Hansard — Monday, April 9, 1973 — Afternoon (2024)

1973 Legislative Session: 2nd Session, 30th Parliament
HANSARD

The following electronic version is for informational purposes only.
The printed version remains the official version.

Official Report of

DEBATES OF THE LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY

(Hansard)

MONDAY, APRIL 9, 1973

Afternoon Sitting

[ Page 2381 ]

CONTENTS

Afternoon sitting

Routine Proceedings

Oral questions

Easter recess. Mr. Curtis — 2381

Gabriola ferry landing. Mr. Chabot — 2381

Armed entry of city tavern. Mr. Wallace — 2381

Amalgamation vote in Kamloops. Mr. D.A. Anderson — 2381

Rail cars for BCR. Mr. Fraser — 2382

Possible power cutbacks. Mr. Curtis — 2382

Railroad construction between Clinton and Ashcroft. Mr. Fraser — 2382

Sukunka coal negotiations. Mr. Gardom — 2383

Municipal transit buses. Mr. D.A. Anderson — 2383

Flooding at Mica reservoir. Mr. Rolston — 2383

An Act to Amend the Provincial Home Acquisition Act. (BillNo. 149). Second reading.

Hon. Mr. Barrett — 2384

Mr. Gardom — 2384

Mr. Lockstead — 2385

Mr. Wallace — 2385

Hon. Mr. Barrett — 2385

An Act to Amend the Logging Tax Act (Bill No. 150). Secondreading.

Hon. Mr. Barrett — 2386

An Act to Amend the British Columbia Railway CompanyConstruction Loan Act (Bill No. 151). Second reading.

Hon. Mr. Barrett — 2386

Mr. McGeer — 2387

Mr. Wallace — 2388

Hon. Mr. Barrett — 2388

An Act to Amend the Civil Service Superannuation Act. (BillNo. 159). Second reading.

Hon. Mr. Hall — 2389

Mr. McClelland — 2390

Mr. Williams — 2391

Hon. Mr. Bennett — 2392

Mr. D.A. Anderson — 2392

Mr. Morrison — 2393

Mr. McGeer — 2393

Mr. Lauk — 2395

Hon. Mr. Hall — 2396

An Act to Amend the College Pension Act. (Bill No. 160).Second reading.

Hon. Mr. Hall — 2396

An Act to Amend the Teachers' Pensions Act. (Bill No. 161).Second reading.

Hon. Mr. Hall — 2397

Mr. Gardom — 2398

Hon. Mr. Hall — 2398

An Act to Amend the Social Assistance Act. (Bill No. 33).Second reading.

Hon. Mr. Levi — 2398

Mr. D.A. Anderson — 2398

An Act to Amend the Adoption Act. (Bill No. 40). Secondreading.

Hon. Mr. Levi — 2399

Mr. D.A. Anderson — 2399

Hon. Mr. Levi — 2399

An Act to Amend the Protection of Children Act. (Bill No. 111). Second reading.

Hon. Mr. Levi — 2399

An Act to Amend the Farmers' Land-Clearing Assistance Act.(Bill No. 36). Second reading.

Hon. Mr. Stupich — 2400

Mr. Smith — 2400

Hon. Mr. Stupich — 2400

Mr. Richter — 2401

Hon. Mr. Stupich — 2401

An Act to Amend the Workmen's Compensation Act, 1968. (BillNo. 130). Second reading.

Hon. Mr. King — 2401

Mr. Barnes — 2402

Mr. Rolston — 2402

Mr. Williams — 2403

Hon. Mr. King — 2403

An Act to Amend the Payment of Wages Act. (Bill No. 152).Second reading.

Hon. Mr. King — 2404

Mr. Chabot — 2404

Mr. Williams — 2404

Hon. Mr. King — 2405

Public Works Fair Employment Act . (Bill No. 153). Secondreading.

Hon. Mr. King — 2405

Mr. Chabot — 2405

Mr. D.A. Anderson — 2406

Mr. Wallace — 2407

Mr. G.H. Anderson — 2408

Mr. Phillips — 2408

Mr. Smith — 2410

Mr. Curtis — 2410

Mr. Nicolson — 2411

Mr. McClelland — 2412

Mr. McGeer — 2412

Mr. Richter — 2413

Mr. Williams — 2413

Mr. Barnes — 2413

Hon. Mr. Hall — 2415

An Act for Granting Certain Sums of Money for the PublicService of the Province of British Columbia. (Bill No.172).

Royal assent — 2415

MONDAY, APRIL 9, 1973

The House met at 2 p.m.

Introduction of bills.

Oral questions.

MR. SPEAKER: The Hon. Member for Saanich and theIslands.

EASTER RECESS

MR. H.A. CURTIS (Saanich and the Islands): Mr. Speaker, tothe House Leader (Hon. Mr. Barrett). In order to assist Membersand others associated with this House who are attempting toplan their immediate future, could the Premier indicate whatmight take place in the event the House has not concluded itsbusiness by the Easter weekend? Would he announce a recess ofsome days duration?

HON. D. BARRETT (Premier): It is too early to answer that. Ifully anticipate completion of the business in front of theHouse before Easter.

MR. SPEAKER: The Hon. Member for Columbia River.

GABRIOLA FERRY LANDING

MR. J.R. CHABOT (Columbia River): A question to the Ministerof Highways (Hon. Mr. Strachan). In view of the fact theMinister of Agriculture (Hon. Mr. Stupich) has asked to be keptinformed by the Gabriola Advisory Planning Commission of anycorrespondence between the Department of Highways and the localcommission regarding the Gabriola ferry landing, can theMinister advise if he has implemented any system to advise hiscolleague on what is taking place at Gabriola?

HON. R.M. STRACHAN (Minister of Highways): Yes, we arehaving discussions on that matter right now.

MR. SPEAKER: The Hon. Member for Oak Bay.

ARMED ENTRY OF CITY TAVERN

MR. G.S. WALLACE (Oak Bay): I would seek your guidance in the absence of the Attorney General (Hon. Mr. Macdonald), I am not quite sure who should be asked the question — but it is a matter of some urgent public importance, I think. I would like to ask, perhaps, the acting Attorney General whether any action is pending following the entry of two men with rifles to a tavern in this city last week to the great fear of the people in the tavern. I understand two soldiers with loaded rifles marched in and mounted guard on two exits to the building. This seems to be rather an unusual occurrence and I wonder if the Attorney General has any action he plans to take against the two people concerned?

MR. SPEAKER: The matter would have to await the return ofthe Attorney General. Hope nobody shoots the gun.(Laughter).

The Hon. Second Member for Victoria.

AMALGAMATION VOTE IN KAMLOOPS

MR. D.A. ANDERSON (Victoria): To the Minister of MunicipalAffairs (Hon. Mr. Lorimer), Mr. Speaker. Now that the B.C.Court of Appeal, on Friday, upheld the supreme court rulingconcerning a vote on amalgamation among the various areas nearKamloops. Can I ask the Minister when he has scheduled for sucha vote to take place? and what steps he has taken to arrangesuch a vote?

HON. J.G. LORIMER (Minister of Municipal Affairs): Therewill be legislation brought in shortly in connection with thisquestion.

MR. D.A. ANDERSON: Mr. Speaker, the question was not whetheror not legislation would be brought forward. What steps is theMinister taking to obey the court's ruling?

HON. MR. LORIMER: The court ruling referred to my proposalto the cabinet regarding a proposal. This proposal hasn't beenmade as yet.

MR. D.A. ANDERSON: I am confused on proposals, Mr. Speaker.Can the Minister indicate at this time when such a vote islikely to take place?

HON. MR. LORIMER: I'll take that as notice.

MR. D.A. ANDERSON: A supplementary question regardingKelowna then — if we can't get very far with the Kamloopsamalgamation. As far as Kelowna is concerned, can the Ministeradvise whether or not the amalgamation advisory committee,which has been set up, will be continuing its work after theend of this month — regardless of the setting up of any interimcouncil for the area?

HON. MR. LORIMER: It will not be carrying on its work afterthe interim council is set up.

MR. D.A. ANDERSON: May I ask the Minister if negotiations onthe points given to this advisory committee to work on have notbeen dealt with by that time, will the committee simplydisappear and

[ Page 2382 ]

will these negotiations collapse?

MR. SPEAKER: I think your questions is hypothetical.

The Hon. Member for Cariboo.

RAIL CARS FOR BCR

MR. A.V. FRASER (Cariboo): Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Aquestion to the Premier as president of the British ColumbiaRailroad. The rail car situation continues to deteriorate, Iwas wondering if you had anything new to report on getting railcars?

HON. MR. BARRETT: Nothing new to report, Mr. Member. As Iannounced last week, plans were being made to lease cars, andwe hope for an earlier arrival of the 500 cars we havepurchased. As you know, there is a North American shortage. Weare doing everything we possibly can.

MR. FRASER: A supplemental, Mr. Speaker. What about theleasing of cars? Is there nothing new on that?

HON. MR. BARRETT: Nothing new. The machinery has been put inaction. We have informed the railways to do whatever they canin terms of leasing or obtaining cars. There are no holdsbarred.

MR. SPEAKER: I might say for the guidance of Members thatquestions having been asked several times already — unlessthere is something new that has occurred that you are aware of,I don't think you should keep repeating the question.

HON. W.A.C. BENNETT (Leader of the Opposition): But it isvery important.

MR. SPEAKER: I know. I appreciate it's urgent. The questionis whether there is anything to add to the existing state offact.

The Hon. Member for Saanich and the Islands.

POSSIBLE POWER CUTBACKS

MR. CURTIS: Mr. Speaker, to the Minister of Lands, Forestsand Water Resources (Hon. Mr. Williams). Could the Ministerindicate to the House if British Columbia Hydro, or hisdepartment, foresee any difficulties in the next several monthsin light of low snow pack and light rainfall in many parts ofBritish Columbia? Any power generating difficulties; anylikelihood of power cutbacks in the summer or early fall?

HON. R.A. WILLIAMS (Minister of Lands, Forests and WaterResources): I'm certainly not aware of any, Mr. Speaker.

MR. CURTIS: A supplemental please, Mr. Speaker. Withspecific respect to the central Vancouver Island area — Strathcona, Ledora, John Hart systems — I understand that waterin some of those lakes is extremely low. Does he have anycomment on that particular part of British Columbia and theB.C. Hydro generating system?

HON. MR. WILLIAMS: Well, as the Member is aware, we areproceeding with additional cables to southern Vancouver Islandin terms of the immediate longer term. With respect to thelakes on the island, I would have to check that.

MR. SPEAKER: The Hon. Member for Cariboo.

RAILROAD CONSTRUCTION
BETWEEN CLINTON AND ASHCROFT

MR. FRASER: Mr. Speaker, another question to the presidentof the railroad. In view of the fact the B.C. government hasasked a minimum of $19 million for the northern extension ofthe British Columbia Railroad, does the province expect anyprojected hookup between the B.C. Railroad and the CNRinvolving 44 miles of construction between Clinton and Ashcroftto be paid by the national government?

HON. MR. BARRETT: We are discussing a number of problemswith the CNR including the payments we think are owing to thepeople of British Columbia.

MR. FRASER: A supplemental, Mr. Speaker. Would theAshcroft-Clinton construction be over and above the request for$19 million?

HON. MR. BARRETT: Well, we are discussing a number of thingswith the CNR.

AN HON. MEMBER: A number of things.

HON. MR. BARRETT: You weren't in on the discussion.

MR. FRASER: A further supplemental. Is the province seekingto achieve a similar rate structure on the CNR line as is nowobtainable on the BCR for resource-oriented shipments,particularly wood chips?

HON. MR. BARRETT: I didn't hear the first part

MR. FRASER: Is the province seeking to achieve a similar rate structure on the CN lines as now exists on the British Columbia Railroad particularly with regard to resource shipping such as wood chips?

HON. MR. BARRETT: We don't negotiate for the

[ Page 2383 ]

CNR's rates. We have our own position in negotiations on alarge number of things. Negotiations were being entered into bythe previous administration and we have altered thosenegotiations a bit, but the negotiations are continuing.

MR. SPEAKER: I don't quite see how this relates to thejurisdiction of the Government.

HON. MR. BARRETT: Neither do I.

MR. SPEAKER: The Hon. Second Member for Vancouver–PointGrey.

SUKUNKA COAL NEGOTIATIONS

MR. G.B. GARDOM (Vancouver–Point Grey): I would ask theHouse Leader (Hon. Mr. Barrett) if he would today give theHouse some information, and so far he hasn't, concerning theSukunka coal negotiations?

MR. SPEAKER: Hon. Members. I think there has got to be atermination of the constant repetition of questions that havebeen answered.

MR. GARDOM: He hasn't answered one yet.

MR. SPEAKER: He has answered the questions. The fact of thematter is, under Beauchesne at p. 147, you are not permitted torepeat in substance a question already answered or to which ananswer has been refused. And the Member keeps repeating thesame question.

MR. GARDOM: He can just update the House in the currentsituation, Mr. Speaker. It's a perfectly valid question.

MR. SPEAKER: We would waste the time of the House when thereare other important questions being sought.

HON. MR. BARRETT: Negotiations are continuing.

MR. SPEAKER: The Hon. Second Member for Victoria.

MUNICIPAL TRANSIT BUSES

MR. D.A. ANDERSON: Another question to the Minister of Municipal Affairs, Mr. Speaker. In the light of the statement issued by him last Friday regarding transit buses in the province, can I ask whether the municipalities concerned will have the right to request or specify what type of vehicle they would like, in particular in terms of width — I am thinking now of the problem in Vancouver dealing with bridges — or whether or not the Government intends to supply them with the buses they have on hand, which are something else?

HON. MR. LORIMER: If the municipalities have a request, wewill listen to their request and we will cooperate with themunicipalities. I haven't received any requests up until nowabout any of those matters you have raised.

MR. SPEAKER: The Hon. Member for Dewdney.

FLOODING AT MICA RESERVOIR

MR. P.C. ROLSTON (Dewdney): Mr. Speaker, I want to ask aquestion of the Minister of Lands, Forests and Water Resourceswho is also on the Hydro board. I understand the Mica reservoiris now beginning to flood as of a few weeks ago. Do you feelthis has been adequately logged? Are we still going to gothrough the same thing that we went through with the Peace, andeven 65 years ago with the Stave Lake?

The second part of my question is, do I understand bids arein now for four of the six turbines? Can you make any commenton those? Will the suppliers of these turbines be reliablesources of parts?

MR. SPEAKER: Order. I think one should ask one question at atime, and if anything falls from that, further supplementaries.The Hon. Minister.

HON. MR. WILLIAMS: With respect to the Mica reservoir, thedam was completed on March 29. With respect to the basinitself, we are looking at an outside consulting studyproposal.

The powerhouse contract was let last week, I believe. Iwould have to take the questions of turbines themselves asnotice.

MR. SPEAKER: The Hon. Member for Columbia River.

MR. CHABOT: A supplementary question on the Mica Dam. Couldyou tell me just how much the water has risen? There appears tobe a fear of serious flooding behind the Mica Dam which wassealed on March 29. How much has the water risen there and howlong will it take for the basin to fill?

HON. MR. WILLIAMS: I think that was the purpose of the dam,if I remember correctly. (Laughter).

MR. CHABOT: A supplementary question. Can the Minister give us some idea of how long it will take

[ Page 2384 ]

to fill up the basin behind Mica Dam?

HON. MR. WILLIAMS: I don't have that information athand.

MR. CHABOT: Would you say 8 to 10 years is a pretty fairguess?

HON. MR. WILLIAMS: I don't guess on a thing like that.

Orders of the day.

HON. D. BARRETT (Premier): I move we proceed to public billsand orders.

Motion approved.

AN ACT TO AMEND THE
PROVINCIAL HOME ACQUISITION ACT

HON. MR. BARRETT: Second reading on Bill No. 149, Mr.Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, as the Hon. Members are aware, this Actprovides a grant of up to $1,000 or a second mortgage loan ofup to $5,000 for residents purchasing a new home in theprovince, and a grant of up to $500 or a second mortgage loanof up to $2,500 for residents who previously rented in theprovince to buy an older home in the province.

The proposed amendment is to ensure that these benefits areavailable to Indians who wish to purchase a home on a reserve;in addition, to protect the moneys owing the Home AcquisitionFund. The power of the Minister to collect moneys owing isbroadened in a similar manner to collection purposes nowincluded in most provincial taxation statutes.

This bill, Mr. Speaker, also has a provision that givesretroactivity to it, going back to 1966. While the question ofretroactive legislation is generally attacked, there arespecific instances where retroactivity must be brought in toprovide a correction for an improper Act or what we think maybe an improper application of an Act.

This Act has been unfair up till now, Mr. Speaker, in thatnative Indians were discriminated against by an officialpolicy, and I think that is a mark against all of us — not justthose who formulated the policy of such discrimination, but forthe rest of us in the province who have had to live withit.

I'm very, very pleased that on an occasion like this,government can sometimes take a direct step in correctingsomething that was wrong, something that wasdiscriminatory.

I want to suggest to the native Indian people of this province that when these cheques come out, we would welcome any group request to have the cheques come in a group as was proposed to us by the Haida Indians from the Charlottes. We would welcome any request they have in the direction of the use of those funds, if they agree, in terms of a capital purpose or any bulk purchasing they may wish to do. For example, it is my impression that some of the people who are eligible are interested in buying furniture for their homes or improving their homes, and if they purchase as a group, the prices they purchase for will be lower.

I am sure the House would agree that we would allow theregulations to bend so that these people can use the funds asthey see fit as individuals or voluntarily see fit as groups.So I am publicly now asking the other native Indians, alongwith the Queen Charlotte people, to send down any suggestionsor requests that they have on these funds.

I move second reading.

MR. SPEAKER: The Hon. Second Member for Vancouver–PointGrey.

MR. G.B. GARDOM (Vancouver–Point Grey): Well, this is one ofthose very, very rare and few satisfactions of an OppositionMember. As the older Members of the House do know, this hasbeen a measure that has been proposed over here since theinception of this statute by a multitude of speeches andamendments to these statutes and also by private Members'bills. We thoroughly support the position of the Government andthe direction indicated by the Premier when he opened thedebate.

I think over and above, though, it would be terriblybeneficial to the Indian community and terribly beneficial tothe Province of B.C. from a social point of view that wecontinue to correct those injustices which still exist. Thereis no reason that I know why all of the services that surroundan Indian reserve are not able to be provided to an Indianreserve.

I think that should be the direction of the Government.

Secondly, the per capita grants in this session areincreasing from $30 to $32 which is far lower than they shouldbe increasing to. I would advocate that these per capitamunicipal grants be made available to self-governing Indianbands. Of the approximately 192 bands we do have in theprovince, about 159 of those have some form of self-government.I advocate that they be entitled to receive those grants.

Thirdly, Mr. Speaker, other provinces in Canada have seentheir way clear to grant reserve Indian bands a fair share ofthe municipal taxes or provincial taxes that are collected froma non-occupier of Indian land. And I notice I have thePremier's attention.

It is true that Indian reserve lands are not subject toincome tax. However, when a band or a locatee of a bandsurrenders his interest and leases it to someone who isnon-Indian, at that point it immediately becomes taxableeither to the province or taxable to the municipality if theband happens to be within the confines of a municipality.

[ Page 2385 ]

We find in Saskatchewan that 50 per cent of the taxes amunicipality collects from an occupier of Indian land istransferred back to the band. We find even a more generoussituation in Alberta whereby this taxpaying occupier of Indianland is granted a total exemption from municipal taxes in orderto provide a better rent, a better deal to the reserve Indianfrom whom he may rent his land.

Lastly, I enjoyed the remarks of the Premier indicating thatthe Indian people who will be able to qualify under thisretroactive legislation will be able to have some options andfreedom concerning the use of the money. The Premier said yes,if they needed furnishings they could buy that. Well, I'd likehim to go the next step.

In the Province of Ontario — it's a very good illustration — they relieve a reserve Indian from the payment of sales taxproviding the article is purchased for the use on the reserve.So in your furniture example they would obviously be buyingfurniture for their homes in their reserve and there is noreason that I know why they should have to pay 5 per cent taxon it when just with a little snap of the fingers, Mr. Premier,you would quite be able to eradicate that tax.

What we are trying to push for here, and what I've beenadvocating since I've been a Member of this House, is to curesocial injustice. Let's get on with it a little more quicklythan we have.

This is a first-class measure and I'm delighted to seeit.

MR. SPEAKER: The Hon. Member for Mackenzie.

MR. D.F. LOCKSTEAD (Mackenzie): Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Irise to make a short statement in support of this bill.

The object of the Provincial Home Acquisition Act wasto encourage people to own their own homes, Mr. Speaker. Thisprinciple was abandoned, however, when the benefits of the Actwere refused to the Indian people living on reserves in BritishColumbia.

The past government's reasons for not making this grantavailable for Indian people living on reserves was that sinceIndian reserves are under the federal Indian Act, the provincedoes not have the jurisdiction to entertain the measure.Secondly, reserve Indians would not be subject to land tax.

Well, let's look at this for a second. An Indian does nothave to pay any income tax on income earned on a reserve. Thisis hardly ever applicable because the income British ColumbianIndians earn, they earn in the various locations off thereserve, Mr. Speaker, not on the reserve.

Indian people are not liable for land tax for their reserve houses. Again, this should not be of concern because there are thousands of homeowners in the Province of British Columbia who, by virtue of the Home-owners' Grant, don't pay any land tax at all. The location of almost all Indian reserve lands would place them in this non-payment category.

It must be remembered that Indian people pay just the sametaxes as any other British Columbia citizen — the 5 per centprovincial sales tax, the motor vehicle users tax, the tax onbuilding materials and a host of others.

In my constituency, Mr. Speaker, one small reserve of lessthan 400 people — the Sechelt Indian Reserve — it has beenestimated that over a four-year period they have paid over$101,000 in provincial taxes.

Improved housing is one of the greatest needs of Indianpeople in this province today. Our Government is willing to doeverything it can to foster the principles of such aprogramme.

MR. SPEAKER: The Hon. Member for Oak Bay.

MR. G.S. WALLACE (Oak Bay): Very briefly, Mr. Speaker, wehave stated in the House already that housing and education ofthe Indians are indeed very obviously the biggest need. I wantto say that this party strongly supports the measureintroduced.

MR. SPEAKER: The Hon. Minister closes the debate.

HON. MR. BARRETT: Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the Membersfor their comments. The point made by the Hon. Member forVancouver–Point Grey concerning the 5 per cent sales tax — stores already operating on the reserve do not charge 5 percent sales tax. Those are sales that are made on thereserve.

But to ask, Mr. Member, that the 5 per cent sales tax betaken off the native Indians on this furniture…

Interjection by an Hon. Member.

HON. MR. BARRETT: That, to me, Mr. Member, is a reverse formof discrimination. All people should pay taxes equally andreceive benefits from taxation equally, regardless of race,creed, colour and anything else. To eliminate a group becausethey are native Indians — or to exclude them because they arenative Indians — is a mistake. We're talking about citizens ofBritish Columbia. Every citizen should have equal access to theservices of this province.

A native Indian who owns a car and who drives on the roadsshould pay a licence and he should pay 5 per cent sales tax onhis car. He should pay 5 per cent sales tax on his tires. Whenhe drives to his home he should have the home acquisition granton his home. It's equality that we're looking for, not anyseparation in any way possible.

So, Mr. Member, I just can't buy your argument.

[ Page 2386 ]

Interjection by an Hon. Member.

HON. MR. BARRETT: Well, if they're municipalities that'ssomething to consider. But to my knowledge not one of them isin a municipality yet. I think there was a dispute over the oneon Vancouver Island. I don't think that's been resolved. Butthey had a close vote, as I understand it.

I am very, very pleased with the positive response. I'mpleased, too, with the response from that Member about the useof the funds for furniture. But I want to make it very clearthat each individual who is eligible for these funds of coursehas the right of determination of how these funds are to beused.

If a band or council or reserve representative getssignatures of agreement of groups of people so that the fundscan be used in a common purpose — that is to buy furniture inbulk or for home improvements on a bulk basis or something likethat — then it's my assumption that the House is in favour ifit's voluntarily decided by each individual in thatcommunity.

Interjection by an Hon. Member.

HON. MR. BARRETT: That's retroactive money, that'scorrect.

Interjection by an Hon. Member.

HON. MR. BARRETT: Forward is for houses only. That'sretroactive money.

Now if one individual wants to opt out, they have thatright. Certainly they can have the retroactive money and spendit as they wish. But the people from Masset made the point thatthey'd be better to buy as a group in bulk purchasing. I saidthat we would go along with that if we had written agreement byeverybody who wanted to so purchase. So away they go.

It's a good day. It's something decent that we've donetoday. I move second reading.

Motion approved; second reading of the bill.

Bill No. 149 referred to a committee of the whole House atthe next sitting after today.

HON. MR. BARRETT: Second reading of Bill No. 150, Mr.Speaker.

AN ACT TO AMEND THE
LOGGING TAX ACT

HON. MR. BARRETT: Mr. Speaker, the Logging Tax Act imposes a 15 per cent tax on net profits from logging operations in the province where the profits exceed $10,000 a year. Where a company also processes the logs after cutting the timber the total profit from all the operations is subject to tax.

The Act allows a processing allowance to be deducted. Thatis in line with our philosophy about the application of labourto raw materials.

A recent British Columbia Court of Appeal decision has ruledthe the Act is not clear on the taxing of certain processingprocedures which could considerably affect the revenuesreceived by the province from this tax. The intent of theLogging Tax Act since its inception has been to tax allprofits received by a company from logging operations,including the profits received from further processing intoproducts after the processing allowance has been made.

It has been so administered and the tax has been sopaid.

The amendment proposed in this bill results from the courtof appeal decision and is intended to make this tax policyclear. While this bill is made retroactive to January 1, 1972, I would emphasize that it does not alter the tax policy thathas been in effect since the inception of the Act. Rather itclarifies the policy.

I move second reading, Mr. Speaker.

Motion approved; second reading of the bill.

Bill No. 150 referred to a committee of the whole House atthe next sitting after today.

HON. MR. BARRETT: Second reading of Bill No. 151, Mr. Speaker.

AN ACT TO AMEND THE BRITISH
COLUMBIA RAILWAY COMPANY
CONSTRUCTION LOAN ACT

HON. MR. BARRETT: Mr. Speaker, this bill increases theauthorized borrowing powers of the British Columbia RailwayCompany from $340 million to $440 million. The increase isnecessary in order that the company may continue its lineextension programme, continue with improvements to the presentline and acquire the additional equipment made necessary by theconsiderable increase in traffic, such as boxcars.

The authorization is also necessary so the railway can planits capital expenditure programme in advance and the sumsrequired may be borrowed over the years ahead. The provincialgovernment is planning now for projects in the future and,while the authorization is not required now, the governmentdoes not want it to be hindered in these plans by a lack ofborrowing authorization.

I want to say, Mr. Speaker, that when we complete ournegotiations with the CNR we will announce quickly exactly whatspecific proposals we've agreed

[ Page 2387 ]

upon, what new areas of construction and what our programmeis. The authorization will be there so that we can carryon.

It's a new era of co-operation with the CN. I'm hoping thatthe negotiations will be fruitful. I move second reading.

MR. SPEAKER: The Hon. Member for Cariboo.

MR. A.V. FRASER (Cariboo): Mr. Speaker, to the Minister. Onthis increase of $100 million, have you any breakdown as toequipment and construction — how it breaks down?

MR. SPEAKER: The Hon. First Member for Vancouver–PointGrey.

MR. P.L. McGEER (Vancouver–Point Grey): Mr. Speaker, ourparty will support this bill. We agree that the BritishColumbia Railway must have adequate borrowing powers toundertake its expansion in the north. We think the Premier hasinteresting plans for integration of the railroad facilities innorth-west British Columbia and that the net effect of this isgoing to make natural resources that were not viable beforeviable in the future, providing resource taxation doesn't makeit impossible again.

Mr. Speaker, I do have some comments, however, about themethods of financing of the railway and the interaction withthe Legislature of British Columbia. Of course I refer to thePremier's statements today that there was a very definitecapital budget of the B.C. Railway, a need for them to plan inadvance what their borrowings would be. But, Mr. Speaker, wehave never seen such a budget in this Legislative Assembly.We've only had the word of yourself and the vice-president ofthe railway, Mr. Broadbent, that such a budget exists and thatthey adhere very closely to it.

If we're going to borrow the money for expansion of the B.C.Railway by using surplus tax funds, then I think it importantthat the budget of the B.C. Railway be laid before the House sothat a decision can be made as to what taxes will be necessaryfor the financing of the railway each year when the budget ispresented.

As far as the expenditures themselves are concerned, Mr.Speaker, I was disappointed at the time that the executives ofthe B.C. Railway appeared before the Public Accounts Committeeto learn that they do their engineering prior to the laying ofthe track in a very limited way; when the tenders are actuallycalled, that they're called on a unit basis with almost aminimum upset figure as being the limit set by the railroad inlaying the tender out.

Mr. Speaker, I think that this is a practice which should be questioned in the Legislature. It was this very sort of approach which led to the famous highways investigation years ago, before I sat on the committee, where the then Leader of the Opposition was the leading proponent of changes in the way highway contracts should be let. The present Minister of Highways (Hon. Mr. Strachan), seemed far less interested in those principles at the Public Accounts Committee meeting as a Member of the Government. Mr. Speaker, we should be prepared — just an observation —

HON. R.M. STRACHAN (Minister of Highways): Oh go on withyou. Take that back, you're a brain surgeon but you don't knowanything about brains.

MR. McGEER: My goodness me, Mr. Speaker, the Minister ofHighways is very twitchy this afternoon. I'm merely observing achange in his outlook. I thought that the Minister of Highwayswas a perfectly consistent individual and that he would showthe same bird-dogging attitude as a member of the PublicAccounts Committee on the Government side that he did as aninvestigator on the Opposition side. Some veteran members ofthe House remember that spectacular inquiry.

What it had as its basis, Mr. Speaker, was a failure to dotight engineering work to begin with, and then to have thecontract itself follow that engineering work. I would hope withsome of this borrowing power of the B.C. Railway, we would beefup the engineering staff of the B.C. Railway, so that thoroughinvestigations would be done before the contracts were set.Then when tenders are called, one will have an idea that thecontract itself, the actual amount of money that is paid, willbear some relationship to the budget that is set out in thetender.

The suggestion was made at the committee meeting, Mr.Speaker, that the firms that bid had a good idea that theywould have to move far more material than the contract actuallycalled for. Therefore it was possible for them to bid lower ona unit basis.

But the question that was left in my mind, and perhaps inthe minds of many people who were there, was why the contractorshould be so aware of those things when the tenderer isn't. Howis it the contractor can do greater engineering than therailway itself? So with this borrowing power, Mr. Speaker, Iwould hope that part of it would go to increased engineeringstaff on B.C. Railway.

MR. SPEAKER: Hon. Member, the purpose of this bill dealswith borrowing power. But if it comes down to how many cups ofsugar that the cook uses on the railway, I think it's beyondthe power of the bill — or how they tender, or what they do inregard to the ordinary operation of the railway. I would askthe

[ Page 2388 ]

Hon. Member to try somehow to relate his words to theproblem of borrowing money.

MR. McGEER: Well, Mr. Speaker, with due respect, Sir,expenses are high in the north — but we're talking about thingsthat ran into millions of dollars and that's more than just acup of tea. You know, this only applies for an extra $100million, and at that rate it would only be 10 cups of tea.

No, Mr. Speaker, I think it's important for us in thisLegislature to scrutinize expenditures carefully, without beingpicayune in any way, but to be watchful when the principles onwhich the Legislature and the Government operate are not up tothe highest possible standards.

All that I would like to see, Mr. Speaker, is to have ourCrown corporations operating in exactly the same fashion asdoes the Legislative Assembly itself, with the budget clearlylaid before the Members with the integration of finances to theextent they must be integrated, fully and openly declared andwith the same kinds of supervision of the expenditures in thoseCrown corporations that we have in the government operationsthemselves.

That does not mean that we should discuss individualvouchers in this House, but it means that we should haveknowledge if some bird-dogging member of the Public AccountsCommittee, like the Minister of Highways used to be…that hecould make that pursuit and we would then know that theoperations of our public corporations were of the highestpossible standard, Mr. Speaker, as I said before, we'll support this bill, butit's our desire to see things get even better in a financialway in the future.

MR. SPEAKER: The Hon. Member for Oak Bay.

MR. WALLACE: Mr. Speaker, we support the bill also, clearlyon the basis that we recognize that the successful developmentof our resources depends so intimately on transportationfacilities. We've had very recent reminders of that.

The explanatory notes certainly are not part of thelegislation, but they mention $1 million instead of $100million. I think it should just be put on the record that theexplanatory notes on the bill are out by $99 million.

MR. SPEAKER: The Hon. Minister closes the debate.

HON. MR. BARRETT: I thought you said that you were not goingto be picayune. (Laughter). Mr. Speaker, we cannot give abreakdown on the equipment until we complete the negotiations.Then we know exactly what we have to buy and what our share isand what's involved.

The Member mentioned that we need to spend the money to getthe railroad to the resources. I like to follow the logicthrough the next step. The resources are open and people havejobs and industry a profit. Then we need to tax industry sothat we can build the railroad further into the resources.

It just can't be isolated, Mr. Member. You can't tax theworking people to build the railroad into the resources and nottax the resources. So I'm sure the financial pages of both theVancouver Sun and Province and the Victoria Daily Colonist andTimes will now write a column saying that the Liberals don'tknow what they're talking about — because you have to tax theresource base —

MR. L.A. WILLIAMS (West Vancouver–Howe Sound): Borrow thedollars.

HON. MR. BARRETT: Well, and we have to pay the money backthat we're borrowing, don't we? Certainly and the people haveto pay it back. And the rich corporations should help pay theirshare because they have made profits off the access to theresources.

I just don't understand you fellows. You want to soak thepoor and leave the rich all alone. The people of this provincehave to borrow the money to get the railroad into the resourcesso the rich get richer and the poor have more debts. B.C. Rail — who owns B.C. Rail? It's a publicly-owned railroad. O.K. — and the people have to pay.

AN HON. MEMBER: Make some profit, pay it back. Raise thefreight rate.

HON. MR. BARRETT: Well, I want to tell you that B.C. Railcan only make a profit when we start getting a better returnon the resources that we're opening through the use of therail. Raise the freight rates and then you'll be in here votingagainst the bill that raises the freight rates because…you'll be complaining about that. All you do is cry, cry andcry against big business; but when it comes to the people ofthis province having to borrow money to serve big business,that they are representing, what do they do about it? Theydon't like it.

Interjection by an Hon. Member.

HON. MR. BARRETT: Oh, come on; this is a socialistenterprise; the B.C. Railroad, and we support it as a straightexample of socialism. If you want to vote against socialism,you vote against this bill today. Call a division so that wecan go on and say you're consistent, that you voted against thesocialist railroad. But if you don't vote against the railroad,then we'll tell people that you're really socialists at heart,but you really believe that the rich should benefit from thiskind of socialism and not the poor.

[ Page 2389 ]

MR. WILLIAMS: You're all mixed up.

HON. MR. BARRETT: The Member says I'm all mixed up. You see,his approach to this is this way: socialism means that thetaxpayers should finance through borrowings all the losingfacilities to enhance the development of resources so that richprivate corporations can make the money — but that MacMillanBloedel and the others don't build the railroad in there. No,no, no, at the end of the railroad they dig the stuff out ofthe ground or cut the trees, put it on the railroad that thepeople paid for and they can take their profits away. That's anold game. It was O.K., but it's over now.

Interjection by an Hon. Member.

HON. MR. BARRETT: You know, we saw who you voted for earliertoday, Mr. Member, and I'm not going to reflect in this Houseon that vote — not in this House. (Laughter). But I'll tell youthere'll be a lot of places where I'll be reflecting on it.I'll just hold up the old Journal and say, "There it is.Guess who voted for what."

MR. McGEER: You'll throw books into the audience.

HON. MR. BARRETT: No, I won't throw books in the audiencebecause I love the people.

HON. W.A.C. BENNETT (Leader of the Opposition): They don'tlove you anymore. (Laughter).

HON. MR. BARRETT: Well, you must pay heed to what he said,because he's an expert on people love. Look what happened tohim last August. (Laughter).

Interjection by an Hon. Member.

HON. MR. BARRETT: Those people who are condemned to live inthe past. Memories, memories.

Now on to the future, Mr. Speaker. I ask the House tosupport the future of British Columbia and to support thisbill.

One comment I do want to make — it was very well made by the Member for Vancouver–Point Grey in terms of the financing in terms of construction engineering. When we came to power we found that the former administration was very, very backward in its use of competition on bidding. In terms of Crown corporations, they were allowing the contracts to go out without adapting any of their bidding approaches to save people money. As a result we found when we came to office that certain contracts were being drawn up for B.C. Hydro that, without target bidding processes that are modern business methods, would have cost the taxpayers a great deal more than necessary. Therefore, we withdrew those contracts, went on to target bidding, and we've saved the people of British Columbia, with good business sense, tens of millions of dollars that would have been wasted under Social Credit.

Interjection by an Hon. Member.

HON. MR. BARRETT: Yes, Mr. Speaker, under the old systemwhen you waited to get the final bill we used to get taken tocourt because they had poor lawyers drawing up the contracts. Iremember that bridge in my own… Oh, we won't go into that. Iwant you to have happy memories.

Mr. Speaker, in moving second reading I want to remind theMember for Point Grey that I've asked for an internal audit ofthe B.C. Rail. As soon as the report is in we will make themodifications. I now move second reading, Mr. Speaker.

Motion approved; second reading of the bill.

Bill No. 151 referred to a committee of the whole House atthe next sitting after today.

HON. MR. BARRETT: Second reading of Bill No. 159, Mr.Speaker.

AN ACT TO AMEND THE CIVIL SERVICE
SUPERANNUATION ACT

HON. F. HALL (Provincial Secretary): Mr. Speaker, Bill No.159 is An Act to Amend the Civil Service SuperannuationAct. The House, I am sure, will bear with me because whenone does amend a pension Act it looks as though one is dealingwith a subject which is a little intricate. Secondly, theprinciple of the bill is not necessarily affected by theamendments. Perhaps some of the detailed discussion can best beleft until committee stage.

However, I do want to introduce the bill and give a broaddescription to the Members of the House.

This is a bill, Mr. Speaker — one of four — to bring intoeffect the Government's policy of moving forward on a broadfront to provide pension plans among the best in Canada foremployees working in the public sector in British Columbia.

The policies are to be implemented in three stages. Thefirst stage is being presented to you in this bill. Our mediumand long-range policies will be in the form of furtheramendments during the next few years.

I should add to that remark, Mr. Speaker, the fact that theend results on your desk in the form of Bills 159 through to162 are the products of consultative work by the commissionerof pensions together with

[ Page 2390 ]

the employees and employers in the public sector.

The amendments in the bill are designed to compensate forthe change in the cost of living since 1971, when the lastincrease in pensions was granted. The 2 per cent formula wasintroduced for this plan in 1958. Since that time increaseslargely based on the cost of living were worked out betweenrepresentatives of the British Columbia Government RetiredEmployees Association and the staff of the SuperannuationBranch. These discussions led to increases in 1966, 1968, 1970and 1971.

Accordingly, the amendments in this bill will keep paymentscurrent while investigations are continued in cooperation withother interested groups to develop a practical and effectivemeans of protecting pensioners from the erosion of theirpurchasing power due to price increases beyond theircontrol.

For active contributors the bill provides improvement foreveryone by reducing the averaging period from seven years tofive years on the same basis as the changes in the other plans.The bill brings into effect a uniform contribution rate of 6per cent of salary for all employees on the same basis as theother plans that the department administers. The change will bean important one, particularly for those in the lower salaryranges, where the former contribution rate of 10 per cent wasdifficult to meet.

However, the most important effect of the change is thatthose electing early retirement will not be in a position toreceive the full 2 per cent formula pension after age 60 andthe reduction for retirement between the ages of 55 and 60 isnot so great.

May I also add there, Mr. Speaker, that part of themedium-range plan is to receive information, opinion — thecurrent word is "input" — to the department from all theparticipants in the four plans regarding early retirement.Because while we all agree that early retirement, whetherbrought about by shorter hours, shorter weeks, months or years,is a good thing to attain, of course, you can't really get intothat good position unless you've got a first-class pension planto support it. We need to know what the employees and employersthemselves think about early retirement problems and the way itcan best be introduced.

This change in Bill 159 has also made it possible to bringinto effect complete portability on a reciprocal basis with thevarious other public plans in B.C. Pensions will no longer bean important consideration for employees moving from one sectorof the public service to another.

The maximum contribution paid has been changed to ensureuniformity by requiring every employee to contribute throughouthis service. Where that service exceeds 35 years the employeewill receive on retirement a refund of his earliercontributions with 6 per cent compound interest.

I've dealt with portability, but I will say that our objective is to ensure that service in one of the plans is equal or equivalent to the service in any of the other plans where an employee moves from one to another with a break in terms of public service of less than three years. Death, in-service benefits are to be provided for widows and widowers on the same basis and the provision terminating benefits on remarriage is removed.

The investment provisions have been broadened to conformwith the changes contained in Bill 74, amending the RevenueAct.

Mr. Speaker, I want to say to the Members of the House thatI realize the difficulty at times in dealing with some pensionlegislation and my staff stand ready at any time to assist anyMembers in any inquiries they may have on this bill. I will beprepared, of course, to engage in full debate, perhaps in amore manageable form, in committee stage.

I therefore move second reading.

MR. SPEAKER: The Hon. Member for Langley.

MR. R.H. McCLELLAND (Langley): Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Iwould share the Provincial Secretary's view. We will be puttingamendments on the order paper for third reading.

I would just like to say, Mr. Speaker, that these bills,these amendments to the pensions, just like Bill 74, which wasreferred to by the Provincial Secretary, go a long way toremoving the security in our opinion from the present pensionplans.

I realize that there will likely be a great deal ofresponsibility in the investments, right now at least, but Idon't think, Mr. Speaker, that we can trust the security of allof those people who are directly involved in it, who aredirectly under the wing of the provincial government, to thevagaries of the market place. The Premier has insisted that hewouldn't play the market with these kinds of funds, but how dowe know whether the next Premier may play the market? If themarket is subject to fluctuation, what happens to all of thatmoney that is invested on behalf of the civil servants?

We deserve answers, I think, to the question, Mr. Speaker:where will those investments be made? In what kinds ofcompanies will those investments be made?

I'd suggest that perhaps the people whose security isinvolved here right now must feel fairly uneasy, because theydon't know what kinds of investments will be made. Theguarantee has certainly been taken away from their security.We're going to have the right to invest in any kind ofcorporation anywhere, not even limited to British Columbia.

The Premier, when the amendments were first introduced, wasquoted as saying in the Press that he intends to invest only inblue chip corporations. Well, a blue chip corporation today maybe a complete and utter disaster tomorrow. We've seen thathappen in

[ Page 2391 ]

many instances.

The Premier also said "maybe" we'll invest in Crowncorporations. Well, I'd say the same thing, because those Crowncorporations may not be on as solid ground as we might hopethey would be. If we invest in a Crown corporation that'scontrolling the Ocean Falls operation or the Prince Rupertoperation that's recently been taken over by the provincialgovernment, can we be accused of pouring good money after badonce again? This time we're not using my money or your money inthe form of taxation; we're using money put aside by the civilservants of British Columbia to be invested at the bestpossible guarantee secured. The Premier as Finance Ministerwill have sole discretionary power in choosing theseinvestments.

[Deputy Speaker in the chair].

As I say, that may be all right now, but what about in thefuture? Should that sole discretionary power to invest in anykind of corporation anywhere in the world, I guess, be left inthe hands of the Finance Minister?

Madam Speaker, the question was raised late on Friday inthis House about what kind of investment advice will theFinance Minister be seeking? What will be the advice receivedby the Government? Who is going to give that advice? Are wegoing to hire a competent investment analyst to tell us wherewe should be investing that money or are we going to play it bythe seat of our pants and just invest the money where the whimdesires?

Are we in fact going to be taking flyers on corporatebankrupts and other kinds of failures? The danger is certainlythere, and we are leaving this wide open to all kinds ofabuses, Madam Speaker.

I'd suggest, Madam Speaker, that these kinds of funds:pension funds for our civil servants, our teachers, and others,need to have the maximum protection possible. We certainly owethat to the thousands of people, Madam Speaker, who areinvolved here. But instead, here we are with one fell swoop ofthe pen taking away all of those guarantees. Yes, it's carteblanche legislation and, as I said on Friday, it could turn outto be bail-out legislation.

But even worse than the amendments that we passed on Fridayto Bill 74, we are now toying and playing around with the moneyinvested by the thousands of civil servants in this province — the money that they hope to stake the rest of their lifeon.

Madam Speaker, we are gambling with somebody else's moneyand it's pretty easy to be a high-roller when you don't have topay the consequences and when the stakes are put up by somebodyelse. That kind of gambling is easy when you don't haveanything to lose.

But I'd like to remind the House, Madam Speaker, that ifthat gamble doesn't pay off we'll have thousands and thousandsof civil servants whose whole life security will bethreatened.

I don't think that's the kind of thing we want for BritishColumbia.

DEPUTY SPEAKER: The Hon. Member for West Vancouver-HoweSound.

MR. WILLIAMS: Thank you, Madam Speaker.

Based on the remarks made by the Hon. Provincial Secretary(Hon. Mr. Hall), we will support this long-awaited change inthis particular superannuation legislation.

I know that the Hon. Provincial Secretary was reading fromsome prepared notes and I wonder if it might be possible if hewould circulate those before we come to the committee stage. Ithink it would be of assistance in really understanding thedirection that the Government is taking the House in respect ofthis and the other superannuation bills which are to comebefore us.

I, too, must raise questions about the significant changewhich will permit the investment of the superannuation moneysin the shares of corporations. It is a significant change, onewhich I think in general principle should not be denied to theinvestment of these moneys. If there is an opportunity ofgreater return to the pension fund through the investment inequities rather than bonds, then by all means the funds shouldhave that opportunity. This is found in the private sector andthere is no reason that the public sector shouldn't be treatedin the same way.

In that connection I find myself in some disagreement withsome of the comments from the Hon. Member for Langley (Mr.McClelland). However, it occurs to me that when making thisstep, the Government could in this particular legislation havedrawn some boundaries, established some guidelines which wouldthemselves limit the Minister of Finance in the selection ofthe corporations in which the funds may be invested.

There are a number of examples in the Canadian and BritishInsurance company legislation which is federal. The right ofinvestment in the securities of such companies are clearlyspelled out and it seems to me that something of this naturecould have been incorporated in this legislation; such mattersas proven dividend record and appropriate relationship betweencapital and debt. Many limitations would ensure that theinvestment of these funds in equities would be safe, secure,and at the same time give the fund the opportunity to grow asthe economy of the province and of the nation grows.

To put it in a word, it would define what is "blue-chip," to use the expression of the Minister of Finance. Withthis change I think that the fund itself

[ Page 2392 ]

would be more secure and the investment opportunitiesproperly broadened.

DEPUTY SPEAKER: The Hon. Member for South Okanagan.

HON. MR. BENNETT: Madam Speaker, the official Oppositionwill vote for the principle of this bill but will offeramendments in committee.

I would just point out to the Government, through you MadamSpeaker, the great danger of making investments in commonshares from the pension funds. Today a company is a blue-chipcompany; a year or two from now it's not a blue-chip company.Penn Rail, United States; I could go through them by the dozens — even that big railroad, one of the finest corporations in ourcountry, the Canadian Pacific Railway.

At one time its employees wanted shares in that finecorporation and the CPR sold these shares to its employees atlower than market values to let them get in on some of theownership and profits of the railway. When difficult daysarrived, those shares went down so far, Madam Speaker, thatmany of the employees thought the CPR had deliberately loadedthese shares onto the workers and that argument was used rightacross this whole nation. Of course they didn't, but I am onlypointing out the danger of your economy.

In North America especially, since the last war, we've hadone continuous boom with a few little dips, but a continuousupward movement — the longest period of advance of markets inthe world's history, the longest period of comparatively goodtimes, the best times. Not for everybody but for the average inall the world's history.

Everybody knows that which goes up will sometimes come down.Therefore I point out the great danger in this because we are,in my opinion, not quite yet but not far from the top of theboom, and there are going to be crashing stages take place.When these crashing stages take place, there will be greatdrops in the market and it will be too bad if these pensionfunds were caught in that position.

Also, all companies with some exceptions are being caughtnow in the cost-price squeeze: costs are going up very rapidly;wages are going up very rapidly; other costs are all going upvery rapidly; taxes are going up rapidly. But the consumerswill not stand it forever and there will be resistance at themarket place by buyers. We see it now with the housewivesregarding beef and so forth. But they are not only opposed tobeef; they are opposed to other products too. And when thatstrike or natural resistance develops in the marketplace, wecould bring an end to this forward movement in the boom. Weshould have some very severe corrections take place.

And I want to be on record, Madam Speaker, of pointing outthese dangers at this particular time to the Government and askthem to go slow in these types of investments. Slow indeed, andkeep the majority of the investments similar to what they'vemade now under your own control.

Contrary to some of the arguments in this House, theinvestments in your own Crown corporations such as Hydro, whichhas been condemned in this House as putting pension funds inHydro, is the best investment you have for the pension funds — guaranteed by the Government of this province. You have somecontrol over that.

But some of these other companies you invest in can havechange in management and everything else. I'm not evenreferring to the change in management in Government, which isalways risky, Madam Chairman. But I'm not in a critical moodtoday. Not at all.

I just want to say again that the official Opposition willvote for the bill, we'll move certain amendments in committee,and I speak only to warn the Government regarding this changein policy.

DEPUTY SPEAKER: The Hon. Second Member for Victoria.

MR. D.A. ANDERSON: Madam Speaker, as was indicated earlierby the Member for West Vancouver Howe Sound (Mr. Williams), weintend to vote in favour of this bill in principle.

The real concern we have is that governments of all stripes,of all persuasions, in all parts of Canada have shown aconsiderable lack of ability to determine what are and what arenot profitable and good corporations from the point of view ofinvestment. Therefore we feel that some restriction should beplaced on the provision which allows virtually unlimitedinvestment in any corporation.

Examples come to mind. There's a fiberboard factory inNewfoundland that's losing them, I think, $220 million. They'rea relatively poor province going broke because of that.Manitoba has its problems in the north, where $10 million of a$50 million loan happened to wind up in Switzerland. No one'sdiscovered how or why. Alberta's losing money hand over fist ona railroad in the north. There are examples fromSaskatchewan.

Interjection by an Hon. Member.

MR. D.A. ANDERSON: The former Premier (Hon. Mr. Bennett)mentions that only our Crown corporations are good. But he's agreat defender of those and I'll leave that up to him.

Another NDP province, namely Saskatchewan, had shoefactories and box factories and other things. I believe thatthe problem is that there is a temptation

[ Page 2393 ]

to show the faith in a corporation in which the governmentis interested by putting into the same type of corporationother moneys, which may not be directly public moneys but maybe civil servants' or teachers' pension fund money. It makessense. If the government is convinced that something willsurvive, then it will put in more than its own money. It willput in other people's money, if it has control of it.

Flyer Industries, now making buses for the Province ofBritish Columbia, lost half a million dollars on its last yearof reported operations. Yet it's 74 per cent owned by aManitoba Crown corporation. My fear is that investmentdecisions may well be coloured by political considerations.This is just about unavoidable when the person responsible formaking such decisions spends most of his time as apolitician.

I say this with no criticism of the present Minister ofFinance, (Hon. Mr. Barrett) or the previous one or the futureone. It's simply a fact of life. They spend their time aspoliticians and when they're involved in other discussions andnegotiations the tendency is for much of the views that are putforward to be in their minds when they're discussing investmentof the pension funds, such as the one we're dealing withnow.

Our view is that this bill should be amended at thecommittee stage to put in some provision protecting thepensioner, some provision protecting his or her money. TheGovernment has the view that all legislation is to be handledonly by the present Ministers. We've heard that time after time — that, "Oh, no. You won't have to worry about that. Eventhough it could happen under the legislation, we don't intendto do it that way." Well, that's well and good but in humanevents and politics in particular, change is fairly regular anda great deal more frequent than many of us like.

It is a fact that if we set up sloppy legislation whichgives powers that are too far-ranging, we are responsible. It'sno excuse to say, "We were told by the Minister that hewouldn't use the excessive powers that an Act gave him." Here,where we're dealing with the future security of many people whohave no other way of protecting themselves against the future,I believe we have to do a great deal more than this bill wouldsuggest.

At a later date we have to write into it guarantees dealingwith the type of corporation that could be the recipient ofpension moneys. Mr. Speaker, we trust that the Governmentit*elf will be amending this bill along those lines. We don'tthink that's a question of principle and therefore we'll votefor it at this time. But we certainly hope that amendments willbe forthcoming, which the Government itself will bring forwardor, if not, will support when they come from the Opposition,dealing with the guarantees that are necessary for civilservants.

DEPUTY SPEAKER: The Hon. First Member for Victoria.

MR. N.R. MORRISON (Victoria): Madam Speaker, frankly I'msurprised that the Premier wants this kind of freedom to investthe funds. I think it's kind of fun to play with other people'smoney. But this is one of the bills where the Premier is nowbeginning to play with his own money. I find that a little moresurprising. Obviously, some of his pension money could becontrolled in this bill.

Interjection by an Hon. Member.

MR. MORRISON: Well, that's possible but that's an assumptionI'm prepared to make.

It also indicates to me some underlying fundamentalassumptions in this bill. One of them is that the Minister ofFinance indicates rather clearly that inflation is not likelyto be controlled, either in Canada or by this Government. Forthose reasons he feels that equity is necessary in these fundsto keep up with inflation. As a number of other speakers havesaid earlier, when you begin to get into equity funds, sooften what goes up goes down. Often when it goes down, it goesdown with a great deal more speed than it went up. I'msurprised that bonds and such other securities in blue-chipcorporations, which in the past have been considered asadequate for security, will now be by-passed in the opportunityto invest in corporations.

It's a rather serious bill. I'm frankly quite concernedabout the responsibility of the funds of the people that willbe invested in that section of this bill.

DEPUTY SPEAKER: The Hon. First Member for Vancouver–PointGrey.

MR. McGEER: Madam Speaker, as the former speakers in ourparty have indicated, we support most of the provisions of thisbill. But there is this one section which, through you, we drawonce again to the attention of the Provincial Secretary (Hon.Mr. Hall).

This is the section which permits the people's pension fundsto be invested in the capital stock of any corporation. Iagreed wholeheartedly with the remarks of the former Premier,Madam Speaker. I did find them a little hard to listen tobecause it was he who came into this House advocating that thissame fund be used to purchase stock in a corporation. It was aparticular corporation, a favourite of the Premier — the Bankof British Columbia.

Questions by the former Leader of the Opposition and nowMinister of Highways (Hon. Mr. Strachan) clearly showed thatthe pension fund was used to support the market price of theBank of British Columbia shares. When they started to slip onthe

[ Page 2394 ]

market, the Minister of Finance bought the shares up andkept the price high.

AN HON. MEMBER: The dividends were 10 cents a share.

MR. McGEER: I think that the Member followed it more closelythan I did.

Madam Speaker, I was shocked to have the former Premier, theman who introduced this scheme of using pension funds to investin the stock of a corporation, now standing up and saying itwas wrong. He was right in Opposition but wrong inGovernment.

The Member for Cariboo (Mr. Fraser) says that there's a bigdifference. Well, Madam Speaker, what happened is what bothersme most about this particular section and the legislation. Thatis, the Minister of Finance used the civil servants'superannuation fund — the now Leader of the Opposition, when hewas Minister of Finance — to support a corporation that was hisfavourite. In other words, there was favoritism and prejudicein the investment of other people's money.

I'm sure that the Minister of Finance thought at that timethat he was making a sound investment on behalf of the people.But the fact remains that at that particular juncture, the Bankof British Columbia, as an investment, was the least attractiveof any bank stock in Canada. Whatever ambitions any of us mighthave had for that particular corporation, strictly as aninvestment, it was the poorest of the bank stocks topurchase.

MR. FRASER: That was the Liberals' fault…

MR. McGEER: Well, all I want the Member to agree on with me,Madam Speaker, is that it was a poor investment for banks. Ifthe government is in a position of investing pension funds,then it is apt to use political considerations rather thaneconomic ones in the choice of the investment.

[Mr. Speaker in the Chair]

I don't believe that is acceptable even for surplus fundsfrom consolidated revenue but it is certainly unacceptable asfar as pension funds are concerned. These aren't surplus funds;they are moneys, Mr. Speaker, given to the government in trust.They are the contributed funds of people who are servants andare allowed to speak out politically when abuses of theircontributions might be contemplated. Who knows that better thanthe Premier, Mr. Speaker, who got fired for making politicalstatements when he was a civil servant.

If the people who are the contributors of the civil servants' superannuation fund were to speak out in criticism of the Government, then, of course, they could be fired. So how can they defend the rights of their money? They can't.

You don't see this kind of provision in the teachers'pension fund; you'd better believe there would be a howl if itappeared there. No, you take the civil servants'. You're goingto use their money.

Mr. Speaker, I suppose of all the people on the Governmentside, the one who disappoints me most for allowing this kind ofbill to reach the floor is the Minister of Highways (Hon. Mr.Strachan) who was formerly Leader of the Opposition. He couldsee so clearly when he was in Opposition how wrong it was forthe civil service superannuation fund to be used to prop up aninvestment that was the favourite of the Government. He saw itso clearly that he led the investigation as to exactly how manyshares had been purchased by the Government to prop the priceup with the contributed funds of those poor civil servants whocannot speak out on their own behalf.

Yet, Mr. Speaker, no sooner does he become a Member of theGovernment than he abandons all his principles and brings in asection that is even worse than what the former governmenthad.

Well, we'll see if he votes against the bill, if he showsthe same watch-dog determination in Government that he used toshow when he was a tiger on the Opposition benches. I canunderstand, Mr. Speaker, a man becoming a tabby cat when hecrosses and gets into the warmth of power, but I hate to see aman lose his principles in the process. Warm yourself at thefire, yes, but don't abandon the great principles that youdeveloped over 20 years. You can't tell me, Mr. Speaker, thatthere are any great principles in section 15 of that bill.

All that it tells us is that the Government is going to haveits favourites for investment — just like every government willhave its favourites for investment. And Mr. Speaker, theGovernment is going to have the darndest favourites. They areall big losers. The justification made on the floor of theHouse for these purchases are never economic reasons. It isn'tthat these are great growth corporations that we just have toget a share in because the value is going to go up many, manyfold. That is never the argument; it is always: "We have tosave some jobs. We have got to protect a community." We have toback a loser.

However desirable it may be from a social point of view,it's lousy economics and it's a lousy investment policy. Mr.Speaker, when the Government has lousy investment policies, Ihate to see the people's pension funds being included in that.Naturally we want to see increasing benefits to the civilservants before the fund is gone. While it is there, let themhave a chance at it.

I have to go farther than the former Premier saying go slowin this method of investing the proceeds of this fund in thestock of any corporation. I say stop it

[ Page 2395 ]

altogether. Think a little bit about what you are openingthe door towards doing. You always think your decisions are sogood when you are in Government. The former government did, youdid, if we were government we would think the same way. Wewould be certain that whatever corporations we were investingin were the best corporations possible. Et cetera, et cetera,et cetera…

Interjection by an Hon. Member.

MR. McGEER: Not this way. I can tell you that, Mr. Member,not this way.

HON. MR. STRACHAN: Make up your mind.

MR. McGEER: Not this way. I think that if some of theseformer Members of the Opposition with former great principleswould sit and think about what they are doing a little bit,even if they considered their own judgment is infallible whilein office, maybe the judgment of those who follow after won'tbe so infallible. The safeguards should be there for a lessable government than this one, if at the end of your term itproves that such a thing is possible.

Mr. Speaker, something has been lost by these people who saton the Opposition side and now find themselves in power — nomore completely demonstrated than by the late, lamentedOpposition Member for Cowichan-Malahat (Hon. Mr. Strachan). Thegreat thing that has been lost, Mr. Speaker, is principle.

MR. SPEAKER: The Hon. Second Member for VancouverCentre.

MR. G.V. LAUK (Vancouver Centre): With respect to some ofthe comments made on Bill No. 159, I should refer the Hon.Members to chapter 49 of the Statutes of Canada: An Act toEstablish the Canada Development Corporation. I will justbriefly refer to two sections which have a direct relation tothis superannuation Act here, and how many are used.

First of all, the section I wish to refer to is section7(l)(2), which indicates what power the development corporationhas. It has powers to invest in securities or shares of anyclass issues by any corporation with share capital incorporatedunder the laws of Canada or any province.

Part 11 of the Act, section 35(l), states that the federalgovernment can participate from time to time in subscribing andpurchase for holding of any shares for the Government of Canadain the development corporation any may enter into any agreementfor the purchase of such shares.

Now the reason I outline that situation to the House is that if you examine the liability side of the balance sheet as of March 31, 1971, section 17, the increase in the amounts owing to Government of Canada employees was $1.6 billion during the year while the total increase in Government of Canada debt obligations, section 23, was $2.6 billion.

My contention is that the cash flow from employeecontributions is a highly significant and unrecognizedcontributor to the financing of the activities of our seniorgovernment through general revenue; in other words, throughsuch things as the Canada Development Corporation which ispermitted to invest in any capital stock of any corporation. Inother words, the Canadian government has been doing this foryears.

MR. McGEER: Order, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Well, I find it extraordinary that the Memberwho strayed quite a way off the bill himself now objects ifanother Member wishes to stray back.

MR. LAUK: Mr. Speaker, the point is this: by looking atthat, we find that not only is the investment of the CanadaDevelopment Corporation financed through pension funds, ineffect, that the Canada Development Corporation is notrestricted in any way in its investments. That's only a minorsituation when we consider other areas of the federalgovernment and in other provinces in their investments.

It's also been brought to my attention that in 1964 therewas the first direct equity deal for both the CNR pension fundand the Air Canada Fund. The CNR fund which now amounts to$1,000 million is invested one-third in bonds, one-third inequities and one-third in mortgages and real estate. This hasbeen going on for some time.

AN HON. MEMBER: What are you talking about?

MR. LAUK: Real estate. Listen to what I'm saying and you'llfind out what I'm talking about. I refer also to a situationwhich exists in the Province of Quebec, Mr. Speaker. I justhappened to find this Toronto Globe and Mail article ofApril 5 of this year:

"Common shares of Consolidated Bathurst Limited of Montrealjumped 87 cents."

They go on to say why. There was an exchange and a dealmade, and the interesting paragraph for the Hon. Members is asfollows:

"The Company made the swap with the Quebec Deposit and Savings Fund, according to investment industrysources, the fund that handles investments of the QuebecPension Plan."

Isn't that interesting? And that's been going onin that province and in other provinces for a great many

[ Page 2396 ]

years.

Interjection by an Hon. Member.

MR. LAUK: The Liberal government in Quebec and the Liberalgovernment in the federal House, Mr. Speaker. The point thatwas made, Mr. Speaker, is this — and I think it is a good pointmade by the Member for South Okanagan: the boom and recessionfluctuation and the corrective market changes that areanticipated are anticipated by the Government side of theHouse, and it will be taken into consideration in investing.It's ridiculous to say that they will not be because they willbe.

In effect then, this situation in British Columbia is beingbrought into line with investment practices of pension funds inother jurisdictions.

MR. SPEAKER: The Hon. Minister closes the debate.

HON. MR. HALL: Mr. Speaker, I've listened carefully, and ofcourse the majority of the debate dealt with the amendment toone section regarding the ability now for the government toinvest these funds into a wider range of investments. Let mefirst say to the Member for West Vancouver–Howe Sound (Mr.Williams) I will arrange to have duplicated the explanatorynotes and the second reading notes of the four bills to allMembers of the House.

Mr. Speaker, I reject absolutely the speech from the FirstMember for Vancouver–Point Grey (Mr. McGeer). I had to controlmyself a little when listening to him. First of all, thepremise he makes right off the bat was that we wouldn't havedared to do this to anybody else. Mr. Member, read the billsplease. Every single pension plan contains this selfsameamendment, including the teachers' plan, and was receivedunanimously by the members on the negotiating committee ofthose plans. If that's the level of research that's going on,again I say, for the second sitting day on the run, it's apretty penny we may be wasting over there.

Secondly, he talks about principle. Mr. Speaker, this partyhas engaged in elections since 1933 in which we have saidunequivocally that we will put the savings of the people towork for the benefit of the people that live in the provinceand in the country. If that's not what this amendment does, Idon't know what it does. Sanctimonious cant, Mr. Speaker, weheard from that Member.

Mr. Speaker, I want to say that the second remark, that was completely inaccurate again, was from the First Member for Victoria (Mr. Morrison) who again is so frequently absolutely dead wrong when he rises to speak on a bill. He mentions that we will be playing with our own money and made some slighting reference to the Premier. He doesn't appear to know that there's an MLAs pension plan which is not amended in this session, and that's where the money that he refers to is found.

I will say however, that the remarks made by the Member forSouth Okanagan (Hon. W.A.C. Bennett) will be taken seriously.They were delivered in a spirit of cooperation, delivered in aspirit of constructive criticism to this amendment.

Mr. Speaker, I want to say that there are many restrictionsplaced upon the investments of this government in terms ofscrutiny, in terms of observance, in terms of the ability ofthe Opposition to ask and make all the political heat andeffect they may. There is the question period, there arequestions to the Ministers. I'm quite prepared to table at thebeginning of every session a list of the investments in thecapital stocks from the pension fund.

Mr. Speaker, I want to draw your attention to the fact thatnow we have an active Treasury Board. You may read the AuditAct and find out what their duties consist of. That's incomplete counterdistinction to the somnolent Treasury Boardwhich obviously occupied the Treasury benches in the previousadministration.

Mr. Speaker, I want to draw your attention…and I want tomake this absolutely clear because the spreading of doom andgloom of the opposition is getting me absolutely fed up — thoseMembers who want to go around spreading death and doom andfailure…let me say that section 14 of the Civil ServiceSuperannuations says we "guarantee every pension fund in thisprovince." So don't ever suggest that the money will go awaydown the drain.

Interjection by an Hon. Member.

HON. MR. HALL: Humbug. Mr. Speaker, I call the question onthe second reading of this bill.

Motion approved; second reading of the bill.

Bill No. 159 referred to a committee of the whole House atthe next sitting after today.

HON. MR. BARRETT: Second reading on Bill No. 160, Mr.Speaker.

AN ACT TO AMEND THE COLLEGE PENSION ACT

HON. MR. HALL: An Act to Amend the College PensionAct contains a number of the similar provisions. It's abill, one of four, to bring into effect this Government'spolicy of moving forward on a broad front. These policies willagain be implemented in the same way as I mentioned in Bill159.

The provisions of the College Pension Act have alwaysbeen very similar to the college funding provisions of theTeachers' Pensions Act, as many of

[ Page 2397 ]

the faculty members of the colleges were contributors to theTeachers' Pensions Act immediately before theirappointments to college faculties.

For active contributors, the bill provides improvements foreveryone by reducing the average period from seven to fiveyears. Early retirement has been made more attractive. The billprovides for one half of the pensioner's premiums to be paidout of the employer contributions for those pensioners whoelect coverage on the Medical Services Plan of BritishColumbia.

Mr. Speaker, to speak of the same broad amendments to deathbenefits, the disability provisions are provided in thisbill.

Portability is again covered, because this bill provides forcomplete portability of pension benefits for employees movingfrom one sector to another within British Columbia. Thisprinciple will be extended to other jurisdictions if they arewilling to provide full portability on a reciprocal basis, andMr. Speaker, the investment provisions have been broadened toconform with the changes contained in Bill 74 amending theRevenue Act.

We are determined to ensure that employees who providededicated and essential service in this province receiveretirement income commensurate with their length of service andits value to the future development of the province. Mr.Speaker, I move second reading.

Motion approved; second reading of the bill.

Bill No. 160 referred to a committee of the whole House atthe next sitting after today.

HON. MR. BARRETT: Second reading of Bill No. 161, Mr.Speaker.

AN ACT TO AMEND THE
TEACHERS' PENSIONS ACT

HON. MR. HALL: Mr. Speaker, Bill No. 161 is An Act toAmend the Teachers' Pensions Act. One of four, this is thethird. The amendments in this bill include substantialimprovements in pension benefits for contributors, formercontributors and their beneficiaries. For the pensioners, theincreases will range from 3 per cent for 1971 retirees to, insteps of 3 per cent per year, a maximum increase of 66 per centfor those who retired in 1950 and earlier.

The previous increases were designed to compensate for thedeficiencies in the original pension formula in effect when theallowance was granted.

This is the first increase, Mr. Speaker, which has been designed to offset the erosion in purchasing power which pensioners have suffered as a result of changes which have taken place in wages and prices since their retirement. For active contributors, the bill provides improvements for everyone by reducing the average income period from seven to five years. Retirement has been made more attractive and the vesting period is reduced from 20 to 10 years.

Mr. Speaker, one of the most significant principlesincorporated in this bill is gain the provision for completeportability for employees moving from one public sector toanother. This principle will be extended to other jurisdictionsif they are willing to provide full benefits and fullportability on a reciprocal basis. Mr. Speaker, the provisionsare broadened as far as investments are concerned to conformwith Bill No. 74 amending the Revenue Act. I move secondreading of Bill No. 161.

MR. SPEAKER: The Hon. Member for Langley.

MR. McCLELLAND: Mr. Speaker, I just want to make one commentand that's in reference to the provincial guarantee of thepension funds. A guarantee is no good if the money goes downthe drain. There's no amount of fishing that will ever get itback. I say once again that while you may invest only inblue-chip corporations at this point, no one knows what kind ofa corporation that's going to be tomorrow or the next day orthe day after that. I caution once again, Mr. Speaker, thatthat money, once it's lost, is lost, and all you can do iscontinue to pour money after the money that's already gone.

I'd remind the House once again that we do have amendmentson the order paper to change these bills and to bring back someform of guaranteed security with regard to investments.

HON. MR. HALL: Mr. Speaker, I want to point out again thatwhat I said is completely correct — the pension isguaranteed.

HON. MR. SPEAKER: The question is that Bill 161 be read asecond time now.

Motion approved; second reading of the bill.

Bill No. 161 referred to a committee of the whole House atthe next sitting after today.

HON. MR. BARRETT: Second reading of Bill No. 162, Mr.Speaker.

AN ACT TO AMEND
THE MUNICIPAL SUPERANNUATION ACT

HON. MR. HALL: Mr. Speaker, Bill No. 162 is An Act toAmend the Municipal Superannuation Act. This is the fourthbill which will bring into effect these common policies I'vementioned this last little while. The amendments in this billare practically identical to the increases provided for retiredcivil

[ Page 2398 ]

servants, the only difference being the calendar year whichis used in one compared to the fiscal year used in theother.

In 1971 relatively large increases for both pensioners andactive contributors were provided by increased employer andemployee contributions. Accordingly, the increases provided inthis bill are primarily to compensate for the change in thecost of living since 1971.

For active contributors the bill provides improvements foreveryone by reducing the averaging period from seven to fiveyears on the same basis as the changes in the other plans. Thebill includes a provision for one-half of the pensioner'spremium to be paid out of the employer contributions for thosepensioners who elect coverage by the Medical Services Plan ofB.C.

Mr. Speaker, the bill brings into effect a uniformcontribution rate of 6 per cent of salary for all employees onthe same basis as in the other plans. This increase is 0.5 percent of salary. The changes also made it possible to bring intoeffect complete portability on a reciprocal basis with thevarious other public plans in B.C. Pensions will no longer bean important consideration for employees moving from one sectorof the public service to another.

Similarly, Mr. Speaker, the other progressive moves, such asmaximum contributory service, early retirement, portability anddeath benefits have been incorporated in these amendments as inthe other three Acts.

The application of the Act will also now apply to theVancouver Museum and Planetarium Association, the UBCM and theBand Council established under the Indian Act of Canadawith respect to service employees who are employed by bandcouncils.

Lastly, Mr. Speaker, the investment provisions have beenbroadened to conform with the changes in the RevenueAct.

Mr. Speaker, I move second reading of Bill No. 162.

MR. SPEAKER: The Hon. Second Member for Vancouver–PointGrey.

MR. GARDOM: Unfortunately I did not hear the substance ofall the Hon. Minister's remarks this afternoon, but he hasreferred two or three times in his assessments upon these billsto the fact of this guarantee. I'd just like to ask him, if hewouldn't mind, for my interest and I think for the interest ofall people in the province, to thoroughly explain what thisguarantee is and what it consists of.

MR. SPEAKER: Is there any further debate before the Ministercloses the debate?

HON. MR. HALL: Mr. Speaker, I'd simply refer to the question of section 14, for instance, of the Civil Service Superannuation Act which guarantees 4 per cent. It is currently being worked at five for a number of civil servants under section 14(2)(b), if my memory serves me correctly. That kind of illustration, I think, serves better.

Indeed, if the Hon. Members want to have a debate aboutthese amendments that are in line with Bill No. 74, which hasalready received second reading, let's have it at that time. Icall the question.

Motion approved; second reading of the bill.

Bill No. 162 referred to a committee of the whole House atthe next sitting after today.

HON. MR. BARRETT: Second reading of Bill No. 33, Mr.Speaker.

AN HON. MEMBER: Oh, oh! Labour?

HON. MR. BARRETT: 33. You remember that one.

AN ACT TO AMEND
THE SOCIAL ASSISTANCE ACT

HON. N. LEVI (Minister of Rehabilitation and SocialImprovement): Mr. Speaker, this would probably be better knownas "The Repeal of the Gaglardi Amendment," which reallyrelated to the legislation under Bill 49. However, since wetabled the legislation there was an appeal procedure throughthe courts on the Cowlishaw case and it's now been indicated inthe judgment of that case that we must build into the Act,specifically, the requirements for an appeal procedure.Amendments will be tabled, I think, tomorrow which will includethis. But basically this takes away the discretion of theMinister, which…

Interjections by some Hon. Members.

MR. D.A. ANDERSON: Mr. Speaker, it occurs to me that if weare being promised amendments, it might be wise simply toadjourn this.

MR. SPEAKER: Does the Hon. Member wish to adjourn thedebate?

MR. D.A. ANDERSON: I am suggesting it be adjourned, Mr.Speaker. The promise of amendments has been put before us. Theyapparently are coming very soon. We could perhaps have the billtomorrow or some other day this week.

Interjection by an Hon. Member.

[ Page 2399 ]

MR. D.A. ANDERSON: The trouble is I don't know whether I'vesaid enough or not. The Minister and you both agree, Mr.Premier — is that correct?

AN HON. MEMBER: Move the motion.

MR. D.A. ANDERSON: Mr. Speaker, speaking in favour of thesuggestion that I put forward, I would like to move that debateon this bill be adjourned until such time as amendments areprepared.

Motion approved.

HON. MR. BARRETT: Second reading of Bill No. 40, Mr.Speaker.

AN ACT TO AMEND
THE ADOPTION ACT

HON. MR. LEVI: Mr. Speaker, this is really a bill. There aresome changes in respect to the age of majority and otherlegislation has been passed before on this. It's complementarylegislation.

The only other thing is the adoption of adults. I was alittle curious about this myself. It appears that you sometimeshave situations where children are living with people otherthan their parents — grandparents and relatives. When they'repast the age of majority sometimes those guardians wish to havethem be able to get some kind of inheritance from them.

Since 1970 there have been 29 such cases. They have not comebefore the Superintendent of Child Welfare because it has notbeen practice, We are just tidying it up by making it so thatthere is no need to report this kind of adoption to theSuperintendent of Child Welfare.

I would move second reading of this bill.

MR. SPEAKER: The Hon. Second Member for Victoria.

MR. D.A. ANDERSON: Mr. Speaker, a question to the Minister.The age 19, which certainly in this province is the age ofmajority for most purposes, has already been amended a shorttime ago, at least in principle by us, in terms of medicaltreatment. This age of 19 is out of line with voting provisionsin other provinces as well as federally.

The question I'd like to put to the Minister is: whatefforts is he making to have the age of majority in thisprovince lowered from 19 to 18, at least to bring it into linewith the rest of Canada?

HON. MR. LEVI: Well, I think, Mr. Speaker, that the Memberis mixing two things. We're talking about the age of majority;you're talking about the voting age.

Interjection by an Hon. Member.

HON. MR. LEVI: Well, this is really just complementarylegislation to the previous changes. I don't know at thismoment what we're doing about the other question that youasked.

MR. SPEAKER: The question is that Bill No. 40 be read asecond time now.

Motion approved; second reading of the bill.

Bill No. 40 referred to a committee of the whole House atthe next sitting. after today.

HON. MR. BARRETT: Second reading of Bill No. I 11, Mr.Speaker.

AN ACT TO AMEND
THE PROTECTION OF CHILDREN ACT

HON. MR. LEVI: Mr. Speaker, apart from more housekeepingchanges, I refer the Members to the provision in there whichensures that children who are apprehended will be separatedfrom adult criminals. We have asked that this be done veryspecifically now. Obviously we do have to make arrangementsabout this kind of housing but we've brought it intolegislation.

The main thrust of the bill deals with the dissolution ofChildren's Aid societies by order of theLieutenant-Governor-in-Council. This is in keeping with thepolicy that we announced on February 16 in the Capital RegionalDistrict. We are going to take over the administration of allof the services — both children's services and welfare. Inorder to do this we need to take over the duties and functionsof the Children and Family Service in Victoria. Therefore weare seeking this amendment.

I would move second reading.

MR. SPEAKER: Is there any debate on Bill No. 111? TheMinister closes the debate.

HON. MR. LEVI: I'd call the question, Mr. Speaker.

Motion approved; second reading of the bill.

Bill No. I I I referred to a committee of the whole House atthe next sitting after today.

HON. MR. BARRETT: Second reading of Bill No. 36, Mr.Speaker.

AN ACT TO AMEND THE
FARMERS' LAND-CLEARING ASSISTANCE ACT

[ Page 2400 ]

HON. D.D. STUPICH (Minister of Agriculture): Mr. Speaker,really the most obvious change in this is the change in thename of the legislation. The importance of this is to indicateto the farming community that under this particular authoritywe want to be able to do other things for farmers than has beenthe case under the old Farmers Land-clearing AssistanceAct, which was limited specifically to land-clearing anddrainage.

It is now proposed that under this Act we'll do otherthings, such as irrigation. We mentioned before that one of thethings that could be done would be to replant orchards.Anything in the way of long-range improvements to land itselfwill now be considered under this legislation. Beyond that, theamount of money available is being increased byorder-in-council from $7,000 up to $15,000. It's a morereasonable amount of money in view of today's prices.

Beyond that again, in the past we've been very particular asto who might do the work. It has now been relaxed to the pointwhere a farmer might even be able to do it with his ownequipment and thereby be able to get a lot more work done thanhe would otherwise.

As far as the legislation itself is concerned, it's a matterof changing the name and indicating to the farming communitythat under this authority we want to be able to do a good dealmore than has been the case in the past. I move that the billnow be read a second time.

MR. SPEAKER: The Hon. Member for North Peace River.

MR. D.E. SMITH (North Peace River): Thank you, Mr. Speaker.In speaking to this bill, I just want to say that the Act as weknew it, as the Farmers Land-clearing Assistance Act,was certainly a tool that was used by a great many farmers inthe Peace River country. As the Minister of Agriculture knows,in the last 20 years approximately half a million acres of newfarmland have come into production as a result of the clearingoperations that went on in the Peace River area. Without thefinancing that was available under the Farmers Land-clearingAssistance Act that would have been impossible.

I'm glad to see that the Act is now being broadened to allow consideration of other types of endeavours for loans under the Act. I'm also glad to see that in the interpretation of the Act the farmer himself may be allowed to become his own contractor, in effect, and do the improvements himself. This was always a bit of a contentious issue in that the contractors had to be certified. Quite often the farmers felt that they could have done a better job of the particular work themselves, whatever it might have been. If they have the equipmento they should be able to use their own equipment and therefore probably get more work done for the money available to them.

We're pleased to see that there is an increase in the amountof money that will be available. Really, I think all this doesis reflect the increased costs of any endeavour involving theuse of equipment, machines or labour today. So we would welcomethe amendments to the Act. Certainly the new definition isacceptable. We would support and commend the Minister for theamendments to this Act.

MR. SPEAKER: Is there any further debate on Bill 36? TheMinister closes the debate.

HON. MR. STUPICH: I call for the question, Mr. Speaker.

Motion approved; second reading of the bill.

Bill No. 36 referred to a committee of the whole House atthe next sitting after today.

HON. MR. BARRETT: Second reading of Bill 108, Mr.Speaker.

AN ACT TO AMEND THE STOCK BRANDS ACT

MR. SPEAKER: The Hon. Minister of Agriculture.

HON. MR. STUPICH: Mr. Speaker, I'm not just sure why it'shappened but it seems that in the past year the ranchers havebeen having a little more trouble with rustling than they havein previous years.

Interjection by an Hon. Member.

HON. MR. STUPICH: Well, so I'm led to believe. Anyway, thisparticular legislation is designed to close some of theloopholes that have made it easier for individuals to get awaywith other people's livestock.

In the definition of "stock" there's reference to sheep andswine, which have not been there previously. So the owners ofsheep and swine will also be protected by the stockdealer'sbond. It's difficult to discuss this legislation without reallygetting into the section-by-section business. The amount of thebond itself is increased, because we felt there wasn'tsufficient protection in the Act for it.

There's more control of the operators of slaughterhouses;more provision for inspection of the livestock at the time ofslaughter, again with a view to making sure that it does belongto the person represented as owning it.

I think that discussion of this would be much moreprofitable in the committee stage, Mr. Speaker. I move that thebill now be read a second time.

MR. SPEAKER: The Hon. Member for Boundary-

[ Page 2401 ]

Similkameen.

MR. F.X. RICHTER (Boundary-Similkameen): Mr. Speaker, inspeaking to the principle of this bill, over the history of theBrand Act — and it's a long, long history — the livestockindustry incessantly asked for amendments and more amendments.The Act today is very much changed from the original Act. Ofcourse, conditions too have changed to necessitate bringing insome of the measures today.

For example, the form of transportation has changed. At onetime they were driven on the hoof to the rail and loaded on arailcar, which went to its destination. Today they can beloaded on a truck, a part load put on. Then they can be movedon to another loading point where more cattle are put on. Theycan also be loaded off. It's made it much more difficult forthe officials to properly police the industry and also toenforce the Brand Act.

I regret to say this because I have been a livestockproducer over the years. Under the terms of the Brand Act I'vebeen a brand inspector. In fact, I haven't checked lately, butI haven't had notice of my appointment being, rescinded. Imight still be a brand inspector.

I think the greatest failing of all probably is the veryfact that the industry itself doesn't do enough policing and isnot ready to give information. Had this not been the case inthe past, we would have had many more convictions. We wouldhave stopped the petty rustling and so on, certainly wherebranded stock are.

It's a little more difficult down on the lower mainland andover here on Vancouver Island. Under the Stock BrandsAct it's not compulsory to brand stock. It's only for yourown protection. Unfortunately, there are many instances righthere on the island and also on the lower mainland whereunbranded stock have been picked up in the field. 'Because ofthe nature of the animals — they're pretty much domesticated — they can be handled on foot. They have been loaded onto trucksand taken away.

I don't think we will ever have proper control of thepilfering of animals until such time as the industry itself isprepared to do some of its own enforcing of the law by beingprepared to give information and by being prepared to notifythe authorities at the earliest possible moment — not two weeksafter. Also, where there is hunting and animals are killed andthe hind quarters taken, the information should be put in thehands of the proper authorities at the earliest possiblemoment.

All the police in the world will not stop this pilfering of livestock without the cooperation and assistance of the livestock producer himself. The official Opposition is in support of the bill. I just hope that these amendments can, be of assistance to the livestock industry. But unless the industry itself changes its attitude and is prepared to give information, I'm a little inclined to believe that these are just so many more amendments to what we've had in the past.

MR. SPEAKER: Any further debate on Bill 108? The Hon.Minister closes the debate.

HON. MR. STUPICH: Mr. Speaker, I certainly wouldn't want totake anything at all away from the remarks of the House Leaderof the Opposition. But often, and I'm sure he's well aware ofthis as well, the trail has grown quite cold by the time therancher knows that his stock has either disappeared or beenbutchered and only in part removed. Especially in certainseasons of the year, it may be quite some time before he evenknows. By then, they just feel that there isn't much point inreporting it. Unfortunately, indeed there isn't much point.

However, I think it's an improvement on what has been in thepast. Certainly it's something that the people in the industryare seeking. I move that the bill now be read a secondtime.

Motion approved; second reading of the bill.

Bill No. 108 referred to a committee of the whole House atthe next sitting after today.

HON. MR. BARRETT: Mr. Speaker, second reading of Bill No.130.

AN ACT TO AMEND THE
WORKMEN'S COMPENSATION ACT, 1968

HON. W.S. KING (Minister of Labour): Mr. Speaker, thepurpose of Bill No. 130 is to amend the Workmen'sCompensation Act to provide a truly impartial andrepresentative review board to which appeals may be made fromdecisions of the Workmen's Compensation Board.

The present board of review and the situation in the pasthas been one where the review boards were composed of anindependent chairman and such other employees of the Workmen'sCompensation Board as the board saw fit from time to time toselect. So workmen have consistently expressed the opinion thatthe present boards of review are not impartial and working mengenerally have lost confidence in their ability to receive anindependent and unbiased review.

From our observations of the Unemployment InsuranceAct since its inception, it's clear that the Act itself andits operations have come under criticism, but the review panelshave been generally well accepted. Their adjudications have notonly provided an impartial final adjudication for claimants,but they have appeared to be impartial and have been

[ Page 2402 ]

accepted on that basis. the Workmen's Compensation Board asthe board saw fit from time to time to select. So, I think,will go far to not only provide impartiality in dispensingjustice, but to fulfil the old adage that justice must notonly be done but must seem to be done.

I think by divorcing the representatives of our appealtribunal from any association with the Workmen's CompensationBoard, then the worker can rest assured that he is indeedreceiving an impartial and independent appraisal of hiscase.

This is the basic purpose of the amendment. I think thatit's something that's long overdue. I think it's something thatwill relieve many of the longstanding Workmen's Compensationcases that have been appealed to various governmentrepresentatives and Opposition MLAs after every course andevery avenue of appeal to the Workmen's Compensation Board hasbeen exhausted.

Mr. Speaker, I have pleasure in moving second reading of thebill.

MR. SPEAKER: The Hon. Second Member for VancouverCentre.

MR. E.O. BARNES (Vancouver Centre): Mr. Speaker, I rise insupport of this piece of legislation and would just like tocommend the Minister on taking the initiative in providing animproved vehicle whereby workmen can receive their dueconsideration.

I've had many calls and complaints from the workers in myconstituency who feel that they have to work quite hard inorder to get consideration when they are dependent on adecision, as a result of their accidents, about theirlivelihood. I think that we should reverse the pendulum in thisregard and start to protect workmen and give them the benefitof the doubt where there is a questionable situation, simplybecause they are the backbone of society.

I realize that we are going to have people who will takeadvantage of the situation because any time there is a loopholeor a little gap left uncovered we run the risk of peoplefiguring out ways of getting something for nothing. But I thinkthat that has to be the chance we take when it comes topeople.

There are many people out there who haven't had theexpertise to take advantage of the law, and haven't been ableto get the support they need. They have really been left highand dry. They need protection and I think it has to come from aMinisterial position. It has to come through this department.We should set the trend, and not leave it up to these people toprove their needs beyond a shadow of a doubt. Where there isdoubt, I think we have to just concede that.

We're prepared to recognize the need for a guaranteed income; we're prepared to recognize the need for people to have a minimum protection under unemployment insurance schemes; and we seem to be aware of the needs in terms of social assistance — old age pensioners and so forth. But when a workman, through no fault of his own — or maybe it was through a fault of his own through maybe unsafe practices on the job — nonetheless he should have the same opportunity to survive. I don't think we should take a punitive attitude — one of punishment and make it so difficult.

I have seen old people come back who have had accidents,workmen who have had accidents, up to five or 10 or 15 yearsago and who are still trying to get redress, and they'restarting to find it difficult because of their ailments. Someof these ailments don't come down right away. They take time todevelop, especially when it comes to deterioration of thejoints and this kind of thing.

I think that we should take the attitude that people have tohave so much capital to survive in this society. And when weknow for a fact that individuals depend on income from aninsurance scheme, where such as the Workmen's CompensationBoard would be responsible for approving or not approving, thatwe should take the lead.

I support the legislation. I would like to see us take thisattitude in all fields where people have a livelihood to beconcerned about.

Could I just take a moment, Mr. Speaker, and also welcome agroup of students from The New School in Vancouver, under thesupervision of Mr. Daryl Sturdy and colleagues. We usually getsecondary students. I think these students were about 10 or 11years of age, maybe younger. But the unique thing about them istheir independent school — and you know the problems we arehaving in trying to be fair with all of the educationalinstitutions, especially the ones that don't come directlyunder the responsibility of the government.

But I have attended this school and I have met some of theyoung people there. I know this instructor particularly. I knowthat if you gave them half a chance every one of them would bedown here participating in this debate right now, because theyare not up-tight, not that group.

However, I would like to ask the assembly to join me inwelcoming them. I hope that they will return again someday asMembers.

MR. SPEAKER: The Hon. Member for Dewdney.

MR. P.C. ROLSTON (Dewdney): Mr. Speaker, I guess all the newMLAs — at least some of the new MLAs who hadn't had a veryclose relationship with the Workmen's Compensation Board or whohadn't been hurt on various construction or logging or otherjobs that they had taken — were inundated in September andOctober by compensation cases,

[ Page 2403 ]

probably some of them chronic. We felt pretty well mystifiedin those early months of becoming an MLA as to just what washappening here.

One of the first things I did was to go and spend allafternoon at the Workmen's Compensation Board, trying tounderstand some of the processes and certainly meet some of itstop staff people and try to maintain an objectiveviewpoint.

But certainly the appeal process seemed to be really inquestion when doctors in Maple Ridge and Mission andspecialists in Abbotsford kept firing letters my way thatcertainly seemed to suggest to me that there had to be somekind of independent body, independent from the board who hadalready made the initial decision, that surely this legislationwhich we're dealing with this afternoon could not come anyfaster than it has now.

It always amazed me that the medical people who I wouldthink were objective, who knew the patient over a long periodof time and who also, Mr. Speaker, knew enough about thehistory of the patient to know whether a particular injury hadbeen experienced on that job or not and therefore wascompensatable, surely their input was reliable. So I am veryglad that now there will be an independent group of people,independent from the people who presumably made the firstdecision, who can, I hope, in a just and honest way deal withthese cases.

I also get the impression, Mr. Speaker, that the Workmen'sCompensation Board is paying its way as an autonomous,independently funded commission. Presumably, even if you lookat the extravagant Christmas cards, Mr. Member, that were sentout, and which incidentally were very strongly criticized bysome of the independent people in my riding as a ratherextravagant expenditure — surely they have the money to carryout this further service. I support the bill.

MR. SPEAKER: The Hon. Member for West Vancouver-HoweSound.

MR. WILLIAMS: Mr. Speaker, we too are happy to see theWorkmen's Compensation Act being amended to provide someopportunity for questioning of decisions made by the Workmen'sCompensation Board.

If we have any hesitation in expressing approval of this Bill 130, it is because of the rather clumsy procedures that there are for review. It is kind of like a merry-go-round, The board makes a decision, and then you go to a board of review from that decision, and that board of review makes its decision, advises the board of that decision, and that board considers the decision made by the review board and maybe changes its mind. If that doesn't happen, then either the organized group of workmen or the employers or the individual appellant himself can go back to the board.

All this raises in my mind some question as to the wisdom ofappeal procedures when the board that makes the initialdecision is deemed to be in error and in fact ends up by beingits own court of appeal. I just happen to think that runscounter to any usual or acceptable appeal arrangements.

If the board can be found to be in error, it seems to methat a competent review panel should have some supremeauthority over the board itself and that the decisions of theappeal should be binding upon the board. But to merely providea new panel which may be an escape mechanism — I say "may"because it needn't be — which appears to give to the personaggrieved by the decision of the board a second opportunity todiscuss it with somebody else and then to thrust either thereview panel or the same individual back before the boardagain, raises questions in my mind as to how acceptable theappeal provision might be.

I really think that what is needed more than anything in theoperations of the Workmen's Compensation Board is a changedattitude on the part of the board itself. Now whether theMinister through this bill will be able to bring that about ornot, I am not sure.

The board has for too long been a law unto itself, and everyMember who has tried in any way to get reconsideration hasfound that the board is pretty rigid in its attitudes so far asreconsideration is concerned. In the hopes that this new appealprocedure will help to undo some of these rigid attitudes, wewill support the bill.

MR. SPEAKER: Any further debate? The Hon. Minister closesthe debate.

HON. MR. KING: Mr. Speaker, in response to the comments madeby the Member for West Vancouver–Howe Sound, I would just liketo point out to him that a decision of a claims officer is adecision of the Workmen's Compensation Board and the reviewpanel is quite free to have an appeal placed before it where aclaims officer has adjudicated a case and turned it down.Similarly, a worker may wish to appeal his case after thereview panel to the Workmen's Compensation Board. He is free todo that providing the decision of the review panel was notunanimous.

To make the review panel supreme over the Workmen'sCompensation Board would pose some pretty serious implicationsin many other ways. But it's not anticipated that decisions ofthe impartial tribunal of review would be upset in many casesby the Workmen's Compensation Board. That extra avenue is leftopen to a worker, where he disagrees with the finaladjudication of the review panel, to proceed one step furtherand make his final appeal to the Workmen's Compensation Board.In those cir-

[ Page 2404 ]

c*mstances that would be where the decision of the reviewpanel had opposed or had gone against the appeal of the worker,So, it's hardly a restrictive mechanism as far as the worker isconcerned.

Mr. Speaker, I do, believe that this, is indeed a step in,the right direction; certainly it's not an end-all and be-allin terms of reviewing the Workmen's, Compensation Act. As Iindicated on many occasions over the past number of months, amore comprehensive review of the entire Act will be takingplace over the course of the next few months. In the interim, Ithink, this is an essential step that does provide basis forimpartial reappraisal for workers in the province, and Icommend it to second reading, Mr. Speaker. I move secondreading.

Motion approved; second reading of the bill.

Bill No. 130 referred to a committee of the whole House atthe next sitting after today.

HON. MR. BARRETT: Second reading of Bill No. 152, Mr. Speaker.

AN ACT TO AMEND
THE PAYMENT OF WAGES ACT

HON. MR. KING: This, Mr. Speaker, is a bill to put someadditional teeth in the Payment of Wages Act. It's abill that will require directors and officers of companies tobear some responsibility and some liability for non-payment ofwages. The experience of my department over the past number ofyears has been, much to their chagrin, that many valid claimsfor non-payment of wages have been non-enforceable because ofthe practices of some companies in setting up various dummycorporations, dummy companies, paying the wages of workersunder one company and simply hiring them under another.

This type of thing has gone on, and the net result has beenthat when the workers went to move under the Payment of Wages Act to collect unpaid wages,there was simply no way of enforcing the legislation and thepeople who had operated the, company had conveniently escapedor filed bankruptcy. There were no assets left against whichaction could be taken, to recover wages.

This bill, Mr. Speaker, plugs some of those loopholesthat existed under the previous Act and makes companies, Isubmit, more responsible for their obligation to pay workerswages. I move second reading of the bill.

MR. SPEAKER: The Hon. Member for Columbia River,

MR. J.R. CHABOT (Columbia River): This party supports Bill No. 152 which is an added attraction to collecting wages for workers. We believe in the principle that a worker's wages should have first charge against any corporation and that they should be fully protected. It is another method that is being pursued to ensure that wages are protected, From my experience as Minister of Labour for a short period of time, I did see ways and means that people were utilizing to evade paying wages to workmen in the province.

This legislation has brought on added protection and willbe supported by this party.

MR. SPEAKER: The Hon. First Member for Vancouver-PointGrey.

MR. McGEER: Could the Minister tell us, when he issummarizing the debate, if he would be personally responsiblefor wages under the Insurance Corporation of BritishColumbia Act if that were to go bankrupt, Mr. Speaker?

MR., SPEAKER: The Hon. Member for West Vancouver–HoweSound.

MR. WILLIAMS: Yes, thank you, Mr. Speaker. There is noquestion that practices have been allowed to develop in thisprovince where workmen have found it impossible to recoverwages which were properly due to them and a change should bemade in the law. But I have some doubt in my mind as towhether or not the liability of directors or officers of acorporation should be spelled out in such broad terms as theMinister has in this bill.

He spoke of companies which might go bankrupt, but I woulddraw your attention, Mr. Speaker, to the fact that thatlimiting factor is not in the legislation. It may be that wewill have amendments on the order paper in committee in whichsome of these problems can be cleared up.

The one aspect that the Minister didn't deal with andwhich has caused so much general comment is the followingsection. I won't refer to it by number, but it is the questionof associated and related people in the trade. The words in thestatute seem to be very broad and all encompassing. From someof the comments made by the Minister in the Press it would seemto me that he does not deem them to be as all encompassing asthey might be.

It has even been suggested that officers of a schooldistrict might themselves be responsible for the non-paymentof teachers' wages. I don't for a moment believe this to bethe case. Because such suggestions have been made the breadthof scope which the words permit must be clear to allMembers.

I would ask the Minister if he would indicate, in closing this debate, what he intends to convey, certainly in the area of associated or related activities in business.

[ Page 2405 ]

MR. SPEAKER: The Hon. Minister closes the debate.

HON. MR. KING: Mr. Speaker, I think it is important for theMembers to appreciate in the first instance that only thoseemployers who fail to pay wages to their workers run afoul ofthe provisions of this bill. In the first instance, reputablecompanies which are responsible for their debts and their wagesto the workers certainly have nothing to fear from thislegislation.

I might point out in response to the Member for WestVancouver–Howe Sound (Mr. Williams) that one of the explanatorynotes in the bill is somewhat unfortunate and I have moved tohave that particular reference changed. That is the explanatorynote which refers to employer associations. There is no intentand there is, in fact, no legal force in this bill which would make employer groups such as construction labour relationsassociations or employers organizations which have been formedfor the purposes of collective bargaining and so on bound underthe provisions of this bill. I would suggest that the samewould be the situation with respect to school boards and soon.

Mr. Speaker, I move second reading of this bill.

Motion approved; second reading of the bill.

Bill No. 152 referred to a committee of the whole House atthe next sitting after today.

HON. MR. BARRETT: Second reading of Bill No. 153, Mr.Speaker.

PUBLIC WORKS FAIR
EMPLOYMENT ACT

HON. MR. KING: Mr. Speaker, Bill No. 153, the Public Works Fair Employment Act replaces the previous legislation, the Public Works Fair Wages and Conditions of Employment Act. In that previous legislation the Minister of Labour was empowered to arbitrarily set wages and conditions of employment in the area of public works when a dispute arose. In line with the policy of this Government, the best way in which relationships can be satisfactorily developed between employers and their employees is through collective bargaining and further, I think, we have an obligation after setting standards of relationships in the private sector to adhere to the principle ourselves and do business with unionized contractors and so on. We found that certainly the most fair way to assure that fair wages and fair conditions did prevail was to require, as a provision of awarding contracts, that a collective agreement be in existence and that the relationship between the employee and the employer be one of free negotiation rather than arbitrary action by the Minister of Labour.

I might point out further, Mr. Speaker, that organizationssuch as the B.C. Road Builders found themselves at somewhat ofa disadvantage in terms of competitive bidding. When anorganized company was obliged to bid for a highways departmentcontract or a Hydro contract or whatever against a competitorwho was not bound by a collective agreement, certainly theirposition was jeopardized and they felt that this was verydiscriminatory. I can only agree with that observation, Mr.Speaker, and I suggest that this bill eliminates thatdiscrimination and puts those business enterprises which wishto do business with the government on a fair and equitablebasis in terms of bidding for government contracts.

I commend the bill to second reading, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: The Hon. Member for Columbia River.

MR. CHABOT: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. The bill isPublic Works Fair Employment Act. It could quite easilybe called Public Works Union Enforcement Act. The bill really,in effect, makes the Minister of Labour of British Columbia thechief union organizer of British Columbia. He has made publicstatements that it is part of his role to ensure that theworkers of British Columbia belong to trade unions. I don't seethat as his role and I don't think it is the position of theMinister of Labour to take sides. I sometimes wonder where thislegislation or the source of this legislation comes from. Ithink the role of the Minister should be one of neither promanagement nor pro labour.

I think that the workers of British Columbia should havesome rights, too. They should have the right of free choice.They shouldn't be forced, if they don't want to, into a unionagainst their wishes. That is what is being done by thislegislation, because Big Brother Union Government says you mustbelong or you cannot work on a government contract.

I say that under this legislation the Government has aresponsibility to ensure that the workers at least receive theequivalent of union wages but not to force a worker into atrade union against his wishes. I don't think the Governmentshould go beyond the bounds of ensuring that the workersreceive the equivalent of union wages.

I recall very well when Justice Nemetz came into the disputebetween the IBEW and B.C. Hydro, in which there was a complaintby the IBEW relative to non-union contractors getting involvedin the extension of power lines. There was the suggestion thatB.C. Hydro should be paying at least the equivalent of unionwages to these non-union linemen. When Justice Nemetz broughtdown his decision on that dispute between the IBEW and B.C.Hydro, he said at

[ Page 2406 ]

that time that any non-union contractor employed by B.C.Hydro should pay the equivalent wages being paid by B.C. Hydroto the IBEW. He didn't say that workers must join the IBEW orjoin any other union — he just said that they must pay theequivalent wages.

That's what this Public Works Fair Employment Actshould say — the government should pay the equivalent and notforce people into unions. No longer do you have a free choicein British Columbia if you are going to work on a contract forthe government of association. What the legislation does,really, is interfere with individual rights. It is erosion ofindividual rights and the rights of free choice.

What are we really talking about? I think roughly 10 percent of the contracts let by government are of a non-unionnature. The Minister says we cannot allow this discriminationto take place. What about the discrimination against workerswho are non-union? What about the discrimination against theworkers who don't want to belong to a union? Certainly I amsure the Minister, when he rises in his place to close thedebate, will say, "Well, we have the support of contractors inthis respect." Certainly he has the support of the largecontractors. They want to add the other 10 per cent to thepresent 90 per cent of the government work they are doing now,because most large contractors are union. The people you arereally putting the bite on are the small contractors in BritishColumbia — the people you are telling they must have a union orthey will no longer get contracts from this government.

There is nothing specifically spelled out in the principleof the Act dealing with day labour. I'm wondering whether itwill apply to small contractors that probably own a backhoe ora small tractor or a truck or something that wants to work on aday labour project. Are you going to tell them that they mustbe union, too? Yes, any small contractor.

When you look at the definition of "public work" and "work"it means the "construction, alteration, maintenance ordemolition of any property, whether real or personal, which ispaid for, whether directly, indirectly or by way of a guaranteeby the Crown in the right of the province or any of itsagencies, but does not include a public work."

In my ability to define it — and I'm not a lawyer — thatwould include a school district. What about the smallcontractors who take contracts with school districts? Whatabout the little painter in a small community who has thecontract to paint a school? What about the small contractor inthe smaller communities that might want to put a one-roomaddition onto the school?

Are you going to say that he no longer has the right to work on that project unless he belongs, or his workers belong, to a union, unless there's a collective agreement? Certainly not. I'm sure you're not saying that. Are you trying to say that every worker in British Columbia should belong to a trade union? Also, what you're going to do is you're going to add costs to government projects. If you can't find a painter in Golden, for instance, who is a union contractor, then you have to go elsewhere. To bring people in from another community costs money. Consequently the price will be that much greater.

So you're adding costs and you're denying workers andcontractors at the local level the right of gainful employment.In British Columbia 42 per cent of our labour force isorganized. I'm not saying whether that's ample or too little.But you can't deny the fact that we have the greatestpercentage of organized workers of any area on the NorthAmerican continent. Now, by this legislation, the Minister issaying that everybody in British Columbia has to be organized.Everybody in British Columbia must belong to a trade union orelse they cannot be employed on a government contract. No, Ithink that's discrimination and that's the type of legislationthat I can't support.

MR. SPEAKER: The Hon. Second Member for Victoria.

MR. D.A. ANDERSON: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. This bill, thePublic Works Fair Employment Act, in our opinion, has anumber of aspects which we cannot accept.

As has been indicated earlier, there's a question offairness to the contractors and people involved. I think it's abasic right that anyone paying taxes to the government, anyonewho deals with the government honestly in that respect, shouldhave the right to deal with the government in terms ofbusiness.

It's a point we've made before. We've made it in terms oftendering. Here we have an extension of that to the point whereonly those with union contracts will be able to take governmentwork. We're not saying that the government should not have someright to oversee the type of labour-management relations of anyfirm that deals with the government. That's fair enough. Ifyou're employing them, I think there should be some control inthat respect.

But I don't think it's necessary to insist upon a unioncontract, as is done in this instance. The facts may be thatthe employer and employees are satisfied with one another'swork and the conditions of employment and conditions of work ofthe employees. Perhaps the rate of pay may be as high or higheras a unionized shop nearby. Perhaps there are socialcirc*mstances dealing with family. Things of this nature comeup, in particular with small companies. Yet these people, byvirtue of this type of legislation, will be denied the right todeal with the government to which they pay taxes.

It's a different thing from a private corporation

[ Page 2407 ]

and perhaps even from a Crown corporation. Here we aredealing with the overall government of all the people of theprovince to whom everybody, unionized or otherwise, pays taxes.Yet we're making prohibitions and restrictions on who can dealwith the government. We don't think that a bill of this natureis going to be particularly successful in forcing people intounions, if that is the objective of it. We don't think thatit's going to particularly effective, from the public's pointof view, with respect to keeping costs within reason and withrespect to some of the problems outlined by my Hon. friend fromColumbia River (Mr. Chabot) dealing with bringing in employeesfrom other areas.

There is no question of the concern on the part of thegovernment at the unionized figure in the province, which is 42or 43 per cent. That's fair enough. But we don't see why thegovernment at the same time should be using the publiccontracts to try to force this figure up. After all, theemployees themselves have rights. Surely one of the rights isto decide whether or not they wish to be unionized, whether ornot they wish to have union structures in the companies forwhom they're working.

It's been said that few contracts are non-union andtherefore we're dealing with a relatively small percentage ofthe overall number of contracts. Yet, we're concerned that oncethis type of legislation is in, the principle will be extendedbackwards.

For example, the people who are actually doing the jobperhaps have people in offices elsewhere who are doing thepaperwork or who are concerned with the work being done in amore peripheral manner. So it may not be just the people whoare actually employed, for example, on a contract in thisbuilding, Others elsewhere — draftsmen, secretaries — are alsoworking in some way or another on the contract if they'reemployed by the company.

We have a feeling that while this bill may come inostensibly simply to deal with those who are on a provincialjob, within this building or elsewhere in the province,nevertheless the principle can easily be extended backwardsthroughout the company concerned — just about as far back asthe government of the day would like. In this respect, theextent of unionization could be substantially more than meetsthe eye in this particular instance.

Mr. Speaker, we intend to vote against this in principle. We cannot see the government taking steps of this nature, restricting the number of people who can benefit by government work to less than 50 per cent of the employable people in the province. We feel this is a form of discrimination against the majority in this case, which is being pushed upon them by a government which itself received less than a majority vote. We feel that it's important as a principle that those who pay taxes, those who act honestly in their dealings with the government in other respects, should be treated equally by the government when it comes to handing out government work.

It's a principle I've made time after time in my referencesto the purchase of buses by the B.C. Hydro, or by the Ministerof Municipal Affairs (Hon. Mr. Lorimer) for B.C. Hydro. Wesimply don't feel it's fair that individuals who pay taxes andact as responsible citizens in the Province of British Columbiaare, by government decision, denied the right of dealing withtheir government. In this instance, it may be discrimination interms of what organizations they belong to, but we see nodifference in principle.

[Mr. Dent in the Chair]

If it were discrimination in terms of religion or in termsof race, I think there would rightly be an outcry in thisprovince. In this case of discrimination, which is membershipof a certain organization, we think the same principles apply.True, it's an area where the government should have somecontrol over the conditions of work. But we don't think it'snecessary, by any matter of means, to have union membership anda contract with a union to guarantee that.

There are extensive powers granted in this particular bill.The Minister, who may or may not be the Minister of Labour, candesignate any person in writing to act on his behalf. Thisperson can enter any premises — the same sweeping, broadgeneralizations giving powers to just about anyone. If that'snot enough, section 6 in this Act allows regulations to be madeby the Lieutenant-Governor-in-Council to implement furtherideas the government may have.

It's a type of legislation which we cannot support becausewe feel it is basically discriminatory in nature.

DEPUTY SPEAKER: I recognize the Hon. Member for OakBay.

MR. WALLACE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I'm sure it comes as nosurprise to the government to know that we also will voteagainst the principle of this bill. Really that's the key word — "principle."

Interjection by an Hon. Member.

MR. WALLACE: You're surprised? Well, let me give theexplanation. My whole philosophy is that the individual is moreimportant than the state. There's the answer right there. Ifone or two or 10 individuals do not wish to be unionized, andthey're breaking no law by remaining non-unionized, that istheir choice. That's my concept and that's the concept of theConservative Party, that the individual is greater than thestate.

[ Page 2408 ]

Since we're talking, about public works, Mr. Speaker, thisis the state. The Public Works department has the whole weightof the state behind it in its decisions of this nature. Now itis bringing in this legislation, which discriminates againstpeople who, of their own free will and obeying all the laws ofthe province and the nation, want to remain non-unionized. Bymaking that elective choice, they cut themselves off from beingable to bid on certain contracts.

Really, Mr. Speaker, with respect, the title of the bill is"Fair Employment Act." I think it should be "Unfair EmploymentAct" to be more specific. We are, in fact, saying that ifpeople choose not to be members of a union that they thencannot bid or be employed on public works contracts. Oneneedn't go any further than that.

In principle we are opposed to this kind of thing. I'm noteven interested in trying to deduce what the Minister's motivesmight be in introducing this bill. I'm just saying clearly andunmistakably on this bill and every other such kind of bill,such as others we've have in this House, namely automobileinsurance, that we believe the individual should have a choice.By this kind of legislation the state is dictating to theindividual that in order to get work in certain areas, namelygovernment work, he must join a union. This we just oppose inprinciple now and always shall.

DEPUTY SPEAKER: I recognize the Hon. Member forKamloops.

MR. G.H. ANDERSON (Kamloops): Mr. Speaker, I enjoy takingpart in this particular debate, especially when I hear thestatements made on the principle of the bill. I think one ofthe things we have to refer to, if we have any knowledge ofsome of the public contracts that have been granted in thepast, is the principles of some of the contractors that havebeen taking the contracts. I know of several in the area thatI represent who have a very good habit of changing their names.Just as fast as one gets certified they pop up under a new nameand the certification is no longer valid. By the time the thirdor fourth company is straightened out, the contract's over, theworkers were not paid as much as they would have been paidhad they had a contract — these were workers who wanted tobelong to a union and to have an agreement.

I am particularly interested, as I have mentioned before inthis House, in the principle that you must belong to a tradeunion before you can work. I would like to see the last Memberwho spoke try to give medical service to anyone in thisprovince if he didn't belong to the medical association. It'sabsolutely impossible.

DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order, please. Would you state your point of order and would the Hon. Member be seated?

MR. WALLACE: We've been round this race track already thisseason, Mr. Speaker. There is no closed shop. The licensingand the union so-called are two separate organizations in themedical profession.

DEPUTY SPEAKER: Would the Hon. Member for Kamloops proceed,please?

MR. G.H. ANDERSON: This is a matter of philosophy, ofcourse. Naturally the big cigar-smoking union bosses tell theworkers what to do, but the B.C. Medical Association doesn'ttell the doctors what to do. Of course. We've heard this sooften before that we don't need to go through it again.

Interjection by an Hon. Member.

MR. G.H. ANDERSON: Oh, no. You don't have to join. Try andwork if you don't. And the same, of course, applies to ourlegal profession. Just try to hire a non-union lawyer in thisprovince. You'd look a long way in any province in this countrybefore you could find one.

They talk about closed shops. What they're saying is a unionis despicable but an association is not. I would certainlyfight this contention at any time, Mr. Speaker. I'll supportthe bill. I feel it should have come in a long time ago to givethese people ordinary justice who are working for contractors.taking public contracts.

DEPUTY SPEAKER: I recognize the Hon. Member for South PeaceRiver.

MR. D.M. PHILLIPS (South Peace River): Thank you, Mr.Speaker. I am certainly glad that the Minister of Labour iswearing the colour shirt he is today when he brings inlegislation like this. It's a red shirt and it's "red"legislation so far as I'm concerned.

HON. MR. STRACHAN: You had a red shirt last week.

MR. PHILLIPS: I wasn't introducing legislation like this,I'll tell you, my friend. Legislation like that will never beintroduced by this party.

You know, it's too bad, Mr. Speaker, that the Governmentcannot seem to learn anything from the mistakes of others. Thistype of legislation was introduced in the United States ofAmerica some years ago. It created such chaos in theconstruction industry that last year President Nixon had itthrown out, because it was unworkable. That's why it was thrownout, Mr. Speaker — not because he was told

[ Page 2409 ]

to by the union leaders in the United States — and there arelots of unions in the United States and the unions wield a lotof power in the United States. As a matter of fact our Canadianunions help them to wield more power because we send more moneyto them every year.

This type of legislation, Mr. Speaker, looks very good onpaper. And the Member for Kamloops (Mr. G.H. Anderson) canstand on his feet and he can talk about justice, but if you diginto this piece of legislation, Mr. Speaker this bill that isbefore us, it's an unjust piece of legislation because it'struly discriminatory.

Small companies, many of them who are enjoying the right todo business in this province, will be put out of business. It'ssimple arithmetic as to the reasons why.

Many small companies who do not have the financial backing,who do not have the auditors and the lawyers and all of theoffice help to look after all the forms that they have and soforth, will be told what to do by the union bosses. And you'dbetter believe it, because that's exactly the way it'll work.As a matter of fact in the United States it was found that someof the union bosses were telling small contractors what jobsthey could bid and what jobs they couldn't bid. And they werealso telling what union would be in charge of the job, whetherit would be the electrical union or the teamsters' union; andthis is exactly what happened. That's why the law in the UnitedStates had to be thrown out. It wasn't workable.

Now what are we going to do, Mr. Speaker? It's beenannounced before by many small single individual operators,like a person who owns a backhoe and wants to do some work — ishe going to unionize himself? And if he is forced to unionizehimself as an individual operator or as an individual trucker,then all he is doing is paying a right to work in the Provinceof British Columbia. And who is he paying it to? He's payingdues to an international union. And where do the dues go, Mr.Speaker?

I'm afraid, Mr. Speaker, that a lot of our small independentcontractors and a lot of our small independent businessmen willbe o-u-t, out.

I would just like to give you an instance now of a small paving company that was going to do a job on a road. If this legislation comes into force, Mr. Speaker, it may be necessary for that man to have in his paving company four or five different unions — he may have to deal with the teamsters' union, he may have to deal with the steelworkers. If he's got to do ditching and laying of electrical cable before he puts the pavement down, he may be dealing with as many as five or six different unions. Can you see a small paving contractor trying to sort all that out? One would be fighting against the other and it's good-bye; down the flume he goes. Because it's all right for a big contractor — and I don't think there are many jobs in the province where the big contractors aren't unionized. But this is certainly discrimination of the first part, Mr. Speaker.

We just last week discussed a conscience clause that weasked to have put into our labour laws. Certainly if we're evergoing to bring in a conscience clause, this is contradictory tothat conscience clause. It's the same type of thing. There'd beno sense in bringing in a conscience clause…

DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order, please. A little more quiet down atthe far end, please.

MR. PHILLIPS: …because this is against that principle aswell. The Minister of Labour (Hon. Mr. King) is looking intothe entire labour situation — he says he's looking into theentire situation — then to bring in a bill like this makes methink, Mr. Speaker, that the Minister of Labour already has aclosed mind, before he even starts thinking about looking intoit any further.

I sometimes wonder when I see a piece of legislation likethis, and particularly this piece of legislation, Mr. Speaker,if the reason we want everybody to belong to a union in B.C. isso that there'll be more union dues paid into the coffers ofthe NDP. In other words, if you're going to do business inBritish Columbia, if the small contractor is going to do anybusiness with the government at all, he's going to pay intotheir coffers, into their election fund. They take theirrip-off first and, as I said before, I don't know where therest of it goes. No one seems to be able to find out.

The other thing is, Mr. Speaker, that as the Governmentacquires more companies and gets its finger further into thefree enterprise system and into the mining business, thepetroleum business, the forest industry, it's going toeventually end up that everybody who wants to do anything inBritish Columbia has to belong to a union. This is the waywe're headed. If you're going to cut down trees in the woods,the government owns the trees so you've got to belong to aunion. You won't be able to turn around unless you belong to aunion, whether you want to or not. This is the devastating partof this, Mr. Speaker — whether you want to or not.

I sometimes feel that this Government that we have today ismerely a pawn for the union bosses, because somebody has toldthem to do this. I wonder who. It certainly isn't for the goodof British Columbia and it certainly isn't for the good, Mr.Speaker, of the individual operator.

I suppose the next step will be that every piece ofmerchandise that the government buys from any supplier willhave to have union clerks. It won't matter what supply you buy,the Government's next step will be to say, "All purchases mustbe from the

[ Page 2410 ]

union store. This is carrying it to its ultimate.

MR. G.R. LEA (Prince Rupert): Car salesmen?

MR. PHILLIPS: Well, that's quite possible too. Everythinghas to be unionized. All resource industries, and all of thehiring that resource industries do, for instance like thepetroleum industry, will have to hire unionized smallcontractors. To put it a little further, to run it to theultimate, if you want to hire a cook in a camp on an oil rig,well, the cook is going to have to be — if he and his wife arecontracting out — well, they're going to have to belong to theunion.

So far as I'm concerned, Mr. Speaker, this act whenimplemented is really a tax on anybody who wants to work inBritish Columbia. It's a tax on anybody who wants to haveemployment in practically any industry in British Columbia. I'mcertainly against it. I think it's a big club and it's too biga club for this Government to have.

DEPUTY SPEAKER: I recognize the Hon. Member for North PeaceRiver.

MR. D.E. SMITH (North Peace River): Thank you, Mr. Speaker.This Act is an infringement upon the individual rights of that60 per cent, or almost 60 per cent, of our labour force thatare non-union within the Province of British Columbia. Many ofthese people are non-union because they choose to be so.

They work for small companies that have worked out a methodunder which they can give them employment for 12 months a year,rather than just on a basis of just when a contract isavailable. These people know that at some times they work forless than union scale, but when the company is busy they workfor union scale and better than union scale wages. They'veaccepted some of these things that are an advantage to thembecause they wish to retain a way of life which does not happento include belonging to a labour union.

The Government of this province is prepared to collect taxesfrom anyone who lives in this province irrespective of whetherthey belong to a labour union or not, and don't ever think thatthey don't. As long as the Government is going to pick up theirrevenue from everyone in the province, irrespective of the typeof job that they have, who they work for or whether they belongto a union or not, you have no right, Mr. Speaker, to insistthat a contract issued by the Government will only go to thosecontractors who employ union personnel.

You've got a string in the hip pocket of every worker in the province making them dependent upon you as Government whether they choose to belong to a union or not. It's obvious to me, Mr. Speaker, that the author of this bill was not the Minister of Labour; someone in the labour union movement that the Minister wishes to appease. It's unfortunate that in an attempt to bow to the pressures of the labour unions in the Province of British Columbia, that Government has stooped to this type of legislation.

There are hundreds of thousands of workers employed in theProvince of British Columbia by a multiplicity of non-unioncompanies. Many of these companies do some business with thegovernment at one time or another. On the basis of thecontracts that are awarded, it amounts to perhaps 10 per cent — I think the figure was given here — of the contracts awarded tonon-union contractors. It collectively provides jobs for alarge segment of our population.

The man that services the typewriters in the schools, Isuppose now he can't service typewriters any more unless he hasa union contract. What about the man that services the furnacesfor the school, or contracts out to drive bus for them, or do amultiplicity of jobs that involve funds in one way or anotherdirectly or indirectly, or by guarantee from the Crown?

Certainly these people, if you're going to put imposts onthem by way of taxation, have a right, Mr. Speaker, to bid forwork, to contract out, to be employed on non-contract work thatis required by any agency of the Crown. It amazes me that aGovernment that puts so much stress on the fact that they carefor people would bring this type of legislation into theProvince of British Columbia. The step is a step in reverse:it's not in keeping with the times or the conditions or thesociety that we live in, and it's just another peg in thecoffin of those people who wish to preserve a little freedomfor themselves in the Province of British Columbia. We won'tsupport it, Mr. Speaker.

(Mr. Speaker in the chair.)

MR. SPEAKER: The Hon. Member for Saanich and theIslands.

MR. H.A. CURTIS (Saanich and the Islands): Mr. Speaker, theHouse Leader for the Conservative Party has already indicatedour broad position. I'll be very brief in making a couple ofcomments with respect to this bill.

First of all, I think that I have to make it very clear thatI've had a few years of negotiations, the business ofnegotiating with three major unions in British Columbia, andthey've been, by and large, very happy times. I speak of theCanadian Union of Public Employees, the Federation of PeaceOfficers and the International Association of Firefighters. SoI don't need to apologise in any way, shape or form for myrelationships over the years with those people who have formeda trade union of one kind or another.

Earlier today we were talking about housing. We

[ Page 2411 ]

heard some wonderful words from the Minister of Finance withrespect to incentive for housing and the need for more housing.I would like to point out to the Minister of Labour, throughyou Mr. Speaker, and to other Members of this Government thatone of the major forces — in this area at any rate, and indeedits related organizations in other parts of the province canprobably make the same claim — one of the major forces ingetting into public housing in a manner that was innovative,inexpensive, imaginative and very, very rewarding to the peoplewho moved into the housing was undertaken by an organizationknown as the Victoria Home Builders Association.

I believe they have formed in other parts of the province,if not across the country. To my knowledge, most of these homebuilders, very small firms employing a relatively low number ofpeople, are all non-union. The essence of their contribution inpublic housing has been through municipalities and inpartnership with the two senior governments, provincial andfederal.

Now, if I read this bill correctly, these people will beprohibited from participating in any further publichousing.

The Minister says "no." Well that's very good news, Mr.Speaker, if that is the case, and I will look forward to hisremarks when he closes the debate. But certainly they areparticipating in public money, using public money at themunicipal, provincial and federal level.

As I read the legislation, they would be prohibited fromfurther tendering or entering into further propositions withrespect to developing that kind of housing. The point that Iwanted to make has sparked the Minister's interest, Mr.Speaker, and I'll await his reply.

MR. SPEAKER: The Hon. Member for Nelson-Creston.

MR. L. NICOLSON (Nelson-Creston): Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Inlistening to this debate it's rather surprising to hear …only the last speaker seemed to realize that there are twobenefactors to a collective agreement. This fact certainlyisn't lost on most of the contractors in this province.

A good collective agreement works to the benefit of bothparties. It's a mutual benefit and a lot of these contractorswouldn't want to work under paternalism and the type ofnineteenth century thinking that has been promulgated from theother side of the House. In fact, I know of one contractor whohas threatened to pull out of this province, not because of thelegislation that we have, but because he's victimized by dummycompanies and will be no part of this type of anti-labourpractice, A dummy company in the construction industry can be veryeasily set up. It's difficult to organize a company whose contract might run for perhaps three weeks ifit's a subcontractor. It comes in, it does its bit on the joband then it leaves. It hires men and, at least, it's verydifficult to organize.

When, maybe after years of effort, a particular constructionfirm is organized and does become a union contractor, it's verysimple, by changing to a very small extent the make-up of thecompany, to reorganize a new company and a dummy company.Sometimes by setting up an equipment rental firm, the equipmentfor the company can be shifted either to the dummy company,which is not union, or to the company which is union.

MRS. P.J. JORDAN (North Okanagan): Who told you what tosay?

MR. NICOLSON: Pardon? Who told me what to say? Well, youjust have to open your ears and you'll hear. Believe me, thisis a problem throughout the entire province.

I must say that the opening speaker over there did map out amarvelous blueprint for the nineteenth century as far aslabour-management relations are concerned.

Interjections by some Hon. Members.

MR. NICOLSON: Name dummy companies — I actually could name afew in our area. I won't go into it now. But I'll bring themup, and I'll name them in the future, perhaps in thirdreading.

So I think that this will go a long way — well, I shouldn'tsay it will go a long way; it won't really go nearly far enoughto relieving this problem of dummy companies to theworkers.

Interjections by some Hon. Members.

MR. NICOLSON: You people just love paternalism. And sinceyou bring it up — I heard a few complaints last Friday becausea certain group of secretaries walked out of this House atFriday noon because it had been the practice of theirbenevolent — not employers, certainly not their employers — butone party has made a practice of letting them go. And they tookoff last week, not knowing that we were going to sit in theafternoon, and suddenly some people were very upset about it.Now that's what paternalism is. That's the kind of thing wewant to avoid. We want to avoid this, as was spelled out verywell in…

Interjection by an Hon. Member.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Would the Hon. Member pleaseaddress the Chair?

[ Page 2412 ]

MR. NICOLSON: All right, Mr. Speaker. I think I have made mypoint, and I think it is being felt on the other side of theHouse. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The Hon. Member for Langley.

MR. McCLELLAND: Mr. Speaker, once again just a brief commentabout this bill, the Public Works Fair Employment Act,which is neither fair nor very democratic, I'm afraid.

Mr. Speaker, I think that we must maintain in our societythe freedom to disagree. Regardless of what the Minister ofLabour (Hon. Mr. King) or the Member for Nelson-Creston (Mr.Nicolson) think, there are people in this province who do notchoose, Mr. Speaker, to belong to a labour organization — infact about 60 per cent of them in the province at this point.Freedom of choice is all we are asking for, Mr. Speaker, andthat choice is being abrogated right now by thislegislation.

Mr. Speaker, I think the unions have every right and everyobligation to get out and organize as much as they possiblycan. But, there is no necessity for the Minister of Labour tobecome the chief organizer for those unions. If you don'tbelieve in unionism, Mr. Speaker, then you must have the rightto equal opportunity — to compete on an equal footing withthose people who do belong to unions, especially in the publicsector where the tax dollar is involved.

Some of the other Members earlier, Mr. Speaker, werechanging the name of this legislation, and if I had my choice,I would call it the "catch up on political debts Act" becausethat is what it is.

MR. SPEAKER: The Hon. First Member for Vancouver–PointGrey.

MR. McGEER: Mr. Speaker, I think that the Minister, inintroducing this bill, made a very poor case for itsacceptance. And the speakers on the Government side, who spokein favour of the bill, have been equally weak in theirpresentation. It makes it appear, Mr. Speaker, as though therereally isn't a strong case, a necessity for this bill at all. Iam much more impressed by the arguments of my friends on theright, the official Opposition, who seem to suggest thatthere's a great deal of influence being placed on the Ministerof Labour by special interest groups in the big unions, andthat this is the real purpose behind the bill.

Mr. Speaker, any number of Members have stood up in theHouse and given specific examples as to how the government'sability to negotiate to have work done is going to be veryseverely impaired.

The Government, if it wished to bring down some kind of an administrative directive — guidelines if you like in public works — could have cured most of the ills that have been raised by the Members opposite and still left ample room to accommodate those many situations where individuals or small groups are in a position to render an efficient service, and indeed have been doing so up until the introduction of this rather odious Act.

But quite apart, Mr. Speaker, from the inefficiency thatthis kind of a rigid law is going to impose on the governmentand all the civil servants who are trying to do an efficientjob on behalf of the taxpayers — the Minister probably wouldn'tfind it necessary to bring a bill of this kind in if the civilservice could see eye to eye with its provisions. It is broughtin there specifically to tell the civil service, "Do whatthe union people tell you, not what is in the best interests of the taxpayer."

Apart from that, Mr. Speaker, I think that there is anobligation on the part of the government to be scrupulouslyfair to people. Not to favour those who belong to the biginternational unions, but to be fair to everyone. If a personis happy in the firm he's working for and part of that firm'sbusiness is with government, that man should not be forced tojoin one of these big international unions and pay his uniondues to the United States in order to get work with the BritishColumbia government.

Interjection by an Hon. Member.

MR. McGEER: Well, that's what's going to happen, isn't it,Mr. Speaker? Let the Member for Kamloops (Mr. G.H. Anderson)deny that that will be the effect. The effect will be thatindividuals will be forced to join those international unionsbecause you can't get on a heavy construction site in BritishColumbia today unless you belong to an international union.

All international unions require that union dues be paid toheadquarters in the United States.

AN HON. MEMBER: Where does it go from there?

MR. McGEER: Well, a lot of it stays there, Mr. Speaker. Andyes, I do object to that, make no bones about it. But, Mr.Speaker, nobody has denied that that will be the effect. I'lltell you why, because that will be the effect; it will beprecisely the effect. Whether a man wants to be or not, inorder to get that job, he is now going to have to pay uniondues to the United States. This is the kind of thing that Iregret being forced upon people in British Columbia. If theywant to do it of their free well, fine.

If, in the discretion of the government, it is better for aparticular subcontract to award it to a union firm rather thana non-union firm because that is an administrative policy ofthe government — fine — we can even go that far. But this is arigid law. It is going to force things into a mould. It isgoing to make the

[ Page 2413 ]

government even less flexible than it is today. Because ofthe inflexibility and inefficiency, it will raise costs to thetaxpayer. It will work a hardship on people who do not nowbelong to international unions because it discriminates againstthem.

Mr. Speaker, that's not a fair employment principle. I wouldhope that the Minister would see fit to withdraw this bill infavour of an administrative directive, something whichindicates his preference and the preference of the Government;something which would not be compulsory, but would indicate adesire, and perhaps see how this would work. I submit that itwould work very well, but that what we have here isdiscrimination in our laws, and I disapprove and will voteagainst the bill.

MR. SPEAKER: The Hon. Member for Boundary-Similkameen.

MR. FX RICHTER (Boundary-Similkameen): Mr. Speaker, I don'tusually join in matters of this nature such as the PublicWorks Fair Employment Act. But I can see, even as one whois not completely conversant with all the ramifications oflabour legislation, that there can be some areas ofconcern.

Maybe the bill is entitled wrongly, maybe it should havebeen known as the John Fryer bill, but I can certainly seewhere many, many people as a single unit do contract. I don'tknow how you would go about having them setting up a union oftheir own, as one individual, and getting certification. Idon't know how they would function, but I know that this billcertainly is a method in which the membership of the governmentemployees union can be expanded. And if it is going to takelegislation to recruit members for that union, I would be verysurprised. The Minister might shake his head and grin aboutthis, but there is this distinct possibility, and I'm sure ithas to be recognized.

I know many people are going to be upset over this. Manypeople have contacted me already, because they happen to bein a unique sort of undertaking in which probably there is nounion presently which could take them in its membership. Iquestion this very much.

MR. SPEAKER: The Hon. Member for West Vancouver–HoweSound.

MR. WILLIAMS: Mr. Speaker, I must speak against this bill. I won't repeat everything that went before, but it is discriminatory. What I can't, for the life of me, understand is that when the Minister of Labour has apparently the whole matter of labour laws in the province under review he would bring in this legislation, because it is an imposition upon employers, as I read the legislation. Now, under the Labour Relations Act of this province the employer is supposed to have no control at all over what his employees do with regard to being unionized or not. I can foresee a situation where an employer having a group of workmen, either large or small, non-unionized — that's their choice. The employer is not supposed to go to them and say, "Join a particular union," or "Don't join a particular union." Anyway that's the existence.

Then an employer decides that he wants to bid on acontract with the Crown or a Crown agency. Suddenly with thislegislation before him he says, "My goodness, my shop has to beunionized." So he goes to his employees — I don't know how hemakes this approach without running the risk of his infringingagainst the Labour Relations Act — and says to them,"Boys, you've got to get busy and join a union, or else I can'tget this job. Now if I can't get this job, then maybe I'll haveto shut down, and you'll lose your jobs." So somehow or otherhe impresses them with the seriousness of this problem, and ifthe employees are of a mind to go along with the suggestion,they go out and say, "O.K. We had better join a particularunion, and get certified."

But then we have had recent instances — and I won't bring upthe international versus the Canadian union conflict that wehave had in the last few days. But maybe they join a Canadianunion, and they're told, "Well, you can't join them, becauseyou won't be able to get certified if you join them. Theremight be something wrong with how your officers of that unionare elected." I'm only giving you an example, Mr.Minister.

So then the employer is put in the position of saying to hismen, "You can't join that union, you've got to join some otherunion." He is directly flying in the face of the LabourRelations Act, because he is taking steps to induce them orto compel them not to continue to belong to a particular unionorganization — all because the Minister has seen fit tointerfere with labour laws in this province, and the right ofemployers to seek work, and the right of employees to becomemembers of unions or not at their choice.

To compound discrimination with what may easily becomeenforced breaches of the laws of this province is somethingthat I can't support.

MR. SPEAKER: The Hon. First Member for Vancouver Centre.

MR. BARNES: Maybe I should sit back down, Mr. Speaker. I sawthe Member for North Okanagan (Mrs. Jordan) try and get upbefore me. Under the circ*mstances maybe I should sit down,because I know she'll need two or three hours and I'll onlyneed two minutes.

I'd like to refer back to the Member for Boundary-Similkameen(Mr. Richter), who said that he was no expert on labourlegislation and labour law. I don't

[ Page 2414 ]

think you have to be an expert to recognize some of theinequities within our society. I'm no expert either. At thesame time, a long time ago I heard someone tell me about myrights — you know, the right to work, and the right to do this,and the right to do that, which are some of the myths of oursociety. We talk about rights, but when it comes down to it,these are pie in the sky. What we are talking about isrealities. We have to talk about protecting people, not aboutthese ambiguous kinds of rights. It is fine to tell a group ofpeople that they have a right to stand alone as individuals,when they have to go and make a deal with somebody who's gotall the money. That's fine. Keep them divided by telling themabout their rights.

If you want to find something out about this society, thefirst thing you are going to learn the hard way, if you don'tknow it already, is that unless you realize the power of yourtwo feet when you are walking down the street with other peoplewho are in the same boat you are in, you don't have any power,when you go to talk with somebody who's got all the money. Itdoesn't matter whether it is the Crown or Crown Zellerbach.(Laughter).

Sure we are not going to resolve the problems of labour andmanagement by this piece of legislation, but we are going toput some reality into the situation. There are a lot of peopleout there who are not getting a fair deal because they don'tunderstand anything about collective bargaining. There are toomany people walking the streets today who misunderstand thisbusiness about their rights. Far too many as far as I amconcerned.

I know some people who came in the other day with apresentation to caucus and they talked about the misuse thatthey were receiving from management in forcing upon them all ofthe trinkets in selling gas, and they had to subscribe to allthese things. Yet those same people are going around sayingthey have a right not to be organized, they have a right tostand alone. They are just like a bunch of chickens, beingplucked off one at a time. That is what I think about standingalone.

It is fine to stand alone so long as everybody is standingalone, but don't think that management is not together,especially when it comes to exploiting people, because the wayyou will make your money in this society is by findingweaknesses. Until we get organized in this way, until we tellthe people on the street, "Fine. You want to be individuals,you want your rights — understand first of all the name of thegame in this competitive society in which we live," Ithink the government has to come out front, the same as it hasto do on other things.

We have to lay down the law. We are living in a society of dog eat dog. We are living in a society of regulations, and unless we understand this, I think that we are playing games. We are misleading the people. We have to have regulations, and they have to be in line with reality. Maybe it will be different in another decade from now or so, but we are not going to help people on the streets who are on the short end of the stick by telling them, "You get out there and try real hard."

In any sector of our society I could give you an analogy. It doesn't matter whether it is the guy who is trying to get somewhere in this society without a proper education, or without the means, or resources — which are under the Minister of Rehabilitation and Social Improvement who is trying to raise their level up, say with a minimum income or something like that — or a person who is trying to get through university. But finally after getting it you still can't compete.

All these people need to understand the problems of oursociety. I think it's good business for the government toprotect the people who are working for it. If you go and make adeal with a contractor, and don't ensure that the people whowork under that corporation or that agent…This is companionlegislation to our previous bill — Bill No. 152, I believe — which talked about the protection of wages. This group ofpeople voted in favour of that bill incidentally, just a fewminutes ago — the previous bill. And now you are saying don'tvote for this. I think if we are concerned about people wecan't be concerned about them half the time and not beconcerned about them the rest of the time.

It is a great big joke, when we talk about individuals'rights. I get pretty shaken, Mr. Speaker, when I think aboutthe human rights situation in this province. It is the samething. We say, "No we do not want legislation which willprotect people to the extent that we are going to prosecute."We should get out front, and cut out the games that we areplaying with people, and all these myths. We had better havesome teeth in the things that we are doing, at least for today.This is a contemporary thing we are talking about. This hasnothing to do with 100 years ago, or the next 100 years. We areconcerned right now, and there are people out there on thestreets who need to be protected. This Government has theresponsibility to do it, and it has to do it withauthority.

The Opposition, by telling people about their rights, isjust dragging them behind. Because you are not going toconvince a guy who has the opportunity to take them for allthey are worth that he is concerned about their rights. Theyhave to protect themselves or they are going to go down thedrain, and there are many examples of that.

You take a look at the retail operators of gasoline in thisprovince. Ask them what they think of selling all those littletigers in the tank, and glasses and all these other — ask themwhat they think. And also ask them whether they are prepared toform a union and organize themselves to tell those…(Laughter)

[ Page 2415 ]

…those fellows who are pushing the petroleum where theyshould go. Ask them. They'll say, "Oh, no, we don't want to dothat because we are individuals, we are free enterprisers, weare entrepreneurs. We are the kind of people who aresemi-middle class. We're not quite up and we're not quitedown." (Laughter).

These are the kind of people, Mr. Speaker, who will be thefirst ones to talk about rights but they don't understandanything about the jungle we're in out there and the war we'rein out there.

I think it is an insult that I must have a glass or a couponwhenever I make a purchase of gas.

I feel this legislation, for all the criticism is vital tothe workers of this province. O.K. we're going to get it. TheLoyal Opposition is doing its job. That's all they're doing — ajob, and they're trying to do a job on the public right now.The realities are that after we are finished talking, there arethousands of people out there who need to be protected and it'sa two-way street. I support this legislation.

MR. SPEAKER: The Hon. Provincial Secretary.

HON. MR. HALL: Mr. Speaker, I would like to address myselffor a little while on this bill, particularly in relation tothe Act it is replacing. However, we have some business comingup shortly, Mr. Speaker, and I would like to move adjournmentof this debate until the next sitting of the House.

Motion approved.

HON. MR. HALL: Mr. Speaker, I wonder if you would advise usor perhaps declare a five minute recess without the Membersleaving the chamber so we can be ready for theLieutenant-Governor when he comes in two or three minutestime.

MR. SPEAKER: Would the Hon. Members accept a shortrecess?

The House took recess.

The House resumed at 5:40 p.m.

His Honour the Lieutenant-Governor entered the House andtook his place in the chair.

MR. SPEAKER: May it please your Honour:

We, Her Majesty's most dutiful and loyal subjects, theLegislative Assembly of the Province of British Columbia insession assembled, approach Your Honour with sentiments ofunfeigned devotion and loyalty to Her Majesty's person andgovernment and humbly beg to present for Your Honour'sacceptance Bill No. 172 intituled An Act For GrantingCertain Sums of Money for the Public Service of the Province ofBritish Columbia.

CLERK OF THE HOUSE: In Her Majesty's name, His Honour the Lieutenant-Governor doth thank Her Majesty's loyal subjects, accept their benevolence, and assent to this bill.

The Honourable the Lieutenant-Governor was pleased to retirefrom the Chamber.

MR. SPEAKER: The Hon. Member for Saanich and theIslands.

MR. H.A. CURTIS (Saanich and the Islands): I would ask leaveof the House to withdraw Bill No. 23 standing in my name on theorder paper.

Leave granted.

Hon. Mr. Barrett moves adjournment of the House.

Motion approved.

The House adjourned at 5:50 p.m.

[ Return to Legislative Assembly Home Page ]

Copyright © 1973, 2001, 2013: Queen's Printer, Victoria, B.C., Canada

Hansard — Monday, April 9, 1973 — Afternoon (2024)

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