[The Sergeant-at-Arms, carrying a Mace, and followed by Mr. Speaker, Honourable A. W. Harrison, and the Clerk of the Legislative Assembly, Mr. Charland Prud'homme, Q.C., entered the House. ]
[His Honour John S. McDiarmid, the Lieutenant-Governor, entered the Chamber and seated himself on the Throne. ]
Mr. Speaker and Members of the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba:
I welcome you to the Second Session of the 25th Legislature of the Province of Manitoba.
We are all looking forward with great pleasure to the visit which Her Majesty the Queen and Prince Phillip will make to our province next summer. My Government hopes that it may be possible for people of all parts of Manitoba to see Her Majesty and the Prince and also that the sovereign and her consort may be given an opportunity to see many aspects of life in this province.
My Government looks forward to good progress for Manitoba in the coming year. Despite certain setbacks the trend of our economy will continue upward. Measures will be presented to raise the minimum levels of social security in this province and to initiate policies which, in co-operation with the energy and abilities of our people, will lead to a fuller use of those natural and human resources with which we are blessed.
My Government is examining the relationships obtaining between the province and the Government of Canada. The tax-sharing arrangements with the federal government are receiving particular attention. Our responsibilities require greater federal financial assistance. My Ministers are gratified to know that federal-provincial fiscal relations will be re-examined and they are working for an early conclusion.
My Government will seek approval for its policy in implementing the recommendations of the Royal Commission on Flood Cost-Benefit and of the Lakes Winnipeg and Manitoba Board for major flood control projects in Manitoba.
An unprecedented level of aid will be advanced to our local communities and the amount of provincial sharing in local government cost will be increased by many millions of dollars in the coming fiscal year.
A new method of financing is being recommended by which the Lieutenant-Governor-in-Council may authorize the Provincial Treasurer to guarantee the payment of securities issued by various public bodies or other organizations designated by law.
A healthy and progressive agriculture is the backbone of our provincial life. My Government is aware of the problems that have arisen in this field. While questions of market and of prices are generally beyond the provincial sphere, my Government will propose measures in other areas of agricultural interest to benefit farming.
Proposals will be made to reconstitute the Department of Agriculture and Immigration as the Department of Agriculture and Conservation. You will be asked to provide increased sums for all phases of agricultural work and particularly for water control, drainage and land and water conservation. Legislation will be introduced to expand and co-ordinate the existing machinery for this purpose.
Plans will be presented for greatly increased activity in agricultural development and research at the University of Manitoba. A five-year plan is being developed covering all phases of research and development. Increased funds will be proposed for current and capital purposes and the University of Manitoba will be asked to undertake projects connected therewith.
Agricultural education facilities will be expanded. This will include more provision of bursaries for degree as well as diploma students.
You will be asked to approve an expansion and improvement of agricultural services in farm management, agricultural statistics, agricultural representatives and home economists and the operation of regional extension offices in Dauphin and Brandon.
My Government proposes to introduce new measures to assist in the supply of potable water for the Manitoba countryside, including the Pembina Triangle and other similar areas.
It is intended that legislation will be introduced to provide for a system of crop insurance for the benefit of the agricultural industry. These measures will be designed to co-ordinate and supplement the crop insurance proposals of the Dominion Government.
My Ministers inform me that the Agricultural Credit Act is now in operation to provide loans to farmers and that special arrangements have been made to provide loans to young farmers at relatively low rates of interest.
You will be asked to approve increased assistance for agricultural fairs.
Good progress has been made in the $33 million highway construction program which was approved at the last session. Location and field surveys, soil tests, design and preparation of plans for 1959 construction have been undertaken.
Increased assistance will be given to municipalities for the construction and maintenance of their roads and access roads.
Additional moneys will be requested to extend other highway activities including bridges and roads.
My Government will press for continuation and enlargement of federal aid for provincial trunk highways and for further assistance from the Government of Canada in developing tourist roads and roads to mineralized areas.
My Government has entered into a contract with a leading authority on highway planning for the purpose of securing its advice on the planning of our highways for years in advance of their actual construction. This will be in addition to work now being carried on by the Department of Public Works.
An accelerated program will be carried out in conjunction with the Board of Transport Commissioners for Canada to provide increased protection at highway rail crossings in several new locations. Improved road signs will enhance road safety.
Plans have been made for the building and reconditioning of many provincially-owned public buildings.
In keeping with its plan for a greater Manitoba, my Government is pursuing an aggressive policy to attain a fuller knowledge of the natural resources of the province and their scientific management. Expanded geological mapping programs will be carried out.
A comprehensive plan has been developed for "roads to resources", the first part of which, the section of road from Simonhouse to Thompson, is already well advanced and surveys to other areas under way.
My Government has authorized the Manitoba Hydro-Electric Board to expand the generating capacity of the Kelsey power station on the Nelson River and studies will be initiated into transmitting power to sites where it can most readily be utilized by consumers both near and far.
Developments at the Thompson, Chisel and Stall Lake mines are proceeding. These programs alone will double Manitoba's mineral production by 1961. Northern Manitoba today is the scene of one of the most extensive exploration campaigns in all of Canada.
In southeastern Manitoba special emphasis will be given to development of resources to increase opportunity for residents to earn a satisfactory livelihood. Soil surveys and other studies by an inter-departmental committee are under way. The program of reforestation and forest management is being expanded.
Efforts will be made to assist commercial fishing through research into fishing and marketing methods and through implementing measures to restore and maintain the prosperity of fishermen. My Government has engaged the services of a consultant who has been instructed to report on all aspects of game, fur and fish administration. Sport fishing and hunting will be further developed. Legislation will be presented respecting water safety.
In co-operation with the Government of Canada, camping and picnic sites will be developed along Manitoba highways to attract and serve tourists. A major ski resort in the Riding Mountain National Park and development of winter recreation facilities are in hand. My Government will ask you to provide financial assistance toward establishing a travel and convention association.
A measure will be placed before you providing for the establishment of an economic development authority. This new agency will co-ordinate the work of government and semi-government agencies concerned with the economic development of the province, particularly in the North. The purpose of this authority will be, on the one hand, to protect the public interest, and on the other, to encourage private investment in the development of Manitoba's natural resources. My Ministers believe that the resources of our northern areas will make an increasing contribution to the wealth and welfare of Manitoba. Although my Government, except in the case of hydro-power development, will largely rely upon private enterprise, it wishes to join in a co-operative effort to open up the northern areas of our province. The new authority will be charged with this task.
My Ministers state that the Manitoba Development Fund is now in operation. The number of applications for financial assistance already received by this new agency assures that it will be helpful to small and medium-sized enterprises. My Government intends to initiate a regional development program designed to increase rural industrial development.
The weight of increasing freight rates on the economy of the province has been observed with concern by my Ministers. As a result of the appeal to the Privy Council on this subject, the Dominion Government is providing relief at least in part to Manitoba shippers. My Ministers report that special negotiations are under way to achieve lower development freight rates to and from northern Manitoba. My Government is working closely with officials of the Lakehead cities and other provinces to ensure the maximum benefits for Manitoba from the St. Lawrence Seaway.
My Ministers inform me that their proposals for the introduction of school divisions met with the approval of seven out of every ten who voted. Accordingly you will be asked to provide for increased provincial grants to the education system. Amendments respecting division boundaries and other matters will also be proposed.
Larger operating grants will be recommended in respect of the University of Manitoba. Measures to make available additional capital support for the provincial university and a new formula of capital assistance to its affiliated colleges will be submitted.
Your approval will be sought for a more generous scale of vocational education grants, and for increased funds to finance loans and other assistance in the field of higher education.
You will be asked to supply funds for certain improvements in our penal establishments. These will include a program for a gradual extension of adult and juvenile probation services to all parts of Manitoba. Proposals will be made for the start of a new rehabilitation program for adult prisoners. A beginning has been made in the segregation of young adult offenders.
Legislation will be brought forward for the partial re-introduction of the grand jury system for the inspection of certain public institutions by panels of citizens. Amendments will be offered to the Child Welfare Act to clarify and expedite the procedure for the giving of medical service and treatment of children who are neglected within the meaning of that act.
A commissioner will be appointed to review oil leasing practices within the province.
Amendments will be offered to the Rules of the House and to the Regulations Act to establish a standing committee of the House to review all regulations made pursuant to statutory authority. It is hoped this measure will restore a greater degree of control to the Legislature in respect of delegated powers of regulation.
The Hospital Insurance Plan, which became effective on July 1st last, has gained wide acceptance. A new plan for premium collections, designed to relieve municipalities of much of their responsibility in this regard, will be proposed. The agreement with the federal government has been amended to expand the scope of out-patient services and to include unoccupied beds in sanatoria for the care of the chronically ill. This last measure substantially increases the number of hospital beds in the western and northern parts of the province.
You will be asked to approve expenditures for the construction of a new hospital for the rehabilitation of patients who can be returned to normal productive living. These facilities will care for both in-patients and out-patients and will also provide for a school of physical and occupational therapy to be conducted under university auspices.
The Hospital Insurance Plan has emphasized the need for additional nursing personnel in all categories and to this end the facilities for the training of licensed practical nurses, operated by my Government, will be tripled during the coming year.
The need for increased facilities for the care of the mentally ill and the mentally defective has been recognized by my Government, and you will be asked to approve expenditures for increased staff and for the construction of additional hospital beds to meet these demands.
The rapid development of the northern areas of our province will require increased public health services. My Government proposes to establish a new northern health service.
For the tenth time in the past 40 years, the incidence of polio reached epidemic proportions. Salk polio vaccine is available free to all residents of the province up to the age of 40. Booster doses for all school children will be provided during the coming year.
My Government will propose a substantial and far-reaching reform of many welfare policies and legislation.
A social allowance act will secure higher levels of social security for the aged and infirm, the recipients of an extended mother's allowance and others in need. This policy will be extended to the Indian people of Manitoba and to immigrants. The financial responsibility in these cases will be transferred entirely from the municipalities to the provincial government. Neglected children will also be included in this arrangement. My Government believes that these changes will simplify administration and relieve local municipal taxpayers of hundreds of thousands of dollars of expense which they bear under the present system.
My Government plans to increase provincial assistance available under the Elderly Persons' Housing Act so that better arrangements may be made for the housing of our older citizens. You will be asked to approve the appointment of a full-time director of elderly person's housing. My Ministers will also propose a supervisor of licensed nursing homes and institutions to improve standards of care.
Amendments will be proposed to the Municipal Act and the Health and Public Welfare Act to provide for an appeal by any welfare applicant who feels a departmental or municipal decision has been unfair.
Legislation will be proposed to simplify adoption procedures and protect the rights of
children and their natural parents.
The excellent labour-management relations existing in Manitoba are worthy of note.
It is reported to me that although an unemployment problem continues in Manitoba the situation is improved over the previous year. My Government appreciates the co-operation of the general public and of municipalities in meeting this problem. Although unemployment is a federal responsibility I am glad to observe that the Winter Employment Act of 1958 has been useful to the extent of providing 105,000 man-days of employment in projects whose total value exceeds $4,600,000.00. In addition, intra-governmental planning has been successful in providing an equal amount of added winter employment.
Legislation will be introduced to give effect to many of the recommendations received from the commission appointed to inquire into the Workmen's Compensation Act; this will include additional benefits for those whose homes have been deprived of the family breadwinner.
The Minimum Wage Board has been convened to review and to recommend in respect of minimum wages. Consultations are proceeding to improve the machinery of apprenticeship training and departmental inspection services. Legislation will be introduced respecting holidays with pay.
The Royal Commission on Municipal and School Administration and Organization in the Greater Winnipeg Area has now reported. You will be asked to study its findings and recommendations.
Recognizing the need for a more adequate development of municipal government and services at our deep sea port of Churchill, my Government has established a separate local government district and is negotiating with the Government of Canada for a common solution to the problems of development there.
You will be asked to approve legislation to provide for a greater measure of local participation in the municipal government function of unorganized territories in the province.
A proposal will be made to enable municipalities to provide for the support of public recreation. Considerations will be given to provide qualified leaders through training courses.
Legislation will be introduced to make provision for group life insurance for the benefit of our civil service. You will be asked to consider making provision for the funds required to bring the salaries of civil servants to prevailing rates.
My Government proposes to divide the function of the present Municipal and Public Utility Board. This will call for the establishment of a separate municipal board and a separate public utility board. My Government believes this division of responsibility will enable these boards to function with a degree of specialization which will permit a more efficient discharge of their responsibilities.
My Government proposes to implement certain recommendations of the Natural Gas Distribution Commission of Greater Winnipeg.
My Government proposes a revision of the "Rules of the Road" in accordance with certain recommendations prepared by the Commissioners for Uniformity of Legislation for Canada, for the promotion of uniform traffic laws and the protection of motorists and pedestrians. A proposal will be submitted to establish a highway safety board to deal with appeals from certain aspects of the administration of the Highway Traffic Act that may cause undue hardship. My Government proposes to establish a traffic co-ordinating board to draw together the traffic safety functions of engineering, education, enforcement and motor vehicle administration at the provincial and municipal levels. My Government will recommend extending the driver improvement and control program to Flin Flon.
My Government is anxious to assist in the extension of television to all parts of the province. To this end an offer will be made to the federal authorities to provide on an annual rental basis a northern microwave television link.
Estimates for the requirements for the public services of the province for the next fiscal year and the Public Accounts for the last fiscal year will be placed before you for your consideration.
I leave you now to the faithful performance of your many duties and trust that in meeting them you may have the guidance of Divine Providence in all your deliberations.
MR. SPEAKER: O Eternal and Almighty God from Whom all power and wisdom come; by Whom Kings rule and make equitable laws: we are assembled here before Thee to frame such laws as may tend to the welfare and prosperity of our Province: grant O Merciful God, we pray Thee, that we may desire only that which is in accordance with Thy Will; that we may seek it with wisdom and know it with certainty and accomplish it perfectly for the Glory and Honour of Thy Name and for the welfare of all our people. Amen.
HON. DUFF ROBLIN (Premier): Mr. Speaker, I beg to move seconded by the Honourable, the Minister of Agriculture, that leave be given to introduce Bill No. 1, an Act respecting the Administration of Oaths of Office and that the same be now read and received a first time.
[Mr. Speaker presented the motion and after a voice vote, declared the motion carried. ]
MR. SPEAKER: I should like to inform the House that in order to prevent mistakes I have received a copy of the address of His Honour which was read. I would also like to inform the House that George Milne has been appointed Sergeant-at-Arms for the Second Session of the Twenty-Fifth Legislature.
MR. ROBLIN: Mr. Speaker, I beg to move seconded by the Honourable, the Minister of Mines and Natural Resources that the speech of his Honour the Lieutenant-Governor be taken into consideration tomorrow.
[Mr. Speaker presented the motion, and after a voice vote declared the motion carried. ]
MR. ROBLIN: Mr. Speaker, I beg to move seconded by the Honourable, the Minister of Education that the votes and proceedings of this House be printed having first been perused by Mr. Speaker and that he do appoint the printing thereof and that no person but such as he shall appoint do presume to print the same.
[Mr. Speaker presented the motion, and after a voice vote declared the motion carried. ]
MR. ROBLIN: Mr. Speaker, I beg to move seconded by the Honourable the Attorney-General that the Select Standing Committees of this House for the present session be appointed for the following purposes - Law Amendments, Public Accounts, Municipal Affairs, Agriculture and Immigration, Public Utilities and Natural Resources, Privileges and Elections, Private Bills, Standing Orders, Printing and Library and Industrial Relations - which several committees shall be empowered to examine and to inquire into all such matters and things as may be referred to them by this House and to report from time to time their observations and opinions thereon with power to send for persons, papers and documents and to examine witnesses under oath.
[Mr. Speaker presented the motion and after a voice vote declared the motion carried. ]
MR. ROBLIN: Mr. Speaker, I beg to move seconded by the Honourable the Minister of Health and Welfare that a special committee of seven persons be appointed to prepare and report with all convenient speed a list of members to compose the Select Standing Committees ordered by this House and that such Committee be composed as follows; Honourable Messrs. Roblin, McLean, Boulic; Messrs. Ridley, Campbell, Molgat and Stinson.
[Mr. Speaker presented the motion. ]
MR. CAMPBELL (Leader of the Opposition): Mr. Speaker, in connection with this motion, which is always considered as one of the formal ones that is placed before the House at this time when we are organizing for the Session, I would like to just remind the House that we are meeting under unusual circumstances - that is, unusual so far as recent history is concerned - and we have to keep the folks over on your right, Mr. Speaker, reminded of the fact that they are a minority Government and yet it will be noticed that in this motion that four Government supporters have been proposed as members of this Committee and only three members
of the Opposition. Now, I must hasten to say that the First Minister consulted with the Leader of the C.C.F. party and myself with regard to the procedure in the House generally today, and with regard to these so-called formal motions that are put - and I want to simply make now in public the same reservation that I made at that time - I have found it unprofitable always in the past to attempt to speak for my Honourable friend the Leader of the C.C.F. party, even when I have the conviction that I know exactly what he is thinking or what he has done, I find that the situation has sometimes changed in the meantime, but so far as I am concerned, and still holding out hope for my Honourable friend, I would like to make it plain that this does not constitute a precedent as far as this group, the official opposition is concerned, that we simply went along with the regular procedure in this regard - and this is the regular procedure. It is almost a quarter of a century, Mr. Speaker, since we had a minority Government until this time and I am sure that if an explanation were not made to the many friends who have honoured us by their presence here today and to the press, and radio and public, they might think that the Opposition was going to abandon its historic position with regard to the conduct of the affairs of this House. And I am sure that it would strike the public as strange that with just 25 members sitting to your right, Mr. Speaker - that is on the assumption that the Honourable Member for Logan has not been overcome by the geographical situation he is placed in the House - with 25 sitting to your right and 30, always excepting my Honourable friend's position, sitting to your left, that the disparity in numbers would be evident to everyone. Therefore, I am simply making public the same reservation that was made in private that this is not to be taken as a precedent in the formation of these Committees because, after all, as all members of the House are aware, this is simply the Committee to pick the Committees and I think it would be expected -- as a matter of fact, the Honourable the First Minister was quite fair about this when the question was raised -- it would be expected, I think, that some relative proportions would be maintained on the Committees roughly representative of the strength of the parties in the House. I make that observation just so that there will be no public misunderstanding and that there be no feeling abroad that the security of the Province is in any way diminished by the fact that we are too complacent with our Honourable friends on the other side, in spite of His Honour's speech that we have just listened to.
MR. L. STINSON (Leader of the C.C.F.): Mr. Speaker, my Honourable friend is endeavoring to make a mountain out of a molehill and it happens that on this Committee that we have only one representative but I am confident that that representative can handle any four Torries and three Liberals.
MR. ROBLIN: If I may say a word, Mr. Speaker, in closing this debate, let me say how gratifying it is to find my two Honourable friends opposite so ready to take part in our discussions at this stage in the game. It bespeaks an interesting session. It is perfectly true, Sir, that I did take the liberty of consulting both Honourable gentlemen before the names for this Committee were set down and we discussed the point that has just been raised, and I was happy to give them an assurance then as I am happy to give the House now, Sir, that we will be quite willing to preserve the same ratio in these Committees as we have here in this Legislature itself. I would like to say Mr. Speaker, in connection with that matter and in connection with the coming Session - I am looking forward with great pleasure to the same measure of support that I received from my Honourable gentlemen there on matters of confidence and the same generous measure of support that I received from my Honourable friend over there in connection with matters of confidence - and if they don't do any better now than they did the last time, we are going to be in office for some while.
MR. CAMPBELL: Mr. Speaker, I was not rising to ask any question of my Honourable friend because I am sure he couldn't answer it if I asked it. But what I was going to say was that I just want to correct my Honourable friend the First Minister. I think he has not the right to close the debate on this motion. It is a question arising out of the business of the House, not a substantive motion.
[Mr. Speaker puts the question and after a voice vote declared the motion carried. ]
MR. ROBLIN: Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasant duty to propose, seconded by the Honourable the Minister of Labour that this House do now adjourn.
[Mr. Speaker presented the motion and after a voice vote declared the House adjourn until 2:30 tomorrow afternoon. ]
Page revised: 21 September 2009