1976 Legislative Session: 1st Session, 31st Parliament
The following electronic version is for informational purposes only.
The printed version remains the official version.
THURSDAY, MARCH 18, 1976
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Admission of parliamentary interns to floor of House.
Mr. Wallace — 15
Mr. Speaker — 15
State of B.C. Hydro court award. Mr. King — 15
Pacific Western Airlines takeover. Mr. Gibson — 15
Purchase of Michell farm. Mr. Wallace — 16
Vancouver East by-election. Mr. Macdonald — 16
Government reception at Empress Hotel. Mr. Stupich — 17
Calgary hostage-taking incident. Mr. Wallace — 17
Special warrants from Education dept. Mrs. Dailly — 18
BCR strike negotiations. Mr. Gibson — 18
Throne speech debate
Mr. Veitch — 18
Mr. Kemp — 22
The House met at 2 p.m.
HON. K.R. MAIR (Minister of Consumer Services): Mr. Speaker, in the galleries today are four members of my constituency, the great city of Kamloops and surrounding area. I'd like the House to welcome Mr. and Mrs. Rick Hook, Mr. William Seminoff, Mrs. Sandra Mossborough and Mr. Helmut Alert.
Mr. Speaker, if I may, in addition a school that has survived the onslaught of four of my children is represented by grades 10 and 11, government and law class, Brocklehurst Junior Secondary School.
MRS. P.J. JORDAN (North Okanagan): I'm sure you wouldn't wish to acknowledge this, but we would like to draw to your attention and ask for a warm welcome from the House for a number of members of the Social Credit board of the Social Credit Party who are in the gallery today.
MR. G.S. WALLACE (Oak Bay): Mr. Speaker, on a point of privilege. Since this is the first year that we have had legislative interns in the House, or at least in the precincts, I wonder if you would care to take under advisement the suggestion that either they should be able to sit on the floor of the House at question period or, at the very least, have unfettered access to the galleries. It seems to me that the very essence of their being here is to learn the parliamentary procedure. There are times when, of course, public demand on gallery seats is extremely keen and I feel that it would be reasonable if you would consider taking the matter of some privileged access by these parliamentary interns to the gallery. Or, in my preference, I think it would be an encouragement to them and more helpful if they could be allowed to sit on the floor of the House during question period.
MR. SPEAKER: I thank the hon. member for bringing the matter to my attention. It's something that we have never had to deal with in this House since there has never been a class of parliamentary interns assigned to this parliament before. I would think that perhaps it is a matter the members and the House itself should address their thoughts to with respect to whether they should have privileges to sit or to come onto the floor of the House. However, I'll take the matter under advisement, hon. member, and perhaps so will all of the members of the assembly, and bring you in a report as soon as I can.
STATE OF B.C. HYDRO COURT AWARD
MR. W.S. KING (Leader of the Opposition): I'd like to direct a question to the Hon. Minister of Finance. Can the Minister tell me whether or not the $36 million court award against B.C. Hydro has indeed been placed in the custody of the court? If not, when will that occur?
HON. E.M. WOLFE (Minister of Finance): Yes, Mr. Speaker, I'd be pleased to answer that question on behalf of the member. The answer is yes, it has been placed in the court.
MR. KING: On a supplementary, Mr. Speaker. Can the Minister of Finance then tell me why that $36 million amount did not show in the Clarkson, Gordon report?
HON. MR. WOLFE: Mr. Speaker, perhaps the member is not aware that the amount indicated has been revealed in the Clarkson, Gordon report, as he'll recall, as a separate memorandum in that report. I believe, in fact, that it was not indicated as a part of the indicated deficit shown in the report, but it was indicated definitely in a separate memorandum as a contingency.
MR. KING: As a contingency. I wonder, Mr. Speaker, on a supplementary again, if the real reason it wasn't shown as part of the overall deficit was because that charge was incurred by the previous Social Credit government.
MR. SPEAKER: Hon. member, you're out of order with that supplementary question.
SOME HON. MEMBERS: No, no.
PACIFIC WESTERN AIRLINES TAKEOVER
MR. G.F. GIBSON (North Vancouver–Capilano): A question for the Premier: in the extremely serious and unneighbourly act of the Government of Alberta in proposing to move the headquarters of Pacific Western Airlines from our province, could I ask the Premier for the record whether there was any advance consultation with his government?
HON. W.R. BENNETT (Premier): The Minister of Transportation and Communications (Hon. Mr. Davis) of record has met with other transport ministers and I think the Member might direct the question to him. There has been no meeting concerning that subject with the Premiers of the provinces.
MR. GIBSON: Well, on a supplementary, then, either to the Premier or to the hon. minister: I would
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ask what measures the government proposes now to take to prevent this move, either in law before the Canadian Transport Commission, or the supreme court for a cease and desist order, or directly with the Government of Alberta to guarantee that none of these jobs will be transferred.
HON. J. DAVIS (Minister of Transport and Communications): Mr. Speaker, a submission has already been made to the chairman of the Canadian Transport Commission in this connection, and it has been made public.
PURCHASE OF MICHELL FARM
MR. WALLACE: Mr. Speaker, I would like to address a question to the Minister of Environment, who is responsible, as I understand it, for land and the Land Commission, with regard to the government purchase of the Michell farm on Island View Road on the Saanich peninsula. In light of the well-documented and vociferous opposition by the government to the state ownership of land, does the purchase of the Michell farm represent a reversal of government policy in regard to state ownership, and are other purchases pending?
HON. J.A. NIELSEN (Minister of Environment): Mr. Speaker, to the hon. member for Oak Bay, the answer to the question: no, it is not a reversal. The purchase had been arranged some time previously. It was continued up at the advice of the Land Commission and other responsible officials. It may be disposed of to the best advantage of the citizens of the province in the future.
MR. WALLACE: A supplementary, Mr. Speaker. Could I ask the minister whether in fact there were other bidders for purchase or was the price agreed to between the government and Mr. Michell?
MR. SPEAKER: Hon. minister, before you answer, I'd just draw to your attention the fact that there can only be one member at a time on the floor of the House, and you have to yield to the person who is asking you the question.
HON. MR. NIELSEN: Excuse me. In response to that question, I, at this moment, would have to ask your indulgence. I will investigate that on your behalf.
MR. WALLACE: Yes. A further supplementary, then, Mr. Speaker, and I appreciate the minister's wish to be precise and research the matter. Could the minister at the same time disclose to this House what price was paid per acre and if there was an independent appraisal of the land prior to the purchase?
HON. MR. NIELSEN: Once again, I would have to decline at this time, but I shall have the information for you.
VANCOUVER EAST BY-ELECTION
MR. A.B. MACDONALD (Vancouver East): Mr. Speaker, I can't get my mike up; I've been put on a short leash. (Laughter.) I want to ask the Premier: has he given any consideration to the fixing of a by-election date for the by-election in Vancouver East?
HON. MR. BENNETT: Mr. Member, yes.
MR. MACDONALD: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker. Has the Premier made any statements or exercised any influence on the setting of that date?
HON. MR. BENNETT: Yes. Subject of my statements, upon being advised that a vacancy had been created in front of the session, I immediately, on my return to the province, called for a door-to-door enumeration. Subject to the completion of that enumeration, the consideration will be for the naming of the date.
MR. MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, a supplementary. Has the Premier read section 59 of the Constitution Act, in which a resignation of this kind charges a public official, namely the Deputy Provincial Secretary, with the sole duty to issue a writ accordingly upon receipt of that resignation? Is the Premier therefore breaking the laws of this province and using political intermeddling...
SOME HON. MEMBERS: Order!
MR.MACDONALD: ...in what is the plain duty of a civil servant...
MR. SPEAKER: Order! Order!
MR.MACDONALD: ...as set out in the statute?
MR. SPEAKER: Order, Mr. Member. The hon. member, as a former Attorney-General, well knows that he is interpreting a statute on the floor of the House, which is not....
MR. MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, my question was: has the Premier read that section? That is a question of fact, and I want an answer.
HON. MR. BENNETT: Mr. Speaker, I am showing the same consideration in making representation available as was shown by the previous administration and the previous Premier, and the Deputy Provincial
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Secretary who was there also.
AN HON. MEMBER: No, you're not.
MR. MACDONALD: Have you read the section? Have you read the section, Mr. Premier?
MR. SPEAKER: Hon. member....
MR. J.R. CHABOT (Columbia River): Where's Williams?
MR. MACDONALD: You're in breach of the law.
MR. CHABOT: Williams was just elected there.
GOVERNMENT RECEPTION AT EMPRESS HOTEL
MR. D.D. STUPICH (Nanaimo): Mr. Speaker, to the Provincial Secretary: did she attend a reception in the Empress Hotel after the opening ceremonies yesterday?
HON. G.M. McCARTHY (Provincial Secretary): Mr. Speaker, yes, I did.
MR. STUPICH: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker, Was the reception sponsored by the government?
HON. MRS. McCARTHY: Yes, Mr. Speaker. It was by invitation of the Premier and the government.
MR. STUPICH: I noted, Mr. Speaker, as far as I have been able to determine, the only member in the official opposition to receive an invitation was the member for Revelstoke-Slocan (Mr. King), I wonder whether it was the government's intention that only Social Credit members and supporters would be issued with these invitations, apart from the one exception,
HON. MRS. McCARTHY: Mr. Speaker, as far as I know....
MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.
HON. MRS. McCARTHY: As far as I know, Mr. Speaker, invitations were issued to all members of the Legislative Assembly.
SOME HON. MEMBERS: No, no.
HON. MRS. McCARTHY: I did see people present from the members of the opposition, and we were happy to see them there, and very many members of the public who were not recognizable as Social Credit members. There were many thousands there.
MR. STUPICH: Mr. Speaker, in that the Provincial Secretary has said that certain members of the opposition did receive invitations, I would like to ask her which members did receive those invitations.
MR. SPEAKER: A supplemental, I presume.
HON. MRS. McCARTHY: To my knowledge everyone in this House has received an invitation. If you would like to.... You say yourself that you have received an invitation, so I think that you're confirming that.
MR. STUPICH: No, I did not. Mr. Speaker, I did not, and to the best of my knowledge the only member in the official opposition to receive one was the hon. member for Revelstoke-Slocan. I would ask the Hon. Provincial Secretary to check and find out just who was issued with such invitations.
CALGARY HOSTAGE-TAKING INCIDENT
MR. WALLACE: Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask the Attorney-General with regard to the hostage-taking incident in Calgary.
HON. G.B. GARDOM (Attorney-General): I'm listening, Mr. Member.
MR. WALLACE: Yes, I would like you to listen. (Laughter.)
MR. WALLACE: This is not a humorous subject that I'm asking questions about.
The hostage-taking incident in Calgary on March 12, which involved two B.C. men, both of whom were out on bail, one charged with murder and the other charged with attempted murder, and where a citizen was killed in the process: is the minister satisfied with the report on the incident which he requested from his department?
HON. MR. GARDOM: I'd like to respond first of all to the levity Mr. Member. It was occasioned by the former member standing up first. It was not directed to your question at all, and I thoroughly agree it's a very, very serious situation.
I have received an interim report from my department. I have not yet received a full report, but I would like to make one statement dealing with this. As the member is perhaps aware, there is a bill before the federal parliament at the present time to amend this particular statute to shift the onus onto the accused in a number of cases. Certain of those cases
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are — for example, in the cases where the accused is charged with the offence of murder or the offence of conspiracy to commit murder, and also where the accused has been charged with trafficking in a narcotic, possession for the purpose of trafficking in a narcotic, importing or exporting from Canada a narcotic, or conspiracy to commit any of these offences. I think it would be a very appropriate thing for me to state — I think it's the position not only of the government but, I think, of the members of the opposition and of the people of this province — that they would be thoroughly supporting that legislation and indeed hope that it will pass parliament as soon as possible.
MR. WALLACE: A supplementary. Could I just ask quickly, Mr. Speaker...? I understand the Attorney-General has been in touch with the Alberta Attorney-General (Hon. Mr. Leitch), and I wonder if, in fact, they have any specific proposal to put to the federal government regarding the expediting of the change in legislation. As we all know, things are not moving as fast as they might in Ottawa.
HON. MR. GARDOM: Well, I would hope that the message would get across that I articulated today, Mr. Member, but I have not had personal discussion with the Attorney-General in Alberta. Maybe some members of my department have. I don't know.
MR. G.V. LAUK (Vancouver Centre): This is supplementary to the other question.
To the Attorney-General, supplementary to this area: it is my understanding of the law that the Crown has a present onus. Is the Attorney-General satisfied that the Crown prosecutors are doing the best they can to meet that onus? I am thinking not only of the charges involving murder and trafficking in narcotics, but charges involving violence, particularly rape.
HON. MR. GARDOM: Well, I think it would be inappropriate for me to make a comment upon that at this time.
MR. LAUK: Is the Attorney-General satisfied?
HON. MR. GARDOM: My answer, Mr. Member, is that I think it would be inappropriate for me to make a comment upon that matter at this present time.
MR. LAUK: It's your job.
SPECIAL WARRANTS FROM EDUCATION DEPT.
MRS. E.E. DAILLY (Burnaby North): To the hon. Minister of Education. There have been a number of special warrants issued creating considerable overexpenditure for the education budget since you assumed office. The most recent was $7 million for the University of British Columbia for operating. I wonder if the hon. minister, who has certainly been providing us with considerable publicity on other matters, would give us a little information on the details specifically of what the $7 million involves for operating to the University of British Columbia.
HON. P.L. McGEER (Minister of Education): No money has been spent out on that warrant as yet, but I'll be happy to supply details to the member if and when expenditures take place.
MRS. DAILLY: Supplementary. Surely the hon. minister would not go before the cabinet with a special warrant without having some idea of what the warrant is for. I would like to ask you again: what is the warrant of $7 million for?
MR. G.R. LEA (Prince Rupert): Is it for your ears? (Laughter.)
HON. MR. McGEER: Details of that will be announced when the warrant is exercised.
BCR STRIKE NEGOTIATIONS
MR. GIBSON: A question for the Minister of Labour (Hon. Mr. Williams). I would have no wish to ask him to prejudice in any way the delicate negotiations he is involved in, but I would ask him if he can tell the House anything about the current situation on the BCR strike.
HON. L.A. WILLIAMS (Minister of Labour): I wish to advise him and the House that, as a result of meetings which have taken place over the past two days, negotiations with regard to the four settlements still outstanding will commence on Saturday morning at 10 a.m.
Orders of the day.
SPEECH FROM THE THRONE
MR, E.N. VEITCH (Burnaby-Willingdon): I would count it a privilege if I may have the opportunity of recognizing some people in the gallery. Could that be approved?
In the gallery are situated my wife Sheila, my son Brian, Miss Tracey Blaine, Mr. and Mrs. Norman Ouellet, the Rev. Reginald Redmond, Mr. Lorne Fingarson and Mr. Norman Kelsey, and I would like this House to welcome them.
Mr. Speaker, I take great pleasure in presenting the
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following motion, seconded by the hon. member for Omineca (Mr. Kempf), that the following address be presented to His Honour the Lieutenant-Governor.
MR. SPEAKER: Hon. Member, will you read the motion?
MR. VEITCH: We, Her Majesty's most dutiful and loyal subjects, the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia in session assembled, beg leave to thank Your Honour for the gracious speech which Your Honour has addressed to us at the opening of this present session.
Mr. Speaker, it is with a sense of pride and profound humility that I today have the honour of moving the Speech from the Throne. I stand here gratified in the fact that the electorate of Burnaby-Willingdon have chosen me to represent them in this honourable House, being continually cognizant of the obligation and trust that has been placed in me — a trust, Sir, that will never go unwarranted.
Mr. Speaker, let me take this moment to congratulate the electorate of Burnaby-Willingdon in helping to elect the government which holds as its basic philosophy and cornerstone what should be an inalienable right in that the individual is mightier than the state and that governments are placed in office to help people, not to rule them.
This government, Mr. Speaker, is dedicated towards providing the impetus whereby individuals may, of their own volition, move with maximum freedom in establishing enterprises which will develop our province, employ our citizens and provide tax revenues which shall be used to provide services for people.
Conversely, Mr. Speaker, one point above all is made eminently clear during the last few months. That is the fact that private enterprise has the right to gamble and go broke, but governments, being merely the trustees of the citizens' wealth, do not have this right. No, Mr. Speaker, rather, in being elected to office, we are entrusted as guardians of the provincial wealth to leave at least those options open to future generations which have been available to us, and our predecessors and wherever possible provide an enlargement for the potential of opportunity of our present generation and those who will follow after them. To this end, Mr. Speaker, this government is dedicated.
Let me take but a moment, if you will, Sir, to honour the memory of a former member of this House who was dedicated to these preceding principles. That person, Mr. Speaker, is the late Charles Willoughby MacSorley. Mr. MacSorley was born October 2, 1895, in Picton, Ontario, and moved to British Columbia in 1924. Mr. MacSorley started work digging sewers for the corporation of Burnaby in 1928. In 1945 he was elected to council in the municipality of Burnaby and served until 1957, the last three years as reeve. He was defeated for reeve in 1958, topped the polls for council the following year and continued on council until 1974. In 1963 he became the first Social Credit Member of the Legislative Assembly for Burnaby and spent three years in this Legislature. On November 18, 1970, Charlie MacSorley was unanimously nominated as the Burnaby Good Citizen of the Year. Charlie passed away on February 22, 1976.
Charles W. MacSorley had numerous accolades heaped upon him and did so many things for Burnaby and for British Columbia that it would take me an hour to tell you of them. Mr. MacSorley was a profound exponent of private enterprise and individual initiative. In fact, he took particular pains to apprise me of this during a lengthy conversation which we held during the last election campaign. Burnaby and British Columbia is a better place in which to live as a result of the work that has been done by this late and lamented gentleman.
Mr. Speaker, His Honour, in the Speech from the Throne, dealt with the necessity for restraint, particularly in these financially troubled times within our province. However, he also alluded to the glowing opportunities for growth and development, providing individuals are willing to reach up and grasp them within British Columbia.
In my opinion, Mr. Speaker, government should not do more than help those who cannot help themselves and provide unrestricted access to opportunities for all others.
President Abraham Lincoln, in his famous Gettysburg Address, stated that every person should have an inalienable right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. We must note here that he did not guarantee happiness, but only the unrestricted pursuit of it.
If happiness then is the goal of British Columbians, we must define the word, and the best definition I have ever heard is that happiness is the progressive realization of a worthy ideal. You will note, hon. members, the use of the word "progressive".
It is this individual's opinion, Mr. Speaker, that every citizen of this province should be aided and abetted in their progress towards individual goals and aspirations and should not be inhibited by the heavy hand of big government.
Mr. Speaker, it is this administration's sworn duty to shepherd and guard wisely the proper development of our priceless natural resources. But conversely, what a certain local segment of our society fails to realize is the fact that we can have all of the lumber, all of the coal in British Columbia, all the minerals, natural gas and other resources. These items are potentially valuable, but worthless until people develop them and extract them and take them
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somewhere. That, Sir, is individual initiative at work, and that, I believe, is the policy of this government.
Thankfully, Mr. Speaker, we have just completed an era where the administration of that day believed that all economic activity within this province should be channeled through the bureaucracy of government and that eventually government would almost entirely administer our financial affairs, and wherever a shortfall occurred, the administration would inject government assistance to alleviate the problem.
Mr. Speaker, hon. members, let us never forget that government aid is only a process whereby one gives oneself a blood transfusion from the left arm to the right one and spills half on the way over.
Let us never forget that governments have no funds of their own, only that which they extract from the people. British Columbia can never again afford the luxury of big government and the incumbent wasteful, gigantic bureaucracy that goes with it.
It is gratifying, Mr. Speaker, to note that this administration will soon appoint an auditor-general. This auditor-general will not be responsible to the government of the day, but will be responsible to the people and will report to them on a regular basis as to the exact manner in which the elected officials who have been so entrusted are handling the financial affairs of their province.
I am gratified also to know that we shall be appointing an ombudsman who will counsel and help those individuals who may have been harmed, either willingly or unwillingly, by government or government bureaucracy.
With respect to revenue sharing, it is vitally important to our municipalities so that the burden of costs with respect to administering and providing services within our towns, villages and cities would be more equitably shared between the municipalities and the provincial government.
Do not expect that this will be a large legislative session. We will not bring down large numbers of bills. Instead, let it be hoped that this session will be known for substance and quality rather than for numbers and quantities. Having said that, however....
MR. G.R. LEA (Prince Rupert): There'll be lots of bills.
MR. VEITCH: We, as government, are very aware of the promises we have made during the election campaign, and let it be eminently clear that we will honour these promises. It will not, however, be possible to implement all of these obligations in the first year by mandate. Any administration which has attempted to do this has simply created a chaotic situation from which they could not extract themselves.
Our first year in office will be a year of consolidation, a time of putting things in order, a time of dealing with the most pertinent and pressing problems of the times, and, given the degree of urgency, this will be a very busy year indeed. This will be a period in time whereby we will build a base wherein we may adequately and efficiently fulfil the promises and commitments which we made to the people of British Columbia. In the time to come, during the tenure of our mandate, we will change the Mineral Royalties Act and provide incentive whereby the mining industry will once again become a major factor in British Columbia's economy.
It is a promise to increase homeowners' grants to end property taxes for low-income senior citizens and for the handicapped of our province. Some leaseholders of Crown-owned lots have already been given the right to purchase their property and that right will be extended to other citizens. It is a basic tenet of our government's policy, Mr. Speaker, that every citizen should, if they so desire, be able to own their own home and the land that lies under it.
In the field of services for people, British Columbia has once again assumed the lead. We shall now raise senior citizens' benefits to the highest level in all of Canada via the inclusion of the 55 to 59 age group. Our party, Sir, has long been aware of the fact that many persons falling within this age bracket were virtually unemployable, due to no fault of their own, and therefore must be protected and helped by government.
A programme of denticare is being worked out with the College of Dental Surgeons and will be implemented when economically feasible.
It is gratifying for me to learn that many more of our youth will now have the opportunity to become medical doctors through the extension of training facilities at the University of British Columbia.
The protection of consumers will be high on our list of priorities, and even Crown corporations will have to appear before a soon-appointed commission should they desire rate increases in their particular area.
Mr. Speaker, we are not merely an accounting and clean-up administration, but we are aware of the fact that in order to provide proper services for people, the affairs of government must be conducted in a businesslike manner. We will avoid at all costs any budget overruns. It is our intention, Sir, to change the Revenue Act in order that never again will the executive arm of government be able to wantonly gamble in the market place and purchase shares in corporations without first having obtained that permission from the complete, elected representatives of the people of this province which is this Legislative Assembly in British Columbia.
With regard to my own riding of
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Burnaby-Willingdon, and Burnaby in general, due to the inordinate flow of traffic that pours through our municipality, it is my hope that we will proceed as soon as possible with such items as the Stormont interchange and the Broadway extension which will connect North Road and Gaglardi Way. Also, it is the desire of most citizens of Burnaby to see the Marine Drive extension complete...
MR. G.S. WALLACE (Oak Bay): Listening, Alex?
MR. VEITCH: ...and thus end the horrendous rush-hour traffic congestion problem which now prevails on Marine Drive in my riding. When conditions permit, I would hope that we would look towards the Hastings Street urban renewal plan which would be a tri-party project in conjunction with the federal, municipal and provincial governments. It would please the people of my riding to a very great degree if we could, when conditions permit, develop a system of public transportation which would move people to and from downtown Vancouver.
Mr. Speaker, I am confident that all the preceding, and more, will be accomplished during the tenure of our mandate as economic and other conditions allow.
I assume, Mr. Speaker, that all hon. members here assembled have either heard or read the Premier's state-of-the-province address and the accompanying Clarkson, Gordon report. Anyone, regardless of political affiliation, who is sufficiently adept in the business of adding and subtracting, will, regardless of bias, at once ascertain that the financial position of our province is at a very low ebb. Restraint must be the order of the day. The public expects it, and it must be incumbent upon this government and this House to practice restraint in all its undertakings, and it will be the responsibility of each and every member of this Legislature to make that programme of restraint work.
Some of us here may opt to dodge that responsibility. Mr. Speaker, it is easy to dodge our responsibilities, but we cannot dodge the consequences of dodging our responsibilities. It should be inconceivable that any member or group would put short-term political advantage ahead of medium- and long-term stability. For if we are not prudent in our actions today, tomorrow we will no doubt create a legacy of debt which our children, or our children's children, will never be able to repay.
Hon. members, in an austere time such as this, such as we face at present, we must be very careful not to fritter away our financial resources to a point where we cannot adequately care for the halt and the blind and the needy in our society. They must be our first concern.
Let this message go out from this place and time to all organizations, influential or those aspiring to be influential, and let this example go forth to the citizens of British Columbia: that message being that British Columbia and British Columbians, starting with government, have stopped living beyond their means, and that only when we put more into society can we expect to get more from it.
For, yes, Mr. Speaker, there are enemies out there, enemies to the future of the Province of British Columbia. Adlai Stevenson described them in 1952 when he said:
"He is an enemy who offers no quarter. He cannot be
appeased. He can never be bought off by the surrender of territory, or
the betrayal of some trusted principle, for his aim, his total
conquest, is not only that of the country but of human minds. He seeks
to destroy the very idea of the freedom of the individual himself. Such
an enemy cannot be defeated by name-calling, by character
assassination, by the sowing of distrust among our people, He cannot be
shooed away by a brand of political DDT guaranteed to contain no taxes,
no anxiety and no effort. If any man or group promise you a soft path
towards the future, beware of them."
What we are asking British Columbians to do, and I hope by our example, is to gird themselves for battle and work, work towards their own future and the future of this wonderful province.
In times of crisis, leaders, true leaders, have not promised beguiling comforts. True leaders have led. True leaders have invited you across that line which is the mark of greatness, and the people of British Columbia have always emerged victorious. There is nothing that will replace initiative. Edmund Burke pointed this out in his Reflections on the Revolution when he said that those who advocate alternatives to individual enterprise never had any kind of system, right or wrong, but only invented occasionally some miserable pall for the day in order to meanly sneak out of difficulties into which they had so proudly strutted.
Mr. Speaker, this government and, I hope, this House will not be guilty of that type of misdemeanor. Oh, I know, hon. members, many of our opponents will point with glee to the fact that the gross provincial product rose in 1975 by 10 per cent. However, when one considers the effect that inflation had in producing this increase, we should take little solace in this indeed.
What must be faced in the immediate days and months ahead must be dealt with firm resolve. However, I do not believe that this great province, with all its resources and, above all, the talents of its great people, need despair. British Columbia was built on hope, expectation and challenge, with the people always rising to meet that occasion.
Who was it so many years ago who penned these words when they said:
"Life is a struggle for peace, a yearning for
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rest, a hope for the battles to cease, a dream for the best. He is not living who stays content with the work of the days and all that it brings. He is dead who sees nothing to change, no wrong to make right, who travels no new way or strange in search of a light, who never sets out for a goal that he sees from afar, but contents his indifferent soul with things as they are. Life isn't rest; it is toil. It is building a dream or tilling a parcel of soil or bridging a stream. It is pursuing the light of a star that but dimly we see, and in wresting from things as they are a joy that should be."
Yes, through the enterprise of our people British Columbia will once again rise to new economic heights. But governments must never poise themselves to spend the increase in advance of it having been attained.
The horrors of inflation, which saps the meagre income of seniors, handicapped and less fortunate, must be contained. This Legislature, and I hope by our example, must help our province establish a climate of hope and optimism and building, coupled with government restraint.
Sir Harry Lauder used to tell the story of the lamplighter of old. Sir Harry said that the lamplighter would come to the first pole on the block, he would take his ladder, climb up the pole and he would light a light. Then he would move further on down the block, take his ladder and climb up a pole and light another light, and henceforth down the block. Sir Harry said that you could always tell which way the lamplighter had gone by the lamps he had lit.
The challenge I make this day is the challenge of example. Hon. members, we have the privilege of conducting ourselves in this Legislature in such a way as to truly be a benefit to the citizens of British Columbia who elected us. This is your opportunity, ladies and gentlemen, and I congratulate you upon it. Thank you.
MR. J.J. KEMPF (Omineca): Mr. Speaker, hon. members, I have the honour to rise in this House as the newly-elected member for Omineca. I would first like to tell this House how very proud I am to be that member. It is an honour and a privilege, in my mind, to be an elected representative from any constituency in this great province of British Columbia, but more so from Omineca, a constituency made up of people of many backgrounds, many ideals and many religious beliefs, many political beliefs, hard-working and big-hearted individuals who have struggled against what seemed at times to be impossible odds to inhabit and develop that sometimes harsh piece of British Columbia, a proud people who have bound together in the name of freedom and of democracy to send me to this House. They have placed in me their faith and their trust, a responsibility which I will hold very high and very dear.
Mr. Speaker, I was pleased to note in the Speech from the Throne many areas that will benefit the people of my constituency: the area of concern for the economic position of this province, which will certainly be of benefit to all British Columbians in areas such as land ownership and availability of Crown land to the citizens of this province. If we are once more to become first among the provinces of this nation we must instil in our people the feeling of pride of ownership of a piece of this province; in the areas of concern for our senior citizens and for those less fortunate than we in genuine need of assistance, who presently do not receive a sufficient amount to enable them to live normal lives; in the area of Indian land claims, where definite stands will be taken that will relate directly to the well-being and development of not only Omineca, but of all the north — that vast, untapped area of wealth, most of which cannot be properly developed until those claims are settled; in the area of social welfare, where we must once more ensure that the human resource becomes an asset and not a liability.
Mr. Speaker, I am excited and look forward with anticipation to the term of our mandate, availing us, as government, the opportunity to implement programmes, which will return our province on the road to recovery.
Mr. Speaker, hon. members, I turn your attention to Omineca — the second-largest constituency in area in this province, which stretches 160 miles from east to west along Yellowhead 16 from Bednesti to Telkwa and 480 miles north and south from the 53rd parallel to the Yukon border — 56,956 square miles and over 36 million acres of this province: Omineca, an area unequalled in its beauty, its wealth and its friendliness, a virtual sportsmen's and tourists' paradise. Fishing in Eutsuk, Tetachuk and Whitesail Lakes in Tweedsmuir Provincial Park; Francois, Babine, Takla, Trembleur, Fraser and the Nation Lakes, with 10-lb. rainbow trout and 30-lb. char; the Morice River, famous throughout North America for its runs of steelhead and salmon.
Hunting: from east to west, north to south, this magnificent part of our great province, abounds with moose, deer, grizzly, black and brown bear, caribou, mountain goat, mountain sheep. Industry: the envy of the province if not of Canada and the world. Mining: coal and copper at Granisle on Babine Lake with its two large mines, Granisle Copper producing 13,000 tons of ore daily, 36 million pounds of copper per year, employing 300 men and women, with a payroll for 1976 estimated at $5.5 million. Noranda Mines producing 12,500 tons of ore daily, 41 million pounds of copper per year, employing 281 men and women, with a payroll of $4.5 million yearly. Endaco Mines, with their molybdenum property at Endaco, and town site at Fraser Lake, the third-largest moly
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mine in America, producing 27,000 tons of ore daily, 14.5 million pounds of moly per year, employing 586 men and women with an estimated payroll for 1976 of $10 million.
The mining potential in Omineca, Mr. Speaker, is nothing short of astronomical. A silver property near Houston is due to start construction this summer, pending the blessing of the hon. minister, and thousands of claims and properties are just awaiting sane and sensible mining legislation.
Lumbering: existing lumbering and sawmill operations at Fort St. James, Vanderhoof, Fort Fraser, Fraser Lake, Burns Lake, Houston and Ootsa Lake harvest and manufacture 1.5 million cunits per year, producing some of the finest spruce and pine dimension lumber in the world, and, as a by-product from waste material, supply much of the woodchip needs of the pulp mills located in Prince George.
Agriculture: although our growing season is very short — some years we are without a frost-free month — our vegetable crops in the rich river-bottom soils of the Nechako and Bulkley Valley can be bountiful. Potatoes, turnips, carrots, cabbage, lettuce and peas do very well.
Our main endeavor in agriculture is cattle-ranching and the growing of hay to feed these cattle over the long cold winters. Our ranches raise some of the finest beef in British Columbia. Sheep-ranching is also coming into its own in Omineca.
We have also, Mr. Minister, an egg-producer in Omineca, who, with the possibility of my getting egg all over my face, we will be talking about in the near future.
Mr. Speaker, these are Omineca's main industries. We have many more: trapping, guiding and many hundreds of our people in support industries, so vital to the welfare of our great constituency.
Our most important asset, however, is our people — almost 30,000 of them — most of whom live in the eight main communities and in the rural areas between these villages and municipalities, with some as far north as Fireside on the Alaska Highway, people of whom all British Columbians should be proud, asking so little of this province and giving so very much.
These people, my constituents, look to this government and to this assembly for the guidelines which will enable them to be successful and to win from this abundance the reward that they so justly deserve.
Mr. Speaker, hon. members, there are two things that motivated me to seek a place in provincial politics. One was the wish to represent such a people — northerners, hard-working and patient people, accepting as their lot with very little complaint the fact that they live in an area in which it costs more to buy groceries and clothing, heat a home, drive a car, do most anything else than it does in the lower third of this province.
Yet these people are asked to be satisfied with less, less in the way of medical and hospital facilities, recreational facilities. Some even do without the very basics such as sewer and water systems. When I travel through my communities in Omineca I see few paved streets, sidewalks, curbs, gutters, shopping centres or supermarkets — swimming pools or tennis courts, practically none of the amenities accepted as everyday needs by our southern counterparts.
We find no taxpayer-subsidized transit systems in downtown Omineca. When we are in need of services such as specialists we must find our own transportation and drive, in many cases, hundreds of miles. When we want to watch television most have the choice of one, some two, channels, and enjoy some of the poorest reception in all of Canada.
Mr. Speaker, I have pointed out that Omineca plays a vital role in the economy of this province, providing thousands of jobs, millions of tax dollars, benefiting in so doing all British Columbians. Yet we are too often forgotten by politicians and business people caught up in their thinking that because all is on the lower mainland, that is where it originated.
I pledge an attempt on behalf of my constituents to change that thinking, to impress upon this House the fact that there is something north of Cache Creek: people with needs and feelings that must see the return to the north of our fair share.
I was happy, Mr. Speaker, to note in the throne speech that we as the Government of the Province of British Columbia would adopt a policy of sharing more of our resource revenues on a local and regional basis, that we will give more autonomy to local elected officials in order that they may better and more equitably provide for their people.
We must eliminate the present system where these officials must come on bended knees to the province in order to receive grants to provide for their electorate. Mr. Speaker, we must eliminate completely the totally inequitable system of grants we presently have in this province. Let us draw the guideline, give the locally elected governments the responsibility and the finances to look after their own jurisdictions. Decentralize government and responsibility, thus cutting as is so badly needed today, the cost of big government.
We have seen good taxpayers' money spent on a report which tells us how we may add several additional MLAs to this Legislature. I do not believe we need more bureaucracy for the taxpayers of this province to pay for.
MR. LEA: Against it?
MR. KEMPF: We do, however, have the need for better and more useful utilization of the levels of
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government we already have. Give more of the responsibility and the decision-making to the local administrations. If this is done, and if all of us here do the job that we are given the mandate to do, there will be no need to add to the tax burden by increasing the number of MLAs in this province. Never again will there be the need for another half-million dollar man in the north — a need only for dedicated, sincere representation by a group of MLAs truly concerned for the people of this province.
There are many areas during the months and years ahead in which I will seek in this House a more equitable return to the people of my constituency and of the north. I will name just a few: hospital facilities and health care, a definite need in the north for a whole new look at the provision of these services, a whole new approach to emergency facilities to cover our vast region.
Road construction and maintenance: a chronic situation. The people of Omineca pay as much as 20 cents more per gallon for gasoline at the pumps than is paid on the lower mainland, and are required to operate their vehicles on some of the worst roads in this province. Even the primary highways, through the neglect that they have received in the last three years, are in unacceptable condition.
Educational facilities: I believe there must be a move, not only in the north but all over this province, toward additional vocational training centres. We cannot hope to achieve the industrial development so badly needed in the province of British Columbia unless we look immediately to the training of personnel required to operate and maintain these plants and operations. If we were to start construction tomorrow on any large industrial complex anywhere in British Columbia, whether it be a steel mill, pulp mill, mine or manufacturing plant, we would not find the people in our province necessary to operate it by the completion date. Yet we have almost 100,000 unemployed in our province. We will not be successful in our endeavour to provide jobs for our people unless we put emphasis on training them prior to the jobs becoming available.
At this very moment, in my constituency of Omineca, industry is unable to find the trained personnel they need to fill the positions: welders, mechanics, millwrights, carpenters and many others. There is a definite need for vocational training in the areas where there are jobs, or will be jobs available.
The second reason for my looking to provincial politics is one of a very serious nature: my deep love for all that is British Columbia — my sincere and profound feeling for the need to preserve our freedom and our democratic way of life, the need for every free-thinking British Columbian to stand and be counted, stand and fight for the preservation of that freedom for which our ancestors have fought, suffered and died, a freedom which too many of us take for granted. Our foe is subtle, dangerous and, if we are not careful, will be devastating to a way of life which no British Columbian wants to lose — subtle, for if they have their way we will not lose this freedom all at once, as happened in Cuba, or Vietnam, or is taking place in Angola. Rather, we would lose it little by little, a small piece at a time until, finally, the result was the same: the rule and oppression of many by very few; loss of our initiative; to become wards of the state; become as robots doing exactly as we are told.
It has been individual initiative and individual enterprise that have built our great province and our great nation to what it is today.
Our people have the highest standard of living in the world. They have equal opportunity to make of themselves what they wish — freedom of movement, freedom of speech, freedom of education. We have developed a society which forgets no one — our senior citizens, our physically disabled, our mentally ill — and we have attained all this through individual enterprise.
Today, as never before in our history, we see in our land a movement to discredit, belittle and condemn the very system that has given us all this. There are among us, for want of personal gain and power, people who work constantly to undermine and discredit the work of honest, sincere people who strive to retain our system and our freedom.
Mr. Speaker, this administration, as the leaders of this province, must show beyond any doubt that we are sincere and that we are a party which cares for the people we represent. We must remove forever the doubt as to our motive. We must remove forever a thought in the mind of any British Columbian that socialism is a better way. The people of this province have put in us their trust. They have given us a clear mandate. They have said they want no more of what has gone on in British Columbia in the past three years. In the words of a most respected statesman, Franklin D. Roosevelt: "They have asked for discipline and direction under leadership." We dare not let them down. We must hold this mandate high, remembering it constantly in our decisions and deliverances in the days and months ahead. We must feel no exaltation, no sense of triumph over the previous administration, but rather must feel a great sense of responsibility to the people of British Columbia.
There are many problems ahead of us. There are many hurdles that will be placed in our path in order to mislead the people of British Columbia into believing our motives are sinister. I call upon us all to be strong to face the next four years with the determination to provide this province with a concerned government such as it has never seen before.
In closing, Mr. Speaker, I call upon the members
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of the opposition to enter with us into an atmosphere of cooperation, forgetting whenever possible personal differences and political belief in order that we may better serve the people of British Columbia.
Mr. King moves adjournment of the debate.
Hon. Mrs. McCarthy moves adjournment of the House.
The House adjourned at 3:25 p.m.