1981 Legislative Session: 3rd Session, 32nd Parliament
The following electronic version is for informational purposes only.
The printed version remains the official version.
TUESDAY, JULY 7, 1981
[ Page 6583 ]
Motor Vehicle Amendment Act, 1981 (Bill 34). Hon. Mr. Fraser.
Introduction and first reading –– 6583
Offence Amendment Act, 1981 (Bill 33). Hon. Mr. Williams
Introduction and first reading –– 6583
Ministry of Municipal Affairs annual report, 1980.
Hon. Mr. Vander Zalm –– 6583
Legislative Assembly Allowances And Pension Amendment Act, 1981 (Bill 35). Hon.
Introduction and first reading –– 6583
An Act Respecting The Commercial Use Of Lie Detectors (Bill M219). Mr. Leggatt.
Introduction and first reading –– 6583
Dismissal of Nola Landucci. Ms. Sanford –– 6584
Detoxification centre. Mr. Lauk –– 6584
Possible closing of PNE buildings. Mr. Macdonald –– 6585
Victoria-Seattle Jetfoil Service. Mr. Barber –– 6585
Hon. Mr. Smith replies –– 6585
Committee of Supply: Premier's Office estimates. (Hon. Mr. Bennett)
On vote 9 –– 6586
Division on an amendment
Legislative Assembly Allowances And Pension Amendment Act, 1981 (Bill 35). Second reading.
Hon. Mr. Wolfe –– 6599
Legislative Assembly Allowances And Pension Amendment Act, 1981 (Bill 35). Com-
Third reading –– 6599
Committee of Supply: Office of the Ombudsman estimates. (Hon. Mr. Wolfe)
On vote 6: office of the ombudsman –– 6599
Supply Act, No –– 3, 1981 (Bill 29). Hon. Mr. Curtis.
Introduction and first reading –– 6601
Supply Act, No –– 3, 1981 (Bill 29). Second reading.
Hon. Mr. Curtis –– 6602
Mr. Stupich –– 6602
Division –– 6603
Supply Act, No. 3, 1981 (Bill 29). Committee stage. (Hon. Mr. Curtis)
Third reading –– 6603
An Act To Prevent Uranium Exploration And Mining (Bill M201). Second reading.
Mr. Passarell –– 6604
Hon. Mr. McClelland –– 6605
Royal assent to bills –– 6605
B.C. Racing Commission annual report, 1980
Hon. Mr. Williams –– 6606
Legal Services Society annual report, 1981
Hon. Mr. Williams –– 6606
Justice Development Commission annual report, 1980 and 1981
Hon. Mr. Williams –– 6606
B.C. Police Commission annual report, 1980
Hon. Mr. Williams –– 6606
Corrections branch annual report, 1980
Hon. Mr. Williams –– 6606
Privacy Act annual report, 1980, and supplementary reports, 1975 to 1979 inclusive
Hon. Mr. Williams –– 6606
The House met at 2 p.m.
HON. MRS. McCARTHY: Today in the House, and visiting us not for the first time, are Mr. and Mrs. David Russell of Port Alberni. Mr. Russell has the distinction of having developed the very first international time chart. This is a very special calendar which covers dates from January 1, year one, ad infinitum. This time-measuring instrument carries on where others, such as watches and clocks, leave off. It concerns itself with days, weeks, months, years and centuries, and was designed to be useful for determining any date or weekday of the past, present or future. The international time chart is a Canadian product intended for global use. It has the ability to be useful to all future generations, and the answers to every calendarical problem can be found in this document.
Mr. Russell very kindly presented the international time chart, which was his dream for many years, and on which he has worked for many years, to the provincial government this morning. This is the first presentation after his presentation to the federal administration, and he hopes to present one to each and every parliament across the nation. I am very pleased then that I was able to receive this on behalf of the government of British Columbia, and I would ask the House to welcome Mr. and Mrs. David Russell.
MR. LOCKSTEAD: Today I have the pleasure of introducing to the Legislature Mrs. Pat Blight, who over the years has been of invaluable assistance to me in my riding; her guest, Miss Harriet Conroy, who is constituency assistant; and Mr. Floyd Laughren, MPP for Nickel Belt. I ask the House to join me in welcoming them.
HON. MR. NIELSEN: I have two guests from Richmond today. I would like the House to welcome Jean and Michael Sweeney. As well as being Richmond residents, they're the parents of Deborah Sweeney, who is with Selkirk News.
MR. LEA: Mr. Speaker, today we have two visitors from the city of Prince Rupert: Alderman Dan Miller and my constituency secretary, Gayle Ballard.
HON. MR. GARDOM: Mr. Speaker, I was very sorry indeed to hear from the lady member for Cowichan–Malahat (Mrs. Wallace) that the former member who represented that constituency for many, many years and was the leader of the official opposition, Robert Strachan, is under the weather and is receiving treatment in Victoria. I know that all members of the assembly would like to express their very best wishes to Bob and to Mrs. Annie Strachan for his speedy recovery, and also to say that our thoughts are with both of them. It would be most appreciated, I'd say, Mr. Speaker, if you'd convey these sentiments to Mr. and Mrs. Strachan.
MR. BARRETT: Mr. Speaker, we are most appreciative of those statements by the House Leader, and we welcome his suggestion to pass on regards. He in turn has passed regards back to this House. No matter how things are going, he's still got his eye on us, Mr. Speaker.
HON. MR. HYNDMAN: Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the member for North Vancouver–Capilano (Mr. Ree), I introduce two students from North Vancouver, Michelle Leiren, whose father is well known in these precincts, and her friend Jill Allan.
MR. COCKE: Mr. Speaker, from the great Royal City, New Westminster, I would like to have the House warmly welcome Mr. and Mrs. Parkin.
MR. RICHMOND: Mr. Speaker, visiting today in the members' gallery are two very good friends, Mr. and Mrs. Huubert Heeskins, from Nijmegen, Holland. They are seated with my wife Patricia. I would ask the House to welcome them.
MR. RITCHIE: Mr. Speaker, in the gallery today we have some friends from Central Fraser Valley, Vicki and Dave Schmidt, to whom I'd like you to extend a welcome, and also Dr. Craig Seaton and his son. I'd like to particularly mention his son Jeff because he is a leading scorer on our local soccer team, and also a leading pitcher in this past year.
Introduction of Bills
MOTOR VEHICLE AMENDMENT ACT, 1981
Hon. Mr. Fraser presented a message from His Honour the Administrator: a bill intituled Motor Vehicle Amendment Act, 1981.
Bill 34 introduced, 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.
OFFENCE AMENDMENT ACT, 1981
Hon. Mr. Williams presented a message from His Honour the Administrator: a bill intituled Offence Amendment Act, 1981.
Bill 33 introduced, 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.
Hon. Mr. Vander Zalm tabled the 1980 annual report of the Ministry of Municipal Affairs.
LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY ALLOWANCES
AND PENSION AMENDMENT ACT, 1981
Hon. Mr. Wolfe presented a message from His Honour the Administrator: a bill intituled Legislative Assembly Allowances and Pension Amendment Act, 1981.
Bill 35 introduced and read a first time.
HON. MR. WOLFE: Mr. Speaker, by leave, I move that the bill be read a second time later today.
AN ACT RESPECTING THE COMMERCIAL
USE OF LIE DETECTORS
On a motion by Mr. Leggatt, Bill M219, An Act Respecting the Commercial Use of Lie Detectors, introduced, 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.
[ Page 6584 ]
Hon. Mr. Williams tabled the annual report of the Ministry of the Attorney-General for the year ending March 31, 1981.
DISMISSAL OF NOLA LANDUCCI
MS. SANFORD: I have a question for the Minister of Labour. In early June this year the then human rights director Nola Landucci was quoted as saying that direction from the minister's office was sorely lacking, and that her case workers were victims of what she called "the mushroom syndrome: kept in the dark and fed manure." Can the minister confirm that these statements were directly related to Miss Landucci's dismissal?
HON. MR. HEINRICH: I'm not sure whether or not the former director of the human rights branch did say that. It seems to me I may have read it somewhere, but it would never come back to me. Those were not the reasons. With respect to that matter I might say that the severance is now being negotiated between counsel for the province and Ms. Landucci's counsel.
MS. SANFORD: That's very interesting. I'm wondering if the minister can advise if she is still under any sort of contract with the government.
HON. MR. HEINRICH: I cannot advise the House one way or the other with respect to whether or not there is an existing contract. Suffice it to say that Ms. Landucci is no longer the acting director.
MS. SANFORD: The minister mentioned that she was the acting director, but I believe she was the director until a few days ago.
My next question: since the minister was very remiss in appointing a director of the human rights branch, I'm wondering if he can assure the House at this time that he will take the necessary steps to replace Ms. Landucci immediately.
MR. SPEAKER: The second part of the question is in order.
HON. MR. HEINRICH: Yes, Mr. Speaker, the matter of replacing the former director is going to be actively considered by the government.
MR. KING: A supplementary, Mr. Speaker. The Minister of Labour is the minister bound to uphold the laws of the province which provide for just cause before the dismissal of workers in the province of British Columbia. Is the minister prepared to share with the House what he deemed to be just cause for the termination of Ms. Landucci?
HON. MR. HEINRICH: Mr. Speaker, the answer is no, I'm not prepared to divulge that to the House.
MR. LAUK: To the Minister of Health, Mr. Speaker. I've been informed by high-ranking officials of the city of Vancouver police department that the new detoxification centre on Great Northern Way has been so badly constructed that they would be loath to place persons arrested for intoxication in that facility. I asked the question before, as some hon. member has suggested. Before the House adjourns, I was hoping the minister would take action to bring the detoxification centre up to proper standards to relieve the tremendous pressure on the Vancouver drunk tank.
HON. MR. NIELSEN: I don't have all of the information, but I have received some with respect to that. The standards of the new detoxification centre are not meant to duplicate the standards which are required for a lockup or a jail or a drunk tank, or whatever other name may be given to such a thing. If the member is familiar with some of the definitions that the city uses, the jail lockup or drunk tank has a B1 standard, whatever that might mean. The detoxification centre is B2, and I gather the difference is that no one is to be locked in a room.... Therefore the standards are different. I am advised that they meet all the necessary standards under that category of B2. Perhaps you have different information.
MR. LAUK: First of all, both the minister's predecessors, in speaking of the new detoxification centre, said it would be a facility to relieve the drunk-tank facility. B2 means, evidently, that it's okay to put your fists through a gyproc wall. I am informed that the walls are so thin that patients there would be able to put their fists through many of the walls. Now in that situation you can't have any kind of an overnight detoxification facility that would relieve the drunk tank, as announced by your government. Can the minister inform the House of the cost of the detoxification centre to date?
HON. MR. NIELSEN: I don't have that information before me, Mr. Speaker. In response, I am also advised that it was not intended to replace the drunk tank with this detoxification centre, and that there will be classification of those people who may be arrested or apprehended by the police. If the arresting officer or other police officials feel any of them would be violent, or cause such damage, they would probably remain in the drunk tank rather than be transferred to the detoxification centre. But I don't know what the cost is to date.
MR. LAUK: Both Rafe Mair and the member for Langley (Hon. Mr. McClelland) in the capacity of Minister of Health indicated that that facility was to relieve the drunk-tank facilities, which are in a scandalous situation. People are dying there because of overcrowding. How much money will now be required to bring the facility up to standard?
HON. MR. NIELSEN: I don't know precisely what moneys would be necessary if it were to be brought up to the standard of a drunk tank, which I don't believe was the intent. I believe it's correct to say that the detoxification centre intent was to relieve, not replace, the drunk tank. Relief will be offered when some of the people who would otherwise be occupying space in the drunk tank may be transferred to the detoxification centre. I don't think it will completely depopulate the drunk tank.
MR. LAUK: The city police refuse to put anyone in there, so it won't relieve the drunk tank.
Has the minister commenced an action on behalf of the government against the contractors for the construction of this detoxification centre?
HON. MR. NIELSEN: No, we have not. If the information and evidence is that the contractor has not met the standards or requirements of that building, I am confident that the ministry would then seek compensation, or whatever, to bring it up to such standards. In a preliminary report I am
[ Page 6585 ]
advised that it meets B2 standards. Perhaps that is upon examination of the plans or terms. It may not be the result of a physical examination. But that will be carried out.
POSSIBLE CLOSING OF PNE BUILDINGS
MR. MACDONALD: I have a question for the Provincial Secretary and Minister of Government Services. As the Provincial Secretary knows, because Mr. Erwin Swangard has approached him several times in the past two or three years, the Showmart Building at the PNE is not up to code standards. The result is that the Forum is going to be closed to 800 minor hockey players early in September. Has the minister decided to intervene? Because these players have nowhere to go.
HON. MR. WOLFE: I have been very much aware of this problem and have been in touch with Mr. Swangard. I don't think it's a fact that these teams will be removed. The matter is under review. A special study is being made of the Showmart Building as to what needs to be done in the immediate future. There's a matter of safety involved. I think the associations or teams involved have not been formally advised that they will have to move to other quarters. If that becomes necessary for an interim period, the PNE would find other facilities for them.
MR. MACDONALD: I have a supplementary. I'm glad the minister is looking into this matter as an emergency. Are there any other possibilities that the minister is examining as to where the trade exhibits could be exhibited other than the Showmart Building and the Forum? Because there should be alternatives that could be explored.
HON. MR. WOLFE: The whole matter of that and other buildings is under extensive study, Mr. Speaker. Until we get further information on that, it would be difficult to comment further. As you may well be aware, the board of the Pacific National Exhibition wanted to get a guarantee for some funding for upgrading their facilities. A study has been undertaken to see what needs to be done from a public safety point of view to that and other buildings.
MR. BARRETT: Mr. Speaker, since all these youngsters are in the East End of the city and have difficulty in terms of travel costs and uniform costs, can the minister assure us and the team coaches who have been in touch with the minister and the MLAs that some alternative program will be worked out to ensure that these youngsters in the East End will have ice time for their important programs?
HON. MR. WOLFE: Mr. Speaker, I'm very much aware of the extensive use to which the Forum has been put by these amateur teams. I have already advised those who have communicated with me through their association that I'll be closely monitoring the situation in terms of this study that's being made to see what can be done.
VICTORIA-SEATTLE JETFOIL SERVICE
MR. BARBER: Mr. Speaker, I have a question to the minister responsible for the B.C. Development Corporation. How much money did the jetfoil lose last year?
HON. MR. PHILLIPS: Mr. Speaker, in answer to the member's question, I believe the final report of the British Columbia Development Corporation was distributed to all members this morning.
MR. BARBER: Our research office looked in it and couldn't find any specific answer to that question, so I ask you today: how much money did the jetfoil lose last year?
HON. MR. PHILLIPS: Mr. Speaker, I don't think it's the minister's responsibility to read the report for him. I would suggest that you update your research people, because the answer is certainly in the report.
MR. BARBER: Mr. Speaker, can the minister confirm that an operating advance made to Flying Princess Transportation Corp. In the amount of $550,000 has not been repaid by that company? This is the company that operated the jetfoil.
HON. MR. PHILLIPS: In answer to the member's question, I'll be happy to take that question as notice.
MR. BARBER: Can the minister inform the House whether or not it is the case that the $1.9 million loan guarantee made to Flying Princess by the B.C. Development Corporation and executed by Flying Princess — which is to say that the money was used — has also not been repaid by the company?
HON. MR. PHILLIPS: I know that the member who asked the question doesn't really have any legal background, but I think that the question certainly has some connotations as to whether the advance was repaid or whether it was written off. I would suggest that if the Development Corporation handled the jetfoil service as a loss, we wouldn't say that the loan was either repaid or not repaid, because it was written off.
HON. MR. SMITH: Mr. Speaker, may I have leave to answer two questions that I took as notice on June 29?
MR. SPEAKER: These were taken as notice in question period?
HON. MR. SMITH: Yes they were.
MR. SPEAKER: Please proceed.
HON. MR. SMITH: I was asked by the member for Nanaimo (Mr. Stupich) on June 29 about a program for the mentally disabled in Powell River. For the information of that member and the House I have ascertained that there were indeed courses for the mentally disabled operated by Malaspina College at Powell River, Duncan and Nanaimo. These courses did not apply to the Ministry of Education for funding, but were funded from a number of sources. My information is that the course in Powell River will continue this year, hon. member, but it will continue as a part-time and not as a full-time course. It will have a student enrolment of 12 or more. It will operate on a part-time basis in each of those locations.
[ Page 6586 ]
The second question I took as notice was a question from the member for Burnaby–Edmonds (Ms. Brown), who asked me about the disbursement of moneys for the program for the International Year of Disabled Persons. She asked me if I could confirm that requests for $12 million in grants had been received for the $3 million program. Indeed, she is correct. In fact, she is conservative, because the requests for grants totalled $12.9 million. The grants that will be allocated will be somewhere between $2.3 million and $2.4 million, depending on the funds available. The balance of the International Year funds were set aside for the contract for administration the Canadian Paraplegic Association had, and for public information and public involvement. If there are sufficient funds to expend $2.4 million in grants, that will be expended. It will be over $2.3 million in any event. I thank the member for her question.
MR. HANSON: On a question of privilege, Mr. Speaker, some time ago I introduced a private member's bill entitled An Act to Establish an Institute of Native Indian Languages for British Columbia. Through some inadvertence this bill has not been printed. My understanding is that bills on the order paper may be called today. I am at a disadvantage in speaking on this bill. Legislative Counsel and the Queen's Printer are attempting to print it in time for such a debate. I would just like the Speaker to take under advisement the disadvantage I find myself in at this point and to facilitate the printing of it so it could be addressed here in the House.
MR. SPEAKER: I'll ask for the opinion of the House. Perhaps, if the bill arrives sometime during the course of the afternoon, it could be distributed.
MR. HOWARD: With respect to the subject matter raised by the second member for Victoria, assuming that the bill does not arrive, I wonder if Your Honour might not consider a photocopy of the original bill as it was tabled as being equivalent to printing. I'm looking at standing order 79, which says that no bill should be read a second time until it has been printed and distributed.
MR. SPEAKER: Perhaps the House could even express its wish at that time.
Mr. Speaker, some days ago both the second member for Surrey (Mr. Hall)
and I raised an important question under standing order 15...
MR. LAUK:...and I want to thank Hansard for putting it in the Blues.
HON. MR. GARDOM: Mr. Speaker, before calling the committee I would just mention to the hon. members that they will recall that the hon. member for North Peace River (Mr. Brummet) obtained a signature from every member of the assembly to the message of congratulations and best wishes to His Royal Highness Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer upon their forthcoming marriage, and members requested photocopies of this historic document. I am pleased to say that they are today on your desks. I am also given to understand that this document was also delivered to the Royal Secretary in London today.
Orders of the Day
The House in Committee of Supply; Mr. Davidson in the chair.
ESTIMATES: PREMIER'S OFFICE
On vote 9: Premier's office, $664,544.
MR. LAUK: Mr. Chairman, I'll only be three hours. I want to deal with a couple of issues under the Premier's estimates and bring to his attention something that is of great concern to the people of the city of Vancouver, not only to the constituency of Vancouver Centre. I realize that the Premier is carrying on a discussion with the Minister of Finance, but I wanted to discuss two most important issues with him involving the city of Vancouver. One is B.C. Place, and the other is the ward system of government in Vancouver.
Firstly, I'll be very brief on B.C. Place. It's been the effort of many good people in the city of Vancouver in discussing housing on that site with Mr. Narod and other individuals involved with B.C. Place, Transpo and other projects that there be an allowance and a plan for social and public housing. Another word for describing this kind of housing is "affordable" housing. In my discussions with some of the officials it is clear that on instructions from the Premier himself they will be developing this site for a maximum payback for the provincial government's investment. That would normally be laudable, except that the negligence of this government over the past six years with respect to housing has placed people in the city of Vancouver in such dire straits, both to rent and to buy accommodation, that it is incumbent upon the government to provide some plan, particularly in the core of the city, to make affordable housing available to ordinary people.
Every proper regional plan for the city of Vancouver has included housing for the people that are employed in the core of the city. This will relieve the tremendous transit problems that are faced by the Minister of Municipal Affairs. This will allow individuals to work and live within the same general locality without a tremendous expense on the public purse for either transit, highways or other needless costs when we can avoid some of that unnecessary travel by allowing affordable housing in the region.
I have reviewed the plans with B.C. Place officials, and I have gone over some of the details....
MR. LAUK: I don't think I am going to give you the specific names, but you can be content to correct them if they're wrong. But of all of the plans that have been established, Mr. Chairman, I see no opportunity — because of Narod's specific instructions from the Premier — that there must be a maximum payback to the province. Therefore there's a high density ratio being planned per acre. The accommodation will be expensive and will be available only to those people who are desirous of luxury or near-luxury accommodation within the core of the city. I fear the Premier and his government are establishing a plan of housing in the city of Vancouver which will make it an exclusive region available to very few people — so few, I fear, that the plan may even of itself fail, because I don't know how many people can be found to purchase such accommodation.
[ Page 6587 ]
Secondly, affordable housing has to be available at all levels of income within the city. I wonder if the Premier knows what the average stenographer or secretary in B.C. Hydro or in the Bentall building makes. I wonder if he knows what the average bellhop or waiter makes in the downtown city core. I wonder if he knows how most of the office people pay their way and try to live in a city. It's important that they live within the core of the city, because most of them can't even qualify for a car loan. Not all of us are rich millionaires, and not all of us can afford to live in luxurious accommodation, or in expensive accommodation outside the city and travel easily into the city.
These aspects have not been adequately dealt with, and I'm going to bring them to the attention of the people of the city of Vancouver in the hope that they will write letters to the Premier and to the Minister of Environment (Hon. Mr. Rogers) to try to achieve a better plan for B.C. Place. B.C. Place is not just a profit-making adventure; it's a government enterprise. The government has by its own negligence created the housing problem, so it should have special plans for affordable housing. They don't have at present.
Now on to wards. I've read with a great deal of pain letters from the second member for Vancouver–Little Mountain (Hon. Mr. Wolfe) and the second member for Vancouver South (Hon. Mr. Hyndman) — that's the Provincial Secretary and the Minister of Consumer and Corporate Affairs — and one letter from the chairman of the parks board in the city of Vancouver. I want to deal forcefully with the points raised by those three gentlemen and ask the Premier whether or not he was the person who killed the ward bill. I say that because it seems to me that the statements made by the three gentlemen I've just mentioned are so inconsistent, flying in the face of the previous commitments that they had given to the ward system, that it must have been the Premier himself who overruled their wishes and killed the ward bill before it could even get on the floor of this chamber for second reading.
A letter signed by Evan Wolfe, MLA for Vancouver Little Mountain, claimed that a ward system would be too costly. Throughout his letter he did not provide a scintilla of evidence as to what extra cost there would be in establishing a ward system in the city of Vancouver. As a result, I investigated through the city hall and the officials and civil servants there. I've also contacted other city governments that have a ward system and that at one time had an at-large system. The bulk of the replies that I received indicated very clearly that there was no difference in cost; because there were advantages in cost to one system and advantages to the other, they balanced themselves out. Obviously the second member for Vancouver–Little Mountain did not do his homework with respect to whether the ward system would cost more. His letter, therefore, in that respect is wrong.
He said that the public did not vote for the details of the bill that eventually came before the private bills committee. Well, Mr. Chairman, there was a plebiscite in which the people voted in favour of a ward system of government. I wonder if the Premier could answer me, on behalf of the second member for Vancouver–Little Mountain, who is not here. Was there a referendum on the Eckardt commission and its boundaries? Perhaps the first member for Vancouver Little Mountain (Hon. Mrs. McCarthy) could provide you with that answer. Did anyone in the city of Vancouver vote to do away with an entire riding involving two seats? Did the people of the city of Vancouver vote approval of the so-called Gracie's Finger into the Quilchena area and in Vancouver–Little Mountain? Was there any approval by the Vancouver voters for that? Were the Vancouver voters consulted on any aspect of the boundary changes provided by the Eckardt royal commission? Yet the second member for Vancouver–Little Mountain is arguing that each and every minute detail — not just boundary changes — be put before the people of the city of Vancouver by way of plebiscite.
This is the arrogance of power, Mr. Chairman. The people of the city of Vancouver, in respect to municipal government, want home rule. They do not want interference by the provincial government in this arrogant, paternalistic way. I remind the Premier that in his constitutional debate he argued with the federal government that they are taking away rights from provincial jurisdictions. He argued that the provinces have an equal say. Yet he turns around and kills the ward bill which was legitimately required.... The Premier shakes his head, but I know for a fact that the second member for Vancouver–Little Mountain and the second member for Vancouver South were in favour of this system — particularly the member for Vancouver South, and as soon as he reached cabinet he changed his mind. What made him change his mind? The Premier is the president of the executive council. He should not have overruled the member in that way.
What I'm saying is that there was a plebiscite in favour of a ward system. There was an election battle last November. The ward issue was the clearest issue of the election battle; the people spoke with great clarity when they voted a predominance in council in favour of a ward system. Yet in this government's arrogance, the Provincial Secretary's letter to the editor said: "You've got to vote on each and every detail." What nonsense! Did we have a referendum or a plebiscite on whether we should hire Doug Heal or whether we should use taxpayers' money to do a showmanship-type job on the cabinet, to make films of them at taxpayers' expense? Did we have a plebiscite to measure whether or not the cutbacks in college budgets should be made? Did we hold plebiscites or referendums? This is what the Provincial Secretary is calling for. Did we have a plebiscite or referendum to vote on a tax increase to increase the sales tax on ordinary people? No, the government in its lack of wisdom voted that increase without consultation at all. As a matter of fact, the Premier went against his own promise on tax increases.
In his letter to the editor, the Provincial Secretary goes on to say that a simple majority vote in city council was not enough and that there should be a two-thirds vote to change the boundaries and to elect for a ward system of government. This is after a plebiscite and a municipal election that approved the ward issue. How about a two-thirds vote in this House, Mr. Chairman? I'll even be satisfied with a two-thirds vote in this House on electoral reform only. Would the Premier agree with that? The Provincial Secretary calls upon the city for a two-thirds vote. By doing that, he's showing disrespect for the elected members on the council. If it's good enough for the city of Vancouver, why isn't it good enough for the Legislature of the province of British Columbia? Let's have a two-thirds vote in this House on electoral reform and constituency boundaries.
MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please, hon. member. I'm sure the member appreciates that the Chair has given some latitude on matters that clearly involve legislation. We are discussing the estimates of the Premier's office and the administrative actions thereof. I'm sure the member fully realizes that this is neither the time nor the place to discuss legislative needs.
[ Page 6588 ]
MR. LAUK: I'm not calling for legislative action. I'm asking the Premier about policy, Mr. Chairman. The rule is that I have to call for legislative changes. I'm not calling for legislative changes, nor am I dealing with legislation.
MR. CHAIRMAN: We are allowed to discuss neither legislation nor the need for legislation.
MR. LAUK: I'm not saying either. I'm asking what is the policy of this government with respect to two-thirds votes at municipal levels. I'm dealing with a statement by one of the members of cabinet.
MR. CHAIRMAN: I'm sure the hon. member will realize as well that he is now engaging in discussion on a matter that has been before us on the order paper. Clearly, hon. member, that falls within the purview.... I would ask the member to confine his remarks to the administrative responsibilities of the Premier.
MR. LAUK: Well, Mr. Chairman, I'm dealing with an issue that is important to the people of the city of Vancouver. Their wishes have been flouted by an arrogant government. They've had back-of-the-hand treatment by this Premier and this cabinet with respect to legitimate issues.
MR. CHAIRMAN: Hon. member, notwithstanding the views and feelings of the member, the discussion in which the member is engaged is not in order under the estimates of the Premier and the rules that bind us in Committee of Supply.
MR. LAUK: I'm suggesting that this Premier overruled the wishes of some cabinet members with respect to the ward bill. I want to know his opinion on the ward system. I'm entitled to know that from the first minister of this province. Are we to cut off debate on every aspect of the ward bill? Are we going to cut off debate on the legitimate requirements and requests of the city of Vancouver? Mr. Chairman, that's a terrible thing indeed.
The Provincial Secretary suggested that the municipal council should pass all electoral reform by a two-thirds vote. Well, Mr. Chairman, you were in this House. Did we pass the Eckardt commission by a two-thirds vote? Did we approve the boundary changes in Vancouver–Little Mountain by a two-thirds vote? Not on your life. Why don't we have a two thirds vote on enumeration of voters in this province? The selective enumeration process under this government is a national scandal. Why don't we vote to improve the enumeration of voters in this province by a two-thirds vote in this House?
In his letter to the editor, the Provincial Secretary went on to say that it's too bad that we can't have a ward system in the city of Vancouver because of only one alderman per ward; and if you didn't get successful treatment from that one alderman, you'd have to go to the next ward and see that alderman. This House is elected through a form of constituency representation. That seems to be okay for the government of the day, as far as provincial representation is concerned, but not for the city of Vancouver. Again, it is arrogance and a centralized government approach.
I won't deal any more with the Provincial Secretary's letter to the editor, but I do want to deal with the letter to the editor from the Minister of Consumer and Corporate Affairs and to ask the Premier whether that's consistent with government policy. The Minister of Consumer and Corporate Affairs claims that the mayor of the city of Vancouver refused to amend the Vancouver Charter in accordance with the committee's wishes — which we all know was not true. That minister was there; he should know better. They did agree to amend the charter amendments from two-thirds to a 50 percent majority vote on council. It's interesting to note that shortly after, with a relative degree of silence — the member for North Vancouver–Seymour (Mr. Davis) knows this — from the Provincial Secretary, the Provincial Secretary followed up with a letter to the editor saying we wanted two-thirds. What nonsense.
The suggestion of the Minister of Consumer and Corporate Affairs was that the city wouldn't accept any amendments. Well, none were offered. The committee members didn't make any amendments. They just voted the bill down and killed it in committee. That's a scandal. The second member for Vancouver South again says that the park commissioners were against the wards. They weren't. The park commissioners were consulted. The parks board said: "The majority of us are against wards. But if the council's going to be elected by wards, we want to be elected by wards too." That was the report before the committee. It was a misrepresentation in the letter by the second member for Vancouver South where he said that the Parks Board was not consulted. If the parks board itself — a minor board in the city of Vancouver — is against wards, and it flies in the face of the plebiscite and the last civic election, are we to be controlled by the Parks Board? Is it to dictate to city council and to the Legislature? I say it is not, Mr. Chairman. There's been a clear reneging on a promise on the part of the second member for Vancouver South, who indicated his support of the ward system and the ward bill.
MR. CHAIRMAN: Hon. member, again I must draw to your attention that the course of argument the member is now engaged in does not fall within the purview of the guidelines which affect us in Committee of Supply. I'm sure the hon. member upon reflection will agree that unless he can relate this in some direct manner to the estimates of vote 9 presently before us, it's very difficult for the Chair to permit him to continue on this particular line of discussion.
MR. LAUK: Well, Mr. Chairman, the government has consistently abused the rules of this House to prevent the legitimate debate of this issue in this chamber. The member for Prince George South (Mr. Strachan), the chairman of that committee, refused to move adoption of his own report to prevent debate in this Legislative Assembly. That's a scandal, when the chairman of a Select standing committee refuses to do the honourable thing and move adoption of his own report for debate in this chamber. He refused to do it. We've been stifled. It's muzzling debate of the opposition on a legitimate issue for the people of the city of Vancouver.
MR. CHAIRMAN: Hon. member, the discussion that the member is now engaged in, unless it can be directly related to vote 9.... The Chair does not have the parameters allowing him....
MR. LAUK: Nobody objected.
MR. CHAIRMAN: The Chair's objecting, hon. member. We must bear in mind the fact that we can discuss the
[ Page 6589 ]
administrative actions of a department, but the necessity for legislation and matters involving legislation cannot be discussed in the Committee of Supply.
MR. LAUK: I'm not discussing legislation.
MR. CHAIRMAN: Clearly, hon. member, it is the understanding of the Chair....
MR. LAUK: I'm asking the leader of the government to intervene in an important issue facing the people of the city of Vancouver. Where else am I to go? The Premier's estimates — that's the only time in the Legislative Assembly when I can ask the leader of the government to intervene for the people of Vancouver, who want home rule. That's what it is. Why should they be dictated to by this iron-fisted government? They have voted in a plebiscite in favour of the ward system. They voted in a civic election in favour of the ward system. The council voted for a ward system, and they came over here and got short shrift — with the second member for Vancouver South reneging on his promise and turning his back on the people who elected him to this chamber in the first place.
Mr. Chairman, I ask the Premier through you to intervene and allow the bill to be called this afternoon without any further ado, and have it pass second and third reading. Let the people of the city of Vancouver have a ward election system which is their due. To do anything else is a mark of disrespect for the very democratic system which elected that government in the first place. To do anything else is to ignore the legitimate wishes of the people of the city of Vancouver in a high-handed and very right-wing manner that we have not seen in this province for a long time. No charter amendment of that significance has ever been turned back by a government in the history of the province of British Columbia. There were plenty of charter amendments brought before this chamber when the current Premier's father was Premier. He never turned them back, because they were the legitimate requests of the city council and the people of the city of Vancouver. Now for the first time in the history of this province, we have a government which arrogantly and in a right-wing fashion says local government is out of the question.
I also want to raise one other question. The Premier made a statement in his own constituency. He said: "Local government for school education is costly, and the more local control over education the costlier it gets." It was a back-handed threat, Mr. Chairman, that if you're going to have local government and local control over education the province is going to contribute less and less toward your education costs. That's what he meant by it, and that's a scandal too, because it is an indication by the Premier of this province that he cares not for local government.
HON. MR. VANDER ZALM: That's ridiculous.
MR. LAUK: The Minister of Municipal Affairs says it's ridiculous. Here's the man who stands up for local government. That's the man who defended school boards, municipalities and regional districts. He's a man who tries to centralize control, and he's just playing the same game as the Premier of this province: to destroy local autonomy. W.A. C. Bennett used to say that the best government was the government closest to the people. This government has done everything possible to destroy that basic philosophy which all British Columbians of every political stripe have argued for throughout our history. It takes this Premier and this government to destroy that sacred belief that we've had all these years.
That statement about local school costs was a cynical statement indeed, and it was a statement designed to send the message to the ordinary people: there'll be no more local government under us; we're taking all control. I'm certainly glad that the planning act of the Minister of Municipal Affairs isn't before us today. That was a tremendous example of Soviet rule in the province of British Columbia — how to bring about totalitarian rule and destroy local government. That's the kind of thing that happens in this chamber and has been happening since 1976, since this government took office. I argue again, Mr. Chairman, that the Premier should take a second look and pull back from this destruction of an opportunity for people to govern themselves at the local level according to their own needs.
HON. MR. BENNETT: I have been listening very intently to what the first member for Vancouver Centre had to say. I will deal with it not in order but, first, with an incorrect assumption which he has made. Members of this Legislature from all sides of the House serve on legislative committees as individual members. The membership dealing with the submission from the city of Vancouver was made up of individual members of this House, and I don't give direction to any of those members. They make their own decisions, they vote their own consciences, and the member was totally incorrect in making his assumption. I hope that nobody reading Hansard or listening to the debate would believe otherwise, because if they did so they would be incorrect. The Premier of the province forced no member to change his mind nor overruled any member in regard to the way he considered the application by the city of Vancouver. This would not normally come under my vote, but I do say that each member who chooses to vote in that committee and wishes to expand on the reasons for his vote is free to do so and needs no defence from me.
However, I will say that this government is close to the people of British Columbia. In fact, the many letters that I get from Vancouver say this government is closer to the people than any government they have in the city of Vancouver. They talk about this government finally, with no assistance from the other side — in fact, with opposition — undertaking the greatest downtown redevelopment that has been undertaken in North America: British Columbia Place. I answered that this morning. The first member for Vancouver Centre, who's against the project, used to speak against it, ridicule it, laugh at it. Mr. Chairman, B.C. Place will be a tremendous benefit to the city of Vancouver, the people of Vancouver and the people of British Columbia. I want to say that B.C. Place will have public places and housing, and it will have all facets of enterprise for people, both public and private, plus accommodation. Ten thousand people could be accommodated within that general area, and that housing will be developed at today's costs. What the member is asking, though, is whether B.C. Place as an overall development is going to subsidize, through its profits, any tenant, commercial or housing. The answer is no. If accommodation subsidies are required by people in this province, whether it be for the purchase of housing, or for rentals, such as we have for the elderly renter in this province, where we deal not with bricks and mortar, but with people, and maintain them with rental
[ Page 6590 ]
assistance in the accommodation of their choice or with which they're familiar....
We believe that people move to accommodation, and government programs can assist them. There are provincial programs now that assist people with their rent in various parts. We don't designate areas and say: "All you that have to be subsidized shall live there, and you shall live there." I don't agree with that concept of making certain types of neighbourhoods, as is being advocated by the member for Vancouver Centre. That's what he's saying. He says he wants only people in there who are going to get subsidized rent or subsidized housing. I don't agree with that. I agree that you have an opportunity for every person who wishes to live in downtown Vancouver if they can have accommodation made available and if they qualify as individuals for any of the existing provincial or federal programs, or if the city of Vancouver is going to try to do something about their own housing program sometime through the way they zone and the way they allow density, or are going to take some responsibility and, instead of asking everyone else to do it, cooperate on some plan themselves. Then they also will be a partner in assisting and locating people in that area.
We do know that 10,000 accommodation units will be made available in the B.C. Place general area. That is something that would not have happened if this government had not been the best friend that the people of Vancouver ever had and gave them representation in areas where they have lacked representation. In Vancouver Centre nothing was happening, and now we've got a great downtown amphitheatre and 10,000 housing units. It's not going to cost — as that member for Vancouver has said — the taxpayers a nickel over the 15-year development. It's not going to be just for the benefit of the people of Vancouver as a provincial project. That amphitheatre is for every British Columbian. It will be paid for out of the profits of a mix in public and private development. It will be a gift to the people of Vancouver and the people of B.C. It will not be paid for by taxpayers' dollars.
I assure you that there will be other dividends coming in the cash flow from B.C. Place. Because it's a provincial project, those dividends will go to assist downtown development in every city of this province. It is not just a Vancouver project. They will go to assist the people of Revelstoke, Kamloops and Abbotsford, because it is a provincial project. There will be some cash-flow profit over the 15-year period. It will be a social profit, Mr. Member, that will be spread among all the citizens of British Columbia.
One of the criticisms of B.C. Place has been the misconception fostered by some that it's a drain on the tax dollars. Another criticism being played in the interior is that somehow this government is favouring Vancouver because we're trying to make up for the lack of representation it has in some of its areas, and so we're concentrating on helping that city. Yet I want to tell the people of this province that B.C. Place will work for them as well as for the people of Vancouver. It is accomplishing a major thing: a development of an area that can extend to over 200 acres if the city of Vancouver will cooperate and make available those city lands that need expensive infilling and upgrading to provide the additional land base for additional housing. The city of Vancouver will have a great opportunity to make its contribution to B.C. Place. The adjacency of that city-owned land will give them an opportunity to put their money where their mouth is in assisting the provincial government to help the people of Vancouver.
But what are we doing? We're taking an area that was a second-class, run-down, warehouse, industrial development area that did not provide high employment and was an unsightly blemish in the heart of the city of Vancouver. We have assembled the largest portion of that land, and are dealing on other portions, in order to effect a redevelopment that I would hazard a guess would never have taken place. Private development could not meet the conditions of the city, and would not. That has gone on for a number of years. We have had the steady expansion of facilities in that area that would be too costly to purchase had the continued warehouse construction and industrial development taken place. There's no doubt about it, the timing was perfect. It was time to make that decision and that purchase. It was a decision of magnitude.
The concept then is how it could be financed without a drain on the taxpayers. The cost recovery will come because we are creating an increase in values with the amphitheatre and with the transit. We are creating higher values, and therefore the people of British Columbia will take advantage of those higher values in the profits that will pay for the amphitheatre and the public places and be spread around this province to assist other communities. It will take 15 years. I know you, Mr. Chairman, agree with the concept of that area, and that you are happy, and that you know that your area will get great benefits from B.C. Place as well.
MR. BARNES: Mr. Chairman, I believe the Premier is trying to convince himself that his vision was a good idea.
HON. MR. BENNETT: Are you still against it?
MR. BARNES: You're working pretty hard to try to convince yourself.
Mr. Chairman, on behalf of the thousands of people who are unhoused....
MR. BARNES: Look at that. I wish we had TV in this place so we could show you how that minister behaves. What a trip that would be! No matter how old or how rich they get, they still play the child's game, don't they? All that money and he still has to be a little cute. That's all right. We know how the Minister of Municipal Affairs (Hon. Mr. Vander Zalm) can be from time to time.
Mr. Chairman, the Premier had a vision without a referendum or referral to the community, without any effort to find out what the impact would be on the city of Vancouver. It was a dream that he had himself, and he has thrust it on the city of Vancouver and has the gall to brag about it now, with no reference whatsoever to the consequences — what the cost of land in that area will be as a result of speculation. Land will cost $300 to $500 per square foot, when it was $3 before. He's happy, but the impact on Chinatown and all the other areas in that community, the residential integrity of Yaletown and the whole area is being completely inundated with speculators and people who are trying to capitalize on it, at the expense of those communities that have existed for generations.
Sure, B.C. Place could have been a good idea, but I would like to ask the Premier why he saw fit to take $125 million of the taxpayers' money to build a stadium when the housing situation was the way it was when he took office in
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1975. What about all those promises? What about this business of "a home for everybody" — the right of everyone to have their own home in this province? "Get rid of the socialists and you will have your home." You remember what you said. You were also the one who stood up and said: "Elect Social Credit. We will not take away rent controls. We won't touch them until the housing situation is straightened out and everyone has a home."
HON. MR. BENNETT: That's right.
MR. BARNES: I can tell you that the Premier is trying to convince himself that he has a good idea.
When I started speaking, I said I was standing up on behalf of the thousands of unhoused British Columbians who are wondering what this government's priorities are. I am here to say that I don't think their priorities include them — the people who relied on this government, who believed that they had a solution for them.
I have a letter that I would like to read. I am going to be quite brief, mainly because I think the first member for Vancouver Centre (Mr. Lauk) quite succinctly described the state of affairs in this province with respect to the government's priorities. Unlike the Premier, I see no point in repeating statements that have been made. I think what we want is action, not speeches. The Premier is quite good at that, however. He's the Premier who, just a few years ago, was asked by the TV crews when he was getting out of his limousine.... At the time, I think, we were debating the new seatbelt legislation in the province. Do you recall that, Mr. Premier? You were asked if your car was equipped with seatbelts. The Premier looked up at the camera and said no. He got out of his car and walked away, and the camera focused on where he was sitting, and he had been sitting on his seatbelt.
The point is that the Premier has no problem with being.... I won't say he's a liar because that's unparliamentary, but he certainly has difficulty dealing directly with questions that are put to him in a straightforward way. I see no reason to expect that he will be any different today, so all I'm going to do is share with the Premier a letter that I received. Perhaps we'll at least put on record the reality of what's happening to some people in the community while you build your monuments to yourself, your big-ticket projects that you conceive without any reference whatsoever to the taxpayers and force upon them regardless of what the consequences may be. We all have to bear the burden. However, you're the man in the driver's seat right now, Mr. Premier, and I realize that you have the last word. You proved that with the ward system and you will prove it with everything else, as long as the people believe that you are sincere, that you really care.
I received this letter on June 17. It was actually addressed to me and the first member for Vancouver Centre. It says: "Dear Mr. Barnes....
HON. MR. GARDOM: Signed "Mom."
MR. BARNES: Would you like to say that on the record, Mr. Minister of Intergovernmental Relations? You say this is signed by my mother. Is that what you said?
HON. MR. GARDOM: I thought it might be.
MR. BARNES: I see. Are you backing down, Mr. Minister? If you think this is signed by my mother, you stand up and say so, and let the record stand for itself. This is a very serious matter, Mr. Chairman. I do not appreciate the interjections of that complacent crowd over there. I think when you hear what I've got to say, you should stand up and apologize not only to this House but to this whole province for your incredible arrogance.
MR. BARNES: Mr. Chairman, I can't speak as long as there are these interjections.
MR. CHAIRMAN: Hon. members, come to order. We'll allow the second member for Vancouver Centre to continue, hopefully without interruption. If members address the Chair in their remarks, it greatly helps as well.
MR. BARNES: This is the letter.
"Dear Mr. Barnes:
"I am writing to protest discrimination against families with children. My husband lived in a bachelor suite at Grosvenor Square from about 1972 to 1976. We were married and moved into a one-bedroom suite in April 1976 and have lived in the same suite for over five years. My husband has lived in the building for a total of eight years. We recently had a baby, and as we live in an 'adult-oriented building,' we have been given a three-month eviction notice.
"I haven't written to you previously as I thought we would be able to find alternative accommodation. However, with the vacancy rate at less than 1 percent, we have found this impossible. We have spent the last three months looking for suitable rental accommodation and have found nothing. The last three weeks we have investigated the possibility of buying a house. However, this too is impossible, as we cannot afford a house with the inflated cost plus high mortgage rates.
"Our building is concrete and soundproof. We live on the top floor and therefore have no one living above us. We have asked the neighbours on either side of us, and they have not heard the baby. The baby is far too young to be running up and down the hallways disturbing people. In fact, my husband and baby leave the apartment at 7 a.m. and return at 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, as we have found it necessary for me to work and leave the baby with a sitter, in order that one day we may be able to afford a house. So as you can see, the baby is not in the apartment very much. Our one-bedroom apartment is quite large and, while not ideal, it's certainly manageable for another six months or so.
"The letter dated March 16 from RDC Property Services in Vancouver states that we have been 'very good tenants of long standing.' The letter dated May 22 states that even though we have been unable to find other accommodation, the eviction notice still stands. One would think some compassion would be shown to 'very good tenants,' in view of the fact of the nil occupancy rate.
"If you have any suggestions or solutions to my predicament, I would appreciate hearing from you at
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your very earliest convenience. I will soon be evicted, and as I don't know where I will be staying, please write me at my office address."
There's no point in saying who signed this letter, but I'm quite prepared to show the Minister of Intergovernmental Relations (Hon. Mr. Gardom) privately. There's no point in bringing in the family name. It's a very personal and tragic situation in this time of affluence that the Premier brags about the good times that we're having in this economy.
I'm going to give you an example of what these people have to deal with, Mr. Premier. Here's a letter of March 16 to the tenants.
"May I take this opportunity to congratulate you on your recent arrival. I sincerely hope that both mother and child are in excellent health.
"Regretfully, the tenancy agreement does not provide for child residency, and as such we must request that you relocate and find other accommodation as soon as possible. We are pleased to advise that you have been very good tenants of long standing, and we will provide a reference to that effect if requested.
"As advised by the residence manager, please make arrangements to vacate in advance of June 30, 1981. Accordingly we have prepared the attached termination notice. If you have any questions in regard to this matter, please contact the undersigned."
Mr. Chairman, I'm going to tell you briefly what happened to that family, and that will conclude my remarks. That particular family did the impossible. They found a place in Vancouver — an 850-square-foot house for $125,000. They had to assume a first mortgage of $50,000 at 10.5 percent. The woman and her husband borrowed $35,000 from their parents. They took out a second mortgage of $35,000, at God knows what rates. They were able to convince the bank manager to loan them that money at probably 70 percent of their total incomes of $42,000. That's the two people both working full-time trying to raise a family, at those rates. At $1,300 a month that they anticipate having to pay in premiums you can imagine they're going to have a pretty rough time. That's the high cost of children and families in this province. That's what it costs legitimate community people who are not freeloaders and not welfare burns, but who just a few years ago were probably safe and secure middle-class people thinking that they had no problems. Here they are being hit with a housing situation that is virtually impossible to overcome.
[Mr. Strachan in the chair.]
I can assure the House, Mr. Chairman, that any time a bank manager, knowing full well through actuarial experience that it should take no more than 25 to 30 percent of your gross income in order to manage your housing costs.... These people are being approved for loans at an amount of probably 75 percent of what they earn in total just to qualify. The bank manager is doing it as a service in a desperate situation; we know that he's sentencing those people to eternal hell. There's no possible way they can keep that up over the years. They're probably going to have to walk away from their home at one point in time.
You've now raised the first homeowner grant to $140,000. That allows these people to buy a cheap home at $125,000 with the gratuitous gift of 5,000 lousy bucks. That's what you call your housing program. You've done nothing in the way of construction ever since you destroyed the Housing Corporation of British Columbia. You have made it quite clear that you see no place for the government in the housing field. You do not believe that the government has a responsibility to ensure that people have affordable housing. So, Mr. Chairman, let the record speak for itself. I don't expect you to try to give us a solution, because you've proven where your priorities are with your housing scheme for B.C. Place, which will be mostly luxury housing, and nothing is going to come onstream for at least two years. It'll be 1986 before the project is completed, or the first phase of the housing project is completed, which is probably about 5,000 houses. We need about 50,000 in the city of Vancouver.
Let me just conclude by saying that it is so bad in the city of Vancouver that clerical staff cannot even afford to live in the area within five or ten miles of the city. They're having to fly typists in from back east because they can't afford to pay the rent. In downtown Vancouver you cannot find a typist to type the rentalsman's notices that are going out. You have apartment buildings that are empty in the West End because of speculation. They're getting rid of the present tenants through attrition so they can tear the thing down and build luxury apartments. That's all as a result of your grandiose scheme of no reference to the people, and no contact with physical planning in the city of Vancouver. It's just a pipedream you had — and that you're now bragging about — that is destroying the core and the basic structure of the city of Vancouver. As taxpayers, we will be paying for it for many years. I'm not against B.C. Place as a concept. I never have been.... I think that it could have and may have been.... But the way that you have gone and the way that you have started it off is going to cost us far more than it ever should have cost. That shows that you have one set of standards for yourself and another set for the people of British Columbia.
Mr. Chairman, I want to thank you for your attention.
MR. PASSARELL: I have a number of issues to raise with the Premier. The first one is regarding the Stikine-Iskut controversy in Alaska. On the first issue I'd like to ask the Premier why his government has boycotted two previous meetings with the Alaska government. Those meetings happened in April and on June 8, 1981. It's unbelievable that on a river in British Columbia that has an international treaty on it, this Premier has boycotted two previous meetings with the government of Alaska. I'd like to quote from an article from the Washington Post dated June 3: "John Roberts Gets Into Dam Dispute." It was also carried by the Canadian Press. It stated that the Minister of the Environment, John Roberts, offered full cooperation of the Canadian government in order to resolve a dispute over several proposed dam sites on the Stikine-Iskut River. It goes on: "At this meeting Senator Ted Stevens from the state of Alaska was quite concerned to find some type of solution acceptable to the four major parties involved in this dispute: the federal government of Canada, the province of British Columbia, the federal government of the United States and the state of Alaska." It goes further in this article — we all know the joint resolution that was passed in Alaska — to say:
"Those talks, however, still have not been finalized because B.C. has not agreed to the scheduled June 8 date. After the Stevens-Roberts meetings a spokesman for Senator Stevens said he is pleased that Ottawa has pledged its cooperation, but he is concerned that B.C. may be dragging its feet."
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The Premier of this province also has done a disservice to the province of British Columbia and our country of Canada by not cooperating and showing goodwill to the state of Alaska and the federal government of the United States by sitting down well before June 30 and holding some type of frank and honest discussions, instead of just starting at this late date to exchange information with the Alaska government. I just wonder what the Premier of this province is afraid of.
The second issue I'd like to bring to the Premier's attention is Amax. I wonder why the Premier has been afraid to hold public meetings with the Nishga after his government granted the initial application to the multinational corporation of Amax in January 1979 that allows them to go ahead and dump 12,000 tonnes of toxic waste into the Nishga food fisheries. I wonder why the Premier has been so silent on this important issue that's affecting the first citizens of this province. I wonder what the priorities of this Premier are. Are they profits for a multinational corporation over the livelihood, health and heritage of the first citizens of this province? It appears the Premier is more interested in profits for Amax than the concerns and livelihood of the Nishga people.
Another question I'd like to direct to the Premier is a promise your government made to the Nishga people during the campaign of 1975. It was reiterated in 1976 by the Attorney-General (Hon. Mr. Williams), who was Minister of Labour at the time. It concerns land claims. When are you going to move on that campaign promise of six years ago? Are you going to wait until next year when we have another provincial election and make the same promise again? You have been extremely quiet concerning land claims promises and issues.
Maybe it's time for you, Mr. Premier, to apologize to the Nishga people for a promise you made to them six years ago. It doesn't take much to stand up and apologize. You don't lose face. But you just sit back and continue on a promise you made and feel that it will go away, and then the next time an election happens you'll make the same promise. It's no crime to apologize. It shows that you can be a statesman or someone worthy of respect if you get up and apologize. It's no crime and it's about time you started doing it.
HON. MR. PHILLIPS: Why don't you try it once in a while?
MR. PASSARELL: I have, Mr. Minister of Industry and Small Business Development.
MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please. I ask the Minister of Industry and Small Business Development and the Leader of the Opposition not to interrupt the member who is speaking.
MR. PASSARELL: There are a number of issues I'd like to also discuss concerning the Premier's imperial style of governing this province — silly expenditures. I took ten issues, Mr. Chairman. The first one is the BCRIC fiasco. How many people really believed what the Premier was saying about going out and investing in BCRIC, and now find they can't even make the bank payments, because it's down to about $4.50 today?
The second one is an issue we discussed yesterday concerning the northern ferry and this government's position that if you take a ferry out of service it saves the government money. Unbelievable! Maybe they're going to put a hold on all ferry transportation in this province to keep saving some money.
The third issue I'd like to discuss is the hiring of a Hollywood film team. The Premier of this province allows his government to hire a Hollywood film team when we've got cases up in Dease Lake where there are 300 people who have no first-aid station and no chance of getting any type of first-aid medical assistance in their community because this government constantly says there's not enough money to buy a $15,000 trailer so that people can go and get a Band-aid. This Premier has one of his ministers go down to Hollywood to hire a Hollywood film team to bolster his image. Unbelievable! What's more important to this Premier — to bolster his image with the public, or to allow some of the public in northern British Columbia and isolated areas to receive some type of first-aid medical assistance? We see where the priority of this Premier is — to bolster his image.
MR, PASSARELL: There's no other reason. It's $15,000 to bring a trailer into Dease Lake so the people up there can have some type of medical assistance, and this Premier allows a Hollywood film team, at approximately the same price, to come in here and bolster the image of certain sagging ministers.
The fourth issue is Mr. Edgar Kaiser receiving millions through a sweetheart deal on the coal deal. Unbelievable! And we have problems up north where residents have to drive on Highway 37, which at times is almost a goat trail, because the government doesn't have enough money to develop that highway.
Gracie's Finger — another image-seeking issue to bolster his strength.
The trips to Asia, spending hard-earned taxpayers' dollars, is another issue. Once again we see the poor condition of roads up north; we see lack of medical facilities.
HON. MR. PHILLIPS: Did he go there and play football, like your leader?
MR, PASSARELL: I don't know what you play, Mr. Minister of Industry....
MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please. I'll ask the minister once again to be reminded that he cannot interrupt another member who is speaking.
MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please. I'll ask the Leader of the Opposition to take his place as well. Please continue.
MR. PASSARELL: He spent hard-earned taxpayers' dollars on a junket to Asia. At the same time, residents of the north find that they have to be content with poor road facilities up north.
Another interesting aspect of the Premier is his negative attitude at times. He's always looking back in history — the negative Premier who always looks back in history. Why aren't you positive, Mr. Premier, and look to the future? We have a great province. Don't be negative; be positive. Look at the good things of this province.
[ Page 6594 ]
MR. BARNES: Like BCRIC.
MR. PASSARELL: That's right. You must have been reading my speech there.
The eighth issue I'd like to discuss is the grandiose schemes of this Premier and his government — places like B.C. Place, Pier B-C and the monuments to the Premier's name. This government can't find $15,000 to put a first-aid station into Dease Lake, but it can spend billions of dollars on monuments in Vancouver and ignore the north.
MR. BARNES: Free enterprise at the taxpayers' expense.
MR. PASSARELL: That's right.
The ninth issue. The public will always remember, Mr. Chairman, the Premier's famous voting record in the last federal election, with his famous quote about why he didn't vote. What was it? Something to the effect that one vote didn't matter? I think it was something like that. That certainly sets a good example to the young people of this province when it comes to voting in the democratic process. One vote doesn't matter, the Premier states.
The tenth issue I'd like to discuss is Crown land disposition. It is interesting, Mr. Chairman, that not everyone in this province is a millionaire and can afford some lakeshore frontage. Some of us have to afford, when the opportunity arises for our first land, Crown land. I would certainly hope that the Premier, through his Minister of Lands, Parks and Housing (Hon. Mr. Chabot) can continue to allow the dispensing of Crown land throughout this province so that young families and young people can receive some type of Crown land to build one of their first homes.
have been a number of issues I've raised to the Premier, Mr. Chairman,
and I will simply anticipate his reaction. In closing, I would say I
don't personally dislike the Premier. I find him very honourable....
HON. MRS. JORDAN: I'd hate to be an enemy of yours.
MR. PASSARELL: Mr. Chairman, through you, to the Premier....
HON. MR. PHILLIPS: With friends like you who needs enemies?
MR. PASSARELL: You do.
Mr. Premier, people aren't your enemies just because they represent a different political party. If the Leader of the Opposition is standing out in the hallway, there's no reason to put your head down and walk by and not say hello. That's what happened. Just last week we were standing out there, and he put his head down and walked right by. Why don't you open up a little bit and say hello to people? What's the matter? Are you too big? Are you too important?
Those are a number of the issues I've raised, and I shall be waiting with anticipation, Mr. Chairman, to hear the wisdom of the Premier.
MR. KING: I hope that my colleague, the member for Atlin, is an infinitely patient individual. I hope that he didn't take the interjections from the minister of small-mindedness — I mean the minister of small business — too seriously, because empty vessels usually make the most noise. We understand the Minister of Industry and Small Business Development (Hon. Mr. Phillips) well.
Mr. Chairman, I have just one question for the Premier. It's a very serious question. He made a comment regarding potential development of the townsite of Tumbler Ridge, and offered his views as to how that development should go forward with respect to the industrial relations of the matter. I believe he also commented on a decision that the Labour Relations Board had made pertaining to the town of Whistler and the development and expansion that went on there as to whether it should be by trade unions, unorganized workers or a combination of both. Certainly it's not my position to advocate, one or the other, but I would remind the Premier that we do have a Labour Code in the province which gives jurisdiction to a quasi-judicial agency which is at arm's length from government — the Labour Relations Board — to hear applications for certification. It is an indication of the will of the majority of workers, rather than some political dictate from his party or any other as to what the status of the working people of the province should be: organized or unorganized. It's always been held in law that that was a choice for the workers to make. The Labour Relations Board dealt with that question in their wisdom and under their legal mandate.
I personally, Mr. Chairman, found it rather disconcerting to hear the Premier of the province indicate that he would perhaps intervene with regard to the potential townsite of Tumbler Ridge and dictate in some political way what the status of that development should be. I want to ask the Premier if he would today, in the final few minutes of his estimates, indicate precisely what his policy and objective are. Are they to override and bypass the legally mandated, quasi-judicial agency — the Labour Relations Board — and to decide to dictate in a political way what status the workers of that new development should enjoy? Or is it his wish, as a partisan politician, to keep his hands off and let the Labour Relations Board decide the matter, as is the requirement of the legal framework at the moment?
I was very interested, and I think the trade union movement and industry are very concerned as to whether there is going to be political involvement here or whether the rules of the game as they now exist on the statute books of British Columbia will be the known guidelines under which the parties will function. The Premier has made a public statement on it, and I would very much appreciate some clarification from him.
HON. MR. BENNETT: Mr. Chairman, a number of items have been brought up. Some of them were questions dealing with subjects that have been dealt with, but one question that was brought up by the member for Atlin (Mr. Passarell) — who I notice is no longer in the chamber....
AN HON. MEMBER: Yes, he's right here.
HON. MR. BENNETT: Oh, there he is. He's changed his seat.
I'd like to say that the government of British Columbia has not been reticent about sharing with Alaska and the Governor of Alaska any information relating to the Stikine. A meeting took place in Vancouver on June 30, hosted by Hydro, with participation by the government of Alaska, the federal government, the U.S. federal government and the government of British Columbia. A press release was issued. I have a copy of the draft that was made. I want to say that everyone was very happy with the meeting, particularly those
[ Page 6595 ]
representing Alaska. The reports I have on the meeting — this was not handled in a political way but by people who have nothing to gain in a political sense, so they were only there to do a job — indicate that this was a cordial and excellent meeting. The continuing excellent relations that Governor Jay Hammond and I have had in the past — and which I have with other governments adjacent to this province — continue. There was a general reaffirmation that we would not allow distortions that may inadvertently appear in the press to destroy relations between a province and a state and two friendly countries. From recent events, Governor Hammond has a much clearer understanding of politics in British Columbia, and he clearly understands the importance of maintaining contact between our offices to make sure that the messages are clear.
The other question asked about dealing with the native Indians. I must say that that responsibility was delegated, from our election in 1975, to the present Attorney-General (Hon. Mr. Williams), who was Minister of Labour then. He has carried that portfolio, and the commitment to sit down with the federal government has always been adhered to. The difficulty is when there are a number of parties involved. I must say that the first projects dealt with.... That member talks about election promises. I remember visiting Terrace in 1979, when I was presented with a demand to sign a letter that they claimed had been signed by the leader of the New Democratic Party, making some commitment to the native Indian band — and I would not do it.
HON. MR. BENNETT: No, I did not. And I would not sign that letter. Because of that, perhaps you're a one-election wonder. I would not do it. However, it was signed by the leader of the New Democratic Party. I don't know if that letter has ever seen the light of day in any other part of this province, as to its contents and its commitment. But we didn't sign it. That was in 1979.
I'd like to deal with the member for Shuswap–Revelstoke (Mr. King), who asked me about remarks made in a general conversation about Tumbler Ridge. Let me say very clearly that I said this government believed that every citizen in this province, whether organized or unorganized, should have some access to a particular job: if it's a union job on that particular construction, then it's a union job; if the construction of this building over here — which might be in the same town — is non-union, then it's a non-union job, and that contractor has equal access. I said — and I believe it very strongly — that a whole community cannot rule out the opportunity for those who are unorganized to get a job. I stay with that. It would be against everything I stand for in the total community of Tumbler Ridge if where you might have a number of contractors and a number of opportunities to bid, unorganized contractors and unorganized workers were denied the opportunity to build, to submit bids or to construct any part of the project in that area. I want to say that very clearly.
I also want to say that it was on that same philosophy that I disagreed with that member. When they were government they said that people in this province who were ordinary citizens couldn't bid on government work unless they were organized. We changed that law when we became government. It's clearly a difference of opinion. We say there are no second-class citizens when it comes to dealing with those areas of public expenditures. Particularly when we tax all people, surely they should all be able to provide a building for government services.
Hopefully there will be an opportunity for many British Columbians — small and large businesses, organized and unorganized at Tumbler Ridge. It is part of British Columbia, and every British Columbian should share in the opportunity to successfully gain employment or a business contract without contravening the conditions that relate to supply. As I say, the total community cannot be shut out from one or the other.
MR. KING: Just to correct the Premier, who seems a bit confused on this issue, it's true that your government did abolish the Public Works Fair Employment Act; but, interestingly enough, you kept the one section of it which gave some effect to the very principles you talked about. It was introduced for the first time by a New Democratic Party government in this province. That was the provision that the Minister of Labour could designate a fair percentage of local employment on any public project. Further, the interesting thing is that that provision has never been used under a Social Credit government since you came to office. The city council of Revelstoke, senior citizens' groups, chambers of commerce and I wrote to your Minister of Labour and to the Premier's office asking for that standard to be applied to the Mica Dam project and to the Revelstoke dam project. Lo and behold, Mr. Chairman, your minister refused. So all of the workers for those two local projects, which are funded publicly, are dispatched from a union office in Vancouver. Many of them are from out of province.
HON. MR. BENNETT: Are you speaking against it?
MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please. I'll ask the Premier and the Leader of the Opposition....
MR. KING: Mr. Chairman, the Premier obviously doesn't know the laws that are on the statute books of this province. I wish the government had used it. It's not to say that it will be union or non-union. The provision is to sit down with the trade union movement and the contractors and say: "What is a fair percentage of local people that should be hired on these projects? What are the skills that are available? What are the number of jobs that are available?" You have that law available to you now. We passed it in this House. Incidentally, the Social Credit Party voted against it when we introduced it, but it's on the statute books now. I fully support that. What I do not support and what I will never support is the Premier or any politician interfering in the normal certification process of workers in this province.
The Premier is inferring that he will somehow intervene to decide who will be union and who won't be union in Tumbler Ridge. That's up to the workers themselves. That's their free and democratic right. We have a referee in law which is the Labour Relations Board. The Premier or no other politician should be interfering in that process. It's akin to contempt of any other quasi judicial agency in the province. The Premier should have a look and consult his Minister of Labour. The law is now on the statute books to make sure that here is fair access for local people. I just wish the Premier of his province and his minister would have been so concerned about this matter to give effect to it on the Revelstoke Dam
[ Page 6596 ]
project like he was requested to do by myself, the even by senior citizens' groups in that community. He failed to do it.
HON. MR. BENNETT: Just quickly so the member doesn't leave any misimpression, I talked about not just local hiring but about British Columbians having availability to bid in areas that did not contravene. Where there is a contract in the union job that I talked about, a total community could not be closed off in access to any British Columbian. I believe that very strongly. Mine was one of saying I will fight not to hurt anyone but fight for anyone to have fair access under the law to work in this province and to provide a service.
MR. KING: You don't even know the law. Read the act.
HON. MR. BENNETT: If you want to put any interpretation on that, you may. I'll tell you, I've read a lot of acts. I remember a lot of acts of yours when you were government. I didn't have to read them to know they were wrong. Many of the things you did.... I saw the results of them in this province. Many people felt the results of them. You think that every statute you passed was good. I don't make that assumption about ours. Not every statute we pass is perfect, and sometimes it needs another look. So don't tell me that every act on the books is ideal. I don't want you to leave a false impression about where the Premier of this province stands. He stands on the side of the people of this province having reasonable access to jobs and to business opportunity. I don't need any mumbo-jumbo from the member for Shuswap–Revelstoke to tell people where I stand. They know where that member stands, and not by what he says now. They remember him by his actions. They remember you and many will never forget you.
MR. BARRETT: As we wind down the Premier's estimates, I want to thank the Premier for being candid about something we've been maintaining about him for some time. Now he's said it. I want to thank him. He said: "I don't have to read the law to know they're wrong." That's fine. Don't read it. Just make up your mind. It's wrong if it's the NDP or Liberal or Conservative. The fact is that the law passed by us in this House clearly says that in a local area the trade union movement and the local community can get together and work out an accommodation for non-union workers. The member here from Shuswap–Revelstoke, the former Minister of Labour, who was the author of that bill, asked that that provision of the bill allowing small business, non-union people in Revelstoke have the right to sit down and negotiate a part of the contract. Who stopped that from taking place? Social Credit. The member for Dawson Creek shakes his head and says: "It can't be so." It's absolutely true, Mr. Member. It is a matter of record. If we can show you in writing, Mr. Member, will you stake your seat on it? Of course not. You see, it is that simple thing the Premier said: "I don't have to read it to know that it's wrong." That will rank with the statement by the former minister, Mr. Gaglardi. He said: "If I tell a lie, I only think I'm telling the truth." That's what Phil Gaglardi said.
MR. MACDONALD: He was just an inadvertent liar.
MR. BARRETT: That's correct. He said: "If I tell a lie, it's only because I think I'm telling the truth." And the Premier said today: "I don't have to read them to know they're wrong." Stubborn, closed mind, but trapped in his own rhetoric, because the very thing that he says he's against is what he sponsored on the Revelstoke Dam. The mayor of Revelstoke wrote; the member for Shuswap–Revelstoke (Mr. King) wrote. They said they wanted accommodation for non-union workers. And who blocked that from taking place? Who blocked small businesses in British Columbia that are non-union from having a share? It was that Premier right over there. How ironic, but it's true.
Go read the bill, Mr. Member. Open both eyes, separate them a bit and read the bill. You'll discover that in that bill he voted against was a section allowing him to do exactly what he says he stands for; but when he had an opportunity to do it, he blocked it. Then he says: "I don't have to read them to know they're wrong." Thanks a lot for the most candid statement by the Premier since he became Premier. "I've made up my mind. Don't confuse me with the facts. I hate NDP so much that even if they bring in a bill that makes sense, I'm against it." Just like you were against the Petroleum Corporation. Just like you were then. Do you remember that? Do you remember the crazy speeches made in this House by your colleagues about the Petroleum Corporation? It's made close to a billion dollars for the people of British Columbia, but it was dangerous socialism because it was brought in by the NDP. You should read some of the old statements by the Premier.
MR. KEMPF: Collected it, not made it.
MR. BARRETT: Collected it, that's right. No matter whether collected or made, was the money in the bank, Mr. Chairman? Was the money spent by this government? It certainly was. There has been a fall-off of sales in the States through no fault of the Social Credit or the NDP. There's been a drop in the revenue, but the system is fantastic. It's a money-making machine.
MR. KEMPF: Collected it.
HON. MR. BENNETT: Tax collector.
MR. BARRETT: Well, my dear friends. When they were in opposition it was called socialism. When they're in government they call it collections. You know, Mr. Chairman, I really enjoy these philosophical twists and turns by the government. He gets up and says, "We want small business to have a chance to bid on jobs," and in Revelstoke he wouldn't let it happen.
HON. MR. BENNETT: This isn't philosophical; it's garbage. Kelly Gibson wrote it for you.
MR. BARRETT: There it is.
MR. KING: It's true, Bill. You're caught in your own hype.
MR. BARRETT: Yes, well, we've had a little example of it this afternoon. Now we have the little example of a confused Premier who has made the most honest statement he's made since he's been in government. I'm afraid I'll have to quote it in in the same vein as Phil Gaglardi's. He says: "I don't have to read them to know they're wrong. I just feel it." He lifts up his little arm, waves it in the wind, and says: "Oh,
[ Page 6597 ]
it's NDP, it's no good. Oh, it's Liberal, it's Trudeau, it's arson, it's no good. Oh, it's Joe Clark, it's chinless, it's no good. I'm Bill Bennett, I know everything." It's wonderful. What a way to go through life. "I don't have to read it to know it's wrong." It's really something. I'm glad you admitted it. You got badgered so much. You were so upset by the member for Atlin (Mr. Passarell) that you coughed up.
HON. MR. BENNETT: He's a tiger.
MR. BARRETT: He certainly is. You laugh about him saying that you didn't bother to vote federally. You didn't; you left for Hawaii. That member knows how much one vote means.
HON. MR. BENNETT: Governor Hammond knows too.
MR. BARRETT: That's right.
MR. KING: So does Frank Calder.
MR. BARRETT: I want to tell you that Frank Calder knows what one vote means, and so does that member. He won by one vote. He'll forever be known in this House as "Landslide." But democracy worked for him. Too bad the Premier didn't take a lot of friends with him last time. It would have been different. How many Social Credit federal MPs ran last time?
MR. SKELLY: He took all his friends.
MR. BARRETT: He took all his friends.
Well, Mr. Chairman, I want to make a little motion on the Premier's estimates.
SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!
MR. BARRETT: Yes, and I want to tell you something: I don't regret it one bit; I feel good about it. I'm going to propose that we cut a few bucks out of the Premier's office. Just a few bucks. It's symbolic. But he's become a bit of a spendthrift in his office. He's got more staff than have ever been placed in the Premier's office before. He even has staff who are being paid out of the Provincial Secretary's office but report to the Premier — Mr. Heal, for example. [Laughter.] Oh, ha, ha, ha! I love those laughs — you know, they're really deep-down, emotional and full of humour.
When you come into the buildings, Mr. Chairman, and you go to the security office and you say, "May I go to Mr. Heal's office?" do you know what they say? They ask where he works. If you say, "Well, I want to speak to Mr. Heal who works for the Provincial Secretary," they say, "Oh, we have no Mr. Heal working for the Provincial Secretary, but Mr. Heal is here under the Premier's office." It's handwritten in. To find Mr. Heal, who is the Hollywood image purveyor for the Premier for....
MR. BARRETT: Well, however you describe it. This is the man who hired people from Hollywood and paid $14,000 of taxpayers' money to give this report. I want all the taxpayers in British Columbia to understand. It was rather self-evident, but this is what you paid $14,000 for. There were three suggestions for the $14,000: the Minister of Human Resources (Hon. Mrs. McCarthy) shouldn't go on television with frizzy hair; the Minister of Industry and Small Business Development (Hon. Mr. Phillips) shouldn't go on television, because he's inclined to go off the deep end — and we had witness of that today; and the Premier needs a shave. We paid $14,000 for that information, folks. Only Social Credit would spend that kind of money.
Does the Premier come up front and say that old Doug Heal — Cecil B. De Heal — works out of the Premier's office? Not on your life. Little old Evan, the other car salesman, has to take the heat. So what happens? When someone wants to come in and see Mr. Heal for a Hollywood appointment, they go in the front door and they say to one of the security people: "We want to see Mr. Heal." They say: "Mr. Heal works under the Premier's office." They forgot to play the game right down on the directory. You see, we're not supposed to know that Heal is really working directly under the Premier. The game is that he is working under the Provincial Secretary, but somebody forgot to tell the security office down there.
MR. KING: How much money does he make?
MR. BARRETT: Heal makes $64,000 a year. Now ask me how he got the job. He got the job this way. He was hired as a consultant and paid $24,000 to recommend someone who should have the $64,000 to improve the image of the Premier. So Mr. Heal was hired at $24,000. For all those Loto winners out there — they understand how these chances work — guess who he recommended in his $24,000 report for his job? I'll give you three guesses, and the first two don't count.
MR. MACDONALD: Dan Campbell.
MR. BARRETT: No, not Dan Campbell.
MR. KING: Phil Gaglardi.
MR. BARRETT: No, not Phil Gaglardi. You lost. Surprise, surprise: it was Doug Heal who recommended himself. To you folks out there in never-never land of British Columbia, is there anybody out there who would like $24,000 to do a survey on who is the best image-maker to hire and then have the chance of recommending yourself? Only in British Columbia.
MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please.
MR. BARRETT: That's true. I want to tell you, Mr. Chairman, that we have to have a little bit of humour about this, because if we didn't it would be so tragic. It's so lacking in political morality that it smells. We have to have a little fun with it, because we've had a lot of smells out of this government ever since the whole business of gerrymandering — the tinkering around with the whole redistribution system with the Minister of Human Resources (Hon. Mrs. McCarthy) being accused of messing around with it — the letters out of your office, the whole dirty tricks scam and you come back with a hamikachi thing from Japan, saying: "It's okay folks, I'm going to commit hari-kari on television." You know, the behaviour of this Premier is absolutely incredible.
[ Page 6598 ]
And the little games that he plays! Do you know who he's trying to convince with the little games? Not the public, not the opposition, not his backbenchers. He's trying to kid himself that he's fooling people. He's trying to kid himself that he's really getting away with this kind of stuff. That's really the problem. You really believe that you're kidding yourself about this stuff. That's really the problem you're dealing with. I am really convinced, Mr. Chairman, that the Premier doesn't consciously understand that every time he plays one of his games he's doing more damage than any Hollywood producer can possibly clean up with any kind of advice.
The people of British Columbia represent a small population. The one thing they would prefer is frankness, candour and honesty. You don't need a Hollywood image to deal with....
MR. CHAIRMAN: Hon. member, at this point I must remind you that we must be parliamentary. Any personal allusions or imputations a member is not honourable are not allowed. I'm sure the member is aware of that.
MR. BARRETT: Mr. Chairman, I'm not implying anything. I'm reciting the facts of the case. The Premier has hired people to improve his image, and he doesn't need to do that. It's no substitute for candour, frankness and honesty on television. Instead of running down the corridor away from cameras.... Everybody in British Columbia has seen him run away from television cameras. I've even seen him elbow reporters in the hallway.
AN HON. MEMBER: No!
MR. BARRETT: Yes. I suspect that the labour committee wants to make a recommendation that workers' compensation cover reporters for rib damage in the hallway.
Anyway, it's well known. I don't have to repeat all of it, but a little candour would go a long way.
I want to move the following reductions and give you a total, Mr. Chairman. The Premier has increased his travel expenditures from $55,000 to $68,000. I remember when he yelled and hollered and hooped when the travel allowance in the Premier's office was $28,000. He has increased his personal and special services from zero to $6,000. We once paid $1,200 to give the Premier a make-up job for television. I want to know if that $6,000 is to pay for make-up jobs. We once paid $900 for a television make-up job for the Premier. It cost us $900 just to put cosmetics on the Premier, and it didn't work. They powdered him up and he still came out as Blue Boy. Mr. Chairman, there's $6,000 for special services. Is that for make-up? I hope it's a pancake job.
Office expenses have gone up from $35,000 to $45,000, a $10,000 increase. Office furniture and equipment is only up a grand — that's all. He spent $16,000 on furniture; last year he spent $15,000. How many couches can you buy in that place? Of course materials and supplies are up a little bit, but motor vehicles are up $12,000. Are you buying a new car this year, Mr. Premier? That's good news.
MR. LEA: With seatbelts.
MR. BARRETT: Yes, with seatbelts, I hope. Do you remember that time, Mr. Premier — wink, nudge — when the press caught you coming out of the back seat of a car? They said: "Mr. Premier, why aren't you wearing your seatbelt?" Quick as a flash, because he's very fast, he said: "There are no seatbelts." And then the camera went from the Premier right down to the back seat, and there were seatbelts in the back seat. From that day on we've had the contradictions from the Premier, right up until today, when he said that he wanted to open those labour situations. "No seatbelts," and then the camera spotted them. I hope the $12,000 car you're going to buy this year has seatbelts. Will you and your car ever go on the ferry with ordinary people? Will you ever travel on the ferry with ordinary people, Mr. Premier, in that car? I hope so. People would like to see you.
Mr. Chairman, I move that vote 9, the Premier's office, be reduced by $50,000, enough for the down payment on a home for some lucky family in Vancouver who will never have the services of Mr. Heal or Hollywood images or big advertising budgets. Just give the taxpayers back $50,000. It would be a small gesture in a province that can ill afford to throw money away purely for advertising and image-making when candour would serve best.
[Mr. Davidson in the chair.]
Amendment negatived on the following division:
YEAS — 25
NAYS — 28
An hon. member requested that leave be asked to record the division in the Journals of the House.
Vote 9 approved.
Vote 3: auditor-general, $3,006,500 — approved.
Vote 4: building occupancy charges, $187,000 — approved.
Vote 5: computer and consulting charges, $75,000 — approved.
[ Page 6599 ]
The House resumed; Mr. Speaker in the chair.
The committee, having reported resolutions, was granted leave to sit again.
Divisions in committee ordered to be recorded in the Journals of the House.
HON. MR. GARDOM: Mr. Speaker, with leave, we'll proceed to public bills and orders — second reading of Bill 35, Legislative Assembly Allowances and Pension Amendment Act, 1981.
MR. SPEAKER: In order to proceed through two stages of a bill in one day, leave will be required.
LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY ALLOWANCES
AND PENSION AMENDMENT ACT, 1981
HON. MR. WOLFE: In moving second reading, I would just very briefly comment that this bill provides for an adjustment in MLAs' indemnities and expense accounts as of July 1 to the extent of approximately $3,000 total, represented by $2,000 indemnity and roughly $1,000 in expense allowance. At the same time, it provides for a similar amount of increase for ministers and a similar percentage of increase to the opposition leader, the Speaker, the Deputy Speaker, the Premier's office and certain other categories which have been provided for previously in this bill. It provides as well for a change in the present automatic formula which has been associated with the annual wage increase in British Columbia for the previous year. The previous formula adopted 75 percent of that increase for the previous year. Instead of that, this legislation amends that formula to provide for 100 percent of that increase so that on January 1, 1982, if this bill were to proceed, the formula would adopt the same percentage as applied to the annual wage increase in British Columbia for the previous year, as provided by Statistics Canada.
One further thing should be mentioned, Mr. Speaker, and that is that this is the first increase by legislation either for members or cabinet ministers: in the case of members, since January 1979, except for the automatic percentage increase, and since 1972 in the case of ministers.
Regarding the change in the pension plan, the present formula for members' pensions provides for 3.5 percent per year of service, up to a maximum of 20 years for any member, based on the best four years of salary during that period of time. This bill would change that formula to 4 percent from 3.5 percent per year of service, but would reduce the maximum from 20 to 18 years, in order to establish the maximum pension in the vicinity of 70 percent; in other words, it would be 72 percent.
In other words, as of July 1 there are reflected here salary and expense adjustments which are more in accord with and appropriate to what we find out there in the public and private sector of the province. Also, there is a necessary improvement in the pension plan which I think will provide a more appropriate recognition of members with shorter service than 20 years. In other words, it will provide a somewhat more worthwhile pension to a member who does not happen to serve 20 years for one reason or another.
That's the general nature of these amendments to the Legislative Assembly Allowances and Pension Amendment Act. I move second reading.
HON. MR. WOLFE: Mr. Speaker, I ask leave to refer Bill 35 to a Committee of the Whole House for consideration forthwith.
Bill 35, Legislative Assembly Allowances and Pension Amendment Act, 1981, read a second time and referred to a Committee of the Whole House for consideration forthwith.
LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY ALLOWANCES
AND PENSION AMENDMENT ACT, 1981
The House in committee on Bill 35; Mr. Davidson in the chair.
Sections 1 to 7 inclusive approved.
HON. MR. WOLFE: Mr. Chairman, I move the committee rise and report the bill complete without amendment.
The House resumed; Mr. Speaker in the chair.
Bill 35, Legislative Assembly Allowances and Pension Amendment Act, 1981, reported complete without amendment, read a third time and passed.
The House in Committee of Supply; Mr. Davidson in the chair.
Vote 1: legislation, $6,725,454 — approved.
Vote 2: Crown corporation reporting committee, $417,800 — approved.
On vote 6: office of the ombudsman, $1,236,125.
MR. KING: On this particular vote I wanted to remind the House that when the committee of the House was formed to select an ombudsman in the province of British Columbia, it was the recommendation of that committee, although a vehicle for making a recommendation was beyond the terms of reference of the committee at the time, that there be a legislative apparatus through which the ombudsman could report to the Legislature. This year we have had three reports to the Legislature from the ombudsman's office, without any vehicle being available through which those reports could be received, considered and debated, and any action taken relative to those reports. We also lack any liaison whatsoever between the Legislature and the ombudsman's office in terms
[ Page 6600 ]
of his mandate, his staff requirements, or whether or not the remaining sections of the Ombudsman Act should be promulgated.
I feel that it is essential, if we are to give full respect, credibility and meaning to the office of ombudsman in the province of British Columbia, that there should be a formal mechanism for recognizing that office, for receiving his reports and for dealing with them in the Legislature in an important and credible way. I would point out to the House that other provinces in the Dominion of Canada have a legislative mechanism, an ongoing committee of the Legislature, to liaise with the ombudsman's office and to carry recommendations from the ombudsman's office to the Legislature for debate. In my view, there is no question that it would facilitate the role that the ombudsman is asked to play in this province to have that kind of liaison. There is no question in my mind that it would give greater credibility to the ombudsman's office. After all, the ombudsman is a creature of this Legislature, created by a statute of this House. To have a situation where his reports pointing out bureaucratic ineffectiveness or inequity are delivered to this House and then not even paid the courtesy and respect of any debate has a bit of a stultifying effect on the credibility of the ombudsman's office.
So I suggest that all members of the House very seriously consider the need to set up some ongoing mechanism, such as an all-party House committee for liaison purposes, to make recommendations regarding the administrative needs of the ombudsman to the Legislature and to introduce the report so that there might be a formal mechanism for dealing with those reports and debating them. In my view, that's crucial and fundamental to giving real and full meaning to the ombudsman's office in the province of British Columbia. If citizens out there who have suffered at the hands of some government agency goes to what they perceive as a court of last resort — the ombudsman's office — he hears their complaints, investigates and writes a report indicating that they were dealt with unfairly and unjustly and that there should be a recourse.... Then he simply tables his report in the Legislature, but it is never debated. It's not even formally recognized in any way by the Legislature; I say, Mr. Chairman, that that is a complete negation of the Legislature's support for the whole philosophy of an ombudsman's office. I think the least we could do as legislators is consider giving that kind of support and that increased credibility to the ombudsman's office. Under this particular vote I want to recommend as strongly as I can to the treasury benches that they take this recommendation under advisement.
MRS. DAILLY: I don't want to repeat what the hon. member for Shuswap–Revelstoke has just said. I just want to endorse what he has said and briefly add a couple of my own remarks, as a member of the committee that chose the ombudsman. I know our present Chairman of the House was chairman of that committee. I think it was an excellent committee. We were all proud to be part of it. We chose an ombudsman. We gave credit to the government for being willing to have an ombudsman for this province. But all that credit will disappear if this government cannot see fit to set up some kind of ongoing reporting committee to which the ombudsman can refer some of these reports which he has tabled. Otherwise the whole purpose of the ombudsman is not being fulfilled. May I simply say that we ask the government to instigate as soon as possible a committee to which the ombudsman's reports can be referred so that this House can deal with them. I want to remind the House that under his jurisdiction the ombudsman refers only to this Legislature. We are asking the government to allow the Legislature to work with the ombudsman, so that we can truly make the role of the ombudsman a purposeful one, and one that will really serve the people of British Columbia.
MS. BROWN: In support of the comments made by my two colleagues. I would like to add specifically that the ombudsman investigated an instance where the government of the province was involving itself in discrimination and it found that the ministry was in the wrong. I'm referring specifically to the Ministry of Human Resources, which discriminates, based on age, in the amount of income that a person receives on income assistance. The minister pays a different rate of income assistance to a person who's under the age of 31 than it does to a person who is over the age of 31.
The ombudsman investigated this, found that there was no basis in fact, other than straight discrimination, and included this in the report. He said quite frankly that he did not agree with the actions of the Ministry of Human Resources, and that the actions were discriminatory. What happens now? That is the point which was being raised by the member for Burnaby North (Mrs. Dailly) and the Member for Shuswap–Revelstoke (Mr. King). What happens now? The ombudsman has stated that a clear case of discrimination based on age is being perpetuated by the ministry of human resources. And that is the end of that. There is no indication whatsoever that the government is going to make any move or take any action to eliminate this discriminatory action. I really want to support the comments made by the member for Burnaby North and the member for Shuswap–Revelstoke, despite the heckling from the government benches. We have to find some way of implementing the recommendations made by the ombudsman.
MR. BARBER: I'd like to support as strongly as I can the three previous speakers. The ombudsman is neither an employee of the government nor an agent of the government; he is an officer of the Legislature. The Ombudsman Act is incomplete. The Ombudsman Act does not permit him to do any more than table reports from time to time via the Speaker. This was obviously not the intention of the Legislature when we moved unanimously to create that office in the first place. Four members of the official opposition, which is to say all of us who will be speaking today, and all of us, period, urge on the government the establishment of a committee such as has been established in Ontario and in Alberta to receive reports from the ombudsman, to cause further inquiries to be made into them and to the associated affairs upon which he or she may report from time to time, and to have an opportunity thereby to report back to the whole Legislature, and to make recommendations by motion or some other means.
The act right now is incomplete, and the ombudsman is thereby less able to do his business on behalf, not of the government, but of all of the people, and specifically on behalf of this Legislature. Until we have such a committee it will be impossible for the ombudsman to do all of the work that must be done to protect the interests of the people of this province.
I have a second brief matter I wish to bring to the attention of the Attorney-General. During his estimates I asked when he was prepared to proclaim schedules 7 to 13 of the Om-
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budsman Act. He said he had not yet received the request from the ombudsman to have that done. I would call the attention of the Attorney-General to this year's annual report of the ombudsman, in which he made it perfectly clear that he is prepared and willing and wishes and thus indicates in his report to this legislature his desire to be held accountable through an extended jurisdiction for the operations of, among others, regional districts, municipalities, hospital boards and so on. It is in the report of the ombudsman himself, Mr. Chairman, that we find the ombudsman's recommendation to this Legislature that he is able and willing to have his own jurisdiction extended at this time. I ask the Attorney-General today, on the basis of the ombudsman's advice in his annual report, if he is prepared to accede to that request and to the request of the official opposition that the jurisdiction of the ombudsman be expanded according to those schedules and to that specific proposal.
Vote 6 approved.
Vote 7: building occupancy charges, $194,000 — approved.
Vote 8: computer consulting charges, $30,000 — approved.
Schedule A: $3,837,753 — approved.
HON. MR. CURTIS: Mr. Chairman, I move the committee rise and report resolutions.
The House resumed; Mr. Speaker in the chair.
MR. CHAIRMAN: Mr. Speaker, the committee reports resolutions.
HON. MR. CURTIS: Mr. Speaker, I move that by leave of the House the rules be suspended and that the reports of resolutions from the Committee of Supply on March 24, 25, 26 and 27, April 6, 7, 9, 24 and 27, May 1, 4, 5, 6, 7, 13, 15, 19, 27 and 29, June 4, 9, 10, 16, 18, 19, 25 and 29 and July 7 be now received and taken as read.
MR. HOWARD: I want to rise on a question of privilege, Mr. Speaker, not relating to what the minister is doing at the moment, but to rise at this moment because it is the first opportunity available to me. It relates to something which took place during question period. I'd seek the advice of Your Honour whether you would prefer that I deal with it now or let the House proceed to deal with the business arising out of Committee of Supply.
MR. SPEAKER: Perhaps, hon. member, the best time to deal with it would be at the conclusion of the formal part of the closing.
HON. MR. CURTIS: Mr. Speaker, I move that the rules be suspended and the resolution from the Committee of Supply be now read a second time, taken as read and agreed to.
HON. MR. CURTIS: Mr. Speaker, I move that Mr. Speaker do now leave the chair for the House to go into Committee of Ways and Means.
The House in Committee of Ways and Means; Mr. Davidson in the chair.
HON. MR. CURTIS: Mr. Chairman, I move that toward making good the supply granted to Her Majesty for the public service of the province there be granted from and out of the consolidated revenue fund the following:
1. $3,837,753 to make good certain sums expended for the fiscal year ended March 31, 1980, and
2. $6,671,495,000 towards defraying the several charges and expenses for the fiscal year ending March 31, 1982, such sum to include that authorized to be paid under section 1 of the Supply Act, No. 1, 1981, and section 1 of the Supply Act, No. 2, 1981.
HON. MR. CURTIS: Mr. Chairman, I move that the committee rise and report the resolution.
The House resumed, Mr. Speaker in the chair.
MR. SPEAKER: The resolution is that towards making good the supply granted to Her Majesty for the public service of the province, there be granted from and out of the consolidated revenue fund the following:
1. $3,837,753 to make good certain sums expended for the fiscal year ended March 31, 1980 and,
2. $6,671,495,000 towards defraying the several charges and expenses for the fiscal year ending March 31, 1982, such sum to include that authorized to be paid under section 1 of the Supply Act, No. 1, 1981, and section 1 of the Supply Act, No. 2, 1981.
HON. MR. CURTIS: Mr. Speaker, I move that the resolution be now read a second time, taken as read and agreed to.
SUPPLY ACT, NO. 3, 1981
HON. MR. CURTIS: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to present Bill 29, a message from His Honour the Lieutenant-Governor: intituled Supply Act, No. 3, 1981.
MR. SPEAKER: The bill can be distributed. Perhaps we will not have a short recess. If the attendants could distribute the bill, we'll remain in our seats.
[ Page 6602 ]
HON. MR. CURTIS: I move that the said bill be referred to a Committee of the Whole House for consideration forthwith.
The House in committee; Mr. Davidson in the chair.
HON. MR. CURTIS: Mr. Chairman, I move that the committee rise and report to the House, recommending the introduction of Bill 29.
The House resumed; Mr. Speaker in the chair.
HON. MR. CURTIS: Mr. Speaker, I move that the report be adopted.
HON. MR. CURTIS: Mr. Speaker, I move that the bill be introduced and read a first time now.
HON. MR. CURTIS: Mr. Speaker, I move that by leave of the House the rules be suspended and the bill be read a second time now.
MR. SPEAKER: In debate on second reading, the member for Nanaimo (Mr. Stupich).
MR. NICOLSON: On a point of order, I think that the minister asked leave and then asked that the bill be read a second time now. Leave was asked for, and I think it would be proper if he moved....
AN HON. MEMBER: It was granted.
MR. NICOLSON: I know leave was granted, but he should move second reading.
MR. SPEAKER: Hon; member, what we will do is have the debate on second reading, and we'll ask the question on second reading at the conclusion of debate which is about to proceed.
MR. NICOLSON: With all respect, Mr. Speaker, he must start with the motion, though.
MR. SPEAKER: By tradition, the motion is passed at the end of the debate.
MR. NICOLSON: A motion must be under debate, with all respect, Mr. Speaker.
MR. SPEAKER: But it is not put.
MR. NICOLSON: I know it's not put. I'm just saying that we must have a motion in front of us. Just consult, please.
MR. SPEAKER: Order, please, hon. members. In order to clarify the matter, we'll just ask the hon. minister whether he did in effect move second reading.
HON. MR, CURTIS: Mr. Speaker, of course it was my intention to ask for leave and to move second reading. I trust that that is acceptable.
MR. SPEAKER: Hon. members, order, please. There are certain procedures in this House in which leave and a motion are combined, particularly in the granting of interim supply and in the granting of supply itself. Just so that it can be clarified, traditionally they can be combined. I'm very sure that all members heard the motion.
We are now in debate on second reading.
MR. STUPICH: Mr. Speaker, with all the help I was getting I was wondering if I ever would get to second reading. Certainly the opposition has no intention of holding up second reading. We recognize that it's not subject to amendment. But it is a bill, and the most important that we've dealt with in this session. In terms of dollars, it's by far the largest — in total $10,509,000,248 — and, I think, worthy of some brief comment at this time.
Without reflecting in any way on any decisions which have been made by the House up to this point, simply recalling some of the debate that has gone on, I would remind you of various motions we made to reduce certain expenditures in every ministry, with the exception of that part of the budget dealing with the ombudsman. We tried to make no reductions there, but in every other instance we did urge the government to reduce expenditures where we thought they were padded with respect to office expenses, office furniture, building occupancy, computer services, and in particular with respect to the vast amount of money being spent on moving ministers around the province, around the country and, indeed, around the world.
Those reductions added up to only $81,936,012, which is not much in terms of $10 billion. Nevertheless it's 1¼ percent of the budget that we're considering for the year 1981-82. We did suggest that many people services, while they have not been cut back — the government insisted none of them were being cut back — have nevertheless been held back. They have been contained within certain limits because the government felt it better to spend the money on the sorts of services that we wanted cut back. As I say, Mr. Speaker — and very briefly, with no intention at all to reflect upon decisions made by the House — we do regret that the House did agree to spend the money in the way that it has agreed to spend it, and not to spend more on people services, as we proposed.
MR. BRUMMET: I was just going to comment that the opposition has this method of charts for cutting expenses. I would like to suggest that they had a much better system when they were in government: they simply went broke.
HON. MR. CURTIS: Mr. Speaker, I now understand why the cost of NDP stationery has increased.
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MR. SPEAKER: Order, please, hon. members.
HON. MR. CURTIS: There seems to be a high fever across the way. Two members cannot be seen over their charts.
HON. MR. CURTIS: Mr. Speaker, I wasn't even alluding to that hon. member.
MR. SPEAKER: Order, please, hon. members. I'm enjoying these moments as much as anyone, but we must get on to business, please.
HON. MR. CURTIS: On March 9, 1981 — budget day — we on the treasury benches indicated the manner in which the budget had been very carefully reviewed through the estimates process. I and other members spoke at length about the efficiency savings which have been built into each ministry. I might advise all hon. members — and I think it's an appropriate comment — that about 90 percent of the efficiency savings demanded by the Ministry of Finance and Treasury Board have been identified in the course of this year. I thank my ministerial colleagues for that assistance.
However, we heard accusations through the debates without reflecting on past divisions — which indicated that the budget was artificially high. Mr. Speaker, I submit, as I have previously, that that is not the case. The budget has been very tightly constructed. I'm anxious not to revisit the budget debate in these remarks. Let the record show that after I indicated that the budget was very tightly constructed this year, a number of members of the official opposition laughed and chuckled.
We are concerned about the revenue-expenditure squeeze in British Columbia, as far as the government is concerned. I'm particularly concerned — extremely concerned — about the projections for 1982-83. That will be the subject of further debates in this chamber at the appropriate time. I am satisfied that the efficiency reductions which were called for were appropriate, without in any way impairing the level or quality of services delivered to the people of British Columbia, who send us here to work for them.
I move second reading.
Motion approved unanimously on a division.
Division ordered to be recorded in the Journals of the House.
HON. MR. CURTIS: Mr. Speaker, I move that by leave of the House the rules be suspended and the bill be referred to a Committee of the Whole House for consideration forthwith.
SUPPLY ACT, (NO. 3), 1981
The House in committee on Bill 29; Mr. Davidson in the chair.
Sections 1 to 4 inclusive approved.
Schedules A and B approved.
HON. MR. CURTIS: Mr. Chairman, I move the committee rise and report the bill complete without amendment.
The House resumed; Mr. Speaker in the chair.
Bill 29, Supply Act, (No. 3), 1981, reported complete without amendment, read a third time and passed.
MR. HOWARD: On a question of privilege, Mr. Speaker, which I indicated to Your Honour earlier that I desired to raise.... I do so, this being the first opportunity. Really, a little while ago was the first opportunity, but with the agreement of the Chair I postponed it until this time. So this is the first opportunity I have to raise a question of privilege that relates to some questions asked and answers given during question period today. Questions were posed by the first member for Victoria (Mr. Barber) and answered by the Minister of Industry and Small Business Development (Hon. Mr. Phillips).
Specifically, in order to lay the foundation for the question of privilege, I need to make reference to the questions and the answers. The first member for Victoria said, as his first question — and I'm quoting from the Blues: "I have a question to the minister responsible for the B.C. Development Corporation. How much money did the jetfoil lose last year?"
The reply by the Minister of Industry and Small Business Development is as follows: "Mr. Speaker, in answer to the member's question, I believe the final report of the British Columbia Development Corporation was distributed to all members this morning."
The first member for Victoria, knowing that that was not an answer to his question, posed it again, as follows: "Our research office looked in it and couldn't find any specific answer to that question, so I ask you today: how much money did the jetfoil lose last year?"
The response by the Minister of Industry and Small Business Development was: "Mr. Speaker, I don't think it's the minister's responsibility to read the report for him. I would suggest that you update your research people, because the answer is certainly in the report."
I submit that very clearly states that the answer to the question — namely, "How much money did the jetfoil lose last year?" — was in the annual report of the Development Corporation. The clear implication in the manner in which the minister answered the question is that the answer was identifiable within the the report; in other words, it could be seen and extracted.
We've read through the report since that question and answer, word for word. We looked through the financial statement of the corporation, and no where in that report, Mr. Speaker, is there any identifiable item relating to a loss of the jetfoil. There is, however, the following item under the consolidated statement of "earnings and retained earnings" in
[ Page 6604 ]
the annual report: "Development project costs written off, $2,449,401." If that's the loss the jetfoil incurred and what the minister is referring to, it is not identified as such. It may well be that that's how much the jetfoil lost; it may well be that there are other losses in there. That is something we don't know. It is not an identifiable item.
I'd like at this point to ask permission to table the particular report, because I'm going to ask perhaps that.... Or it may well be that Your Honour will need the opportunity to examine the report, and perhaps I could table that so that it's available.
My question of privilege, Mr. Speaker, is that the Minister of Industry and Small Business Development did in fact mislead the House with his answer to that question. May's Parliamentary Practice, as Your Honour well knows, points out that a question of privilege can be raised against a member of the assembly as well as with respect to someone outside the assembly. Pages 170 to 173 of the nineteenth edition set out that fact and the proceedings with respect thereto.
With respect to complaints regarding members which starts on page 170.... I don't intend to read it, but it points it out there. There is a reference earlier on pages 130 and 131 of the nineteenth edition relating to complaints against members. Under the heading of "Punishment Inflicted on Members" on page 131, it says as follows: "In the case of contempts committed against the House of Commons by members, two other penalties are available...." Then it goes on to say suspension from the House and expulsion. But I only read that portion to point out that there are other penalties. In other words, there are penalties that the House can impose upon a member who breaches the privileges of this House — a penalty other than suspension and other than expulsion.
On page 130, under a heading of "Reprimand and Admonition" it covers a couple of those other penalties which I think are available. It points out: "Where the offence is not so grave as to warrant the committal of the offender, he is generally directed to be reprimanded or admonished by the Lord Chancellor or the Speaker." In that regard it says further down: "What is said by Mr. Speaker in reprimanding or admonishing offenders is always ordered to be entered in the Journals." And I will refer to that and say that it appears to be Mr. Speaker's responsibility to intercede in matters of this nature. Further on page 130 it says: "If the offender is a member, he receives the reprimand or admonition standing in his place...."
If Your Honour finds that there is a prima facie case of privilege, I think the appropriate motion would be, and I move, that Mr. Speaker admonish — which seems to be the lesser of any sort of penalties that is available — the Minister of Industry and Small Business Development for providing the House with a misleading answer during question period on July 7, 1981.
MR. SPEAKER: Thank you, Hon. Member. I have a copy of the proposed motion, but if I may have a copy of the statement made I would appreciate it.
MR. HOWARD: The statement that I made?
MR. SPEAKER: Do you have a copy?
MR. HOWARD: It's in the form of notes, Mr. Speaker.
MR. SPEAKER: Hon. member, I will take those points brought forward by the member into consideration and bring a decision to the House at the earliest possible time.
HON. MR. GARDOM: Mr. Speaker, before moving to some new business in the rather limited time before us, I would very much like to express the warmest of appreciation of all of the members to the Pages, the attendants, Hansard, the library officials and the legislative dining room employees for their very cheery, helpful and efficient assistance throughout this session. Mr. Speaker, I would particularly like to single out four retirees from the staff of the Sergeant-at-Arms: Mr. Abe Savard, with 14 years in service; Messrs. Mr. Stan Pollen, four years; Mr. Harry Vincent, three years; Mr. Don Gunn, three years. They're leaving us, and we're sorry that they will not be with us again, but we all wish them well. Finally, thanks to the table, to the three wise men who are begowned and black-adorned, for all their courtesies, sagacity and calm throughout.
MR. HOWARD: Those sentiments expressed by the government House Leader are certainly shared a hundred percent by the members of the opposition. Invariably we find the Clerks at the table to be extremely helpful in guiding us in our tortuous way through the rules and procedures. We find the staff always to be helpful, friendly and generous. We wish those who are retiring a long and healthful life in their years of retirement, and point out that it's people like that who are retiring and those who are left behind that make life tolerable here for us at times when it gets a bit hectic in the House.
MR. SPEAKER: Does the member for Prince Rupert seek the floor on a point of order?
MR. LEA: No, not on a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I ask leave to make a short statement.
Leave not granted.
MR. LEA: I was just going to say thank you to the staff of both caucuses.
MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.
HON. MR. GARDOM: Mr. Speaker, I call public bills in the hands of private members. Second reading of Bill M201, An Act to Prevent Uranium Exploration and Mining.
AN ACT TO PREVENT URANIUM
EXPLORATION AND MINING
MR. PASSARELL: The intent of this bill which was brought in under my name was that originally the moratorium which placed this bill.... The reality of it was that it was a gimmick in the beginning. Why the bill was brought in was to make it an act banning all uranium mining and exploration in the province of British Columbia — to make it a law.
AN HON. MEMBER: And Saskatchewan.
MR. PASSARELL: Well, it may be an advantage for the members of the government if they think they can make laws for other parts of this country, but we're talking about British Columbia.
[ Page 6605 ]
What we want to do is to allow all members of this House a free vote, standing up in their places to say what they feel, to put their votes on record concerning uranium mining and exploration. The title of the bill indicates that it is to prevent uranium mining and exploration in the province of British Columbia. The order-in-council by this government lacks guts, because what we've seen is companies like Placer Development, in their Atlin operation, in which their moly mine could legally pull out....
MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Hon. members, shall we come to order. The style of debate in second reading is somewhat different than it is in Committee of Supply. Therefore I would request that we adopt the style that has become tradition in this House, and that we do not interrupt members during second reading. Please proceed.
MR. PASSARELL: What we will see with this moratorium is that a company like Placer Development could start a moly operation in the community of Atlin and, through their tailings, withdraw 500 pounds of uranium per day. Under this order-in-council it would be legal for Placer Development to put the 500 pounds of uranium in plastic-lined tailing ponds for the duration of the mine operation, 20-some years. This bill, if it was accepted and voted upon by the Legislature, would outlaw an operation like Placer Development going ahead and withdrawing uranium and radioactive materials to be placed in plastic-lined tailing ponds. The bill, if accepted, would outlaw an operation like Amax from dumping radioactive materials into the ocean. It's dangerous and unneeded; that should be accepted by both sides of the House. We don't need nuclear power in this province, Mr. Speaker, and we don't need the problems that radioactive materials cause to the health and well-being of the society of British Columbia. These radioactive materials brought out of the ground in British Columbia might end up in some foreign country as mass-destruction weapons. I urge all members of this House to accept this bill as a humanitarian act for the protection of future generations in the province of British Columbia.
HON. MR. McCLELLAND: Mr. Speaker, I'd like to thank the member for Atlin for his comments, most of which were incorrect. This is a great bill, except that it has already been done in British Columbia. This government took the lead in placing a seven-year moratorium on the exploration and development of uranium. The previous government had the opportunity to take the same action and failed to do so in the three and a half years that they were government. This government has moved. There is a ban on exploration of uranium in this province; there is a ban on the development of uranium mines in this province; there is no nuclear development in this province. It was done by the Social Credit government.
Mr. Speaker, I move adjournment of this debate until the next sitting of the House.
HON. MR. GARDOM: Mr. Speaker, it has been drawn to my attention that His Honour the Administrator is here.
MR. SPEAKER: Hon. members, His Honour is in the precincts and approaching the chamber. I declare a short recess, and when your attendance is required I will ring the division bells so that all members may be aware.
The House took recess at 5:30 p.m.
The House resumed at 5:37 p.m.
MR. SPEAKER: Hon. members, I am advised that His Honour the Administrator is about to enter the chamber.
His Honour the Administrator entered the chamber and took his place in the chair.
Mineral Land Tax Amendment Act, 1981
Motor Vehicle (All Terrain) Amendment Act, 1981
Provincial Court Amendment Act, 1981
Provincial Debt Repayment Act
Medical Service Plan Act, 1981
Power Engineers and Boiler and Pressure Vessel Safety Act
Electrical Energy Inspection Amendment Act, 1981
Gas Amendment Act, 1981
Building Safety Standards Act
Petroleum and Natural Gas Amendment Act, 1981
Environment Management Act
Real Estate Amendment Act, 1981
Miscellaneous Statutes Amendment Act (No. 1), 1981
Social Service Tax Amendment Act (No. 2), 1981
Financial Administration Act
Attorney General Statutes Amendment Act, 1981
Miscellaneous Statutes Amendment Act (No. 2), 1981
Civil Rights Protection Act
Legislative Assembly Allowances and Pension Amendment Act, 1981
An Act Respecting Montreal Trust Company and Montreal Trust Company of Canada
West Kootenay Power and Light Company, Limited, Act, 1897, Amendment Act, 1981
CLERK OF THE HOUSE: In Her Majesty's name, His Honour the Administrator doth assent to these bills.
CLERK-ASSISTANT: Supply Act, (No. 3), 1981
CLERK OF THE HOUSE: In Her Majesty's name, His Honour the Administrator doth thank Her Majesty's loyal subjects, accept their benevolence and assent to this bill.
His Honour the Administrator retired from the chamber.
HON. MR. WOLFE: Mr. Speaker, I move that the House at its rising do stand adjourned until it appears to the satisfaction of Mr. Speaker, after consultation with the government, that the public interest requires that the House shall meet or until Mr. Speaker may be advised by the government that it is desired to prorogue the third session of the thirty-second parliament of the province of British Columbia. Mr. Speaker may give notice that he is so satisfied or has been so advised and thereupon the House shall meet at the time stated in such notice and as the case may be may transact its business as if it
[ Page 6606 ]
had been duly adjourned to that time, and that in the event of Mr. Speaker being unable to act owing to illness or other cause the Deputy Speaker shall act in his stead for the purpose of this order.
Hon. Mr. Williams tabled the annual reports of the B.C. Racing Commission to December 31, 1980; the Legal Services Society to March 31, 1981; the Justice Development Commission to March 31, 1980, and March 31, 1981; the annual report of the B.C. Police Commission to December 31, 1980; the annual report of the corrections branch to March 31, 1980; and the annual report under the Privacy Act for the year ending 1980, and supplementary reports for the years 1975 to 1979 inclusive.
MR. SPEAKER: Are those all statutory reports?
HON. MR. WILLIAMS: Some are.
MR. SPEAKER: Shall leave be granted for the non-statutory reports?
HON. MR. GARDOM: May everyone have a very pleasant summer.
I move that the House do now adjourn.
The House adjourned at 5:43 p.m.