The House met at 2 p.m.
Mr. Speaker: As hon. members know, this morning I had the honour to administer the oath of office to the first Ombudsman for the Province of Ontario. The proceedings have been recorded and if it is agreeable to hon. members, they will be printed as an appendix to Hansard today. Is this agreed?
Mr. Evans: Mr. Speaker, I would like to introduce to you and members of the Legislature, 49 students from St. Monica’s School in the city of Barrie, accompanied by their teachers. Would you help me give them a warm welcome?
Mr. Breaugh: Mr. Speaker, I would like to introduce, in the east gallery, the students from Donevan Collegiate in the fine riding of Oshawa, some of whom are actually responsible for this member being in this House.
Mr. Leluk: I would also like to welcome to the Legislature this afternoon, 54 grade 7 and 8 students from St. Elizabeth Separate School in York West riding.
Mr. Conway: Mr. Speaker, on a point of privilege, I would ask if we could have some explanation of who it was who was seated this morning in the legislative seat held by the member for Carleton East (Mrs. Gigantes). I was under the impression that it may not have been the duly elected member for Carleton East.
Mr. Lewis: Is this a personal vendetta of yours?
Mr. Speaker: I am not aware of the situation. The member for Carleton East is in her seat now and I think she was there.
Mr. Conway: Mr. Speaker, part of the problem is that yesterday we were treated to certain business about the nomenclature to be used in the Legislature. I thought that was a good point made by a certain member of a certain party, and I thought today that perhaps I would add my little contribution --
Mr. Speaker: I am not sure there is a point of privilege. Everyone I noticed, I thought, was in his or her seat, but it is a little difficult to know at this point in time.
Statements by the ministry.
Mr. Mancini: You never answered the question.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Let’s get down to some serious work.
Hon. Mr. McKeough: Mr. Speaker, you are aware of the major conclusions of last week’s meeting of the ministers in Ottawa concerning a national anti-inflation programme and of the general support for the programme which this government has expressed. I rise now to make a full report to the members on our plan of action to control inflation in Ontario.
In this statement I will outline the scope of the inflation problem in Ontario and emphasize the seriousness of the current economic situation. I will briefly review the federal programme and indicate how we intend to enter and support that programme. I will outline the specific actions which we are taking in this province, both on our own and in coordination with the federal government. In addition, I will detail our suggestions for improvement which I made in Ottawa last week.
The current problems of both inflation and unemployment in Canada stem primarily from unprecedented pressures which built up in the international economy in 1972 and 1973. At that time, a simultaneous industrial boom in major trading countries created strong demand pressures for goods which resulted in shortages and rising prices. Poor harvests in 1973 pushed up food prices in almost all countries. Removal of price controls in the United States unleashed pent-up inflationary pressures and European and Japanese currencies were appreciated vis-à-vis the US and Canadian dollars.
This produced strong demands for Canadian exports and increased the costs of imported goods. During the latter part of 1973 and early 1974 the world economy suffered a major shock as oil-producing nations dramatically increased the price of their crude oil.
The resulting balance of payments and inflation crisis of our trading partners forced them to adopt policies which led to deep and prolonged recessions. Primarily because of our modest degree of oil self-sufficiency, the recession has been relatively less severe in Canada. However, while we have avoided the very high and prolonged unemployment suffered by our trading partners, the rate of unemployment here certainly has risen to unacceptable levels. In addition, our consumers have been hit with one price increase after another in areas such as food, housing and fuel. These have reflected both international and domestic pressures.
Having been spared somewhat the bitter medicine of a deep recession, we are now faced with a unique challenge. Three years of strong inflation have shaken the confidence of many Canadians that there will be a return to a situation of moderate price increases. It is very tempting, almost compelling, for any group in our society to hedge against the future by attempting to extract high wage and price increases from our economy.
If this wage-price spiral is to be broken, it must be through effective leadership and a broad understanding that our demands on the economy must be limited to its capacity for growth. Failure to learn this lesson will make the economic medicine we have been forced to take during this year’s pause in economic growth appear mild compared to what will become necessary in the future.
Prices have been rising faster in Canada than they are in the United States and wage settlements in manufacturing have been significantly outstripping the US levels. These factors augur a dark portent for our economic future and are the warning signals of a continuing deterioration of Canada’s trading position. Unless action is taken, major damage will be done to our prospects both for short-term recovery and for long-term economic growth.
The longer-run impact of these trends on government at all levels is potentially devastating. Diminished Canadian competitiveness will reduce economic growth and public revenues, while on the other hand skyrocketing salary expectations put strong pressures on public spending. The inevitable result will be higher taxes or deficits, or both, and their impact simply furthers the inflationary spiral.
For these reasons, Ontario has been calling for a plan of national action to confront the economic challenge. On Thanksgiving Day, the Prime Minister of Canada outlined the steps which the federal government is now prepared to take.
I would like to spend just a few minutes outlining the major elements of the federal government’s plan. It consists of income guidelines, price guidelines, a new administrative structure and a programme to restrain government expenditure. Large firms, construction companies, most unions, federal agencies and participating provinces will be subject to legal enforcement of the guidelines.
Income guidelines will be established for the next three years. They will provide a basic standard for all wage and salary increases, taking into account both cost of living and productivity. Settlements may be adjusted, either above or below the basic standard, to account for previous wage settlements. It is proposed to regulate professional incomes, using the salary guidelines with adjustments for cost and workload changes.
On the price side, the federal government proposes that after Oct. 13 price increases should only reflect cost increases. If a firm cannot allocate costs to individual products, its pre-tax profit margin should be no more than 95 per cent of average profit for the past five fiscal years.
Mr. Lewis: It will be pretty tough on them.
Hon. Mr. McKeough: Prices paid to food producers will be exempt from the guidelines, but the federal government has expressed an interest in developing marketing board policies consistent with the overall guidelines strategy. Additional guidelines are laid out for construction firms, financial institutions, export industries and retail and wholesale firms.
The programme will be administered by the anti-inflation board and enforced by the administrator. The board will monitor price and income changes and identify actions which may be in contravention of the guidelines. In such cases, the board will use moral suasion to bring the parties within the spirit of the guidelines. If this fails, the case will be referred to the administrator, who may order rollbacks and levy penalties. Cases may be appealed to the anti-inflation tribunal and from there to the federal Court of Appeal.
The legislation proposed by the federal government allows for two methods of provincial participation. Under one clause, section 4(3), a federal-provincial agreement can be signed, which brings provincial institutions directly under the administrative control of the anti-inflation board and subject to federal guidelines. Under an alternative section 4(4), the province would undertake enforcement of the Act and could negotiate some modifications in the application of the guidelines as they apply to particular classes and groups of provincial employees.
Two additional and important aspects of the plan are, first, that the provinces are asked to undertake a rent control programme consistent with national standards and, second, the provinces may enter into an agreement with the federal government regarding the regulation of professional incomes. I will come back to these two items later in this statement.
Last week in Ottawa we heard a fair amount of discussion and debate about many aspects of this programme. Indeed, it is easy to find flaws in the broad elements of the programme. For my part, I must admit that I do have some reservations. Perhaps the programme could have been announced sooner. Perhaps a total wage and price freeze would have been the best way to start out. In this way, inflationary expectations could have been immediately cooled down and a breathing space provided to work out administrative problems.
At this point, I might comment on the plan of the Province of British Columbia to impose a temporary freeze on selected prices. First of all, it seems to me that if a freeze is to be effective it must apply to wages as well as prices. Second, it apparently ignores the problem of the rising cost of --
Mr. Martel: That’s been successfully done, hasn’t it?
Mr. Lewis: Anything that requires provincial initiative, the government draws back from.
Hon. Mr. McKeough: Second, it apparently ignores the problem of the rising cost of imported food and, for that matter, all goods coming from other provinces. Third, it will favour large, Canada-wide corporations --
Mr. Lewis: Instead of multi-national ones.
Hon. Mr. McKeough: -- and possibly create financial hardships for small businessmen and farmers. Big corporations will be able to absorb the temporary inconveniences of the mini-freeze and may even pass on costs to other provinces.
Mr. Renwick: You ought to know about that.
Hon. Mr. McKeough: This underlines the importance of approaching such programmes on a national level.
We place highest priority on co-ordinated national action to meet a national problem. Therefore, we have withheld any substantive reservations and will co-operate fully with the federal government. Our co-operative attitude will also apply to the constitutional issue.
Mr. Foulds: Are they your federal cousins?
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Hon. Mr. McKeough: Bill C-73 involves a declaration by the federal government of a national emergency in peacetime on the basis of the peace, order and good government clause.
Mr. Renwick: There is no such power and you know it. You are wrong. That is constitutional nonsense.
Hon. Mr. McKeough: While the bill recognizes provincial jurisdiction in the case of rents, professions and provincial institutions, it gives the federal government power to directly control prices and income in private enterprises. Ontario is willing to accept this situation. We indicated earlier that we would not place constitutional impediments in the path of a national policy to regulate prices and incomes.
Mr. Renwick: Speak to your Attorney General (Mr. McMurtry) about it.
Hon. Mr. McKeough: Mr. Speaker, I have reviewed the history of inflation in Canada and Ontario and emphasized the gravity of the existing situation. I have stressed the need for immediate action and stated that Ontario will fully co-operate with and support the federal programme.
Mr. Lewis: It requires nothing from you.
Hon. Mr. McKeough: I will now turn to an outline of the more specific actions this province is taking. I will also point out areas where I think the federal programme can be further improved.
First, it is our intention to enter into an agreement with the federal government under section 4(3) of Bill C-73 for a period of two years. I might say here that at the conference last week Mr. Macdonald and other federal spokesmen indicated that they hoped, in the interests of as universal a programme as possible, that provinces would opt in under this section of the bill, and we understand that nearly all intend to do so.
In this regard, I would like to comment on a question yesterday by the leader of the Liberal Party. He asserted that we would be rejecting our responsibilities if we opted into a national anti-inflation plan in line with the expressed desire of the federal government. I wonder if the hon. member fully appreciates the magnitude and seriousness of the problem this nation is facing. Our major responsibility is to fight inflation in the best possible way, not to quibble over the constitution.
Mr. Singer: Oh, come on! What about the speeches in June? Tell us about those great Liberals in June and their constitutional responsibility.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Mr. Renwick: You leave the constitution to the Attorney General and don’t give us your interpretation of it.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Mr. Bullbrook: Why do you let him be inflammatory? Why do you do that? What do you expect?
Mr. Singer: Next time the Treasurer will be gone too.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. We must get on with the business of the House.
Mr. Renwick: You leave the constitution alone and speak to the Attorney General.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. The hon. Treasurer will continue.
Mr. Bullbrook: Choose section 4(4) not 4(3). You shake your head. You don’t know what you are all about.
Hon. Mr. McKeough: Mr. Speaker, picture what would happen if all provinces set up separate review and enforcement bodies. Each would make an unconnected string of decisions concerning exemptions and apply different standards of enforcement This could only lead to a tangled web of disarray, a serious erosion of the national effort and, as a consequence, a higher rate of inflation in this country. This government does not endorse that kind of approach.
Mr. Renwick: That is just balderdash.
Mr. Lewis: You forgot how to govern. That is what you are saying.
Hon. Mr. McKeough: Nor do we agree with the idea that special provincial relationships with some groups, such as teachers and civil servants, require that we establish a separate review board. In one way or another, the government has a special relationship with virtually every member of the work force in Ontario -- trade unions, small incorporated businesses --
Mr. Lewis: Oh, come on!
Mr. Renwick: Your relationship is the boss man.
Mr. Lewis: You are not the employer in the private sector.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Hon. Mr. McKeough: Nor are we of teachers, nor are we of firemen.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. We should get on with the business of the House. The hon. Leader of the Opposition should set the example, I believe, here.
Mr. Bullbrook: I guess so.
Mr. Speaker: Let the hon. Treasurer continue.
Hon. Mr. McKeough: In one way or another the government has a special relationship with virtually every member of the work force in this province -- trade unions, small incorporated businesses, businesses requiring licences, tradesmen, small construction companies, real estate brokers, credit unions and other provincially-incorporated bodies. These and many others are covered under a variety of provincial statutes. Public servants are by no means the only groups who have a special provincial relationship. These relationships will continue and, as such, the anti-inflation programme involves no surrender of provincial jurisdiction in the regulation of professional, commercial or trade practices. It is our intention to make this programme work in Ontario with only a small dose of bureaucracy but with a large dose of effectiveness. The Premier (Mr. Davis) has established a special cabinet committee, chaired by myself, with the ministers of Education (Mr. Wells), Health (Mr. F. S. Miller), Labour (B. Stephenson), Housing (Mr. Rhodes), and Energy (Mr. Timbrell), the Attorney General (Mr. McMurtry) and the Chairman of Management Board (Mr. Auld). This committee will monitor the progress of the programme and make recommendations to the cabinet. As its chairman, I expect to be reporting to the members from time to time concerning the results of our work.
Under the cabinet committee, a position of provincial coordinator for Ontario’s anti-inflation programme has been created. The responsibilities of the provincial co-ordinator will be to:
Monitor the overall anti-inflation programme with regard to how it is operating in Ontario;
Be the main contact for all Ontario government ministries concerning the application of guidelines in their specific areas of responsibilities;
Be the chief liaison officer between the province and the federal government; and
Offer liaison between Ontario and the private sector with respect to the operation of the programme.
All Ontario government ministries, agencies and boards have been instructed by cabinet to provide the fullest co-operation in support of the provincial coordinator. The members will recall that last week Dr. James Fleck was appointed to this position.
As you know, Mr. Speaker, the government is committed to establishing a rent control system in this province. We want to ensure that our plan is fully compatible with the overall federal anti-inflation programme. Soon after the meeting of federal and provincial ministers of housing, full details of our plan will be announced.
The issue of professional incomes presents one of the most difficult challenges for the anti-inflation programme. We think it is essential to reinforce the guidelines. One method would be to establish a formal fee schedules for the various professions not now covered by one. We think this method would be impractical because of the tremendous differentials in the price for any given service and the non-income mechanisms available to professionals for securing reimbursement.
In addition, we think the programme should be primarily concerned with the control of professional incomes. It should not interfere with provincial jurisdiction over the governing of professions or with client relationships. Accordingly, the most feasible method appears to be a tax-back route on a national basis. This would involve an additional and incremental tax on income in excess of the guidelines. We are studying the implications of such a tax as a possible method of ensuring that the guidelines will apply equally to self-employed and salaried professionals.
Turning now to the public sector in Ontario we will ensure that all ministries, agencies, local governments, commissions and Crown corporations will be brought within the guidelines. In particular, we shall be discussing with the federal government the development of more precise instructions and workable guidelines for application to the Ontario Energy Board concerning gas utilities and Ontario Hydro rates, Ontario Hydro concerning local hydro utilities’ rates, and the Ontario Telephone Commission.
As the federal guidelines are clarified, instructions and guidelines will be made available through the office of the provincial coordinator. We have already met with the provincial-municipal liaison committee and indicated our basic support for the anti-inflation programme. As soon as possible, members of the special cabinet committee and the provincial coordinator will be meeting with all affected groups in the public sector including school boards, hospitals and universities -- to discuss the application of the guidelines.
As the programme develops, I am confident that all responsible individuals, whatever their particular economic interest, will work for the success of the programme and not for its erosion. For this reason, we accept the intent of the federal legislation for full inclusion of the province and its emanations. At this critical stage of development of what must admittedly be a very complex and yet often arbitrary programme, we cannot afford to behave in an obstructive manner. It is the national interest we are all involved in now and not the limited interests of any one level of government or its agencies.
Hon. Mr. McKeough: It is in this spirit that the government will opt into the federal programme --
Mr. Foulds: That didn’t change a thing.
Mr. Singer: How thoughtful we are today. Our halo is glistening.
Hon. Mr. McKeough: -- but I should emphasize that we are making constructive suggestions about the implementation process which we have conveyed to the federal government --
Mr. Singer: Polish the halo.
Hon. Mr. McKeough: -- and which we will be discussing further with them.
The development of an improved programme will only emerge from a combination of experience and intergovernmental negotiation, conducted in an atmosphere of concern for the national interest.
I am frankly somewhat dismayed by the number of groups which have already rushed forward with demands for exemptions. A year from now, these same groups will be arguing for cost-of-living increases and will probably not admit to any connection between their earlier income demands and the rise in living costs for the general public. This, in my view, is a distressing form of economic isolationism.
Our specific suggestions for strengthening the federal programme are as follows:
First, a lot has been said about prices by those who oppose the programme and who have apparently not read or understood the proposals for limiting the price increases and net profit margins of large corporations. Our concern is that these proposals should be reinforced if necessary by a corporate surtax. Such a tax would be levied against corporate profits in excess of the guidelines where these profits are not reinvested. We cannot agree with the federal position that surtaxes --
Mr. Cassidy: That’s useless.
Hon. Mr. McKeough: -- on excessive income increases are too complicated to administer. Use of the tax route in support of price guidelines may help to control firms which might otherwise escape the guidelines and could reduce price administration costs.
Second, I have mentioned the wage and salary exceptions permitted under the proposed guidelines. This programme has been implemented at a time when oil and gas prices and high interest rates are pushing up the basic cost structure of our economy. To add to this pressure the large-scale wage and salary exceptions possible under the present guidelines, is to run the risk that the programme will apply only to the weakest members of society and will never really get started.
I said in Ottawa last week that we must be prepared to live for a time with inequities and draw the line now. I do not believe that there is any other way of proceeding if we mean this programme to work.
Mr. Foulds: We have lived with inequities for centuries.
Hon. Mr. McKeough: It is a tough decision but the times demand it.
There has been some discussion of annual or so-called merit increases applying to groups such as teachers and civil servants. It is not clear whether such increases will be excluded from the guidelines, but we expect this will be clarified shortly.
Our third suggestion was that the $600 annual maximum allowable pay increase for low wage groups be raised. The provision is, in our view, unrealistic and could create undue hardship for many low wage earners.
I would now like to turn to the area of government spending control. What we do not need at this point in time is a resumption of new federal spending initiatives such as we have witnessed in the past couple of years. This has put pressure on provincial and local spending, not to mention the Canadian taxpayer. If there are any major new federal expenditures in housing, then I will serve notice now that we expect the federal government to adopt the same budgetary self-discipline that we and local governments, universities and hospitals are now exercising and to find the money in existing low-priority programmes.
Mr. Sargent: You are losing $6 million a day. How can you say that?
Hon. Mr. McKeough: In this regard, it is instructive to compare the records of the federal and provincial levels of government in meeting targets of expenditure restraint and control. It is commonly believed by many that the provincial-municipal sector of government has accounted for the bulk of increased government spending.
In the case of Ontario, while this was true in the late 1960s it is simply not true today, nor has it been for the last four years.
Over the period 1971 to 1974, Ontario actually reduced its share of gross provincial product, dropping from 11.3 per cent to 10.7 per cent. Similarly, the share taken up by local government went down.
Mr. Singer: That’s how you got to $11 billion.
Mr. Yakabuski: The member is going to have to return the retainer.
Hon. Mr. McKeough: On the other hand, the federal government increased its relative share to the gross national product from 12.5 per cent to 14.1 per cent in Ontario.
Mr. Singer: It didn’t work before and it isn’t going to work now. You have got to do something better than that.
Hon. Mr. McKeough: In the rest of Canada, its share of gross national product is even higher and has risen since 1971 by a larger amount.
Government spending control is an area where the federal government must show leadership rather than attempting to explain the difficulties of cutting back. This week in Ottawa I made a number of specific proposals for federal spending rollbacks and we hope they have listened.
This government has instituted a number of tough measures in the current fiscal year to cut back our spending growth. A progress report on these measures which were announced in July will be provided tomorrow to the members by my colleague, the Chairman of Management Board (Mr. Auld).
Mr. Roy: Yes, you have reason to choke on that.
Hon. Mr. McKeough: I might also mention that the special programme review committee established earlier this year by the government is in the process of completing an exhaustive review of expenditures and its report is expected soon. We will be studying its recommendations very seriously.
It is vitally important that the thrust of this expenditure restraint programme be expanded and carried forward into next year. Accordingly, I would like to announce new initiatives this government will undertake to further cut back public spending.
First, Ontario Hydro’s target level of borrowing for the next year will be reduced.
Mr. Lewis: Oh, boy.
Hon. Mr. McKeough: The 1975 level is estimated to be $1.5 billion and the currently planned level for next year is $1.9 billion.
Mr. Deans: But that is what we were going to review in committee.
Hon. Mr. McKeough: Hydro and the ministries of Energy and Treasury are now studying ways to effect this reduction and the legislative committee will certainly have an input into that as well.
Mr. Deans: Certainly nice to know that.
Mr. Lewis: So you have accepted the argument.
Hon. Mr. McKeough: Second, the existing complement freeze --
Hon. Mr. Davis: Don’t think it is going to be so simple.
Mr. Deans: But we’re going to do it.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. The hon. Treasurer will continue.
Hon. Mr. McKeough: Second, the existing complement freeze will be extended to another full fiscal year and Management Board has been instructed to find further complement cuts.
Third, with minor exceptions for salary adjustments at the lower end of the scale, salaries of all senior civil servants will be frozen through calendar year 1976.
Fourth, provincial assistance to local governments next year will be limited to the Edmonton commitment.
Fifth, I expect to introduce my budget early in the new year and we have adopted a provincial expenditure growth target for next year of 10 per cent.
I would like to elaborate on the importance of this target. It will be significantly below our average expenditure growth rate for the past several years. Also, I expect it will be well below the federal white paper target which is that government spending be held to the growth rate in gross national product. Forecasters are now suggesting that next year’s GNP growth will be in the neighbourhood of 14 per cent. Moreover, since our revenue growth for next year is currently estimated to be in the 12 to 13 per cent range, the achievement of our expenditure target will result in a reduction of net cash requirements.
It is going to be very tough to achieve this target but we are determined to do it without any loss of efficiency or decline in the level of essential services.
In concluding this statement, I would like to leave these thoughts with the members. Ontario has acted decisively in support of a national programme. It will be a complex and difficult programme to implement and will require the support of all members of society. It will require a sense of urgency and a de termination to act in the national interest and not in the narrow interest of any single group or individual.
There will be inequities but many of them will be ironed out as the programme proceeds. Rut for those who are complaining loudly of apparent injustice, let it be clear that no one is being asked to sacrifice his job or his economic future. No one is being asked to lower significantly his current standard of living. In fact for the vast majority, standards of living will continue to rise. The only demand placed on all of us by the programme is to exercise restraint.
It should have been apparent to many that with the sudden and brutal imposition of higher oil prices in world markets, the prospects for growth and the ambitions for rising levels of personal consumption would sooner or later have to be modified in Canada as they have been throughout the industrialized world. If we are to avoid an economic slowdown and maintain economic and social stability, restraint is not a luxury. It is a prerequisite to survival.
We cannot avoid the personal and social adjustments that the new economic realities are demanding of us. Excessive personal income gains can only be made at the expense of other Canadians and our economic future and that is what the government of Ontario is determined to prevent.
Mr. Lewis: On a point of order, if I may.
Mr. Speaker: Point of order.
Mr. Lewis: Recognizing the difficulty of coming to grips with this kind of statement in a question period, would the government either put the statement on the order paper as an item for full debate in the assembly; or, indeed, table the federal-provincial agreement, which you intend to sign, as an item for full debate in the assembly? Obviously, this grab-bag approach to it isn’t going to be satisfactory.
Hon. Mr. McKeough: Mr. Speaker, I think we will take the very excellent suggestion of the Leader of the Opposition under consideration. My guess would be that the agreement -- not being a lawyer, let alone a constitutional lawyer like the member on your left -- our expectation would be that the agreement may take some time to work out and cross the “t”s and dot the “i”s. I would think the suggestion made by the member to put this statement on the order paper as a matter of debate, perhaps, would be better than waiting for the agreement. But the House leader would undoubtedly discuss this with the leaders of the two parties to sort something out.
Mr. Speaker: Oral questions.
Mr. Lewis: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. A question of the Treasurer: Since the hon. minister is reinforcing, with some ferocity, the pressures on wages in Ontario, why is there absolutely no provincial intervention anywhere in this statement on the question of prices?
Hon. Mr. McKeough: I think that’s not correct at all, Mr. Speaker, with respect.
Mr. Lewis: Of who? Of housing?
Hon. Mr. McKeough: We have suggested to the government that they should look at, and I think they are looking at the possibility of an excess profits tax, which, of course, is getting at exactly what you’re saying.
Mr. Lewis: By way of supplementary, those are vague federal initiatives. Why is the government not prepared to do in the Province of Ontario, beyond the marginal qualifications the Treasurer stated, what has been done in the Province of British Columbia, in order to protect wage earners from excessive price increases or payments? Why does the government move on wages, but never on prices provincially?
Hon. Mr. McKeough: Mr. Speaker, I might be flip and say because we’re not going into an election, which the leader of my friend’s party in British Columbia seems to be getting ready to do.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. We’re awaiting the answer.
Hon. Mr. McKeough: Mr. Speaker, I detailed in the statement three reasons which I think, if my friend reflects on them, he will come to agree with. I would also say we don’t really think an action by an individual province such as that is going to be effective. I wish them well. We don’t think it’s going to be effective. Moreover, I would have to say -- and I have asked my colleagues -- that since Oct. 13 we have not had any evidence of price increases other than what has norm ally been going on. There has been no evidence to us, nor have we heard of any.
Mr. Singer: You have to stop now.
Mrs. Campbell: Stop while you’re ahead.
Hon. Mr. McKeough: No, I would think something less.
An hon. member: Where have you been?
Hon. Mr. McKeough: I think the Ontario people, and I’m sure the people of Canada, have accepted the Prime Minister’s words of Oct. 13 with some spirit.
Hon. Mr. McKeough: There are disagreements, obviously, as to details. We’ve seen no evidence of excessive price increases or abnormal price changes since Oct. 13.
Mr. Nixon: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: I wonder why the Treasurer would indicate to the House, and specifically in reference to a question I put to him yesterday, that the net effect of a price and wage control initiative from Ottawa would in any way be depreciated if in fact this province had implementation procedures such as the Province of Quebec has or will have, and by way of a special initiative as the Province of British Columbia has taken, which is really in line with reinforcing this initiative and in no way diluting it. Would the Treasurer say to this House that he would be opposed to an implementation procedure in this province, which would in no way weaken this but which would give our teachers and our civil servants and our professional people -- who are directly, under the provisions of the federal statute, available for supervision at the provincial level -- ready access to those people who would, in fact, administer the wage and price controls which we all support?
Hon. Mr. McKeough: Mr. Speaker, I think that the very fact that there are two boards in existence undoubtedly is going to lead to differences of interpretation and to different decisions given by those boards, and, therefore, in the minds of the people in either one situation or the other, the feeling that there is some degree of unfairness, If there is one national board administering this programme, then I think our people generally across the country are going to feel more confident that an equitable and fair solution is being arrived at for all of us, without putting public servants or teachers into some sort of special compartment and saying they are more important and they deserve the provincial ear --
Mr. Bullbrook: You had the alternative, didn’t you?
Hon. Mr. McKeough: -- where people who work for a small construction firm don’t, or people who work in a retail business under a certain size in this province don’t deserve our ear and our consideration. Think about that for a while.
Mr. Yakabuski: What do you think about the little man?
Mr. Nixon: A further supplementary along those lines: Surely the Treasurer must take into consideration that his colleague, the Minister of Education (Mr. Wells), has predicted an 18-month delay under these circumstances. We could assist in these matters without in any way weakening the input and the thrust and the effect of the federal wage and price guideline law.
Mr. Bullbrook: Because they anticipated it that way.
Hon. Mr. McKeough: Mr. Speaker, if there is a delay of 18 months -- and I doubt that, and I would hope that there wouldn’t be -- then I don’t think an Ontario teacher or an Ontario public servant deserves to go to the head of some queue any more than anybody else in our society here in Ontario. We are all in this together and there are not going to be special rules for some.
Mr. Nixon: What’s the sense of having a provincial government if you won’t accept the responsibility? We could improve it here.
Hon. Mr. McKeough: There are not going to be special rules for some group whose favour you are trying to curry today.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Mr. Bullbrook: You have your alternative; it is in the legislation.
Mr. Nixon: The people can do without the Treasurer entirely.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. This is a very big topic. There are many people who want to ask separate questions which are not related to the first answer, as we tried to impress on you yesterday. I think the hon. Leader of the Opposition should proceed with a new question and these other points will be covered sooner or later. Please.
Mr. Lewis: I will create an avenue to open it up again.
A further question, then, of the Treasurer: If this was a uniform application of the law federally, I can understand the argument. Since the anti-inflation tribunal obviously has flexibility to vary up and down from the guidelines, as it is now doing in the postal dispute, why does the minister not provide within the public sector in Ontario, where the government is directly or indirectly the employer, the same possibility as is going to be exercised federally?
Hon. Mr. McKeough: Mr. Speaker, I am not aware that the anti-inflation board has had anything to do with the postal strike as yet.
Mr. Lewis: But surely the Treasurer can see that if the agreement is, as Mr. Mackasey pursues it, at a level above the guidelines, it will have to go to the anti-inflation board and then be approved up or down?
Mr. Bullbrook: The Treasurer doesn’t know what they will do with it.
Hon. Mr. McKeough: Exactly.
An hon. member: That’s the point.
Mr. Lewis: But the Treasurer is assuming in advance that they will not approve it?
Hon. Mr. McKeough: I am not assuming anything. I am not assuming whether they would approve it, roll it back, increase it, lower it or anything else. It will go -- as I understand it, if there is ultimately a settlement -- it will go to the anti-inflation board. Similarly, if there was an agreement at Metropolitan Toronto tomorrow, then that agreement would go to the anti-inflation board.
Mr. Renwick: But it can’t. The minister doesn’t understand.
Mr. Lewis: Then let me ask the minister, as a separate question but in a sense a supplementary just to clarify something I have not fully understood: He says in his statement, “I said in Ottawa last week that we must be prepared to live for a time with inequities and to draw the line now.” Is the Treasurer saying it is the opinion of this government that in the case of, let us say, the teacher negotiations -- for lack of a better example at the moment -- they should confine themselves to a settlement at the level of the guidelines in order to, as you say, draw the line now?
Hon. Mr. McKeough: I am saying no such thing, Mr. Speaker. What I am saying, in answer to the member’s question, is that I think it would be very difficult for us in this province to decide -- and we perhaps are capable of deciding -- what might be appropriate changes in the guidelines in this province for a certain group -- the member has used teachers -- and then have that interpreted in nine different ways across the country by others. I can’t think of anything which would bring the programme tumbling down faster than that.
Mr. Nixon: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: How would the Treasurer respond under those circumstances, if the situation developed as predicted by his colleague, the Minister of Education (Mr. Wells), who indicated that since there may be substantial delays at the federal level under these circumstances, an agreement could be reached on the basis of our Bill 100 which might, in fact, in the future be changed and even rolled back as far as teachers’ incomes are concerned by decision of that board?
Would, then, this province require our teachers, after possibly 18 months, to make restitution to the boards, or would the taxpayers in the community concerned -- as was suggested by the chairman of the school board for Metropolitan Toronto -- have to make additional payments to the Treasury of the government of Ottawa? Might I ask the Treasurer, would it not be better if we had the implementation procedures here which in no way would bring anybody unfairly to the head of the line, but in fact would do away with the problems that we believe can be solved better here than in Ottawa?
Hon. Mr. McKeough: Mr. Speaker, the former leader of the opposition was always a great exponent of riding off in three directions at once. Now he wants to go in 11 directions at once. We’re not going to do it if we’re going to lick this problem.
Mr. Nixon: Is that your best answer? Can’t you give a better answer than that? You, with responsibility as the Treasurer of this province --
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. You’re debating now.
Mr. Nixon: You are prepared to abdicate this responsibility --
Hon. Mr. McKeough: Mr. Speaker, the hon. member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk is addressing himself to one group -- the teachers.
Mr. Nixon: The group was selected by the Treasurer and the Leader of the Opposition.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Hon. Mr. McKeough: No, no, that’s your problem.
Mr. Foulds: Supplementary to the Treasurer on the original question: One of the inequities that he feels the people of Ontario should live with is the inequity in prices between northern and southern Ontario. What steps is his government willing to take to equalize prices between northern and southern Ontario, particularly in the crucial areas of food, clothing, heating and gasoline?
Hon. Mr. McKeough: Mr. Speaker, there are inequities in our society. This government over the years has done much to try to remove those inequities -- not only just between northern and southern Ontario -- in terms of redistribution of income generally. But those programmes are not part and cannot be part of the battle against inflation. Those things must go ahead. Those things have to be considered, but let’s not confuse them with an anti-inflation programme.
Mr. Bullbrook: May I have a supplementary? One supplementary?
Mr. Speaker: Final supplementary.
Mr. Bullbrook: Am I correct, in connection with the Treasurer’s intemperate response to the leader of our party, that he regards the alternative under Section 4(4) of the federal legislation -- the alternative available to him -- as “riding off in 11 directions”? Is that correct? Yes? Has he brought that to the attention of the federal Minister of Finance?
Hon. Mr. McKeough: What I indicated to the member, if he had listened to my statement instead of babbling so much --
Mr. Bullbrook: I listened very much. It is very difficult to understand it -- the convolution to go ahead --
Hon. Mr. McKeough: -- he would have heard that the federal minister urged provinces to come in under 4(3).
Mr. Bullbrook: Final supplementary: Does the Treasurer not agree with me that the federal government has rendered to each province an alternative to accept its concurrent responsibility with the federal administration and not opt out in such a chicken-like fashion?
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. A new question.
BELL CANADA INVESTIGATION
Mr. Lewis: One question, just to shift the ground slightly to the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations. What happened to the investigation which, during the course of the campaign, he had launched into Bell Canada and its practices in Ontario? And further to that, what intervention is Ontario making in the Bell Canada rate application, to make sure that those rates are kept well within the guidelines.
Hon. Mr. Handleman: Mr. Speaker, the first part of the question is well within the periphery of my ministry to respond to; the other I think should be re-addressed to the Minister of Transportation and Communications (Mr. Snow).
Our investigation into Bell Canada was simply to ascertain whether or not there had been any violations of the Business Practices Act -- whether there had been representations made which had induced people to enter into consumer contracts, and then those representations were not carried through. We found very few instances of violations of the Business Practices Act. Where we did, Bell Canada complied with our request to comply with the representations it had made to the consumers.
Mr. Nixon: On that question, has the hon. minister been approached by those residents of Ontario who have applied for service from Bell Canada and been denied that service with the reason being given by the corporation that they do not have a profit level rich enough to permit them to provide service, as has been the custom up until the present time? Has he had complaints along those lines and has he responded to them?
Hon. Mr. Handleman: Mr. Speaker, certainly I receive complaints along those lines and the response is that we have no legislative jurisdiction to interfere in those particular instances. We have responded to those complaints which came under the Business Practices Act.
Mr. Nixon: I’d like to return to the Treasurer just for a moment on the basis of his statement. Being aware of the way the provincial responses across Canada have been occurring, with Quebec, probably as expected, accepting an individual provincial responsibility for implementation and enforcement, how can the minister indicate that in fact it is some sort of a constitutional shallow argument to indicate, as we have indicated from our party, that we believe it is the responsibility of this government to accept a similar responsibility -- that in fact it is not divisive, but in fact it does provide the kind of service and implementation --
Mr. Roy: It is complementary.
Mr. Nixon: -- and enforcement that our people require, and in fact expect, because we are a confederation and because we have the power, and in my view the responsibility, to do so from here?
Mr. Bullbrook: That is exactly right.
Hon. Mr. McKeough: Mr. Speaker, I suppose one looks for far-out examples. I think if the member would reflect on the seriousness of the situation and appreciate the gravity of the economic problems facing this country, as recognized by the Prime Minister in his Thanksgiving Day speech and recognized by the Premiers of all the provinces, he would recognize that as in the case of real national emergency or a war, we would not raise 11 armies across this country; we would raise one. It is as simple as that.
Mr. Shore: Mr. Speaker, I think this subject is a massive subject. The hon. minister has said it is profound. I agree with him. I think it is not unreasonable to request time to debate this particular subject. There are two aspects of this, and I think it should be done.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. The hon. member is supposed to be asking a supplementary question. The statement will be placed on the order paper -- or at least it is highly likely that it will be -- for debate. This is just a question period for information, not debate. Information, please.
Mr. Shore: I ask when we could debate this subject matter.
Mr. Speaker: I do not know. That is anticipating what the House leader will agree to have on the order paper and we cannot answer that at the present time.
Mr. Roy: In view of the Treasurer’s great concern about making exceptions -- and that seems to be the basis of his answers here; that the Treasurer is afraid to make exceptions, let us say, for the teachers, the doctors, and so on -- how can he justify having, in fact, made an exception with Hydro by referring its price increase to a legislative committee and not directly to the board in Ottawa?
Mr. Speaker: A supplementary question is supposed to be based on the original question.
Mr. Roy: I am right on.
Mr. Speaker: The question had to do with each province treating the subject differently. Hydro seems to be specific. Unless the hon. member can amend the question to the original question, we will rule it out of order.
Mr. Bullbrook: Show me in there. It is not a regulatory body and you know it. You show me. There is the document.
Mr. Nixon: If you are not permitting that question to be answered, Mr. Speaker -- does the hon. member want to pursue that?
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. The so-called supplementary had to do with Hydro and the hon. member’s original question, as I understood it, had to do with the divisive nature of the policy across Canada. Would the hon. member continue with further questions?
Mr. Roy: No, we are talking about --
Mrs. Campbell: He was right on. Dead on.
TEACHER-SCHOOL BOARD NEGOTIATIONS
Mr. Nixon: On a similar subject I would like to direct a question to the Minister of Education. Will he explain to the House his comments, which have been referred to in the last two question periods, when he indicated that there could be an 18-month delay in dealing with the situation having to do with the teachers. The hon. minister knows how important this is. We face a strike across Metropolitan Toronto within the next two weeks. Would he further explain how it might possibly be that an agreement under Bill 100 could be carried out between teachers and the board and the salaries paid on that basis, pending the decision of the federal board, and whether, if the decision went against the teachers, would the teachers then make restitution to the board? How is that going to work, one more time?
Hon. Mr. Wells: First of all, Mr. Speaker, my friend has said there is going to be a teachers’ strike. We don’t know there is going to be a teachers’ strike.
Mr. Nixon: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker, just so there will be no misunderstanding --
Hon. Mr. Wells: I just want to say this --
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. The hon. minister.
Mr. Roy: Order. That means sit down.
Mr. Speaker: I did not get that inflection in the question. Am I right?
Mr. Nixon: On the point of order which I raised. --
Mr. Speaker: Would the member repeat his question?
Mr. Nixon: I appreciate the Speaker’s perception of the inflection. Nobody wants a strike. Would the minister please not draw that red herring across his answer?
Mr. Bullbrook: Just answer the question.
Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, the answer to that question in full detail will have to come when the anti-inflation board in Ottawa issues some of its rules, regulations and guidelines. It’s almost an impossible question to answer at the present time.
If the employer and the employee -- in this case the board and the teachers -- reach an agreement they will, through their own legal counsel, have to interpret what they feel might or might not be a variation of the guidelines. Then they will have to pay accordingly knowing that if a decision is made to roll back at some particular time there is going to have to be restitution made, if that is the penalty imposed.
Mr. Lewis: That is a shambles.
Hon. Mr. Wells: The point I want to make -- and I think it has to be made because I’ve been looking over some other situations like this because I think, as my friend the Treasurer (Mr. McKeough) has said, one can’t isolate particular groups in this particular argument.
Mr. Roy: The minister has already.
Hon. Mr. Wells: Take the case of Falconbridge Nickel Mines. They’re on strike at the present time. There have been industry settlements above the guidelines. The people at Falconbridge Nickel Mines are going to have to go to Ottawa and find out what the anti-inflation board says, if and when they reach an agreement. They should be treated no differently from the teachers of Metropolitan Toronto. There must be uniformity.
Mr. Nixon: Right; I have a supplementary. I didn’t ask about Falconbridge.
Mr. Foulds: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order, please.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. We will allow the original questioner to ask his supplementary and then the member for Port Arthur.
Mr. Foulds: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker, I thought we rotated supplementaries?
Mr. Speaker: When the leaders are asking the question they have their opportunities for supplementaries first and then we rotate. The member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk.
Mr. Nixon: Would the minister further clarify -- we’re interested in the Falconbridge thing but I’m asking about the teachers’ situation -- is it possible the taxpayers might be required to make restitution on behalf of the teachers as indicated by the chairman of the Metropolitan Toronto Board of Education when he was asked about the implications of the statement made by the Minister of Education?
Hon. Mr. Wells: No, I can’t believe that the taxpayers would be asked to make restitution in that particular case.
Mr. Foulds: Mr. Speaker, does the minister feel that if the anti-inflation board rolls back an award given or an agreement arrived at between the board and the teachers, that constitutes a nullification of the settlement and it can be reopened? How else is the minister going to maintain the integrity of the government’s legislation, Bill 100?
Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, I do not feel it would nullify the legislation or nullify the settlement any more than a rolling back in the Falconbridge situation would nullify the Ontario Labour Relations Act in the way it operates in this province.
Mr. Lewis: Does the minister really feel comfortable with all this, having pointed out that he knows nothing about the regulations, nothing about the rules, not at all how they will apply? He has no information whatsoever and yet blindly is prepared to surrender himself to the federal government with all of the implications which flow from his own remarks? What’s wrong with the minister? He bought it, supposedly, in the national interest.
Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, I don’t feel comfortable with it.
Mr. Mackenzie: Stand up and be counted.
Hon. Mr. Wells: I think, as the Hon. Robert Stanfield has said, it’s rough justice.
Mr. Roy: Boy, oh boy, it’s rough justice.
Hon. Mr. Wells: I want to say that I feel a lot more uncomfortable with the kinds of things which my friend, the Treasurer, said in the conclusion of his speech and the kinds of consequences which are going to arise if we don’t all get together.
Mr. Lewis: Tough on wages, nothing on prices.
Hon. Mr. Wells: If I were at the federal level I’d be just as tough on prices and I hope they are as tough on prices.
Mr. Speaker: Is this a supplementary question on the original teacher question?
Mr. Sargent: A new question.
Mr. Speaker: We’re not ready for new questions. The member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk.
Mr. Nixon: No more questions, Mr. Speaker.
TELEVISION RECEPTION IN METROPOLITAN TORONTO
Mr. Williams: Mr. Speaker, a question of the Minister of Transportation and Communications: Could the minister advise this House as to what action could be undertaken by this government to ensure to the citizens of Ontario living within the Metropolitan Toronto area the continuing availability of a reasonable choice of television viewing within the metropolitan core, the likelihood of which is now in question as a result of recent action taken by the Canadian Radio-Television Commission and the proposed counteraction by major television stations within the Metropolitan Toronto area of influence.
Mr. Singer: Are you going to overrule the CRTC?
Mr. Roy: Did that take you by surprise?
Mr. Singer: You don’t have the power to do that.
Hon. Mr. Snow: This is a matter certainly that is of concern to me and to the communications section of my ministry. It is a proposal put forward by the CRTC that these commercials of the foreign stations would be blacked out by the cable companies. I don’t particularly agree with it, although I don’t have any jurisdiction over it.
Mr. Singer: Absolutely right.
Hon. Mr. Snow: I don’t disagree with the policy or the philosophy of the federal government or the CRTC in trying to preserve the revenues of Canadian advertisers for the Canadian television industry in order to have the revenues to improve programming within Ontario. I personally think the income tax provisions that the federal government has proposed but, as I understand, have not been passed yet, would have a more beneficial effect and perhaps work better as a deterrent against Canadian advertisers spending their advertising dollars in the United States than the blacking-out proposal that the CRTC has come up with.
Mr. Williams: Are there no representations that could be made by this government to the Canadian Radio-Television Commission to reassess the recent actions taken by it that are apparently going to have some adverse effect on the television viewing rights of the 3,000,000-odd people who live within the Metropolitan Toronto area?
Mr. Singer: Are you going to repeal the BNA Act?
Mr. Conway: On the bandwagon now.
Hon. Mr. Snow: Mr. Speaker, we are certainly observing what is going on at this level. I am not concerned at this moment that this so-called threatened action will take place.
Mr. Singer: If you solve it, tell Judy how you did it.
Mr. Martel: I thought that never happened to Canadians.
Hon. Mr. Snow: I think there are a great many complications involved before they would be allowed to do this. The broadcasting industry is a very highly regulated industry, I believe, in the United States as it is here. I’m sure the stations will have to make application for approval to do such things as this. I just don’t think we are going to wake up tomorrow morning and have no television from Buffalo. We’ll make our presentations when we feel the time is appropriate.
Mr. Deans: You might miss Howdy Doody or something.
Mr. Deans: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Minister of Industry and Tourism. Is the minister aware of the controversy which has developed in Ottawa and in Hamilton as a result of the application of a Foreign Investment Review Act inquiry into the possible sale of Canadian Westinghouse Ltd., in the first place to White Industries and secondly to General Steel Wares? Is he also aware of the implications on the economy of Ontario and the economy of the 2,500 Westinghouse employees if that were to be enforced? Has the minister made any representation to Ottawa with regard to the effects of this action on the economy and on the people of this province?
Hon. Mr. Bennett: Mr. Speaker, my ministry answers to the federal government in respect of the Foreign Investment Review Act. We have been very close to the discussions relating to the takeover of Canadian Westinghouse assets in Canada, first of all by White Corp. of the United States, and more specifically two years ago when GSW of London, Ont., made an offer to Westinghouse Canada to buy its assets and to keep the greatest production within this province. We made our representation to Mr. Gillespie, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Commerce for Canada at the time, clearly indicating how we observed the situation of the sale to the White Corp. and its effect on the economy of Ontario and the prospects of the industry, if sold to White, leaving this province.
Mr. Deans: Supplementary question: Since that particular sale appears to have gone by the boards, and since White is using its patent holdings to prevent a reasonable sale to General Steel Wares, is the government now making representation to the government of Canada in an attempt to preserve for those employees their jobs, and in an attempt to preserve for the economy of Ontario the employment opportunities that may well be lost some time in the next two or three weeks as a result of the government’s actions?
Hon. Mr. Bennett: It’s a federal matter, as the member will recognize, and I know very well that the federal government has given to the Westinghouse Corp. of the United States until Oct. 31, to come to an agreement on the patent rights and the use of the name for the goods they manufacture in this country. That relates to a deal or to an arrangement for the selling of the assets to GSW. We have made our position very clear to the federal government on how we believe it should be handled.
Mr. Deans: What is it? What is the ministry’s position?
Mr. Mancini: I have a question for the Minister of Agriculture and Food. I would like to know if he is prepared to take any steps to assist the greenhouse industry, which is going to be seriously affected by the increases for heating oil and gasoline?
An hon. member: He knows all about greenhouses.
Hon. W. Newman: I have no plans at this point of time.
Mr. Laughren: Same old attitude.
Mr. Mancini: Supplementary: Would the minister be prepared to meet a delegation?
Hon. W. Newman: Yes. With the constraints of the time in the House, if we can work it in, we will be only too glad to meet a delegation.
Mr. Breithaupt: That’s a change.
Mr. Singer: That’s good.
An hon. member: Might even serve them coffee.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Mr. Martel: There’s a whole lot of questions there.
Mr. Nixon: Let the record show the minister is smiling.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. The member for Hamilton Centre wishes to ask a question.
Mr. Davison: A question of the Minister of Housing. Does the proposed rent review legislation apply to all rental premises -- specifically small businesses, commercial and industrial premises -- and if not, why not?
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: I believe the hon. member should wait until the legislation is introduced in the House next week, at which time we can have a full and proper debate on the legislation and on the bill.
Mr. MacDonald: Another area where you haven’t been able to make up your mind yet.
Mr. Lewis: I thought we would get a statement on that, too.
Mr. Givens: I have a question of the Minister of Transportation and Communications. I would like to ask the minister what is the post-Pickering posture of this particular government with respect to the matter of a second airport in this area? Are we to understand that the matter of a second airport in this area has been completely abandoned by this government? Or are we to understand that the matter of a second airport has merely been left in abeyance and that the minister will revive the matter pending a more propitious economic climate? Or are we to understand that he will be pursuing the matter of a new site for a second airport at a different place? Please spare us the lecture of the fact that this is a matter for the federal government. I want to know what this government’s posture is?
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: Which of the three does the member suggest?
An hon. member: Where does the member stand?
Hon. Mr. Snow: As a matter of fact I had a long telegram from Mr. Lang this morning.
Mr. Roy: Could the minister read it?
Hon. Mr. Snow: Obviously he couldn’t send me a letter; but I do plan to have a meeting with my federal counterpart in the very near future. I have no plans of trying to suggest or seek an alternative site for another airport. I think there are a great many reasons for the action that has been taken to date in stopping the construction of the Pickering airport. I’ll report further to the House after I have met with Mr. Lang.
Mr. Givens: A supplementary then: What the minister is saying, if I am to understand him clearly, is that the matter of a second airport for this area is still very much alive in the minds of members of this government.
Hon. Mr. Snow: I didn’t say that at all.
Mr. Speaker: Order please. The member for Cornwall.
Mr. Samis: A supplementary to the minister.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Mr. Lewis: What did Mr. Lang’s night letter say?
Mr. Singer: “Let’s have a meeting.
Mr. Lewis: What does he ask the minister?
Hon. Mr. Snow: I have just received this letter -- this morning as I was walking over here -- and I would not --
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: It starts out “Dear Jim.”
Hon. Mr. Snow: -- I have not had an opportunity really to read it properly.
Mr. Gaunt: It just caught the minister in transit.
Mr. Lewis: No one offered to read it to you again.
Mr. Speaker: Order please. We are just about out of time. There are a lot of people who wish to ask questions, so we will keep the supplementaries to a bare minimum. The member for Rainy River; this will be the final one.
Mr. Reid: Yes. Has the minister got officials in his department who can tell us categorically whether or not we, in this area of Ontario, are going to need either an expansion of Malton or a second airport? Is the minister satisfied? Has he been told that by those people in his ministry?
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: Did the lion, member and his brother John flip a coin on that question?
Hon. Mr. Snow: I am sure the hon. member knows the policy of this government as far as expansion in Malton --
Mrs. Campbell: No we don’t. That is why we are asking. We haven’t a clue.
Hon. Mr. Snow: Also, he should be aware of the stated policy of his federal cousins regarding Malton. Both governments have stated there will not be expansion of runway facilities at Malton airport.
Mr. Reid: What is the government’s position? What is the guarantee?
Hon. Mr. Davis: Guaranteed.
VIOLENCE IN HOCKEY
Mr. Samis: A question of the Attorney General: Could he tell the House to what extent he outlined his views and discussed the whole question of violence in hockey with the officials of the NHL, WHA and OHA prior to his announcement on Tuesday?
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: I did not discuss my views with respect to my announcement with either the officials of the WHA or the NHL.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Their attitude towards this matter seems to me to be firmly on the record. Any consultation with those bodies would, in my view, Be futile.
Mr. Reid: John Bassett is voting NDP.
Mr. Lewis: I hope not.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: I am satisfied that the OHA is making serious efforts to control the problem of hockey violence and that they will continue to do so. I have had informal discussions with members related to the OHA and I intend to have continuing discussions.
Mr. Samis: A supplementary.
Mr. Speaker: Order please; a brief supplementary.
Mr. Samis: In view of an altercation that took place last night, could the minister tell the House if he has any intentions of pressing charges -- such as creating a public disturbance or assault -- against one Dave Williams and one Danny Care?
Mr. Good: He means between Bassett and the Attorney General.
Mr. Sargent: He is going to put policemen on skates; that will fix that.
Mr. Samis: Is there no answer?
Mrs. Campbell: My question is to the Minister of Housing. Following his announcement of his new bill and notwithstanding the answer made earlier today, would the minister tell me whether I am correct in assuming that the bill, when introduced, will be introduced by his ministry; that it will be administered by his ministry; and that it will cover both the public and private sectors in the housing field?
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: The answer to the first two parts of the question is yes; and the answer to the third part, I will have to find out for sure and let the member know.
Mr. Bullbrook: Sidney Handleman strikes again.
Mrs. Campbell: In view of the problems with the private sector and the public sector, would the minister now undertake to introduce into this House the books and records of Ontario Housing Corp. so that we may be in a position to assess their position with reference to rent review?
Mr. Singer: That is a good question.
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: The answer is no.
Mr. Good: Let’s have a vote on that.
Mr. Angus: Mr. Speaker, I will address my question to the Minister of the Environment. Approximately three weeks ago I talked to him on the phone on the day that he was reappointed to this position and asked if he would investigate the possibility of examining the waters downstream from all the pulp and paper mills that are shut down in this province. I would like to know today what his answer is on that.
Hon. Mr. Kerr: Mr. Speaker, I have had a report as a result of that testing. I must say that the testing in the particular rivers mentioned by the hon. member in the Thunder Bay area goes on, on a continuous basis pretty well, but I do have results from five stations in that particular area dealing with five different plants, with rather detailed information; and I would be happy to give that to the hon. member.
Mr. Singer: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Could I ask the minister, in view of his great interest in pollution in the north, about the success or the further achievement of the action against Dow Chemical, where its mercury is getting out into the water?
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: Right after the Sargent v. Singer case on the list. Right there.
Mr. Speaker: Order. That is not a supplementary.
ONTARIO NET CASH REQUIREMENTS
Mr. Sargent: A question to the Treasurer --
An hon. member: That’s three days in a row.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. Let’s hear the question.
Mr. Sargent: In reference to his statement today, the Moody’s Investors and Standard and Poor in New York advised me today that they have devalued the credit of the Province of Ontario in view of the fact that it has borrowings pending at $300 million on the New York market now, and they say that --
Mr. Speaker: Your question please?
An hon. member: Give him a chance.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. We are just about out of time. Will the member ask his question?
Mr. Sargent: Mr. Speaker, this is a very important matter for the people of Ontario.
Mr. MacDonald: What is the question?
Mr. Speaker: This is a question period and we wish the question.
Mr. Sargent: Can the Treasurer tell us how he is going to finance two consecutive deficits in excess of $2 billion this year, in view of the fact he has been spending $6 million a day plus interest -- $8 million a day he has been losing? How is he going to correct this before --
Mr. Speaker: Will the hon. member ask his question?
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: I don’t know why you tolerate that.
Mr. Sargent: In this document he gave us today, does it tell us how he is going to correct the current deficit position in Ontario?
Hon. Mr. McKeough: Mr. Speaker, if the member reads it he will find that we expect the forecast now -- and I think it is really a little on the early side -- however the forecast now would indicate a growth in gross national product and a growth in our revenues in fiscal 1976-1977 of somewhere in the neighbourhood of 12 to 13 per cent. That’s a very preliminary estimate. Obviously if we hold our expenditure growth to 10 per cent, as we have set our target, then our net cash requirements will diminish from what they are this year.
Mr. Shore: On that point, I would just like to ask how the minister, with a 22 per cent expenditure growth in the 1975 fiscal year, expects to have it down to 10 per cent next year?
Hon. Mr. McKeough: I don’t see that we have a 22 per cent expenditure increase. I would be glad to discuss that figure with --
Mr. Shore: That’s a point in the minister’s documents.
Hon. Mr. McKeough: I would be glad to discuss that with the member.
Mr. Shore: The minister doesn’t want that to be public.
Hon. Mr. McKeough: The point is, and I make no bones about it, our expenditures have been growing over the last five years at the rate of about 14.5 per cent per year. It is going to be very difficult to hold our expenditure growth to only 10 per cent, very difficult indeed.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. We just have a moment left, time for another question. The member for Hamilton East.
USE OF HAZARDOUS CHEMICALS
Mr. Mackenzie: Is the minister aware that a dangerous chemical called Kepone, used in pesticides, is being used in the FMC Corp. plant in Burlington, Ont.? This pesticide has caused hospitalization of workers and their families in the United States and has been banned from use in the United States by the US Environmental Protection I Agency. Would the minister check to see if adequate safeguards exist for the workers and report back to us?
Hon. F. S. Miller: I will.
ONTARIO SALES TAX
Mr. Haggerty: I would like to direct a question to the Treasurer. I listened with great interest to the Treasurer’s statement this afternoon, as it relates to the economic conditions and inflation, and in particular, his comments to the member for Grey-Bruce Is the government’s intention or policy to allow the reinstatement of the provincial sales tax from the present five per cent to seven per cent after Jan. 1, 1976? Will this increase not add further to the present situation of unemployment and hardship to the lower income persons in Ontario?
Hon. Mr. McKeough: Mr. Speaker, I have no intention of bringing in amendments to the Retail Sales Tax Act.
Mr. Roy: A supplementary, Mr. Speaker. Doesn’t the minister feel that when the government increases taxes in the province it should at least be debated in this House?
If the Treasurer is going to let the tax go to seven per cent again we debate it here.
Hon. Mr. Handleman: We debated the budget.
Hon. Mr. McKeough: Mr. Speaker, you will recall that a bill was introduced here -- and passed by this Legislature -- which called for the termination of that tax reduction on Dec. 31. As I recall, the member was most vocal in discussing that bill, as he is on a number of other things.
Mr. Roy: That’s right, I like to be.
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: He is.
Mr. Good: The Treasurer said it was done as an economic measure.
Mr. Speaker: The oral question period has expired.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Hon. Mr. Welch moved, seconded by Mr. Deans, that a select committee of this House be appointed to study reports 4 and 5 of the Ontario Commission on the Legislature, to report to the Legislature on the advisability of implementing the recommendations of the reports or any part or parts thereof; and, if deemed advisable, the method and timing of implementation.
The said committee to consist of the following seven members: Messrs. Morrow, chairman; Cassidy, Gaunt, Good, Gregory, Martel and McNeil.
Motion agreed to.
Mr. Deans: It will be called the Martel report.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell moved, seconded by Mr. Deans, that a select committee of this House be appointed to review Ontario Hydro’s proposals to increase bulk power rates for 1976, together with the report of the Ontario Energy Board to the Minister of Energy thereon under section 37a of the Ontario Energy Board Act, dated Oct. 10, 1975, and such other information as the committee may consider relevant for its purpose in light of the anti-inflation programme of the government of Canada and the Ontario commitment to that programme; and to prepare and submit a report before the end of December, 1975, advising the Legislature whether, in the opinion of the committee, such rate increase proposals are in keeping with or supportive of the anti-inflation programme of the government of Canada and the Ontario commitment to that programme and consistent with Ontario Hydro’s obligation to provide power at cost; and if not, to report to the Legislature with its recommendations.
In carrying out its terms of reference the committee shall have regard to the following factors: Current economic conditions; recovery of additional operating costs; dependence upon adequate electricity supply for Ontario’s future economic well-being; maintenance of Hydro’s financial integrity; any provisions of the said programme respecting increasing energy prices.
And that the select committee have authority to sit during the interval between sessions and have full power and authority to employ counsel and such other personnel as may be deemed advisable and to call for persons, papers and things, and to examine witnesses under oath; and the assembly doth command and compel attendance before the said select committee of such persons and the production of such papers and things as the committee may deem necessary for any of its proceedings and deliberations for which the hon. Speaker may issue his warrant or warrants; the said committee to be composed of the following 12 members: Messrs. MacDonald, chairman; Bullbrook, Deans, Drea, Gigantes, Grossman, Haggerty, Maeck, Peterson, Renwick, Williams and Wiseman.
The said committee may request such coverage of its proceedings by Hansard and the printing of such papers as the committee deems appropriate.
Mr. Deans: Mr. Speaker, I rise on a matter of procedure. I want to make it clear that we would give unanimous consent for that committee to begin sitting immediately if that were asked for.
Mr. Bullbrook: I don’t think it is needed.
Mr. Deans: I think it is in fact. I think it has to stand for notice.
Mr. Bullbrook: Why?
Mr. Deans: I think it requires notice.
Mr. Speaker: I think it could meet at the call of the chairman.
Mr. Bullbrook: I think you are right -- at the call of the chairman.
Mr. Roy: Mr. Speaker, I would like to make a couple of comments on the motion. We are in agreement, of course, with the setup of the committee and the participation of this party in the committee proceedings, but the point I must emphasize relates to the answers given by the Treasurer (Mr. McKeough) all this afternoon about making exceptions. There is an exception being made to the rule right now about a group or a company; we have got a situation regarding Hydro where we now set up a legislative committee to study the effects of the increases vis-à-vis the anti-inflationary measures of the federal government. I suggest to the Premier (Mr. Davis) and to the Treasurer that that clearly is an exception in this case and it reinforces the point my leader was making here about the teachers or other professionals, that our programme would be complementary to and not in competition with the federal measures.
I put the point to you, Mr. Speaker, and to the Premier, that in fact while the province talks about not making any except, it has made one now.
Mr. Cassidy: Is the member running for some kind of office or something?
Mr. Roy: I have always been this way. What is the member talking about?
Mr. Lewis: Mr. Speaker, I would just like to make a quick reflection on this motion, expressing obvious approval of the intent to proceed.
I think it is pretty clear that the opposition parties have joined in this intent to proceed in a way which should cause no illusion to the government. It is our determination to have that rate increase reduced, period. That is what this committee is all about. I assume it will be evaluated in the best sense but the motivation is to get that rate down.
I am fascinated in that context to note the Treasurer’s statement today, which clearly indicates that the government also wants to bring Hydro’s rates down; it clearly indicates it on page 12 and in the reference to capital borrowing somewhat later in the statement. It is worth noting in that context that the government itself didn’t have the courage to face it, so it is appointing a committee to do it. In fact, I suspect the committee will do it for the government, but I must say that the committee surely should receive encouragement from the clear and explicit intent in the statement that Hydro is one corporation that is out of control and needs to have its rates reduced.
Mr. Bullbrook: If we are going to join in somewhat of a debate on this -- I hadn’t intended to make any remarks -- I want to first express appreciation to the Premier and his colleague for having the opportunity to digest the terms of reference. I want the Leader of the Opposition to know that I don’t regard our responsibility in connection with this as a predisposition towards lowering the rates; that isn’t why I sit there. I hope that will be the outcome, but as I understand the responsibility that we are undertaking it is basically to review the proposal for a rate increase, to review the report of the Ontario Energy Board in connection with their recommendations -- and now the operative and important words -- in the light of the federal guidelines and Ontario’s commitment to those guidelines.
Mr. Deans: There is more.
Mr. Lewis: Much more than that.
Mr. Bullbrook: Does the member want me to read them? If I am given a copy I will read them if I have left something out.
Mr. Deans: The member probably left them at home.
Mr. Bullbrook: I read them about 10:30 this morning. Does the member think I am a walking thesaurus or encyclopedia or something?
Mr. Deans: The member is telling us he knows what was said. He obviously doesn’t.
Mr. Bullbrook: I’ll reiterate for the sake of clarity -- and I invite my friends to correct me -- what I understand the basic terms of reference to be. They are for us to review the Hydro rate increase proposals -- correct? The report of the Ontario Energy Board in connection with those rate increases --
Mr. Deans: And any other matters.
Mr. Bullbrook: Then the NDP wants the addition of their words -- help me, if you would. Then we include those additional words --
Mr. Lewis: It is already there.
Mr. Speaker: The hon. member is correct. Would you proceed.
Mr. Bullbrook: -- in the light of the federal guidelines and in the light of Ontario’s commitment to that. I want to say this to you, and I don’t mean to be argumentative --
Mr. Deans: Hydro’s provision of power and cost.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. The hon. member for Sarnia has the floor.
Mr. Bullbrook: If the member wants to speak -- and he had his moment -- go ahead. I just want to give the House my point of view, for what it’s worth.
Mr. Speaker: Would the hon. member for Sarnia continue addressing the chair?
Mr. Bullbrook: May I say to you what I feel the anomaly here is? Honestly I must say this to the Premier since we are called upon now to do this. First of all, I must agree with the Leader of the Opposition. I say basically -- and notwithstanding what we are doing -- eventually it’s the government’s responsibility to come to grips with this. But it is very difficult for us to sit in a temperate and quiet fashion when the Treasurer says that if he opted under section 4(4) of the federal legislation we would be 11 horses going in different directions. As the Leader of the Opposition says, when you talk about the government’s responsibility now and when it undertakes here to control to some extent the capital borrowing of Ontario Hydro, it’s very difficult to understand on our part your integrity of purpose.
I want to say this to you, Mr. Speaker, how can we accept and how can we understand a government that is prepared to abdicate regarding the people whom it pays, the teachers under its direct jurisdiction, and other matters of contention to the federal anti-inflationary board and which says at the same time it is prepared to accept the responsibility in connection with Hydro rates. The fact is that I invited the Premier to respond and I hope he will please rise in connection with this debate, because he responded to me yesterday. He said, “Do you know, my friend, that Hydro has accepted?” Surely I know it has accepted; absolutely it has accepted.
All you had was an invitation here, in connection with provincially regulated utilities, to deal with them in the context of the federal guidelines. Ontario Hydro isn’t even a provincially regulated utility. So we know it has accepted. What we are saying is that if the government is sincere in regarding this as a national emergency that can only be dealt with by a national body, then surely the impact on every consumer in the Province of Ontario by a proposed increase in Hydro rates must in effect be one that is national in scope.
Frankly, it’s ridiculous to say all these other matters, including the people whom we pay, including the public service of this province, must be subject to the definition of their position in this province by Jean-Luc Pepin. We don’t agree with that. It is the responsibility of the government of Ontario to come to grips with this matter; it’s not his responsibility.
Mr. Lewis: No, and when things go wrong, it will be the Ontario government’s fault.
Mr. Bullbrook: We say the government is right in accepting this. We applaud the invitation on its part to participate in seeing whether these increases are appropriate -- from the words of the New Democratic Party in their amendment, and I didn’t understand what they meant before by those additional words -- in the light of the federal guidelines and Ontario’s commitment to those guidelines. We accept that.
We say to the Premier that frankly we want to join him in accepting the other responsibility towards his public servants and towards those in other provincial institutions about which, under section 4(4), the federal government has said to you that if you feel it is in the best interests of your people, because of your knowledge of their peculiar needs, you should maintain the control. Frankly, with the public servants, in the context of the minister’s direct responsibility to them, he should opt in that fashion.
I appreciate the opportunity of making mention of these thoughts. Frankly, I feel the attitude of this party will be, as I understand it, without reservation and without equivocation, one of co-operation with the federal guidelines; but one of a realization that, with respect to those constitutional jurisdictions that we have, it’s better done by us. Nay, more than that, that we have a responsibility to do it.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, just to reply very briefly and not to be controversial, I think really there are two distinct matters being discussed. I think the question of the wording of the resolution, what is to be discussed by the committee, I hope is clearly understood. I was encouraged by the member for Sarnia as it related to his, or hopefully his party’s, approach to the activities of that committee.
I say with respect to the member for Sarnia that I think there is a very distinct difference as it relates to a rate increase of Ontario Hydro -- which is totally a non-profit organization, totally in the public sector -- and the question of the guidelines applying or not applying. I hope this is understood. I think, with respect, there is a very distinct difference between that and other aspects of the federal programme.
Now, it’s great for the member for Sarnia to say constitutionally -- and that’s why it’s in the federal bill, the 4(4) -- that the provinces can go their own way. I’m not arguing that. I’m not arguing the constitution. I think it is also fair to state that the Minister of Finance -- and probably one might also say the Prime Minister of Canada -- was particularly anxious that we move into this programme on the basis of 4(3).
I think it’s an area that, yes, the House should discuss, but I would just have to take issue with the suggestion that we are not prepared in this province to discharge our responsibilities. I could tell the hon. member, I think one could guess, that if we had gone the route of 4(4), there would be some who might say that we do not want to co-operate in the national interest.
Mr. Nixon: Who would say that?
Hon. Mr. Davis: I say that is a possibility. It might even have emerged from the Liberal Party of Ontario -- who knows.
Mr. Roy: No, we have been consistent; the government has not.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I think it is a fair statement, though, that that argument might have emerged.
Mr. Bullbrook: It is an imputation without foundation; but go ahead.
Hon. Mr. Davis: All right, but I mean that we all live with that sort of thing -- and the member for Sarnia understands that. I just want to make it clear what the Treasurer said today, and what I have said, that I think it is a difficult situation for Canada.
I think there is merit, substantial merit in approaching it on a national basis. And with great respect, really, we are debating something that isn’t part of this resolution.
I want to assure the member for Sarnia and any other members of this House that this decision has not been taken lightly. We are anxious to see the programme work. It might have been very simple for us, in political terms, to have said: “We told you so; why not a year ago.” We haven’t. We’ve said:
“We’re going to try and help.” I think that is important for the people of this province, because they too are citizens of this country and it is a matter of national concern.
I say once again that I really haven’t any observations. I think that I’m totally out of order in making these observations; but I would say I’m only following the lead of the member for Sarnia when he got into that aspect in his discussion of the resolution.
Mr. Lewis: It is nice to have the Premier participate in this way. It is one of the pleasures of minority governments.
Hon. Mr. Davis: The Leader of the Opposition doesn’t know how much more fun this is than some of the other things we do.
Mr. Lewis: I suspect it is. The Premier will probably enjoy it.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: I wonder if I might just make a few comments that would perhaps close this brief debate. I first of all want to thank the representatives of the two opposition parties for the way in which they carried themselves in the discussions that led up to this resolution. I’m particularly pleased that the member for York South (Mr. MacDonald) has agreed to chair this committee. Having served with that gentleman on the select committee some three years ago, I know of his fairness. I know of his devotion to his responsibilities and his determination to carry out his responsibilities to the limits that are set out for him. I have every faith in that man.
I want to suggest too, particularly in reply to the hon. Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Lewis), that we look back, as I have in recent days, over the chain of events in the last few months. Look at such things as my reference to the Energy Board on April 28. Look at the supplementary action demanded of Hydro in July. Look at the fact that we are, as we do regularly, reviewing again their capital programme of borrowing and making every possible effort to ensure that the borrowing programme is only what is needed -- and that, of course, relates to the capital programme therefore. In fact it is the government’s desire, and always has been, that the Hydro rates be the lowest possible, bearing in mind such factors as the financial integrity of Hydro and a reasonable supply of electricity to the province and a number of other factors all of which, I’m sure, will be discussed in the committee.
We’ve discussed this on a number of occasions since I became Minister of Energy. I recall many more discussions when by predecessor, the hon. Treasurer (Mr. McKeough), filled this portfolio. I would hope that the deliberations of this committee will be frank and full and that, in fact, the opposition parties will put forward their proposals in as clear a way as possible so that the people of Ontario can have a clear picture of what Ontario Hydro is today; what is the proposed future and what are the alternatives.
As the Minister of Energy, I look forward to assisting this committee in any way I can and assisting the members to bring about the best possible results of their work.
Mr. Speaker: Is it the pleasure of the House that this motion carry?
Motion agreed to.
Mr. Speaker: Motions.
Introduction of bills. The member for Ottawa East.
HIGHWAY TRAFFIC AMENDMENT ACT
Mr. Roy moved first reading of bill intituled An Act to amend the Highway Traffic Act.
Motion agreed to; first reading of the bill.
Mr. Roy: Mr. Speaker, the purpose of this bill is to lower the speed limit on Ontario highways to 55 miles per hour. The result of this, Mr. Speaker, is dual. Not only do we save energy but we reduce the accident and injury rate and we have statistics to prove that. When we consider the cost to the health care system for motor vehicle accidents in this province is $1 million a day, I think it is an important piece of legislation. It was introduced in the last session and I am doing so again.
Mr. Speaker: Orders of the day.
Clerk of the House: The first order; consideration of the speech of the Honourable the Lieutenant Governor at the opening of the session.
THRONE SPEECH DEBATE
Mr. Norton moved, that a humble address be presented to the Honourable the Lieutenant Governor as follows:
“To the Honourable Pauline M. McGibbon, OC, BA, LLD, DU (Ottawa), BAA (Theatre), Lieutenant Governor of Ontario:
“We, Her Majesty’s most dutiful and loyal subjects of the legislative assembly of the Province of Ontario now assembled, beg leave to thank Your Honour for the gracious speech which Your Honour has addressed to us.”
Mr. Norton: Mr. Speaker, it is both an honour and a great privilege for me, as a freshman member of this assembly, to be called upon to move this address to Her Honour the Lieutenant Governor.
I’m certain that all of the hon. members in the Legislature will join me in thanking her for her words of confidence and encouragement and the challenge which she issued to us at this time when we, as legislators, and the people we serve face perhaps one of the most difficult periods in our history.
In the weeks and months which lie ahead we, the members of the 30th Legislature of the province, must come to grips with some of the most complex problems ever to be faced by people in public service -- problems which we share with our fellow citizens throughout Canada and problems which indeed we share with people throughout the world. The solution of these problems will demand of us not only co-operation within this House but also co-operation with the other levels of government in this country. The tools by which the solutions will be sought will of necessity be imperfect economic tools.
It is my privilege to be among the first in this session to offer to you, Mr. Speaker, my sincere congratulations on your election to the post of the Speaker of this assembly. We are all confident that you will continue to serve in your role with the distinction and impartiality which has marked your service in that office in the past.
I also wish to congratulate the Premier (Mr. Davis), the leader of our government, a man whose qualities as a public servant, a politician and administrator have been amply demonstrated throughout his parliamentary career.
I should also like to congratulate the members of his cabinet, the new members and those who are continuing in cabinet posts. Particularly, I would like to wish well the two new members of the cabinet who also are new to this House, the hon. B. Stephenson and the hon. Mr. McMurtry.
I am proud to stand in this assembly as the successor to one of the finest gentlemen I believe ever to hold office in the Province of Ontario. He is a man of great strength of character, who served this House over a period of 12 years, both as a member and as a minister of the Crown; a man whose quality of service brought honour to himself, to this House and to the people he served throughout Ontario. Mr. Syl Apps has set a very high standard and a very fine example for me to follow.
In representing Kingston and the Islands I represent a riding which has a very special place in the history of this province and of this nation. I believe we are the oldest permanently settled community in Ontario, having recently celebrated our tercentary. It is a community which played a special and very significant role in the earlier development of parliamentary democracy in this country. It is a community which, if not the birthplace of Confederation, is surely the place where it was conceived. I was going to carry that further but I thought better of it before the assembly sat this afternoon.
In some respects Kingston and the Islands is a microcosm of Ontario. We have an interesting mix of urban, suburban and rural lifestyles, with the urban component becoming more and more cosmopolitan and multicultural as our population grows and changes.
We share with the other urban centres in this province the challenge of meeting the needs of the people for more adequate housing, more adequate public transportation and the development of a greater employment opportunity as well as most other contemporary urban problems.
Our differences from other urban centres in Ontario in this respect are mainly differences in scale. There is a great concern that, as growth in our community continues, the mechanism be there and the strength be there to ensure that it be carefully planned to protect the quality of the life of our people and the quality of the natural environment with which we in our riding are so greatly blessed.
We are proud of our reputation as one of Ontario’s principal tourist and recreational centres, a reputation due mainly to our historical character, the hospitality of our people and the beautiful natural setting at the confluence of the great St. Lawrence and Cataraqui rivers. But we feel strongly the need to develop a broader industrial base to expand employment opportunities and to diversify our local economy. The industrial parks assistance programme referred to in the Throne Speech at the opening of this session is a particularly welcome source of assistance to our community.
We are especially pleased to be able to be the main host community in Ontario in 1976 as the world focuses its attention on the 1976 Olympics, Kingston being the site for the sailing events.
As a newly elected member in this Legislature, I would like to focus my attention for a few moments upon the tasks that lie ahead of us. As I think has been gathered from the discussions that have taken place since the Legislature opened, probably the most pressing issue facing us is that of coming to grips with the economic ills that plague our nation and the world.
There are many simplistic answers to the puzzling questions that international and domestic economic turmoil have posed to all concerned citizens. There are some who would blame the public sector exclusively for the burden on the taxpayer and the slow growth in our economy. There are others who would seek to blame only labour or only private industry in their development of the analysis of what is going wrong.
I happen to believe that to spend time pointing fingers and trying to affix blame is in itself perhaps one of the most non-productive responses to the real economic crisis that many of us sense.
It is important that we do not lose our perspective here in Ontario. It is important that we recognize that, as a province, those who are in need are better served here, those who are productive are more encouraged here and those who enjoy life are more numerous here than in any other jurisdiction in this great Dominion.
It is all too easy in seeking simple answers to overlook the progress that we have already made in this province. It is the social problems, economic threats and financial insecurity created by the economic conditions of our time that are the critical enemies which all of us in this Legislature must turn our attention to. That, I think, is the lesson we can learn from the decision of the people on Sept. 18 and that, more directly than any other single directive, is the mandate that all of us in this Legislature, regardless of our political affiliation, have a duty to fulfil.
I believe that the Throne Speech read by Her Honour represents a clear and concise programme for immediate action and immediate response to those issues which are most critical in Ontario today.
I want to say to those in the loyal opposition that while in the 1950s and the 1960s it was appropriate and perhaps mandatory to err on the side of bigness, on the side of central planning or on the side of large expenditures to meet large needs, it is surely clearer today than ever before that people do not want hollow promises from government. They do not want programmes from government that they themselves cannot afford. The simple principle of being able to afford what you propose is a very basic principle insofar as the credibility of government in our entire democratic system is concerned.
I come to this Legislature as a new member committed to serve my constituents and to working with all the other members of this Legislature, regardless of political affiliation, to see that the broad public interest of the people of Ontario is served in every possible way. I will not be party to any pie-in-the-sky government. I will not be party to politics of misrepresentation or groundless optimism. The people want the truth. They want to know what government can afford, they want to know why a government programme is necessary and they want to know why a programme is necessary now.
The very same responsibility that we in government face, the one of self-justification, is one which no thinking citizen in this province would believe that those in the private sector do not themselves face. It is perhaps a critical factor in the presentation of a free market economy. It is the only way to guarantee a continued right to pursue profit fairly in our society. A government which knows of a social ill but which will not move to see it resolved is a government that is, in and of itself, part of a greater social ill. A government that seeks to create the impression of a social ill so that it can move for political gain to rectify an alleged iii at great social cost, is a government that perpetrates its own irrelevance and cynicism at a cost to the entire parliamentary and democratic system.
I feel confident that this Legislature will move to endorse the pragmatic, direct and the responsive approach to the issues facing today’s Ontario that is included in the Throne Speech which it is my great privilege to speak in support of. I feel even more confident that despite the scars of previous campaigns there is, among the majority of the members of this Legislature, a definitive and clearly perceived common desire to work out solutions together to problems that face our society.
There may be more politics and more negotiations, more give and take in this Parliament than there has been for some time. That does not mean that there cannot be a level of public service and public responsiveness that would be a source of pride to any self-respecting public official. It is to help achieve that level of public service that I believe I was sent to this Legislature, and it is to be part of that effort to serve the public that gives me greatest pride.
In closing may I say that I trust that I share with all my colleagues in this House the sense that we, that is, all of us, have an important leadership role to fulfil in facing the economic difficulties that are testing our people and our province and our nation at this time. It is at times of crisis that we are often able to demonstrate the greatest strengths and qualities of character, and this may be such a time. The people we serve may well look to us, each of us, the way we conduct ourselves in this House, the serious-mindedness with which we approach the task which is before us. They may look to this as a barometer by which to judge the seriousness with which they participate in the broader attack on our economic and social problems in this country. How else can we justifiably seek their confidence at a critical time like this?
Our Premier, who, in the face of federal government intransigence, led this nation’s efforts to pressure the federal government into demonstrative leadership, is now, in the face of federal actions, urging us to join in support of proposed measures in the national interest. This initiative on his part, I suggest, has enhanced his national stature as a leader.
There will be differences of opinion in this House; there will be times of testing and conflict, and I am sure conflict that I and other freshmen to the Legislature have not experienced before in such magnitude, but above all, sir, I trust that we will not lose sight of the broader public interest which we are here to serve and the principal responsibilities we have to discharge to the people of Ontario. May we seek to do so in the very highest and finest traditions of this institution.
Mr. Jones: Mr. Speaker, I am indeed privileged to have this opportunity to second the motion of the hon. member for Kingston and the Islands for the adoption of the Speech from the Throne presented by the hon. Lieutenant Governor of the Province of Ontario.
The people of this province are indeed grateful that Her Honour, the Lieutenant Governor, has shown such a great interest and concern for their well-being. The Speech from the Throne has laid the foundation of our deliberations and actions over the months ahead for the welfare of the people, combined with a good common-sense approach. Our government will be called upon to deal with a great many diverse and complex issues which face us during these troubled economic times. I feel certain that the new cabinet, under the capable and inspiring leadership of the Premier, will continue to provide for this province in the most productive and beneficial manner.
I would like at this time, Mr. Speaker, to congratulate the new ministers of our government, the Minister of Correctional Services (Mr. J. R. Smith), the Minister of Government Services (Mrs. Scrivener), the Minister of Colleges and Universities (Mr. Parrott), the Minister of Community and Social Services (Mr. Taylor), the Minister of Labour (B. Stephenson), the Attorney General (Mr. McMurtry) and the Minister without Portfolio (Mr. Henderson).
Further, I wish to extend my congratulations to those ministers who are changing portfolios and those who are retaining cabinet positions held during the 29th session. I also wish to offer, Mr. Speaker, most sincere congratulations on your election to the post of Speaker of this assembly. I know that all the hon. members of this Legislature are fully aware of your wealth of experience, your years of service as deputy chairman and chairman of the committee of the whole House.
I am proud to be here as a new member today, representing the new constituency of Mississauga North. I was also proud to see and be, with the other members present today, a part of what I sense is history -- in the swearing in ceremonies of our new Ombudsman.
Our riding is geographically large and presently includes approximately 80,000 constituents in political terms. Mississauga North forms part of a most impressive historical record. Former members of the county of Peel, such as Gordon Graydon and Col. Thomas Kennedy, a past Premier of Ontario, have made outstanding contributions to the political life of our province. I hope that I will be a worthy representative in this same tradition.
I am both humble and proud that the new riding of Mississauga North is composed of parts of the former ridings of Peel North and Peel South, being represented respectively by our Premier and the chief government whip, the member for Mississauga South (Mr. Kennedy). These men have been and are outstanding examples of public servants.
My constituency is composed of a large part of the city of Mississauga. To many the image of Mississauga is an area of rapid urbanization. And it is that. Some people seem, though, genuinely surprised that the riding includes some of Ontario’s most productive farmland. I am happy, as you will notice by the apples, Mr. Speaker, to share some of the fruits of this agricultural history in abundance with fellow members of this House.
In our area, one can see a mixture of rural and urban community together. There is a blending of some of the older villages, such as the village I come from, called Streetsville, and we have, of course, Malton and the new cities -- Meadowvale and Erin Mills. We have, indeed, a diverse community in this new Mississauga North, in the centre of this region of Peel. What we are out to do is to effectively have a combination of the old and the new and I, as a member of this Legislature in that community, will do all that I can to work with others in maintaining a balance of both the preservation and the growth of this area.
Another important aspect of my constituency is that it includes the International Airport. I am well aware of the problems of residents who live near a major airport. I listened, of course, intensely and with interest to the comments that have gone on in this House since this session started and I noted how often the airport was mentioned. I live with it. So I bring to this House, hopefully, some firsthand advice, thoughts and comments that I hope to have an opportunity to extend, due to the recent exercise of dialogue with the people of my riding.
I am aware of the need for foresighted land-use planning while keeping in mind noise cone locations and traffic patterns. I am also well aware of the tremendous investment in roads and ancillary services required to support an international airport. It is clear that our government took a bold step in their rejecting of a spending of hundreds of millions of dollars for the Pickering airport, in view of our current economic circumstances, in view also of the changing travel habits and in view of our energy situation. I would also like to go on record as saying further that my constituents are opposed to any runway expansion at Malton. So am I and so is our government.
It seems to me as a new member that we need to see that, and the public needs to see, that governments are prepared to take dramatic steps in order to reduce spending. We have all heard the comments in these last few days and we heard earlier this day of the need for the fiscal responsibility. Here was, I repeat, a bold step by this government. We must have more Pickering decisions if Canada’s economic situation is to have the attention that is required at this time.
I think it is important that we establish at the outset that the economic challenges facing our province and the policy matters which members of this Legislature are going to be addressing themselves to, will have to be dealt with effectively. If there is an attitude that intimidates within this Legislature, we are divided into enemies and friends.
It can be said, and said again -- and it must be said again -- that the only enemies I see in this Legislature are the threats of economic insecurity which everyone in this Legislature is committed to combat.
I think it also important that we say at the outset that no party in this Legislature can claim to have a monopoly on public concern or concerns for the wage-earners mentioned earlier today or, as they are sometimes referred to, “the little men.” It is a sad commentary on politics today that there are many who seek, it seems, to fill their careers, to fill their own futures, by pointing to some as the friends of the corporate elite. I heard it in this House on the first day of my attendance; the primping of themselves as friends of the working man.
I am sorry that the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Lewis) is not in his chair at this time. I speak with very sincere respect to the Leader of the Opposition in whose present riding I grew up and I was one of six children in a working class household. The pretence advanced during this last election -- hopefully we won’t see it advance further in this Legislature but I have the suspicion it will -- was that his party and his members are the only ones who are to help the wage-earner -- or “the little man” as I heard yet again -- in Ontario. This is insulting to my side.
Mr. Deans: Are you feeling a little vulnerable?
Mr. Jones: One of the great temptations in Ontario today is that of the simple solution.
Mr. Deans: Why don’t you tell him his maiden speech is supposed to be non-provocative?
Mr. Jones: The one-line answer to the complex problems that face the people of this province is no longer acceptable to the voters. All politicians must share in the guilt of having created the assumption publicly that one-line answers might work. I would submit that the people don’t believe they work anymore and won’t believe politicians who try to suggest they can.
Mr. Jones: In seconding the motion on the Speech from the Throne, I am stating as clearly as I can that it is a realistic speech for today’s Ontario. I came from a constituency where there are many young people who have just purchased a home or are trying to purchase a home. Many live in apartments, beginning a life together, if you wish, and they don’t start with a basic cynicism about the political process. They don’t begin with mistrust or distrust I say, as a member of this House, specifically to those of my colleagues in this Legislature, who are elected for the first time. It is my conviction that the working men and women of this province truly want this Legislature to work and they want the government of Ontario to be effective.
It seems to me that the next election will be an important one for Ontario, as was the last; it will be a terribly important one, and the public should have appropriate facts for its consideration.
If, for example, the New Democratic Party believes that a socialistic policy is appropriate for this province, let it say so. In the clearest of terms, I will be aggressive in putting forward my arguments to oppose that view and I would be less than forthright if I didn’t indicate it in these, my first comments.
Mr. Jones: I make these comments not in a partisan sense, but with the sincere desire to reduce the frustrations of the electorate which I saw in the last election.
If individuals are to be representatives of our constituents then let us tell it as it is. It is sad that the political parties might choose the politics of confrontation -- we have seen it -- the polities of rattling the ballot box, as one would a sabre in medieval and feudal war. Indeed, I would think that the people of Ontario are tired of confrontation and they want a meaningful, co-operative government from those of us in office.
I would hope that in dealing with the substantial thrust of the Speech from the Throne we are able to understand that it is a speech which pinpoints key problems and isolates those on which the government can act now.
If there are those opposite who believe that we should move quickly, without consultation and observing the comments of today from the federal government -- there is a new anti-inflation programme -- and when provincial governments, including Liberal and Now Democratic governments in other provinces, have a consensus to be found on matters like rents unilaterally during what is clearly a serious national economic crisis, then let them say so and say so in this House.
If there are those who believe that the only way Ontario can do its part in an anti-inflation programme is by creating the eleventh set of guidelines we heard of earlier, or its own set of rules and regulations and its own bureaucracy and spending more of the people’s money to find some way of protecting the purchasing value of the people’s money, if that is the only way they think Ontario cat be helpful let them say so.
The posture of this government has been responsive and we have indicated maximum co-operation for economic action with the national government of this country. We have indicated areas within the programme that we disagree with and we are working for change. Nevertheless, we are on whatever national team can be put together to try to deal with the economic pressures which are attacking the lifestyle of every constituent who sent a representative to this Legislature on Sept. 18.
If there are those in this Legislature who think they can serve Ontario better by creating another bureaucracy or more cumbersome world rules that could work against the success of any such programme, then let them say so.
We have outlined in the Throne Speech several measures which are designed to assist various groups in our society in coping with the pressures of inflation.
Among those most seriously affected by increases in the cost of living are the many pensioners who are existing on fixed incomes. In order to assist our senior citizens, new aid to low-income pensioners in meeting their rental obligations would be an important feature of this legislative session. I know that this special assistance will meet with province-wide approval.
Also in this session, our government will be implementing a programme of rent restraint applied to the cost of rental accommodation. These measures will be supplemented by changes to the existing landlord and tenant legislation to provide protection for tenants against unfair and improper eviction and minimum lease times and adequate notice of landlords’ intentions not to renew. Further initiatives will be undertaken to increase the supply of rental accommodation.
For homeowners, assistance on mortgages in excess of a certain percentage will directly reduce the cost of borrowing money to purchase homes. This initiative will complement the first home-buyer grant of $1,500 and other programmes which were implemented by the Province of Ontario earlier this year. Measures such as these will go far to fulfil our government’s commitment to provide adequate housing at a reasonable cost for all residents of Ontario.
Energy, in all of its forms, has been a source of considerable concern. We’ve heard again today that be it gasoline to drive our cars, fuel to heat our homes or electricity to run our factories, all have been subject to shortages and to substantial price increases, or both. Our government plans to introduce measures during this session to provide security of supply now and in the years to come, for what we need for present expenditures and for our energy demands of tomorrow.
Ontario has, for the past few years, been numbered among North American leaders in the development of new legislation to protect consumers. We can be proud of the measures undertaken such as the Business Practices Act, the Consumer Reporting Act, the Travel Industry Act, to name just a few. Many of our initiatives have been copied and adopted by other jurisdictions both in Canada and in the United States. There is, without a doubt, much more we can do during this session of the Legislature. I hope our government will continue to develop this area of concern.
As with consumer legislation, Ontario has stepped up to the forefront of concerned jurisdictions in the field of environmental protection. Our government has brought forth initiatives designed to control and prevent contamination of our water, our air and our soil. During the next few weeks, legislation will be introduced to further control certain forms of pollution. I am sure the government will meet and overcome threats to the environment such as the very difficult problem inherent in the dissemination of metal mercury in some of our northern lakes and rivers. We feel confident that the measures to be taken will go far to remedy those difficulties.
I represent a vibrant and fast-growing community. It is a community which has some very real needs and it is a community which has been served well by this government in the past. It is a community which wants leadership from this Legislature and wants direction. I’m here to indicate to my colleagues I am committed to working within a Legislature which provides that type of service to the people I represent.
I am confident that all of us here in this Legislature will support the direct and responsive approach which has been set forth to remedy the problems we are facing in Ontario. Although the months ahead of us will be difficult ones I am confident that we can look forward -- and I do so -- with a feeling of optimism.
Ontario, led by our government, has continued to provide a quality of life for its residents which is rivalled by few other jurisdictions -- in transportation, education, consumer protection, environmental protection and housing. Our province is a leader and I say to the people of Ontario, don’t let them take it away from you.
Hon. Mr. Welch moved the adjournment of the debate.
Motion agreed to.
Clerk of the House: The 13th order, House in committee of supply.
ESTIMATES, MINISTRY OF TREASURY, ECONOMICS AND INTER-GOVERNMENTAL AFFAIRS (CONCLUDED)
On vote 1006:
Mr. Chairman: When we rose at 6 o’clock last evening, I was about to recognize the member for Timiskaming on item 2.
Mr. Bain: Yesterday in the questions that were asked of the hon. minister there was considerable discussion of regional government. There was also a considerable number of requests for action by the minister. Today I would like the minister to not act and to give us the assurance that he and the government will not act in this area for a considerable time to come.
I am sure the government realizes that what had initially been received across this province in the late 1960s as something that was worthwhile trying -- that is, regional government -- has in many respects not materialized in the way the government had hoped it would. Even in highly urbanized areas of tins province, areas in which one could say there is justification for regional government, the fruits of regional government have not materialized. Indeed, all that the people have received in areas that are now under regional government is a second tax bill which they can ill afford.
During the last provincial election, we were advised in Timiskaming that one of the areas that would be worthy of regional government was the Tritown area. Since that came from the Conservative candidate at the time, I would now like to know whether that was government policy or whether it was merely an off-the-cuff remark. The people in the Tritown area do not want regional government and I would hope that the Treasurer would be able to assure us today that the government has no plans in mind to even undertake a study in that area, let alone give it serious consideration.
Hon. Mr. McKeough: I can give the member that assurance. No study has been requested and no study is contemplated.
Mr. Bain: By the government?
Hon. Mr. McKeough: Yes.
Mr. Bain: Thank you. The second area of planning that I would like to mention to the minister is the situation in Timagami. Timagami is an improvement district and in the past has come under the guidance of several ministries, one of those ministries being the Treasurer’s own.
Timagami is a very pleasant community located on the shores of Lake Timagami in the northeast arm and has had a considerable attraction for thousands of tourists each year. Unfortunately, for the last 10 years, and especially for the last five years, the people of Timagami have felt they have had to fight a battle to survive. They have got the impression from this government that the government wants the people in Timagami to leave the village and move to the new town-site. They have got that impression for two reasons: No. 1, Sherman Mine has plans to start operation on its east pit, which comes very close to the present settled area of the village; indeed, there are maps that show there is a very rich ore body underneath the centre of the village. The people of the village feel that the government is siding with the mine and indeed has denied the people of Timagami adequate water and sewage services for the past eight years in order to gently persuade them to move to the new town-site.
During the last election, I suppose as a mere coincidence, the people of Timagami were promised a sewage system that would entail holding tanks. Of course, the people of that community would prefer a more permanent sewage system. I know that the Treasurer and other ministers have been considering the problems of water and sewage services in Timagami. Can he advise us when he will be meeting with the people of Timagami to discuss the actual type of sewage system and water system that the government is prepared to participate in to alleviate a very serious problem that has existed in Timagami for the past number of years?
Hon. Mr. McKeough: I would just make one comment. I don’t think the people of Timagami should feel threatened. I can’t speak for others, but perhaps the Minister of Natural Resources (Mr. Bernier) is more familiar with what is going on at the mine and with that particular problem; I believe the Minister of the Environment (Mr. Kerr) was involved in it at one point as well.
From a straight economic point of view, going back far enough, I think far and away the cheapest thing to have done would have been move the old town site to the new town-site or someplace else. We have never looked at it from a straight point of view of economics; we have always looked at it also from the point of view of what people want and what they are comfortable with.
Again, the Minister of the Environment would be more knowledgeable on this than I am, but I don’t think I have run across a concentrated area in the province that is more expensive to service than the old village of Timagami. For that matter, proportionately there are few areas where there have been greater pollution problems, as the member is aware, it happens to be a beautiful lake, a great asset of the area, and a great asset of the province as well.
We haven’t been as quick in coming to grips with the pollution problems there simply because of the enormous cost. We might have come to grips with problems of cost sooner, I suppose, had we been more cavalier in our attitude toward the people -- but that has never been our attitude,
Coming down to the present, Management Board and cabinet have approved for the first time -- really on an experimental basis -- the use of systems other than a sewage treatment system for the old town with provincial subsidy. This might involve holding tanks or, some of us -- and I hope the Minister of the Environment, who is here, is listening to this -- oh, he isn’t here; it’s the past Minister of the Environment -- we would like to think that in some instances, if it is appropriate, they would use a system that was developed in Kent county and now being manufactured in Midland or Penetang by a company called Waltec. There may well be other systems that can be used as well -- not a sewage treatment system, but individual treatment systems.
Approval was given by Management Board and cabinet for a subsidy on that basis and discussions have gone ahead, although I can’t tell you where the discussions stand at the moment. I have a meeting arranged with the Minister of Health (Mr. F. S. Miller) and the Minister of the Environment for tomorrow morning, I guess, not particularly related to Timagami, but that will undoubtedly come up as one of the subjects to be discussed.
I don’t think I have had any request to meet with the trustees of the improvement district. Perhaps I have and it is lost somewhere in the mail, but I don’t believe I have. So far as I know, my officials have been meeting with them, although primarily it is a matter for the improvement district to sort out with the Ministry of the Environment in particular and to some extent with the Ministry of Health. If I can be of any assistance I will be glad to, particularly if they use the right system.
Mr. Godfrey: Mr. Chairman, I may not be putting the question to the proper source, and perhaps the Treasurer will be kind enough to advise me how this could be handled, since I believe it falls under his panoply.
The Treasurer is aware of the problems that exist in Durham West as a result of the recent airport, the now defunct airport. The problems can be broken down into two rough areas: 1. Those people whose properties have been expropriated or acquired in the North Pickering development, and, 2. Those persons who live adjacent to the defunct airport site who have had expropriation without compensation, namely as a result of having had their land confiscated,
Hon. Mr. McKeough: I don’t want to interrupt the member but the responsibility for the North Pickering corporation is with the Minister of Housing (Mr. Rhodes).
Mr. Godfrey: I appreciate your direction, sir, but I would suggest that this happened before the Ministry of Housing took over, namely the acquisition of land by the province under, I believe, the Planning Act, which I believe is in your rubric. I may be wrong on that. However, it does deal with the Treasury and comes down to whether sufficient consideration has been given to setting aside funds for those persons whose properties were acquired early in the process, oft times under duress by government agents -- for those who have made representations to have further moneys paid to them. Has there been provision made in your Treasury report for consideration of that?
Hon. Mr. McKeough: No, not in my estimates. If there were such moneys available, they would be in the estimates of the Minister of Housing, which as you are aware, are still to come before the Legislature. So I am not cutting this off from debate, but that’s where those questions, I think, should properly be asked.
Mr. Godfrey: Thank you. I am sure you will appreciate my confusion because many of the people who live in the area are similarly confused as to where they should go for relief.
The second has to deal with the land-use freeze which was put on the area around the airport site. And this land-use freeze is continued. As you know, there are many people who have had their developmental rights constrained by this land-use freeze. My question is whether consideration has been given in your budget to compensating these individuals for the loss of their developmental rights.
Hon. Mr. McKeough: No, there is no money in my budget. Again, I am not trying to put the member off, but that land-use regulation -- the zoning orders largely north of the then proposed airport site -- is again administered by the Minister of Housing.
Mr. Godfrey: If I may, sir, I can appreciate they are administered by them but I believe that the money eventually comes from yourself or, at least, your ministry. If provisions have not been made for that, then I suggest these people are going to remain uncompensated. I would plead with you to give this consideration, because this amounts to a fair amount of penalty to these people who have had the misfortune to locate themselves near an area which is no longer being used for its expressed use. And I would hope, sir, you would take that into consideration.
Mr. Spence: Mr. Chairman, I would like to ask the minister a question in regard to Dealtown. What progress has been made? Is that development going to take place? I was asked that many times during the election. I wonder if the minister could outline to me -- what stage is that housing project in at the present time?
Hon. Mr. McKeough: That is a question which should be put to the Minister of Housing, Mr. Chairman. But since I am 99 per cent sure that the new Minister of Housing, who is a very knowledgeable, capable person, will never have heard of Dealtown --
Mr. Spence: That is why I asked you.
Hon. Mr. McKeough: -- and I have -- it is in the member’s riding; it’s next door to where I live -- I can tell him that nothing has happened. The report is still being circulated within the government. I think, two or three weeks ago, the reeve of Raleigh was in and, I believe, talked to several people in Housing about where it stood. I think there are still comments being made by various ministries of the government. Presumably, housing is the next step. But I really can’t speak for the minister or for the ministry. I believe their next step when they have those views will be to meet with the Raleigh council and with others.
Mr. Davidson: Mr. Chairman, I would like to direct my remarks to the Treasurer with regard to the region of Waterloo. As most of you are aware, or I am sure the Treasurer is aware, the riding of Cambridge and the city of Cambridge comprise a part of that region. In addition to the city itself there are communities of Ayr and the township of North Dumfries. The people within that area are very much concerned.
Hon. Mr. McKeough: I know North Dumfries. I don’t know the area as well as I should but I do know North Dumfries.
Mr. Davidson: It is a part of the township, but it is a community within the township.
Mr. Nixon: Very beautiful community.
Hon. Mr. McKeough: It used to have a good reeve at one point.
Mr. Davidson: They also have some excellent New Democrats, if I might point out --
Hon. Mr. McKeough: I’m not sure that the former reeve would put it just that way.
Mr. Davidson: If I may point out my concern today is the concern of the people living within that area with regard to what regional government has done in terms of increased taxation and loss of service. This is with regard to some of the services that they have been accustomed to prior to regionalization.
As we are all aware we will find that in any area that has been regionalized one of the major problems that exists is increased taxation and how this affects people within the communities. So much so, that in some of these smaller areas including Ayr and North Dumfries, many of the people are now becoming quite concerned as to whether or not they are going to be able to maintain the homes in which they live and whether or not they are going to have to sell their homes because of the taxes that now have to be paid in those areas.
I am concerned also about several issues which have been presented to your government, and I which, in fact, at least to my knowledge, have not been replied to as of this date. I refer specifically to a brief that was presented to the Treasurer by the Chamber of Commerce of the city of Cambridge. It is dated May 25, 1975, and outlines their objection to regionalization and sets out what they feel would be a compromise situation. Also there was a letter dated Oct. 21, 1975 which I happened to receive -- and I’m quite sure you did because I had it delivered to me in my office -- in which the township of Woolwich, which is in the very northern part of the riding, requests an immediate review of regional government within the Waterloo area. This concern runs from the very south of the area to the very north and I’m asking the hon. minister if he has as yet responded, or intends to respond, to either one of these requests?
Hon. Mr. McKeough: I don’t think that I have received either one of them. I’m aware of one of them, I guess, through a press report, but I haven’t received either one of them because of the mails.
But again, I met with the Waterloo regional council two or three months ago. They didn’t express to me their view that a review was needed and I think that I would indicate to them that we are not about to embark on a review so early in the game.
Mr. Davidson: I don’t know why the Treasurer could not possibly have received a brief that was dated May 23, 1975 and presented directly to his cabinet at a mini cabinet meeting held in the city.
Hon. Mr. McKeough: And answered that day. I’m sorry, I thought there was another one.
Mr. Peterson: Mr. Chairman, I’d like to direct a question to the Treasurer, because very concerned about the long-range planning which affects the community and regional planning that Hydro is doing. It is very difficult to determine the jurisdiction for this massive planning that is required which has such dislocating effects and has such environmental as well as economic costs.
I’m very concerned about how the Treasurer views the responsibility for our energy planning, particularly our Hydro planning province-wide. On one hand we have the Porter commission that is planning for a 10-year period and beyond with respect to certain capital works and capital programmes. But it seems to me that the responsibility at this particular time should rest with the government and should be on an ongoing basis.
The Hydro planning has enormous impact on every aspect of our province and on every community. Terrible dislocations are happening for example, the Bradley-Georgetown line and various other alternatives and programmes that are being contemplated. I would like to hear the Treasurer’s view on how this planning should be done and, indeed, who should be responsible, and with what type of agency on an ongoing basis.
Hon. Mr. McKeough: Mr. Chairman, I guess the Porter royal commission was my idea -- not Porter; no, it wasn’t. It came out of the Ministry of Energy, though, through me. I am somewhat familiar with this area although it is now, I think, as I said yesterday, resting with the Provincial Secretary for Resources Development (Mr. Irvine).
The ultimate responsibility is the government’s in terms of the location. We have to approve by order in council the location of generating stations. I don’t know that we have to approve specifically transmission lines but, ultimately, if there is an expropriation the Minister of Energy (Mr. Timbrell) has to approve the expropriation. We have approved routes of transmission lines on the probably reasonable grounds that at some point there will be an expropriation; our approval should come before rather than after.
Of course we both appoint the board of Ontario Hydro and, most important from our point of view, Hydro uses the credit of the province. If for no other reason than that, we have a very large interest in what they do.
The Porter royal commission is examining the period 1983 to 1993, and they will examine and make recommendations both to Hydro and to ourselves -- to the world, if I can put it that way; certainly to the province. The ultimate determination will have to be ours when they conclude.
The Porter royal commission is primarily a vehicle to get two things: Maximum public input into the process from all parts of the province; and, secondly, to get the opinion of five very knowledgeable people who will bear this evidence, both from Hydro and from government ministries as well, and from agencies which will express their opinions. Those five people will try to bring it together in some sort of logical way and make recommendations on it.
I assure the member that the ultimate responsibility has to be ours; there’s no question about that. I think it’s also fair to say that we were inclined perhaps to leave the provision of low-cost electricity and the responsibility for it with Ontario Hydro to a greater degree when it was low cost and when it was taken for granted -- this is from my point of view -- and when Hydro’s capital requirements were not anywhere near as large as they are today. Because today they are as large as they are, we have a much greater interest than we used to have and some real concern.
What we try to do in our ministry is not to let our concern for the province’s borrowing ability and credit rating overweigh what is also part of our responsibility in Treasury, which is the broad economic planning. That, of course, requires electricity -- and electricity, I guess, at almost whatever cost. We try to weigh those two things.
Mr. Peterson: What concerns me, and I appreciate the Treasurer’s remarks, is that you’ve taken a fairly arbitrary time period, from 1983 to 1993, but it seems to me the planning we’ve got to do now is for 50 years from now and 100 years from now. You have almost put an impossible problem in those people’s hands.
I attended a meeting in London last night; it was well run and I compliment Dr. Porter on that. They were very concerned about having a participatory programme, I think, with maximum input. At the end of this study they can probably publish two papers, one on how to run meetings with respect to public participation and another one, hopefully, with some suggestions on long-term planning for Hydro.
I believe you should be doing this kind of thing on an ongoing basis. We’re talking a far too short-sighted view -- not nearly a long enough view -- of this very critical programme. Energy, and particularly hydro planning, is probably as critical as any other item in your jurisdiction. With the control of energy policy, you probably have one of the most important weapons in the planning of the province for the next hundred years. I don’t feel that enough recognition has been given to this on a long-term basis. I find it very difficult to figure out why the arbitrary 10-year period was selected and why these kinds of people shouldn’t be responsible on an ongoing basis for the long-term planning of energy responsibilities and energy capacities in the province.
Mr. Chairman: Before I call on the member for Nickel Belt (Mr. Laughren) I feel compelled to remind the committee that we are now down to 30 hours and 30 minutes for all of the estimates that have to be dealt with in committee of supply here in the House. I am advised that by unanimous agreement all of the estimates of Treasury, Economics and Intergovernmental Affairs will be completed by 6 o’clock, which only leaves you about an hour and 14 minutes. I am wondering if you want to pass over some of these items relatively quickly in order to get to some of the later votes. We have 1007, 1008 and 1009 still to be completed. Perhaps we have spent more time on this vote and on this item than on any other that we will have time for. Is there some kind of agreement that we would pass vote 1006 by a certain time, say, by 5:15? Do you think that would be useful?
Mr. Deans: That would be agreeable to us, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Chairman: All right, with that understanding then, I will call on the member for Nickel Belt.
Hon. Mr. McKeough: Before that, shall I just answer that question? The time frame of the particular 10 years -- and really this should be raised with the provincial secretary or with the Minister of Energy -- could have been longer, but realistically I don’t think it could have started any earlier. Hydro took the view, and the government agreed, that we had some time to look at what was going to be constructed in 1983 and beyond, but up until 1983 with a 10-year lead time we really have to get started right now. Up until 1983 -- with Bruce B, I am not sure -- I would think practically everything has been committed and approved. The timing may be varied but basically there was a list of exceptions of things that would not go to the Porter royal commission when the Porter royal commission was suggested. I think all those exceptions, or nearly all of them, have now been approved. Construction may not be under way but it is getting close to that.
I guess what the member was really coming at was that perhaps we should be looking beyond 1993. I don’t quarrel with that. From our point of view in Treasury, we look farther ahead than that. Hydro is and certainly the Ministry of Energy is, though probably not much beyond the year 2000 because 25 years is, unfortunately I guess, as far as most of us can see at this point in time. I would suspect, if we can get the Porter commission under our belts and if public participation in that way works, that it will be expanded into something ongoing and perhaps not just on a narrow frame of one source of energy, electricity, but would be something more encompassing. That’s something you had better talk to the Minister of Energy about and not to me.
Mr. Peterson: Just to follow up on this, what disturbs me very much about this -- and it relates to several other things that are going on in the ministry -- is that we have the Ontario Energy Board taking a role, we have an all-party committee of the Legislature taking a role, we have cabinet taking a role, we have Hydro taking a role and now the Porter commission is taking a role. All are complementary but have different jurisdictions and different responsibilities.
It seems to me that this is a totally fouled situation. I think the government should come to grips with this issue and bring it under one body, one agency responsible to the Legislature, an all-party committee or the Ontario Energy Board or something, which could consolidate all of these views in the short term and in the long run and have one central set of information coming into the government upon which to make these decisions.
I think it would be very difficult to do planning when you are doing short-run planning and long-run planning on an uncoordinated basis.
Hon. Mr. McKeough: I don’t want to be provocative on such a fine autumn afternoon -- that is not my nature in any case -- but as one who is not as attuned to things as I would like to be, I sort of have the impression that part of Hydro’s problems seem to be with a committee of this Legislature because some of the gentlemen opposite were not content to leave the future of particular aspects of Hydro’s thinking to the Ontario Energy Board or to the board of Ontario Hydro or to the government. Some of these things have come about because we are open, responsive and willing to change and anxious to share the heavy responsibilities with all.
Mr. Martel: That’s something new for you or for anybody who has seen you around here. Some of us have been around as long as you have. You can’t say that strongly.
Mr. Chairman: Order, please.
Mr. Martel: So responsive.
Hon. W. Newman: If you are going to talk sit in your seat.
Mr. Deans: He is just trying it out for size.
Mr. Chairman: Had the member for London Centre completed?
Mr. Peterson: I would like to reply to that because I think we are into a very important issue. I am not sure that the Treasurer’s interpretation is the same as the general public’s interpretation or that of the other members of this Legislature. I don’t think those are the issues.
I think we have allowed this thing to be handled in such a political way that we have been unfair to everyone concerned. We don’t know who is responsible for the planning and we don’t know who is doing what on one hand. The entire Ontario Energy Board exercise was a waste of time and money because there is no teeth and no power and nothing they could do. All it did was defer the problem for another few months.
Now we have to go back to the same old rigmarole with an all-party committee of the Legislature. It seems to me that this whole thing could be uncomplicated and made responsive to the public through the Legislature. That is clearly where these responsibilities have to lie. These are clearly the people who are responsible for the decisions which affect every single citizen and when you present the citizens of this province with the opportunity of working for a month a year, each one of them, to pay back Hydro’s debt and you explain those alternatives very clearly, those are very clearly political decisions. They have to be made on a political basis and decided by political people. We can’t have this hodgepodge going on as it is because we will never get to solve the real problem.
Mr. Laughren: It is called representation. May I first commend you, Mr. Chairman, on the job you are doing in the chair. I am sure that historians will look at you and the job you are doing in your stewardship as the benchmark to which others will aspire.
I wanted to ask the minister -- the non-provocative minister -- if he is aware of some of the increasing problems in the small northern communities which have no municipal status. They had their hopes raised and their expectations increased significantly in the last two years by his ministry’s conducting public meetings in the small communities, indicating to them that all was going to be well and that all that was required was more public participation and then the small communities would be able to obtain grants.
There were a couple of problems with this: 1. When the ministry went in its officers didn’t realize the sense of alienation there is in those small communities in the: north; 2. They didn’t realize how much it was going to cost them in order to bring those people up to receiving the same level of amenities which others take as a right in this Province of Ontario.
I am wondering whether or not the minister has sat down or had his officials sit down with the people who are working on that project and conducting those public meetings to put it in the context of an overall plan for the small communities in northern Ontario. I think the way it was going before was every community was being regarded as having a different set of problems when, in fact, they don’t have a different set of problems. All the small communities up there have a common set of problems. There may be some differences, but they all lack medical services, fire protection and recreational services. The minister should deal with those problems to start with and say to those communities: “It is part of a set of principles of this government which say there is a minimum level of services to which you are entitled.” He doesn’t need to tell the communities in the north that they pay the same sales tax, the some OHIP premiums and the same income taxes, some of which revert to the province, as do people in communities which receive amenities considerably in excess that they do.
I’m hoping that the minister will have something to say about the problem of those communities and indicate that he is prepared to reintroduce a northern communities Act that will establish a minimum level of services throughout all of those unorganized communities. I appreciate the fact that it’s going to be expensive and I realize there’s a catching-up process there, but if it means that the communities in the south which have had so much have to give up a little and contribute more to the levelling of the standard of living in Ontario, then so be it. I see nothing at all wrong with that.
I might say there is one community in particular that is being used, not so much by me but by the media, and not just the media in the immediate area but all across Ontario, as an example of a small community that has been neglected. That’s the town of Gogama.
I sent a note to the present Minister of Agriculture and Food (Mr. W. Newman) when he was the Minister of the Environment. He realized there was a considerable pollution problem in terms of their drinking water and that something had to be done. The water in more than 50 per cent of the wells is polluted with nitrates, which are injurious to the health of infants, and no subsidies at all coming from the provincial government because it is an unorganized community. I understand the problem, but surely it wasn’t that difficult to make an exception or to bring in the Act and get on with doing it. Instead of that, the Ministry of the Environment installed a community pump -- actually it’s a tap, but the word “pump” flows more easily. It’s more descriptive of an attitude as much as the service itself.
In a community of 600 people, with many times that number in the summertime as a result of tourism, to establish a community tap as though that’s the solution to the problem of polluted water supply is truly ludicrous in Ontario in 1975. Surely that’s got to end. That’s one thing I wanted to say about the small communities, the unorganized communities, and I’d like to know what the minister has to say about that.
Secondly, when we talk about regional planning and we form regional governments, such as we now have in the Sudbury area, it implies that some of that will be taken over by the region, rather than having the province do it all. I agree with that. The planning people in Sudbury have worked very hard; they’ve done some excellent work on alternatives for the future in terms of planning, land-use development and so forth. But they’re still running into a brick wall because of a couple of things. One is the lack of revenues -- but it’s not sufficient to say that every municipality has a lack of revenues.
There’s no question that resource-centred communities in northern Ontario, such as Sudbury, have more acute problems than cities in southern Ontario such as Oshawa, Windsor, and Hamilton. There’s no doubt about that whatsoever. The unique problems of servicing in rock make it very expensive and time-consuming.
Last night I attended a meeting of the regional council, at which it was stated very clearly, as a result of some very good work by the planning and financial people in the city, that they are faced now with having to approve in 1975 about $66 million worth of capital works, but the most they can afford to implement is $33 million. In round figures there’s a shortfall of $33 million. That’s the sort of problem faced by the communities such as Sudbury; even though they are given the right to do the regional planning, they can’t cope with that. It doesn’t matter what privileges are turned over to them; if we are not going to increase the revenues, then nothing is going to change. We’ve talked to the Treasurer for years about the need to properly assess the mining industry in the Sudbury area, to no avail.
Mr. Martel: Yesterday he told me it’s a long story. So talk to him about it.
Mr. Laughren: I know it belongs in the hon. minister’s lap because he is the Treasurer. He collects the taxes of this province. If the hon. minister wants to say that the Ministry of Revenue is responsible for collecting taxes from the mining companies, fine; but the hon. minister has the responsibility for assessing the taxes that will be taken from the mining industry.
Mr. Martel: No, no.
Mr. Laughren: Oh yes; you do. Surely it’s the minister who decides what the resource taxes are in the Province of Ontario. The Minister of Revenue does not do that. When we asked him about it he said: “All I do is collect the taxes. Go see the Treasurer. He decides who will pay what taxes.” So it’s not good enough to shrug that off on to the Minister of Revenue.
So I say to the hon. minister that if we’re going to solve the problems in the Sudbury area within the regional municipality of Sudbury; if we’re going to be able to do the kind of long-range planning that’s necessary to avoid some of the problems that were created in the past through lack of planning then we need more resources to work with.
I don’t have to be told there are unlimited demands on limited resources. I fully appreciate that. But I would say to you that there is at catch-up process to do in the mining communities and that Sudbury fits into that category very well. There needs to be a whole different approach to the taxation of the resource-centred communities.
The other part of the projection in Sudbury was that the labour force in mining was going to drop from 15,000 to 12,500 in the next 20 years or so. The labour force in the service industry is going to multiply by seven times to well over 100,000; 127,000 I believe it was. What that means, of course, is that we’re developing now a community which is wealth-consuming, namely the service sector, as opposed to wealth-creating, which is the mining sector. There is no large projected increase in manufacturing but there will be a large increase in the service sector.
As long as the hon. minister and his government stand back and let the private sector deal with resources as they see fit, that’s exactly what’s going to continue to happen. I think the hon. minister knows that we know what the answer is in the Sudbury area. We know what the answer is with all the resource-centred communities: it is to take those resources out of the hands of the private sector and put them in the hands of the public sector where they belong. Then we can develop those resources for the interests of all people in Ontario, not just the private sector.
We’re seeing a classic example right now in the Sudbury area where one of the two big resource operations, Falconbridge Nickel Mines, is on strike. They have declared war on the community, not just on the Mine, Mill and Smelter Workers. We have orders being given from Texas as to how the negotiations will go in the Sudbury area. That is something to which the hon. minister should not acquiesce and to which the members of the government should not acquiesce. It’s no wonder that public opinion is shifting away from this government, and particularly this minister’s view of the private sector and how the private sector will put everything all right; that if we just leave it in the hands of the private sector then everything will be just fine and benefits will be maximized. It is just not so when you’re talking about the resource sector.
Those are two things on which I would appreciate a response. One, the unorganized community problems; and two, the whole question of financing in resource-centred communities such as Sudbury.
Hon. Mr. McKeough: Mr. Chairman, I recognize the time constraints. I dealt with both of those things yesterday and, if the member has a look at Hansard, he will find my answers.
Mr. Martel: You didn’t say anything.
Hon. Mr. McKeough: He may not agree with the answers.
Mr. Laughren: I read Hansard from yesterday.
Mr. Martel: There were no answers, you just ducked.
Mr. Chairman: Order, please. I have two members on my list. One is Grey and one is Grey-Bruce and with some kind of agreement that they would confine their remarks to no more than five minutes, we can complete this vote by 5:15.
Mr. McKessock: Mr. Chairman, as a member who lives on the Niagara Escarpment and represents a lot of people who also live on the Niagara Escarpment, I would like to express our concerns for the many controls that have been placed on us and about which we are very disturbed. This has also shown up very clearly on the election of Sept. 18. With all due respect to our past chairman of the Niagara Escarpment, I would like to state just a few things we would like to see change and I would hope to get a response to this.
We would like to eliminate the Niagara control area altogether. Failing this, we would like to modify the controls to within 300 feet of escarpment or to the closest lot lines. There is no real objection to the preservation of the Escarpment, but if the people of Ontario want the Escarpment preserved it should be legally expropriated and paid for.
The preservation of the Escarpment does not require arbitrary land-use controls for areas up to 13 miles. These should be eliminated. The Escarpment can be readily preserved with a maximum of 300 ft. in most locations. It should be mandatory that any method of preservation should not be allowed to interfere with farm operations or installation of farm use. There should be no development permit required from the Niagara Escarpment Commission for farm-related buildings, including a home or any farm, regardless of its boundary proximity or size.
We think that development controls should not prohibit the reasonable use of land for housing, commercial or industrial uses. Controls of such uses should continue to reside with the municipality which is more directly concerned to the needs of the populace. We feel that local governments are quite capable in our area of making these decisions for themselves. Planning, to be meaningful, must be for the residents of the area, net for the benefit or advantage of a non-resident population. While we can appreciate the province’s concern that the country should be reasonably maintained for future generations, it should not be done at the expense of a small portion of the current generation.
While we are not necessarily against provincial intent that planning must cover wide areas and not be fragmented at municipal levels, the method should not be to arbitrarily impose controls from Queen’s Park. If planning is not for the people in the area, the result is arbitrary state control based upon dictatorial methods. The democratic process implies that those most directly concerned, that is property owners, should have a strong voice in what is being done with their properties. This has been totally obviated by the present legislation. While the preservation of the Escarpment is, in our view, necessary, it is equally important that for the road construction and building industry there be an adequate supply of gravel and aggregate.
Mr. Lawlor: We shouldn’t share the Escarpment with anybody.
Mr. McKessock: It is more reasonable to impose controls that oblige pit and quarry operators to restore the land after excavation than it is to impose blanket prohibitions.
Mr. Lawlor: That’s the value of prohibitions.
Mr. McKessock: Similar situations seem to prevail with respect to logging; at the present time it appears that there is a licence to remove 10 per cent of standing timber, In the first place this is totally incapable of being properly administered. In the second place adequate municipal and county controls already exist.
While generally we approve of the concept that the shoreline on bodies of water within the province should not be totally encapsulated to private ownership, the present controls appear to be an overreaction to the situation and should revert to the present levels of municipal governments. For many years, the Bruce Trail has operated effectively on the base of property owner participation without overthreat.
The recommendation of the Gertler report that the Bruce Trail should be expropriated or maintained by way of permanent easement has effectively lost for the Bruce Trail Association the co-operation and goodwill of numerous property owners. This is a classical example of the folly of using a big stick when co-operation meets the objectives. It is appropriate that the Bruce Trail should exist on the basis of tolerance by property owners and responsibility on the part of the Bruce Trail Association. It seems incredible that such an excellent objective achieved by mutual consent and co-operation should require any legislation.
Since the above recommendations appear to have totally removed any judicial function from the Niagara Escarpment Commission, we recommend that the commission be disbanded immediately. I would appreciate a reply and I would hope that the commission would take into consideration the slackening of a lot of these controls.
Mr. Chairman: It is my understanding that the hon. member for Grey-Bruce wants to talk about the same subject. Perhaps he could continue now and the minister could reply to both speakers at once.
Mr. Sargent: Thank you, Mr. Chairman, Mr. Minister, the fact is that we had 98 per cent of the people of Ontario telling two per cent of the people, “We want your land,” and you, the centralized control at Queen’s Park, are going to take it from us, and I wish these eggheads down here who believe in conservation would appreciate that civil rights do mean something to people.
Mr. Lawlor: Nothing to lose but your friends.
Mr. Sargent: I will get to you in a minute. You are always talking about civil rights but these things are important to people. We have millions of acres of land being frozen. People whose families have paid taxes on their land for generations are told they cannot sell it.
Mr. Makarchuk: Maybe it’s because winter is early this year.
Mr. Sargent: They cannot do anything with it but they must pay taxes on it. I suggest to you, Mr. Minister, that if you want this land you buy the land but don’t tell a man he must pay taxes on it yet can’t develop it or can’t sell it. That is not democracy. If the NDP think that is democracy let them stand up and say so.
Mr. Laughren: More power to the speculators, eh?
Mr. Sargent: No government has the right to tell a man he can’t develop his land or can’t sell it, but you are telling them. So you appoint a commission of 20 people --
Mr. Laughren: The Liberal Party is moving to the right. You are further right than McKeough.
Mr. Sargent: Sometimes, fellows, you must realize that civil rights are important. You fellows are always harping about this, now listen for God’s sake and keep quiet for a second.
Mr. Martel: That’s not nice.
Mr. Chairman: Order, please.
Mr. Sargent: Sometimes you are pretty sick, Elie. Keep quiet today.
Mr. Martel: I will not speak well of you again.
Mr. Sargent: It is important to all my people to be told that they cannot sell their land, they cannot do anything with it and they must pay taxes on it. A whole township has been frozen. Everything is in limbo in the whole area.
Mr. Makarchuk: You had an early winter up there, did you?
Mr. Good: Look, Makarchuk, you are lucky to be back here.
Mr. Chairman: Order, please. The member for Grey-Bruce has the floor.
Mr. Sargent: The building permit they are asked to fill out has about 20 or 30 questions on it and you must fill them in and tell them how you are going to paint your barn or your outhouse.
We had a case of a lady whose family had owned property on the water there for generations. They lived in Connecticut. They sold their home and their farm in Connecticut and they came up and put in a $10,000 septic tank. They go to apply for a building permit and they can’t get it because the land is frozen. So you have a bunch of eggheads, by our thinking, down in Queen’s Park living in high-rises telling us how we will give you our land but you won’t pay for it. What kind of democracy is this?
What are we going to do, Mr. Minister? Are we going to listen to this group of people who are appointed and not elected? They have their meetings in secret, the files are not available to me as a member of parliament, the councils are not told what is going on. I respect the time limit and I thank the Chair for giving me the chance to speak about this, because this is very important to people and their rights.
I ask you, Mr. Minister, to let us run our own show. This is our land, it isn’t your land. You say you are going to freeze it and you have frozen it, and what are we going to do? So along with my colleague I say, let us run our own affairs, let us make the decisions on what we will do with our land, not you or some appointed officials. It is very important to us.
Mr. Swart: I recognize that the time is up for the vote on this. I wasn’t aware I that we were going to deal with all the items under this by the 5:15 deadline. I’ll make my remarks very short.
The first point that I should make is that I would clearly dissociate myself and my party. This is not necessary, as the voters did it rather recently. From the comments made about the Niagara Escarpment Commission by the two speakers on the left, we fully support the idea of the preservation of the Niagara Escarpment. However, we would like to make it a bit more democratic than it has been up to this time.
I wanted to fit my remarks into the context of the master plan for Ontario and the need to simplify the bureaucracy that we have in the planning process. In this regard I won’t go into details as I had intended. I want to say that if we did have the master plan for Ontario -- the land use and development plan -- we perhaps would not need the Niagara Escarpment Commission, nor would we need the three levels of planning that we now have: The province, the region and the local municipality.
Hon. Mr. McKeough: Just think how upset we would have everybody. At least we have localized it at this moment.
Mr. Swart: I suggest that we could cut out some of that bureaucracy and still have much more effective planning than we have at the present time, It is my understanding that the Act to provide for the Escarpment commission provides that it won’t meet at all once they have produced the master plan and turned it back to the regions and local municipalities. I would just urge the minister that he assures us that this happens.
I want to make four other points, however, because it is in existence. It’s not going to be dissolved now. I would suggest that the master plan cover only the area adjacent to the Escarpment. My understanding is that the Niagara area covers the whole district from Welland right to the lake. That is the master plan which is going to be developed by the Escarpment commission. I don’t think this was the intent of it and we should leave the planning to the regional municipalities there. For the rest of that, it should be confined to the Escarpment commission.
I would also like to point out to the minister, if he is not aware of this, that some of the Escarpment is left out of development control. In Niagara-on-the-Lake some of it has been left completely out of development control. I think this was inadvertent, perhaps. But whether it was or was not inadvertent, that should be included.
Third, and in direct contradiction of what the hon. member said earlier, I think that the pits and quarries should be under the Escarpment commission rather than excluded from it as they are at the present time. Surely, if we have a body charged with the job of maintaining the Escarpment, it should have control over one of the most serious threats for the destruction to the Escarpment. Yet, they do not have that authority. It is specifically excluded.
Finally, I want to make the point that the meetings, particularly where they are in getting into the master plans for the preservation of the Escarpment, should be open to the public. The public should be invited to attend those meetings and the Escarpment commission should try to get all the public input they possibly can. At the present time, at least up to this date, people do not even know where they are meeting and there is no publicity given to the meetings. In fact, no one is attending them. I understand that, in just recent times, the proposal is to downgrade the background papers. These were supposed to be pretty important papers in the development of the master plan for the Escarpment. Now I understand that they are going to be downgraded. I would ask the minister to take appropriate action on these four matters.
Hon. Mr. McKeough: Mr. Chairman, very briefly, I would just say this: The Niagara Escarpment has not been without its problems. I had hoped there would have been time today for the former chairman to say a few words, but perhaps in the course of the Throne Speech debate he will be able to bring us up to date or as up to date as he can on some of the things that went on during his time as chairman.
Anything new creates problems or lack of understanding. Within the last few months I think both the commission, those dealing with the commission and the commission staff have perhaps got a better appreciation of some of the frustrations of something which is brand new in certain parts of the province, and development control itself is of course something which is really brand new to all of us.
The commission are charged with a responsibility that is not only a difficult one but one which by the nature of the legislation is something that really has not been tried to any great extent in this province or, for that matter, on this continent. There are a number of pitfalls but a number of things are being worked out. The commission, in panels or subcommittees, now are meeting with a number of the municipalities. There was a meeting with Grey yesterday, I believe. There have been a couple of meetings with Grey at the staff level, and I believe there was a meeting with them at the commission level yesterday. There is a meeting at Niagara-on-the-Lake tomorrow. I think considerable progress is being made.
I would say to my friend from Grey-Bruce that we have no intention of packing in the commission. We think this is something that is worthy of preservation, not just for the people of Bruce county or Grey county; it is a provincial resource. All of us would like to be able to do with our own land whatever we would like to do. That is not the way our society exists, be it in Toronto, Chatham or Grey. We all are subject to zoning laws. We haven’t all been subject to development control; I quite agree with that. But simply to suggest disbanding the commission is not something which we on this side of the House propose to endorse.
Mr. Sargent: Will the minister accept a question?
Hon. Mr. McKeough: Yes.
Mr. Sargent: I thank the Treasurer for his breakthrough here in terms of having some compassion for our people. Will he then entertain recognition of the fact that we can make our own planning and do our own controls up there and not down here?
Hon. Mr. McKeough: I am quite sure it is the objective of the commission -- it is the objective of the government, of course -- to prepare a master plan for the Escarpment. When that plan is prepared and when there is a degree of planning expertise locally, then ultimately that function will be turned over -- I wouldn’t think to the local municipality, but probably to the county municipality or, in the case of the southern part, to the regional municipalities.
I think it is fair to say that there are parts of the Escarpment which have a greater planning history, with municipalities that have been at the game longer and probably will be able to take on these functions sooner rather than later. I have no idea what a timetable might be at this point, but in terms of day-to-day administration it is not something we want to stay in forever. I think for a long time there will be a need for a Niagara Escarpment Commission in a coordinating role, but in terms of day-to-day administration it is a function from which, to use the particular word we are using at this moment, over time we hope to become disentangled.
Mr. Sargent: One further question: Will the Treasurer entertain the principle, if land is frozen and people are prevented from developing their land, of buying that land or taking the freeze off?
Hon. Mr. McKeough: There is no freeze. There are things which are being allowed, there are some things which are not allowed.
Mr. Sargent: What does he mean, there is no freeze? The whole township of Sarawak has been frozen; everything is in limbo. You can’t do anything with it; you can’t sell it and you can’t develop it, but you have got to pay taxes on it. What is the Treasurer going to do about that?
Hon. Mr. McKeough: It is not correct to say you can’t do anything --
Mr. Sargent: It is correct. The Treasurer doesn’t know what he’s talking about.
Mr. Chairman: Order, please.
Mr. McKessock: Could I ask one more question? There is some place in the United States where they buy the development rights. Would this be possible here?
Hon. Mr. McKeough: Reverting to Sarawak township, up to Oct. 1 there had been 18 applications received by the commission. Seventeen of those applications have been processed, and 16 of them have been approved. None of them has been rejected; one was deferred, and there is still an application to be considered.
Of the 18 which had been received, 17 have been processed and 16 approved, which is 94 per cent actually. To say that everything is frozen and that nothing is happening is, I say to my friend from Grey-Brace -- not for the first time -- completely incorrect.
Mr. Sargent: On a point of order Mr. Chairman, it is a matter of record that the township of Sarawak and its reeve are talking about amalgamating with Owen Sound, because they are frozen completely. It is part of the law that we are frozen in Sarawak. Mr. McCague knows that is a fact. Sarawak is frozen.
Mr. Chairman: If the hon. member has no point of order, I assume that he is continuing the debate.
Mr. Bullbrook: He doesn’t need one. He can say what he wants to in the committee.
Mr. Chairman: We will continue the debate. Dues the minister wish to respond any further?
Vote 1006 agreed to.
On vote 1007:
Mr. Swart: Mr. Chairman, as the critic for municipal affairs in my party, I obviously want to speak to the matter of the one-third of $1 billion in these estimates for unconditional grants. Let me say immediately that I am aware that some considerable progress has been made by the government and by the opposition benches towards unconditionalization. I am aware that real improvement has been made in the last five years in provincial assistance. I am aware that there has been a substantial improvement made in recent times in equalization between the various municipalities in the province.
However, we need yet to go a bit further in this. In Niagara region there has been, I suggest, a complete equalization. Regardless of the percentage of industrial assessment that a municipality does or doesn’t have, the tax rate now paid by that municipality, the taxes paid on a home in any one of the 12 municipalities in Niagara region are almost identical, whether it is a municipality with 54 per cent industrial assessment or 11 per cent or even less. The only variation is in the efficiency of the provision of services.
However, this does not apply to the same degree in other areas of the province. I suggest particularly that it doesn’t apply to those cities which are not in regions. Cities such as London and Thunder Bay don’t receive the same sort of assistance as do the cities within the regional governments.
I want to say too that although provincial assistance, as I mentioned, has improved it still has a long way to go. In looking at the figures on provincial and municipal taxes from the Canadian Tax Foundation, we find out that Ontario has the second highest municipal debt per capita in Canada. The property tax, with all the additional assistance, has increased something like 78 per cent in the 10 years from 1963 to 1973. In 1974, Ontario had the second highest per capita property tax levy in Canada at $230 per capita.
I suggest that if we had the figure for 1975, it would show that Ontario has the highest per capita property tax in Canada. We don’t yet have those figures, but in the Niagara region, for instance, property taxes of all municipalities there went up on an average of 16 per cent in 1975, In some of the other provinces, particularly Manitoba and British Columbia, there have been pretty substantial changes and improvements made in the financing of local government.
I am sure that everyone in this House recognizes the fact that property taxes are by and large regressive. Because I suppose they have been reduced proportionately they are not regressive to the same degree that they were at one stage, and with the tax re bate this has helped in this regard, but they still are exceedingly inequitable.
Two conditions now exist, Mr. Minister, which make me suggest to you that you should give consideration to making some fairly substantial changes. The market value assessment on which future tax will be based is going to come into operation, I believe, in 1976 or 1977 taxes, and though in some respects this may be an admirable thing, the facts are that there is going to be a real shift in the tax burden between different types of property. I am aware of course that a commitment has been given by the government that they will make adjustments so that in fact this shift doesn’t take place, but the assessment shift will be there.
What concerns me about this is that in our changing society, with the price of housing escalating as it has been for the last two or three years, further shifts can take place if you have it on market value, and market value may not be the equitable formula that some people may have thought it was going to be at one time. I suggest that we should be looking to some other source for revenue to municipalities to a greater degree than we have been in the past.
Members of this House will know that British Columbia has taken steps to give a proportion of the revenue received from their natural gas taxes to the local municipality -- something in the neighbourhood of $40 million, I believe. Members of this House will also likely know that Manitoba is going to institute in the coming year the transfer of two points of the income tax and one point of the corporation tax to the municipalities. If we did the same sort of thing in this province as they are doing in Manitoba, it would mean that there would be something like $40 to $50 million --
Hon. Mr. McKeough: Can I just correct my friend? Manitoba is also doing away with the unconditional grant. On the same basis, our municipalities in this province would suffer. I would be glad to give the member the details of what the Manitoba plan would do here.
Mr. Swart: I suggest that when the figures are out in a year or two they will show that this has been beneficial to the property tax payer in the Province of Manitoba --
Hon. Mr. McKeough: I will send you some of the figures on that.
Mr. Swart: -- and I suggest that consideration has to be given by this government very quickly, especially in view of the effect of the announcement made today by the minister that they are going to limit the moneys which are going to go to municipalities according to the revenue which the province receives. In the commitment that was given by this province -- I think it is called the Edmonton commitment -- they indicated it would not be less than that. Now they are down right to the bottom in what they are going to be transferring to the local municipalities in this coming year.
I suggest, with the additional costs that they are having, that this isn’t good enough -- that we have to find some other source of funds so that the property tax burden -- an unjust tax burden, a burden that falls most heavily on those who are least able to pay -- can be lifted at least to some degree.
Mr. Martel: Now is your chance.
Hon. Mr. McKeough: Mr. Chairman, I will just make two comments. First of all, I haven’t got it here but I did detail in the speech exactly what would happen if the Manitoba plan were put into effect here. Our municipalities would be behind rather than ahead. I’m sorry I don’t have those figures but I will send them to the member. I just make one other point -- our residential property taxes on a per household, and per capita basis have gone down between 1970 and 1975 in real terms. Mill rates for those four or five years virtually stood still in this province. Per capita income, of course, has risen dramatically; per household income has risen rapidly. I have forgotten the figure but five years ago property taxes used to be 2. something per cent of disposable income, and now that figure is 1.8; it has fallen quite dramatically.
Certainly our property taxes are among the highest in Canada. The fact is we have the highest incomes before taxes in Canada; we have the highest incomes after taxes in Canada; we have the highest disposable incomes in Canada. We live very well, as we all know, in this province. As a result, among other things, our property taxes reflect the services which we have achieved over the years.
Mr. Bullbrook: God endowed us as the richest province in Canada.
Hon. Mr. McKeough: Quite right, and gave us the benefit of good government for so many years, too.
Mr. Martel: When did that happen?
Mr. Singer: Whatever happened to it recently?
Hon. Mr. McKeough: I am not sure that came from God, though.
Mr. Bullbrook: And both its riches and its government are being dissipated year by year.
Hon. Mr. McKeough: The other point I would simply make is that Manitoba and British Columbia, the two provinces which for some reason or other the member mentioned as having lower property taxes -- I can’t quite understand why he picked those two.
Mr. Swart: And Saskatchewan has a tax rate on property much lower than Ontario’s too.
Hon. Mr. McKeough: That’s part of the litany. You know per capita, per household, the lowest taxes, I believe, are in Quebec, reflecting their income. The member, of course, might take a little look at the rate of personal income taxes in Manitoba, British Columbia and Saskatchewan and then at the rate here and he might draw some conclusions from that.
Mr. Chairman: Shall vote 1007 carry?
Vote 1007 agreed to.
Mr. Good: On a point of order, Mr. Chairman, were we dealing with vote 1007 in its entirety and not just the first item?
Mr. Chairman: Yes, in its entirety.
Mr. Good: I am sorry, I didn’t realize that. Previously we dealt with 1006 item by item.
Mr. Chairman: I said to the hon. members “Shall vote 1007 carry?” And they said “Carried,” so I assumed that was the way it was to be.
Mr. Good: I thought you were referring to item 1. I had a few questions under item 2.
Mr. Chairman: The vote was carried; however, if the members will permit you to ask a question, the Chair will recognize you.
Mr. Good: Forget about it. I just wanted to know what plans the Treasurer has for increasing payments under the tax assistance for municipalities relating to provincial properties? We know we have come a long way in the last six or eight years regarding provincial properties held in right of the Crown for Ontario. The municipalities flow get revenue from the universities, the penal institutions, the hospital properties under hospital training schools and what not.
I am wondering what projections the minister has on the level of revenue received by the municipalities -- this would include the provincial park tax payments. Are there projections what they might be or when they might be increased? I think right now they represent something --
Hon. Mr. McKeough: I can answer this question very quickly. I have no plans to enlarge on this at the moment; the government has no plans. Any further activity in this area would be coincident with reassessment, with taxation reassessment; and the earliest that would happen would be 1977.
On vote 1008:
Mrs. Bryden: I want to speak on item 3 of vote 1008, which is labelled employment incentive programmes. I believe the vote here is mainly for completing payments under previous employment incentive programmes adopted in this province. I would like to ask the hon. provincial Treasurer if has any plans to bring in an employment incentive programme for 1975-1976? The last time that we had an employment incentive programme, that I can recall, was in 1971. That happened to be just before an election.
Mr. Martel: By coincidence?
Mrs. Bryden: By coincidence, yes. The hon. members opposite did quite well in that election in 1971. But them we had another election in 1975 and I didn’t see any discussion of the unemployment situation and there was no employment incentive programme brought forward. Perhaps that accounts for the fact that the hon. members opposite changed from a majority government to a minority government.
At any rate, there doesn’t seem to have been any recognition by this government that we do have a serious unemployment problem in this province. The number of unemployed at September 1975 in this province was 183,000 people. A year ago, it was only 135,000 people, so there is an increase of 50,000 people out of work and looking for work in this province. What measures could be brought in to put these people to work?
I have a few suggestions for the hon. minister and I’d like him to consider them and see if the hon. minister couldn’t possibly bring in a supplementary estimate to finance them.
The hon. minister might, for example, go in for a much bigger housing rehabilitation and renovation programme. That could be put in place almost immediately and provide work this winter. Housing construction -- of course we know that we have a serious housing shortage -- it takes a little longer to get housing construction under way but the hon. minister could get it started so that something is happening by March or April.
Day care centres; we still have a great shortage of these. More funds could be provided and the distribution of the funds that are available could be accelerated.
Municipal winter works; I think there’s lots of work that municipalities are puffing off, in the way of repair, maintenance and clean up, because of the pressure on their budgets. The province could assist with that and get work for those 50,000 people.
Community services; I think there were about five times as many requests for LIP grants this year from the federal government as were filled. The province could move into some of those areas and provide its own LIP. Many of the projects that were turned down were very worthwhile ones and they would provide employment.
On-the-job training; we still have certain areas where there seems to be a shortage because there are not enough trained workers. In other areas there are too many workers who don’t have the training. That could be part of the package.
Finally, there are special cases which I think could come under a vote called employment programmes. One is the situation of the Grassy Narrows Indians. They must be provided with alternative means of livelihood, because their fishing livelihood and their guiding livelihood for fishermen has been destroyed by the mercury pollution. This is a very special case and we have to get some action. It seems that this would be a suitable vote for the hon. minister to add some funds to look after that problem. I would urge that he consider this very seriously, because unemployment is a very serious problem and it’s going to be more serious this winter.
Hon. Mr. McKeough: Mr. Chairman, I don’t disagree with what the member has said about unemployment. The last time it was at high levels was in 1971. The measures we took then really had nothing to do with the upcoming election.
Mr. Martel: Bill Davis had $10 million that time for day care.
Hon. Mr. McKeough: That’s right, and the regular vote has been considerably expanded since then.
Hon. Mr. McKeough: I’m really quite interested, because I think since Jan. 14, the hon. member for Beaches-Woodbine is the first member who has raised that question in the House. The matter of unemployment, to my great surprise, was not a great issue during the recent election. It was not one of the four concerns expressed so eloquently by your leader, and I mean that most sincerely. I am really quite fascinated that since Jan. 14, when I was reappointed Treasurer, this is the first time this issue has been raised in the House; a very interesting phenomenon -- and I have commented on that outside the House -- as opposed to 1970 and 1971 when the level was not as high, it was a matter of daily questioning at that time; interesting.
However, that’s just a reflective note. Unemployment in the province is improving. The levels of unemployment are going down but they are not down to where we would like to see them, obviously. Again, I don’t for one minute want to be provocative.
We chose in the April budget, reflecting our concern about the levels of unemployment, to go a particular route, which was a stimulative route through tax cuts as opposed to some of the methods which the hon. member has mentioned in her remarks. We didn’t go the route, through the municipalities, with some of the make-work projects. We are conscious of the fact that the federal government actually increased some of its LIP funding.
We have put a great deal of money into housing, which has done something for employment. We cut taxes, which we believe had a very direct effect on unemployment levels in a certain number of industries -- the automobile industry, for example, and the construction industry -- and we went that route rather than the route of government expenditures. I can say that from the point of view of government expenditures and getting value I think for our dollar, in my view it was the right route to have gone. In answer to the question, I have no present plans for any stimulative action this winter. We are encouraged by the dropping levels of unemployment in this province, but if that trend doesn’t continue, then I think we will have to take a very good look at some of the specifics which the member mentioned.
Mrs. Bryden: May I just ask the minister a question? He replied to most of the comments I made. He didn’t say anything about the Grassy Narrows employment problems. Is there a possibility of a special project being financed for them?
Hon. Mr. McKeough: I don’t think through my estimates. We have gone through this argument before in the House. I suppose it’s hard for the Treasurer not to say that it doesn’t belong in his estimates, because, as was pointed out, all the money comes -- well, it really all comes from Revenue, that’s where I suppose it should come. But if something were to be done by way of employment for people in the Grassy Narrows area, then I think it would come through one of the ministries which is more directly involved, and obviously the Ministry of Natural Resources, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Community and Social Services and the Ministry of the Environment have been particularly involved. If they developed an employment programme it could end up in our ministry, but the impetus would come from them. Perhaps they are developing something in their own estimates, but I don’t think they have approached us.
Mr. Good: I would like to say a few words regarding the manner in which the government handles payments and response when a flood or other disaster occurs within the province. At the time of the Grand River flooding last year there was a considerable amount of uncertainty, a great deal of anxiety and very little concrete direction given by the government as to what level of assistance might be available to the people who were so adversely affected by the flooding of the Grand. As we have seen over the years, the government usually ended up with a dollar for dollar assistance on the amount of money that was raised at the local level.
I can remember, on the day after the flood, going out to Bridgeport and telling people who had at that time set up a toll-gate at the bridge crossing the river and were collecting a considerable amount of money to make sure they keep track of the amount, keep it separate, and perhaps the province would reinstitute its plan of matching dollar for dollar. It was not very long before it was very evident that dollar-for-dollar assistance from the province would be totally inadequate. But it was a great length of time before any answer was given as to what the assistance would be.
I understand that the minister has resisted the idea of setting up permanent funding with definite guidelines so that individuals and municipalities would know, when disaster strikes, what type of assistance would be forthcoming from the government. Certainly the Grand River problem, along with others that have occurred in eastern Ontario in recent years, spells out the necessity that there be permanent guidelines and that there be permanent funding available when disaster of this type does strike.
We argued in the Legislature for days and for weeks regarding the investigation that was necessary to see if the flood could have been prevented or a degree of it could have been prevented. I am wondering if the minister would have any comments as to whether the government is considering permanent guidelines in this matter or whether the two-for-one or the four-for-one is now established as a precedent and that this is available in the future.
Mr. Ruston: Use Wintario.
Mr. Good: Certainly I feel that the present ad hoc method of dealing with these things is very unsatisfactory to the people who are adversely affected.
Mr. Ruston: Use Wintario funds.
Hon. Mr. McKeough: I don’t know that this could be regarded as a precedent for every situation. It is certainly a precedent for larger situations.
For example, in my own community in the flood in Wallaceburg the dollar-for-dollar assistance was quite adequate and looked after the situation. In very large occurrences, such as this, it wasn’t going to be adequate and that was why the government made the change which it did in the formula in the summer of 1974.
I don’t think I would want to say that the Grand River formula was the formula from here on in. I think these things still have to be looked at as things on their merits. That is not the right term; they have to be looked at in light of the special circumstances and the ability of the particular municipality to handle it or not handle it on its own. I don’t think it is etched in concrete forever.
Vote 1008 agreed to.
On vote 1009:
Mrs. Bryden: I would like to ask the provincial Treasurer if he could give us some details on the Ontario Land Corp. programme; as to how much land the corporation has purchased, how much it has leased, how much it has sold and who the directors of the corporation are.
Hon. Mr. McKeough: The corporation is made up of seven civil servants. There are four from my ministry, plus Mr. Wronski from Housing, Mr. Lantz from Agriculture and Food and Mr. York from Industry and Tourism. From my ministry are Mr. Honey, Mr. Bed, Mr. McIntyre and Mr. Russell, who is being replaced by Mr. Omand from my ministry; Mr. Russell moved to Revenue.
I don’t know that I have the acreages. Nothing has happened this year in terms of further purchases other than the ongoing completion of the purchases at North Pickering, Edwardsburgh, Townsend and Cayuga. There obviously isn’t money in the estimates to do it. That’s how it has been contemplated. I can get the figures as to the exact acreages, but they have not changed, except that North Pickering may have shrunk a little bit from when last we put these figures in front of the House, whatever the acreages were; we’ve been completing those purchases.
Mrs. Bryden: May I ask whether the Spencerville land assembly is included in this item?
Hon. Mr. McKeough: Edwardsburgh, yes.
Mrs. Bryden: I noticed the latest report of the Treasury showed a $5-million repayment of capital for the land corporation. What was that for?
Hon. Mr. McKeough: I believe that was a reduction in the amount we thought we would spend. Was that in the quarterly report?
Mrs. Bryden: Yes.
Hon. Mr. McKeough: In the budget there was an amount of $10 million or $11 million put in the land corporation for the industrial parks programme of the Ministry of Industry and Tourism. That was reduced by $4.5 million in the supplementary actions. I think that’s the figure the hon. member would have seen in the quarterly report. If I am wrong, I’ll get back to her, but I think that’s what it would be. It wasn’t a refund. It’s just a reduction in spending.
Mr. G. I. Miller: Could I ask one question of the minister? Have the land purchases been completed for the Townsend and South Cayuga town-sites?
Hon. Mr. McKeough: There apparently is some filling in going on, I am told. I’ll get those particulars for the member. I know he is interested in both of them.
Mr. G. I. Miller: Could we have up-to-date details?
Hon. Mr. McKeough: Yes, I’d be glad to provide them. We will write to the hon. member and give him a status report on both of them.
Vote 1009 agreed to.
Mr. Chairman: This completes the estimates of the Ministry of Treasury, Economics and Intergovernmental Affairs.
Hon. Mr. McKeough moved the committee rise and report.
Motion agreed to.
The House resumed, Mr. Speaker in the chair.
Mr. Chairman: Mr. Speaker, the committee of supply begs to report it has reached certain resolutions and asks for leave to sit again.
Hon. Mr. McKeough: Mr. Speaker, tomorrow the House will go back into committee of supply and, I believe, will consider the estimates of the Ministry of Education. I am told that they will probably finish those shortly after 11, and then there will be another set of estimates which you can announce.
Hon. Mr. McKeough moved the adjournment of the House.
Motion agreed to.
The House adjourned at 6 p.m.
INSTALLATION OF OMBUDSMAN OF ONTARIO
Mr. Speaker: The Reverend Father Henry Maloney, priest of Our Lady of Mercy parish in Bancroft, Ont., will deliver the invocation.
Rev. H. Maloney: Let us pray.
Almighty God, father of all men, we pray for your son and servant, Arthur, as he assumes the heavy burden of the office of Ombudsman for this Province of Ontario. Send down upon him, we beseech you, your holy spirit, to endow him with your gifts of knowledge, wisdom, fortitude and understanding. Grant him the spirit of right judgement and courage, the spirit of love and reverence in your service so that, laying aside all private interests, prejudice and partiality, he may discharge worthily his responsibilities as officer of the Legislature of this province to the glory of your blessed name and for the good of this community of your people.
In the words of your humble St. Francis of Assisi, make him an instrument of your peace. Where there is hatred, let him sew love where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; and where there is sadness, joy.
Hon. P. M. McGibbon (Lieutenant Governor): Pray be seated.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Mr. Speaker, you will recall that on July 4, 1975, this Legislature by resolution requested of the Honourable the Lieutenant Governor in council the appointment of Arthur Edward Martin Maloney, one of Her Majesty’s counsel learned in law, as Ombudsman for the Province of Ontario pursuant to the Ombudsman Act, 1975, which the House approved in the spring session of the Legislature.
I believe that the members of this House expressed confidence in Mr. Maloney, a most distinguished citizen of Ontario, and I am sure that all members of the House will want to be identified with the support of this the Legislature.
I believe it is now Her Honour’s pleasure to respond to the resolution.
Hon. Mrs. McGibbon: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to inform you, and through you the assembly, that I have approved the order passed by my executive council in accordance with the address of the assembly which you presented to me on July 9 this year, appointing Mr. Arthur Edward Martin Maloney as the first Ombudsman for the Province of Ontario.
It is with great pleasure that in the name of Her Majesty, I express thanks to Mr. Maloney for accepting the very onerous responsibility of his new office. This is a very historic occasion in the life of the province and its people, whose interest will be better served because of the Ombudsman’s availability to all citizens of the province.
I know that Mr. Maloney will bring to his new duties the same ability and energy that have made him such a distinguished citizens of Ontario. I know also that the position of absolute neutrality which has been accorded by the Ombudsman Act to his office, his authority to report to the assembly and his independence from the executive will be a source of great satisfaction to those people seeking his help; and that his neutrality and independence will be honoured by the executive and the legislative branches of the government.
I am now pleased to ask the Premier to present Mr. Maloney to you, Mr. Speaker, for the administration of the oath as required by statute.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Your Honour, Mr. Speaker, members of the Legislature and guests: As you stated, Your Honour, this is a very historic occasion and I would like to welcome a number of Mr. Maloney’s friends. Without singling out any because it would be very awkward to do so, there is one gentleman here, Your Honour, whom I would like to welcome to the Legislature. That is the former Prime Minister of Canada, a very great Canadian -- who, incidentally, has a book available for all of those who are interested; and, sir, I want no commission for my stating that -- but I would like to welcome to this House, Mr. John Diefenbaker.
I was going to say something, Your Honour, that might not be considered totally impartial on this impartial occasion; I shall refrain from doing so.
Your Honour, the concept of the Ombudsman originated in Sweden some many years ago; it is one of the longest surviving parliamentary democracies in the world. Over the years, this same concept has been adopted by other nations and jurisdictions, including seven Canadian provinces. Ontario has joined this tradition now for two fundamental and, we believe, timely reasons.
Firstly, we have to maintain an overriding concern and respect in our society for the rights, the freedoms and security of the individual. Secondly, because of the larger complexities now facing each individual in today’s world there is a greater need for reinforcement of our belief in these rights in a proved and practical manner. Specifically, this new office offers stronger protection for the individual before the power of the state, It will be the role of Ontario’s Ombudsman to investigate recommendations, decisions and actions committed or omitted in the administration of the government of this province, whether by petition or on his own initiative and it will be the Ombudsman’s function to recommend action in each case.
Mr. Speaker, Ontario has had a proud and enviable record of upholding and defending the rights of the individual. The Ontario Human Rights Code, now 15 years old, prescribes in law certain basic moral principles governing the behaviour of individuals toward each other and of institutions toward the individual. The body of civil rights legislations enacted in 1971 by this Legislature provided the most comprehensive programme of any jurisdiction in Canada for the protection of individual rights in relation to administrative procedures in government today.
What we seek in the creation of an Ombudsman for all Ontario is still greater accessibility for the individual to the security of freedom under existing law in a democratic society. As Ontario’s first Ombudsman I commend to you Arthur Edward Martin Maloney, QC, whose appointment has been made on the resolution and with the approbation of the members of this Legislature and which has been greeted with wide public accord.
It is not surprising, Your Honour, and Mr. Speaker, that Mr. Maloney, a native of this province, is one of Canada’s most distinguished citizens. He is from a family renowned for its contribution to the public life of Canada and Ontario.
His father was a federal member of Parliament, and his brother, who was known to many of us here, was a member of this House, as was his grandfather. Mr. Maloney himself served as a member of the Parliament of Canada from 1957 to 1962. I think above all else Mr. Maloney has distinguished himself by his outstanding service to the cause of justice in this country, both in its advocacy and its defence.
It is also interesting that a member of the family, a very close relative of Mr. Maloney, was able to offer the prayer here today. Arthur, you are fortunate to have that spiritual guidance within your own family, the guidance I know that you accept seven days a week -- I am not sure of that.
On behalf of the government, Your Honour, Mr. Speaker, and the people of this province, we entrust to him this new challenge in the full knowledge that we shall be well and ably served.
Mr. Speaker, Mr. Maloney is now prepared to take the oath of his office, which the statute requires be administered.
Clerk of the House: Do you, Arthur Edward Martin Maloney, solemnly and sincerely promise and swear that you will faithfully and impartially, and to the best of your skill and knowledge, execute the powers and trusts reposed in you as Ombudsman for the Province of Ontario? Do you also solemnly and sincerely promise and swear that you will not disclose any information which you receive as Ombudsman, except as you may be permitted by law, so help you God?
Mr. Maloney: I so swear.
Clerk of the House: Do you, Arthur Edward Martin Maloney, sincerely promise and swear that you will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, so help you God?
Mr. Maloney: I so swear.
Clerk of the House: Pauline M. McGibbon, Province of Ontario; Elizabeth II, by the grace of God, of the United Kingdom, Canada and Her Other Realms and Territories, Queen; Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith -- to Arthur Edward Martin Maloney, greeting.
Know you that having special trust and confidence in your loyalty, integrity and ability, and in pursuance of the provisions and by the authority of the statute in that behalf made and enacted, we have thought fit to nominate and appoint, and by these presents do nominate and appoint you, said Arthur Edward Martin Maloney, Ombudsman for the Province of Ontario, to have, hold, occupy, protect and enjoy the said office during our pleasure and your residence within our Province of Ontario, together with all and singular the rights, privileges, emoluments, fees and perquisites which to the said office belong or of right appertain; in testimony whereof we have caused these our letters patent to be made patent and the great seal of our Province of Ontario to be hereunto affixed.
Witness -- the Hon. Pauline M. McGibbon, an Officer of the Order of Canada, Doctor of Laws, Doctor of University (Ottawa), Lieutenant Governor of the Province of Ontario, at our city of Toronto, in our said province, this 30th day of October, in the year of our Lord, 1975, and in the 24th year of our reign.
(signed) Margaret Scrivener, Minister of Government Services.
Mr. Speaker: I know that the assembled guests here today would be delighted to have our Ombudsman, Mr. Arthur Maloney, address them at this time.
Mr. A. E. M. Maloney: Your Honour, Mr. Speaker, Mr. Premier, Mr. Lewis, Mr. Nixon, your lordships, your honours, distinguished members of the House, your distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen:
I want to first of all express my gratitude to Her Honour the Lieutenant Governor for what she has said, and on behalf of all assembled express our gratitude to her for her kindness in inviting us to the reception which is to follow.
I wish also to thank you, Mr. Speaker, and through you, Mr. Roderick Lewis, QC, and Mr. John Holtby, for the excellence of today’s arrangements.
As I view the members of the judiciary who are present today, representative of all of the courts of the province, headed by Chief Justice Gale and Chief Justice Este, in all of which courts it has been my privilege for the last 30 years to have appeared and to have pleaded with varying degrees of success, I am filled with nostalgia at the prospect of not being able to appear again before you as counsel, certainly for a period of 10 years. The prospect of never addressing a jury again in that time is one that is not easy for me to contemplate.
I am consoled, however, by the fact that it has now become my privilege to serve a much wider constituency of people, which I look forward to doing with all my heart.
I am happy to see here today my counterpart from Alberta, Rev. Dr. Ivany, and also the Ombudsman from Nova Scotia, my friend, Dr. Harry Smith. The Province of New Brunswick, which is at present without an incumbent due to the unfortunate decease of Dean McAllister, is represented, I am glad to say, by Mr. Charles Ferris.
I have already had the privilege of meeting all of my fellow Ombudsmen in Canada. They have generously shared with me the knowledge and the expertise that they have acquired over their longer period of operation.
I am immensely grateful to the Rt. Hon. John George Diefenbaker for his presence here today. A few weeks ago I took part in the Ottawa celebrations for his 80th birthday. I said then and I say again, this most distinguished man has a place that is all his own in the hearts and the affections of the people, no matter what their politics, their race, their colour or their creed. For John Diefenbaker there will never be a last hurrah; he will just go on for ever.
My mind goes back to May 22 when I sat in the gallery of this chamber with my friend Roy McMurtry, now the hon. Roy McMurtry, Attorney General and Minister of Justice of our province. We listened to the Premier, the Hon. William Davis, as he put my name in nomination as the first Ombudsman of Ontario.
It had been apparent to me from the time discussions about the possibility of my appointment commenced that the Premier and his colleagues in the government took a very serious view of the proposed legislation and were determined that it should be set up to function in the most effective way possible.
It is an understatement for me to say that I was deeply touched by what followed in so far as the opposition parties were concerned. The support given to my nomination by Mr. Stephen Lewis, the Leader of the Opposition, and Mr. Robert Nixon, the leader of the Liberal Party, and the subsequent unanimous endorsement by all of the members of this House of every political party, reinforced my determination to serve this House and the people of Ontario without bias or prejudice of any kind.
If the legislative chamber of a true parliamentary democracy functions as it should the atmosphere will almost always be highly charged. The fact that I will serve this House within that atmosphere without being part of it is a challenging prospect which I welcome and to which I look forward.
It would be an oversight of first-rate magnitude if no mention were made by me on this elegant occasion of the hon. member of this House who was the pioneer in the field of legislation relating to the office of Ombudsman. Members of all political parties would surely expect me to identify Mr. Vernon Singer, the distinguished member for Wilson Heights.
I look upon each member of the Legislature as an ombudsperson in his own right. It is my intention and my expectation that the expertise, that happily my office will acquire, that the service of my staff and our facilities generally will be an indispensable adjunct to him as he finds his way, like the rest of us, through the increasingly complex labyrinth of government.
So as to help him in his function and so as to enable us to meet him more easily, and any of his constituents whom he wishes to bring to see us, the Ombudsman has been given, I’m very happy to say, an office in the legislative building itself. It will remain open throughout the year and so long as the House itself is in session will maintain the same hours as you do in the chamber. The lights will not go out in room 157 until after the day’s proceedings have been completed here.
Sur les armoiries de l’ombudsman ontarien figure le griffon, animal mythique à corps de lion et a tête à ailes d’aigle, qui représente l’union de la force et de la vigilance. C’est un symbole qui convient à celui qui doit se faire le gardien des droits du citoyen. À une époque où le rôle de l’administration publique a pris tellement d’extension que la portée de ses activités nous touche dans presque tous les aspects de notre vie, le citoyen aura besoin d’un recours à un ombudsman impartial lorsqu’il se croirait lésé par l’acte ou l’omission d’un fonctionnaire.
Des gens sont venus ici de tous les pays du monde pour nous aider à bâtir une société dans la liberté, une société dont les bases ont été jetées par les Anglais et les Français. On reconnaît cela sur les armoiries de l’ombudsman. Los trois trilliums qui se trouvent juste en-dessous de griffon symbolisent le droit à la justice sociale et à l’intégrité culturelle des Anglais, des Français, et des autres ethnies qui font la richesse de notre patrimoine.
Toute carrière présente au commencement ses difficultés. Celle de l’ombudsman offre un défi spécial, puisqu’il s’agit non seulement d’un commencement personnel pour moi, mais aussi du commencement d’une institution que nous n’avons pas connue auparavant. L’Assemblée législative, en créant le poste d’ombudsman, s’est inspirée de l’exemple d’autres pays ayant une tradition de démocratie parlementaire comme la nôtre, où l’on a cru bon d’avoir un ombudsman pour protéger le citoyen contre l’injustice administrative.
Pour ma part, j’accepte ce défi. J’ai le privilège d’être le premier ombudsman de l’Ontario et je ferai tout pour être digne de la confiance que l’on m’a montrée.
I have had the opportunity, since my appointment was confirmed, to meet with the deputy ministers of approximately 12 of the provincial ministries, together with their top aides and advisers. Arrangements are under way to enable me to meet with the balance in the very near future. I have experienced nothing but co-operation and encouragement from every one of them, and I look forward to serving the people of Ontario the more easily and the more effectively from the knowledge I have that they too are determined that the office of the Ombudsman shall really work.
One of the commitments I made when I agreed to assume the responsibilities of this position was to draw up a blueprint for the office that would be best suited to the needs of Ontario. To accomplish this I undertook, as I carried on the functions of the office in the first year, to make a study at the same time of its functioning in the other provinces and in other jurisdictions of the world, a few of which I undertook oven to visit.
As a matter of fact, it will interest you to know -- and I will be giving you a more detailed report in due course about this -- that I have already inspected the offices and have met my counterparts in the United Kingdom, France, Germany and Israel, and have had discussions with over 50 knowledgeable men and women who were high-ranking members of their staffs. It is hard to exaggerate the value that someone in my position derives from this kind of direct face-to-face contact with those who have already acquired so much experience in carrying out this kind of responsibility.
The pluralistic nature of Ontario’s society makes it imperative that the Office of the Ombudsman should be as representative as possible. It pleases me more than I can say to know that represented in today’s assemblage are representatives of all the great ethnic minorities of Ontario. I was not long in public life myself before I realized the immense contribution that this vital element of our Canadian society made to our political, cultural and economic growth and development. I want them to know that I am very sensitive to their problems and to their needs. It will interest them and you to know that presently serving on my staff are personnel who are representative of, and have linguistic capacities in, not only English and French, but also in Italian, German, Russian, Ukrainian, Czech, Slovak, Polish, Estonian, Yiddish and Hebrew.
When I abandoned my career at the law to enter unchartered waters, I derived inspiration from Oliver Wendell Holmes, who, when he was appointed justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, said: “It is required of man that he should take part in the actions and passions of his time or face the peril of being judged not to have lived,”
Woodrow Wilson once said: “I used to be a lawyer. Now I am a reformed character.” In my life I have been fortunate to serve both as an advocate before the courts of the land and also as a member of Parliament. I can say now, as did Artemus Ward 50 years ago: “I am no longer a politician, and my other habits are good.”
Now I look forward to the challenge and the opportunity of this new office. For the Office of the Ombudsman as an institution to further protect the rights of man is an idea whose time has come.
During the remarks that I delivered in French, I referred to the emblem or symbol of my office, the Griffin, a cross between a lion and an eagle. My brother Henry, in his beautiful invocation, referred to the prayer of St. Francis. He loved animals and animals instinctively loved him. I suspect he would have had mixed feelings about my Griffin or about the possibility that it might ever use his gentle shoulders as a perch; but as I assume my new duties I will always remember that St. Francis also prayed for the courage to change those things which can be changed, the humility to accept those which cannot and the wisdom to know the difference -- a prayer that any ombudsman would be well advised to adopt.
Mr. Lewis: Your Honour, Mr. Speaker, Mr. Ombudsman, Mr. Premier, my colleagues in the Legislature and all distinguished guests: I feel it a privilege to participate at the appointment of Arthur Edward Martin Maloney as Ombudsman in Ontario. Indeed, anyone with so mellifluous and felicitous a name as that was destined for this office. I feel equally privileged to share, however briefly, sometime in the presence of the Rt. Hon. John Diefenbaker to whom, like others, I shall present my copy of his memoirs for autograph before he leaves.
I understand the solemnity of the occasion. I wonder if I may be allowed an anecdotal opening, the truth of which you will have to entrust me with.
Some months ago, I was sitting late evening with my wife watching the Barbara Frumm show on television. Barbara Frumm was interviewing Arthur Maloney, and if memory serves me it was about the jury system and the Morgentaler case. Arthur Maloney was responding to the questions with lucidity, perception, sensitivity and that protectiveness of jurisprudence which even I, as a layman, have learned to treasure.
I turned to Michelle and said: “What an unusual man is that. What a fine ombudsman he would make for Ontario.” Extraordinarily enough, a week or 10 days later I guess it was, much to my surprise I assure everyone, the Premier stood and made the announcement; all of these events preceding by much time the more recent political events.
The choice, all of us felt at the time, was inspired and the affirmation and pleasure with which the appointment was greeted is no less now that the appointment is confirmed. The office has about it a certain majesty as does its first incumbent. I’ve always had difficulty separating office and holder. In this position, as perhaps in no other, the principle of the one is expressed through the incumbent; the theory becomes the practice of the incumbent.
All of us I think in this Legislature have felt about the ombudsman some simple and compelling principles.
First, and most obvious, that the complexity and bureaucracy of the modern state requires the protection, the vigilance and the accessibility of an ombudsman.
Second, and equally obvious, that the citizens of a free and democratic society must sense that justice in its broadest interpretation is available to them all; and where not, the Ombudsman must forever be the unfailing court of last resort. The Ombudsman himself, we think -- all of us in this Legislature, Mr. Ombudsman -- must be absolutely unfettered in his authority to pursue justice for those who feel themselves wronged; and that the exercise of that authority should be as searching, as tenacious, as unrelenting as the Ombudsman wishes, regardless the discomfort or embarrassment to the political nobility of any given day.
When an ombudsman opens his office and pursues his job, immediately problems present themselves. There are many in this province -- I think even of the demonstration which greeted this Legislature when it opened this week -- there are those whose sense of frustration and anger and grievance is such that the office of Ombudsman will be seen as the focal point in the pursuit of justice.
You have, of course, Mr. Ombudsman, the unfailing support of the opposition in this Legislature. Indeed, I think it fair to say that the strongest evidence of our loyalty to the new ombudsman is our enthusiasm for your decision to hire away from the New Democratic Party, from the NDP caucus, the single most indispensable member of staff and colleague any of us have had for 20 years. And may I say, without seeming to be presumptuous, that if, by chance, divine providence should ever fail you, then I urge you to turn to mortal providence in the person of Ellen Adams.
We wish you well.
Mr. Nixon: Your Honour, ladies and gentlemen: This is, of course, an important day for us all, but we in the Liberal caucus have a bit of a proprietary interest in it as well, because I and my colleagues have participated in the debate, I believe at least nine years in this House, in which the advantages of the creation of such an office were discussed in this very chamber. So we were particularly pleased when, by the unanimous decision of this House, the office was created just now a few months ago.
It goes without saying that all of us as elected members believe in the efficacy of the position itself, the tested approach that has been taken by other jurisdictions before Ontario ventured into this important procedure and position for the safeguarding of individual interests, which are of such great importance to us all. But one of the aspects which pleases us more than perhaps anything else is the ability and background, the proved ability, of the incumbent who was here this morning sworn in in your presence, Your Honour.
According to the Toronto columnists, who seem to be able to sense the vibrations from the thoughtful responses of the Conservative Party, it is the new Attorney General himself who perhaps was most active in persuading Mr. Arthur Maloney to abandon what has been one of the greatest legal careers in Canada, with all sorts of fulfillments. I probably didn’t realize how important it was until the Ombudsman himself mentioned it in his excellent address a few moments ago.
So I’m sure that we owe some appreciation to the individuals who were able to persuade Mr. Maloney of the importance of this position. It is anything but a facade. It goes to the very roots and the depths of the democratic process, and I would predict, Your Honour, that he will be called upon to show the strength of that position and his own individual strength in the procedures associated with his office.
I was also particularly pleased to hear in his remarks this morning, his dedication to a close association with all of us as elected members of this House, because a former Premier, in expressing an objection to the position, had said: “We are all ombudsmen and surely we don’t need another.”
I believe very strongly that we do need another, and that his association with the elected members of this House will be the cornerstone and the foundation of a long and productive association.
Mr. Speaker: Your Honour and distinguished guests, today we have inaugurated a new parliamentary office in Ontario. I share with all my colleagues in the House the sure knowledge that the Ombudsman will act with diligence and impartiality. The Legislature wishes him well.