1988 Legislative Session: 2nd Session, 34th Parliament
The following electronic version is for informational purposes only.
The printed version remains the official version.
FRIDAY, MAY 6, 1988
[ Page 4309 ]
Pacific Rim Scholarship winners. Hon. Mr. Brummet –– 4309
Tabling Documents –– 4309
Private Members' Statements
B.C. Enterprise Corporation. Mr. Williams –– 4309
B.C. Health Care Research Foundation. Mr. Mowat –– 4311
Hon. Mr. Dueck
Free trade and grape industry. Mr. Rose –– 4313
Hon. Mr. Savage
Interior Provincial Exhibition. Mr. Michael –– 4314
Hon. Mr. Savage
Regent College Amendment Act, 1988 (Bill PR401). Ms. Campbell
Introduction and first reading –– 4316
Committee of Supply: Ministry of Tourism, Recreation and Culture estimates.
(Hon. Mr. Reid)
On vote 65: minister's office –– 4316
Mr. G. Hanson
The House met at 10:04 a.m.
HON. MR. RICHMOND: It's my pleasure today to introduce 70 members of the Brocklehurst Secondary School band and choir. They are in the precincts today. I'm pleased to tell the House that they will be performing in front of the Legislature between 1:00 and 2:00 p.m. today. I urge people to go and listen to some of the beautiful Brocklehurst talent — which happens to be my home town. I would ask the House to make them very welcome.
HON. MR. REID: I'd like the House to make a special welcome on behalf of the member for Surrey-Newton (Hon. Mrs. Johnston). Today we have with us Mr. Van Huizen and 45 of his students from the Fraser Valley Christian High School, who will also be performing in Victoria today. Will the House make them especially welcome.
MR. DE JONG: I'm pleased to introduce a couple of people who are visiting us here today: Don and Sue Miller from Saratoga, California. It's interesting that this happens today, after two days of debate on the estimates of the Minister of Tourism and Recreation. We've heard many good things about the minister, which were reconfirmed by these visitors last night as they spoke to me. They said that they really appreciated the cleanliness and beauty of this province, but especially the friendliness of the people of British Columbia. I would ask this House to extend a hearty welcome to Mr. and Mrs. Don Miller.
PACIFIC RIM SCHOLARSHIP WINNERS
HON. MR. BRUMMET: I would like to make a brief ministerial statement. I think that sometimes good news bears repeating, and we have some wonderful news here, so I would like everyone in the House and in the province to be made aware of it. The names of the first ten students selected to receive the Pacific Rim Scholarship for a year's study in an Asia Pacific country were announced just recently. The scholarship program, which provides up to $20,000 each to ten graduating grade 12 students in British Columbia, was introduced last fall as part of the provincial government's Pacific Rim initiatives program; the other initiatives are going on as well.
The scholarship winners this year are: Christina Chen from Burnaby North Senior Secondary in Burnaby; Michael Cordiez from Rossland Secondary School; Calvin Dang from Handsworth Secondary School in North Vancouver; Sara Deane, Rossland Secondary School, in Rossland, of course; Teresa Lamb, Stanley Humphries Secondary in Castlegar; Shawnsteen Love, Caledonia Senior Secondary in Terrace; Wendy Ma, Vancouver Technical Secondary, Vancouver; Kim Manning, Belmont Secondary in Sooke; also Steffanie Scott from Belmont Secondary in Sooke; and Steven Siqueria from Richmond Senior Secondary in Richmond.
The winners were selected from more than a hundred applicants. That selection committee, made up of representatives from universities, colleges, schools and the business community, shortlisted 25 of them and then interviewed those 25 students. I have been told by the members of the selection committee that, contrary to the usual pattern that evolves — where the top few students are fairly easy to select and then it goes down the line — of the 25 they had a very difficult job to pick the top ten winners. They were certainly impressed by the quality of these people.
The selection criteria included academic excellence and interests, personal attributes indicating potential success in cross-cultural situations, future intentions, and potential contributions to the province, the country and the world. All of these students have made a significant contribution to their schools and communities, and the winning students will be asked to share what they learned during their year abroad with the communities and the Ministry of Education on their return to British Columbia.
I would certainly like to commend these winners and also extend my condolences to the 90 other applicants who, I'm sure, had good qualifications; but only ten could be selected.
That concludes my ministerial statement, but I would also like to table in the House the update on the Pacific Rim education initiative, so perhaps it might get broader interest.
Hon. Mr. Brummet tabled an update on the Pacific Rim education initiative.
MR. ROSE: I thank the minister for giving me two minutes to look over the ministerial statement before he delivered it. It's not a very complex one, so I think I'll be able to understand and absorb it.
I'd like to add my congratulations to those of the minister. I think our contacts with the Pacific Rim are going to be enlarged as the world grows smaller. The fact that we are making these contacts and educating our young people to communicate both ways, to and from the Pacific Rim, is an important contribution to education. I congratulate them as well.
I've also noted that all ten of the students selected come from the public schools of British Columbia. I congratulate both the public schools and their teachers for doing an excellent job in preparing these students. It seems interesting, too, that we have two from Rossland and two from Sooke. It's intriguing that these people have been selected from those two schools — four out of the ten. It indicates that there's a great interest — at least on the part of the teachers and students from those two schools — in applying for these scholarships.
May I add my congratulations from this side of the House. Perhaps when they've completed their studies, the minister might make another statement, which would probably underline the things they've done and accomplished. We wish them all the best in their studies and congratulate them for winning the scholarships.
Orders of the Day
Private Members' Statements
B.C. ENTERPRISE CORPORATION
MR. WILLIAMS: I think it's interesting at this stage of the game to reflect on the Expo land deal and the desire of the
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government to put the Toigo proposal to bed. They've done so in two ways. They've rushed the deal with Li Ka-shing. It was very clear from the presentation at the Discovery Theatre that it was a rushed-together deal in the last stages that the Minister of Economic Development had been able to achieve by her own pressure and leaking game that had been going on for weeks before.
They've tried to put it to bed in other ways as well: by sending the Premier out on important trade missions to places like Golden, the Vancouver East Italian Cultural Centre and Revelstoke, so that he has avoided question period and other aspects of the Legislature this last couple of weeks.
SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!
MR. WILLIAMS: Greek drama — thank you kindly. It's small wonder that they're groaning and that they have tried to keep him away from the shop.
Mr. Toigo, clearly, is the one person in British Columbia, beyond us all, who has instant access to the Premier. The Premier thought, with his usual charm, that he might be able to cover this problem further by having a meeting with selected journalists — a gang of four. In typical fashion it raised — my apologies if any of the gang are here — more questions than it answered about this Premier. At that meeting the Premier admitted — or confessed — to at least nine interventions on behalf of Mr. Toigo, and that was after a process was in place. Nine times he intervened, contrary to the established public process, and then, after admitting it, he denied that it was wrong and that it caused a split in the party. The people on the other side can comment on the second item; I won't do that.
He either doesn't think those actions were wrong, or he pretends they weren't wrong, Mr. Speaker. Either way, he loses. It's not acceptable either way, and either way the province loses. Actions such as these on behalf of a friend — a business associate, a party bagman, a leadership fund-raiser — are simply not acceptable in our system, and the Premier pretends that he doesn't know it.
In the U.S., in similar circumstances, there would be congressional investigations underway after these kinds of goings-on in this process. The Premier pretended that he would have given equal access to anyone else, but we know that's not so. No one else has a hotline to the Premier. But there was someone else. Remember that last year a group of British Columbia trade unions put forth a proposal using pension funds, last year. They made a proposal on October 29. The Premier was in Tokyo at the time. He said: "It's too late. We have 12 solid bids and the unions aren't one of them." That was on October 29. But right up until the last month this same Premier has been hustling the Toigo deal with respect to the Expo lands. It's never too late for Mr. Toigo. The actual submission from Mr. Toigo didn't come until December, six weeks or more after the trade union proposal that the Premier said was too late.
At the meeting with the four journalists, the Premier admitted that he complained to cabinet that Toigo was unable to see Mr. Li in Hong Kong. Isn't that incredible? Has anybody on the other side reflected on that? The Premier complained to cabinet that Mr. Toigo could not see Mr. Li in Hong Kong. And who was he complaining to? Why, I guess the Minister of Economic Development (Hon. Mrs. McCarthy), who had her staff put in a phone call to prevent that meeting from taking place.
It's very clear what Mr. Toigo wanted. He wanted to cut an independent deal with Li Ka-shing for the Expo lands and pick up the entire bundle of assets of the Enterprise Corporation, pulling off the sweetest deal in the modem history of the province. That's what he wanted to do. Mr. Toigo’s cover story, which becomes so laughable it's hard to believe that he would try and paper it over this mess, is that it was to promote his son Rick's video game. This is one of the world's richest men, 20 percent of the Hong Kong stock exchange, etc., etc., and Mr. Toigo would have us believe that he was in Hong Kong to see Mr. Li to promote his son's video game. Fifty years ago, when Mr. Li was selling plastic flowers on the streets, maybe; but not today.
Does anybody believe that the Premier's office is available for the promotion of Mr. Toigo's kid's video games? Well, maybe it is. Maybe for anything from Mr. Toigo, the Premier's ear is available.
It's very clear what it was. It was the Expo land deal. That's what it was all about. The Premier was available. In the olden days in the cartoons, when I read them as a kid, there was a guy in the Li'l Abner strip called Available Jones. He was available for anything and everything. The Premier is Available Jones when it comes to Mr. Toigo. My older comrades here remember Available Jones. When Toigo wanted the Expo rides, the Premier was available, and that availability has cost us $80,000 a year. Those rides still rust on the Expo lands.
MR. MOWAT: It's with great interest that I listen to the words of the hon. first member for Vancouver East. As we all know, the member was formerly a town planner in Vancouver, and I guess I'm a bit disappointed that I didn't hear anything positive about the Expo deals and the Expo land, particularly when it's going to have a great effect on his constituency of Vancouver East.
I do not wish to engage in political bantering with the member or members of the opposition. Rather I would like to take this opportunity to discuss some of the key aspects of this exciting, dynamic new development.
I too have had a chance to look at the plans for Pacific Place. I've listened to comments of experts in the field — developers, architects, locally elected officials — and they have all praised the proposal. Like many of them, I am very interested in this proposal as it will affect Vancouver. This development is probably the most exciting urban project taking place, not only in Canada but in all of North America. This project will generate more than $2 billion in direct capital investments, $6 billion in spin-offs spending and more than 28,000 person-years of employment.
This development will be of great benefit to the city of Vancouver. It is a mixture of commercial, residential and open space. I am particularly pleased to see that the proposal will provide more than 10,000 units of housing, which will be both market and non-market and meet the requirements of all citizens. With the various participation clauses that are in the proposal, there is a potential for the people of British Columbia and the residents of Vancouver to receive an additional bonus. We are ensuring that future generations will benefit through solid long-term planning today.
The member of the opposition knows that the Ministry of Economic Development has written to the city of Vancouver
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and offered to seek adjustments of the current agreement if so desired by the city. You can see there is no real intent to force benefits on anyone. Pacific Place will undoubtedly serve as a catalyst for other developments, not only in the lower mainland but through the entire province.
As the success of the development project becomes more and more apparent, I am confident, as are my colleagues from Vancouver, that we will see other entrepreneurs investing in our province. The project is designed to meet the needs of Vancouver, not only for the decade of the nineties but for the next century. I believe this type of planning is very much in focus with the Premier's long-term vision for the province of British Columbia.
Pacific Place will complement surrounding neighbourhoods and add to the city's vibrant and cosmopolitan character. The city of Vancouver and the province of British Columbia are Canada's gateway to Asia. This project will serve to further enhance our province's growing role in the Pacific Rim. Pacific Place provides an opportunity for all levels of government to cooperate. In order for the project to reach its full potential, all government levels will have to work together, and I am confident that in spite of the opposition, they will.
Historically, Social Credit governments have undertaken initiatives that are of long-term benefit for British Columbians. This project continues the trend that has been established by previous Social Credit governments of building not only for today's generations but, more importantly, for future generations.
MR. WILLIAMS: Let's all thank the hon. member for Vancouver-Little Mountain for the fine speech written by Mr. Craig Aspinall, the former director of the Social Credit Party communications, and who is now the spokesperson for Li Ka-shing. Thank you, Craig.
What is abundantly clear is that the Toigo friendship is beginning to cost the public purse. The rides at Expo and the intervention by the Premier are costing $80,000 a year. That's the first clear evidence of the cost of this expensive friendship between the Premier and Mr. Toigo. Back in October, the Premier said there might be problems of perception over a Toigo deal, and that he would need to have a professional study to back up the Toigo proposal in order to deal with those perceptions. He didn't even try to get that.
There are now new stories tumbling out about this heavy friend of the Premier and the muscling out of the civil service, and you can be sure that more will come. This will not die; this kind of friendship is not tolerated in our kind of government in our kind of province. This kind of friendship is a test for the back-benchers over there, and it's a test for the cabinet over there. How long are you going to tolerate it? He's not only the Premier's friend, Mr. Speaker; at the moment, he's your friend too.
B.C. HEALTH CARE RESEARCH FOUNDATION
MR. MOWAT: Mr. Speaker, I'd like to speak today on an issue of health care research in British Columbia. Having had firsthand experience in the health field, I know that all our health care systems are of top quality. Our commitment to health care is demonstrated by the fact that one-third of the provincial budget, or over $3.9 billion, is allocated to the Ministry of Health. This amounts to over $1,300 annually for each person in this province. As part of our commitment to health care, I'm proud to say that our province and government has shown great leadership in the field of health care research.
[Mr. Weisgerber in the chair.]
One of the leading organizations in the area of health care research in our province is the B.C. Health Care Research Foundation. In fact, it is the second-largest funder of health care research in the province. I'm pleased to see that the Ministry of Health contributed $4 million of lottery funds to the B.C. Health Care Research Foundation for the year '87-88. As well. a special grant of $517,000 was provided to purchase equipment. I am pleased also to report and to see that our government has increased funding for the Health Care Research Foundation by 12.5 percent to $4.5 million for the '88-89 fiscal year.
I have had the privilege of being a director of the Health Care Research Foundation, and as such I receive firsthand knowledge of the fine work that the foundation is doing with the grants it is giving.
The $4 million we have contributed in 1987-88 is in addition to the $5.4 million lottery funds donated by the province last year to the research legacy fund of the Man in Motion campaign for spinal cord research.
Since the Health Care Research Foundation program began in 1978, it has distributed over $33.6 million from the lottery funds and has created approximately 1,100 person years of employment. For every $30,000 in research funds, one new job is created.
Just as important, Mr. Speaker, the seed funding initially provided by the B.C. Health Care Research Foundation frequently leads to outside funding, which leads to more jobs and further research for the citizens of British Columbia, Canada and the world. For example, some projects have a leverage factor of over 12 times; that is, the research has received over 12 times in additional funding since receiving the funding from the B.C. Health Care Research Foundation.
The foundation uses about 10 percent of its funds for scholarship purposes, with the remaining 90 percent going for research grants. By committing additional funds for the upcoming year, our government has recognized the growing importance of research work being done in our universities and hospitals. This type of use of lottery funds is something that I wholeheartedly support, and I am confident that in the future our commitment will continue.
The funds provided through the lottery grants enable research to be carried out in a variety of fields. For example, in the last few years new techniques have been developed for treating fractures. As well, through these grants, we have succeeded in halving radiation doses for children undergoing x-ray examinations. Strides have been made in our understanding of infertility, innovative techniques have developed in diagnostic procedures, and these are just a few of our successes.
Presently there are a number of innovative and exciting research projects taking place. In fact, in the last fiscal year, 136 awards have been made for various research projects. Through the funding contributed from the lottery funds, research into Alzheimer's disease, multiple sclerosis, Huntington's disease, cystic fibrosis, Parkinson's disease, diabetes and scoliosis have been undertaken. As well, the researchers are carrying on projects on such matters as molecular biology of rubella virus, links between diet and
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cancer and oral health problems among persons over 75 years living independently in Vancouver.
In addition, Mr. Speaker, B.C. scientists have received over $2.5 million in cancer research grants from the National Cancer Institute in 1987. After Ontario, our province received the second-highest amount of grants for research in the field of cancer. The scientists in British Columbia have become world leaders when it comes to cancer research. Presently, for example, research is being carried out to develop a cancer-detecting blood test. As well, through the TRIUMF facilities located at the University of British Columbia, scientists can now treat inoperable tumours of the brain and the pelvic area with a procedure known as pion radiotherapy. At least 150 terminally ill British Columbia patients have benefited from this painless treatment, which appears to be more effective than the conventional treatment because it does not damage the healthy cells surrounding the tumours. Some patients with brain tumours have been restored to normal brain function and the prospect of a very healthy, ongoing life.
Health research being carried out by scientists in our province has led to major innovations and has in turn served to enhance the quality of life of many British Columbians. I am confident that in the future, funds contributed by our government as well as funds contributed by the federal government and the Rick Hansen and Terry Fox funds will enable scientists to continue to undertake research in a number of areas.
The research carried on by our medical and scientific community must be something that we all support. Our government will continue to ensure that medical research continues to receive the funding it deserves.
HON. MR. DUECK: As Minister of Health, what the member from Little Mountain has said is music to my ears. He spoke about some of the positive things that we do in my ministry, and I believe that we all have a role to play. I've often said it and I sincerely mean it: when it comes to health, I do not believe that we want to play politics but to do what we can for the people of this province.
As far as the foundation is concerned, it is my honour to be the chairman of the British Columbia Health Care Research Foundation, and in that capacity, I'm very pleased that we were able to give the foundation $4,500,000 last year — an increase of $500,000 — and that we've again allocated another $517,626 from lottery funds for purchase of critically needed research equipment.
When we speak of health, this side and the other side, we jointly wince a little and say that a billion dollars is no small piece of the pie of the government's spending. However, when we really look into it, the needs of and demands on the people, and rightly so.... Because looking back just a few years, the demands were much different. Looking back ten or 15 years, we did not demand the care in medical facilities; we did not demand the care in many areas, whether new technology, service to the handicapped or service for senior citizens. In the next two years, for homes alone, we will be increasing extended care and intermediate care by roughly 1,200 new beds.
We can go on and on with health care and say some of the good things we're doing. Just recently we announced mammography screening for breast cancer; it's the first in Canada. Some of these stories we just don't hear; somehow they get lost. We hear about all the negative things, but there are so many good things that we're doing. It's not just us; we're doing them jointly as a government.
MR. LOVICK: Just a few very brief comments in the absence of my colleague the health critic from this side of the House.
You know, Mr. Speaker, one doesn't want to attack anything that emanated from the other side, because as far as it goes, we are hearing good things, and obviously we're all committed to medical research. We know its importance. We also know that it has some job creation benefits. The predicament, however, is that the comments coming from the other side are reminiscent of Dr. Pangloss or somebody in Voltaire, that "all is for the best in the best of possible worlds."
We continue to hear that kind of line, and I just want to remind the House that some of us who've had the experience of raising money for research — as I have, as the chairman of the Heart Fund campaign in my community for a couple of years — know the process, which is to continually knock on doors and talk to those individuals who don't have very much in the way of surplus income. We are still forced to go, cap in hand, to those individuals frequently least able to contribute.
That's also the case, I fear, because of the lottery-fund approach to funding. Lottery funding makes wonderful things possible, but let us never forget who the people are in the predominant and dominant majority who buy lottery tickets. They are those people who do not have a great deal of surplus income. We're finding a mechanism to pay for important and necessary services within our communities, but we're doing so by going to the wrong people to get that funding. The answer, surely, if we want to talk about a significant component in health research funding, is to take it out of the realm of legalized and officially sanctioned gambling and do something to create a fair taxation system in this province, something that is regrettably long overdue.
MR. MOWAT: I'm very pleased that the Minister of Health has got up and supported the research program, and I guess I'm disappointed but not surprised that we got nothing but doom and gloom from the other side.
I heard the second member for Nanaimo (Mr. Lovick), and I must say that he must find it difficult when the first member for Nanaimo (Mr. Stupich) gets up and says how great it is to have various types of gambling such as bingo that his mother enjoyed. We are very fortunate that people such as the second member for Nanaimo.... In his earlier days he has taken time out to go and knock on doors, not just in a political area but to do something good for his community.
Not only do people want to be involved in research and doing such things as raising funds for various projects — heart research, the Cancer Society and that — but it also brings a great deal of awareness to the people who are involved and are giving at the local level.
Mr. Speaker, I want to end the day on a positive note and say that I'm very pleased that this government is bringing forward and continuing to support the B.C. Health Care Research Foundation and research in so many other areas. Of course the government would like to do more, but we realize that within the limit of the dollars that are available, British Columbia is showing a great deal of leadership in its research in so many areas.
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FREE TRADE AND GRAPE INDUSTRY
MR. ROSE: When I make my speech, the person who will intervene — I don't know if the Minister of Agriculture (Hon. Mr. Savage) intends to be here or not — will probably shout, "Negative, negative, negative," and accuse me and my party of uttering sour grapes. Probably the orders have gone out through the Socred caucus to introduce in every speech: "Negative, negative, negative."
Also, I've noticed in the question period that the government back-benchers have been issued thumping orders. Every time the Premier or anybody else gets up, they have been told to thump, because in the press it has been noted that when the Premier sustained a substantial attack, there was no thumping. Therefore, instead of allowing this chamber to be filled with silence when the Premier spoke, we are now going to have it accompanied by back-bench thumping, especially from the rabbit pack down there in the comer.
What I would like to tell you this morning — and I welcome the Minister of Agriculture here - really has to do with free trade and the Premier's announcement in Oliver last week. It was reported in the Sun that the minister didn't know anything about it. This tremendously fine announcement predicted several things that the Premier was going to do, because he desperately needed an announcement to go into the nominating convention for the Socred candidate — not a farmer but a bank manager — in Boundary-Similkameen. Here we have a speculative announcement. We know that the major and first casualties, but by no means the last, are the grape growers in that lovely part of the land called Boundary-Similkameen. They are going to be put out of business — about 200 of them. Maybe a third of them will survive on this specialty kind of approach. That's all that will be left, and what we are trying to do in here is soften the blow.
There are some terrible horror stories associated with that whole industry. I've got a bulging file of letters from people who have written because they are very concerned, and I would just like to quote from a couple of them:
"I'd like your help on a very serious matter. I'm one of the many frustrated and discriminated grape growers."
They have been sold out. They were encouraged to get into the business, but they have been sold out. He says:
"About seven years ago the wineries, advised by the B.C. government, made the growers plant more grapes. Four years later, with very little compensation to us, they gave us no alternative but to pull out our blue grapes. Last year, due to the Alberta and B.C. governments' very poor regulations for financial institutions, we lost our life savings in the Principal collapse. And now with the Mulroney-Reagan deal and GATT, I fear this could be the end of our business."
That's only one. This is the kind of gloom affecting people there.
Here's another one from Kelowna:
"We purchased our vineyard in 1984 for $325,000 for 13 acres. This was to be our retirement place, but now we go to bed at night not knowing what tomorrow will bring. We are third- and fourth-generation Canadians; please let us continue to be proud to be Canadian."
The free trade agreement is very destructive to these people. They have invested their life savings. They have been encouraged by the government. As a matter of fact, even last year there have been ARDSA grants to prepare more land for grape-growing. I think of Inkaneep, down in Osoyoos. Right in the middle of the free trade discussions, these people have been encouraged to go into it.
What's happened to the Premier's announcement is merely speculative. There's been no deal yet consummated with the federal government, none at all. I don't think that what the Premier announced in terms of the subsidy for grape growers for the life of the phase-in period, which amounts to seven years, will even be tolerated. It could be challenged by GATT and it could be challenged by the Mulroney-Reagan trade deal. But this government supports it. This government supports a move that's going to put these people out of business, with a tremendous loss of life savings. They're going to freeze them into 1987 prices. Well, that's better than nothing, but again, there's been no deal on that one that has been signed.
The minister's going down to Ottawa next week. Hopefully there can be a deal signed there that will give these people a break, a phase-in period. But even if you take the young grape growers and retrain them at a university, you're looking at $20,000 or $30,000 per person to give them university training or some technical upgrading, if you can provide them with a job.
If you try and replace the land values.... Well, you just heard about $325,000. It was that in '84. That land would probably not be worth even half that today. We've got a big compensation bill that we're expecting, and they want facts, not just speculation. That's all that was offered — nothing firm — in the Premier's announcement last Saturday.
HON. MR. SAVAGE: To the opposition House Leader, I appreciate the comments that were directed relative to the grape producers and some of the critical areas that the member sees relative to the investment the farmers have made in that industry. Of course, the member talked a little bit about the preferential pricing that we were allowed to have within the province to establish the 80 percent content, etc.
From the perspective of free trade, I'd like to tell the hon. member that he can be well assured that I, as the minister responsible, in consultation with my colleagues, am working very diligently to make sure that those producers who are impacted by that agreement have an opportunity to at least have one of two things: an opportunity to replant to varieties — they might well be the viniferous or some superior hybrid varieties — where we can command the market niche. Those are the premium wines that do bring good prices.
I think you referred to estate wineries, the cap of 30,000 gallons for domestic use, but in my judgment that doesn't mean to say that those same estate wineries can't co-op and offer wines on the export position at a premium price as well. I strongly believe that there are options out there if we use appellation control, if we use wine sales facilities on farms. I strongly believe there are opportunities for our wine makers — I've had the opportunity to meet with them. As the member well knows, I was in Penticton on Tuesday and had a meeting with a few of the wine producers and the board. We discussed a number of initiatives that would be helpful to the industry.
On the free trade agreement as a whole, if you want to get beyond just the grape industry, there's the horticultural sector that I am also working towards trying to resolve. It's important to recognize that those are the two key sectors that are
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going to have to become more and more competitive or more and more efficient. Also, if you look at the broad perspective of the free trade agreement for the province as it relates to opportunities for people within this province, let me assure you that we will do very well for employing people and giving business greater opportunities in that free trade agreement.
Without reducing some of the barriers that have been so persistent over the years and building stronger and stronger.... You know and I know that tariffs, duties and countervailing actions seem to be becoming more and more prevalent as we continue along this business of each country around the world — it's not only Canada and the United States — taking a greater involvement in protecting their own sectors. A good example: wheat in Japan is about $1,800 a tonne. That's protected for the farmers in Japan. We could sell wheat in there for roughly $150 a tonne, but we can't access that market. The consumer is the one who would benefit from that.
It's important to recognize that freer trade or liberalized trade between countries is the right motive by which to increase opportunities for not only the business people but the consuming public as well. With all due respect to what the House Leader opposite is saying, we well recognize that, and this government is committed to trying to alleviate the offsetting injury that might be incurred in the grape sector. I make that commitment very strongly.
The member also stated that I am negotiating with Ottawa — which I am — and that I didn't have any awareness of the announcement in Penticton by the Premier. I was aware of it, but the point I made in the press was that the details of the discussion between myself and my counterparts in Ottawa could not be released. That's important. As those discussions go on they obviously can't be made public, and the Premier did not make them public. There were no dollar values discussed. It's important to recognize that we are dealing with those numbers in confidence, and we will continue to do so until such time as the other provinces involved in the same type of program are all treated equally. We can't have preferential treatment for one province over another. My commitment as the minister responsible for that industry is to get the best deal we possibly can, and I will continue to stand by that commitment.
MR. ROSE: Well, that's fine, but at the moment it's all sweet talk. There's no budget for picking up the casualties of the free trade agreement. They include the grape growers and the soft fruit people. This business about protecting them through snap-back — whatever that means — is probably one year after they're dead in the water anyway. The minister well knows that a tremendous number of people have already gone out of business without free trade. All this is going to do is to hasten their demise. Why would anybody encourage anybody to go into the agriculture business today? You're going to freeze a lot of people in perpetual poverty or peonage until we develop a better kind of system.
You talk about the subsidies in Japan. The subsidy on one bushel of wheat in the United States is $3.13. In the EEC it's $2.65, and in Canada it's 85 cents. How can our farmers, by themselves, compete with the treasuries of other countries, nations or groups of nations? They just cannot do it. You say we're going to get rid of protectionism around the world. Why don't you talk to the EEC and the Americans and tell them to tear their barriers down? They talk like that, but they don't do it. You talk about a level playing field; it doesn't exist. In terms of climate, labour costs, irrigation costs, land costs, all the input costs, we're at a disadvantage.
MR. JANSEN: Negative.
MR. ROSE: This is negative, negative, sour grapes, and all the happiness boys are over there. You've sold them out through this business of so-called free trade — even without free trade. From March 1987 to March 1988, 25 percent of the beef growers in Boundary-Similkameen went before the farm debt review board. Forty percent of the tree fruits; another of the horticultural ones, 25 percent. They're in bad shape. They're negative, negative. It's not me that's saying that; they're saying that.
Look at the Farm Credit Corporation. Seventeen voluntary transfers in that same area. They've gone out of business. Only five total foreclosures, but that's in one very small area. Properties sold: eleven. Properties sold, part 2: two. Total owing at the time of transfers: $6,600,000 million. Total realized from sales: $1.5 million. Where did the other $4.5 million go? They're in bad shape even without free trade — just the threat of free trade, never mind the drought part of it.
In conclusion, we're told that we're macho, that we can compete with anybody; that if we get a chance we'll become competitive, competitive, competitive — if only we could get free access to that huge market there 20 times our size. What about Alabama and Georgia and Louisiana? There are no barriers against them, and they're broke in terms of their agriculture. Why would we be any better?
DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. member, I regret to inform. you that your time has expired.
MS. CAMPBELL: Mr. Speaker, I ask leave to make an introduction.
MS. CAMPBELL: Members on both sides of this House are on record as supporting bilingualism and supporting efforts to encourage our young people in British Columbia to speak French and have better relations with our compatriots in the province of Quebec. Of course, recently in this House we welcomed the Premier of the province of Quebec, M. Bourassa. Today in the House in our gallery we have students from Lord Byng Secondary School in Vancouver and their guests on an exchange from the province of Quebec: students from College Saint Charles Gamier. I'd ask the House to give them a very warm bienvenue and welcome.
INTERIOR PROVINCIAL EXHIBITION
MR. MICHAEL: My topic today is the Interior Provincial Exhibition, which I consider to be the greatest agricultural exhibition anywhere in the province of British Columbia. I will attempt to make a case to the Minister of Agriculture that the present allocation of funds from his ministry to the various class A exhibitions in the province of British Columbia is somewhat discriminatory.
The Interior Provincial Exhibition receives from the minister $10,000 a year in comparison to the PNE, which receives $30,000 a year — three times as much. I would point out to the House, Mr. Speaker, that there are only four class A
[ Page 4315 ]
exhibitions in the province of British Columbia: the PNE, Chilliwack, the lower Fraser Valley and the Interior Provincial Exhibition located in Armstrong. That is the only class A fair in the entire interior of the province of British Columbia.
It should be pointed out that the IPE attracts nearly double — 35,000 as compared to 20,000 — the attendance as compared to Chilliwack and the lower Fraser Valley. I would point out that as far as competitors are concerned, the Interior Provincial Exhibition in Armstrong attracts somewhere in the neighbourhood of 86 percent of the competitors to the PNE. So while we attract 86 percent of the competitors, the PNE in downtown Vancouver receives three times the amount of subsidy from the Minister of Agriculture as does the IPE.
Mr. Speaker, I would submit that the budget of the PNE is of course higher. It has more than half of the province of British Columbia located within its area to attract displays and commercialized displays and a lot of homebuilding displays and things having nothing to do with agriculture. Yet the Minister of Agriculture contributes three times as much to that fair as he does to the interior exhibition in Armstrong.
It's my view that when giving grants to such things as this, we should be looking at assisting the smaller ones to become larger so as to compete on an equal basis throughout the province of British Columbia. It's true that the PNE has a larger overall volume, more competitors and more prizes. But looking at the tremendous crowds they're able to attract, surely it's not equitable that we should be giving three times as much to a downtown Vancouver agricultural exhibition as we give to one in the interior.
Anyone attending the IPE would know the tremendous benefits of a fair of that size. We attract exhibitors from all over the province, particularly the interior. It allows farmers to get to know one another, to compare various products that they're engaged in, and it is a tremendous boost for the economy of the Armstrong area. People travel many miles to come to Armstrong; it's the interior hub of agriculture. Within a very few miles of Armstrong, we have such agricultural products as dairy, beef, vegetables, berries, fruit, rabbits, goats and honey, and indeed it is the hub of the interior of the province of British Columbia.
We attract agricultural competitors and exhibitors from Williams Lake, the Kootenays, the entire Okanagan and indeed from some coastal areas. I would ask the minister to please give consideration in drafting next year's budget to the great job we're doing in the Armstrong-Spillimacheen area in the field of agriculture and that hundreds of people are contributing thousands of man-hours every year on a volunteer basis. Please give consideration to equalizing those grants so that we can get $30,000 for the interior exhibition and match the PNE, because it's a great agricultural area and deserves the full support of the province of British Columbia.
MS. EDWARDS: I'm delighted to hear these particular figures about the Interior Provincial Exhibition in Armstrong because, like the member for Shuswap-Revelstoke, I'm a great booster of the interior. I always like to hear of the activities that go on in the interior. I like to remind other people that there are lots of things that we do in the interior, and sometimes we do them far better than those remote communities of Vancouver and some in the Fraser Valley.
So I'm really pleased to hear that the Armstrong exhibition attracts 86 percent — I presume that's in numbers exactly — of the number of competitors that the PNE attracts. I'm not sure what the extent of the exhibition is in Armstrong, but just by simple theory, if you like, exactly what should it be? Obviously Armstrong is at the centre of a farming community and Vancouver is as urban as it can be. I certainly would like to assure the member for Shuswap-Revelstoke that he has my support in urging the Minister of Agriculture to recognize these events, which are crucial to the culture of the province, because every community in British Columbia has some history of agricultural activity. This is truly important, even though most of the communities in British Columbia, I admit, began as mining towns.
You can't survive without agriculture. I think the minister should be looking to work against the centralizing trend of this government, which, interestingly enough, seems to be allowing the kind of urbanization that we in the rural communities find not to our benefit. I would thoroughly support the member for Shuswap-Revelstoke in asking for greater support from the ministry vis-à-vis the PNE. I'll leave it at that and let the minister respond.
[Mr. Pelton in the chair.]
HON. MR. SAVAGE: To the member for Shuswap Revelstoke, I certainly appreciate the comments that were raised and appreciate also that for those of you who are not aware, this government contributes some $190,000 in grants to fairs throughout the province, of which the PNE gets $30,000. As the member reported, IPE in Armstrong gets about $10,000. I give due credit to the fair program throughout the province as it relates to agriculture, and the PNE, if nothing else, for realizing that people in the urban centres have the opportunity to appreciate what agriculture is all about in this province. It does, in fact, draw from the same fairs — for instance, the IPE in Armstrong, the Chilliwack fair, the Matsqui fair, etc. — and those same people are also drawn into the fair at the Pacific National Exhibition.
The $30,000 grant that goes to that is our commitment as a government. We are looking, in conjunction with the federal government, at asking for greater support so we can upgrade. I can tell you that there are a number of capital projects being proposed in a number of these areas to upgrade these facilities, to have a greater image in the communities they're involved in.
I concur with the members who have spoken this morning, and I would like to say that we have kept our commitment up. It is the federal government that has been inclined to back away from its commitment. The federal government, obviously, has provided the prize moneys for many of the awards, but we feel that the federal government should also be actively monetarily involved in increasing its commitment toward the funding of these fairs. That's the angle from which I, as the minister, am pursuing it. I agree with the members that we would like to see greater funding, but, as I say, right now we are very much encouraging the federal government to do its share to enhance the opportunities for the public to have greater access and greater appreciation of what agriculture is all about in all these communities throughout the province.
MR. MICHAEL: I just can't understand why, in all the other classifications of fairs, if you qualify for a particular class you get a particular amount of money, whereas with the class As, for some reason or other the PNE doesn't get what
[ Page 4316 ]
the other class A fairs receive, which is $10,000; it gets $30,000. I submit that a class A fair is a class A fair.
When I go to the PNE or the Interior Provincial Exhibition, I have the distinct feeling that as far as an agricultural fair is concerned, Armstrong's IPE is one. When I think of the PNE, I think of a carnival atmosphere; I think of homebuilding displays and all kinds of other things that go on there, but I certainly don't have the feeling that it is an agricultural fair.
I won't dwell any longer, Mr. Speaker. I think the point has been made. I certainly look forward to the minister making some changes next year. If he's unable to increase his budget, certainly he could look at bringing the PNE grant down to $20,000 and moving Armstrong up to $20,000, but more preferably, at making them both $30,000. I will close with that.
DEPUTY SPEAKER: The Chair recognizes the first member for Vancouver-Point Grey. [Applause.]
MS. CAMPBELL: I thank my hon. colleague for his gesture of support before he even knows what I'm going to say.
Mr. Speaker, by leave I move that a bill intituled Regent College Amendment Act, 1988, be introduced and now read a first time.
REGENT COLLEGE AMENDMENT ACT, 1988
MS. CAMPBELL: Mr. Speaker, Regent College is incorporated by statute. The Regent College Amendment Act seeks to make two amendments to that statute. Regent College is now in a process of considerable building and expansion and seeks, by this amendment, to amend the maximum term to be served by members of its board from three consecutive years to nine consecutive years. Secondly, the amendment seeks to change the terminology of the administration of the college so that the principal would henceforth be known as the president of the college.
I move that Bill PR401 be referred to the Select Standing Committee on Standing Orders, Private Bills and Member Services.
MR. WILLIAMS: I ask leave of the House to make an introduction, if I may.
MR. WILLIAMS: I would like to welcome to the House students from Gladstone high school in Vancouver. Gladstone has had some glorious, well-known graduates, who are incredibly intelligent and attractive people: namely, my wife. I hope she's reading Hansard when this arrives at the door. Would you welcome the students from Gladstone.
HON. L. HANSON: I call Committee of Supply.
The House in Committee of Supply; Mr. Weisgerber in the chair.
ESTIMATES: MINISTRY OF
TOURISM, RECREATION AND CULTURE
On vote 65: minister's office: $243,459.
MR. G. HANSON: Before I direct my comments and questions to the Minister of Tourism, Recreation and Culture (Hon. Mr. Reid), I would like to join the first member for Vancouver East in welcoming the students from my alma mater, Gladstone. Having been a former gladiator, welcome.
I want to direct a few questions to the Minister of Tourism about a matter for which he is indirectly responsible, and that is the B.C. Steamship Corporation. The minister responsible is the Attorney-General (Hon. B.R. Smith) ; however, the Attorney-General's ministry does not have the capability internally to do the assessments and address the concerns that I have about the proposal to sell or joint venture or enter into different arrangements with respect to the sailings and ownership of the Marguerite and the Vancouver Island Princess, and the impact that may have on tourism in our area.
I don't have to tell the minister what the economic impact of that life-support system for this region is. I have looked at the statistics, and 1 know that the minister is basically operating out of the same book, "Visitor '87," which gives global figures of the number of nights individuals stay on Vancouver Island, why they come, whether they come by ferry or automobile, whether they rent their automobiles, whether they walk on and so on.
We have some numbers that indicate the extent to which Americans come into Victoria and this region and roughly how long they stay. It's estimated that visitors coming on the Marguerite stay 2.4 or 2.8 days on average, which I think a lot of people in this region are not aware of. They think of them as day trippers, when in actual fact they'll stay an average of something like 2.5 days. They'll also spend something in the order of $55 to $60 each, on average. They come because they like to tour primarily, not necessarily to visit relatives. Those are smaller percentages.
This is all by way of a preamble to indicate that in my view — and the view on this side of the House — that there is some sort of economic adventurism happening around a system or a company that is performing well, bringing people into this region who are bringing their capital. We have a tourism industry which is on the ascendancy, in terms of its role among other sectors of the economy; but it's seasonal. We've had many discussions over time in this House about how to even out that curve in that four or five months, and how to spread it out so people come earlier in the spring and after for skiing holidays; to utilize E&N Rail for proper package holidays up to Mt. Washington; to try to have people go through to the west coast to see the beauties of this island; to spread the economic impact throughout the island. I know that the minister hasn't the primary responsibility for B.C. Steamships, but he has responsibility for the impact of the decision that may be made as a result of any sale or any kind of new economic arrangement with the private sector. What studies has your ministry undertaken to anticipate the impacts that may occur given a new economic arrangement with B.C. Steamships?
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HON. MR. REID: I'm glad the member asked that question, because we've just completed a pocket-cruise study of the potential and incremental opportunities for cruise shipping in and around Vancouver Island and the lower part of British Columbia into those ports which aren't currently being utilized. The report indicates that there is a strong opportunity, if not for the Princess Marguerite and the VIP.... I hope that some offer or suggestion does encompass a longer usage of the season for those two ships to embellish the opportunity for further tourists into Victoria, and also into and around other ports on Vancouver Island that don't require large port facilities, as do the larger oceangoing cruise ships.
As soon as that report is off the press I'll make sure the member gets a copy, because it's very exciting. It talks about the long-range potential of the Princess Marguerite and the VIP added on to the other pocket-cruising opportunities in British Columbia. Maybe because of Bill C-52 — which is a federal bill — and some of the conditions they're putting on additional cruise shipping in British Columbia.... If that act passes, it's going to be incumbent upon us as government to maybe utilize better or to ask for some better utilization — that either the current ferries or ferry purchases be for more ports in the lower end of British Columbia.
So to answer your question about whether the ministry has a study, the answer is yes, and it encompasses those two ships. I think the member's concern about a drop-off or a possible loss factor for Victoria as a result of privatization of those two ships is a concern he should not have.
MR. G. HANSON: I know that study was undertaken. and I gather it's a joint federal-provincial study primarily looking at cruise ships going up and down the coast.
HON. MR. REID: No, pocket cruises.
MR. G. HANSON: My question is a legitimate concern that arises out of this region, because the Marguerite and the VIP are functioning well and are a major economic aorta for this region; when someone starts to tinker with that, it raises concern, and we don't want any anxiety around this whole area. The Marguerite alone, as a conservative estimate, brings about $15 million into this region in a period of just four to five months, and the spinoff through the area is something we don't want disturbed.
It appears to us that not enough consideration is being given to the long-range impact. For example, the question is raised about the tenure of the Marguerite; that perhaps greater profits could be garnered by an owner or a joint venture, by having another vessel substituting for the Marguerite. The Marguerite is an attraction; it's a vessel that has a particular charm in addition to its economic benefit, and it's tried and true. We've seen rocket-ship-type vessels, jetfoils, the most modern vessels going, with high operating costs, come into the system, last a short while, abandon the system. The Marguerite has a long tradition of operating successfully, of faithfully plying the waters between Victoria and Seattle, and we don't want it disturbed when it's working so successfully. This is our legitimate concern in this area.
We would like to see a study undertaken around B.C. Steamships and the economic impact into Vancouver Island; specifically, what are the operating costs. The subsidy to the B.C. Steamship Company is a relatively small amount given the resources it brings into the region. We don't have the confidence, on strict ideological grounds, that the private sector can do it better. We've had that experience where a large corporation such as the CPR was involved and abandoned it because of balance sheet issues. We feel that here we have something so important that we'd like to request that a study be undertaken prior to any decision being made.
We know that the board of directors has been asked to examine various options of joint venturing and sale and so on. But we'd like a proper study undertaken so that there are no surprises. We don't want any surprises at all around B.C. Steamship, because as I say, it's a life-support system. We cannot afford any withdrawal of service by a corporation saying, "For economic reasons, we've had to modify schedules, cut back on service" or anything like that. That is not acceptable, because it is just so important.
It cuts across all political lines in this area, as the minister knows. No matter what the political orientation of a citizen in this region, everyone agrees that the B.C. Steamship is a vital company in a sector of our economy. It's vital to our hospitality industry and it ain't broke, so why is it being fixed?
HON. MR. REID: I'll take the concern of that member to my colleague the Attorney-General and try to get a response back. I don't know if the Attorney-General has read the pocket cruise report, but I'll make sure he does. Between the two of us, we'll get you an answer.
MS. SMALLWOOD: My question changes the subject a little, but I'd like the minister to know that there are members who want to follow up on this subject. I'll try to be as brief as I can and hope the minister can be direct in his answers.
I want to know first of all if the minister would outline what he sees his responsibility to be under the auspices of recreation in his ministry.
HON. MR. REID: In brief, full.
MS. SMALLWOOD: I guess the minister is telling us that he doesn't intend to be brief, because he's not going to give us direct information. I'd like the minister to outline his direct responsibilities to recreation. What does he have to do to fulfil his mandate to the ministry under recreation? Is it purely a matter of doing the Summer and Winter Games? Does he have some responsibility to recreational facilities? What is his mandate? What work is he doing to fulfil that mandate?
HON. MR. REID: Mr. Chairman, I'm not sure what line in my estimates she's referring to, but the mandate of the ministry is to handle the cultural, tourism and recreation components of British Columbia. It's 18 hours a day, divided equally between the three divisions of the ministry. So recreation and sport get about a quarter of every day of my active life.
MS. SMALLWOOD: In the quarter or third of your day devoted to recreation, Mr. Minister, can you tell the House what your plans are to help fulfil the recreational needs of the people of British Columbia? In particular, I am concerned with the youth component. I am particularly concerned with the recreational facilities and needs of the people in the suburbs around the lower mainland. In particular, I am concerned about the needs of the youth in Surrey. We are seeing
[ Page 4318 ]
headline stories where the youth in Surrey do not have the facilities to play softball, for instance. We do not have ice facilities in Surrey — and you're well aware of that. Can you explain to this House what your mandate is in providing for the needs of the young people in British Columbia?
HON. MR. REID: My ministry annually administers around $10 million in sports and recreation in the province, and not one penny of it is for capital improvements from my ministry. My ministry administers youth programs and training programs; all the programs in the province in sports and recreation come under my ministry, funded on an annual basis with small increments when available. But capital improvements in the province — and you should know this — are not the responsibility of this minister. I do not have funds in my budget. Find it in the budget, and I'll tell you how we spend it. But if you're getting into the estimates, tell me what line in my estimates you're talking about. Because if you're talking about the ice arena for North Surrey, I think you've got to continue to make the case on behalf of your constituency and of the youth to see if the funds can be acquired from another source. It's not within my ministry.
MS. SMALLWOOD: Under your responsibility to recreation — and as far as I can see, you are the only Minster responsible for recreation in the province of B.C. — I'd like to know whether I can go back to Surrey this weekend and tell those kids what the Minister of Recreation is going to do for them. Surely you have heard the cries for help out of our municipality from all of those young people who have nothing more to do than hang around shopping malls. What is the Minister of Recreation going to do for those kids?
HON. MR. REID: I'm prepared to look at whatever recommendations and proposals that member wants to go home and find out that she can do for her constituents and bring back to me, like every other MLA in this House does.
Where I can talk about the programs, I'm prepared to circulate to your constituents exactly the recreation programs that we have available and that are going on. We're not Surrey specific, but I can tell them what we do. I can tell them what funding is available, which sporting groups to call, and which recreation associations to be involved with. Surrey has the best parks and recreation department in the province, in my mind, and they do everything within the confines and the money that they have available. Why don't you go and press them for increasing the taxes to the Surrey residents to do the things you want to do?
MS. SMALLWOOD: I'd just like to agree with the minister that we have very good people on the ground in Surrey in parks and rec. They are doing everything that they can with the very limited resources that they have.
Basically, what the minister has told this House is that he is not prepared and he does not have the ability to do anything for those kids. I would like to have on the record of this House my request to the minister to provide me with full information in writing about his ability and his ideas about what he, as the Minister of Recreation, can do for not only Surrey, but for all of the suburbs that are expressing concern over the phenomenal growth rate and the need for those communities' young people to have recreational facilities and programs to meet their needs. Mr. Minister, the message is that your programs are not meeting the needs. My request for information and a comment from you is for what you are going to do about it. I am dismally disappointed that the minister has not offered a solution or even the mere indication that he is thinking about how to deal with this problem.
HON. MR. REID: I take exception to those comments, but that's the style of that particular member.
Surrey, as a result of this minister's responsibility, has had more attention paid to it for its sporting and recreation components than any other constituency in the province. In fact, I'm accused of having favoritism towards Surrey. Surrey is getting the Summer Games in 1989 and around $1.5 million will be spent on behalf of the taxpayers of British Columbia for those games hosted in Surrey. If you can go back and talk your constituent sporting and recreation groups into becoming involved with volunteering and getting ready for the Summer Games to be held in your constituency in 1989, that's the best thing you can do.
MR. G. HANSON: I'd like to come back to a matter relating to B.C. Steamships again, on a matter that's directly the responsibility of this minister; that is the external marketing. Looking at this report and where people come from in the United States to Vancouver Island, it is clear that the emergence of California, and southern California in particular.... Although there is not a breakdown here, it's my information that southern California is the growth area for us. When you look at California and other western U.S. states and Oregon, it comprises a large percentage of tourists into his region.
I would like to ask a specific question. What is the external marketing budget for California and the southwestern U.S. for this coming year?
Perhaps while the deputy is looking for it.... As the minister knows, there's a direct payoff in terms of dollars pent in marketing and the direct revenue that comes back from tourist visitations. So any reduction in external marketing is going to have an impact here in Victoria. I'd like him to assure us that there will not be any reduction in external marketing that would impact on the passenger flow from Seattle into Victoria.
HON. MR. REID: I'm sorry, I don't have the specific dollar that we're earmarking for the California market, but I an tell you it's 32 percent of our visitation profile, and so it's 2 percent of our direct interest. Our 800 number, which we currently have in place, is giving us 600 calls a day, of which three-quarters are coming from the United States. I think about 60 percent of those would be from the California market.
In answering your question, Mr. Member, we have some television marketing in L.A. at the moment which we had put n place late last fall and early this spring; it will probably some to an end towards the end of this tourism season. Secondly, there is strong publication marketing in that same market because of the strong representation to the economy here from California. I don't know the exact number because my staff, since the reshuffle in the budget, have not been able to get back to what portions of the actual allocations for international marketing can be continued in California in relation to the global budget at the moment.
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I want to give comfort to the member in saying that we do recognize that our strongest market in international visitors is California, 26 million people. We continue to market as strongly there as we can afford to. We're looking now — and I'm glad he raised it in the context of the B.C. Steamships — at cooperating our marketing programs with B.C. Steamships, B.C. Ferries, B.C. Rail, B.C. Transit and other Crown corporations who are also marketing in similar markets. By coordinating that, we'll get a bigger bang for our buck.
Unfortunately, I cannot provide him with the final number. I can take the balance on notice, if you wish, and provide that to you within a couple of weeks.
MR. G. HANSON: I guess the worry to us is when we look in the estimates at the amount of dollars for marketing and the reduction from $18.7 million in '87 to $11.7 million, a reduction of approximately 30 percent. Every study seems to indicate that every dollar spent in marketing tourism has a direct proportional return. The worry is that when you're cutting your vote there, that might manifest itself in a reaction in this region, which we don't want to have happen. I'm sure the minister doesn't want that to happen either. What we need is to have that minister go back to Treasury Board and get that topped up to $18 million.
HON. MR. REID: I thank that member for his suggestion. There's no question that with the allocation of funds in 1988-89, the challenge to my ministry and my staff in marketing, who are the best there is in North America, without question.... The innovative ideas we've brought in in the last two years plus the new one we've brought in with the new 800 number in 1988, which is working very effectively and giving us even further direct response availability, plus immediate impact relative to specific marketing programs and whatever advertising programs are out there.... We're getting immediate response to those, now knowing how to refocus and redirect that.
I want to emphasize to the member just how successful we have been since 1985 in relation to the U. S. market. I want to point out that in 1987 the accommodation revenues in British Columbia were up 25.2 percent over 1985. Ferry traffic was up 12.2 percent. Air passenger arrivals into British Columbia were up 2 percent. I'm using '85 numbers. The campground usage in British Columbia was up 37.8 percent over 1985. The U.S. arrivals into British Columbia were up 31.2 percent over 1985. I would suggest that 32 percent or 50 percent of that probably was from California. Rogers Pass was up 5.7 percent over 1985, and our restaurant sales were up 28.7 percent over 1985. Those are significant numbers over the very successful year of 1985. I can also give you all the incremental numbers. They were plus-factor relative to 1986 — not as large as that, because it had a very competitive year, but they were all a percentage higher than 1986, and significantly in some areas relative to....
Getting back to the question. Because of the innovative marketing programs we put in place during 1986 to take advantage of the Expo thrust and the world-class recognition, last year we went to Treasury Board and asked for an additional $5 million or $6 million - I can't remember the exact number. We were granted it on the understanding that we would be able to keep the momentum going. We proved it, and the momentum is still there. What we've been asked by Treasury Board and others is to take the challenge and be as innovative as we have been in the past and make it work.
If that member was prepared to make an amendment to my estimates that they go up by $5 million or $6 million, it would probably be the only amendment that would ever be accepted in the House. Normally we stand here to be challenged about how we waste taxpayers' money, and how we don't use it very effectively. I'm proud to hear that side of the House commending my staff and this minister for the way we're handling taxpayers' money and doing a proper job of it. If the amendment were to come from that member, we may get some support from all members of the House in that resolution.
MR. G. HANSON: I think we just may be able to accommodate that minister, because it's clear, when you look at page 15 of this report, that the growth areas for tourism coming into this region are southern California, California and international visitors. Any reduction in external marketing would be something we would be most opposed to.
It indicates that the close-in U.S. markets declined slightly, while the more distant markets increased. Clearly the federal program of "come to a world next door," or whatever the theme is, is a very successful program — very professional and very well done. To reiterate our concern, if you cut back in the marketing into the California area or the west coast of the U.S., we feel that's penny wise and pound foolish, because that is a growth market for us. The international numbers are coming up, and it makes good business sense, whether it's that side of the House or this side of the House, given the research.
MR. R. FRASER: Aye.
MR. G. HANSON: He has obviously seen some marketing into the Bahamas and into Antigua, and it has drawn him away.... The per capita income was $200 a year, so things are a little different there.
To summarize, our concerns are twofold. (1) We don't want any economic adventurism around the operation of B.C. Ferry Corporation that would impact negatively on this region, because it's working well, and it's tried and true. Why get into something that puts the hospitality and tourism industry — in its broadest possible terms — at risk in this region? (2) Any reduction of external marketing that impacts in terms of passenger flow on those vessels is also a deleterious thing which we feel is not wise.
In those two areas, we urge the minister to go back to Treasury Board, make sure that marketing program is intact and, similarly, consult with his colleague, the minister responsible for B.C. Steamships, and indicate that we need a comprehensive economic impact study around any alterations of the formula that's working so well for this region.
MR. SIHOTA: I want to talk briefly with respect to the comments made by my good friend the first member for Victoria. I will be very quick here, because we are running out of time, I think that the government's intention to effectively give up control or some control over the Maggie is misguided. I think — more importantly and in a more positive vein — the government ought to be looking at a Maggie II to do the Victoria to San Francisco run, or a Maggie III, if the minister wants to say that.
However, under no circumstances should that vehicle be placed in private hands. That should be a public enterprise, as the successful Maggie has been to date. If anything, the
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government may want to consider a lease operation for a couple of years to test the market, if there is a need to do that. He should get on with constructing the Maggie II and constructing it here in B.C. That should be the overall game plan, because it would provide far greater economic benefits in terms of construction in ridings like mine in Esquimalt and in that of the government House Leader.
At the same time it would fill a much-needed tourist need. I think that's what the government's strategy ought to be, as opposed to what we're hearing from the government, particularly through the auspices of the Attorney-General. Those are the only points I wanted to make on the matter.
HON. MR. REID: I hear your concerns, and I also heard them from the other member. I will be talking to the Attorney General about the subject to make certain that you can satisfy your minds that any move in relation to that will be a positive one, or we wouldn't make it. An example that Victoria should recall is Pacific Coach Lines, which, when it was run by us as government, was costing the taxpayers $7 million a year. We handed it off to the private sector, they increased the ridership and the service, and they also picked up the tab.
If that kind of success story can happen.... I want to give my assurance to both of those members that it would be folly to create a situation where the Marguerite and the VIP did not give equivalent service, or better, to what it gives at the moment. I know I'm encouraged from the presentations I've seen that we'll get extended service, more service and probably better service. But that's to be seen. I hear your concerns.
MS. EDWARDS: I want to get back to what we broke off with yesterday. You were talking about the projects you had done in the cultural and arts area. You were talking about three-year funding. I'm curious to know how much.... Maybe I'm getting into lotteries; some of this is lotteries funding. Maybe we should do that first.
How much money will the ministry get this year from the lotteries for funding? I think that's a good place to start. I would also like to know how that compares to last year. In general, is that funding going to be distributed in the same way that it was last year?
HON. MR. REID: The lottery funding provided to my ministry for recreation, culture and heritage in 1988-89 is $22.016 million. It's down by about $1 million from 1987-88. It's distributed for cultural programs, festivals of the arts, multicultural programs, library services, heritage programs, the Heritage Trust, sports and recreation programs, B.C. Games and new initiatives.
MS. EDWARDS: Have I got that right? I think you said it was down about $1 million from last year. Mr. Minister, my observation on that is, of course, that the lotteries money was originally set up to cover recreational, cultural and heritage needs in this province. I don't think those needs have become less. I know for a fact that the costs of servicing those needs and helping the industry are not less; they have gone up.
I wonder whether the minister is going to make some more representations or whether he has any hope of, instead of having the funds for this set aside for some reason somewhere else.... Remember, this year all of these lottery funds are going into the BS fund. Last year they were all going to pay off Expo. When will it again be the turn of the people who have needs in recreation, culture and heritage — which is all of us — to get a larger share and to get back to a reasonable share of those funds?
HON. MR. REID: Mr. Chairman, soon, I hope.
MS. EDWARDS: Does that mean within this budget year?
HON. MR. REID: I don't have any evidence of it being available. I said to you: "Soon, I hope." The word is "hope."
MS. EDWARDS: Does it depend only on whether or not the Provincial Secretary (Hon. Mr. Veitch) changes his mind or the Treasury Board changes its mind? Has the minister any input into that?
HON. MR. REID: It's determined by lots of things, and one of them is the need of the community and the case being made by each of the components in the community making a case for additional funding.
MS. EDWARDS: In other words, that amount for the minister to distribute could go up. I know the minister doesn't distribute all of the lottery funds, but could this ministry's share of that funding go up depending on the advocacy of the communities?
HON. MR. REID: That's highly likely, yes.
MS. EDWARDS: I hope we have some very persuasive communities and that you're expecting to have very persuasive communities and, as you say, that this is an ongoing thing and is simply a matter of just nudging an arm for you to get some more funding for these particular areas, because to have to tell me that the funding out of the lotteries is $1 million down from last year seems to me another very great disappointment for the people of this province.
However, I do want to go on to the funding that you do, and one of the things you've been talking about: three-year funding for some of the major cultural organizations and institutions in the province. Could you tell me how much is involved in that? Are you going to multi-year funding for all of the organizations and institutions under the lotteries funds?
HON. MR. REID: Ultimately, yes. None of them are signed up for a three-year contract with my ministry without a full-fledged business plan that indicates what the three-year planning for that component is, and what commitments they need to make, and what kind of input they're going to have. With an annual report indicating that they've been able to meet the commitments and the programs they've agreed to, the second year of incremental funds will kick in, and the third year. The reason we're doing that is to create a businesslike attitude on behalf of the cultural community out there as to using taxpayers' money in the best way possible and without having a desperate problem annually about whether they're going to get funding. If they make a case for a business plan, if they make a case for three-year funding and we sign on the dotted line, they're in for three years minimum. We're doing it on a businesslike basis with each component which we fund. My staff are meeting with those components and talking to them, and if they're in a position
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of being able to sign up for a three-year contractual arrangement for funding, we're prepared to sign on the dotted line also.
MS. EDWARDS: Mr. Minister, I don't want to sound totally negative on this, because I think this is one of the most positive things that you're doing as well. British Columbia is the envy of some other areas where they still go from year-to year funding, and I think a move to multi-year funding is very positive.
However, I do hear in what you say that there would be an incremental aspect — in other words, I presume, a growth aspect — in some of these three-year contracts. An increment usually means it goes up, as I understand the lingo. I would like to know whether in fact there are increases put into these three-year contracts, and also whether the ministry.... When they make the commitment for the three years, are they going to be able to meet that commitment, given the cuts that have been made to the minister's budget this year? I hope that's not going to happen again, but what assurance can the organizations have that the ministry will be able to meet its commitments under a three-year funding contract?
HON. MR. REID: I want to make it abundantly clear that all the contracts we've signed are on the understanding that current funds will be available and additional increments, if they can be justified, will be met by the ministry if they're signed on the line — always subject to funds being available.
MS. EDWARDS: I guess that says it all, Mr. Minister.
Mr. Minister, are you satisfied with the province's amount of funding to arts and culture, or are you working to have it increased so that it would be more in line with even the average across Canada?
HON. MR. REID: As the minister responsible for recreation and culture, I can tell you, you can never be satisfied with the funds available for that component of the community out there. It's made up of so many volunteers who participate and offer so much of their own time. I give the assurance to that member that I continue to press, where possible, for additional funding for those two components. They deserve all the support you and I can get. To be negative about it is the last thing that any member should be. So I say, please don't be negative about it.
I make a case; I have not lost ground in relation to current funding for any programs out there. I lost some ground for new initiatives in 1988-89 in that we couldn't make a case for incremental funding which was required last year for the JobTrac program, which was not available under the program itself, but we were able to assist it under new initiatives. We weren't able to win that, but it did not affect — I want to make it abundantly clear — the cultural funding in place in 1987-88. In fact, there are incremental increases in some components because of contracts we signed last year as a result of success stories on their programs and their business plans.
MS. EDWARDS: Mr. Minister, I think it would have to be recognized that it's not a bigger program if the grant amount from lotteries is $1 million down. But I leave that for a moment to go on to the other studies that your ministry did.
Under a task force you came forward with the Project Pride report, and you now have an Artsreach report, and you have, I guess, the final report from the library task force. Could the minister tell me what he plans to do with these reports? Are they going to result in some action, and what's the time-frame on that?
HON. MR. REID: First of all, I will give you the assurance that you will see action out of every report. Those task forces that made their way around the province and interviewed in every community possible, discussing subjects of all four task forces, were in some cases the first time in history that the province has taken on that role. A couple of them had kinds of task forces instituted in the '78-79 years, but this ministry took it upon itself to get out and get some answers from the public on what they perceive the culture, heritage, sport, recreation and library systems input to be and to tell this government and our staff what direction should be taken for all those components.
In saying that, I want to give you the assurance that they will not collect dust. They all require us to make a strong case for additional funds in the upcoming years. They all conjure up funds, but they are all related specifically to programs and initiatives that have been identified and that should be looked after out there. Since I don't have additional funds to do it in 1988-89, we will continue to assess the recommendations in all those reports and try, where possible, to implement all those that are not cost-generated.
For those that have funds generated to them, we have to make individual cases to Treasury Board for programs which probably have to be perceived to be put in place in the years '89-90 — those kinds of things. But I want to give you the assurance that they weren't put in place by very energetic, competent and enthusiastic people only to be given the deep-six treatment. No way.
MS. EDWARDS: Particularly with the "Artsreach Report, " there are two alternatives proposed and you assure me that ongoing assessment will be made. Will that assessment continue to welcome and make possible public input? Because the "Artsreach Report" does not come to any particular conclusion about which way it should go. Members of the arts community whom I've talked to don't feel it has ended; that feeling of finishing is not there with the "Artsreach Report" — which is not necessarily a criticism. In the ongoing assessment, will the public continue to be involved?
HON. MR. REID: The answer is yes. As a matter of fact, we're still taking input from all the organizations identified by the "Artsreach Report." We still have comments and recommendations coming in daily. So for that reason, the one report, which we do not have a final update on, is Artsreach. The other ones — New Approaches, Project Pride and the sport Gameplan 2000 — have had their reports completed, but Artsreach hasn't.
MS. EDWARDS: I wanted to ask you one more thing about the recreational aspect of it, the Seniors' Games. I've had some input on the Seniors' Games and I don't know what your plans are for it. Some of the organizers were very upset with the problems they had, and they felt that the amount of funding was not enough. I'm not saying simply that we need more money; I'm asking — and you must have heard the complaints — if you are going to be able to address the complaints. I believe most of them had to do with travel for seniors.
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From what I see in some of the investigations I've done since I heard the complaints, there is more equal funding than I originally thought there was. Is there some plan for the Seniors' Games to become so solidly recognized that they will have a longer-term input of planning and so on?
HON. MR. REID: I know the seniors' group has had some apprehension in the last few months. This minister is the first minister ever to recognize the Seniors' Games as a separate entity. We agreed to put them in place in 1988-89 in Vernon. We anticipated them to require funding similar to the other independent games — those run by the handicapped, the Special Olympics and so on. We offered them initially $35,000 for the 1988-89 component. We also gave them, for a year's usage, one of our senior staff in sports and rec, Mr. Gordon Cameron, to help them with that.
The mechanics of pulling it together in its first year have been a little loose, and we apologize for that. It's really been the fault of three or four parties, not a network, in order to resolve that. I can tell the member that since the Seniors' Games were agreed to be put in place and we agreed to fund them, we now have on my staff one of my senior representatives who looks after games other than the Summer and Winter Games. It's the component called "other games." I think he's in Vernon today, as a matter of fact, presenting them with the funds — $80,000 in total that we are giving them this year to help them with the first-year games. Plus we have a senior rep up there today to make sure that if there are any glitches they can be looked after.
One thing I will give that member assurance on: we will not let down the seniors with their first annual games in the province of British Columbia.
MR. BARNES: I want to switch the subject just a bit to find out the minister's responsibility with respect to multiculturalism, specifically the authority that he has with respect to the heritage adviser's office. I'd like the minister to clarify for the committee the government's policy with respect to multiculturalism and the allocation of funding for the 13 or so agencies associated with services throughout the province for that community, and to generally give us an impression of the government's strategy with respect to liaising with the multicultural community — the expectations with respect to demographic change, concerns about the effectiveness of the policy in line with federal policy, and the extent that we are cost-sharing programs or generally trying to implement the spirit and principles of multiculturalism as we have come to know it in Canada.
Rather than make a long introductory expression on the part of the opposition in terms of what we would like to see, I'd like to have the minister perhaps save us time by stating the lay of the land, so to speak, as it exists today, and then I can respond.
HON. MR. REID: I thank the member for his questions and his ongoing concern for the multicultural component of the B.C. government in relation to what is going on and the policy and the funding. When I took on this ministry, the one component I did not have a handle on — and I make no apologies for it.... Collectively, the governments of the last few years in British Columbia have not provided incremental funding towards the multicultural component out there that is necessary in order to show support for the multicultural community in a broader way than we have in the past.
In saying that we — and my cultural heritage committee of cabinet — in the last six to eight months, in order to address that, have asked for suggested recommendations to a council of members from a broad spectrum of the multicultural community — recommended members to make up this council so that we can, in a short period of time.... I'm suggesting that within 60 days, because I don't want to make a time-frame we can't meet, the council will be put in place. It will have as broad a spectrum of representation of the multicultural community as conceivable to be workable, so that the community itself will then have some direct input by virtue of that council, with a chairman appointed by themselves, to talk about and visit communities around the province about all issues to do with the subject.
The difficulty I find with the multicultural department of the ministry is that it has been very haphazard over the years. There's no particular reason for it, except that it doesn't seem that we have addressed primarily the needs of the multicultural community on an ongoing basis, because it is growing so fast in our province, particularly in the metro area. I've met with large groups of them, and on an individual basis. We have a cultural adviser, Enrico Diano, advising me on a regular basis on how to apportion out the limited funds we have available, which is not — in my mind — the best method. I think the community itself should be talking about what is available and how it should be apportioned out to do a better job for that community.
If it's not enough, somebody else has to make the case; that's what a council does. My sports advisory council comes to me and pounds on the desk with my staff and says: "Mr. Reid, you're not making a strong enough case, and here's why." The arts group comes and pounds on the desk and says: "Mr. Reid, you're not making a strong enough case on behalf of the arts council on three-year funding." So we listened to them, and we made some recommendations, and they said: "You aren't hearing from the community out there on heritage and culture." So as you know, we put in Project Pride last year to go around the province and talk to the community which they said we hadn't heard very well.
I'm proud of what happened out there. Some of the recommendations we got are a little difficult to implement, because they have a cost-factor attributed to them. I'm not saying they shouldn't be done. I have a little empathy for the multicultural one. Once this council is in place — and I give you the assurance that it will be — it's time for the community to have a spokesperson come to the cultural heritage advisory committee meetings on an invitation basis and bring us up to date on what they perceive we should be doing for that community on a regular basis.
I know it's kind of scattered around. I don't want to give you the shotgun approach, but I'm saying that we do have some concern. As I said to that member before, we haven't done it as well as this minister would like. I give you the assurance that it will be one of our priorities in 1988-89.
MR. BARNES: I was sitting here somewhat flabbergasted by the minister's remarks. Clearly he doesn't belong on that side of the House, because you're way out of line with the remarks you just made. In all the years I've been here, I haven't heard a minister even indicate the desire to do the kind of things you're suggesting should be done. Also, to be so critical of past government policy, which has been
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atrocious.... You didn't use strong language, but you made it quite clear that there's an awful lot that can be done. I presume, based on what you've been finding by talking to these groups, — that there's a lot of evidence to support the need for more government participation.
I was wondering if you recall the brief that was presented to the cabinet on social programs last September. It was presented on behalf of a delegation of private and non-profit immigrant service agencies. A pretty telling bit of evidence came out of that report indicating that British Columbia spends about 5 percent of the money that the federal government expends for immigrant services in the province of British Columbia. That's like saying $9 per immigrant, compared to $120 by Alberta; $44 by Saskatchewan; $30 by Manitoba; $90 by Ontario and $133 by Quebec.
So your condemnation of your government's policy is well-founded. It's incredible that in a province like British Columbia, where we are on the Pacific Rim, and we are promoting a multicultural society.... In fact, the demographics in the public school system bore out these facts that there's such a mixture that we're going to have to take a look at the basic curriculum in terms of what is essential in order for people to function in this society. We have far too many people who don't speak English. The literacy problem is serious and is close to crisis in this province.
It's not going to get any better unless there is a stated statutory commitment on the part of the government. I don't mean money coming from the lotteries fund — as has unfortunately been the case — or ad hockery. We're talking about public policy dealing with information that we're collecting, partially through the council that you're suggesting may come up, but also through an ongoing agency monitoring the situation in terms of economic and fiscal planning, recognizing the value and the contributions being made as a result of this image that we have as a multicultural society. We're benefiting from it, but we're not taking care of it. We're allowing it to erode, and it is at risk.
These are the things that I think we need to address seriously, so I'm not really able to condemn the minister. It's almost like saying: " Where have you been all our lives?" We haven't been hearing this in the past; I'm pleased. I want to congratulate you for your responses to the serious questions I'm raising.
For the record — and even more so for my own understanding — I've always been curious about the role of your heritage adviser who has his office in Vancouver in the Media Centre there. He has been shown in Public Accounts as receiving anywhere from $160,000 or $250,000 annually. He has been receiving.... I don't know how many years he has been there, but I will say it's probably since 1980 or '79 or so. Maybe you could clarify how long he's been there.
That's important in terms of the history of this battle for getting funding for multicultural programs, because in the election of '79, Grace McCarthy was the minister responsible at the time and there was this big public agent, this big organized plan — conference, I think it was called — for multiculturalism to get all of the recommendations for public policy. But that was never implemented and it died.
We've got some background information on what should be happening, and we've got some preliminary work that has been done, but what is the heritage adviser's mandate, outside of providing grants occasionally for ceremonial events throughout the multicultural community? He had $250,000, 1 believe, for '87-'88. I don't know what he's got for '88-'89. Could you...?
MR. BARNES: Is part of that salary? What is his contract in terms of his duty?
One final question, if you could answer this as well. What authority has he to grant? Does he come back to the cabinet committee for heritage and cultural preservation? Is that his arm?
HON. MR. REID: I'll take all your questions in context, because I can answer each of them. First of all, the role that he has is that he does not have the spending authority for the allocation of the $250,000. He makes recommendations as a result of applications. Every application that comes in to me as the minister I refer back to him to vet, to look at, to find out whether it's a bona fide group that deserves the support of the government and my ministry and the cabinet.
HON. MR. REID: Oh yes, the community makes the application.
HON. MR. REID: Well, that's what the council will do. Let me give it to you this way. We talked about the past; Let's talk about the future. The council, in the future, will do that. These are tough decisions to make. If you know what your budget is for a year and you're getting requests that are ten times your volume of dollars available, it's a pretty tough decision. What has happened in the past, because of the kinds of requests that come in, and, as you know, the varied interests in the multicultural community....
A community of 400 people — for instance, the Brazilians — may make a request for $1,800 or $2,000 to put on a festival. Without the knowledge daily — and I don't have that knowledge at my fingertips — about the size of the group and the kind of impact they have on the community, far be it from me to write them back and say: "Sorry. We don't have enough money in the kitty. We're tying to make it stretch to the end of the year." I send it back to that adviser and I say to him: "Please advise me and my cabinet committee on the magnitude of the need relative to the volume of dollars available. What's your recommendation on this application?" It will come back and he'll say: "They wanted $1,800. They could probably do just as adequate a job as the Fijians, who got $1,500 to do a similar program. So I'd suggest $1,500." I take it to the committee and then the committee votes on the allocation. When the committee votes on it, we then advise the cultural heritage adviser that the cheque can be cut and it can be presented to that group on behalf of the ministry. That's how it works.
The global sum is always in question. Secondly, how it's handled: the cultural adviser is strictly an adviser. He has no authority or power to do anything other than be an adviser to the minister and to the cabinet committee on multicultural activities.
You made reference to the 1979 study and forum and workshop that was held in Vancouver. It was two and a half days. I read through that, and as I said to you earlier, in the
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report made to our committee in September or October of 1987, they drew some recommendations out of that '79 report. The only one we were able to embellish and endorse right away was the council request: that there be a council of multicultural representatives drawn up. That was the first one.
The difficulty with the other one about having a written policy is that the federal government, as you know, had just come down with a brand-new policy within days of that meeting, and we weren't in a position, without knowing what the federal policy — it had been enunciated by the Hon. Mr. Crombie at the time — meant in the long haul. What we didn't want to do was have a policy come out then which was contradictory, maybe, in a small way. In that community, as you know, it's very delicate. You've got to handle it with kid gloves so that you don't offend anybody, because there are different opinions on what should be done, and with reference to that report, you'll see it: what one group says, the other's not totally in favour of. But in saying that, that's what the council, I hope, will give us some help with. Once we have that in place, then you and I can have this dialogue on an ongoing basis, saying: "Are they doing their job?" You can make a challenge to them once they are appointed.
MR. BARNES: I will just wind up with one final expression of hope, in that I'm interpreting the minister's words in as liberal a way as I can and expecting that the parameters are unlimited for what we can expect in terms of a new public policy on multiculturalism in the province of British Columbia, and that in fact we are talking about an unlimited, open approach to just what is required, and it's going to have the weight of statutory commitments to consolidated revenue — it will not be left up to the whims of the political winds in terms of whether the lottery funds are coming in or not — and that we recognize that this is a substantive, very serious commitment and necessary in terms of the balance that we require.
In other words, it's the same as looking after the family; it's the same kind of commitment that we make in ensuring that people have equality, fairness and opportunity to participate, and that they experience the fullness of their citizenship and rights in this province. I think this is what we're talking about; this is what the federal government wants to do, and this is vital and essential. If we are going to continue with a fair immigration policy such as we have in terms of allowing people to become new Canadians, then we've got to help them settle and we've got to give them the opportunity to adjust and to develop and to have a sense of pride at having made that major decision to become a part of this great country.
So I want to commend you for your candour. In fact, I'm quite surprised at the positiveness of this brief exchange, because it looks to me like somebody has gotten to you. I doubt if it has been many of the colleagues of the past; something new is happening. But it's a good sign, and I hope that within 60 days you will be reporting back about who those members are on the council and that they will not be restricted in keeping the public informed about what's happening, and that we can all participate; it's way overdue. I'm pleased about that.
Vote 65 approved.
Vote 66: ministry operations, $45,672,508 — approved.
The House resumed; Mr. Speaker in the chair.
The committee, having reported resolution, was granted leave to sit again.
Hon. Mr. L. Hanson moved adjournment of the House.
The House adjourned at 12:18 p.m.