do nothing that I don't think that he has even met all of them yet, let alone assign them duties which will improve law enforcement in this province.
He has appointed a liquor commission to advise him on all liquor matters so he won't have to bother about this branch of government operations. The RCMP tell him how they are going to police the province rather than the Attorney General telling them. As an example, Mr. Speaker, when a municipality enters into a contract with the RCMP, the RCMP tell the municipality involved how many men they require and what that will cost. It is an ultimatum to the municipality. "You either sign on our terms and conditions or else."
Where is the Attorney General and his helpers
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when this is going on? He is nowhere to be found; that is the situation at the moment. His department does not assist in any way and in my opinion the Attorney General's department should assist the municipalities when they are negotiating their contracts with the RCMP.
I don't say this in any derogatory manner about the RCMP. I think they are a fine police force but they send their little boys out from Ottawa and they deal with the mayors and councils of this province on a take-it-or-leave-it basis, and because the Attorney General is the chief law officer I think he should be in on these negotiations and possibly get them to water down some of their demands that they are making on the municipalities of this province.
The Attorney General is very biased when it comes to salaries of lay and legal judges, Mr. Speaker. He makes sure the legally-trained judges receive a fair and just salary but he pays no attention to the inadequate salaries of the lay judges. Consequently many lay judges are resigning because of an inadequate salary.
Why should a full-time lay judge work for $700 or $800 a month and a legally-trained judge get $2,000 or more a month? I have no objection to the salaries legally-trained judges receive but I object strongly, Mr. Speaker, to the salary scale that the lay judges must work for.
This province will never be able to have all legally-trained judges because of the many isolated areas in the province. So by discriminating against the lay judges it seems to be the opinion that just because the provincial judge has a legal training this gives him three times the brainpower of a lay judge, which the present salary schedule seems to indicate.
I don't think that while we have them that we should discriminate against them on a ratio of three to one in a salary ratio.
I would also like to know where the Attorney General was when we had the illegal walkout of the ferry workers. That was one illegal act and I didn't hear anything from the Attorney General on that one. Why did he not come to the rescue of his colleague, the Minister of Commercial Transport and Communications (Hon. Mr. Strachan) who said at the time that the ferry workers had a gun to his head?
Now, Mr. Speaker, the way I interpret law and order that's another illegal act. So we have two illegal acts. Certainly, he needed help — and I refer to the Minister of Commercial Transport and Communications. But nothing was heard from the Attorney General and the Minister of Commercial Transport and Communications settled this issue by signing a blank cheque.
Neighbourhood pubs have been requested by many areas of this province, Mr. Speaker. In fact local plebiscites have already been taken and passed by the public but no legislation exists for these pubs. Where is it? Again we wait while the Attorney General considers what to do. Bring in the legislation and make it possible for those pubs if the citizens of the local area approve of it by plebiscite.
MR. FRASER: Well, that isn't the understanding that the people have.
Mr. Speaker, we have a new Minister of Highways (Hon. Mr. Lea) and I am very happy to see him in his seat in the House today. He hasn't spent too much time here but I congratulate you, Mr. Minister.
I realize that this Minister has only been Minister for four months. However, since he has taken on the Department of Highways he has almost stopped the vital and necessary task of upgrading our highways to accommodate the ever-increasing traffic. Even funds for day-to-day maintenance are in short supply. I wonder if the Department of Highways will have any funds for snow ploughing this winter? I would suggest to the Minister of Highways, through you, Mr. Speaker, that he request additional funds from the Minister of Finance, who has a large surplus, and get on with the enormous job of upgrading and maintaining our vital highway system.
Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Human Resources (Hon. Mr. Levi) is in his seat, which I am very happy about. I have a few words for him. The Minister of Human Resources has new, beautiful offices and is something like the Attorney General. He has so many advisers that I am sure he has not met them all yet.
With these beautiful offices and large staff, at the public expense, he has done nothing to relieve the cost of welfare to municipalities. It was an election promise of the New Democratic Party that they would relieve cities of this burden. Nothing has been done and the financial load continues to increase to all our citizens that live in the municipalities. I again request that the heavy load of welfare costs be reduced to our municipalities and that they not be replaced, Mr. Minister, by some other charge that will add to municipal taxpayers.
The Minister of Municipal Affairs (Hon. Mr. Lorimer) is not in his chair, so I haven't much to say to him other than to say through you, Mr. Speaker — here he is — that his greatest achievement since taking office has been the forced amalgamations of Kamloops and Kelowna. Time will only tell now how this will work out, but I think we saw the tip of the iceberg in the by-election in South Okanagan on September 7. How it will work out in the future….
AN HON. MEMBER: Who's next?
MR. FRASER: But I understand that many promises have been made to these new enlarged areas by the government, and so far none of these promises has been fulfilled.
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Mr. Speaker, the NDP promised in last year's election that they would have a new deal for municipalities. The only evidence of a new deal so far is the fact that because of inadequate grants to the municipalities by this government this year, every municipal taxpayer in British Columbia was faced with a 10 to 20 per cent increase in taxes on their property. This is certainly a great new deal for all the taxpayers. I am sure the citizens did not realize that the new deal promised by the NDP would cost them so much.
The throne speech, Mr. Speaker, made reference to amendments to the Municipal Act. I look forward to these amendments and hope that they will provide some relief for the hard-pressed municipalities of this province.
I have a few comments to make about Operation SAM, and I am pleased to see that our new Minister of Recreation and Conservation (Hon. Mr. Radford) is in his seat, whose department this programme comes under. This programme was instituted in 1971 by the prior administration and certainly was well accepted by all the citizens of British Columbia at that time.
The purpose of Operation SAM was to assemble and crush old car bodies throughout this province and deliver them to a crushing plant in Richmond for shredding and further use of this metal. The Regional District of Cariboo did an excellent job of organizing several sites for Operation SAM to operate in the Cariboo. The crushing unit operated in the Cariboo in November 1971 and stockpiled the crushed car bodies on several private properties. Mr. Speaker, this is the middle of September, 1973 and some of these crushed bodies are still stockpiled in the Cariboo. I am advised by the Minister of Recreation and Conservation that these crushed car bodies are now being picked up by the provincial government, which means that these crushed car bodies have been sitting in several stockpiles in the Cariboo for a little more than 22 months.
I blame the past and present administration, Mr. Speaker, for this utter neglect on their part of the bargain with the owners of these car bodies. Several excuses have been given by the present administration for this lengthy storage period, but it really has been complete neglect by the government in not seeing that these car bodies were picked up sooner.
The Minister of Recreation and Conservation should write a letter of apology to all property owners who stored these car bodies at no charge to the provincial government. The space these car bodies occupied was very valuable to these owners, and I'm sure that if apology is not given that it will be a long time before the government will get the permission of these people to operate and store car bodies again. This is a shame because, when Operation SAM began, everyone was in favour of it. Now, because of neglect by the prior and present government in not keeping their part of the bargain, very few car bodies will be crushed in the future in this province.
Now, Mr. Speaker, just one closing comment on SAM. It incensed me to no end that the local people organized these things, the government crushing unit comes in, and they leave them stockpiled for 22 months. I appreciate that the new Minister has written me and advised me these car bodies are being picked up. Well, I drove down through the Cariboo a week ago Monday to come to the session and the car bodies in some cases were still stockpiled. I'm going to double-check. I don't say the Minister gave me wrong information, but I have a message for him, Mr. Speaker; if there are still car bodies stockpiled in the Cariboo when I go home this weekend, I'm going to get a freight line to haul them down here and dump them in the Minister's office. And I realize he's got a big enough office.
MRS. P.J. JORDAN (North Okanagan): You'd get the carpets dirty.
MR. FRASER: Mr. Speaker, the greatest concern that the citizens of the Cariboo have at the present time is the lack of a forest policy by the Minister of Lands, Forests, and Water Resources (Hon. Mr. Williams). No one can find out what his forest policy is, or that government's, because the Minister will not answer his correspondence; nor will he talk to the industry; nor will he spend any time in the Legislature, Mr. Speaker. This is causing widespread concern, and consequently there has been no real investment in the forest industry since this government assumed office over a year ago. The industry is standing still waiting for announcements by the Minister about future forest policy.
Several attempts at new forest policy have been made, such as a new stumpage formula and the relocation of future timber rights to government-owned-and-operated forest operations. The quality of life in the Cariboo, Mr. Speaker, depends on the land base which provides cattle, agriculture and, most important of all, forest crops on a sustained-yield basis.
The Cariboo has many small, independent work groups which produce for the forest industry. These are people of initiative and enterprise who invest their money in equipment, operate it, and benefit to the full from their own enterprise.
The new proposed stumpage policy is stupidity in the extreme, except that it has a few dirty tricks tossed in as well. One sawmill that presently is operating pays $360,000 per year at the old stumpage rates: under the new proposed stumpage rates, his rate of stumpage will become $810,000 a year, Mr. Speaker. This is an increase of $450,000 per year. This mill has never earned this amount of money in
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its history and certainly cannot afford these new proposed rates.
The jobs of hundreds of Cariboo people are at stake. It is stupid to charge such high prices for timber so as to force sawmills out of business and to face reduced manufacturing, and thereby export jobs to the United States and elsewhere where our lumber is sold.
Mr. Speaker, I would now like to discuss arrogant schemes and dirty tricks that are being deliberately applied to shrink the economy of the Cariboo. While I will give examples specific to the Cariboo, I think every MLA in this House should examine whether or not the established employment base in his riding, or her riding, is going to be reduced by the zeal to favour government ventures in another area of this province.
MR. PHILLIPS: Oh, oh!
MR. FRASER: Examine also whether or not private business is going to be discriminated against and weakened as an employer so public business can look good. The Premier said the record of his government will rest upon the financial success of Canadian Cellulose. The former loser must show a profit at any cost.
This statement is the mandate for the Minister of Forests (Hon. Mr. Williams), a most ambitious man, to use every trick in the book to favour Canadian Cellulose. In fact, Mr. Speaker, it is now apparent that he plans to make the northwest corner of B.C. his personal fiefdom in which the Minister will be dictator. When he emerges from it, he will have usurped the job of the Premier of British Columbia. While I like the Premier, I do not discuss affairs involving the Minister of Forests to take sides in a power struggle within the New Democratic Party, but because I do not want the economic welfare of the Cariboo destroyed, Mr. Speaker.
What I have to say about the Cariboo applies equally to Prince George and the Fort George riding. As everyone knows, Fort George is represented by the NDP and, therefore, the MLA does not understand or care about the economic welfare of his riding.
Canadian Cellulose cannot show a profit using the same low-quality, high-cost timber assigned to the former owners. That timber costs more than $50 per unit, Mr. Speaker. The Minister of Forests must stampede to pre-empt sawmill chips from the central Interior, 600 miles away, at $10 per unit.
A dramatic plan of spending hundreds of millions of dollars of public money to build railways is underway in the deal. The British Columbia Railroad equipment will go on CN lines in order to subsidize movement of forest raw materials to Prince Rupert from the central Interior, a distance of 500 or 600 miles.
Obscured by the dramatics, Mr. Speaker, are subtle plans designed to achieve the following: manipulate boundaries of forest management units to pre-empt timber supplied for the fiefdom which should be allocated to supporting existing industry in points in the Cariboo such as Williams Lake, Quesnel and, of course, Prince George in the Fort George riding — and other communities as well; direct pulp chips to Prince Rupert which, by any measure of economic logic, properly belongs in the Cariboo or Prince George economy; utilize the new stumpage policy as a device to minimize stumpage and thereby increase the profit of favoured operators in the Minister's fiefdom.
The Narcosli sustained-yield unit lies west of Quesnel in a land form and drainage system which flows to Quesnel. The ranchers and loggers who work in this area use public roads that exist and forest access roads that originate in Quesnel. This timber is pine timber, needed to supply several mills in Quesnel that are specifically designed, Mr. Speaker, to utilize the size and quality of wood that exists in this forest.
I might say that I am proud of the Cariboo operators. They originated the total close-utilization policy and the cutting of small timber, and showed the rest of this province how it could be done on an economic basis.
The fourth is clearly a major part of the forest land base which must be managed to sustain the employment base of the Cariboo. There is a plan by the Minister of Lands, Forests and Water Resources (Hon. Mr. Williams) to pre-empt the wood supplied for the government operation of Plateau Mills at Vanderhoof. To give effect to it, steps have already been taken involving arbitrary use of contrived statistics to alter allegations of Cariboo operators. Administrative rules have been ensured which prevent Cariboo operators with financial capability to develop roads systems westwards from applying for or bidding on the timber they need for future requirements.
Mr. Speaker, I want the government-owned Plateau Sawmill at Vanderhoof, which already has more timber quota than it can fairly use if it operates on the same standard of utilization required of others, to stay out of the Cariboo. I want an open and above-table examination of the annual allowable-cut needs of existing forest industry in the Cariboo.
Last month a clause appeared in the timber sales in the Cariboo that said two things; (a) operators must supply a prescribed number of railroad ties to the British Columbia Railroad; (b) unless agreement with their railroad is immediately completed, that timber sale would not be operative.
Most of the Cariboo sawmills are not tie mills; they are designed to manufacture specialty items which are sold under contract to a wide range of customers all over the world. How can Cariboo
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sawmills maintain employment of their crews if the British Columbia Railroad has given arbitrary right to pre-empt their timber supply?
Why should not the government put their requirements out to tender, so these mills with the capacity can bid for this business? Mr. Speaker, the CPR has no trouble obtaining ties in this manner. A few days after the clause was introduced, when the fair market value for ties was $130 per 1,000 feet, the buyer for the British Columbia Railroad was offering $70 for the same 1,000 feet. Take it or forfeit your timber sales, it is as simple as that.
I must ask…. Oh! Mr. Speaker, I want to welcome back the Attorney General (Hon. Mr. Macdonald). I must ask the Attorney General if the taxage in this case could be described as extortionate.
Mr. Speaker, for a few minutes I want to discuss the new stumpage policy that is proposed. The Premier and all MLAs have received detailed comments from the Truck Loggers Association and other agencies qualified to demonstrate the impact. There is no doubt that, if implemented, this policy will shatter employment in the logging and sawmill sector and, soon after, the economy of British Columbia.
As has been pointed out, implementation will be the greatest mistake in the economic history of British Columbia. I recommend that all MLAs study most carefully the letter to the Premier by the president of the Truck Loggers Association. Mr. Viv Williams is the president of the Truck Loggers Association; his operation is at Spuzzum in the Fraser Canyon.
Note well the point that the scheme is designed to limit profits of not just the logging and sawmill industry, but every trucking, road-building and small business that services the forest industry. Is it not true that minimizing profits for the purpose of maximizing stumpage leads eventually and quickly to cost control, then wage control in the industry? Mr. Speaker, will you agree with me that assessments imposed on industry, and taxation as it affects profits of people in industry, should be a function of this Legislature, not the secret preserve of the Minister of Lands, Forests and Water Resources (Hon. Mr. Williams)?
MR. CHABOT: And where is he now?
MR. FRASER: In one year in office this government has set up a situation even more appalling than Watergate. The stage is set for friends of this government to put their fingers in the public cookie jar, and the busy bees in the Minister's office are in a position to cream off the honey.
If you think the setup will not and cannot be used to favour and discriminate, please note that the areas where the government-owned Canadian Cellulose operates have been assigned the most favoured applications of stumpage, and Prince George has the most severe. Canadian Cellulose is already being allowed higher profit and lower stumpage than private industry in the central Interior.
One can speculate as to why, under the close utilization plan, certain pulp mills do not pay any stumpage, and are put in the position to get raw material cheaply by riding on the backs of the loggers and saw millers. Could it be that now that the government is in the pulp business, and because the Premier has said his government record rides on the profits made by Columbia Cellulose, the government pulp mills will also pay no stumpage and will also ride on the back of the people who work in the logging and sawmill industry?
I say to the Premier, through you Mr. Speaker, stop this hanky-panky. Get control of the Department of Forestry, make a full scale public inquiry into the administrative procedures and get judicial, unbiased policy guidelines established. Eliminate the massive conflicts of interest that are abroad in the land…a Minister with his own principality. A district forester responsible for assessing stumpage, and thereby limiting profits of private business, is on the board of directors of Plateau Mills Limited and, in that position, is obliged to see that profits of that company are increased.
Put the activities of Canadian Cellulose out in the open for scrutiny in this assembly. It is public business, Mr. Speaker. Have you so soon forgotten your campaign promises in respect to public business? Do not implement the new stumpage policy; it will destroy the country, but the country cannot afford to wait until your political career is destroyed by such a policy.
When the government announced the purchase of Columbia Cellulose, they stated that this was the key to create I believe it was 20,000 new jobs in the northwest of British Columbia. This is all very fine, but they did not say that it will be at the expense of already-established and efficient forestry operations in other parts of British Columbia.
While I am making observations about the Lands, Forests and Water Resources department, I would like to deal briefly with the Lands department of that Ministry. For many years the provincial government has leased Crown lots in British Columbia for summer homes. There are many Crown subdivisions in the riding of Cariboo. These Crown lots are leased on a term basis to the citizens, but the lease fees are open to revision every five years.
If the price of land appreciates, which has been the case for some time because of inflation, the lease fees are revised, giving consideration to the increased values. The prior administration gave instructions to the Lands department that if these values had more than doubled in the five-year period, the Lands
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department was not — was not, I repeat — to increase the lease fees more than double.
When the present government took office a year ago, they instructed the Lands department to assess these lease fees on the actual market values. Consequently, from last year to this year, many lease fees have increased four and five times, Mr. Speaker. I am amazed this government would allow this to happen because it is causing undue hardship to the ordinary citizens of British Columbia.
I mentioned earlier that many of these Crown lots are located in the Cariboo and leased by citizens with moderate incomes who come from Vancouver, New Westminister, Surrey, Langley, Burnaby, Victoria, Nanaimo, and so on — in other words, citizens from the lower mainland. The increase in the lease fees put into effect by this government is making it almost impossible for citizens of moderate incomes to maintain these summer homes. In effect, the new fee structure for these lots means that only the wealthy will be able to afford them. It is a great surprise to me, Mr. Speaker, to find that this little people's government has a lease policy that can only be taken advantage of by the wealthier citizens of our province. I say to the government that they should be ashamed of this action and that they should take steps immediately to reduce these lease fees so that the ordinary citizen can afford a summer cottage in some part of British Columbia.
Mr. Speaker, I have a few comments to make about the standing committees' work. I have been a member of the Municipal Matters committee for some time and I feel the work of this committee has been very worthwhile. I cannot discuss the report that will be presented shortly to the Legislature, but I feel that committees operating between sessions are very helpful for all the Members and, last but not least, a greater opportunity for citizens of this province to present their various views to the various committees.
My only wish is that when these committees report to the Legislature, this Legislature takes heed of their reports and does something about them. If this happens, the standing committees, in my opinion, are a great success.
As a Member of the Legislature representing the large rural riding of Cariboo in the central Interior of this province, Mr. Speaker, I want to publicly thank the government for making available airplane transportation to and from the riding to Victoria. It has been of great assistance in enabling me to better serve these citizens.
The throne speech, Mr. Speaker, did not give too much information on the government's programme for this session, but it did give some information on what we might expect. I look forward to the legislation which is to come. I might add that this throne speech is certainly not any better or any worse than the last five throne speeches I have read or have heard.
Mr. Speaker, I am alarmed and upset at the actions of this government with our senior public servants. It is not a proper way to treat career, dedicated people, to suddenly after many years demote them and replace them with inexperienced party hacks. Most of the Deputy Ministers who have been demoted have spent their lives in the public service; to be suddenly set aside a few years before retirement is shameful, Mr. Speaker, just shameful.
What future is there for our young people entering the public service of British Columbia today? They certainly know they will never be able to reach the top after many years of dedicated service. The actions this government has taken with the senior public servants have certainly had a demoralizing effect on all public servants and this is most regrettable for all of British Columbia.
In conclusion, Mr. Speaker, I have made a review of some of the actions of this government after its first full year of operation. While some of the backbenchers of the government feel the record of the government is excellent, I cannot agree. The forest industry, our largest industry, has stopped all new investment in our province. The mining industry is not making the investments they should because of the fear of this government's future mining policy. Capital investment has decreased sharply in all sectors, Mr. Speaker, and we've heard the Minister of Highways (Hon. Mr. Lea) attack another of our major industries, the tourist industry. The Minister of Finance (Hon. Mr. Barrett) has a policy of excessive taxation to create huge surpluses. I say the government's performance in its first year has been less than satisfactory and trouble lies ahead for this great province of ours. Thank you.
MS. R. BROWN (Vancouver-Burrard): Mr. Speaker, I'd like to rise on behalf of the people of Vancouver-Burrard to speak in support of the Speech from the Throne. But before doing that, I'd like to congratulate five of my colleagues who have ascended into the cabinet and also the new Member who took his seat in this House yesterday (Mr. Bennett). I would like to extend to all of them my very best wishes and the very best wishes of all the people in Burrard.
I visited my constituency last night, Mr. Speaker, using one of the free airline passes that we have. I would like to assure you that the people in Burrard are very pleased, particularly pleased, that labour legislation is going to be given priority attention this session.
In the past 20 years the workers of this province have laboured under some pretty repressive legislation, some pretty archaic legislation, legislation that was never designed to ease their burden and
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which threw up every barrier whenever those among them tried to organize into trade unions.
This government has been in office for a year now and, during that time, the Minister of Labour (Hon. Mr. King) has assured us that he has been taking a good, hard, long look at all the labour legislation that is now on the books. Now we learn from the Speech from the Throne that he is ready to ask us to consider a new labour code. This new labour code, we have been told, will establish an improved framework for collective bargaining and dispute settlement.
Expectations are running high, Mr. Speaker, and I would like to state a few of the hopes and a few of the expectations that I and the people of Vancouver-Burrard have for this legislation.
It is our hope that the new labour code will deal with the matter of first contracts. There have been many instances over the past year when, despite a stacked deck, a local was able to gain certification only to be stymied when it tried to negotiate a first contract. It is my impression — and I think this is a correct one — that each year there have been at least a dozen strikes which have been fought over this issue of first contract. In many instances, these strikes have been lost.
Without wanting to belabour the point, Mr. Speaker, I would like to cite one such example and that is the case of Sandringham Hospital right here in the City of Victoria. As everyone knows, for nearly three years the workers at Sandringham Hospital have been trying to negotiate a first contract. In reply to a question asked on the floor of this house yesterday, the Minister (Hon. Mr. King) explained that under existing legislation there was absolutely nothing he could do to terminate the deadlock between labour and management at Sandringham Hospital, "because the employers were not prepared to bargain in good faith."
Another example, Mr. Speaker: the Shoppers Drug Mart strike. That strike is now in the process of being settled, but it should not have been necessary at all. And Denny's Restaurant, another strike which has still not been settled. All these have occurred because of the absence of legislation that dealt fairly and adequately with first contracts.
Because so much of my concern is centred around women in the labour force, Mr. Speaker, much of the changes in the labour legislation that I am hoping for affects them.
It is my hope, for example, that the Factories Act will be amended. This Act, as you know, covers a lot of what is known as protective legislation. It's legislation that says, for example, that a factory, shop or office in which females are employed should have rest rooms and space and reasonable privacy and couches and cots and chairs and this sort of thing. It's the Act that also states that women need more bathrooms than men do.
MS. BROWN: No, it is preferential treatment, actually.
We would like to see these types of protective legislation extended to cover men, too. We believe that men are human (Laughter) and that if the Act finds it necessary to provide couches and cots and chairs and bathrooms for the women, it should provide them for the men too.
On the surface it might seem that this legislation really demonstrates a concern for women. In point of fact, the requirements outlined in this Act are often used as an excuse not to hire us. I have received on more than one occasion complaints from women who wanted to work for the Department of Highways, for example, but who could not be hired because there were not separate bathroom facilities.
Earlier this afternoon we heard a question in the House from the Member for Langley (Mr. McClelland), who was asking about the hiring of women to work for the Liquor Control Board. The Attorney General explained that one of the reasons why this was not possible was because of the weight involved — how heavy the cases of beer were that had to be lifted on and off the trucks. In point of fact, regulation 3 of the Factories Act makes very stringent rules about the weight — 35 pounds it says, no more, that women are permitted to lift. We feel that if there is a weight factor this also should be extended to cover the men. I am sure you know, as I do, many men who cannot lift 35 pounds in the same way that we know many women who can lift much more than 35 pounds. As a matter of fact it is a very rare mother indeed who has not had to lift a child weighing more than 35 pounds at one time or another during her life, or a heavy pail of diapers or something of that matter. So we would like to see this amendment extended to cover the men the same way that it does the women.
The same thing applies to regulation 4 of the Factories Act — the one that has to do with overhead stacking. I know, and we all know, that these protective clauses were fought for, and we know that the battle to get them incorporated in legislation was a long and sometimes bloody one. But I also know that male workers have as much need for this type of protection as women do, and that to fail to expand this protection to them is to continue to oppress them.
I am against oppression, Mr. Speaker, and I hope the Minister of Labour (Hon. Mr. King) will seek to amend all of this legislation to ensure that both men and women will be able to work under safe and reasonable conditions.
Another piece of legislation that falls in the Minister's portfolio is that of the Minimum Wage Act. This act, as you will remember, Mr. Speaker, was
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amended in the fall of last year and, indeed, it was a step in the right direction, because it recognized the concept of equal pay for work regardless of sex. It was unsuccessful, however, in three areas.
First, it was not extended to cover a very large group of people who work on farms or those people classified as household help. In my travels around the province with the Select Standing Committee on Social Welfare and Education we were continually made aware of the hardship that this caused those women who sought to work as homemakers on this home-care project, but who, because they were not covered by this legislation, were often offered less than the minimum wage and so were unable to demand at least the minimum wage because they were not covered by the Act.
The second flaw in the Act has to do with the age factor. And I say the age factor because, as you will remember, the Act provides for $2 an hour over the age of 18 and less below the age of 18. What this resulted in in many instances was that many women who were working in department stores on weekends or on a part-time capacity found that they were removed from their jobs, and their jobs were given to women 18 years of age for no other reason than to cut the payroll expenditure. This is especially hard on the middle-aged woman who, as we learned from an article in the Sun newspaper yesterday on the editorial page, works because she has to and not necessarily because she wants to.
The third area of concern cannot really be dealt with as a failure, Mr. Speaker, but just as an area of concern. And that is the Industrial Relations Board. This Act requires that at least one of the board members should be a woman, and I would like to urge the Minister not to accept this minimum requirement as a maximum requirement.
Another Act that falls under the labour legislation is the Workmen's Compensation Act. I would like to concur completely with everything said by the Member for Delta (Mr. Liden) about the Workmen's Compensation Board. I, too, can give hair-raising examples of strange decisions arrived at by that board in the past, particularly affecting disabilities dating back to the '40s. We must, Mr. Speaker, reopen the files of those people and bring their pensions into the 20th century. The inflexibility of the board is legendary. The conditions must change and maybe one way to do this would be to begin by amending the 1968 Act.
In every instance where the word "widow" is used in the Act, I would like to suggest that we substitute the word "dependent spouse." In this way we would ensure that widowers — and not necessarily those who are invalided, because the Act now covers invalided widowers — would not be discriminated against. The same recommendation would apply if we substituted the words "foster parent" wherever the words "foster mother" are presently used. What this would do, Mr. Speaker, is to take into account the change in lifestyles that we are now dealing with and the fact that, as rare as it may seem, there are some instances where the man of the house would rather remain at home and take care of the children than would the mother, and when this happens he would not be penalized for doing so.
Before closing this section on labour legislation, I would like to quote from a speech given by Miss Marg Storm at a conference in Kamloops recently. She said:
"I've had the protection of the IWA for 27 years and I realize that the largest group of unorganized workers are women. The exploitation, discrimination and poor working conditions that they have had to endure through the years brings out the trade union anger in me. The labour legislation that we have had to live with has made it impossible to protect these women while trying to organize them. It is my hope that these inequities will be corrected during the fall session of this Legislature."
That is also my hope and the hope of the people in Vancouver-Burrard, Mr. Speaker.
This year, Mr. Speaker, has been designated as Human Rights Year. This year the world is celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Surely there is no more fitting way to celebrate this year than to introduce some meaningful human rights legislation. By coincidence, Mr. Speaker, the human rights legislation in this province is also embodied in its labour legislation, so once again I confess to the Minister of Labour (Hon. Mr. King) that my expectations are high.
My expectations are that, despite the fact that the matter of human rights was not mentioned in the throne speech, human rights legislation will be forthcoming during this session, and that this legislation will ensure in the field of labour, at least, equal job and pay opportunities for all, regardless of their race, sex, marital status, age, religious belief, ethnic origin, sexual orientation, political affiliation or whatever, and that this legislation, furthermore, will apply equally to the Crown, non-profit organizations, educational institutions, or whatever.
I would like to suggest further that the present Act cannot be amended. Various groups in our society have tried to amend the Act, Mr. Speaker, and it is so badly written or, as the ex-Minister of Labour, the Member for Columbia River (Mr. Chabot) likes to quote me as saying, it has so many holes that you can run a truck through it. I really did say that and I would like to say it again. I think that the Act has to be rewritten, and when it is rewritten it must include marital status in all sections as a specific characteristic against which discrimination is forbidden. It must
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ensure that jobs may not be restricted to members of one sex because of heavy physical labour, late-night hours, preference of co-workers, tradition or any other specious reasons.
It must ensure that no student can be denied access to any school, university course, training programme, apprentice programme, or any other kind of vocational programme, because of race, sex, age or any other reason.
That the faculty of law, the only faculty of law in this province, could have managed to graduate only two native Indian students during its 27 years of existence is a disgrace. That so few native Indian teachers have passed through our system is a disgrace. That the top echelon of our civil service number not even one woman among its ranks, and here I am referring to the Deputy, Associate Deputy and Assistant Deputy level, is a disgrace and I suggest to you, Mr. Speaker, that this is not the kind of disgrace that this government can continue to live with.
I recognize that we inherited this problem from a government which condoned oppression of women in employment, but the opportunity is now ours, and one of our most effective tools could be the Human Rights Act and I, as indeed with most people in this province, will be very disappointed if a new Human Rights Act is not tabled in this House during this session.
The Speech from the Throne, Mr. Speaker, also mentioned that there were going to be amendments to the Municipal Act. As the representative of an urban riding, I welcome this news. I welcome it in the hope that it will mean a closer liaison between the two levels of government, and more dialogue between these levels of government and the people of Vancouver. I am tired of the cavalier manner in which the carving up of the city is being conducted without any evidence of overall planning. I have no idea what the amendments will cover, but I hope that it will ensure that if this province plans to solve its housing crisis through the development of units and the use of land in the City of Vancouver, this should be done in consultation with the municipal committee on housing as well as with the people of the City of Vancouver.
It is my hope that the voice of these people will be heard and that their wishes will be treated with respect. If Vancouver indeed constitutes a part of the overall transportation design for this province, then it is my hope that this planning will be done in consultation with the municipal government and with the people of Vancouver. Further, it is my hope that all planning and all designs will be integrated and will proceed at all times with the full and open knowledge and support of the people of the City of Vancouver.
The people of Vancouver, the people who live there, have a pretty good idea of what they want for that city and of how they want to see that city grow, and I hope that we will never lose contact and will never fail to listen to their communications. Closer liaison, Mr. Speaker, between the levels of government, is what we are looking for. It is no longer enough for the two levels to meet merely to discuss funding. The whole growth and design of this city will affect, and in turn will be affected by, the rest of this province, and we cannot lose sight of this.
Last fall, I expressed the hope that the government would take a serious look at the whole area of provincial-municipal financing, and I certainly hope that this is one of the areas in which the amendment to the Municipal Act will take place.
Mr. Speaker, I am not going to deny my disappointment that the Speech from the Throne has given no indication that the government has any plans to deal with the plight of women in this province. I am disappointed because I thought that surely after a year in office we would be ready to move in the direction of some meaningful legislation on their behalf. But who knows? There may be surprises in store for us. So, with this in mind, I would like to speak very briefly on behalf of one group of women.
MR. SPEAKER: Would you kindly move your microphone so it doesn't touch anything. It seems to be causing some static.
MS. BROWN: Oh, I'm sorry, Mr. Speaker. I'm causing static? (Laughter.)
MR. SPEAKER: Unnecessary static.
MS. BROWN: I hope so, Mr. Speaker, I hope so.
MS. BROWN: No, I am where I belong, thank you.
MS. BROWN: I'm where the action is.
MS. BROWN: I would like to speak, Mr. Speaker, on behalf of one group of women, the largest group of women in our province; namely, those women who have chosen to remain in the home. The homemaker or housewife, whichever you prefer to call her; in any event, that group referred to by John Kenneth Galbraith as the crypto-servants of America.
Mr. Galbraith tells us that the woman who "devotes herself to the well-being of her family, who is a gracious helpmate, a good manager, or who, at lesser levels of elegance, is a good housekeeper or a real homebody," is "uniquely moral" and represents the highest of social virtue.
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Society tells us that the mother and wife are among the most valued and cherished members of our community. What they fail to mention, Mr. Speaker, is that they are also among the most insecure and least protected members of society. The woman in the home is totally dependent on her spouse. She is completely dependent on him financially and, in the event of some mishap such as divorce, desertion or separation, she often has no recourse short of social assistance.
This government must find some way to give security, financial security, to this group of women. The real tragedy, of course, is that so many of these women are in their late forties or early fifties. The new Mincome programme which goes into effect on October 1 is a blessing. It was not designed only for women, of course; it covers everyone. But, in point of fact, it will have more impact and more effect on the lives of women than it will on the lives of men, if for no other reason than that we usually outlive the men.
MR. GARDOM: You know why? (Laughter.)
MS. BROWN: We're stronger.
AN HON. MEMBER: Here we go.
MS. BROWN: What this Mincome programme means is that many of these women will be able to get off social assistance five years earlier than they would normally. But the young mother with small children, or the middle-aged woman with no skill other than a great ability to love and nurture her family, finds herself at a decided disadvantage when she suddenly is without any form of financial support and is forced to enter the labour market.
This government must address itself to the dilemma of this segment of the population. Today, if the young mother on welfare tries to enrol in university in an attempt to complete her education or get a profession, she is immediately cut off from her welfare payment. Not only is she discouraged, but she is actually forbidden by the financial realities of the situation from trying to enhance her educational status.
Surely, Mr. Speaker, now that we have in this province an insurance company that can insure us against fire and against theft, surely this company could also look into the matter of insuring the woman in the home against complete loss of security in the event of desertion or divorce.
I would like to suggest, or I would like to strongly recommend, that as a planned and vital function of the new insurance company of B.C. there should be some kind of provision designed to guarantee that the housewife who suddenly finds that she must enter the labour market as a result of death, or desertion, or divorce, or some other type of misfortune, will have some kind of financial support while she is in the process of training, or re-training, or otherwise preparing herself for re-entering the labour force.
Although this request has been put forward on behalf of women, it really should apply to the dependent spouse whoever that happens to be. As I mentioned earlier, with our changing lifestyles it is possible, Mr. Speaker, that there are times when this kind of financial insecurity could apply to the man in the home.
It is possible, Mr. Speaker, that many married women may never find it necessary to ever use this type of insurance, but the rate of marriage breakdowns being as high as it is, and getting even higher, would seem to indicate that some type of security is necessary to do for the woman who stays at home what unemployment insurance does for the person who loses her or his job.
Before I leave this topic, Mr. Speaker, I would like to point out that the report on the status of women outlined many areas of responsibility which fell within the venue of this province and of all provinces which needed changing. This province is probably far ahead of most other provinces in terms of meeting some of these recommendations and in terms of meeting its responsibilities. But there are still a number of recommendations still not implemented, among them recommendation 164 which states:
"We recommend that the federal or provincial territories and municipal governments each establish an implementation committee composed of a number of its senior administrators to plan for, coordinate and expedite the implementation of the recommendations made by the Royal Commission on the Status of Women."
This has not yet been implemented. It is my hope that recommendation 164 will be implemented in this sitting of the Legislature, and also that the convention resolution which was passed and is now part of the policy of the New Democratic Party for a ministry of women will receive some kind of priority attention from this government.
I stated earlier in my speech, Mr. Speaker, that I represent an urban riding, a riding where at least 50 per cent of the constituents occupy rental accommodation. This number is growing. Consequently, the Landlord and Tenant Act and the amendments to it which were passed during the last session of the House were of primary concern to us. It soon became clear that the amendments did not go far enough and that the Act was failing to give renters the adequate protection which they needed. This was drawn to the attention of the Attorney General and he has since referred this Act to the Law Reform Commission for study. I'm sure the commission will do a thorough job in this area.
Nonetheless, I would like to take this opportunity to bring to the attention of the Attorney General that
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the tenants in Vancouver-Burrard are still being exploited, that they are impatient and hope the report of the Law Reform Commission will be tabled before this session of the Legislature is completed, and that there will be further amendments to that Act. The areas of most flagrant abuse are those of eviction without just cause and the ones covering unconscionable rise in rents.
The strata-title crisis in the City of Vancouver has been halted for a while due to the actions of the city council freezing all such strata-title matters for the period of a year.
Before I close, Mr. Speaker, I'd like to say a few words about the Social Welfare and Education committee. The Speech from the Throne spoke of the activities of the standing committees of the House, Mr. Speaker. I had the privilege to be a part of two such committees and both of these committees travelled throughout this province during the recess between the sessions. As chairman of the committee on Social Welfare and Education, I would like now to ask leave of the House to table the 150 briefs and submissions which were made to my committee during its tours.
MR. SPEAKER: I take it that the purpose is to have them available to the public in the Clerk's office. Is that correct?
MS. BROWN: By all means, Mr. Speaker.
MS. BROWN: The job of this committee, as you know, Mr. Speaker, was to look at the need for home care in the health delivery system and make recommendations. Its job was not to write health-care legislation but to examine the need and make recommendations to this House. I submit to you, Mr. Speaker, that this committee did its job. Travelling and meeting with the people, listening to their submissions, we learned much, not only about the delivery of health care but about many other aspects of the life of the people of this province. It was a very worthwhile endeavour and it is my hope that the precedent set will become an established practice.
In closing, Mr. Speaker, I would like to issue a plea for more flexibility in decision-making in government. I'm thinking now specifically of two cases concerning people who live in Vancouver-Burrard.
One of them had to do with a 59-year-old woman who was living common-law for 17 years while the man with whom she was living waited for a divorce from his wife. After 17 years, the divorce was finally finalized and plans were made for them to marry. The minister was contacted and everything was in readiness for the wedding. Unfortunately, the man immediately took ill and died.
Because they had not lived common-law for 20 years, she was not regarded under the Act as his wife and as a result of this had a lot of difficulty in the probating of his will and inheriting whatever small estate that was left. The common-law stepdaughter of this woman and the minister involved and everyone else contacted me as the representative for the riding and I, in turn, had to make a plea on behalf of this woman to have her case dealt with on compassionate grounds.
It was successfully settled, Mr. Speaker, and I'm happy to say she did get the estate eventually. What I am saying, however, is that it should not have been necessary to go through all of that to have this matter dealt with.
The second case has to do with an elderly woman who applied for the Elderly Citizen Renters Grant and her cheque was due to come through on April 13. Unfortunately, she died on April 4, but she had paid rent on her apartment up to April 30. When her son explained this and asked that the cheque for that month come through to meet the rental requirements, he was told that she had failed to meet the requirements spelled out in the Act and so this matter could not be dealt with. The requirement spelled out in the Act, Mr. Speaker, was that she had to be alive at the time that the cheque was paid out, and by dying nine days earlier she did not meet these requirements.
Now, surely, Mr. Speaker, if there is one fact that has been established through the ages, it is that we have very little control over when or even how we die. So, in closing, I would like to ask that the quality of mercy be exercised more generously in governmental decisions and that we never lose touch and cease to heed the people whom we are here not to rule but to represent. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
MR. McCLELLAND: I too would like to express my thanks for the chance to enter into this throne speech debate in this fall session of the Legislature. I too would like to welcome my new colleague from South Okanagan (Mr. Bennett) to the House. I would also like to take the opportunity with some of the other Members to welcome the people from the B.C. Association of Non-Status Indians to the House today, and in particular, the president, Mr. House, who was in the Speaker's gallery. If he's still there, I'd like to welcome Mr. House to Victoria.
I was reminded, first of all, by the Member for South Peace River's (Mr. Phillips) comments, and then the comments about the Premier who has now become the world champion bull thrower, that the world is a bit of a small place.
I'm reminded of a story that our colleague from Chilliwack (Mr. Schroeder) tells about a 250-watt radio station down in Wyoming that he knew about
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when he was in the Wyoming area. I think it reached about eight people in a radius of 11 miles or so. The disc jockey used to get on the air every morning and say, "Good morning, world." That's the kind of confidence we like to see in the House.
I'd also like to compliment the Public Works department on the repairs and renovations to the House. As a member of the committee that sat and recommended that television be proceeded with in this House, I feel I may have made a mistake because the recommendation was that television be allowed provided it didn't disturb either the decorum of the House or the comfort of the Members of the House.
Some of us do have a sun rash and it's very uncomfortable at times. I notice many of the members of the press gallery have gone out and bought eye-shades. I went out today and bought an expensive pair of sunglasses, and I'm going to have to wear them in the House because it is extremely uncomfortable under the lights of the House.
MR. McCLELLAND: Yes, and they look much better through these sunglasses — rose-coloured glasses.
I'd also like to say, Mr. Speaker, that it was interesting that the Second Member for Vancouver-Burrard (Ms. Brown) gave an impassioned speech against discrimination in employment for women the same day that the Attorney General said that women could not be hired in Liquor Control Board retail stores because they can't move cases of liquor — the same women who, in the home, as the Second Member for Burrard so eloquently pointed out — move refrigerators, pianos, chesterfields and everything else that's necessary; but they can't move a case of booze in the Liquor Control Board store.
Mr. Speaker, I would suggest that the Second Member for Vancouver-Burrard should look to her own government first of all for this kind of discrimination because there is no reason for women in this province to be refused jobs, particularly in Liquor Control Board retail stores. But they are being refused jobs.
I have a number of letters from women who say they have applied for jobs in Liquor Control Board retail stores and they have been told, "No, the policy of the Liquor Control Board is that we do not hire women in these positions."
Mr. Speaker, I would also mention briefly a few comments about the Select Standing Committee on Social Welfare and Education. I won't go into details of a minority opinion that I filed with the press and with the chairperson of that committee — with prior knowledge of the committee, as a matter of fact.
But I do want to say that I hope the Minister of Health (Hon. Mr. Cocke) was misquoted in this morning's paper in this article which says that "Cocke Defends Health Report Role." If he was quoted correctly, it seems very much like the Minister of Health is saying that that committee was merely window-dressing and that the Minister of Health could have done it himself; there was no need for the committee.
The Minister of Health is quoted as saying in this article: "While that committee went out for 15 days, I went out for six solid weeks visiting hospitals, health units and different groups all over the province. Now based on what I did, I consider I got as much input as the committee."
He could have done it himself. What was the purpose of the committee? I'd like to express my displeasure, Mr. Speaker, with the fact that while that committee was an interesting one and an exciting one and one in which I was proud to take part — and I compliment the chairperson on that — I'm disappointed that in the final deliberations of that committee, the members never got the chance to see the final report as it was written. Never got the chance. We should have been given that chance, Mr. Speaker.
There was an astonishing hurry for the report of that committee. I can only assume that the need for rush and haste was because the Minister of Health wanted to make some announcements and he couldn't do it without embarrassing the committee if we didn't file our report first. The members of that committee did not get the opportunity to see the final draft of that report. Now it's as simple as that, and there's no way around it, Mr. Speaker.
HON. G.V. LAUK (Minister of Industrial Development, Trade, and Commerce): You weren't there.
MR. McCLELLAND: Mr. Speaker, I'm hearing from the Hon. Minister of Industrial Development, Trade, and Commerce (Hon. Mr. Lauk) that I wasn't there. Mr. Speaker, I'd like to say right now that my attendance in those committee hearings was as good and better than any of the other members. I was not there for the final reading because it was never given to us. It was never given to us; we never had the opportunity to read the final report.
Mr. Speaker, I'd like the Minister of Industrial whatever-it-is to apologize for that because I didn't miss any of those meetings; we never had the opportunity. We were not given the opportunity; is that plain? Is it clear? Do you understand it, Mr. Minister? We were not given the opportunity, Mr. Speaker, and that'll be the end of that.
I'd like to ask the Minister how many meetings he attended. How many meetings did you attend, Mr. Minister?
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MR. SPEAKER: One minute, what is your point of order?
MS. BROWN: A point of privilege, Mr. Speaker.
MR. SPEAKER: It sounds like a point of order to me.
MS. BROWN: Oh, is this a point of order?
MR. SPEAKER: What is your point of order?
MS. BROWN: I'd like to reply to the accusation that the members were deprived from seeing the last….
MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. If you have any correction you wish to make on any imputation that's been made about you or anyone concerned, would you do so at the end of the Hon. Member's speech, please?
MS. BROWN: Certainly, Mr. Speaker. I was only trying to bring an end to the diatribe between these two.
MR. SPEAKER: In this House a peace-maker is not always welcome. (Laughter.)
MR. McCLELLAND: Mr. Speaker, I don't want to impute any negligence on the part of any member of that committee.
HON. MR. BARRETT: Let him get on with his diatribe.
MR. McCLELLAND: Yes, let me get on with my diatribe.
I'd like to begin my participation in the throne speech debate, Mr. Speaker, first of all by just talking briefly about some educational problems that we have in our constituency. I'm sorry that the Minister's not in but I'm sure that these things will be passed on to her.
Briefly, the problem is that the Langley constituency, particularly the Langley School District, School District 35, is a rapidly growing school district, perhaps the most rapidly growing in British Columbia. Because of that rapid growth, there are some serious problems being experienced in Langley School District.
Basically, those problems have to do with overcrowding and the need for more essential classrooms as quickly as possible. Last session in the House I quoted from a document, which was written by the district superintendent of Langley School District, entitled "The Educational Plan for a Decade."
I'd just like to draw the Minister's attention to that document once again because, while it was written in 1969, many of the problems detailed in that document continue today. The situation, as outlined to the Education Minister (Hon. Mrs. Dailly), is now critical.
We have six secondary schools in Langley School District; four of them happen to be on shifts right now. One elementary school in the Langley School District is now on shifts. We're utilizing, in the Langley School District, church halls for kindergartens, which isn't a bad idea; but most of those halls are not set up to handle those students, and it's causing some hardships for them.
Many of the elementary libraries in our schools are also being used as kindergartens — and as classrooms as well. Schools presently under construction are being bothered because of labour disputes and other construction problems; the rail strike held back much of our construction.
Right away we need some portable classrooms and we need a number of things in our school district. It's going to cost about $400,000, Mr. Speaker. I'd like to urge the Education Minister to give real priority to this request for extra money for School District 35.
We have a problem which is not being faced in any other area of British Columbia at this time because many of the other schools are finding either a leveling off of school population or, in fact, a decline in school population. That's not the case in School District 35 in Langley. The need is urgent. I'd like the Minister of Education to treat it as urgent.
I'd like also, Mr. Speaker, to call on the Government of British Columbia to clean up the mess that it has caused in British Columbia in relation to land-use matters. Mr. Speaker, nothing that this government has done so far has caused so much confusion, so much uncertainty, so much chaos, as its fumbling, amateurish attempts to establish new land-use policies in this province.
Not only have those attempts initiated a very dramatic increase in residential land prices — an almost criminal jump, as a matter of fact, in the cost of land and housing; and that, of course, contributes even more to the inflationary spiral — but the land-use policies of this government have also rendered it almost impossible to get even the most minor changes or decision in land-use policy done without being choked in some kind of bureaucratic jungle.
No one in British Columbia knows who's doing what to whom. Because you can't get any decisions made in land-use matters you go to the regional district, and you're told to go to the Land Commission and from the Land Commission you're told to go to the Minister of Agriculture, you're told
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to go to the Minister of Municipal Affairs (Hon. Mr. Lorimer); from the Minister of Municipal Affairs you are told to go to the Environment and Land Use Committee; from the Environment and Land Use Committee you are told to go to the regional district and you are right back where you started from — and you haven't any decisions made. And that's only in the minor matters; wait until you find out what happens when you've got a major decision to get. It's impossible.
Who is responsible for land-use matters in British Columbia? Is it the Lands and Forests Minister? Is it the Minister of Municipal Affairs? Is it the Land Commission? Is it the land-use secretariat? Who is it? Nobody knows. That's one of the reasons why there are 800 or 900 applications right now sitting on the desk of the Environment and Land Use Committee not being processed.
MR. McCLELLAND: Well, they're going to get a new desk. That's right; they'll probably come up with some solutions when they find they have to get out of the dilemma they are in with their own insurance claim centre in Richmond which has been frozen. (Laughter.) But there isn't anybody in charge — that's the problem. Nobody in charge and no coordination in land-use matters in British Columbia.
The matter was really highlighted effectively by the actions of the Cariboo Regional District recently. The Cariboo Regional District refused to go through the charade of holding public hearings in connection with the establishment of a land-use reserve. The Cariboo Regional District was the only regional district in British Columbia, as a matter of fact, that was able to see through the smoke-screen that this government has thrown up in front of Bill 42. The Cariboo Regional District refuses to jeopardize its credibility with its people by holding a public hearing to deal with matters over which it has no real control and about which it is almost certain to be overruled. The Cariboo Regional District believes in the need for honesty in its public hearings and it refused to fall for the malarky that it was being asked for input when in reality, as is so often true in the actions of this government, there is only the flimsy appearance and none of the reality of cooperation with the people who are supposed to be in partnership with this government: the people of the regional districts and the municipal councils.
I'd like to just briefly show you a file I have which points out the futility of trying to get anything done in land-use matters in this province. I would like to remind you that this is only one example, and it's a file of considerable volume dealing with a gentleman in my riding who really had a terrible problem. You know what he wanted to do, Mr. Speaker? He wanted to build a house on his farm — as simple as that. He had a farm, he wanted to farm it and he wanted to build a house on it. It's not such a bad idea. The guy needed a house because he had to be close to his cattle.
Well, the first letter I wrote to this government, Mr. Speaker, was on March 19. I would like to say that he finally did get the building…well, at least he almost has the building permit now. The first letter I wrote was on March 19 and we went around and around and around in circles trying to get a building permit for this gentleman to build a house on his own farm. The man wanted to be a farmer.
AN HON. MEMBER: Man needs a good MLA.
MR. McCLELLAND: The man has a good MLA, Mr. Speaker. We finally convinced the provincial government that we needed to do something about his problem. Then we got hung up with the municipal council which was passing the buck because the legislation passed by this government has fogged up the whole area of land use so badly that municipal councils in British Columbia are afraid to act. They don't know what to do.
I got so frustrated trying to get a decision on this thing that I finally wrote a letter to the Minister of Lands, Forests and Water Resources (Hon. Mr. Williams), condominiums, Pacific National Exhibition, and whatever else he happens to be. I wrote about a 5-page letter to him outlining exactly the problems we had with this gentleman who wanted to be a farmer and wanted to build a house on his own farm.
I got a letter back from the Minister's office which said: "Dear Mr. McClelland, Re: Mr. and Mrs. van Wootenburg. Thank you for your letter of July 17th. The matter had come to my attention earlier and has been resolved." Just that, in answer to my 5-page letter, and it's not signed by the Minister. Nobody has ever had a letter signed by that Minister.
MR. P.C. ROLSTON (Dewdney): I have.
MR. McCLELLAND: Have you? Mark on the wall. First Member in history to have a letter signed by the Minister of Lands, Forests and Water Resources.
The letter is signed by Norman Pearson, the executive assistant, Mr. Speaker. And it says in two lines: "Thank you for your letter of July 17th. The matter had come to my attention earlier and has been resolved."
The matter wasn't resolved. The matter hadn't even been nearly resolved yet, and this assistant didn't even have the courtesy to refer in any more detail to my letter than, "Thank you for the…the matter has now been resolved."
I didn't like that letter and I wrote a letter back to
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the executive assistant. I got an answer to that letter back and it said: "Thank you for your letter of August 6th referring to my letter of July 27 regarding Mr. van Wootenburg. I apologize for my letter. It was probably written at a late hour after a heavy day, just like this one. It is now 11:10 p.m. Sunday night." He was tired. "Previous to receiving your letter I had thought we had solved the problem. I will make contact with the municipality again to see what the difficulty is."
The executive assistant was tired, Mr. Speaker, and I feel sorry for him. But do you know that that letter wasn't even signed by the executive assistant. (Laughter.) It was signed by his executive assistant…(Laughter.)…a Mr. Boutillier. Boy, he was too tired to write me back so he got his executive assistant who wasn't quite so tired.
But that's the kind of response we get from this Ministry, and it's one of the reasons that the land-use problems in this province are in such a mess.
Earlier I mentioned the land-use secretariat. Well, when the Minister of Lands, Forests and Water Resources introduced this exotic creation, he referred to it as a small secretariat — you remember that — and he announced that its members would advise the cabinet on land-use matters.
Now, some of us were under the mistaken notion that the Environment and Land Use Committee was advising the cabinet on land-use matters, or that the Land Commission was set up to advise the cabinet on land-use matters. But that wasn't quite good enough, I guess; it didn't provide enough room for all of the Minister's friends and former classmates and teachers from UBC, so he had to set up a small secretariat with 83 members and a budget of a million bucks a year. They just appointed a director the other day who is getting $33,000 a year; they got an order-in-council the other day that gave them the first half-a-million so they're well on their way. This small secretariat: a million dollars worth of new and unnecessary bureaucracy. It's just another example of the fantastic waste and extravagance of this government.
We have all heard about the renovations of the offices of Human Resources Minister. I won't mention that anymore except to say that I was told the other day that his desk sleeps three people. It must be quite a desk. (Laughter.)
AN HON. MEMBER: Midgets. (Laughter.)
MR. McCLELLAND: There is a serious note to this government's handling of its governmental services. The increases in the costs of operation of the Ministers' offices, for instance, is really a scandal of major proportions. Unbelievable increases in just the cost of operating the Ministers' offices.
It has been said that under socialism the functions of government will be taken away from the elected representatives and turned over to an all-powerful hierarchy of boards, commissions and bureaucrats. Mr. Shumaker said that in Regina in one of his books about socialism. A fine socialist, Mr. Shumaker. Shumiatcher? Shoebanger? I don't know.
MR. McCLELLAND: Yes, I read the book; it's an excellent book. Mr. Speaker, we are watching that come true in British Columbia. The Land Commission which is completely outside the jurisdiction of this Legislature; the extremely powerful energy board; the elevation of executive assistants and super-flacks to positions of almost total control in key departments — those are just a few examples of the way this government is isolating itself from the public and from the Legislature.
It's extremely sad to watch this government appoint to positions of both influence and importance people whose only qualities for those positions would seem to be party loyalty. And appointing people too often from outside of British Columbia, far too often bypassing people of not only imagination but of quality who are already in this province. I believe that you should go where the best people are, but first of all you must consider those people you already have within your province for those kinds of jobs.
MR. McCLELLAND: Did the Minister of Industrial Development, Trade and Commerce hire his party hack before he was a Minister? Is that right? Goodness, goodness.
You are also, Mr. Speaker, appointing too many people over the heads of deserving people within the civil service.
MR. SPEAKER: If there is any mis-statement the Hon. Members can ask for an explanation to be made to the House at the conclusion of the Member's speech.
MR. McCLELLAND: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. That escaped me.
It is extremely sad as well, Mr. Speaker, to see this government appointing people over the heads of deserving people who are already within the civil service. Some of us warned that we were seeing only the beginning when we saw what I consider to be the shocking appointment of a former Burnaby mayor to the post of Assistant Deputy of Municipal Affairs. But I don't think any of us had any idea of how right we really were and to what lengths this government
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This government is turning the civil service upside-down in a purge the like of which has never been known in our province's history. And that's sad, Mr. Speaker. The concept of a free and independent civil service in this province is threatened. It is a threat that extends to the very roots of democracy. The top level of the civil service is rapidly being replaced by a new level of patronage-inspired appointments. In all the things that it does, Mr. Speaker, this government advances political expediency over fair play and good sense.
The folly, Mr. Speaker, of the practices of this government will lead only to a complete breakdown of governmental processes, because once you break down that free and independent civil service, and let me tell you it is breaking down rapidly, Mr. Speaker, there is no way any longer in British Columbia that a civil servant can aspire to the highest job in the civil service, because he can only now go to that level. From that level on to the top it will be filled by a political appointment. And we see that in the sideways shuffling of our top civil servants in this province right now.
The only thing that that kind of demoralization of the civil service can lead to, Mr. Speaker, is a breakdown of the governmental processes, because once you destroy the free and independent status of the civil service you do break down the governmental processes.
Mr. Speaker, the credibility of this government has been seriously impaired by its actions over the past few months.
HON. MR. LAUK: You haven't been around too long, have you?
MR. McCLELLAND: Mr. Speaker, the credibility of this government has been seriously impaired by its actions over the past few months. Let's take a look at a couple of specific items. Expo '74. We were all firmly on the side of this government, Mr. Speaker, when we heard the news that the federal government was backing out of its commitment to participate in Expo '74 in Spokane, Washington, and we applauded when that same Minister, the Minister of Industrial Development, Trade and Commerce (Hon. Mr. Lauk) announced that British Columbia was coming to the rescue at Expo. But wait; we finally learned that the real reason that Ottawa decided to pull out was because the B.C. government showed no interest in taking part, and was really only interested in making headlines for political expediency.
Let us look at Mincome, Mr. Speaker. When the government announced its planned expansion of the Mincome programme, for which I compliment the Human Resources Minister (Hon. Mr. Levi) and the government, the Premier told us that it looked good for revenue sharing, for federal participation in the costs, and that preliminary discussions had already been held. Well, wait a minute, Mr. Speaker. The Minister in Ottawa tells us that he knew nothing about the programme, and that he had never been consulted. He knew nothing about it, despite the fact that the Premier said it looked good for revenue sharing and that he had consulted Ottawa first.
Let's look at the ferry strike, Mr. Speaker. I won't go into details because it has been canvassed quite well in this House. But here we see the spectacle of the government crying "uncle" to the demands of a group of people who were breaking the law. The Minister responsible said he had a gun to his head. Well, if that gun had gone off, Mr. Speaker, it would have been suicide, not murder, because the wound would have been self-inflicted by the actions of the Minister and the actions of this government.
Let's look at the plans for northern development and the northern rail development. This government made some announcements, Mr. Speaker, about northern development. The Premier painted a picture of magnificent negotiating ability on his own part, and the press fell for it. I must say that the press took his posturing hook, line and sinker. It was as though the socialists had some kind of a magic wand through which the agreements suddenly materialized out of the thin air of socialist British Columbia.
But let's wait once again. What really happened? The entire package of northern development, Mr. Speaker, was essentially completed by the summer of 1972. The agreement to proceed on the package was reached at a meeting between the then Premier, the Hon. W.A.C. Bennett, the federal Minister of Transport, Mr. Don Jamieson, Mr. Williston, Mr. Skillings, our colleague Mr. Richter and Mr. Dan Campbell on April 2, 1972. At the conclusion of these meetings it was agreed that there were no outstanding questions of principle, but there were some technical details to be firmed up in order that they could form the basis for a formal memorandum of agreement. Apart from the capital costs involved, Mr. Speaker, the overriding consideration was that the CNR system between Prince Rupert and Prince George should move towards the same kind of resource rate structure as obtained on the BCR itself in order to give the forest industry complex between Prince George and Prince Rupert exactly the same economic rate structure as obtained on the BCR, particularly for chips. In addition, the two railways were to expand their northern lines in such a way as to prevent duplication and to permit the wide possible interchange for the resource potential of the area.
Prior to the defeat of the former government three very specific things were set in motion by the Social Credit government. First of all, the Dease Lake extension was authorized and construction was
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proceeded with. It is interesting to note that upon the election of the NDP government this construction was stopped, and certainly the idea that the previous programme was to be accomplished over 10 years was never part of the prior agreement. One can only conclude that the NDP government has in fact spread out the original proposal over an unacceptable period of time.
Secondly, Mr. Speaker, at the high-level conference the Social Credit negotiation team agreed to do two specific things. First, they agreed to transfer to the federal government the land required for the major port facility at Prince Rupert. Secondly, it was agreed that the Department of Municipal Affairs would extend the boundaries of the City of Prince Rupert to bring the area required for the federal port development completely within the boundaries of the municipality. As clearcut evidence that the proposals negotiated were very firm indeed, Mr. Speaker, the latter two steps were completed by the Department of Lands and the Department of Municipal Affairs prior to the government leaving office. In total, the development represents, Mr. Speaker, except for the time scheduling, the package as was negotiated by the previous government, not by this government. We can only quarrel with the time scheduling.
In addition, Mr. Speaker, I listened to a tape a week or so ago that was taken during a radio talk show in which Mr. Frank Richter, in discussing northern development with Mr. Barry Clark of CKWX radio station, gave a full outline of all of these preceding negotiations. The whole package was outlined on that radio programme. The timetable that was assumed by the people involved to be followed was that the northern development programme agreements would be signed in the fall of 1972.
It is quite obvious, Mr. Speaker, that the descending political fortunes of the Liberal Party in British Columbia are reason for much of the ballyhoo which surrounded the announcement of this northern development. But the development, I must stress, Mr. Speaker, was in fact an accomplished proposal at the very highest level during 1972. It was no magic wand that this NDP government had that came up with the final agreement for this northern development package. Yes, Mr. Speaker, the credibility of this government has been seriously impaired.
I just want to mention nuclear power. In the throne speech, Mr. Speaker, it was announced that there would be a conference set up about nuclear power to draw in people from various levels of government and from various levels of technology, along with the MLAs and other people involved, to discuss the pros and cons of nuclear power. That same evening, on CTV, the Premier of British Columbia said, and this is a direct quote, "As long as the NDP government is in power there will be no nuclear power in British Columbia." Now what kind of a farce are we developing here? What's the point of drawing these people in from all over the world to talk about nuclear power when the Premier says that as long as the NDP is in power in British Columbia there will be no nuclear power in this province?
MR. PHILLIPS: That's only another three years.
MR. McCLELLAND: That's right. It's only another three years.
I have mentioned, Mr. Speaker, the Health Committee, of which I was a part, and the problems which I felt were inherent in the final deliberations of that committee. I want to touch briefly on what some people have chosen to call the "Calder affair." It is with some regret that I touch on this matter, but I feel that I need to comment because this matter really once again reflects the credibility of this government. When the Hon. Member for Atlin (Mr. Calder) was appointed as Minister without Portfolio with responsibility for Indian Affairs this side of the House applauded that move. But something went wrong. That Minister was removed from office for reasons that have never been satisfactorily explained to the people of British Columbia.
One thing we know for sure is that the reasons given by the Premier only serve to widen that credibility gap. There are some interesting articles in the Native Voice of this month in which the native people — I won't read the whole editorial — but they say, first of all, that they don't agree with the removal from office of Mr. Calder. They say, however, that the point is that Mr. Calder was not demoted for the reasons for which they, the government, are criticizing him. Had they felt the way they now say they did, it was painfully remiss of them not to have done their public whipping long before Mr. Calder's unfortunate experience. It smacks strongly of political opportunism, to be kind about it, and more like attacking a man after he has been wounded when it appears to be safe to join the attack.
The front page editorial in the Native Voice, Mr. Speaker, says in part at least:
The firing of Frank Calder from the provincial cabinet in late July came as a profound shock to those of us who have known Frank for many years. For Premier Dave Barrett to say he had lost confidence in a Minister who had not changed his style since his appointment less than a year ago is hardly good enough and certainly not fair to Frank Calder who dared to live his life as he pleased without hiding behind a facade which might or might not please the masses.
I would urge all of the Members on the other side of the House to read all of those articles from the Native Voice. I don't want to take the time of the
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House to read them in total.
Mr. Speaker, the Premier said, in public, that "every cabinet Minister is entitled to one mistake, and that includes me," referring to himself. Well, we'd like to ask the question: Was this the Minister without Portfolio's second mistake? If so, what was his first? And if it was his second, was it more serious than his first? How many other Ministers have already had their first mistake, and how many of those are just waiting for their second? And we wonder, too, if the Premier had his first mistake yet. What was it?
I don't want to speculate on the real reasons for the removal of this Minister. Suffice to say that reports indicated that the Premier waited a grand total of 90 minutes between the time that he asked for the Minister's resignation and the time that he rushed out to the press to announce that his Minister was fired — 90 minutes. Given another day or two and given the Premier's noted excellence at negotiation and his persuasive abilities, it would seem to me that a more dignified and quiet departure could have been negotiated for a man who had given so much of his life to this Province of British Columbia.
Expo '74, Mincome, the ferry strike, the northern rail deal, the "Calder affair," the sideways-shuffling of senior civil servants, the actions of the super flaks associated with this government, all of those things, Mr. Speaker, point to the fact that the credibility of this government is shot; it doesn't have any credibility among the people of British Columbia any longer.
I would like to spend a couple more moments on another specific problem that I have in the constituency of Langley and it expands itself to take in all of the Province of British Columbia as well. The Member for Oak Bay (Mr. Wallace) made an eloquent plea for tax relief for golf courses the other day, while pointing out some of the hardships which are being caused by Bill 71, the amendments to the Assessment Equalization Act.
For those who aren't familiar with that Act, section 37 (a) 1, as amended by Bill 71, now states that "the assessed value of land or improvement used" — stress that word used — "for residential purposes or classified as farmland shall not be increased in any year by more than 10 per cent of the assessed value…in the preceding year unless the increase is attributable to a change." Well the results of that bill have been that in urban areas Bill 71 is really having the effect of transferring the tax load from residential to commercial and industrial property. It's moving that tax load from the residential properties over to the commercial and industrial properties.
I'll admit that there could possibly be some degree of equity between similar parcels of land in urban areas. But while you might be able to point to an equity of sorts, at least, between similar parcels in the urban areas, you must also recognize that assessments on commercial and industrial properties are increasing by fantastic amounts, double and triple in many areas. The Member for Oak Bay indicated that his golf course assessments were double, and he's right. But there is legislation in the Municipal Act that allows for relief for golf courses and any golf course can take advantage of that Act. But the people who are running small businesses in this province don't have access to that kind of legislation. They don't have the right under the Municipal Act to go and get relief when they are forced out of business because of repressive taxation by this government.
And that's exactly what is happening, Mr. Speaker, because we are forcing and we will force many small businesses, because of the changes in Bill 71…. We won't hurt the industrial giants or the multi-national companies, we won't hurt them. They'll just pass the raise on to the consumer the way they always do. But we are threatening the small businesses in urban areas with extinction, and once again it is because of repressive taxation policies by this government.
And worse than that there isn't even a semblance of equity, not even a semblance of equity, outside of the urban areas. In the rural areas of the mainland, in which my constituency lies, Bill 71 is causing a very, very extreme hardship to people with acreages and small holdings and acreages. And those people who are familiar with the Langley constituency will recognize that much of Langley is taken up by small holdings and acreages.
I also know that this socialist government, for some reason, has an obsession against people holding small parcels of land or hobby farms. I've never been able to understand that obsession on the part of this government but it is there nevertheless. But regardless of that obsession, I am wondering if that is any reason for this government to drive those people off their land by discriminatory taxation. That is what is happening outside of the urban areas, in the rural and semi-rural areas of British Columbia.
Now, the Minister of Municipal Affairs (Hon. Mr. Lorimer) said the other day — I don't have the article here but I believe I'll quote him fairly correctly when he said that "Bill 71 has caused some anomalies." Well, I'd say that was an understatement, Mr. Speaker. Anomalies it has caused but I would urge that the Minister act immediately to review the assessment commissioner's interpretation of Bill 71. I'll repeat that for the Minister. We'd like him to act immediately to urge the assessment commissioner to review the interpretation of Bill 71 and establish some less discriminatory method of trying to achieve equity in assessments of similar properties. Mr. Speaker, that needs to be done right away because there are many people in my constituency who are going to find themselves forced off the land and forced into apartments because they are closed in at both ends now. They are frozen in respect to the
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Land Commission agricultural reserves — and I think on that subject that the Minister of Municipal Affairs should make an urgent public statement and tell the people of British Columbia who are under the impression that, once their land is frozen in an agricultural reserve, they will automatically receive farm classification for selling purposes. I would like the Minister to publicly tell those people that they cannot expect that kind of tax relief even though their farms have been frozen, perhaps in perpetuity, by the agricultural land reserves established by the various regional districts and the Land Commission.
Mr. Speaker, Bill 71 needs to be improved. The interpretation of it needs to be looked at immediately. I would like to ask the Education Minister again to give some serious thought to the problems that we have in School District 35, with the rapid growth that we are faced with and the serious overcrowding of schools in my constituency. Thank you.
HON. N. LEVI (Minister of Human Resources): First of all, I would like to congratulate the new Member for Okanagan South (Mr. Bennett) and wish him the same success that I had after I was elected in a by-election. (Laughter.)
One of the things that has surprised me about the debate in this House is that we have heard from 50 per cent of the Conservatives, 20 per cent of the Liberals….
AN HON. MEMBER: 40 per cent.
HON. MR. LEVI: Forty? I beg your pardon, 40 per cent of the Liberals — that's two people — and 30 per cent of the Socreds. I don't see everybody rushing to get involved in the debate when there are so many pertinent issues that really need to be discussed.
HON. MR. LEVI: Oh, we've been there. We've been there.
I'd like to just relate, Mr. Speaker, what has been happening in the federal-provincial relations that have been going on in the past several months, and point out to the Hon. Second Member for Victoria (Mr. D.A. Anderson) that it really isn't such a bad thing if we don't consult in such depth as he suggests we should do with the federal Minister.
He keeps telling us that 96 cents of every dollar is federal money. I suggest to you, sir, it is not federal money. It is taxpayers' money, and we have a hard enough time trying to get some sharing in it.
One of the difficulties we have been having for the past year is dealing with an up-and-down, inflexible approach of the federal government in respect to sharing. One week they are interpreting the Act, the Canada Assistance Plan Act, in the most rigid fashion, and the next week it is flexible.
You know, we have been discussing Mincome sharing with the federal government for 11 months. We discussed other kinds of sharing in relation to day-care for about seven months. The paper is piling up. It is enormous.
When we were at the Quebec conference, which was a conference of provincial Ministers — and we were there to see if we could get together a particular stance in respect to our visit to Ottawa next month — what came out of the discussion was a very serious concern about inflation. Four of the provinces present there, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, B.C. and Quebec, were prepared to put out a statement which dealt with the very serious problem of excessive profits. We made a statement with respect to the fact that there should be an excess-profit tax. We made suggestions about how they might deal with some of these problems of inflation.
Our concern was such because, as Ministers of Welfare, we deal with people who are on fixed incomes. We were not able, unfortunately, to get the kind of unanimity at this meeting that we got last year. Nevertheless, there is a universal concern in Canada about the problem of inflation. But the question of coming together on a statement — it was not possible.
We are going down there next month to meet with the federal people, and we want to discuss with them some of the problems of the Canada Assistance Plan and the rigid application of the law.
What we have been attempting to do in British Columbia is to rationalize income security, to do it in such a way that it is not extravagant…but to make income available to people … purchasing power — nobody is putting it into the bank — so that they can live a dignified life.
We heard across the way from the previous speaker about extravagance — extravagance on the building, extravagance on offices. Let me tell you about something in the previous government where there was a lack of extravagance, and that was in dealing with people; in dealing with senior citizens; in dealing with children — depriving children and senior citizens of a reasonable income, based on the idea that we must have balanced budgets. Part of that balancing of budgets, of course, led to the deterioration of this building. That's a kind of extravagance. That's an extravagance of ignorance and an unfeeling attitude towards people.
MR. PHILLIPS: How much more are you giving them now?
HON. MR. LEVI: We are hoping that as we broaden our programmes in respect to guaranteed incomes, we will be able to take into account those
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people who were not able to make the kind of necessary planning for income security in their old age because of the situation of the Depression or the war or their inability to take regular work because of a lack of skills.
Happily, we are reaching the stage where we, perhaps, have to take care of one more age bracket, and then everybody else is taken care of in terms of their pension contributions on a private basis, on the Canada Pension basis and the assuredness of income security from the federal government on a pension.
That is what we have been trying to do. We have been trying to elevate the standard of living for a large number of people in the province, and this we have succeeded in doing.
We have not made rash commitments about the kinds of money people can receive. We find it inconceivable that we could give, at this time, senior citizens $250 a month, as was suggested by the new Member for South Okanagan (Mr. Bennett) in the by-election. Presumably, if there is some other by-election, they will jump it up to $275. When you are approaching the business of giving people money, you do it in a very rational way. That is what we have attempted to do in working out our income to give to people.
I want to talk for a moment about the employment programme that the department was responsible for this summer. As you may know, we were given $1 million under this programme so that we could particularly put to work the welfare recipients who had been on welfare for some time and had not had access to the labour market. I want to say at this time that we have now done a review of this programme, and I want to inform you of some of the figures that have come up.
In the three months that the programme has been operating we have hired 556 people. This means that we have placed those people in various government departments and non-profit operations throughout the province. The total cost to now is $873,000. There has been a saving of $327,000 on the welfare that would have been paid to these people had they not been working.
We are now attempting to run a check on the possible savings in relation to the Unemployment Insurance Commission, because some people had recently come off unemployment insurance and had gone on welfare, and we were looking at that particular problem as well.
Of the 556 people that we hired, 54 per cent were women and 45 per cent were men. I've no comments to make about the other gender. What we found was that people, once given the opportunity to work — whether it be in clerical work or in labouring or in assisting in such agencies as those that deal with autistic children or retarded children, or doing work in the Human Resources office on interview work so that we could free up social workers for the family intervention that we have been doing — that once these people have been given an opportunity to get back into the work force, there was a very noticeable change in their general attitude towards their lifestyle.
I am happy to say that some of the people have been hired on a full-time basis by some of the agencies outside of the government. We also participated with four municipalities in assisting them in their waterworks programmes by providing people for them. We were able to give such help to Nakusp, to Kaslo and to Naramata. All of these people have been actively involved in doing the kind of work that had been planned for some time but which they weren't able to do because they couldn't meet the labour costs.
We have also noted in the figures that more than 50 per cent of the people involved in the total scheme were people who were either separated or divorced. And the majority of these people, of course, are women who are the breadwinners of their families.
So we have been able to achieve a number of things in respect to the welfare recipients within this programme. It has given them an entry into the work force, and it is fully our intention to follow it up to see that they go on into permanent employment.
I also want to say that during the summer, in respect to the transient young people who are travelling around Canada, we set up a referral office in the Vancouver area and we were able to place in permanent employment over 200 people and nearly another 200 in temporary employment. This is a great change from the kind of style that existed with young transients three or four years ago. We found generally that that programme which we encouraged and planned for as early as last November has worked out very well. I'll announce the figures at a later date, but I understand that we have been able to cut the cost in half from the last year's programme.
I want now to talk about the kinds of things we have been doing in respect to day care. As you know, last December we announced that we would go into a capital funding programme for day-care centres and in April we announced the subsidy programme on a sliding scale which was primarily based on an incomes test. I want to say that since December, 1972, the government has placed into operation 80 new day-care centres. That has created places for at least 1,600 children. In the greater Vancouver area the number of places for children in day care, in out-of-school and in-home day care has gone from just over 2,000 places to almost 5,000 places.
What we have attempted to do is to provide for a need which has been well demonstrated and which was very well ignored by the previous government. It is the beginning of the first aspects of prevention in the work that is done in the department.
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Now we are finding, certainly in the Vancouver area, that we have to have a concern about space and buildings. We have to find places to put the children. We're having discussions with the Vancouver School Board about using some of the classrooms that are empty. Nevertheless, the problem of space in respect to day care is going to be a serious one and we are undertaking some studies in respect to modular units and the use of trailers. The one thing that I personally feel about the day-care situation in respect to young children is that we do not want to be using basements of churches and other buildings which tend to make our children invisible. We certainly need to get into some kind of reasonable unit in which children can play and interact with one another.
We have had some discussion over the past months about 24-hour day care. I took the opportunity when I was in the east to visit a 24-hour day-care centre which was operating in New York. I have also had a report from some people who visited a 24-hour day-care centre in Atlanta, Georgia. With respect to the one in New York, there were 260 children operating in the programme in the daytime but only 35 children in the night programme. It seems to me that before we will give any real consideration to 24-hour day-care centres we will give very real consideration to placing homemakers and that kind of individual in the home where somebody needs to have overnight care. I don't see at this time that we have the demand or the thrust for that kind of operation here. We will continue to look at it and to gather together as much information as we can on the 24-hour day-care centre.
We are attempting to develop the under-three day care, which is the very crucial one. It is a crucial service for many women who are separated or divorced who are attempting to operate on their own, not on welfare, but in the work force. I think we have now reached a level of understanding about regulations and conditions that these things need to operate in, and also the kinds of things that we can expect from such a programme. We will have more to say about the under-three day-care centre as the session goes on.
I want now before I sit down, Mr. Speaker, to talk about two other things. One relates to the kind of service we are attempting to deliver in the province, particularly in respect to children, and then I want to say something about senior citizens.
We have heard some discussion in the House this week about how some of the opposition Members miss the Willingdon Girls' School. Well, I can assure you that the department does not miss the Willingdon Girls' School and neither do the girls. We have attempted over the past 12 months, with some success, to make a number of alternative arrangements dealing with children, who ordinarily would have gone to the Willingdon school under the previous government, where they are being dealt with in their own communities. Perhaps much to the dislike of some members of some communities, they are going to have to deal with their problem children right in their own community. We will not, unless there are some very special circumstances, allow children to be removed from their communities.
The staff of the department and the staff of some agencies have responded in a very worthwhile way to developing alternate kinds of services for children. We have put a great amount of money into some foster homes and some other kinds of smaller agencies rather than put the money into the kind of operation that Willingdon represented, where we were spending $30 a day with no programme and the results were unfortunately not very happy ones. So what we have done is to say that we must deal first of all with the child in its home and in its community.
As I said earlier, the response from the staff has really been terrific. We have expanded the operating hours of the department. The only requirement we have is that the people open the office at 8:30, but how they work their working hours out is entirely up to what they need in terms of the caseloads that they are dealing with. Because of the employment programme of this summer, for the first time we have really been able to get into family intervention work and really help out in a way that we wanted to. And this is where we want to go. This is where we want to go in terms of this because it is important.
I submitted a report on this operation which we ran over the past three months, and I am happy to say that we now have approval to operate that programme until March 31, 1974.
Mr. Speaker, I just want to say something about senior citizens. I don't want to recount the number of programmes that we have introduced and the kind of money we are spending, but I want people to think about another problem in respect to senior citizens which perhaps is all too often forgotten.
Last year when we introduced the Mincome and were told that we would have to means test everybody, we did send out the blue form and we found at the end of it all that about 20,000 people had to be visited to have the test completed. We put on teams of people, some of them under the summer employment programme, to do this.
I want to read to you a report that was sent to me about a series of interviews that were conducted on the north Island. This was in the Campbell River area:
The Campbell River office has completed the Mincome interviews, and I feel it may be helpful to share with you some of the reactions we got from people who were interviewed and what we learned about the results of our visits.
Although we failed to keep exact records, we estimate that approximately 7 per cent of those interviewed refused to share any
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information. It was noted that most of the group were either of foreign extraction or had an axe to grind against the present government. Approximately 9 per cent were not interviewed as they were unable to locate them after some effort.
Although the majority of people we visited seemed to be managing fairly well, in four or five cases we had to apply special services to aid people who were either unable to cook properly for themselves or had considerable difficulty in moving about. In these instances homemakers were used. We feel some concern, however, about what might have happened to these people had we not visited them in their home.
We feel that there are other people who need similar services who have not identified themselves and have not been noticed by the community.
Now, I want to say through you, Mr. Speaker, to the Members, and hopefully through the press to the province, to all of the people in this province who live in whatever community, that in your community, maybe in the same building if you live in an apartment block, or in a house on the same block, are senior citizens who are lonely, who never see anyone from weekend to weekend, who in some cases are unable to move around too well, who are desperately lonely and are dying because of this loneliness. I want to ask that people become aware of this and do something about it.
If you know that there is a senior citizen near you, go and talk to them. Ask them how they are and whether they need anything. We have offices all over the province and we're quite prepared to make our services available to whoever comes to us in respect to some problem. I ask the people of this province to take notice of their neighbours, and if they're senior citizens, make sure that they know that you care about what's happening to them. It's extremely important and I ask that this is what you do.
Next month, on October 3 and 4, we are bringing down about 120 senior citizen counsellors. You'll recall that in the last session I circulated to all the MLAs and asked for your recommendations for people to be appointed to add to the number who already were serving. We have now notified you that these appointments have been made and there will be a conference on the 3rd and 4th. We have prepared seminar situations so that the counsellors can understand what it is that we would like them to do with respect to other senior citizens in their communities. These people have done an extremely good job. What we want to do is to try to arrange that we can bring them up to date on all of the things that are happening in terms of the programmes, because they are a very essential link with the other senior citizens in the province.
Mr. Speaker, in closing let me say that we will continue to develop the kind of programmes that have meaning for people. After all, we said we are a people's government. I hope that as this debate goes on we don't get too upset about the little extravagances, as people say, but that we concern ourselves with the kind of extravagance that we are dealing with, and that is spending money and providing service for people who need it in this province. Thank you.
Hon. Mr. Macdonald moves adjournment of the debate.
Mr. G.H. Anderson from the Select Standing Committee on Agriculture presented the committee's final report, which was taken as read and received. (See appendix.)
HON. MR. BARRETT: Mr. Speaker, I ask leave of the House to file with the House an agreement in principle on the Joint Transportation Development Programme in northern British Columbia, signed by myself and the Hon. Jean Marchand. This is the document asked for earlier in the House and I'm pleased to share it with the House because it was a great benefit to British Columbia when it was arranged between this government and Ottawa.
Hon. Mr. Barrett moves adjournment of the House.
The House adjourned at 5:43 p.m.