[Opening prayer by Mr. Speaker. ]
MR. SPEAKER: Presenting petitions
Reading and receiving petitions
Presenting reports of standing and select committees
Notice of Motion
Introduction of Bills
Orders of the Day
MR. W. C. MILLER (Rhineland): Mr. Speaker, I know the Honourable the Minister of Education, would want me to correct a statement which he made yesterday during the debate on a motion made by the honourable member for Ste. Rose in connection with bursaries.
He took some mild objection to the order being passed. He stated that it would take considerable time, and that it might not be in the best interests of the reicipients to publish such a list. I interjected at that particular time that it was already the practice of the department to publish awards of that kind, having to do with bursaries based on scholarship and need. The Minister stated that that was not the case, that in the publication only awards based on scholarship alone were published. I did not have the publication with me at that time. I have it now. I refer to the October issue of the Manitoba School Journal, Page 6, where you have an impressive list of awards under the title "Secondary School Bursaries Awards, 58-59" from Grades 9 to 12. They are graduated, based on scholarship and need.
HON. DUFF ROBLIN (Premier): Mr. Speaker, before the Orders of the Day, I would like to refer to an announcement made recently with respect to the Springhill disaster and a suggestion that was made at that time about a fund, in addition to the contribution that the Province, is going to, proposed, should be made.
I am happy to say that the Premier of Nova Scotia has now asked Mr. Kenneth Sedgewick of Montreal, I believe, to become the national chairman of such a fund, and that Major General Elliot Roger of this city has undertaken the responsibility of becoming the Manitoba chairman of the Springhill Disaster Fund.
I make this announcment because I know that members of the House have been anxious to know what steps would be taken in this respect, and I trust that this announcement will meet with their approval and widespread support outside the Chamber.
MR. R. W. BEND (Rockwood-Iberville): Before the Orders of the Day, Mr. Speaker, and on a point of privilege, it's not my custom here, over the years, to have questioned anything that appeared in newspapers. I think only on one other occasion in the nine years that I have been here have I made use of this privilege. And I would like to make it clear that this is not in criticism of either the reporter or the paper, because I understand the policy is that one reported probably writes the news account and somebody else gives the headline. And so the result has been in this case, the exact reverse to what my feeling was on the educational bill. And I think it came about through, whether I didn't make it clear, or whether the thing became omitted somehow, two points, that, if in, I am sure would not have resulted in a headline. And number one was this. That while speaking on the bill I made it abundantly clear that I welcomed it; that I thought it was good legislation and so on, but on the question of authorized teachers, and this was where the point came in, and I said that if, and I can't quote exactly, and I haven't got Hansard in front of me, so you'll just have to - I'll have to be going by the sense of what I said. If the administration cannot show me why it's necessary to have this in this form, then I would be inclined or I would want to move an amendment in committee, in order that this be brought in.
Now I don't think that that can be construed in any way as a threat to the educational bill. I am sure members of the House understood what I meant at the time. I think that the reporter just missed it in his reporting and that was what came about, how the headline was there, and I want to make it abundantly clear to all and sundry, having taught school for 20 years, I'm not making any threat to stop this bill. My intention is to improve it. Oh, I'm sorry. I should have reported that it was in the morning edition of the Tribune, of today, that the article occurred.
MR. L. STINSON (Leader of the C.C.F.): Mr. Speaker, before the Orders of the Day I should like to direct a question to the First Minister. When does he expect a report from the commission making a cost benefit study on flooding projects?
MR. ROBLIN: Mr. Speaker, momentarily. As was pointed out in this House previously, the original terms of reference did not include instructions about a cost benefit study, so when the report was made on the engineering aspect, we immediately asked for that cost benefit study to be undertaken. It was undertaken, and I believe is very well advanced, and I expect to get it almost any time now.
MR. D. L. CAMPBELL (Leader of the Opposition): Mr. Speaker, once again I don't wish to appear to be coming to the rescue of my honourable friend the Leader of the C.C.F., but my guess would be that he meant the Manning Commission. Am I right? Perhaps he would clarify the question.
MR. STINSON: The Commission upon which our great and wonderful friend, Mr. Jack McDowell is a member. That will clarify it.
MR. ROBLIN: That really clarifies it! I know that gentleman is on the so called Manning Commission on the Red River Flood. I expect that commission will report before the end of the year. We've had some advices from them that they are well along with their studies and I think I can say, expect to report before the end of the year.
MR. SPEAKER: Adjourned debate, second reading of Bill No. 2. The Honourable Member for Carillon.
MR. EDMOND PREFONTAINE (Carillon): Mr. Speaker, in rising to take part in this debate, I remember vividly the time when I rose in this House in 1945, to speak on the report with respect to education. The members will very well know that there was a special select committee of this House during the time of the coalition, had been appointed in 1943. The committee composed of 16 members, having as chairman the Honourable Minister of Health and Welfare, Mr. Schultz. That committee examined the situation in all provinces of Canada, travelled south and reported to the House in 1945. That committee was reporting to the House, that the trouble was mainly one of administration, although also one of finance with our schools. And it recommended that the province be divided into larger units of school administration to take in both elementary and secondary levels. At that time I got up from my seat and I opposed the principle of the larger units with respect to elementary education.
Today, we have a vote of the same kind; a report from a Royal Commission, and a bill implementing the support, a bill by the government. The fundamental recommendation to my mind in this report and bill, is not one with respect to administration, but one with respect to finance. I don't think that in the history of this Province we have gone so far as this bill is going with respect to equalizing the burden of education in this Province, and at the same time providing equality of educational opportunity. And I do like to - wish to praise the Royal Commission. I'm happy that I was a member of the Government that appointed this Commission - would like to praise this Commission for the work that it has done and the report it has brought forward.
I do not agree completely with everything in that report, nor in everything with the bill. But as far as equalization of opportunity and tax burden is concerned, it is the greatest advance that we have ever made. Now we will really have the strong districts helping the weak districts.
My mind goes back to 1945 and to the report of the special select committee of the Manitoba Legislative Assembly on Education. To prove to you, Sir, and to the members of the House, that the idea propounded in the new report is not, in fact, something altogether new, because the same principle of equalization had been suggested to the special select committee in 1945 - and by no other body than the Manitoba School Trustees Association. I would like to read just a few sentences from that report on page 30. It's section 4 of Chapter 4. Chapter 4 is entitled: "A Permanent Plan for the Financing of Schools"; Section 1, the problem; Section 2, types of grants; Section 3,
equalization grants; and Section 4, provincial land tax. And here is what the report says: "Representatives of the Executive of the Manitoba School Trustees Association presented a report of a subcommittee of their Association" (by the way, the late J. A. Marion was most instrumental in working out this report and the present member of Royal Commission, Mr. Cuddy) "regarding the financing of schools, which report was approved at the 1945 convention the Manitoba School Trustees Association. As this report is the only alternative plan submitted to the committee which recommends a basic change in the method of financing education in the Province of Manitoba, and as it presumably represents the considered opinion of the Association, we are including it herewith in full, although in part, it deals with the administration as well with finance."
We'll not quote it in full, it would be a little long, but I will quote from that report of the School Trustees, the sections, or the parts that will prove to you that the trustees in 1945 had the same ideas that the Royal Commission of 1958 has. This is from the report of the trustees: "Your committee believes that the province as a whole should be responsible for all instructional costs. Your committee believes that secondary school districts should be formed throughout the province, so that every pupil graduating from the elementary rural school has the facilities available adjacent to his or her school district for secondary and technical education. These secondary districts should not necessarily conform to municipal boundaries but to geographical boundaries and populated areas. The present one room school should remain as it is, and teach all subjects up to and including Grade 8." That's with respect to organization. With respect to finance here's the plan that they proposed:
"In order to finance our school system it is recommended: First, that the Government set aside the present system of municipal general levy and substitute therefore, a provincial general levy on an equalized assessment in order to raise fifty percent of instructional costs. Two, the remaining fifty percent of instructional costs to be met by provincial legislative grants out of consolidated revenue of the Province. These proposals are made in the belief that the cost of education will thereby be more equitably borne."
That's the principle of equalization on the province-wide basis, the principle that has now been adopted by the Royal Commission and by the Government. And the special select committee adds this comment: "It will be noted that the basic principle of the above report is that there should be a provincial school levy in order to raise fifty percent of instruction cost - instructional cost being defined as teachers' salary. The remaining fifty percent of the instructional cost to be met by provincial legislative grants." That recommendation was not adopted at the time. I am pleased to see that it is now being adopted. Because the 100 percent of the cost of the teacher salaries will be paid out of the fund derived, that certain amounts of money derived from the province as a unit on the land tax, general levy that's been raised from five mills as we have now, ...on a greater scale, to six, seven, eight, ten or maybe 13 mills, and also by the Province of Manitoba putting into the fund a sum that will be about 50 per cent, I suppose, in
comparison to what is raised by the municipalities.
So I say that we are now finally arriving at the Manitoba Government of today, and Royal Commission appointed by the previous Government, in agreement that we should have educational opportunity and equality of burden in respect to that opportunity. And I wish to praise the Commission and the report.
But, I have one restriction to make with respect to whether or not there will be coercion in the plan that the Government is submitting to us. In speaking the other day, the Minister says this: "This Bill represents, Mr. Speaker, a new approach to the problem of school administration, and is, we believe an aggressive attack upon the problem without the element of coercion." Now, Mr. Speaker, if we study the plan a little closely we see that without a vote being taken; Oh, by the way I'm going ahead of myself a little bit. I would like the members to consider, for a minute, what this six million dollars that the Government is putting into this pot, of new money, over and above what was being in the pot last year, because the new propositions mean an additional amount by the Provincial Government of over six million dollars, we've been told; while in terms of the present system of financing schools, six million dollars means about one thousand dollars per authorized teacher. We have in this province, according to the report, a little over six thousand authorized teachers and over six million dollars in new money means roughly one thousand dollars per authorized teacher. So it means that the Government of the province is now ready to put into the pot an additional one thousand dollars, or approximately, per authorized teacher. And I say that the Government is ready to put that money without condition with respect to certain residence, or school districts in this Province. I might say with respect to about about half the authorized school teachers in this Province, without condition, because section 443 of the bill allows the Government, allows the Minister to declare a single district, to declare it to be a division without disrupting anything in that school district, allowing the same trustees to direct the whole affairs of the school district at both the elementary and secondary levels, without disrupting anything at all. And in this list of school districts I figure that Winnipeg should be included: it certainly has the numbers of teachers and the assessment. It has 1500 teachers. I figure the School District of St. Boniface in the City of St. Boniface would be included. It also has 100 teachers and a lot of assessment. The School District of Norwood would be included without condition; 100 teachers there. The School District of St. James, 175 teachers and plenty of assessment. The School District of East Kildonan, approximately 100 teachers; the School District of West Kildonan with approximately 100 teachers; Brandon with about 140; Flin Flon 110 teachers and plenty of assessment. All these, and these number nine, and they have 2400 school teachers, would become automatically, without any vote, without any deception, entitled to receive one thousand or approximately more dollars for each and every one of their teachers posted at elementary and secondary level. No condition at all.
In addition to these I figure that the City of Portage la
Prairie would come very close to being accepted without a vote. It would stand to gain so much. It would have the preponderance of the vote in the district - division - to be formed around Portage, because it alone wouldn't have 80 teachers, I don't think; but, a vote in that division would be useless because, certainly Portage la Prairie City would out-vote anybody else around there including Oakville and all other school districts; so that's an automatic one.
The same situation would about pertain in Dauphin. Dauphin is quite a city. In the division created around Dauphin as a centre, certainly Dauphin would have the preponderance of the vote. And I think the Rural Municipality of Dauphin and the electors would be pleased possibly at that spot to regain control over the elementary school; so that's practically automatic.
And if we add to these districts, these eleven districts, if we add the remote areas, and venture to predict that there will be quite a few of those remote areas that will get the new grant on the basis of the principles recommended by the commission without a vote. So that before a vote is taken in the rest of the province, about half the province already they will know that the Government will have three million dollars ready to be spent. Three million dollars to which they, whether they don't go into the plan, will have contributed their share.
So I say that it looks to me that there is a certain element of coercion, because the Minister made it very plain and I am quite sure that my colleague the Honourable Member for Rockwood-Iberville was not present when the Minister spoke, because I might quote from the Minister when he said that only the free text books would be given free to all divisions; and he added this "that is the only provision in this bill which has possible application outside of a school division." I say that it will be difficult for the Minister to make it stick when he says that there's no coercion when he goes to a district in the process of taking a vote and tells the district, O.K. ladies and gentlemen, if you vote yourselves into this plan you will get your share of this six million dollars that we're putting into the pot, but if you don't you won't get your share, you won't get nothing. The Minister might retort to me, well that's a recommendation of the Royal Commission. It is a recommendation of the Royal Commission, that those who don't go in will get nothing; but I might say that I am surprised that this recommendation has been made by a commission which condemns the present system of grants, in no uncertain terms, and they seem to visualize the possibility of the two systems of financing schools going along side by side. Well, Mr. Speaker, I for one do not believe that it is possible that the two systems can go side by side. And why should we carry on the old system when the commission says: "This system has fundamental shortcomings," (I am quoting from the report) " While it did provide a measure of equalization which was of assistance to the weaker districts it encouraged a minimum rather than an improved standard of education. And further, here is what the commission says: "The effect of these financial arrangements," (that's the present system, the basic quota, the basic grant of twenty-five hundred dollars plus) "the effect of
these financial arrangements has been to orient local school boards toward minimum standards rather than towards improving educational facilities and instruction. To increase grants of the type now paid might hurt more than it would help."
Now, that commission is working, and had considered, was working, and had considered many, many representations. They propose a plan where they believe that everybody will come in, everybody will be happy to come in; but the Government, on the other hand, having experience of the past, knows how it has been difficult to sell the larger units of school administration to the people of this province, and at least it seems to me that there should be an alternative. That those people who decide for their own reasons, good or not so good, not to come in, that there should be an alternative provided. That they should be penalized possibly to a certain extent, that they might receive a lesser amount of assistance with respect to the construction of their secondary schools, but that they should be considered as citizens, having the same rights as equal citizens to the others in this province.
Now there is a way out of this dilema. The Minister was very kind, I think, and it was very statesmanlike when he made the statement knowing these difficulties that I have mentioned that, I would point out this, that there is nothing in the act which says or in any way requires the division board to centralize its higher school education in any particular point. That matter is entirely in the direction--discretion of the division board. Now here is a sentence of the Minister, that might facilitate very much, Sir, the acceptance of the divisions, where a vote is to be called, where a division is to be made. If they know beforehand, these people are living in different centres in that division, that possibly their own high school will not disappear, they will be more inclined to vote for it. But the principle in itself of saying to half the people of Manitoba, you can have this money, without condition and to the other half, you must vote yourself into a unit, seems to me not a very sound one. That there should be an alternative and, I submit, Mr. Speaker, that there, according to the present set-up, there is no alternative for the people in these divisions, but to vote in favour, otherwise they are starving themselves with respect to education grants. Otherwise they are not able to compete for the teachers of this Province and they will be second rate citizens and have second rate schools. I don't think that's what we want. I don't think that's what we are working for in this House.
Now let us try and be practical for a few moments. Consider what would happen in practice. Now I have a first school district on my list here, that of Oakville. The School District of Oakville did not want to be included in the secondary area of Portage la Prairie. It operates six schools, three elementary and three secondary. I am told it is a good school. Now in order to be included in some division, and it must according to the act, most naturally it would be included into the Portage division. Now I suppose that they would resist being included, because they would be worried about the existence or not of their secondary high school in Oakville; but certainly they will be swamped when the vote is taken, so they will become part and
parcel of the Portage Division. Now it would be up to the board of the division to decide what to do with this secondary high school in Oakville. If they keep it there, what will be the end result? It will be this, that this high-school will be administered by a board composed of from five to nine persons elected in the division as a whole, maybe three or four from Portage who will not be so familiar with the situation in Oakville than the local Board of Trustees now. If it is done away with in Oakville, the people will be very sore, will not be very happy. Maybe they will, but I expect that they won't.
I have on my list Village of Pilot Mound and Crystal City. Here are two villages or towns situated not very far apart. A vote was taken recently as to whether they wished to enter into a larger secondary area. The vote was turned down by one, the smaller of the two cities, because they were afraid that their secondary school would disappear. Now if division is made, and it must be made, it might include other high schools in small towns, and here again there will be a lot of discussion at the time of the vote on these to whether division will be formed or not. My guess is that they will go into the division because otherwise they are going to be left without these additional grants, even at the elementary level when only the administration at the secondary level is concerned but they will be refused the grants even at the elementary level. And I think that they will vote in favour of the division under coercion to a certain extent, monetary coercion. And then the fight will start as to whether they will carry on with one central high school or two, or three, or four. If we have two or three or four, we will have a large area board directing these two or three or four or five, I don't know how many.
So there are objections to this system. It creates rivalries between towns and villages. We know by experience that this has happened, creates difficulties and maybe there would be some way of getting around these difficulties. And I would like to have the privilege of suggesting one, and I will in a few minutes.
I know my own area down in the south-east part of Manitoba. The Minister was very good when he suggested that the principles upon which the Boundary Commission should act should take into consideration questions of population, assessments, ethnic, cultural, religious considerations. That's very good, and I am not, Mr. Speaker, rising here to oppose this matter and I am not opposing the bill as such. I'm opposing just one provision of the bill, and I think that all minority groups are going to be protected, and I trust and I know that this Government will put on that commission men who will realize the difficulty that we have had in the past and we don't want to revive at the present time, and that minorities will be wholly protected in this matter. This is not the point. There is this point that we have in my own municipality, the village St. Pierre, where I live, probably 13 class rooms - 9 elementary and 4 secondary. Close by 9 miles south is the village of St. Malo with 7 elementary and 3 secondary. Now, St. Pierre is some 19 miles from Steinbach and some 23 miles from Morris. I think that the Boundary Commission will give that area of the Salisbury municipality and possibly Ritchot and
Montcalm, a division, but in that division certainly St. Pierre and St. Malo will be together. What's going to happen when the division board sits down together and decides what to do with the St. Malo secondary school? By the way, it is a very good secondary school, with three rooms and three secondary teachers. I think in the end that finally they will decide, well after all, St. Malo is quite a center and that school is doing a good job and it should remain there. I don't know what will happen. If it is to remain there, would it not seem logical that it could be administered by the trustees living in that school district?
Furthermore, I bring your attention to a most, a division that will most probably take place in the municipality of Hanover and the town of Steinbach. The town of Steinbach has 26 elementary grades, elementary teachers and 8 secondary teachers -- 26 all told; population 3,000 assessment nearly $4,000,000. If you take the whole municipality of Hanover around Steinbach, you have plenty of assessment, and nearly the quota of teachers.
It will include a small unincorporated village, not too small 500 population, that of Grunthal. Grunthal has a three room high school. It is manned by possibly the best three high school teachers that I have ever known. Two of them are married men, dedicated men to teaching, doing a wonderful job. I have attended two of their graduation exercises of number 12 students, speaking to the people there. These men have homes in the village of Grunthal--they are perfectly satisfied, the locality has made enormous sacrifices to pay them decent salaries. Now when the vote is taken in that division that community will be afraid to lose its high school. Mind you, this community is only 8 miles from the village of St. Pierre and I don't think that the Boundary Conwnission will include it in the St. Pierre division. I think it will be included because of cultural and social relationships with Steinbach. I think that this little community will and possibly rightly so say we are supplying a good high school in Grunthal, we're against being included into a divison which might force our high school to disappear. Our children might be transported by bus morning and night to Steinbach. Our children are ours, they're getting a good education and we want to stay out. They would want to vote possibly, even knowing that they will lose the grants at the elementary and secondary level; and they have 3 grants, $1,000 per teacher. Knowing that, they might vote, limit a voting against the division board. I don't think they will, I hope they don't. But if they do vote against it, they will be swamped by the heavy vote in Steinbach. They will be forced in because the Act says that a majority in the area decides. And then the fun will start. They'll try to serve their high school in Grunthal. Maybe again the area board--division board will say okay, we'll keep it. It's functioning well. And then I ask you again, will it be administered better by a division board comprised of maybe 9 persons with only possibly one from Grunthal?
These are practical things that we must look into before this Bill is finally passed, not by this House, because I'm not going to oppose the passage of this Bill in this House. I think that we have reached the best proposition that will equalize the
burden of the school tax burden in this province and give equal opportunity to the children. But at the same time, we must not forget that the parents of these children have their opinion. They think that their own town is the best town of all, that their children are freer from wilder people, possibly, to a certain extent at home and close to their parents. Some parents don't like to see their children being transported in buses for long hours even at the secondary level, even when they have attained a certain age. Now I think that these things should not be forgotten.
Now there are ceratin things in the present set-up that I do not like, and I agree with the recommendations of the Royal Commission when they say that school districts where the school is closed should be disbanded. I agree with that, because these people do not supply their share for secondary education. I agree that every child is entitled as of right to secondary education in this province. And I agree that every parent of these children should have a responsibility, should have a right to vote and I believe that no school district should be out of the responsibility of supplying certainly elementary, but also secondary education. I believe that the continuation schools should be discontinued. I believe that schools where there are less than ten pupils should be shut up too - should be shut. These are recommendations that the commission made that I agree with and I think that with the exception of this element of coercion, and I believe there is one, I believe I have proven it, Mr. Speaker, that we would have before us something, that is very good for the province of Manitoba.
I will in committee move, either that we treat the divisions, or the school districts that will not be into a division, along the lines of the principles recommended by the commission rather than along the lines of the present situation, present principles applying to our present grants. I think that would be possible and I think then that this would provide a free vote, but these districts, of course, will not participate so fully in the grants for construction at secondary level. And failing this, I should think Mr. Speaker, that the present plan of financing schools should not be adopted in this province until a majority of the voters in the division have decided that they want it; because otherwise I don't think that the plan can operate properly. And if a majority of those divisions where a vote is taken, (I wouldn't include those that become automatically a division possibly, but, I am not sure yet of amendments that might be brought forward) but I should think that if the Minister would consider making smaller areas than 60 or 80 teachers at the secondary level then the plan would be adopted unanimously by the people of Manitoba without fuss, without discussion. I would go as far as to say, Mr. Speaker, that I believe that on the present set-up, with the condition,...condition, if you do not vote yourself into a division, you don't share into this 6 million dollars, that by this huge...that the vote will be favourable all over and it may become a farce in certain places and expenditure of money for nothing because people will not be able to afford to vote themselves out of the scheme. They will come in by force.
I am sorry, Mr. Speaker, I have spoken so long. I would like the members and the Honourable Minister to think that I appreciate the courage of the Government. In approving the resolution of the Government, I do not know where they will take this 6 million extra dollars, we will find out later on. I'm afraid to a certain extent that we are going into a system whereby the overall cost of education in this province is going to increase by leaps and bounds.
The teachers of this province possibly have not received full consideration in the past. They certainly will be in a wonderful bargaining position in the future, and I am afraid some of the benefits that some school districts are now receiving will be offset when they will have to compete with wealthier school districts to get their teachers. These are things that we will see in the future. It might be also that teachers' salaries will be increased to the extent where the supply will be such that instead of being a seller's market it will be a buyer's market, and that the school district might be able to get their school teachers. But school teachers render an immense service to the people of this province. We must treat them well. Maybe we ourselves, when we were in office, did not increase the basic support, and mind you, there is something good in our plan that we had. It had been accepted by the trustees of this province, by the municipalities of this province. It had been copied by other provinces. There was an element of fiscal need in it. But to me, this new plan of financing the school goes much further and is one that I approve whole-heartedly and I would like to commend the Government for having adopted this principle.
MR. R. O. LISSAMAN (Brandon): Mr. Speaker, I listened with a great deal of interest to the Honourable Member for Carillon. I think it's true that every member in the opposition who has spoken regarding this bill has been in general agreement as to the main principles involved in the bill and differences have only been in degrees as to details.
Now for example, the Honourable Member for Rhineland, the other day, made reference to what the member for Carillon calls "coercion," the Member for Rhineland calls "inducement." I think the Member for Rhineland was taking the positive approach. I think the bill should go to committee where it can be discussed and all these differences and details can be discussed thoroughly in committee.
However, Mr. Speaker, there has been one criticism that has been fairly general that I would like to say a few words upon; that is that the promises of increased grants to education mainly in the neighbourhood of 50% will not be met. I think here again, a negative and hypothetical ground here have been used, based on the fact that some proposed districts might refuse to enter the scheme and thus might not obtain the increased grants. Mr. Speaker, in my opinion, this is not a wise nor a sound criticism. I believe events over the past years when placed in review will prove beyond a doubt that the alternative implication of this, that of simply increasing the present grants, would, unless we try something new, be not only foolish but actually injurious to the
educational system in Manitoba. I believe the Honourable Member for Carillon read words to that effect from the report of the Royal Commission.
Now the members making this suggestion are in a better position than most members of this House to realize that to continue that past policy of piecework and patchwork would be a dis-service to the people of Manitoba. Now let's look at a little proof of this. From the report of the Royal Commission, from 1945 to 1956, the expenditure for education in this province increased almost three and one-third times, from in 1945 a little over ten million to over 33 1/2 million in 1956. Now despite all this increase in expenditure in the province, there has been tremendously increased pressure, certainly the last six or seven years that I have been in this House, for a new deal in education for a Royal Commission to investigate all phases of education within the province.
In my opinion, the member for Ethelbert made a very pertinent and fundamental remark when he was speaking, I believe yesterday, when he said that "money itself is not the answer." Now, obviously, Mr. Speaker, money in itself is not the answer and I think as Alfred E. Smith, one of the past governors of New York State used to say, "we should look at the record."
We have heard so often in this session members who are now in opposition but who previously were members or supporters of the previous government claim that they initiated so many of the policies which underly the legislation which is now before this House in this session. Now let's examine that record and let's also see while we examine their record why the present legislation is both prudent and wise particularly in the field of education as probably in no other field, and we see the reasons why they now sit in the Opposition. In 1944 as the member for Carillon pointed out some 14 years ago, a special select committee of this House was set up to examine education in Manitoba and they made the following recommendations - and although the member for Carillon has read something from this report I would like to read a few further comments. I am taking this from the Summary of the Findings and Recommendations: "There is a definite and urgent need to re-examine the whole field of educational organization in the light of present day needs," in the light of present day needs. Then they go on in the next paragraph and they say "the larger unit of school administration," it considers that "such units could provide a larger degree of equality of educational opportunity particularly at the secondary level. Then recognizing the onus on leadership, the committee recommends that educational campaigns be initiated to inform the public and to gain public approval and support for the re-organization of the educational administration of the province."
Mr. Speaker, the past Government forgot that government must reflect the will of the people. In 1951, it may have been 1952, I entered this House in January of 1952 and I recall receiving at that time a letter from the School Trustees Association of Manitoba urging me to support their resolution demanding a Royal Commission on education. Here were people who above all people in the province realized the dangers of drifting and dragging along
piecing and patching when new and vigorous changes to meet changing conditions become necessary. Now, Mr. Speaker, what an opportunity for the government and the then relatively new Minister of Education, what a chance to build for Manitoba. But what did they do? Well, we know the record--until recently one larger school area and three or four secondary areas within the province.
The Member for Rhineland says that he heartily supports the main policy of this bill. Now, Mr. Speaker, I am sure that the honourable members will agree with me that this doesn't surprise us. He's been saying this for a great many years, that he supports the secondary area, and this is a great and lasting enthusiasm which we must admire. Constancy is a desirable attribute; enables us to know where a man stands but let's thank goodness that this Government has a Minister of Education who doesn't intend to stand still.
MR. MILLER: ...can count on the support of the member for Brandon.
MR. LISSAMAN: I hope he can count on every member.
MR. MILLER: ...Even if I couldn't.
MR. LISSAMAN: Mr. Speaker, the honourable previous Minister has during the past years always deplored the fact that he didn't get the members in the Opposition to come into his department and take over the duties that he was being paid to do.
MR. MILLER: I said nothing of the kind.
MR. LISSAMAN: This bill will fill some of the requirements of the report that the special committee made 14 years ago. It also meets many of the recommendations for the interim report of the Royal Commission on education. What does the Opposition say about this? Well, they say, what's so wonderful about that? We appointed the Royal Commission. Now, Mr. Speaker, that's very true. They did appoint the Royal Commission but only after several years of continual pressure from organizations across the province and continual pressure in this House; only after several years of defending the existing policy on education and saying that there was little wrong with education in Manitoba. The Government must reflect the will of the people, I think we must all acknowledge that and the people of Manitoba on June 16th indicated that they wanted something new, something more progressive in the way of a program for education in Manitoba. And this bill if enacted will present the people of Manitoba with a start and a good start along the road to re-organization of the educational system in Manitoba.
Now, how can the honourable members who sit across the House suggest, in any sincerity, that we simply increased grants across the board, to continue to piece and patch, without offering this plan of re-organization of secondary level education in Manitoba to the electors?
Mr. Speaker, the Member for Rockwood-Iberville, has asked,
"Supposing a district does not enter the division, are the youngsters of that district to be penalized? I am sorry the honourable member is not in his seat. But to my notion, this is the type of negative approach which we have had from that side of the House toward this legislation that is entirely misplaced. I'd like to see a more positive approach to it.
The member for Ethelbert said truly, that money in itself was not the answer. But how we spend that money, I suggest, and what we get for that money for the taxpayer, is the answer. The Government must face this fact; the Government must not spend the taxpayers' money unwisely; the Government must get for the taxpayers the greatest value possible for the taxpayers' dollar. And I must commend the Government. They have taken a courageous step toward doing just this through this bill, because many experts for years have been saying it was unwise and uneconomical in the greatest sense of the word to continue this present, past method of piecing and patching and simply increasing existing grants without re-organization of the educational system.
Now what greater example could we see that within the urban centers where the greater facilities of secondary education are available to children where twice as many children complete high school as they do in rural Manitoba. Fourteen years ago the Government had the opportunity to do whot the present Government is proposing to do at this late date.
Now Mr. Speaker, to suggest that we waste the taxpayers' money by following their methods, better than that we propose to offer to the people a plan which will give them and their children so much more for their money in the way of education and true value in dollars and cents. And I would urge that the member for Rockwood-Iberville, drop the negative approach and get on the beam.
In conclusion, I would like to offer the Minister a suggestion or two and this is in connection with the free text books. Now, first of all, a few years ago when the idea of free text books were proposed, I was dubious as to the eventual effects which might obtain from giving text books free to children. But I have come to believe within the past year or two that young families particularly, with ever increasing costs, are facing quite a burden in buying text books for children. Not only do they have to buy the text books each year but frequently the text books are changed and so it becomes necessary to be continually buying new books for a family with children. So it is true with the socialized measure to share some of that burden among people who can afford better to pay. But what I would like to urge upon the Minister is that he retain some method whereby we can impress both on the children and the parents that these text books cost somebody some money. And I would urge that the Minister request the school board to take sort of a precautionary deposit from the pupils at the first of the year and when the end of the normal term comes to examine the books and deduct from that deposit anything over normal wear and tear or sufficient to cover the loss of books which have been destroyed or lost due to the carelessness of a child. Because I think it would be doing more harm than good if by giving free text books to children, we failed also to impress
upon them the very seriousness of using property and not taking care of it, property which doesn't belong to them. I think it would be a disservice to the child rather than be rendering a service to the parent.
MR. R. TEILLET (St. Boniface): Mr. Speaker, I am perhaps a little disappointed at the moment that I did not get on my feet earlier and speak before the honourable member who has just taken his seat, because I do hope that the few observations that I have to offer this afternoon will be accepted without the realm of political consideration. I do believe that there are extremely important matters that come under the discussion of education in this province and it is so vital and so important that I think none of us can afford the luxury of political bantering in this instance.
I'm going to make a few observations in the form of questions wondering why this and that and I hope that the Minister will see fit in his reply when he closes the debate perhaps to enlighten us in some of these matters. Perhaps I should begin by offering him my personal congratulations, my very heartfelt thanks for the very comprehensive statement he gave us when he moved the bill at second reading.
One of the first things I am wondering about is the reason for the presentation of this report in this manner by the commission. They have dealt with a very important aspect of education, primarily of a financial and administrative nature. What I am going to say now following that I would hope would not suggest to anyone that I do not consider these matters important. But there were contained in the terms of reference to the commission and as they say themselves, and I would like to read that part of their report on it's first page in the final report, "we propose to make recommendations on such important matters as private schools, teacher training, departmental organization, curriculum and standards, education of the handicapped, scholarships and bursaries, technical education." I wonder if it might not have been advisable to have a complete report before us and I suggest that it might have been wiser, even at the risk of waiting for a few months, to have all these matters reported on before dealing with half of it, because I suggest to you, Mr. Speaker, that there will be some reservations in the mind of some people. There may even be a feeling of apprehension as to the ultimate effects of this because we don't know what the final report will be and I wonder if perhaps that apprehension, that reticence, might not lead some people to hesitate in accepting the bill--the Law as it is now proposed to them. Because after all, in a matter such as this, and here again in passing, I might again commend the Government in accepting the recommendations of the Commission in providing for safeguards for those groups that might be apprehensive about...on the question of these larger divisions, but it will not remove entirely their apprehensions when it comes to the thought of where we will ultimately wind up in this matter, and of course I am referring to the question that group of people who will not benefit at all, whether they go into these divisions or not. It is a substantial
group, and while I know that there is considerable symnathy for their actual position, at the same time if they had specific recommendations before them, I am sure they would feel a great deal easier than they will be at this moment. I trust that it will not prevent them from going along with the Law, as at present, with the hope and the faith in that commission and the government, that if that commission should recommend an alleviation of their burden that the Government will follow through with that recommendation as well.
They are being asked, and I don't think the Government is suggesting to us in any way, though it has not been mentioned, that the people of Manitoba are not going to pay for this increased bill. I have no complaint about that. I don't think anyone has. But they are being asked to shoulder their share of that increased cost without benefit to themselves and I do think that, in going about the Province, in trying to convince the Manitoba people to adopt this plan, that in those areas where that might be attractive these things be very seriously thought of in the approach. Now, Mr. Speaker, on that point, I believe those were observations that had to be made here because I don't believe it would have been fair to anyone to allow this Bill to go through the House without bringing--without stating that case here and I do try to state it as mildly and as reasonably as I can.
Well, passing on to another factor, and here again I want to assure the House that I'm not dealing here in the realm of politics at all, of political partisanship, and I refer particularly to the...on page 34 of the bill, subsection one, the one referring to 100% grants for text books. Now, at the outset, I want to say I have no quarrel with that at all. My observations today have to do with the report which appeared in the newspapers about a week ago, October the 22nd, to be exact, I have the copy of the Free Press report here and I believe...and I'm sure the Tribune reported it as well...which was a report of the Winnipeg School Board meeting, I believe, where the origin of our text books was discussed. And this is a matter I urge the Minister and the Government to look into very seriously. I was shocked to hear and to read the statements therein, whatever their origin, and whether they were absolutely accurate or not is of no concern of mine. If only a small part of this is correct, it is important and it is shocking, that we should allow text books into our schools, belittling the efforts of Canadians and holding up as the real people who develop our country...that is people of that great nation to the south of us. We are small enough...small enough in comparison to the power of that nation that we need to make an extra effort if we want to retain our Canadian way of life, our culture and our civilization. And particularly to those of us, and I believe that is most of us, who believe that Canada will eventually become one of those beacons of civilization, one of the best ones the world has ever known, because we have here all the ingredients, this kind of thing is intolerable.
It is reported that more than half of our high school text books originate in the United States, and to quote the newspaper
article, and I believe this is a quotation of one of the School Board members, "Winnipeg children are being taught bias and distortion in text books used here and originating in the United States." Well now, Mr. Speaker, if we are going to bring up our children to have pride and faith in our country, not only in its past, but in its future, and I don't mean here the kind of pride and faith in a narrow sense that makes us dislike and despise any other nationalities or races, but I do mean that pride and faith which is necessary if we are going to go forward and develop the kind of society we want here and without which we can not do it, then I suggest to you that it is high time that we began thinking in terms of Canadians and not borrow these text books or bring them in from the outside. It's bad enough that we have, at the present time, two or three different kinds of Canadian History being taught in this country, without bringing in this kind of book and this kind of teaching to our children. And as I said a moment ago, whether it is 27 out of 53 or 22 out of 53, I say that if its one out of 53 and that does not teach our children that Canadians are building this country and not the United States of America, and I'm not an anti-American, then I say it is wrong. Things like the St. Lawrence Seaway, perhaps, may not be that important in terms of history and who built it. I'd say--to some people I'd say it is. We are talking to our children about U.S. banking methods, apparently nothing about Canada. We talk about the Dew Line and have...these are details in themselves perhaps, but in the long run, it is inculcating in the minds of our children, the fact that we are leaning more and more on the shoulders of our great neighbour to the south and that to me is extremely dangerous and should not be tolerated in Canada.
Our own jurisdiction, of course, is only in Manitoba, but at least here, make sure that what we are teaching our children is what Canadians have done; what Canadians are doing; and where Canadians hope to go. And I would hope that the Minister would undertake and tell this House that he will conduct an enquiry into this section--that the Government will take the responsibility because now, more than ever--now more than ever will it be the responsibility of the Government. They will be paying the whole shot. The Province will be doing it and I suggest that it is time, and it is an opportunity to look into this entire question and set this thing aright. I do not think we would be doing our duty here as legislators in the Province of Manitoba if we did not take this matter up to be as serious as it is, because it is the only way that we will formulate, that we will develop the kind of citizens that we want, the kind of people who will carry on the traditions of this country as we attempted to do those--the traditions of those which came before us. When the honourable gentleman the other day, in speaking of an area of which he is very proud, he talked about the bastion of democracy and I don't disagree with him. I think everyone is proud of the role that Gimli is playing in Manitoba. I ask him, what would be the result if the children in those schools, for the next few years, were taught that the major things accomplished in Canada were only done with the aid and with the support of the United States to the south, when it is untrue? I suggest to
him that those people would lose their faith in their country--would lose their faith in this Province. That cannot be otherwise because what we teach those children, the character we develop in them will be the foundation for this country tomorrow.
We have a great heritage ahead of us. Let us not spoil it. And here again, please do not believe that I am an anti-American, that I condemn what the Americans are doing for their own children. That is what they should be doing--pride in their own country--pride in their achievement. But let us tell our own children that we are proud of our own achievements. We are proud of our own people and that all Canadian heroes--all Canadian people who have taken--who have made a mark in history since its beginning are people who belong to all of Canada, not only to Quebec or British Columbia or to Manitoba. They belong to all Canadians and here we have an opportunity again, because I believe we are really the first ones again in Canada to really take a good look--take a good grip on our educational problem -- prepared to do something about it and again lead the way as we have often done in the past.
Now I would hope, Mr. Speaker, that the Honourable Minister of Education would have a few words for us on this question, because the question can not be tolerated in its present form. Text books in our schools teaching our intelligent children that foreigners are accomplishing--foreigners are accomplishing what our Canadians are doing here. And we stand for this. We stand for this. I'm surprised, in fact, that after this report appearing in The Press, that I have heard nothing of it in this House so far--that I have heard no further development of this--no denial of it. I must assume that it's basically correct. We should be shocked at such a situation! And I do urge the Minister to take action on this matter as quickly as possible.
MR. CAMPBELL: Mr. Speaker, I think that the Honourable the Minister is likely prepared to close the Debate and certainly I have no intention of detaining him for any length of time. I think, however, that it would be well, for in addition to the many matters that have already been mentioned, if one more were brought up that he might give consideration to before the bill reaches Committee and I can deal with it very, very quickly. As far as I am concerned, I would be very glad to see the bill proceed this afternoon, if my honourable friend is prepared to go ahead.
We've heard a lot about regulations, and it's a natural tendency of course for we folk here to remind the present Prime Minister of the fact that he was a great advocate of placing, right in the Legislation, the specific undertaking of the Act themselves. Well, we have a good bit to say about that, perhaps, in Committee and there are places where I think that we should attempt to get rid of the regulation that my Honourable Friend the Minister...consider before Committee time. Because it seems to me that we have an example, and I know that it's not usual to discuss the bill clause by clause on second reading, and I do it only because there is to my mind a principle involved here that should be raised, and it's on this extremely important
question of grants. As some have said, money is not the whole consideration here but I find in education that money, as in other places, is a mighty important consideration too. And these grants that are talked about, I think there should be no misunderstanding about them. I submit to the Minister for consideration, that in the section under grants - 482 - beginning on page 32, carrying over to 33, quite a long involved statement, that we should try here to make a special effort, and I think an amendment should be proposed in Committee on this question, giving the Minister advance notice of it, for this reason: From and out of the Consolidated Fund, that monies appropriated by an Act of the Legislature, (if I'm not emphasizing any particular part, this is the usual construction up to date) to be so paid and applied, the Provincial Treasurer, on the written requition of the Minister, shall pay - I approve of that - shall pay to each school division, on behalf of the division, and of the school districts included therein, the grants for which provision is made in this section, that is to say. And then we have "A" and "B". And under "A" is the establishment grant which the Honourable the Minister has mentioned as $10,000.00. But "A"...this is on page 33, at the top of the page...we note that at the very beginning we've used the term we "shall" pay--then "A": Within one month after the establishment of the division, as an establishment grant, such amount as is stated in the regulation, not exceeding $10,000.00.
Now, I don't know why that kind of language is necessary. I think if we're going to pay $10,000.00, we should say we're going to pay $10,000.00, and I freely admit that I think the Honourable the Minister intends to pay $10,000.00 and all I'd suggest is that ... and if he says he's going to pay $10,000.00 I believe it. Sure, that's what he intends to do. But if we're going to pay $10,000.00 let's put it in the Act. And then if--if in subsequent times, we decide to either raise it or lower it, surely that's not a thing that will embarass anybody--cause any great hardship if we wait till the Legislature meet--I'm saying the same thing quite a bit--not as clearly, perhaps, as my honourable friend did, but I'm certainly endorsing the same principle that the Honourable, the Leader of the Government now used to lecture us on and he converted me and I certainly expected...
MR. ROBLIN: The conversion was a little late.
MR. CAMPBELL: Oh it was a little late. Yes, I admit it was a little late, but now that the general situation has been cleansed by the fact that my honourable friend is in charge of the affairs of the Province, then I fully expected to see that this would not be done again. And I'm not blaming the Minister. I know that he can't take the time to do all the drafting. I'm sure, being the able lawyer that he is, he could have made a good job of it himself, and this drafting isn't easy, but my whole point is let's make these definite. But that one doesn't matter as much because it's only the establishment grant. It's "B" where we have the real trouble. "B"--"towards payment of the approved expense incurred in each year by the board of the
division and the board of each school district included in the division, for the purposes, hereinafter in this clause mentioned, such amounts as may be prescribed in the regulations - such amounts as may be prescribed in the regulations - but not exceeding, in respect to any such approved expenses, the following percentages thereof." Now again and then he goes on, "100 percentum of the actual salary paid to each teacher, etc., 75 percentum of the cost maintenance of school"-- and so on. The Minister is perfectly familiar with the percentages. And when the Minister indicates that the intention is to pay 100% of the first category and 75% of the second, and so on, I believe it, and I'm sure that is the intention. My whole point is let's get rid of some of this verbiage, strike out the regulation and say 100% shall be paid.
Now I submit that for consideration, and as in some of these other cases, if my honourable friend does not himself come forward with an amendment in Committee, we'd be prepared to move it because I think it does require some, not only consideration, but it requires implementation because surely of all the grants, this 100% grant, is the most important thing financially. And it is true that there is some places where we have to do things. ...the government has to have the authority to deal with it by regulation, but I think this is not one of those cases and that it should be written right into the Act. I have no wish to hold the bill up at this stage.
MR. D. M. STANES (St. James): Mr. Speaker, if I may add a small word of commendation and congratulation to the parties responsible for this report--I am, of course, referring to the Members of the Royal Commission. It is a good report. As many Honourable Members here have mentioned, it is a good report. And I think, Mr. Speaker, that it is a particularly good report in view of the public pressures there have been in these post-sputnik days. I should also like, Mr. Speaker, to echo the many words of congratulation to the Honourable Minister for the construction of this Bill; the speed in which he completed it and the clear and concise introduction of this good and most important bill.
There are, however, two small points that I'd like to mention. The first one is the financial advantages to the taxpayers of this Bill which are most welcome although perhaps a little belated. I have the honour to represent the heart of the City of St. James and as many members realize, St. James is one of the fastest growing cities in this country. I believe that it is the second fastest growing city behind only Red Deer, Alberta. It is a very young city and consequently the school problems, both administrative and financial are extremely difficult. So the financial aspects of assistance are most welcome. In regard to the financial aspects, Mr. Speaker, I would like to perhaps make a suggestion to the Honourable Minister, if I may be so bold to do, and that is, with the increased costs and the increased protestation of the Provincial Government on the lower level of the administration, there will be a tendency perhaps for increased waste. I don't want to be misunderstood, by anticipating or
insinuating that there is at the moment waste in our school system. I am purely realizing that waste is normally in proportion to amount, and there will be a tendency, unless it is corrected by means of administration and other methods -- there will be a tendency, perhaps, to increase waste. We speak of costs. I don't think anyone objects to the costs of education because they realize that there is nothing in this country or in this province more important than education. We are training the people of tomorrow but all of us deplore waste.
Finally, Mr. Speaker, there is one small point which has been mentioned by several honourable members this afternoon and that is the small detail of administration. Several cases have been cited. I think that I will not be corrected in saying that there is no problem in which, other than school system and school problems, there is nothing which has the human element more deeply set into the system. In other words, it is people that we are considering -- people from beginning to end - sort of like a machine, a factory, whereby the manufacturer and the product are all people. And as many of us know, it's almost impossible to anticipate the reaction of people.... Therefore, if legislation is attempted to control every detail of this new system, I fail to see how it can do otherwise than put shackles on the Minister and his staff and therefore deprive the people of Manitoba of the maximum benefit of this bill.
MR. COWAN: Mr. Speaker, I would like to make three suggestons. Firstly, I would like to commend the government for making this equal opportunity available to so many of the students who complete grade eight in this province. But I think we, as Members of the House, and other people in authority in this province, particularly those in the school districts, should do what we can to make the opportunities a little bit better for those children who now are in one-room schools and where one teacher is attempting to teach eight grades. And in that regard I would like to read the recommendation in the report. That so far as possible, one-room elementary schools be, by agreement between two or more local school districts, consolidated into graded schools, to reduce the number of different grades that must be taught in one classroom to as near the ideal of one as is feasible, and to that end increased transportation grants are going to be granted. And surely we would be giving our children a better education in this province if, we'll say, a teacher, instead of having to look after eight grades, had to look after four, and so on. But that is something that we should, I think, all try and encourage where we can throughout this province, to give a more equal opportunity to those in the lower grades, so that more will complete grade eight.
And the other matter that I wanted to mention is, I think, you should consider with regard to these capital grants for schools, what is the best size of school. In the Commission Report, it recommends that the maximum grant be per room for those schools of twelve rooms and over. They do not tell us how they arrived at the twelve rooms. I was thinking of my own time when I was in collegiate and I thought we had a good number of
rooms for that collegiate, two rooms for each of nine, ten and eleven, and one grade 12. We had one Physics Lab, and one Chemistry Lab. In other words, we had nine rooms. Perhaps, today, the school should have a home economics room and a shops room or agriculture room as well. Perhaps that maximum should be eleven rooms. But whatever is best, we should have the maximum grants provided for that size of school. And one other thing, with regard to these grants. The grants - there seems to be two principles involved in these grants for capital cost. Firstly, you will find that for a seven-room school, the municipality would put up a greater amount than for a six-room school. That seems sensible. They're getting a larger school. But for an eight-room school, the amount required to be put up by the municipality is less than for a seven-room school. And it works out so that the amount put up by a municipality for a four-room school is $36,000.00 and the amount put up by a municipality for a twelve-room school is also $36,000.00, because of the higher percentages. It seems to me that we should work out percentages so that there will be a slight increase for each additional room instead of the present scale. Perhaps I could go over that scale. This is the portion required to be paid by the municipalities: 4-rooms - $36,000.00; 5-rooms - $45,000.00; 6-rooms - $45,000.00; 7-rooms - $52,500.00; 8-rooms - $48,000.00; 9-rooms - $54,000.00; 10-rooms - $45,000.00; 11-rooms - $49,500.00; 12-rooms - $36,000.00. Thank you.
MR. MOLGAT: Mr. Speaker, I think it's normal and quite understandable that when the honourable members consider any Bills presented here, they look at the overall implications from a Provincial stand point and then quite naturally look at the implications in so far as their own constituency is concerned as well. The general provisions of this Bill, I think, have been discussed very fully so far in this Debate. I only wish to bring one feature to the attention of the Minister. It affects my own area very directly, and I believe a number of other areas in the Province which we might term as say quasi marginal. Now the Honourable Minister knows my area quite well. He is a neigbour of mine in our constituency, and lately in fact I find that he has been in my constituency quite frequently - and we're glad to see him - so he's familiar with the problems that I have. In his presentation, he indicated that he was prepared to follow generally, I believe, the proposals of the Royal Commission. I find that on page 55 of the Royal Commission, in their list of more important recommendations, the first suggestion is the division of the Province into 50 or 60 divisions, and then they set up two basic principles. One, that there be 80 to 100 teachers in a division and a balanced assessment of $5,000,000. Now, I immediately made that comparison to my own constituency. I find that the five municipalities, that is the four rurals and the one village municipality, the total assessment there is 3 million, eight. Now I have a large section of unorganized territory as well. But the assessment there, naturally, is quite low. So we fall substantially below the five million suggested by the Commission. I realize that the Bill does not spell out
this matter of five million. Nevertheless, if we are to follow these general proposals, it's possible that the Minister will be expecting that divisions be on that basis. As I see it, it's quite possible that the people in my constituency will want to vote in favour of the larger area. That is up to them, but it is quite possible that they will want to.
Now when you consider the size of the constituency, that is, it's roughly 100 miles by road from one end to the other, I believe that it's almost impossible physically for them to vote for this. They may want to, but can they really expect to move the children daily over that distance? And this, I am sure, will apply to many other constituencies in the Province - the Interlake area and other such areas. I realize that the bill has a section on remote school districts and I believe that that is fair and right, but I suggest to the Minister that we should give very close consideration to what we mean by remote school areas. I don't think that the people that I represent have ever considered themselves to be what you would say a remote area in our constituency. Nevertheless, there is that handicap that I point from assessment and from size. I don't quite know what the answer is. Possibly we might have something in the bill saying that there is a distance limit over which children will be transported. Possibly there are other considerations, but, before we make a final decision on the bill I think we should give very clsoe consideration to the definition of a remote school area so that no area who would quite feasibly want to vote for the increased grant would be excluded by strictly physical reason of distance and roads.
MR. STINSON: Would the member permit a question for information?
MR. MOLGAT: Certainly.
MR. STINSON: Is he assuming that the division woudl be, would take in his whole constituency?
MR. MOLGAT: I don't know what basis the Commission will operate under. We happen to be directly adjoining the Dauphin-Ochre larger school area. Therefore, it would appear to me, at this stage, to be fairly logical for the commission to take the constituency which I presently represent as a larger school district. It's really a guess on my part from looking at the map.
MR. SPEAKER: Are you ready for the question?
MR. HAWRYLUK (Burrows): I would be remiss not to say a few words about this bill, because I believe in the past few years I made certain suggestions regarding education in some aspects that could have been improved. I wish to commend the Minister in the first place for so ably presenting the bill. It is something that has long been coming. Whether the Conservative Government, and if we would had the chance to be in power, I can assure you we would have implemented that bill just as readily.
When we compare the other provinces, the strides they have made in education and the structure of grants to larger school areas; the raising the standards of teachers; giving assistance of capital expenditures, we definitely have been ten to fifteen years behind. I do not intend to belabour the House too much, but I would like to repeat some pet views of mine. With my long experience - I think I voice the opinion of another member of the House, who is also a school teacher and has taught in a rural area, that there are certain changes that definitely have to be made. We need money. Money is needed in the municipalities if we are to retain and encourage our young people into the teaching profession. The fact that the minimum salary being paid today, has no doubt, encouraged a lot of our good young prospective teachers, has been definitely an indication that they will go into the profession if you give them some basic pay. The previous government did increase the grant, I agree. There is no question in my mind, in the past few years it has been responsible in encouraging a great many of our young folk into the teaching profession. The only criticism I can make is as I have done before. In my association with people of the teaching profession, and I have been at it for a long time, that we did not do something about this very important business of education - and education is a big business. It's the business of any province, of any country. Because after all, in a democracy of ours we can do what we think is for the best interests of our young people who ought to take their place in society tomorrow.
Money was a factor. Unfortunately, whether there was a lack of it, whether there was a lack of foresight on the past of the Government - I'm not going to argue or belabour that point - but, the fact is that we did lose hundreds and thousands of top notch teachers, who taught in the depression years and when the war started, when the cost of living...Opportunities were available for them to go into other professions. They left the ranks by the hundreds, by the thousands, not only in Manitoba - right across Canada. Now many of those came back to the profession. It could be readily checked by merely checking with the department - that is, the M.T.S. Society. And the important thing was money - yes! But, I still think the most important thing was stability of the job. I'm not talking about Greater Winnipeg. I'm talking about the rural points. I made a check-up of how many teachers were hired and left because of unstable conditions, and that it was money, possibly the environment - that is the teacherage, and so forth. The most important thing I think to my mind is the fact that until a few years ago our pension scheme was of a most peculiar nature. That has been rectified...Yes; No doubt about it, it was a step in the right direction and I certainly wish to commend the previous Minister of Education that he did amalgamate the two types of pension schemes that we had in operation. But again, it took a doggone long time - a long time of procrastination and hesitation and so forth; but we were glad to accept even those few bounties. Those few bounties. But, we still lost many of the teachers who left the profession because of the fact that man today had two objectives in life.
He is out to better himself by getting a job that will pay as much as can, but most important, security of tenure and a pension scheme of some type upon which he can fall back on. Industry does it. How does it entice it's men into industry? It is in that one way, that it will offer a pension plan and, in many cases, men will maybe work for less when they know that in the long run they have security of tenure and pay that will be a fair amount when they do retire.
May I, Mr. Speaker, mention one other thing? Whether this Government, the new Government is prepared to do anything about it is the fact that for many, many years, in spite of the fact that we got the Municipal Report of 1953 and they did advocate and I did read on several occasions where one of our very well known civil service persons, Mr. Murray Fisher, suggested that certain parts of the Provincial Report should be implemented. Yet, up to the present time, we have an appalling situation. We have a situation where we have had between five and six thousand school trustees in our province administering over six thousand teachers in the province. What a fantastic situation! Now, possibly the new bill will alleviate that situation. It is possible. If it doesn't then I can assure you that it is something that could, should, be rectified. Well, if it has then I am very glad to hear that because not only do we have a situation of having over six, I'm sorry I didn't hear you, Sir.
MR. PREFONTAINE: This system will add a new level of trustees. [Interruption.]
MR. HAWRYLUK: (I'm talking about the over-all picture as far as Manitoba is concerned. ) But, here we have a situation where, according to the report, you have 180 municipalities and 1800 school districts. In all likelihood that we might see a definite change for the better.
I feel, honourable members, that we have not played the game in the past few years with our young folk who have been striving to get what they call equal opportunity of education in Manitoba. In my experiences, and I happen to teach in Greater Winnipeg, not in the rural areas where the youngsters were probably more handicapped because of the out-moded type of educational set up. In my area alone, and I'm not speaking of Greater Winnipeg, we used to see tens of dozens of young people who had to leave school because of lack of money to go on. Time and time again, we find in the newspapers where our previous Federal Governments were willing to spend millions, billions of dollars on defense. No one questions that at all because of our unstable conditions in the world at the present time. But, let's not forget that our first line of defence is to educate our young people. Our young people! They are our first line of defence. There are shortages that we have today, in 1958. If the Federal Government of the previous regime who had been in office for so many years as well as the previous Government which had been in this office of twenty-six years or more, had contributed a little more of that money which I'm pretty sure that they had because of all of the sudden Conservatives seemed to find it; they must have had it; maybe, I should give credit to
the former Government, and the Leader of the Opposition, that they were able to save it, but, in the long run I don't think it paid dividends.
I still believe, honourable members, Mr. Speaker, that we lost the boat. We lost it Federally and Provincially where we have lost hundreds and thousands of potential brains that are needed in this present day. Brains! We had them. I can name dozens of people that are salesmen, truck drivers, doing everything else but contributing to the wealth that we need and that is their intelligence. They have been lost! We haven't invested in their future, because of a few paltry thousands or millions of dollars which is a drop in the bucket considering the waste we have read about happening in Ottawa or anywhere else.
I am pleading that possibly the new Government will see fit, and I know that there have been new scholarships awarded, again, it was reluctantly done, again it was done just in the past year and so, in spite of the fact that our group have been advocating loans and scholarship awards for many, many years. It was done. Again I wish to say thanks for those. But I still feel that we have to look not for today but for tomorrow as far as our youth of Manitoba.
May I say something about what the Member for St. Boniface mentioned regarding text books. True there are, unfortunately, many books that are being used today in the department of suggested by the Department of Education. Possibly there was a reason for that, or by the curriculum board. There might have been a reason for that. Now, let's be fair. I'm not pro-American nor anti but I have taught for years and I've seen books change within a year where we had to get two or three or four different types of text books. But, remember that whether it is the fault of our Canadian educators, whether it could be the fault of high pressure salesmen who were able to promote the sales of certain types of books, or the fault of the fact that after the war we were not able to get the kind of books which would be of benefit for use in the Province or any other part of Canada. But, as I have in the past and I will say it now, that we have unfortunately deviated to the extreme right, or left as you want to say, in regard to the type of education we have been offering. We have adopted, unfortunately, unfortunately, too many pro-American ideas. Very stream lined and that is something that I can definitely speak with authority, and expressing the opinions of many teachers at various conventions.
I still firmly believe, honourable members, Mr. Speaker, that we still have to resort to the old fashioned idea of, of basic foundation in education of the three R's. The appalling results of your examinations. That is another time, I don't...It's no reflection again. I'm saying this and giving you a general opinion. The appalling results of the departmental examinations has no reflection on any one. It's just that I feel that our youngsters who have been brought up in the steam-lined American type of teaching or the books have definitely deviated or the result has happened that they are not getting the foundation, being able to express themselves on paper.
MR. CAMPBELL: ...too many frills.
MR. HAWRYLUK: That could be the idea. Maybe that but, maybe other factors. Maybe the Minister of Education will consider that because I can assure you, Sir that the expression of teachers at the conventions are whole-heartedly in support of some definite constructive change in that Act.
I have a few questions to ask you, Sir, I think it's just something that on perusing through the report I wasn't quite clear on the interpretation of it and maybe you could give us an answer when you have the opportunity. We, I am not sure, and I can tell you that certain members of my school board aren't quite clear on certain aspects. Has the permissive legislation been left out? This is a general question which affects any part of Manitoba. Has the permissive legislation been left out in which areas who want a larger school area can do so? For example, Portage la Prairie which the former Minister of Education had been responsible for setting up that secondary area. As an example, could Portage Avenue...Portage la Prairie... (I'm sorry) Portage la Prairie people after having something to do with the secondary education that is being set up, could they vote into a larger area?
MR. WILLIS: What about Flea Island?
MR. HAWRYLUK: Well, that's included. What happens in the case of the Dauphin-Ochre area? Does the Dauphin-Ochre area have, does that have to break up into two separate areas? What happens to a school area that has been operating on the system of six, three, three schools structure? Does it mean that that area has to resort to an eight, four school structure?
Now those are pertinent questions that are bothering some of the trustees in Greater Winnipeg and no doubt, in other centres. What happens to secondary teachers who have the degrees? According to the Report the purpose of giving more money to teachers is to encourage them to better themselves by going to University and raising their standards. That is an excellent idea. But, it appears in the Report that you will break up the single salary schedule; I think it does. It pretty well, almost demands it. Now, what happens to the qualified teacher which when I say the University teacher, does that particular teacher is she compelled or he compelled to move up into the secondary area? Because after all, let's be practical about this. We have a situation where I have teachers that are graduates of the University of Manitoba who are top notch teachers in grade 1 and 2. Excellent teachers. They are doing a fine job. And, yet, in this case, are we compelling or forcing these people out of that area into teaching high school because of their qualifications? That's a very important question and I, I wonder if I could get an answer? And, then again, on Page 74 or 76 in the schedule you have placed, you have a wage scale there which looks very good. It sounds feasible and might be deserving to those who have been in the profession for many, many years, but, I think it's rather ridiculous to have a teacher teach for 22
years before they can get on their maximum. Can anyone in this House tell me whether industry have to make an employee wait 22 years before he reaches his maximum? If he is able and has a great deal of responsibility as many of the teachers do. Twenty-two years! A man in other words, anyone that has been teaching for 20, 25 years, he will never reach that maximum even though he has devoted most of his life to teaching at great sacrifices. That sounds out of range, and maybe, I'm not clear on that but it appears that 22 years maximum in the two schedules offered elementary secondary sounds rather out of place. What provision is this Government making in regard to municipalities in which the cost of living or the cost of operation increases? Will those municipalities get an increase in their government grant? That is possible, I think it takes - what? Five years before you decide.
Now those are a few of the questions, Sir. On closing, Mr. Speaker, again I wish to commend the Government for this bill. It has a great deal of merit. The people of Manitoba have waited for something like it. Whether you can implement the bill as is, if something that we'll have to see, but I again wish to congratulate the present Government for moving ahead, because this type of legislation has been long in coming.
MR. SPEAKER: Are you ready for the question? The Honourable Minister of Education is closing the debate.
MR. McLEAN: Mr. Speaker, since I will not likely be speaking in the address from the Throne debate, perhaps I might just say a word or two of a general nature. As one of the newcomers in the House, the many words of welcome which have been offered to those of us who are here for the first time, I am certain that we have all learned a great deal since this time last week and even though many of the mysteries still remain, we are somewhat more at home. I was interested particularly in what the Honourable, the Leader of the C.C.F. party, said to us when he suggested that we should try to combine public condemnation with private generosity. I think that is something that is well worth saying because most of us are reasonably fresh from the vigors of political campaigning and, sometimes, rather harsh things are said and thought, yet, it is important that we always remember here that we are here to discharge the business of the people of Manitoba, and even though we may have different opinions of doing so, we are all engaged in the same task. Perhaps, if I may, Sir, a word in appreciation to the Leader of the Opposition for his kind welcome to all of us. And, while we may differ somewhat in our political views, I am certain that we recognize the vigor and integrity with which he has carried out his responsibilities in public office and as the Dean of the House, I am certain that he has the best wishes of all of us and we especially appreciate his words of welcome. Of course, as a fellow Scot, I couldn't over look the opportunity of pointing out that Scotchmen have always been the leaders in government, almost since the beginning of time.
MR. WILLIS: Careful! Careful!
MR. CAMPBELL: I particularly claim that he is wishing me all success in the position that I now occupy.
MR. McLEAN: Well, I do that - yes. I would like also to express my appreciation to the Honourable Member for Rhineland for his good wishes to myself. Just for a fleeting second I thought he was going to wish me a long tenure of office, but...
MR. MILLER: I wouldn't go that far.
MR. McLEAN: But it didn't quite come that far. However, I do wish to thank him for his good wishes. And he made a point that I would like to acknowledge because I know that he made it with the view that it was right and proper that it should be drawn to my attention, and I accept it as such. When he said that I should, as far as possible, make information available to the House first, and I think he has made a very good point and I'd like to say to him that I intend to see that that is carried out in the future.
I was particularly pleased at the support which the bill before you had received in this House, by the public generally, and by the newspapers, and I feel that the debate has been conducted on the very highest plain and I believe in the - along the ideas that I suggested when I presented it upon my first address. There are a number of points that I perhaps should like to mention, and I begin by saying that with respect to the matter of the divisions, (and I understand fully the views or the thoughts in the minds of the Honourable Member for Carillon, the member for Ste. Rose) that it is a difficult thing for anyone to say that any particular school district will fall in a particular division. I think that the bill makes certain the Boundaries Commission will be free to recommend boundaries in accordance with their best views on that, as to where they should be, and along the general lines of the recommendations of the Royal Commission Report; and the only assurance that we can have that they will do a good job is to endeavour, if we can, and as far as we can, to choose the commission - members of the commission - who will be understanding of the problems involved and will be persons of integrity and honesty in the commission of their - in the carrying out of their commission. And beyond that, of course, we cannot go. There is no possibility of any suggestions or pressure being brought upon them by the government or anyone else, other than what would be said to them in the public hearings which will be held. So I think we will have to leave the matter until the commission, if this Bill receives the assent of the House, until the commission has made its report, and that perhaps, in the meantime, we will have to assume that they will act wisely and in the best interests of all of the people in Manitoba.
Some reference was made to the secondary school areas and the school areas - the only school areas that is in existence, I think I might just say, that if any division is formed where
there is now an existing secondary division, it will, as of necessity, the secondary division will have to - will obviously disappear because it will be absorbed into the division.
With respect to the Dauphin-Ochre school area, of course
what happens there, will depend in large part upon what proposed boundaries the Boundaries Commission suggests with respect to that particular territory. But the sections or the parts of the School Act which deal with school areas, and secondary school areas are not being repealed; they remain in the Act and with respect to any school area now in existance or secondary school area, assuming they do not--if they choose not to come in under this new plan--they would, of course, continue as they are doing at the present time.
The answer in a sense is dependent upon the report of the Boundaries Commission and on the vote of those who live in the particular proposed division.
With respect to the teacher grants, I would like to make one or two observations and to emphasize, and I have the word underlined in my sheet on the desk that it is teacher grants, not teacher salary. We are not proposing to set teachers' salaries. The matter of teachers' salaries will remain as it is at present, to be negotiated and agreed on between the teachers concerned and the school boards--whether it be Division board or local school board as the case might be. All that we say, is, that for teachers on staff possessing certain qualifications, the Board will be entitled to receive a grant up to the maximum amount provided.
It will be entirely clear for the school board to pay less than the amount of the grant in which case they will only receive the amount actually paid, or, to pay more than the amount of the grant but in no way are we endeavouring to establish teachers' salaries--this is a provision for grants and I think the common term used, of course, is teacher grants.
As to the single salary schedule or any other salary schedule, of course, it will not necessarily do away with that type of salary schedule because, as I say, it will still be open for the teachers and the school board to negotiate their own salary schedule in whatever way they wish to do so.
There will be no compulsion, in any way, on a teacher possessing any particular qualifications to teach either in the elementary or in the high school. Because again, that will be a matter between the teacher concerned and the school board.
With respect to the matter of the financial aspect of the plan and the--some comment was made as to whether or not this plan was--the financial aspect of it was carrying out the commitment of our party during the election campaign. The honourable member for Rockwood-Iberville said and I really don't think he intended to say this, but he said that we were going--we had promised to give a 50% increase to every school district. Of course, that was not what was said. The reference was to an over-all increase in the Province of Manitoba which increase, we are more than satisfied, is provided for in this legislation but as to whether the financial aspects are carrying our--our commitments or not in relation to the plan, that is the suggestion that we are only doing it if the plan is successful or is accepted. In the course, I would suggest, that it is in a sense irrelevant at this point.
First of all, with the expressions of approval of the plan that have been received in this House and heard in this House from
all the speakers, and from all parties, and the support which the plan--the proposal has received from the Press and from the public generally, I think that we may reasonably state that we will receive 100% approval for this plan from the people of Manitoba. I am most optimistic of success on that score. I am particularly so, Sir, when I hear the honourable member for Rhineland, for example, saying that he is in accord with the principles of the bill, that he agrees with this principle and particularly that he is prepared to assist in presenting the plan, and similar comments from other members who have spoken on it. So that I would think that with the approval of this House, that we're all agreed on it here, surely the people of Manitoba, will be prepared to accept it as well. And so it's in a sense an academic question to raise the issue at this moment as to whether or not this is in compliance with the undertaking which was given. But, in any event, to do as was suggested by the honourable member for Carillon, put more money into the present plan or on the present basis, would only be doing as he so clearly demonstrated himself, and as others have done, and as the report points out, the only compounding our present difficulties and compounding our present inequalities in the school grants structure and the arguments against that are most clearly outlined in Chapter I of the Interim Report of the Royal Commission. But I have another reason for saying that we shouldn't be talking in terms of what we might do under some other plan, because it would distort what is after all the real issue insofar as this bill and this plan is concerned.
The issue as I indicated to the House the other day and as a number of the speakers have pointed out, is what is the best plan for providing the best education for the boys and girls of the Province of Manitoba. And I would hope that in our discussions, in our--putting this plan before the people of Manitoba that that would be the point that we would emphasize. I don't think we should put it on the basis of under such and such you are going to get so much money, I think it must be on the basis of, we think this plan is one designed to give good education to the boys and girls of the Province of Manitoba. And if the people--and I said in my original presentation that there would be honest differences of opinion about this and that is very true and how clearly the honourable member for Carillon this afternoon put before us some of the considerations that I know will be in the minds of the people - if in their wisdom the people in any particular division, if those divisions feel that it is not a good thing, then I would want them to vote against it, irrespective of the financial aspect of it. In other words, I want our consideration of this to be simply and solely on the basis of what is the best according to our present understanding of the educational needs of the Province of Manitoba and too, I--I'm not prepared or I wouldn't be prepared to consider putting it on the basis of two different financial systems so that people would be considering it solely on the basis of what is the best in dollars and cents. I don't want to distort that issue and I don't think we need to cross the bridge, yet of what will happen if there are parts of Manitoba that remain outside the new plan.
I am more than confident if I might just repeat that comment,
more than confident that this plan will be accepted by the people of Manitoba because I believe it is a good plan.
With respect to the question of text books, this is probably not the place for discussing that at any length but may I assure the honourable member for St. Boniface that I share most heartily with him and with the honourable member for Burrows the ideal that we must develop an appreciation of our Province and of our country. I speak about that quite a few times when I am given the opportunity to do so. I can't, of course, Mr. Chairman--or Mr. Speaker accept the responsibility for the text books we are now using. I would perhaps hope that some changes would be made but I am particularly interested and I am glad to draw the attention of the House to an important development in this respect that on Saturday of this week, the Manitoba Teachers' Society is sponsoring a work shop conference I believe it is called at Dauphin, the heart of Manitoba, where they are going to be discussing this matter of curriculum. The text books and curriculum go together as I understand it. And I am hopeful that with that beginning and with the Teachers' Society and the Trustees' Association and ourselves here, working together, we shall be able to strengthen our curriculum to emphasize the important matters to which the honourable member for Burrows has made reference. And along with that, to bring about a more balanced situation with respect to text books - balanced, when I say that with respect to the type of text book which is best for the boys and girls of the Province and in order that they may have a proper appreciation of our own history and the development of our Country and our place in the world.
Perhaps one comment might be made and it was a point raised by the honourable member for Ste. Rose, and again, of course, as I have indicated one doesn't know where these divisions will be, where, how--how the factors will work out but I would remind him of what I said the other day, that there is nothing in the Legislation which would require the high schools to be at any particular point or points, and it would be, in other words, left to the judgment of those in the division as to the distance which pupils might have to go in order to attend high school.
There are many other items, Mr. Speaker, which have been brought up and I have made a memo of them and, no doubt, we shall be discussing them in more detail in committee.
With respect to the matter of regulations and I'll have to let the honourable the First Minister defend himself on whatever he has said on the subject of regualtions; I have, however, some fairly solid precedents with respect to regulations because in the present Public Schools Act, part eight, dealing with grants, I find that the number of authorized teachers, that is the authorized teachers and the grants payable in respect to teachers, are all provided for by regulations as set out in--that is the Act states that these matters are to be provided for by regulations.
I was also interested in looking at part 17 of the School Act dealing with Secondary school areas, to find that under Section 840, practically everything in connection with Secondary schools, the powers of the Board and many other matters, are all provided for by regulations. So, I share heartily the views that as much as possible should be in the legislation itself as I've had some things
to say about that on previous occasions but I think in this instance we shall have to consider seriously the following along the general principle that has been followed previously with respect to grants--that has been followed previously under the Public Schools Act.
May I, however, just say this, assure the House that the regulations will follow the provisions of the bill and the spirit of the bill and the spirit of the Royal Commission Report insofar as that is applicable.
Now, as to the grant formula that will actually be put into the form of regulations and adopted, that cannot come until after the legislation has received the consent of the House. And the regulations have not been prepared and will not be prepared until that time has come, so that I am not in a position to say anything about the detail of the regulation except to say this that we do propose, if the bill passes, to base the grant regulations pretty generally along the lines of the report of the Royal Commission.
With repect to the teacher grants, there will be some minor changes along the line but it will not vary in any great degree from the schedules to which they have suggested or recommended, and the same is true with respect to the other grants. But beyond that I am not in a position to go at the present time. I am not able to make any particular comment about the merit principle to which the honourable member for Rockwood-Iberville referred. I am aware of the problems connected with the application, the adoption application of a merit system rating, and I am hopeful that the Trustees' Association and the Teachers' Society and we here will be able to consider some suitable, workable plan or merit reading. But beyond that, I am not able to give any information to the House at the present time. I am aware of the arguments that are made both for and against the principle of the merit rating system, and I am hopeful that those who are more directly engaged in the operation of these matters will be able to consider it and let us and the Department have the benefit of their advice.
I think perhaps, Mr. Speaker, that is all I need to say at this time. I should be glad to consider what suggestions will be made in committee but I do want to end again on something that I have said before, that I think the whole question here involved is the question, what is the best way in order that we may provide the best possible education for the boys and girls in the Province of Manitoba?
MR. SPEAKER: The question before the House, second reading of Bill #2. Are you ready for the question?
[A standing vote was recorded and the results were as follows:
YEAS: Messrs. Alexander, Bend, Boulic, Campbell, Carroll, Clement, Cobb, Corbett, Cowan, Evans, Greenlay, Groves, Guttormson, Hawryluk, Hillhouse, Hryhorczuk, Jeannotte, Jobin, Johnson, Juba, Lissaman, Lucko, Lyon, McDonald, McKellar, McLean, Martin, Miller, Molgat, Orlikow, Paulley, Peters, Prefontaine, Reid, Ridley, Roblin, Roberts, Scarth, Schreyer, Seaborn, Shewman, Shoemaker, Shuttleworth, Stanes, Stinson, Strickland, Swailes, Tanchak, Teillet,
Thompson, Trapp, Wagner, Williams, Willis, Wright.
NAYS: Nil. ]
MR. E. GUTTORMSON (St. George): Mr. Speaker, I was pleased when the Minister introduced this bill and wish to congratulate him for doing so. I believe the minister is ambitious and sincere in his intentions to make this bill work in such a manner that it will encourage the growth of industry throughout Mantioba.
I have always been in favour of decentralization of industry and I hope that this bill will assist me in my aim to bring industry to the rural parts, particularly in the consituency of St. George which I represent.
St. George is a rural constituency where they are in dire need of industry. During the brief time that I have represented that constituency, I have tried to bring industries to the area. Towns like St. Laurent, Oak Point, Lundar, Ericksdale, Ashern, Moose Horn, Steep Rock, St. Martin and Gypsumville and others are in dire need of industry. Without industry the young men and the married--even the married men with families are at different times of the year forced to leave their homes and go to the cities and other parts of the Province in search of employment. I can assure you, Sir, that these men would much rather remain at home with their families.
Bringing industry to these towns, if it is possible, would also reduce the amount of welfare costs to the municipality. Instead of paying welfare, these people could earn their own living and everyone would be much happier. I have a specific instance in my constituency--in Ashern during the last while, the businessmen of that town have tried desperately to bring in a manufacturing plant, and although they worked tirelessly in this end, it was because of the lack of capital that I believe their plans are now at a standstill. Perhaps, when this bill goes through it might revive their chances of getting this plant in Ashern or some other industry.
Mr. Speaker, I will support this bill and would encourage everyone in this House to get behind the Minister and assist him in making the contents advantageous for everyone in Manitoba.
MR. SPEAKER: Are you ready for the question?
MR. CAMPBELL: Mr. Speaker, if no else is prepared to go on, I move the adjournment of the debate. I move, seconded by the honourable the member for Portage la Prairie, that the debate be adjourned.
MR. SPEAKER: It has been moved by the honourable member for Lakeside and seconded by the honourable member for Portage la
Prairie that the debate be adjourned. Are you ready for the question?
[Following a voice vote, the speaker declared the motion carried. ]
MR. SPEAKER: Adjourned debate on Second reading of Bill #8. The honourable member for Souris-Lansdowne.
MR. M. E. McKELLAR (Souris-Lansdowne): Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to have this opportunity to say a few words here on this agricultural bill which we have before us. But first of all, I would like to thank the constituents of my constituency for the privilege of representing them here in this Legislative Assembly. I feel highly honoured to be its first member. As most of you know, this is a brand new constituency.
In the past year and a half, we have had three elections and while there was a lot of hot air flying from coast to coast here, there has been some humourous points as well and I want--I also thought one of the most humourous ones was the one in the first election when the then Prime Minister was going from coast to coast kissing all the babies. So I often wondered why politicians tried to stay in office so long so I thought maybe being a bachelor, myself, it might be a good occupation for a year or two. Maybe the other party will think different of that but it sounded all right to me anyway. [Interjection] I'll leave the age up to the future anyway.
Now, on June 16th last we had a Provincial election and the people of the Province after hearing all the speeches by our honourable opposition and seeing all the pictures on the poles, I think most of them started singing that night "They're Too Old to Cut the Mustard Any More," and I--I personally think that maybe not only their party but I think any party can stay in power too long.
Now, I think this agricultural bill and along with my party I think that this bill, speaking from a farmer's viewpoint, is a step in the right direction because all through the campaign I was--the first question I was asked was, "Was I a farmer?" I answered "I was." And the second question I was asked "Can you do anything for us?" Well, I said that's quite a lot to ask but if there is anything I could do, I would do my utmost for them. As to what I feel in this bill, I think it is something
that we should be proud of, because in the future, if we are going to keep our young people on the farm, we need some credit to help them in obtaining land, and also machinery and livestock.
I consider the constituency in which I live one of the finest agricultural areas in the Province, because I think most of you know that it circles the city of Brandon, and Brandon is called the Wheat City of the Province. And while we have had fairly good crops in the past 15 or 20 years, there has been some farmers who, through no fault of their own, I think will need credit, and quite a large amount of it, to carry on.
Now I know that this Bill - when it's passed - I have talked to a number or farmers and they are quite pleased with it, and they are going to find out what procedure they have to take in order to get credit. Some of these farmers are young farmers; some of them are fathers who are trying to start their sons up and they find it impossible under the present situation owing to the large cost of financing a deal; and others are farmers who wish to consolidate their mortgages into one mortgage.
Now yesterday we listened with great interest to the former minister of Agriculture, the member for Minnedosa, and I'll say at this time that we boundary one another in our constituencies, and he mentioned that he agreed with the Bill in principle, and that he figures it should be a dominion government responsibility. Now I would like to explain the difference between his party and my own, which I am a member of. Our Government listens to advice from the Dominion Government, but uses, I think, its own initiative in these problems of this kind; while the former Government took their advice from Ottawa but took little action on this part. Now they say it was a good Bill. Well, we all know it's a good Bill and I hope they support it when it comes to a vote.
Now the member for Ste. Rose also mentioned that farm groups didn't agree with parts of the Agricultural Bill, and reading Monday's Winnipeg Tribune, on October 27th, Mr. Ransom, president of the M.F.A.C., and I belong to that organization, mentioned in the debate here, and I read in part, Mr. Speaker, "Mr. Ransom commended the Government for recognizing the need for long term agricultural credit, but said provision of this credit is an answer to only a small part of the problems facing agriculture. The value of the provisions of this Bill will depend almost entirely upon the manner in which the Act is administered, and the calibre of personnel of the Board that will be placed in charge. An interest rate not in excess of 6% is satisfactory, provided that supervisors and other costs to the farmer are included." That Mr. Speaker is what was in the Tribune on Monday.
MR. G. MOLGAT (Ste. Rose): ...on a point of privilege, my comment was referring to the stand of the two farm groups, and I think both Mr. Patterson and Mr. Ransom stated that they still felt that this was a Federal responsibility. Now if the honourable member will read the full clipping, and also the clipping that appeared in the other paper on the same date, he will find that to be the case.
MR. McKELLAR: Mr. Speaker, I don't happen to read the other paper...because of the narrow views held by members on the far side. Mr. Speaker, I read it up till about the second last election and I discontinued my renewal...
Mr. Speaker I also can assure you that farm credit is needed in my constituency and most other constituencies, to encourage more farmers to stay on farms, and offer them an opportunity to enjoy some of the privileges of life that were not possible in the past.
MR. M. E. RIDLEY (Pembina): Mr. Speaker, this is a very important Bill, this Bill No. 8. We have heard a lot of discussion on it, and I don't think I'm going to discuss it very briefly. I will say the most important thing in the Bill is the interest that is proposed being charged. Well, Section 8, No. 8, does state that the directors may regulate the interest one way or the other. While true enough, I think this can be summed up very easily. All the honourable members here are good business men. A year or two ago we came in for our water works debentures and the Government at that time claimed it was 5 1/4% they had to pay for the borrowing of the money, so they would charge us 5 3/4%. That was a half of one percent to run the, for their administrative help and so forth. Now we accepted that, we thought that looked good business. We weren't asking the rest of the province to pay for our water works at all in the town of Manitou.
I think we could sum up the whole, size it up in a few words. The honourable member for La Verendrye claimed the other day - I don't know his exact words - but he said the young farmer of today wants to stand on his own feet and go ahead and run his own affairs. Well now we've got a situation facing us, if we cut it back to 5% and it costs us 5%, who's going to pay the administrative charges? I think that's the thing that faces us. Now I am sure that the Minister of Agriculture, who comes from a farming district, has a farm of his own, has got the interests of the farmers in mind. I don't want to see them pay no more interest than they should have to pay. Because the farmers in my constituence have put the bread and butter on my table, in my home, ever since I was able to eat. So I'm thinking of them very much so. I am sure if we leave this with them, the Minister of Agriculture, when he finds out, and he can find out what it's going to cost us to borrow this money, and whatever interest it does take to pay the carrying charges and set up the men to run it. That's all we ask.
MR. N. SHOEMAKER (Gladstone): Mr. Speaker, up to now I have not taken any part in this discussion relative to Bill No. 8, but I have certainly listened to a great number. I think the Honourable, The First Minister, the other evening two or three days ago, suggested that already 18 had spoken on the subject, and I assure you that I'm going to be very, very brief now. I think that it has been established after all this discussion, that the lack of a sound credit system is an urgent need for a definite group of farmers, and could fill a real gap that now exists. The need for long term credit is particularly pressing
as the Banks in general seem to be doing a good job with short-term and farm improvement loans. I think that it has definitely been established that we on this side of the House intend to support the Bill, and not kill it as has been suggested. We were only trying to improve it, if that were possible, and all this talk about 5 and 6 percent interest has to me, has been rather amusing. I took from the Honourable Minister of Agriculture's remarks, when he introduced the Bill, that at 6% it appeared to them that it would be a profit making organization, but then when we suggested 5% it seemed to take -- that the Government would lose money on the Bill. Therefore, somewhere in between 5 and 6% must be the answer. And I can't see, since Agriculture is presently in the state of being a depressed state, that there would be too much harm in the government losing a little bit of interest on it. And we certainly feel on this side, that if the Federal Government had been able to handle the farm credit needs as provided in this Bill, that we would have got it at 5%, and I think that that is our point, that we preferred, and we thought it best that it would be handled by the Canadian Farm Loan Board, and with that in mind, feeling that if it had been taken over by the Farm Loan Board, well then the interest would have been 5%, and that's where it should be. Now I am quite satisfied that this Government made every attempt to persuade the Federal Government to take it over - I'm satisfied that they made an attempt to do that, but they have decided not to do it, so I commend them for giving in to this field. I think that the success of the Bill depends a lot on the interpretations of many of the definitions and phrases contained in the Bill. For instance, the definition of a farmer. Now this full time feature clause that we find in it, in both the farmer and the market gardner, I think that that could well backfire because an applicant, for instance, when he's making his application, the Board could be quite satisfied in their minds that he was a full time farmer, and probably the farmer himself intended to farm on a full time basis, but the farmers in the plight they're in today, and because of the fact that credit alone does not guarantee his success as a farmer, he might have to seek other employment in order to meet the payments due on his loan, and I know that it is not the intention of this Government to take back the land - they don't want the land buildings back - they don't want the land buildings or his securities back, that isnt' the intention, they're out to help him, and therefore, I think that that particular feature of it could well backfire.
There are other clauses that I think should be amended. For instance, the residence clause as described in the Bill, where it states that he has been resident in Manitoba for at least three years immediately preceding his application. Now in our particular district, there are quite a number of farm boys presently working in the Pulp Mills, and in the woods surrounding them in Ontario, and they have been down there, some of them I know for one or two years, and their purpose for being there perhaps is to earn enough money to set them up again in farming after they have acquired the money. Now it would seem that this clause might exclude them because of the fact that they have been out of the
province for a year or two - could exclude them under this section. And I know that that isn't the intent of, or I certainly hope that it is not the intent. Then you have the chap that probably leaves this province and goes to any other province, goes there to obtain employment, or to supplement his income, and surely he is not intended to be excluded under the Bill.
Now again there is, it is certainly to be hoped that such men as beekeepers - I was in the beekeeping business myself at one time, and it does require a lot of capital. We hope that they would not be excluded. And poultry men, and I can say that I also was in the poultry business at one time, and it also requires a lot of money. We hope that they would not be excluded although the Bill is not quite clear on that. And then there are fur farmers, the mink ranchers, and so on. It's hoped that they would be acceptable applicants. I understand that all those three groups that I have just referred to are classified as farmers under the Unemployment Insurance Act, and I hope that they are classified here. There is this fact though that in, with bees, poultry and fur farmers, if we are to classify them as such, that their holdings, it isn't necessary that they have large acreages to carry on their operations, and if they are classified as farmers, then they would have to have more than 50 acres. They couldn't come under the market garden class, they would require over 50 acres, and it could easily be that they would be excluded because of the wording of the Bill.
Now one of the reasons that the Canadian Farm Loan Board is not presently satisfying the needs of the farmers I believe, is this fact. It is due in the main to the ultra conservative attitude that they have - that has been taken by the Board in the appraisal, in their appraisal policy. Only land values are considered and our Manitoba farm land is being grossly under-valued. This is particularly true of land with valuable sets of buildings. Any efforts made to encourage the retention of a system of family farming, must endeavor to assist farm people to live on the farm itself and be allowed valuations accordingly. At present we are in an agricultural depression. It seems fair to assume that property values are at a low point. Yet the succession duty people will value land at 3 or 4 times the value placed on it by the Farm Loan Board. Now I know that to be true, because I know three or four instances where it has happened. This would be fair enough in good times, when market prices might well be inflated beyond long term values, but in present condition it argues that the farm loan appraisal is unrealistic. And I certainly hope that the appraiser or valuator on this Board that is to be set up, will take a realistic view of the values. Once that a realistic value is made it would seem wise to allow a loan perhaps larger than the 65% allowed at present, that is allowed presently by the Canadian Farm Loan Board, and suggested in this new Bill. I would suggest that perhaps they might go as high as 80%. Of course, there again, it does depend on the appraiser or the valuator.
There is another factor that I can forsee. I happen to be in the Real Estate business at Neepawa and we do handle a certain number of farm loans and mortgages, and their valuators,
or appraisers, whichever term you want to apply, they will not - they will not only make their appraisals or valuations in those months that are free from frost - that is they will definitely not go out and appraise land in, when there's snow on the ground, because they argue that they can't determine the value. Well, presently, this Government have appraisers out for assessment purposes and they're assessing land all over the province - in fact I was just in the assessment branch this morning and spent an hour there with one of the men in the department - and we know by experience in our office that they are very efficient, and in fact I suggested to this man this morning that it had made all of the real estate men rather lazy because their figures now does establish a definite - the assessment to real estate does bear about a 50% factor. That is we have found in the real estate business that the assessment as put on by the assessment branch represents about 50% of the real estate value. Therefore, when a man comes in to list a house or farm - well the farm angle still has to be determined - but when he comes in to list a house if you double the assessment, you have just about the real estate value. Now the chap I was talking to this morning in the Assessment Branch asked me if he thought that would hold true for farm property, and I am not in a position to answer that yet, but there will be a relationship. And I can't see why then that winter valuations or appraisals cannot be made, because there certainly will be applicants, many of them I think, that will want a loan in the dead of winter - he'll want it perhaps in November for buying feeder cattle, and many other things, and I see no reason why that could not be arranged - that is the winter valuations or valuations at any time of the year, and I hope that that is so.
When one discusses loans of the size that is set out in this Bill - that is $25,000 is the maximum - it is quite obvious that the manager or ability of the applicant must be considered, and they have made provisions for that in the Bill, and perhaps an oral interview before a carefully selected Board would be of help, and I think that is what they intend to do. And in this regard the long term value of conservation farming along with special requirements in management and credit should be considered carefully. An extra amount loaned to enable a sound forage program to be laid down might well be better protection for public money, than a lesser loaned for the older type of farm use. Now I'm quite in accordance with the Bill, I don't want you to think that we are opposed to it. We certainly do object to the interest rate, but I'm quite satisfied that many of the problems can be worked out, and we will discuss them further in Committee.
MR. A. A. TRAPP (Lac Du Bonnet): ...seconded by the honourable member for Springfield, I will move that we adjourn the debate.
[Mr. Speaker put the question, and after a voice vote declared the motion carried. ]
MR. ROBLIN: ...seconded by the Minister of Agriculture,
that the House do now adjourn and stand adjourned until 8 o'clock tonight.
MR. SPEAKER: It has been moved by the honourable, The First Minister, seconded by the honourable, the Minister of Agriculture, that the House do now adjourn. Are you ready for the question?
[Mr. Speaker put the question and after a voice vote declared the motion carried. House adjourned till 8 o'clock. ]
Page revised: 2 July 2009