The House met at 10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker: Statements by the ministry.
Hon. Mr. Handleman: Mr. Speaker, in conjunction with the government’s attack on inflation, the Liquor Control Board is attempting to curb all future requests for price increases from its suppliers until further notice. To this end, the LCBO has written to all foreign suppliers to warn them that reduced purchases or even cancelled orders could result from price increases that fail to acknowledge Ontario’s attempt to control inflation.
The LCBO is considered a major customer by all suppliers and, therefore, we anticipate their fullest co-operation to help us hold the line on prices. But I must point out that there are certain cost increases incurred by the LCBO prior to the federal government’s anti-inflation actions. These increases are currently being studied by the board in the light of the new controls and may have an effect on prices early in the new year.
However, I am pleased to announce today that lower quotations from some suppliers and a reduction in foreign exchange rates have allowed the LCBO to decrease the price of 80 brands effective tomorrow, Saturday, Dec. 6, 1975. The affected brands are composed of 41 spirits, with decreases ranging from 5 cents to $1.60; 24 imported wines with reductions between 5 cents and 80 cents; 11 Ontario wines, which will sell from 10 cents to 30 cents less; three imported ciders with decreases ranging from 5 cents to 20 cents, and one Ontario cider, which will sell for 65 cents less.
Mr. Speaker: Oral questions.
FREEZE ON PRICES
Mr. Lewis: To the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations: Since he is so fired up to freeze the prices of intoxicants, has the cabinet discussed a 90-day price freeze on food and other commodities across the Province of Ontario, to give some guts to the anti-inflation guidelines which descend on wages but not on prices?
Hon. Mr. Handleman: Mr. Speaker, I am sure the hon. Leader of the Opposition will not want me to violate my cabinet oath of secrecy, so I can’t tell him what cabinet has discussed.
If he has been reading his mail lately he knows that my ministry will be monitoring the supermarkets’ announced voluntary price freeze, and will keep an eye on it with the co-operation of the Food Council, under the Ministry of Agriculture and Food. Certainly we are concerned with the level of prices, as is everyone else in this chamber.
Mr. Lewis: If I may redirect that question to the Premier, having heard the CBC this morning and now feeling that David Barrett is going to win British Columbia: May I ask the Premier, given the confused and conflicting reports from Jean-Luc Pepin in the area of wages under the Anti-Inflation Board, is the Premier prepared to reconsider a 90-day freeze on a whole range of prices on various necessary commodities across Ontario?
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I don’t know that I can quite understand the reference to the chairman of the Anti-Inflation Board and consideration of a 90-day freeze. I don’t know that the two are necessarily related, but the answer to the question is no.
MENTAL RETARDATION CENTRES
Mr. Lewis: A question of the Minister of Community and Social Services: What is he going to do about the clear discontent in the retardation centres under his ministry, as expressed in the news this morning of the intended walkout of the medical staff?
Hon. Mr. Taylor: To put the matter in perspective, there isn’t any clear discontent in the retardation facilities.
Mr. Lewis: No?
Hon. Mr. Taylor: There is some discontent among certain of the doctors in three of the institutions.
Mr. Nixon: I thought it was all of the doctors.
Hon. Mr. Taylor: As a matter of fact, they were contacted in connection with the proposal in terms of the reorganization in those three institutions. They were given a copy of the Fulton report, and if there is still some discontent, then of course, I am always delighted to discuss with them the substance of that discontent.
Mr. Lewis: By way of supplementary, did the minister notice that one of the doctors, as spokesman for the profession, said, “The government proposal is in keeping with the government’s attempt to de-emphasize the medical aspects of the mental retardation facilities in order that they may qualify for federal cost-sharing.” I ask him, will his lust for federal moneys, which he then does not use for mental retardation, never stop; and has he examined the damaging consequences to the system, as a result of transferring it to his ministry?
Hon. Mr. Taylor: I have difficulty, Mr. Speaker, distinguishing the question from the accusation.
Mr. Lewis: They are coincident.
Hon. Mr. Taylor: They sure are --
Mr. Lewis: They sure are.
Hon. Mr. Taylor: -- like most of the accusations the member makes. I intend to respond to his questions, and I can answer him that that was not the motivation, and if that’s an expression of opinion by certain medical people then it’s entirely wrong.
Mr. MacDonald: Maybe as a result of them.
Hon. Mr. Taylor: I wish the member would keep the whole matter in perspective for the very simple reason that when one reads the newspaper reports, one sees something in terms of 200 doctors, but actually of our 18 institutions there are only three of them that have full-time medical practitioners. We use the services of the community. Those three institutions, as the member knows, are Smiths Falls, Orillia and Cedar Springs. We probably have a dozen doctors in Smiths Falls, maybe half a dozen in Cedar Springs and probably 11 in Orillia, so we are not talking about very many doctors.
I think what has been blurred is the fact that the doctors at these institutions and the psychiatric hospitals have formed a loose liaison or an organization but there is very little discontent in terms of our institutions. Again, to put the matter into perspective, the discontent in the institutions would be strictly the disgruntlement of a few medical practitioners.
Mr. Nixon: A supplementary, Mr. Speaker: What then was the purpose of subjecting what the minister calls a few disgruntled medical practitioners to non-medical co-ordination? Would it be reasonable for them to think that they should be co-ordinated by someone who knows something about their medical responsibilities and duties?
Hon. Mr. Taylor: In response to that, I think the member must realize that in the institutions which are run by my ministry we have the medical aspect of it, but not only the medical in the strict sense of the word. We have the pharmacists, for example, and therapists and people like that on one side, and all of that type of service is co-ordinated, or will be, through a co-ordinator for that aspect of the service.
Then we have another aspect of the service, of course, which is in terms of the developmental and training procedures which are under a training director and, of course, those people report to the administrator of the institution. When we talk about a medical person reporting, what we are speaking of is really an administrative system. There is no interference with the medical practitioner’s practice of his profession. It’s a matter, really, of permitting him to practice his profession as opposed to performing a lot of administrative detail. He is only one part of the overall service which is delivered within the facility.
Mr. McClellan: A supplementary?
Mr. Speaker: We’ll allow this supplementary.
Mr. McClellan: To the Minister of Community and Social Services: Does the reorganization of the delivery of medical services which he is undertaking effect a cost saving?
Hon. Mr. Taylor: I would respond that every forward step we make effects a cost saving or, put the other way, an improvement in the service which is delivered.
Mr. Nixon: We have had experience of your forward steps in the past.
Mr. Lewis: You wanted more money from the federal government.
Hon. Mr. Taylor: The cost saving in this case, if we are talking in terms of medical personnel, would be to enable the medical practitioners to practise their profession rather than get them involved in administrative work or paper work.
Mr. Lewis: A question to the Minister of Agriculture and Food: Has it yet been brought to his specific attention that the calculations which be provided at his major maiden speech to the convention of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture, in the comparison of the British Columbia and Ontario cow-calf plans, were wrong, based on a misinterpretation of prices in different parts of the country? It is causing some considerable concern in the farm community that he could have made that kind of error.
Hon. W. Newman: I didn’t think I made an error but I did make an error. The error was that the Ontario farmers will come out even better, since we got the final figures yesterday of what the cow-calf operation is going to be.
Mr. Lewis: By way of supplementary: Didn’t he realize when he delivered the speech that even at the lowest of the prices, the BC plan provides several hundred dollars more in greater compensation payment to the farmer? Was he not aware that that error was made in his submission?
Hon. W. Newman: Mr. Speaker, I am not sure what the member’s researchers found out but I’ll tell him this. The prices I quoted at that meeting, I think, were about 32 or 33 cents. The price is going to be lower, it’s going to be between 30 and 31 cents and if we take the same calculations that my people, who are the experts in the field, gave me, then the Ontario programme will yield even higher than I anticipated when I made that speech in Hamilton.
Mr. Lewis: Supplementary: Was the minister aware that at 30 cents a pound the amount of money paid to the BC farmer is $9,007.65 and the Ontario farmer $8,570 and that his figures were out by several hundred dollars?
Hon. W. Newman: I am not prepared to accept the figures of the Leader of the Opposition.
Mr. Lewis: He will get it from other farmers.
Hon. W. Newman: If he wants to give them to me, we will be glad to analyse his figures.
Mr. Lewis: Is the minister meeting with the farmers today?
Hon. W. Newman: I have to say that the people in my ministry who did the work on it are very capable people and I accept as being accurate the figures they gave me.
If the Leader of the Opposition has done some further work on it and found differential thinking in the figures, I would be glad to see his figures to see how he did it so I can correct his figures for him.
Mr. Lewis: Is the minister at any time meeting with the Federation of Agriculture?
Hon. W. Newman: I am having lunch today with Mr. Hill, president of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture.
Mr. Lewis: Why doesn’t the minister ask them and report back to the House?
Hon. W. Newman: Why doesn’t the member give me his figures?
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. Any further questions?
Mr. Lewis: I will leave it at that.
Mr. Nixon: I would like to ask the Minister of Health if he is prepared to table for the Legislature and the people of the province a list of those hospitals which to his knowledge do not come up to the fire standards that he referred to yesterday, and which might be a criterion for closing.
Hon. F. S. Miller: I don’t have a list of those in the same sense as I have lists of other hospitals. I was asked the question yesterday whether any hospitals in this province didn’t meet the fire standards. I answered, yes, that there were some hospitals that did not meet the fire standards.
Mr. MacDonald: That’s been the case for years.
Hon. F. S. Miller: I would say there will never be a point in time when every building will. I could use this building as an example. I don’t know whether it meets the fire standards.
Mr. Ruston: I say it’s a fire trap.
Mr. MacDonald: It’s a time bomb.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Hon. F. S. Miller: We know that and we are avoiding certain issues in that context.
Mr. Lewis: Be careful, there will be no holding your free associations now.
Hon. F. S. Miller: I realize that.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. Let the hon. minister give his answer, please.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. Fewer interjections would be much more satisfactory.
Hon. F. S. Miller: The hon. Leader of the Opposition and I are going to have to stop meeting this way.
Mr. Nixon: It was the fire problem in the hospitals we were talking about, in case you are forgetting.
Hon. F. S. Miller: I didn’t say that as an alarmist statement; it is a statement of fact.
Mr. Nixon: The minister said it to justify the closing of hospitals.
Hon. F. S. Miller: It justifies the closing of some because we get to a point when the risks become so real and it is so costly to change or bring up to date that rebuilding is safer and cheaper than continuing on or repairing.
I used an example of one in my riding where our staff came in seven or eight years ago and made a fire inspection and an electrical inspection and said they must do certain things. The cost of this was so much that it was cheaper to rebuild. I think this could be said of a number of places.
Mr. Shore: All he asked was, could he have a list?
Mr. Nixon: Supplementary: I am quite sure that people are prepared to consider as factors among criteria for possible closing such things as inadequate utilization and so on. Would the minister not agree that the factor associated with fire safety does not fall in that category and if there is a list of hospitals that don’t come up to those standards it should be public knowledge?
Hon. F. S. Miller: I can only say that on a regular basis, as we are given those defects that are considered dangerous, our ministry has been expending funds to allow hospitals to correct them. The member can go through our annual appropriations of money and he will find many small items that we agree to simply to keep hospitals up to date.
Mr. Nixon: Can the minister assure us that he was not just using that from his very fertile imagination in order to justify the fact that he has had a policy dictated to him to close a certain number of hospitals? Surely he cannot expect us to think that he, as Minister of Health, is going to allow facilities that don’t come up to fire safety standards to continue in operation -- hospitals particularly.
Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, first of all I am pleased there is some part of me that’s fertile.
Mr. Nixon: Has anybody ever suggested otherwise about you?
Mr. Singer: Even though you look arid. Why do you look so arid this morning?
Mr. S. Smith: This is a more serious case than I had first thought.
Mr. Speaker: Could we get to the answer of that important question?
Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, they are provoking me. The answer is no, it is not. I have no orders to do that. The initiative for these changes came from my ministry as a result of studies started over a year ago.
TOWNSEND ADVISORY PLANNING COMMITTEE
Mr. Nixon: I have a question for the Minister of Housing: How can he justify compounding the error of insisting that a Toronto Tory continue to be chairman of the planning of the new Townsend city by imposing on those people a planning firm from the United Kingdom which is going to tell them how their new community should develop?
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: Mr. Speaker, the particular firm which was selected was selected by the advisory committee. Its members made their suggestions. They carried out the interviews and the discussions with the various consultant firms which were called in and asked to make their submissions. The recommendations then came from that committee and were passed along to Management Board and cabinet for selection. This particular firm has shown itself to have the expertise to develop new towns. They have some history of that. About 99 per cent of the work will be done in Canada and a great portion of that by Ontario firms which will be associated with that firm in the development of the plan.
Mr. Haggerty: You don’t need a chairman from Queen’s Park.
Mr. Nixon: A supplementary: Since this is not quite the same, would the minister not agree, as, let’s say, negotiating with a German firm to build railway cars -- this is not something like a structure but it is a concept of living -- would he not agree that we have technology and expertise here and perhaps concepts of our own way of life which couldn’t possibly be matched by foreign experts no matter how able they would be?
Mr. Mancini: He should know better than that.
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: Was that for me?
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: Mr. Speaker, the question was whether there is expertise in Ontario or in Canada; certainly there is expertise and many of those firms did go before the committee --
Mr. Nixon: Some with a lower bid.
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: -- to present their positions. The firm which was recommended as being the most capable of carrying out this project, as I understand it from the advisory committee’s report, was the one which was selected. No one is suggesting that there is no expertise in Canada to develop some form of a new town. Certainly this firm has a considerable amount of international as well as local expertise.
Mr. Nixon: Yes, if you are building English towns.
Mr. Shore: May I ask the minister what were the specific criteria used in making the decision?
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: Which decision, Mr. Speaker?
Mr. Shore: In retaining the outside consultant; what was its background?
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: Mr. Speaker, I am afraid I can’t comment on that because I did not have any part in the discussions of the advisory committee. That committee met with the various firms which were interested in this particular project and it made its recommendations. The recommendations were passed along to Management Board and eventually to cabinet for a decision. I can’t tell the member what criteria were used. I was not in attendance at those particular meetings when the firms were, I supposed, judged.
Mr. Lewis: A supplementary, if I may: Is the minister saying that the local people in the Haldimand-Norfolk area unanimously supported those who were on the advisory committee, unanimously supported the choice of this external firm, and expressed that to the Management Board and cabinet?
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: No, Mr. Speaker. What I am saying is that a report came from that advisory committee. I can’t tell the member of the unanimity of it. It may have been a consensus, I couldn’t say, but there were first, second and third choices of firms submitted and the particular firm selected was the first choice of that advisory committee. I don’t know whether or not it was a unanimous decision but that certainly was the report which came from the advisory committee.
UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO ACT
Mr. Nixon: I have another question. I thought there was another supplementary on that. I would like to ask the Minister of Colleges and Universities when we might expect the University of Toronto amendment bill to be put before us, since the Act itself requires a review every two years and it is now a full year overdue.
Hon. Mr. Parrott: We’re still giving that Act some consideration, and I doubt very much if it will be this fall.
Mr. Nixon: Supplementary: Since the recommendations from the university, after all of their meetings and advisory decisions, have been completed and in the hands of the minister for some time, what is it he is considering? Whether or not he can get through the Legislature what he wants? Is that what he’s considering?
Hon. Mr. Parrott: No, I certainly disagree very much with my hon. friend on that point. I respect that this institution has the right to do as it so directs, and that would not be a justifiable reason for me to withhold that bill and it is not the one I am using.
Mr. Singer: What is the reason?
Mr. Nixon: Why is the minister withholding it?
Hon. Mr. Parrott: There are some things I want to consider. I think it has to be put in context, to some degree, with other Acts that are also near presentation stage, and when those things are finalized we will do so.
Mr. Nixon: I want to ask the minister in charge of the Liquor Control Board why it is that a company selling wine under the name of Chantecler is advertising that it is using imported grape concentrate, when the government already owns $9 million worth or something like that? They say their wine has imported grape concentrate and it’s sold at domestic prices. Are we still allowing grape concentrates to come in here to be made into wine?
Hon. Mr. Handleman: No, Mr. Speaker. If any wine is manufactured outside of Ontario, we have no control over the ingredients. But if it’s an Ontario-manufactured wine, it must be made of Ontario grapes. There is no other concession being granted.
Mr. Nixon: Supplementary: Since we exclude many products from the shelves of the LCBO, why would we permit a wine that specifically advertises that it imports the concentrate and sells it here -- in other words, it’s imported quality at domestic prices, which is very attractive -- when in fact we’ve got warehouses full of grapes that the government owns that we ought to be pushing ourselves?
Hon. Mr. Handleman: I don’t know whether the hon. member is suggesting that we stop all wines that are not made in Ontario from being sold in Ontario?
Mr. Nixon: Just that one. If they’re going to be Canadian wines, let them be Canadian grapes.
Hon. Mr. Handleman: We have no control over what is made outside the Province of Ontario.
Mr. Nixon: You have control over what you sell.
Hon. Mr. Handleman: The brand that the hon. member has mentioned is made in Quebec. We have reciprocal arrangements with the government of Quebec; they sell our wines, we sell those manufactured in Quebec under their regulations. We can obviously exclude every product which is not made in Ontario, but I don’t think the consumer would benefit by such a policy.
CREDIT CARDS IN FOOD INDUSTRY
Mr. MacDonald: A question of the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations: In view of the statement of the Hon. John Clement about a year ago that he, and presumably the government, looked with disfavour on the proposed introduction of credit cards into the food industry, what is the minister’s reaction to the current use of such credit cards by Rosen Dairy Products Ltd., a franchise operator of Silverwood’s? Are they using them with his knowledge or in defiance of suggested public policy?
Hon. Mr. Handleman: Mr. Speaker, they are not using them with my knowledge. I’ll certainly look into it. Our policy has not changed, and for the most part those who are dealing in grocery products have honoured the policy. I’ll certainly look into the situation as described by the hon. member.
Mr. Mancini: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Minister of Transportation and Communications: In light of the statistics from the chief coroner’s office that there have been close to 200 bicycle fatalities on Ontario roads in the last three years, will the minister review his ministry’s cycling policy with regard to providing safer bicycling by means of paved shoulders on provincial highways, and bicycle paths?
Hon. Mr. Snow: Mr. Speaker, I haven’t seen the specific report to which the hon. member refers. We are always reviewing our policy with regard to safety measures. It has not been the policy of the ministry to date to subsidize the construction of bicycle paths, although some municipalities have a policy of building cycleways in their municipalities. Within our financial constraints and subsidies available to municipalities we have not seen fit to participate in this on a shared-cost basis.
Mr. Mancini: In view of the answer of the minister, is he saying that he is in no mind to change his ministry’s policy, period?
Hon. Mr. Snow: No, I didn’t say that at all, Mr. Speaker. I told the hon. member what the status was at this time.
Mr. Mancini: He just told us no.
Hon. Mr. Snow: With regard to paved shoulders, we do have certain programmes for certain highways where we are going to install paved shoulders. These paved shoulders are not intended, though, in these specific instances to accommodate bicycles.
PORT ARTHUR CLINIC STRIKE
Mr. Foulds: Mr. Speaker, a question of the Minister of Health: Have the administrators of the Thunder Bay hospitals been in contact with him or his officials about a proposed withdrawal of services by the non-medical employees at those hospitals in support of their fellow members at the Port Arthur clinic?
Hon. F. S. Miller: They may well have been in touch with the members of my staff. I haven’t personally heard of it. I was checking this morning to see what was the status of all our psychiatric hospital staffs.
Mr. Foulds: In the general hospitals?
Hon. F. S. Miller: In the general hospitals? No, I haven’t heard that. Not at all.
Mr. Foulds: A supplementary, Mr. Speaker. Could the minister investigate that situation, and possibly investigate the possibility that the easiest solution might be for him and his colleague, the Minister of Labour (B. Stephenson), to persuade the doctor-owners of the clinic to accept the Ministry of Labour mediator’s report?
Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, I think it would be presumptuous of me to interfere in a bargaining process. I would rather leave it with the ministry which is expert in that. I realize the problems and I have read about it, very recently as a matter of fact, I’ve talked to the member about it on a number of occasions, I recall. Still, I think it’s best left with one ministry. Certainly I, for one, do not enjoy prolonged labour disputes from either point of view. I would be very happy to see a resolution of the matter which would be acceptable to both sides, if possible.
MUNICIPAL HOUSING SUBDIVISION APPROVALS
Mr. Shore: Mr. Speaker, through you to the Minister of Housing: I wonder if the minister, in view of the acknowledged housing problem in Ontario, would comment on the statement made by the mayor of Scarborough -- Mr. Cosgrove -- relating to a universal problem in Ontario -- the possible freeze on municipally-approved housing subdivisions -- in view of the fact that the province hasn’t come out with its guidelines for municipal bodies for transfer payments yet? Would he please comment on that? To state it more specifically, it’s relating to the possible five to six per cent guideline factor.
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: I haven’t heard the latest comment. Is the member referring to the original comment made by Mayor Cosgrove or has he made one recently?
Mr. Shore: Yes.
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: Yes, what?
Mr. Shore: The original; plus he’s referring to it again.
Mr. Nixon: It was in yesterday’s paper.
Mr. Sargent: Does the minister want easier questions?
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: I just don’t have the time --
Mr. Shore: I’m not getting an answer so I’ll forget that Mr. Cosgrove made any statement. Would the minister please comment on the fact that he has not made any statement of guidelines; the fact that there are problems in housing and that municipalities are talking about withholding or being forced to withhold subdivision approvals? Would he please comment on that?
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: No, Mr. Speaker, I don’t think I can comment. I have not made any statement as it relates to the guidelines. Any guidelines which have been expressed to the municipalities would have come from the Treasurer (Mr. McKeough), quite properly. Anything that’s going to slow down the development of housing is of concern to me and to the ministry but I really can’t comment on what the mayor of Scarborough has said -- that he’s not going to allow any development -- or any other community for that matter. It’s unfortunate if they’re taking that position, because we need housing.
Mr. Ruston: A supplementary, Mr. Speaker: With regard to the minister’s answer and this new policy that the federal government is announcing, of $1,000 subsidy for each house built in a municipality, wouldn’t he be interested in that, too?
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: Mr. Speaker, I have already said I think that is one of the very important parts of the federal programme. It’s not $1,000 per house, but per unit, which is even better, I think, for municipalities and would encourage them to get into a little higher densities and into multiple housing.
I think that’s a very important part; and I have so stated and I commend the minister, Mr. Danson, for that programme. But I wish he’d get on with it rather than have municipalities waiting for the final word.
Mr. Ruston: The minister is just waiting for the cheque?
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: Not me, the municipalities.
Mr. Ruston: He wants to sign them first, I know.
Mr. Speaker: This will be a final supplementary from the Leader of the Opposition.
Mr. Lewis: A supplementary to the minister: Before the provincial Treasurer made his statement about a five to 5½ per cent increase for the municipalities in the next fiscal year, was there any effort made to measure the impact on housing starts, since it was perhaps predictable that mayors like the mayor of Scarborough and councils like the council of Scarborough would react in the fashion they have -- “if you confine us to that increase, we simply cut off any extensions of subdivisions or housing”?
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: Mr. Speaker, if such a study was done, I am not aware of it. I would like to inquire in the ministry if that has been done, and I will make the information available.
OIL AND GAS PRICES
Mr. Davidson: In the absence of the Minister of Energy (Mr. Timbrell), Mr. Speaker, I will direct a question to the Premier. Does he consider a surcharge of $5 per delivery on 100 gal. or less of fuel oil to be an increase over and above that as set down?
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I would have to discuss this with the Minister of Energy and have to know a little more about it before I made any comment. If the hon. member would like to give me the particulars of the situation, I’ll certainly discuss it with the minister.
Mr. Singer: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the minister in charge of the Liquor Control Board.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. I believe it’s the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations.
Mr. Singer: Yes, well, it’s very hard to figure out what he isn’t in charge of, supposedly.
When the minister was expressing concern about advertising by brewers and distillers and hoping that the CRTC would have stricter regulations, why did the minister not admit that Ontario has as much control as it wants to exercise, because it is the sole purchaser of alcoholic beverages in the Province of Ontario, and that by threatening to purchase or not purchase, Ontario has, since liquor became available for public sale, had complete control over advertising by distillers and brewers?
Hon. Mr. Handleman: Mr. Speaker, of course we have control over certain aspects of advertising, and we do, in fact, exercise that control through the advertising directives. However, electronic advertising -- what appears on the airwaves -- is really strictly a federal responsibility. Of course, we can blackmail people by saying, “If you don’t do what we want you to do, we won’t buy the product.”
Mr. Nixon: That is sort of final control, isn’t it?
Hon. Mr. Handleman: We feel that broadcasting censorship or directives should be retained by Ottawa and we are certainly cooperating with the CRTC in developing advertising guidelines.
Mr. Singer: By way of supplementary, Mr. Speaker, since the so-called blackmailing was effectively used by one Premier of the province, Leslie M. Frost, who had a pretty good record of performance and achievement --
Mr. Nixon: His wife was in charge of that.
Mr. Singer: -- and the minister appears to be concerned about advertising on television and radio, why wouldn’t he borrow some of Mr. Frost’s techniques?
Hon. Mr. Handleman: Mr. Speaker, I don’t know about the appearance of being concerned. We are always concerned about the form in which liquor advertising is presented to the public. We have exercised the control and I don’t think we want to exercise the kind of controls the hon. member suggests.
Mr. Singer: Poor old Mr. Frost.
LANGSTAFF COMMUNITY CENTRE
Mr. Philip: A question of the Premier: Does the Premier condone the alleged intimidation of the solicitor and committee members of the Langstaff Community Centre by the Treasurer (Mr. McKeough) when, in responding to their questioning, he said:
“If you carry on like that I will go through your community”? Would the Premier be willing to assure this group that any decisions made about their community will not be influenced by any petty personality clashes between the community association and one of his ministers?
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I can only say the hon. member must be stating that those people who visited the Treasurer were involved in petty personality clashes on their own.
Mr. Nixon: Maybe your minister was.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I would regret if that were the case. If there is a clash, there has to be two clashing.
Mr. Nixon: Only one has to be petty.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I’m not an academic like the hon. member, but that is the only way one can interpret this question, which I understand he did not intend to state that way.
Mr. Lewis: Well, suppose there was a clash between them.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I am satisfied that neither the Treasurer of this province nor any minister of the Crown of this government intimidates any group of people.
Mr. Philip: Supplementary: The problem in the minds of the Langstaff Community Centre is that they feel they were intimidated. Will the Premier not assure them that no intimidation was intended?
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I can speak on behalf of the Treasurer and any minister of this government to say that no group is ever intimidated by a ministry of this government or any member of this government.
Mr. Laughren: What about the injured workers?
Mr. Spence: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Minister of Labour. Can the minister inform us if there has been any progress made in settling the strike at Telso Products in Tilbury, Kent county, which has been going on for 14 months? Is there any progress being made?
Hon. B. Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, I have previously reported to this House that a specific individual who was the retired president of the Canadian Chemical Workers was appointed by my ministry to investigate the dispute at Telso in September. He carried out a minute and detailed investigation of the situation, reported directly to both parties to the dispute and has made a verbal report only to my ministry. I have yet to receive any written report from him.
Mr. Lewis: Who was that man?
Hon. B. Stephenson: I can’t remember his name. He is now the president of --
Mr. Lewis: Tom Sloane? Some minute report.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Mr. Spence: Would the minister report to us in the Legislature, on that report of her investigating officer? Would the minister report to us in the Legislature?
Hon. B. Stephenson: Yes, Mr. Speaker, as soon as I have that report I shall submit it to the Legislature.
Mr. Haggerty: Put a deadline on it.
PRIVATE SCHOOL GRANTS
Mr. Swart: My question is to the Premier. I would like to ask him if the federal government still provides grants for post-secondary education which includes grade 13 in this province in the amount of 50 per cent? Has the province applied for this grant for the 5,000 or so students in the private schools in this province?
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I’m not sure of the intent of the question. I can give a very factual answer but I can only assume, in asking the question, the hon. member would support that concept. The answer to the question is no. The government of this province, as a matter of policy, does not pay grant support to private schools at any grade level.
The policy of the federal government, in terms of their calculations, is to calculate grade 13 students in the Province of Ontario in the post-secondary area because of the fact that some provinces only have a 12 grade structure. There have been requests from time to time that we fund private schools in the Province of Ontario to the extent of the federal payment.
As a matter of policy -- and it’s a very firm policy on the part of this government -- we think that would be improper in that it means funding private schools whether it be at the grade 13 level or any other grade level. I won’t ask the hon. member -- that’s one of the interesting parts of the question period; we can’t ask questions as to members’ points of view because that is really what the member is asking -- I assume from the question that he would support public support to some grade level of the private school system.
Mr. Moffatt: That is not the point.
Mr. MacDonald: That’s a political statement.
Hon. Mr. Davis: It’s a political question and the member knows it.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Mr. Swart: My supplementary to the Premier is: Am I wrong in my understanding that this money could be acquired and paid to these private schools even though no assistance was given from the province? If I am correct in my assumption would the Premier still refuse to make such application?
Hon. Mr. Davis: I didn’t hear all of the question. It’s a very important matter and I would like the hon. member to repeat the first part of the question if he would.
Mr. Swart: Am I wrong in my understanding that the money could be applied for -- the grant could be applied for -- and received in spite of the fact that this province does not make, by itself, grants to those private schools? If so, would the Premier he willing to apply for those grants?
Hon. Mr. Davis: This to me, of course, is a very devious sort of proposal to get around a very basic policy.
Mr. Swart: It’s not devious.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Certainly it’s devious. What the hon. member is asking -- and I want him to understand what it is --
Mr. Mancini: Force yourself.
Hon. Mr. Davis: -- is that we would try to find some mechanism to get around a very basic policy of the government of this province, that is, the principle that there are no public funds going to private schools. I have had no indication from the federal government of the amount because we have made no application. I don’t think it’s a question of application, it’s a question of calculating the number of students in grade 13 in the public school system of the Province of Ontario for which we receive some recovery under the agreement.
If the hon. member is asking me whether we will make application to Ottawa for whatever dollars they may say might be available -- and I stress the might -- for the private schools -- I would have to say to the hon. member we wouldn’t contemplate doing that. I think that would be intellectually, politically and in any other way dishonest because what we would be doing would be saying:
“As a matter of policy we won’t do it, but we will help you through federal funding through the back door.” I don’t think the hon. member would really suggest that we do that.
Mr. Foulds: Supplementary.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. Is it an important supplementary?
Mr. Foulds: Yes.
Mr. Speaker: Well, we will allow it. This is the final supplementary on this. We are just about out of time.
Mr. Foulds: The supplementary will require a yes or no answer. Could the Premier inform us whether or not the ministry now includes the numbers in grade 13 in private schools in its application to the federal government and does not use the money as they do with the programme for mentally retarded?
Hon. Mr. Davis: So that the hon. member will be totally assured and can relax over the weekend and because we have heard rumours to this effect from those who would like to see the money flowing, we do not calculate the grade 13 students in the secondary schools of this province. When calculating the amount of money flowing to the province, we do not calculate the grade 13 students in the private schools.
An hon. member: Check that answer will you?
Mr. Lewis: Let the matter rest.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I think it would be wise if you would let it rest.
CHESLEY HOSPITAL CLOSING
Mr. Sargent: Mr. Speaker, a question to the Minister of Health: In view of the fact that last night over 1,000 people jammed the Chesley High School in a mass meeting regarding the hospital closing -- as his officials will tell him we are not going to close our hospital np there, we are going to defy his order on this --
Mr. Speaker: Does the hon. member have a question now?
Mr. Sargent: In view of the fact that the minister has committed himself to saying that he will consider a health care centre, would he give us that portion of the budget toward our continuing budget? Of, say $400,000 a year, would he give half toward our continuing budget?
Hon. F. S. Miller: Before I answer a serious question, I should point out to my coach that there is no need to bruise me in the question period before I defend the nets in the hockey game.
Mr. Sargent: We will get him.
Mr. Speaker: Would the hon. minister answer the first question please and ignore the interjections.
Hon. F. S. Miller: That was below the belt and the member knows it.
Mr. Sargent: Regarding the Chesley hospital now.
Hon. F. S. Miller: Either the hospital will be properly funded or it must be closed. I am going to listen to the report of the man who attended on my behalf last night. I understand it was a very personal and at some times angry meeting. That is understandable. The fact is, I must assess what he saw and I see little if any chance of changing the decision.
Mr. Lewis: Supplementary: Since the minister has apparently said publicly now that he will not allow the Owen Sound General and Marine Hospital to begin planning for a new hospital in 1980, which presumably nears completion around 1990, how can he close Chesley now when he has made no alternative provisions at Owen Sound or elsewhere?
Hon. F. S. Miller: First of all, where have I said publicly that I would not let --
Mr. Lewis: I gather that in writing, the administrator or the board of the hospital have been told that they cannot start planning until 1980 and that has been --
Hon. F. S Miller: That is a different --
Mr. Lewis: Oh, I am sorry. Does the minister mean when he put it in writing to them for public use, it isn’t publicly stated by him?
Hon. Mr. Miller: No, no. That is not the thing. The Leader of the Opposition said that I wouldn’t let them begin planning in 1980.
Mr. Lewis: No, I didn’t. I said that as I understand it --
Hon. F. S. Miller: Yes, you did; you will have to check Hansard.
Mr. Singer: They are debating, Mr. Speaker.
Some hon. members: Order.
Hon. F. S. Miller: I said that they could not begin planning until at least 1980.
Mr. Lewis: Right. So how can you close Chesley?
Mr. Singer: They are debating, Mr. Speaker. Keep them in order.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Hon. F. S. Miller: Because the flow --
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. I think that is a definite answer to the last question we wanted to hear. The oral question period has expired.
I will recognize the member for Wentworth North.
Mr. Cunningham: I would like to ask the members of the House to join me in welcoming 40 grade 10 students from Waterdown High School in the wonderful municipality of Hamilton-Wentworth, who are here today under the supervision of Mr. Young and Mrs. Zachary.
Mr. Edighoffer: Mr. Speaker, I would like to introduce to you, and through you to members of the House, 108 students and staff from the Listowel District High School, and I would appreciate a warm welcome for them.
Mr. O’Neil: Mr. Speaker, I also have a guest today. I would like to introduce the mayor of the city of Belleville, Mr. Ben Corke.
Mr. Speaker: Petitions.
Hon. Mr. Welch moved that Mr. Singer be substituted for Mr. Mancini on the select committee considering Bill 5.
Motion agreed to.
Mr. Speaker: Introduction of bills.
Orders of the day.
Clerk of the House: The first order, resuming the adjourned debate on the amendment to the motion for an address in reply to the speech of the Honourable the Lieutenant Governor at the opening of the session.
THRONE SPEECH DEBATE (CONTINUED)
Mr. Speaker: The hon. member for Hamilton West may continue his remarks.
Mr. S. Smith: I expect you will all be at the convention?
Mr. Nixon: I will be there.
Mr. S. Smith: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to continue my remarks and I shall continue for approximately 10 or 15 minutes to make some general remarks, having had the opportunity to address this House on issues of rather specific interest in my riding, Hamilton West, last time I had the chance to speak.
I also want to thank my colleague from Essex North (Mr. Ruston), who I gather held forth during the 20 minutes the Throne Speech debate resumed some nights ago. I hope to come up close to his standard of oratory, which I gather the House appreciated at the time.
An hon. member: Your humility is unbecoming.
Mr. S. Smith: I am particularly interested in resuming to some extent the comments which I started in regard to the environment and the attack that the Ministry of the Environment has made on the problems in Ontario. Of course, in Hamilton, we have a particular interest in these environmental problems.
This House will remember we were promised that by 1975 there were to be some great improvements in environmental quality in Ontario. In fact, we were told that the Minister of the Environment (Mr. Kerr) had a great plan at that time; this was before his change in stature and before he was then reinstated as Minister of the Environment. We were told that there would never be an air pollution index over 50. We were told that the mercury problems would have been solved, that the Dow Chemical company would have been sued and the polluter would have had the experience of having to pay throughout the Province of Ontario. We were told that there would be a cut in particulate matter in our atmosphere. We were also told that Hamilton harbour would be fit for swimming.
Well, we all know this hasn’t happened. I don’t want to carry on at great length in detailing the list of failures of the Ministry of the Environment, but I would suggest there is a fundamental principle that is incorrect in the approach which the Ministry of the Environment has been taking. What the ministry has been doing basically is it has been saying to the public, “Look, the companies are doing their best, but unfortunately the technology is absent. We can’t expect them to do things that are impossible.” I understand that, but a more imaginative ministry, a ministry that really meant business, would by now have calculated the real cost of pollution to society and would by now have taken the steps to be sure that those companies are at least spending research and development money in developing the technology to attack pollution problems, and that they would be spending that money at a rate equal to the real cost of pollution to society.
Because, you see, when the environment is permitted to become polluted and when the companies are not forced to spend for technological innovation at the same rate that they cost the rest of us in health costs and social costs and recreational costs by their pollution, then in point of fact they are being subsidized by the rest of us; by those industries that do not pollute, and of course by the public sector and the taxpayers. I want to know when the Ministry of the Environment --
Mr. Nixon: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. I realize, sir, that you are very busy, but there are such a number of discussions going on that we are missing the gist of this excellent speech and I bring your attention to it.
Mr. Speaker: Would the hon. House give the member for Hamilton West their fuller attention? Thank you.
Mr. Drea: Get up and make a declaration.
Mr. Nixon: Fall over backwards.
Mr. S. Smith: The Ministry of the Environment, it seems to me, should be taking a much --
Mr. Nixon: I will fail over backwards when you make the cabinet. You are still in the back row, buddy.
Mr. Drea: Now who’s interrupting?
Mr. Nixon: That’s different.
Mr. S. Smith: I hope that my leader is not inviting the members opposite to support me the way they support the member for Ottawa East (Mr. Roy) because at the moment my campaign is going rather well.
Mr. Eaton: You haven’t got the quality of the member for Ottawa East.
Mr. S. Smith: I would like the Ministry of the Environment to take seriously the suggestion that they actually investigate the costs of pollution to our society, in terms of health and social costs, and try to form some reasonable relationship between costs and the investment required in research and development by the industries doing the polluting to improve the technology of anti-pollution devices. It is not an unreasonable question. It is not an attack. It’s a reasonable suggestion and I hope that the government will take it seriously.
I want to suggest to you just one more thing: I have been very disappointed in the lack of overall planning which I have seen coming from two very important ministries, the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Colleges and Universities. Perhaps this reflects the government’s general attitudes, but perhaps they are more specific. It is hard to say. I have already commented at some length in this House on the fact that the Ministry of Health now finds itself having to cut back; having to dislocate and, in fact, having to create uproar and panic within the health care industry. I would like it made very clear to the public of Ontario that the reason that this has happened is because of years of mismanagement which has been covered by overspending.
As I have said before, you know almost any system will look reasonable and will seem to work when you throw money at whatever problems arise. But when money is short the system must be seen on its own merits. That is when you test the mettle of any system, and I suggest to you that the health care system has been found wanting because what we see is that innumerable institutions have been set up all over the province which, by the admission of the Minister of Health (Mr. F. S. Miller) yesterday, were in fact duplicating already adequate facilities. This duplication has been done, I suspect, for political interest. Now that times are a little more difficult, tremendous dislocation and hardship is being caused to citizens throughout the Province of Ontario. I tell you it was all unnecessary. It was all caused by years of mismanagement and production of bricks-and-mortar facilities one after the other for no purpose and without a rational plan.
I want to speak specifically now of colleges and universities. You know there is a great discontent on the campuses of this province. This discontent is not merely because the universities don’t know from one year to the next whether they are going to have money to support their programmes, but because there’s a sense that somehow we have lost sight of the purpose of a university and the place of a university in society.
Are universities in fact centres of scholarship, repositories of the wisdom and the tradition of the ages and the mores of our society? Can we look upon the university as a place which encourages scholarship, knowledge, thinking, tradition, and a place which permits criticism of our society, which is, perhaps, a very vital function of universities? Or are they strictly to become places which are trade schools, preparation places for taking one’s job in various industries, various trades and professions? Are we simply to see universities as places which hand out pieces of paper after one acquires a certain number of so-called credits, which credits are acquired by sitting in a number of classrooms, sitting on one’s seat for a period of time and writing some examinations?
There are so many students in universities who are sitting in classes they don’t want to be in, who are being taught by professors who don’t really want to be teaching students who are not interested, and they are all doing it so that they can get a piece of paper. If we ask many of these students, as I have and I hope the minister will do the same, “Why are you sitting in those places if you don’t want to be there?” they say, “I need a piece of paper.” We say, “What do you need it for?” They need the piece of paper in order to gain entry into some professional school or to get a job at a factory or in a personnel department or heaven knows what.
What has happened is that the universities have become the personnel screening devices for industries and society. I would propose to the Minister of Colleges and Universities (Mr. Parrott) that he think seriously about making it an offence to demand a baccalaureate degree as a criterion for employment. We all know, and most of all the students and the professors know, that having 26 credits does not make the holder a better person than one having 23 or 18 or seven.
In point of fact, suitability for any given job probably bears little or no relationship to having a baccalaureate degree. The young people know this. More and more of them are taking time away from university and going into the working world for a while, deciding what they really want and then coming back. We know that many citizens who are out in the working world now have begun to wish they could get some education in areas which interest them. They’d like the opportunity to return to university but it’s hard for them to get away from their obligations in the working environment.
Surely, instead of having universities filled with warm bodies, with people sitting there just trying to get their piece of paper so they can escape from education into the working world, it is time for some leadership and some imagination whereby the universities can become places which people move into and out of from time to time during their lives. It should become a right for working people to gain some of the benefits from universities. We should not simply have youngsters start in kindergarten, have a starting gun go off, rush them through to the very end, to their baccalaureate degree, let them disappear into the working world and call that an educational process.
I would feel that after 32 years in office this government, instead of just building more bricks and mortar and more universities in every district and region of the province, would show some leadership and some imagination in setting up special programmes and really putting money and effort into adult education. It should discourage this need for people to run from A to Z in order to obtain some baccalaureate piece of paper which no one is particularly interested in.
I feel, because we’ve lost sight of what we really want universities for, what would we really miss if universities closed down? We’d miss a great deal but the thing we would miss least is the fact that thousands of people wouldn’t get a BA. I don’t think that would be of the slightest importance in Ontario today.
We would miss scholarship, we would miss research, we would miss the deep traditions which are associated with the love of scholarship and learning. We would miss the opportunity for criticism which comes out of universities. But I don’t think we would miss the fact that certain students wouldn’t get a piece of paper called a BA, which they get after 26 credits rather than 22.
It’s time for some innovative and imaginative thought and I feel that the government, unfortunately, is stale in this regard. I suppose any government would be after 32 years. After we’re in power for 32 years, we’ll probably give up voluntarily. I don’t promise that, but it’s possible.
Mr. Grossman: Tell them in Ottawa.
Mr. Nixon: How about that, Paul?
Mr. S. Smith: Let that be recorded.
With that suggestion, I would encourage some response at a future date from the minister and I’d be glad to discuss it further with him. The fact of the matter is there has to be a fundamental restructuring in our society whereby working people, people in labour unions, people trying to start their own businesses, their own corner stores and their own agencies and so on, ought to have access to these huge and expensive institutions. They should not simply be reserved for those fortunate high school graduates who just enter immediately upon leaving high school and very often fritter their time away. They are the first to admit that.
When you go back on the campus you see those people who are able to return as older adults later on. They tell you what value they have received there, and how delighted they are to be in an atmosphere of learning. I think we’ve got the wrong system.
Just as the health system has to really rethink what it is about, what its purposes are, where its priorities ought to be, and use a little imagination in the cost-benefit analysis, the university and colleges system could benefit from a rethinking of the whole purpose and place of a university in society. The costs are not going to go down with the present system. They are just going to keep escalating. It is going to be a matter of teachers being told that they are going to have to move on or stop doing research or they are going to have to reach larger groups of people by closed-circuit television.
The thing will get nowhere until there is real policy and real meaning. The health system over-expanded terribly with no real purposes and now we realize what a mess we are in and the same is about to happen within the university system.
I hope with the new minister, who seems very dedicated to his task and very knowledgeable, we can see some change in the direction of colleges and universities. I look forward to co-operating with the minister in this sense.
Hon. Mr. Parrott: Could I interrupt? I enjoyed the remarks and I would like to refer the member to a direct statement I made in that regard, and I think right on subject, with reference to a question from his confrere, the member for Kitchener-Wilmot (Mr. Sweeney). I think it should go a long way to allay this members fears.
Mr. S. Smith: I thank the minister. I will make it a point to look up the comment and discuss it further. I appreciate the interjection.
Now I want to conclude my remarks at this point because I have already had the opportunity of addressing this vast assembly on a previous occasion in the beginning of the Throne Speech debate. I want something to conclude my remarks to assure the government that I really would like to co-operate with the various ministers in this very complex problem that we have of formulating policy in areas where we just have never had to buckle down and have real policies.
Money has been plentiful in Ontario. We just haven’t had to seriously consider what we are doing with it. I’m not prepared to just sit back and throw criticism, I am prepared to co-operate; I am prepared to make constructive suggestion. But I don’t want to see publicity gimmicks like swims in the bay. I don’t want to see tremendous advertisements in the newspapers about all the wonderful things the government is doing for people, because those things get my back up; they are a waste of the public money. They are purely gimmickry, and they are a substitute and a cover-up where policy is what is really required.
To the extent that the government will engage in constructive discussion with me and my colleagues about such matters as the reform of regional government, the improvement in the Hamilton West environment, both water and air, and recreational facilities, in the change in attitudes about colleges and universities, and in the rationalization and humanization of the health system and the social services system, to the extent that they will offer a willingness to listen to constructive alternatives, I promise my full co-operation in improving this for all Ontario.
And to the extent that I get the kind of nasty, arrogant responses which the Treasurer (Mr. McKeough) has been capable of and has shown from time to time, to that extent it is going to be difficult to be co-operative. I hope that reason will prevail and that the people of Hamilton West will benefit from the kind of co-operation which I am prepared to offer. I hope that the people of Ontario will benefit from a Legislature in which we work together for the good of all.
Mr. Dukszta: Mr. Speaker, it appears that the 11th hour has been reached on the Spadina Expressway issue. The Minister of Transportation and Communications (Mr. Snow) has indicated repeatedly in question period the government’s intention to support Metro’s plan to pave the Spadina Expressway to Eglinton Ave., and as well the extension of Highway 400 to St. Clair Ave. The fact that the granting of provincial subsidies to the project is imminent impels me once again to put the NDP position on the record to try to move the government from its decision.
Let me quote from a statement delivered by the leader of our party at a press conference on Nov. 6, 1975:
“We do not think that either the Spadina Expressway or the extension of Highway 400 should be built. We have said so repeatedly and consistently over the years. That is not to say that the transportation problems of the northwest quadrant of Metropolitan Toronto -- problems these expressways are supposed to solve -- are not severe. No one questions that.
“Whatever the planners say about trip times and traffic times, people who live in northwest Toronto know that it takes a long time to drive a car into the downtown core of the city. Perhaps no other party understands that as we do. In straightforward political terms, four members of our caucus represent ridings in which those concerns are strongly expressed. But there is no acceptable solution that will result in the people of the northwest having quick, easy access by private automobile to downtown Toronto.
“A downtown-oriented expressway might have provided that kind of access outside rush hours -- there being no such thing as quick, easy access at peak hours. But there must be no more downtown-oriented expressways.
“The public transit responses which we favour obviously do not respond directly to the used for automobile access. But neither does 1¼ miles of paved ditch, ending in a single ramp at Eglinton. All of these problems caused by traffic on residential streets are simply and destructively shifted south by 1¼ miles. The traffic congestion faced by the commuter is transferred to the ditch.
“Likewise, the extension of Highway 400 to St. Clair Ave. merely shifts the burdens without solving the basic problem. Like Spadina to Lawrence Ave., the proposed Highway 400 extension to St. Clair will end in the middle of a densely populated area.”
What is the political situation which has put the residents of Toronto in this destructive position which no one can win? One of the issues on which the last election was fought here in Toronto was the paving of Spadina and the extension of Highway 400. What an astounding turnabout, I thought then, for the 1972 transportation man of the year. Having won the 1971 election with stopping Spadina, let’s win in 1975 with starting Spadina. Neat! But it didn’t work. Even more astounding is the Premier (Mr. Davis) now. He can see before his very eyes here in the Legislature what the electorate was telling him; “We do not want expressways.” And yet he chooses to go on ignoring them. He is a latter-day Nero, fiddling around with his schemes for expressways, with the apparent desire to bring people downtown but absolutely blind to how expressways will destroy the very essence of our city before anyone ever gets downtown to look at it. He is prepared to destroy thousands of homes, parks, churches and communities, all to pave the way for a useless and dangerous white elephant to be called the 400 extension.
During the election most of the city of Toronto declared its opposition to paving the Spadina ditch and extending 400. The NDP opposed them both long ago, when this issue first surfaced, and have continued to oppose them. The transportation problems of Metro are immense, and need an integrated approach which will take into account the problems of the whole of Metro, the feasibility of the modalities chosen, and recognition that you don’t kill the patient to cure him of the illness.
Metro has become increasingly divided between those who have easy access to the vitality of the city and those who are isolated from this by the length of time it takes to commute to the core. Those living and/or working in the northwest corridor are particularly affected by the forced segregation. The division in the long run may have the effect of making the northwest more and more the residence of those who cannot afford to live where the action is. While it has to be admitted that only a minority commute to and from the northwest daily -- Soberman estimates 10 per cent -- a majority should not be cut off from the centre-core recreational, educational and cultural facilities. To do so is to create two groups of people.
It can also be argued that those who do commute should not be submitted to long hours on buses in traffic jams. What is surely needed, therefore, is some method of transporting people quickly between the northwest and the core of the city.
The urban situation in Metro Toronto is confused politically, and the confusion is linked to different perceptions of the local needs and preferred solutions. The struggle between the inner city and some suburban politicians about the Spadina Expressway and the 400 is pathognomonic of the conflict, not only between the two groups of politicians with different and well-differentiated sets of needs and priorities, but also more broadly between the approaches to solutions to the linked land use and transportation problems.
Two approaches used in Metro Toronto have been a car-oriented transportation system, with untrammelled growth patterns at the centralized core and the suburbs; and a public transit-oriented system with built-in controls over urban core growth and the potential for multi-modal solutions to Metro’s ever-increasing conurbation. In political shorthand the approaches have been dramatized as “people or cars.”
These two approaches have been incorrectly assumed to be antagonistic to each other. If one side wins, the other must consequently lose. What is unfortunate in this present political head-on clash is that if the expressway approach is adopted, everyone in Metro Toronto will ultimately lose. At first, one would be able to zip comfortably downtown to work and for leisure, or vice versa. But in time the insistent expressway system, with its proliferating subsystem and linkage like the Crosstown Expressway, will be ultimately destructive of the entity called city.
Even more than at present, the expressway system would create large traffic jams in the north, which as Soberman points out, is already undersupplied with road systems, and ultimately will have an equally destructive effect on our core city. The obvious difficulty in system planning arises when the planners, expecting rational decisions, future-oriented efficiency and low-cost efficiency, run into the problem that many systems are supported either from habit, segmented vested interest, or even for emotional reasons, and are consequently resistant to rational analysis. The inner-city expressway encourages development of the core city and inflates the cost of downtown land, which benefits only the corporations and drives out the working people, both tenants and homeowners, from the core because of continually escalating land prices.
In putting forward our own political position, we should be aware that the opponents’ support for the alternative approach -- like Barbara Green’s advocacy for extending the 400 and Spadina -- may not meet the number of significant criteria -- like efficiency, cost, construction time, social impact and future use -- but nevertheless it is a politically valid position, irrespective of whether it is rationally understood or explained.
Let us recapitulate some of the pros and cons for the two alternative approaches: Highway 400 and Spadina. The original planning for the building of a major highway into the city of Toronto started very early. Historically, it is interesting and instructive to take a look at how the plans for building high-speed throughways developed. Highway 400 was considered for the first time in 1943. In 1956, the highway 400 extension was incorporated into Metro plans as a northwest access route to the city core, and as an important component of the inter-arterial ring. In the early 1950s, Highway 401 was constructed and Highway 400 extended north to Barrie.
The 1956 Metro plan provided for (a) the four-lane Spadina Expressway with rapid transit from Wilson Ave. to Bloor Street; (b) a six-lane Highway 400 extension with express bus lanes; (c) local road improvements to accommodate traffic from the expressways. The politicians responded and legislated.
“Section 19.8 of the Borough of York official plan states that the extension of Highway 400 south of Eglinton Ave. to the southern boundary of the Borough of York is vital to the interests of improved transportation on the northwest corridor of the borough.”
I should mention here that that policy has now been changed. I will refer to it directly and quote from the Borough of York Council resolution condemning both Spadina and Highway 400 later.
The actuality of this need must be re-examined in view of the extra information that is now available from the Soberman report, and other reports, that the major transportation problem of the northwest quadrant of Metro Toronto is largely internal to the quadrant and that extending Highway 400 into Toronto proper will in no way solve the traffic problems of the northwest quadrant.
Additionally, if only about 10 per cent of the traffic generated in the northwest is destined for the city core, extending Highway 400 seems an expensive way of helping that 10 per cent. Indeed, investing the money in building a highway will limit significantly the resources available for solving those transportation problems that are intrinsic to the quadrant. Another argument for extending Highway 400 is that it is necessary for industrial use and industrial employment opportunities. Soberman states that only 10 per cent of traffic generated in the borough of York is actually destined for the city core. It is highly likely that the reverse is also true.
Another argument has been this. We are in all probability at the end of the intense growth cycle for the city of Toronto. Approaching the problem from another point of view, Soberman suggests that the modes of transportation in themselves affect the growth patterns. Not building an expressway into the downtown core may force a bi-nodal or multi-nodal pattern of growth in Metro.
Two of my colleagues have just brought two dictionaries just in case someone doesn’t understand what I am saying. I will pass them to the two remaining members who are here in the House.
Mr. Grossman: Okay, send it over. We are waiting for them.
Mr. Dukszta: Let us examine what social effect the extension of Highway 400 would have on: (1) The provision of parkland in the borough of York and in Toronto proper, if extended to St. Clair Ave. West for example; (2) the existent housing stock in the borough of York and Toronto.
The strip of provincially-owned land north of Eglinton, on which the extension of Highway 400 would be built, is now used as a park by the borough of York. It is in part garden plots used by residents without gardens. Keelesdale arena is built on the parkway. This arena, with its associated baseball diamonds and soccer fields -- the parks commission is on record as being very unhappy about the possible loss of the recreation facility -- is of great importance for the residents of the borough of York.
To use up that provincially-owned strip of land would remove 30 per cent of the parkland of the borough of York. There would be no real way of replacing this parkland except by removing more housing. As for housing, if the Allendale route is chosen for the Highway 400 extension, it would be a major threat to the existing, largely working class, housing stock. Potentially as many as 1,000 people could be affected. It involves 1,800 homes; schools, churches, the recently-built SADRA park on the Hydro right of way; and also some 200 small, mainly one-family, businesses and industrial premises.
The Christie-Clinton alignment would be even more destructive of housing stock. Soberman estimates that 2,177 to 2,196 homes would be affected by this route. The Soberman report, which has been used to support the need for extending Highway 400, actually and unambiguously rejects it:
“1. No case can really be made for a road facility which is centrally oriented [because the travel patterns are not centrally oriented] nor for a continuous high capacity facility between Highway 401 and the Gardiner Expressway. [Page 140, report 64.]
“2. We recommend that a feasibility study be initiated now to locate and design the least disruptive route of Highway 400 extension from the point of view of community impact. The route appears to be one which will be located in the existing corridor. Once information for this study is available a decision can be made on the desirability of the Highway 400 extension relative to other possibilities for reducing road deficiencies in the northwest. [Page 154, report 64.]”
The basic arguments for not building the Spadina Expressway are the same as for not extending Highway 400. They are, in effect, that these highways will compound our existing urban problems and lock Metro Toronto into undesirable and destructive solutions of land use and transportation needs.
But whatever makes us assume that the Spadina and Highway 400 are suddenly going to solve all these problems? How can anyone in this day and age, anyone who has ever read any reports, let alone visited American cities which have given in to the expressway myth, still think that expressways, at the best, are not the most simplistic, short-sighted and destructive way possible of solving any traffic problems on this scale?
Some suburban politicians have recognized the destructive nature of the proposed expressway grid, including, very significantly, the council of the borough of York.
I have a motion which was passed by the borough of York this year which states very unequivocally its opposition on paving the Spadina Expressway south to Eglinton Ave. and extending Highway 400 south to St. Clair Ave. as four-lane arterial roads. In their submission, they have repeatedly asked members of the provincial parliament, the government, and everyone else to voice their opposition to this proposal.
Since we are talking of the needs of the people of the northwest quadrant, the council represents them as well as anyone else and they are now on the record as opposing the extension of Highway 400 and the paving of the Spadina.
This reversal is especially interesting in view of the fact that early this year all three of York’s representatives to Metro council voted for amendment 2(b) to extend Highway 400 to Eglinton Ave.; however, only Controller Saunders voted for amendment 2(e) to extend it to St. Clair Ave. Since that time the council has obviously reversed its opinion.
How far has the Premier (Mr. Davis) thought about requirements he himself stipulated in his statement last August about the building of Highway 400 and paving the Spadina?
In his statement delivered on Aug. 8, 1975, the Premier specifically outlined 10 conditions for granting the provincial subsidy for paving the Spadina Expressway south to Eglinton Ave. and extending Highway 400 to St. Clair Ave. No attempt has been made as yet, by either metro or the province, to meet any of these requirements. Further, the 3-ft. reserve strip granted to the city may not be adequate protection, nor is it conceivable that Metro can guarantee that traffic generated by the new roadway can be confined to other Metro arterial roads and filter into adjacent residential areas.
To what extent must Metro meet these requirements of the Premier in order to qualify for the provincial subsidy?
1. The Spadina must terminate at Eglinton with allowance for single-lane ramps for exit and entry at both ends.
2. Construct park and ride facilities at Lawrence and Eglinton.
3. The province would acquire title to all land south of Eglinton for housing.
4. The province would grant to the city a 3-ft. reserve across the route of the former expressway, such reserve to be held in perpetuity by the city.
5. The province will assist in speeding the completion of the Spadina rapid transit.
6. The province will consider incentives and subsidy in order to encourage people to park their cars uptown and use public transit.
7. There should be full integration between roads and transit systems.
8. Sharing the cost of studies to determine the appropriate location of new east-west transit corridor. If Sheppard is chosen rather than Eglinton, then the arguments for an arterial road in the present Spadina corridor must rest on the needs created by local traffic conditions.
9. The province would require the Metro council to develop a plan to ensure that traffic generated by the new roadways will remain on other Metro arterial roads.
10. Ask Metro for a clear undertaking that construction of Highway 400 to St. Clair be designed to provide local neighbourhood services and serve as arterial roads only.
In fact, the Premier’s statement of Aug. 8, 1975, is as cynical as his statement on June 3, 1971, has proven itself to be. On June 3, 1971, the Premier announced that: “The government of Ontario does not propose to proceed in support of the plan for the Spadina Expressway.”
This statement was followed by the order in council of June 80, 1971, which declared: “... decision of the Ontario Municipal Board dated Feb. 17, 1971, will be varied by dismissing the aforesaid application of the municipality of Metropolitan Toronto.”
Although this provincial action appeared at the time unambiguously to revoke all expressway authorization, subsequent moves by the Metropolitan council have been made in the belief that authorizations for the Spadina Expressway given before 1971 remain intact, and also that Metro can finance further construction of the Spadina right-of-way without again going to the Ontario Municipal Board by using the $7 million or so still unspent from the $75,680,000 initially authorized by the board.
If indeed Metropolitan Toronto is able to construct a grade-separated arterial road between Lawrence Ave. and Eglinton Ave., using OMB authorizations which were given for an expressway to Bloor St., it must be presumed that Metro is building, in part at least, the Spadina Expressway. It is either building the Spadina Expressway or it has no authorization to proceed with a capital project of the sort proposed.
If there is a case to be made for an arterial road, between Lawrence Ave. and Eglinton Ave. -- and there isn’t -- it must be made independently of the previous case for an expressway down to Bloor St. For major projects of this sort there is a well-established due process which requires appropriate studies, hearings and finally the approval of the Ontario Municipal Board under section 64 of the OMB Act. Metropolitan Toronto’s intended use of previous expressway authorizations for this new project violates such due process.
Therefore, the provincial government should clarify that these previous authorizations are not in fact available to Metro, by rescinding by order in council the following bylaws dealing with the Spadina Expressway: 1. Bylaw No. 877, passed Dec. 16, 1958, and approved by order in council No. 511/59; 2. Bylaw No. 2014, passed Nov. 19, 1963, and approved by order in council No. 3770/63; 3. Bylaw No. 2077, passed Feb. 11, 1964, and approved by order in council No. 1766/64; 4. Bylaw No. 2146, passed June 9, 1964, and approved by order in council No. 2202/64; 5. Bylaw No. 3025, passed Oct. 3, 1967, and approved by order in council No. 4931/67.
The provincial government should also rescind the orders of the OMB authorizing various expressway-related expenditures: 1. No. PFD. 3322-5 made June 24, 1955; 2. No. PFD. 3322-5 made June 21, 1958; 3. No. PFD. 5243-60 made Aug. 26, 1960, and No. 1424 all made in August of 1960; and the last one made on Dec. 8, 1967.
The history of interaction of the political and vested interests of the Metro councillors and the Conservative government is unbelievable. At first the government at least paid lip service to the preferred anti-expressway sentiments while actually maintaining control in their hands and never really making a full decision to rescind the order to build the Spadina Expressway.
1. On Sept. 8, 1972, Metropolitan Toronto council passed the following resolution:
“Be it resolved that the right of way of the William R. Allan Expressway between Lawrence and Eglinton Ave. be paved to provide a four-lane arterial road at an estimated cost of $1.5 million, subject to the province approving such construction for provincial subsidy.
2. The then Minister of Transportation and Communications responded on Oct. 8, 1972, by letter to the commissioner of roads and traffic, as follows:
“We regret to advise you that this ministry will be unable to subsidize the cost of paving a four-lane arterial road in this location.
“Although we are unable to view with favour this proposal because of the specific aspects related to vehicular traffic, we would be most receptive to suggestions that would strengthen the role of public transportation in this corridor.”
That reads funny now, when you realize the latest pronouncements from the present minister. Four months earlier, in June, 1972, the then minister, in a letter to the clerk of the borough of York, stated:
“There is no question that if this [the expressway] were to be extended to Eglinton, it would cause chaotic conditions.”
3. In 1974, the Minister of Housing gave approval to the deletion of the Spadina Expressway from the official plans of the borough of York and the city of Toronto. It is submitted that this action taken by the responsible ministers in 1972 and 1974 merely confirm the intent of the government’s decision in 1971.
4. In a memo to the Metropolitan Toronto executive committee, July 14, 1971, signed by solicitor Joy and commissioners Cass, Wronski and Pickard, discussing the completion of the expressway to Eglinton Ave., Bathurst and St. Clair, it was concluded:
“This action would be unsatisfactory as it would only transfer the present traffic congestion at Marlee Ave. to the vicinity of whatever new terminus was chosen.”
5. The Spadina subway will be completed by September, 1977. This subway will cost the Ontario taxpayer upwards of $155 million. To date, no provision has been made for parking facilities adjacent to the subway to encourage car drivers to use public transit rather than local roads.
The government, which has overspent by $2 billion and which recklessly cuts the money for community health services, crippled children’s mental health services and criminally neglects occupational health problems, is prepared to give money freely for the hare-brained expressway schemes.
The Globe and Mail this morning had an editorial which summarizes the absurdity of the expressway-oriented approach. It is worth quoting in full.
“Municipal budget preparation is an exercise in pure agony. Almost every item proposed for deletion is certain to cost much more next year, or the year after that. Yet there are some projects that have acquired so many demerit points that their expulsion should be swift, automatic and painless.
“We would place the paving of the Spadina Expressway, southward to Eglinton Ave.; and the southerly extension of Highway 400, as far as St. Clair Ave., into that category.
“Yet those projects are with us again, propelled by the Ontario government into the welcoming arms of Metro Chairman Paul Godfrey and friends. The big push came with the announcement from Queen’s Park that the government planned to extend Highway 400 as an arterial road from its present terminus at Jane St., negotiating its transfer to Metro after completion.
“This news, in a letter to Mr. Godfrey from James Snow, Minister of Transportation, was accompanied by the announcement that the province is ‘prepared to provide a normal subsidy’ to allow Metro to make an immediate start on extension of the Spadina Expressway.
“From a level of government that has recently been doing some heavy preaching on the virtues of municipal belt-tightening, this is sheer foolishness. Metro council is capable of its own quota of misjudgements without help from Queen’s Park.”
As an aside, this is not a statement from the opposition NDP member or a socialist, but the statement from a respectable Conservative-oriented newspaper which is telling the government how wrong they are about this issue.
I will continue the quotation:
“So now we have the ludicrous picture of Metro’s budget subcommittee proposing that in the interest of strict economy, plans for six out of 10 new daycare centres should be shelved while preparing to launch out on the $1.8 million Spadina extension.
“The whole idea of the extension, apart from its cost, drags with it the host of other anxieties. What happens when the traffic hits Eglinton after being funneled down the extension? How can the project be reconciled with the apparently surprising discovery that downtown automobile traffic has recently grown by 10 per cent and is threatening to choke the life of the city? Can anyone honestly argue that the Spadina paving is entitled on grounds of urgent need to elbow its way into the hard-pressed 1976 budget?
“It appears that, despite all the clear indications to the contrary, some Metro politicians are still stuck on roads and the automobile. The proposal for a special new levy of up to $1 per $1,000 of assessment to help pay for road work tells its own story.
“Tax money may come out of one pocket or another and go to one government or another, but the pain is the same. How, then, can the Ontario government justify the proposed extension of Highway 400?
“We do not sense, at either level of government, a rational ordering of priorities; nor can we detect a real understanding of city problems. Queen’s Park should abandon its Highway 400 project, and at the very least tell Metro that this is not the time to start shovelling money into Spadina ditch.”
I heartily concur with the sentiments of the Globe and Mail -- it doesn’t happen all that often -- and I urge the government to do the same.
What should we do? I would like to spend a few minutes on our party’s alternatives to this problem. Spadina ditch should be an access road for ears to use parking facilities at Lawrence, Glencairn and Eglinton subway stations. Separate parking facilities would be provided at these stations for local traffic and there would be no exits at these locations for cars coming south on the Spadina access road. The proximity to Highway 400 makes a unique opportunity for a heavy volume of commuter traffic to swing south on this new Spadina parking access road without interfering with traffic patterns on the local streets. The cars would be parked with direct access to the subway platforms. The cost of parking as a public transit incentive should be included in cost of the fare.
While both the TTC and the Soberman report express concern about under-utilization of the Spadina subway, this park-and-ride facility would ensure a high level of use by the commuting public. Express buses would be provided from Lawrence station along Highway 401 and north along Highway 400, Islington, Kipling and Highway 27. This fast service should relieve some of the traffic problems in Rexdale, for it would cut down on northbound traffic, which as Soberman has pointed out is higher than southbound traffic.
The above new approach to serving the transportation needs of those travelling between the core and the northwest is completely compatible with the transportation programmes which we in the NDP have already urged on the government.
We believe the government of Ontario should enter into immediate negotiations with CN and CP for the provision of GO-train service on the Woodbridge-400 line, CP, and the Dufferin-Barrie lines, CN; with stops at Finch Ave. for the OP line, and terminals at Eglinton Ave., Bloor St. and Union Station for both of them.
The CP line is particularly important since it dissects the industrial heartland of the northwest and could provide an important two-way service. It would link easily with the GO-train extension to Georgetown already in effect. Quick accommodation with the railways would provide immediate relief for both the northwest and north central areas.
When I say tough negotiations, I mean just that. The railways must understand the urgency of the public interest. CP and CN seek government approval for everything from landfill sites to the design of Metro Centre. Such requests are always sell-serving. It is time to change the pattern.
We would make additional funds available to the Toronto Transit Commission so they might immediately institute additional bus services, and bus lines to improve, rapidly and dramatically, surface feeder service to the Finch, Sheppard, York Mills and Lawrence subway stations on the Yonge line, as well as to the rail route and the proposed Spadina subway.
An NDP government would redirect dial-a-bus service to complement scheduled bus service and to provide transportation within the northwest from home directly to work. Traffic studies indicate that much of the northwest traffic is local traffic only and would be well served by such a scheme. It would of course be TTC-operated. We would initiate immediately multi-passenger taxi service, corresponding to the current experiment in Peterborough, and issue special licences to qualify drivers on carefully selected routes.
The Ministry of Transportation and Communication would be authorized to construct improved interchanges on Highway 401 at Bathurst St., Dufferin St. and Jane St., as recommended by Soberman’s report. We’d encourage the borough of North York to forward quickly to the province a plan for improvements along existing arterial roads, after public participation by the communities directly affected. This again is in line with the Soberman proposals. Most important, they would make it possible and economical to provide fast travel to and from the northwest sector without destroying neighbourhoods in the central core or causing increased traffic in the northwest.
Let me quote again, in terminating the speech, from the statement of the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Lewis) to the press on Nov. 6 elucidating NDP policy on the subject of transportation.
“Obviously, I am saying that we favour public transit responses rather than private automobile priorities. Obviously, I prefer people to cars, but I must emphasize that this is not just a personal or wide bias or personal preference; it just makes sense.
“There is no way that 1¼ miles of paved ditch, ending in a single-lane ramp at Eglinton is going to solve all our problems either. All of the problems caused by traffic on the residential streets are simply and destructively shifted south by 1¼ miles. The traffic congestion is transferred by the ditch.
“Likewise, the extension of Highway 400 to St. Clair only shifts the burden without solving the basic problem.
“And what an expensive non-solution. In the process you destroy neighbourhoods, houses, small businesses, communities and most horrifying of all, a massive 30 per cent of the existing parkland of the borough of York.
“Like Spadina to Lawrence Ave., the Highway 400 extension to St. Clair ends nowhere. Expressway systems have their own logical imperatives. Both Spadina and Highway 400 would demand eventually to be pushed all the way to the Gardiner Expressway through the densely-populated west end.
“We just cannot afford this kind of human, neighbourhood and economic dislocation. In other words, we just cannot offer any alternatives as a way of moving private cars into the city. But we can offer alternatives to the private car as a way of moving people into the city. We can and we must, if we are to keep a city that is a pleasure to live in.”
We must, Mr. Speaker, abandon totally any idea of paving Spadina and extending Highway 400.
Mr. Leluk: Mr. Speaker, I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate you on your re-election. I had the privilege to serve with you on the select committee on economic and cultural nationalism, of which you were the chairman for approximately three years. Although there has been some criticism recently in the press of your handling of matters in this House, I for one would like to commend you on your firmness and impartiality.
This is a short session. The Speech from the Throne is a business-like document dealing with the major issues facing our province today. One of the more important aspects is certainly the concept of rent review boards. While I endorse the principle of rent review as contained in the Residential Premises Rent Review Act, I believe it is essential that rent review not be viewed as a permanent feature of our economic landscape. It is a short-term measure and must be viewed as such.
It is a measure to stop some excessive rent increases that have occurred in the rental accommodation industry and to assist those people on low and fixed incomes. It can in no way, and should in no way, be conceived as the real answer to increasing the supply of housing in Ontario. In fact, economic controls of any kind, legislated by any level of government, have the potential of infringing upon the economic freedoms of Canadians if not closely watched and reviewed.
It is considered fashionable in certain social and economic circles that the marketplace mechanism as a means for the allocation of our resources no longer serves its citizens. Critics of the marketplace believe that the cost and expansion of the public sector can be our only salvation. As a Progressive Conservative I must be vocal in my disagreement. The success of our system of democracy depends on an active and vibrant private sector. Our function as a government must be to ensure equal opportunity for all while encouraging initiative on the part of the individual.
Mr. Philip: Why don’t you do something for the gas station operators then?
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Mr. Leluk: The temporary introduction of rent review must be seen in this light. Now in conjunction with the Residential Premises Rent Review Act, the Attorney General (Mr. McMurtry) has introduced amendments to the Landlord and Tenant Act to provide security for tenants in rental accommodations. These measures, which include a minimum two-year lease and three-month notice for eviction with just cause, will do much to ensure fair security for tenants.
In conjunction with the above programmes, I am pleased that my government is also considering a mortgage interest tax credit programme, similar to that of some United States jurisdictions, which have proved successful in relieving inflationary pressures on homeowners. I will be following the progress of this programme with great interest.
Earlier this year, when the government introduced the first time home buyer’s grant programme, whereby a new home buyer could apply for a grant of $1,500, the members opposite were opposed to this programme. Let my friends opposite now look at the public record of success of the first time home buyer’s programme. It is expected that by the end of this month, 50,000 more families will own their first home in Ontario.
I think it is also important to remind the members opposite that the first time home buyer’s grant programme has, in its own modest way, relieved some of the intense competition for rental accommodation in Ontario. During the election, some members of the third party referred to this programme as cynical politics. There must be at least 50,000 cynics in this province.
I would suggest that the members opposite ask the homeowner, the builder, the electrician and the long assortment of people employed directly or indirectly in the construction of houses whether such imaginative assistance is not worthwhile.
Mr. Leluk: Now 50,000 more families, today or by the end of this month, will own their first home here in this province.
Mr. Deans: More than there would have been otherwise?
Mr. Leluk: Why not?
Mr. Deans: Why not? Because you had to qualify for the house before you got the grant.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. The hon. member will continue.
Mr. Leluk: Despite the lateness in time, I am most happy to see that the federal government has recognized the serious economic problems facing our country and is finally attempting to do something about them.
I am proud to emphasize that it was our Premier (Mr. Davis) who, over 18 months ago, called for national conference of premiers on inflation. Ontario has been in the forefront of the battle against inflation and the public record on this is very clear. Just after the 1974 federal election, the Premier renewed his call for such a conference. When the federal government ignored this request, Ontario acted on its own to contain inflation with responsible and imaginative programmes.
I would just like to take a moment to recap some of these. We reduced the provincial civil service by 2.5 per cent and drastically cut back government spending. We reduced the retail sales tax from seven to five per cent on most items and removed it entirely from most domestic and foreign automobiles until January of next year.
We increased the guaranteed annual income for our senior citizens. We reduced the number of people paying provincial income tax by some 450,000. We introduced an increase in small business tax credits. We froze for five months the price of heating oil and gasoline at the pumps. We vigorously opposed the federal government’s decision to increase the price of energy this past summer. We implemented these proposals and others to fight inflation and reduce unnecessary high levels of unemployment caused by the mischievous fiscal and monetary policies of the federal government.
We were also the first province to appoint a special programme review committee or task force, headed by the former federal auditor-general, Maxwell Henderson, to look for ways to reduce bureaucracy inefficiencies and to cut government spending. While Ottawa talked, we acted on the crucial issue of inflation.
Four years ago in my maiden speech in this House I discussed a number of organizational and operational policies or problems of the Addiction Research Foundation of this province. I was pleased to see that shortly thereafter a commission was established by the foundation to look into these problem areas. In February of this year, Prof. Horace Krever tabled a report with the foundation’s board of directors and I was pleased to hear from the Minister of Health (Mr. F. S. Miller), recently in the House, that the report is being acted upon. The minister feels that a good deal of progress is being made as a result of the Krever report.
Mr. Moffatt: Would the member permit a question?
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. The hon. member should continue his address.
Mr. Moffatt: Doesn’t it offend him that he has to speak to a House in which there is no quorum?
Mr. Leluk: Pardon?
Mr. Moffatt: Doesn’t it offend you that you have to speak to a House in which there is no quorum?
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. The hon. member will continue.
Mr. Leluk: Maybe the member opposite would like to call on the Speaker to ring the bells?
Mr. Deans: I think the Speaker would have to count first.
Mr. Dukszta: Nobody is actually calling a quorum.
Mr. Grossman: Go ahead.
Mr. Leluk: Mr. Speaker, I have the floor and I certainly don’t intend to --
Mr. Grossman: Up or down; one way or the other.
Mr. Leluk: I would like to continue if I may, Mr. Speaker. On March 13, 1972, I was pleased to introduce a private member’s bill in the Legislature, an Act to Amend the Public Health Act. The purpose of the bill was to ensure that pharmacists and medical practitioners dispense drugs in child-resistant packages. The member for Wentworth (Mr. Deans) supported me on this bill, as did members of the two other parties in this House, and four months later the cabinet enacted this legislation making Ontario the first North American jurisdiction to do so.
Since that time Great Britain and several Canadian provinces have followed our initiative in this area. Some of the neighbouring states to the south have shown an interest in enacting similar legislation. I am most pleased to see there has been a marked decrease in the number of accidental poisonings of children attributable to prescription drugs in this province. For example, the poison control centre at Sick Children’s Hospital recently reported a 30 per cent reduction in the number of victims of accidental drug ingestion.
On Monday of this week, I introduced a bill to extend the use of child-resistant packaging to patent medicines and household chemicals for sale in Ontario. The latter constitutes the major cause of accidental poisonings among young children.
Mr. Foulds: That’s a good bill.
Mr. Leluk: I believe it is absolutely essential that the government move quickly to act on this bill. I have urged the Minister of Health (Mr. F. S. Miller) to bring this matter of public importance before cabinet as soon as possible.
Mr. Leluk: As many members may not be aware, Etobicoke is celebrating its 125th anniversary as a municipality. I am proud to represent this great and thriving municipality as the Member of Parliament for the new riding of York West Etobicoke is the first planned community in Ontario. Through far-sighted planning we have achieved a good mix of residential and industrial development.
My riding is the recreation centre for the borough and next summer, in my riding, Etobicoke will host the international Olympiad for the physically disabled at the new aquatic and gymnastic centre in Centennial Park.
Like any other urban municipality, Etobicoke is experiencing some growing pains. For example, some high density areas in the borough are presently experiencing certain inequities in services and taxation. During the summer, many condominium owners in York West brought to my attention an inequity in the condominium tax assessment. I immediately brought this matter to the attention of the Minister of Revenue (Mr. Meen) and after much discussion I am pleased to see the enactment of an amendment to the Assessment Act which will ensure that condominium taxes are assessed on the same basis as single family dwellings in the area.
This law will be effective on next year’s property taxes. Realizing that the condominium concept is a relatively new one, we must be ready to deal with and anticipate problems associated with the condominium style of living.
I might add that Etobicoke is showing leadership in the establishment of a committee of condominium owners to deal with ongoing problems. I have met with the Etobicoke Condominium Association and will soon be introducing private members’ bills related to problems associated with condominium living.
There is also a growing problem of noise pollution in the residential area in the extreme north part of my riding bordering on the MacDonald-Cartier Freeway. My constituents have called on me to express their wish to construct some form of harrier to reduce the present noise levels which they experience on a daily basis. I have had several discussions with the Minister of Transportation and Communications and I will do my utmost to press for a solution to this problem.
I would like to discuss a matter of great importance to the riding of York West and to Metropolitan Toronto and that is Toronto International Airport.
Mr. Foulds: Terminal one or two?
Mr. Leluk: With the recent decision of this government on a proposed Pickering airport, residents of Etobicoke, and for that matter the area surrounding the airport, are justifiably concerned about further expansion at Malton. Both the Prime Minister of Canada and the Premier (Mr. Davis) have stated that Malton will not be expanded further. The Premier, at a special meeting of the Peel Regional Council in October, stated that the estimated $400 million provincial expenditure, designated for services and expressways in and out of the proposed Pickering airport, could be better put to use at this time in other areas of social need.
With the state of our economy, these moneys could be better used to relieve the housing crisis and create much-needed employment in the construction industry. With the assurances of both federal and provincial governments that there will be no further expansion at Malton with respect to additional runways, this should help ease the minds of Etobicoke resident, though I feel it is reasonable to assume that air traffic at Malton will continue to grow over the next few years.
It is also important to note that the federal government’s decision to build a second airport in Toronto was based on an annual passenger travel growth rate of 15 to 20 per cent per annum as experienced in the late 1960s and early 1970s. The present growth rate I understand to be in the vicinity of two per cent per annum. There are certain factors that should be taken into consideration which will have a direct influence on maintaining this low growth rate. With the present energy crisis, there may be a reduction in the number of flights because of fuel shortages. With the state of our economy and the increase in air fares, people may be seeking other moans of travel. As well, present immigration policies will somewhat curtail the population growth rate in Toronto.
I think it is reasonable to assume, possibly within the next 10 to 15 years, there will be a need for a second airport to service Toronto. There are no studies or statistics at present, that I know of, to substantiate a need for a second airport in Toronto at this time. As a matter of fact, my information is that Malton is presently operating at only 68 per cent capacity.
The federal Member of Parliament for Etobicoke riding, the Minister of Energy, recently stated in the Etobicoke Guardian, the local newspaper: “I believe, as I have always believed, that a second airport in Metro Toronto is essential.”
He also stated that during a recent provincial election the Liberal candidates in Etobicoke repeatedly called for the construction of the Pickering airport and said apparently that it was needed now.
Mr. Philip: So did the provincial Conservatives.
Mr. Leluk: The Liberal candidate in the riding of York West never expressed his view that the Pickering airport is needed now at any public meetings that we attended or in any of his campaign literature. The reason for this is very obvious, in that the leader of the Liberal Party is on record as being opposed to the Pickering airport.
With our government’s decision on the airport, I am certainly concerned about increased air and ground traffic in and out of Malton airport, as well as with the aircraft noise levels which affect many of our residents in Etobicoke on a daily basis.
I have tried to be positive in approaching these problems and on Nov. 7 I called for the federal Minister of Transport to take immediate action to reduce aircraft noise levels in the area of Toronto International Airport.
I wish to emphasize that international airports are the responsibility of the federal government. I have suggested a three-phase programme, including the early introduction by the Minister of Transport of aircraft noise level regulations that would require all commercial aircraft, with the possible exception of the Lockheed 1011, to install anti-noise equipment on existing engines which would drastically reduce noise levels.
Secondly, I suggested a specific indication by Air Canada of the dates for the retirement of many of the noisy DC-8s, as promised by Air Canada.
Thirdly, in the interim, there should be a change in the curfew hours at night for the noisier aircraft, such as the DC-8 and the Boeing 707, from the present 11 p.m. curfew to 9 p.m., because the effect of noise at night is approximately 10 times greater than during the day.
I feel that if this programme were implemented, it would drastically reduce the noise levels, even with increased air traffic. The newer, larger aircraft, such as the Lockheed 1011, Boeing 747 and the DC-10, have what is known as a high-bypass-ratio engine and they are quieter than the smaller aircraft, such as the DC-8 and the Boeing 707. All aircraft, with the exception of the Lockheed 1011, can be fitted with devices to substantially reduce noise levels.
It has been estimated by Air Canada that the secondary costs of operating out of two airports would be $50 million for Air Canada -- approximately the same amount required to retrofit the entire Canadian airline fleet to meet the proposed new noise standards.
On a more optimistic note, there has already been a reduction in noise levels in the Malton area. The number of people affected by aircraft noise levels in 1973 dropped to approximately 32,000 from 33,000 in 1972. With the implementation of noise control devices, the number of people affected could drop below 5,000. Since the technology is available and the cost appears to be reasonable, the federal government should make every effort possible to implement this programme.
I have called on the Member of Parliament for Etobicoke riding, the Minister of Energy, to get federal action on this programme without leaving it up in the air for so long.
My proposal to the federal Minister of Transport was rebuffed when Mr. McLeish, the director general of civil aeronautics in Ottawa, a senior federal government official, stated recently that quieter airplanes won’t be flying over Etobicoke until at least 1980. It probably won’t be until that date that Canadian airplanes could consider retrofitting their engines to dampen noise levels. Mr. McLeish went on to say: “Before that time, Canada is awaiting progress in the United States on the noise level regulations and retrofitting question.”
This wait-and-see attitude is just another example of the lack of leadership demonstrated by the federal government on so many occasions in dealing with the problems facing our country. It is reminiscent of the wage and price control measures recommended by Mr. Stanfield and the Progressive Conservatives in 1974.
Mr. Kennedy: A great guy.
Mr. Foulds: Who is he? Bob who?
Mr. Kennedy: The one and only -- a great fellow.
Mr. Leluk: As mentioned, there has been a major reduction in the growth of air traffic over the last year and a half, and many questions concerning the future of air travel have arisen that were not evident when the Pickering airport was first planned in the late 1960s and early 1970s. While not discounting the possibility of the need for a second airport at some point in the future, I feel there are many changes that can be made to improve the existing airport facilities.
Obviously, as the member of the Legislature for York West, politically it would be in my best interests to want construction of a second airport to begin as soon as possible. But to proceed at this time would be an irresponsible act on the part of both the provincial and federal governments.
When the decision was first made to construct a second airport in Toronto, the federal Ministry of Transport based its decision on the rapid increase in air travel realized in the late 1960s. Even as late as 1973 the annual growth in air travel at the Toronto International Airport was 20 per cent. In 1974, it was almost 15 per cent, and this year there has been a dramatic change in the pattern of air travel growth which suggests that a much closer look must be taken at the development of airport facilities in southern Ontario. This year, the growth of air travel at Toronto International Airport will be less than two per cent and may even approach zero per cent growth.
When you consider the continued population growth in southern Ontario, this is a very significant change, but many major airlines have experienced heavy financial losses resulting from the increase in fuel costs and decreases in average plane occupancy, Air Canada last year lost $9 million. To re-establish economic viability, all airlines, including Air Canada and Canadian Pacific, are undertaking a major reassessment of flight schedules and the type of planes that will be used.
There is no question that the larger planes such as the L-1011s, the Boeing 747s and the DC-10s will play an increasingly important part in the future plans of major airlines. Indications are that the high repair costs for the smaller DC-8s and Boeing 707s will force charter companies to purchase the larger planes to maintain a competitive edge over the scheduled airlines.
Most scheduled airlines in the past have operated with price schedules that allowed a profit with average plane occupancy of 50 to 60 per cent. With increasing costs, particularly for fuel, the airlines will have to promote a higher occupancy efficiency ratio as well as fewer flights if they are to remain profitable.
Both the use of large aircraft and the promotion of increased occupancy efficiency will mean a major reduction in the number of flights in and out of Toronto International Airport. Still, there are a number of programmes that should be considered to ensure a minimum congestion. First, the introduction of fees by the time of day for aircraft landing and taking off might be one. A differential fee structure would help spread the peak demand periods and relieve congestion. Second, the adjustment of the scheduling of non-competitive flights. Third, the planned expansion, which has been announced by the federal government, to the ground facilities which will help improve existing congestion within the airport, particularly in the Terminal 2 area.
We must also look beyond the traditional solutions to the congestion problem. For example, the federal Ministry of Transport should look into the possibility of e downtown passenger and luggage terminal. A significant percentage of air travellers using the Toronto airport locate in the downtown area of the city. With a bus shuttle service, passengers could quickly be moved in and out of the airport terminals and dramatically reduce congestion in the airport and on the access roads to the airport. I believe there are many things that could be done to ensure a more orderly Toronto International Airport with reduced congestion.
There is absolutely no need to consider expansion. At some point in the future a second airport may be needed, but there is an essential need at present to curtail government spending as part of our overall national austerity programme. A second airport in the future is no justification for construction until improvements and efficiencies are realized at the Toronto International Airport and, in the interim, we will have an opportunity to see how successful the two-airport system is in Montreal. While the federal government is very optimistic about Mirabel, there are many questions that must be answered about this superport, which cost twice as much as was originally estimated. It will also allow the Minister of Transport to develop and present a national transportation policy, something that our country desperately needs. After all, even the former Minister of Transport, Jean Marchand, suggested that the overall transportation system is, and I quote, “in a mess.”
In closing, Mr. Speaker, I just want to thank you for the opportunity of participating in the debate, and I pledge that in the coming weeks and months I’ll do my part to ensure that the 30th parliament produces positive, constructive and responsible legislation to meet the tough economic problems that we are facing.
Mr. Speaker: The hon. member for Essex North.
Mr. Deans: Second edition.
Mr. Kennedy: Second instalment.
Mr. Ruston: Mr. Speaker, I may continue from where I left off the other night and I don’t suppose it will be just exactly where I left off --
Mr. Renwick: We can go through it again.
Mr. Ruston: I note that some of my colleagues to what we call our right now are turning around; they’re interested, I suppose, in what I may have to say. I will try not to be too antagonistic or -- I will keep my remarks pretty well to my agenda; let’s put it that way. I will try to; however, sometimes interjections may come along and I may have to reply to them but I will try to keep my remarks to my text, if I may, although it is very loosely drawn up here and members will have to accept it the way it is.
I guess the other evening I didn’t get around to congratulating the Speaker on his appointment as Speaker again. I must say I would encourage him to be tough and strict with the regulations in order to bring a little sanity to the question period, although we all like to add a little bit to it at times. I have noted in the last few days that he has taken over the question period a little better, I think, and I would hope that he would continue to keep it moving right along.
I want to congratulate the Deputy Speaker, the member for Lake Nipigon (Mr. Stokes). I am sure he is serving the job very well and I was very happy to see him get that position. Having sat on the select committee with the member for Lake Nipigon and travelled with him and so forth and having partaken of his generosity and so forth at his home in Schreiber, I must say I enjoyed it very much.
Sometimes we don’t get around to all the areas of Ontario and maybe that’s one thing -- we weren’t necessarily on business -- some people would object to what we were doing, I suppose. I think it was educational and the report we made at that time was worthwhile. I think it was also educational for the members of the committee. Remarking about Schreiber, on the day we were there it was a beautiful day, about 25 deg. and, of course, it was warm for that area at that time. I partook of some snowmobiling in the area and I think it was one of the days I will never forget as far as enjoyment of the outdoors is concerned. Of course, having been raised on a farm in pretty flat country, it was kind of nice for me to get up into the hills and through the bush of that area. I must say it’s a very nice part of the country.
I want to congratulate the present Speaker, too, on his appointment as deputy chairman, and I think he is carrying on the job very well.
I am representing a little different area from before. As members know, we had redistribution and in my area I took over three municipalities, about 20,000 people, which were formerly in the riding of Sandwich-Riverside, then held by Mr. Burr. He did a very good job in that area, looking after his constituents and keeping them informed of what was going on. I also took over one township from the former member for Essex South, Mr. Paterson, so I have a newer area. It’s not really that much of a change, I suppose, from the area I had before. It is not quite as rural.
We now have one township, Sandwich West, which has about 14,000 population, and someone said to me the other day they didn’t know how we could get so many people into a township. I said that’s no problem when it is on the outskirts of the city of Windsor. I also have Sandwich South and Tecumseh so in my riding, I circle the three Windsor ridings. I join on to all the three Windsor ridings from the Detroit river right around to Lake St. Clair.
I suppose we could do it different ways. We could either have a wall between them or have it open, with no border, and I guess that’s the way it should be.
However, there are some new problems in the new part of the riding which I didn’t have before because a lot of the other part of the riding was more rural. We are running into them already, of course.
One of them is sewage disposal, which becomes a problem as we expand and build up some of the semi-rural areas which we have in the township of Sandwich West. They have been working on some type of a sewage plan for some time. It would be in conjunction with the treatment plant with the city of Windsor. This has been going on for a number of years, and only in the last month or so I met with the municipal council and officials from the Ministry of the Environment to try and get it under way as soon as possible. It is something, of course, that we need.
I have heard many people talk about it and you can still see some of the results of it; but in that particular township back around 1920 there was always talk about a giant steel plant being built in Ojibway -- now a part of the city of Windsor. The big steel plant never really came about. The town of Ojibway had a population of about three people, I believe, and appointed a mayor who sat on county council. But it was all industrial land and with only a very few factories on it.
You can drive down some of the older streets, or even some of the newer ones, and in this area you can see sidewalks that were built back in 1925. Lots were laid out by engineers, some from the United States. Quite a few came over here to make a million, I guess, by developing this area -- because they had heard of the steel plant proposal. Some of the sidewalks and the odd fire hydrant and small water-mains remain -- and nothing was ever done. Now, of course, some of the areas are being built up and planning is being done in the township.
Over the period of the next 15 or 20 years, I would suppose that that population will double in that particular township as we put in the services. There are many acres of land there that are not in farm production. There was ribbon development in the area. Different communities have developed in the township. Three or four areas have grown around the old town of LaSalle, which was put into the township and is operated by the township council.
So there is plenty of room for expansion there. I was in the urea last Sunday. Between the streets there may be half a mile of just waste land. It’s not even being farmed or anything anymore. I am sure that there is room in the township for thousands of houses and industrial areas as well, without really interfering with the production of food in any way. This may seem strange, but actually this comes about over a period of years. The land lies unused. Someone bought it and never really developed it or used it. It is an area where we have room for many people without in any way hurting our food production.
When we speak of food production, we wonder how much land is going out of production. Of course, it was quite a topic in the last election. However, I think the key thing, if you are really going to talk about land going out of production, and if you are really interested in saving prime production land for food -- provided we really need it -- then you should look first of all at whether the land is class one and two. Of course, class one is the most excellent type of loose soil available. The land varies, and we have classes from one to five.
I would suppose in the area where I live, I have my doubts if we could even call it class two, although we can grow over a hundred bushels of corn to the acre -- and soya beans and tomatoes. Some of it is classified as Brookston clay. As you get farther east, you get into the real black land. Down around the Chatham-Wallaceburg area where the land is exceptionally rich; the clay is way down. But as a fellow in our area says: “Eight or nine inches of top soil is about all we have, and then you get into hard clay.” It is amazing what it will produce by being properly obtained.
The other thing in saving land for agriculture, Mr. Speaker, is the heat units in the area. We all know that Essex-Kent county has about the highest heat units produced in Ontario. Parts of the Niagara region, if you look at the map, would be about the same. But the top is about 3,300 units. After all, what does have a lot to do with producing crops is heat and, of course, you need moisture. If you have normal rainfall, plus an extremely warm summer, production is really high. We found that out in the past year during 1975.
I question sometimes whether we really are faced with a food shortage. I personally do not think we are. The ability of the world to produce food is there. If we really want to put out the effort and pay people a profit, so that when they produce it they have some incentive, then I’m sure that the production is there. In the last few years, we read a lot in the papers -- and I spoke about this before -- about the amount of exports to other countries.
An interesting thing is the amount Russia imports. We’ve seen some of the problems that they had in the United States where a few years ago six or seven buyers from Russia went to six or seven of the big grain-holders there and bought up about 25 per cent of the total production of that country within a day or two. We have a little different system here so we have a little better hold actually on where some of our grain goes. That wasn’t that bad, I suppose. In fact, if I spoke for every farmer in the US and Canada, they would think that was the greatest thing that ever happened. I don’t know if I could disagree with them that much because it gave the farmers an opportunity to sell their grain and get the elevators empty so they could bring in more stock from the farm.
It naturally put the price up and we did have a problem in 1973 and 1974 where soya beans did go sky high. I think to this day that maybe it was not good for the economy that they ever went as high as they did. We found them settling back better last year when prices settled down. Now we’ve got another problem with the President of the United States -- he was appointed President. Maybe because I live so close to the United States border and see so much TV, I say he’s far from being one of the best they’ve ever had. He wouldn’t be the worst -- they’ve got him back in California some place -- but this one, in his ability, doesn’t rate very high from what I can gather. However, he is much of an improvement over the last one they had.
The strange part about the export of grain to Russia is that, if you look back and see what the production capacity of Russia was, you wouldn’t think they would need to import any grain. In 1913, the Ukraine was considered the bread basket of Europe. In that year just prior to World War I, czarist Russia exported nine million tons of grain and still had 80 million tons left over for domestic consumption. The best year of grain exports that Russia has had since in 1917 was six million tons in one year, so they did export.
The problem now is that there is no incentive to produce and they just aren’t producing. They’ve got the choicest of land. I happen to know as I have close relatives who have been there and have married into the family of people who have lived there. They say the potential there is really great for producing but they haven’t got the incentive anymore. That’s a problem of course in world production the way we have today. Some countries that are capable just aren’t producing.
In our own country, if you talk about agricultural production here, in 1969 Canada was importing about 25 million bushels of corn a year for our own use. We weren’t producing enough of our own. In 1975 we’re going to have about 25 million bushels of surplus corn that we’ll be able to export. We can produce; there is no doubt about that. It is the same with wheat. We can produce winter wheat, which is a minor thing corn pared to the quantity we produce of the hard wheat in western Canada, but in winter wheat in Ontario, production is up considerably. There again, it is due to the price.
Basically it is the price that counts. You are not going to plant something you can’t make any money on. That was the problem back in 1969 and 1970. Now we have a world price on wheat. We have a stable price in Canada and in Ontario for winter wheat, and the federal government pays the difference between the export price and the price that they kept stable here for local use. It means that actually a farmer would receive somewhere around $4 or $4.25 a bushel for his wheat.
In Ontario, at the present time, it doesn’t come all at one time. There is the wheat board handling the sale of it. They give the basic price of about $2 a bushel at time of delivery. Then, as they sell it and make their export sales and so forth, six or eight months later they pay in the area of another dollar a bushel.
After the year-end when all the books are straightened out as to the exports and what is used in Canada, the federal government pays the difference. That brings up the other $1 or $1.15 a bushel. Although the farmer doesn’t get the money all at one time, now that it is circulating, he can manage all right.
The thing with exports to the United States is that the President is trying to keep the exports down. He does push prices down. This year, and right now for instance, the price of soya beans in Ontario is about 34.17 a bushel. A year ago it was anywhere from $6 to $7 a bushel at this time.
Now, of course, there is a large world surplus of soya beans. From what we can gather, Brazil had excellent crops. The United States had the biggest crop in years. Canada, as much as ours are small compared to the United States, we still have an excellent crop. That all added to the supply.
At $4.17 a bushel for soya beans -- with the price of a tractor where you are paying almost $200 per horsepower, and the price of farm machinery and repairs -- that isn’t enough now. Yet a year ago today the highest point I think that they did reach was $8.90 a bushel. Many farmers are gamblers about selling their products at certain times. I know that some of them still have their 1974 crop and they are not too happy. They miscalculated on the market, and of course that is something that you have to accept until we have a sales system such as we have on the wheat board.
The wheat board, of course, has the sale of it until it’s into the processors’ hands. That would control the price and he would get that price whenever it was sold.
That gives a rough idea of some of the things with agriculture. My main thing is to say that there are many, many thousands of acres of land in Ontario around present towns, and around many cities. If you drive up around Barrie -- and I was just there in the last week of September -- it seems to me that there are thousands of acres of land that are not suitable for production. But it would be a beautiful place to live. I don’t see any reason at all why we should not be encouraging -- and if that doesn’t work forcing -- industry to try to expand into areas such as that. I think that we would have a better quality of life if we had that.
I had the occasion to be at an opening of a large church centre and recreational centre on Sunday. I said that I thought that as far as I was concerned, it was better to have 10 cities of 500,000 each than to have one city of 5 million. I think most people would agree with me. I said that very thing in this house in 1968 about the city of New York. I don’t think that there is anyone here, or anyone else, who could convince me otherwise, that that isn’t a better system. I think the quality of life would be much better.
I wanted to speak briefly on the Treasurer’s (Mr. McKeough) statement with regard to municipal grants for the coming year. It’s a little bit amazing, the way they have been operating the Treasury here in Ontario. Last year they said more grants were sent for local government. Naturally, if there are more grants coming in, the local councillors are going to do the repairs to the roads, build new roads or whatever they might do and spend accordingly. That’s understandable. If they can keep the mill rate within reason -- people don’t object to a couple of mills a year increase or something -- naturally they go accordingly. This year, the Treasurer says he is cutting this down to six per cent, and that’s really going to be a fiasco for municipalities.
The real concern is that 1975 was an election year and grants went up; and, of course, 1976 could very well be an election year too, so I don’t know what the Treasurer is going to do in that regard under those circumstances.
It’s the same with educational grants. In 1974 they were increased by 30 per cent and in 1976 talk is about perhaps six per cent. The boards, I suppose, have accepted agreements with teachers to give them substantial raises and now they are having some problems.
It shows the thinking of the provincial Treasurer and the government as regards financing. You know, you have to pay some day. The real mistakes they made, I think, would be from 1971 on. We had pretty good economy then, and things were moving along pretty well, and yet this Premier (Mr. Davis), who took over in 1971, actually has been running a deficit ever since.
I don’t know what is wrong with some of the Conservative thinking. You wouldn’t think that basically would be their philosophy, but I guess when you get a Conservative who is not sure where he’s going then he moves around so much that he makes a mess of things. That’s what has been done in terms of Ontario’s finances; they’re in such a mess because we have run up such a large deficit over a period of years.
When you look at it, I suppose we’re not in much better shape than the city of New York. From what I understand, the school teachers and municipal employees in New York have their own pension funds set aside and operated by them. If all that money was in the city of New York coffers and they were using it, I suppose they wouldn’t have too many problems financially. Actually, that is what we’re doing here. We’re using the funds of many pension plans -- the Canada Pension Plan and others -- in our operations here, but they have to be paid back when the call comes to say they’re needed. What we’re doing, of course, is we’re not really preparing ourselves for the future. This is what this government has lacked in its planning and financial responsibilities.
Another thing is the method of collecting taxes and who hands them out -- who hands out the goodies. The federal government has many agreements with the provinces whereby they pay a share of certain things -- health care, welfare and social assistance programmes and such are all shared with the federal government.
There was an interesting article in the Toronto Sun on Dec. 4 reporting that Premier Barrett sent out a newsletter -- a so-called Christmas card -- to the people of British Columbia. It said that the BC old age security supplement, which the letter says all BC citizens will receive, will be $265 a month beginning Jan. 1, “thanks to BC’s NDP government.”
What they’re doing is taking credit for $265 a month going out to the people of British Columbia. However, I read in this particular article that Mr. Marc Lalonde, the Minister of National Health and Welfare for Canada, was quite perturbed because $226 of that money is federal money. This is not only a problem in British Columbia; we have the problem right here too.
I was at the opening of a new county and civic centre in Essex last Saturday. The county, the Essex county public school board and the Essex county separate school board all have their offices in this massive new building, which almost looks like the Taj Mahal. It’s a nice building, a very functional building.
Mr. Foulds: Just like the Taj Mahal?
Mr. Ruston: One of the people on the county council said they had got some money from the government. I asked what government they got it from. He said: “We just got it from the government; I’m not sure.” Mr. Whelan, the Minister of Agriculture was there and clarified the matter as best he could in the few minutes he was allowed to speak. He said there was $500,000 from the winter works capital grant plan that the province had with the federal government, but actually in effect all the money comes from the federal government.
The province, of course, wasn’t really saying that. It had to come by agreement because we know, in the British North America Act, the municipalities cannot make an agreement with the federal government; it must go through the province. That’s always a problem we have; who gets blamed for collecting the taxes and then who hands out the goodies after. We have that here, with the province giving grants to municipalities and so forth, and it isn’t an easy thing to resolve, I grant you that. It is not an easy thing to resolve.
I suggested a number of years ago, and I am sure it wouldn’t be too freely received at this time, but I looked back over at the time -- I think it was 10 or 12 years ago, or maybe it was longer than that -- when we started having what we call area school boards. I suggested that perhaps what we should do is that the teachers should be paid by the province completely, and the school boards then would operate the schools and pay for them locally. In other words, if one lives in an area and wants a little more elaborate school, that would be up to the ratepayers in that area and it would have nothing to do with the province at all. In other words, the province would see that the teachers were paid, and the local taxpayers would have to see that the school was supplied.
Mr. Foulds: Is that the Liberal policy now?
Mr. Ruston: No, that’s just my own policy, and that was my own policy 20 years ago, and if it had been put into effect, I think it would have turned out very well, if it had been run properly and installed. I think it could have been done and I think it would have saved a lot of problems. It would have put the responsibility on the local school boards to look after the things that they have to look after, the payments they have to make and the money they have got to collect.
They could send out their tax demand, and they could say “This is what we need, and this is what it is for.” No one knows what it is for now -- they go by a formula for grants and everything, and even some of the school board members don’t understand it, and I can understand that too because it gets so complicated.
So, it’s a thought that maybe someday we will have to look at whether that might be the right way; I don’t know. It would bring the responsibility for who collects the taxes and who spends the money, back to the people who are actually doing it.
With regard to municipal government, we have a restructured committee in the county of Essex studying county government, city government and whether it should be restructured. One thing I got a kick out of was a questionnaire -- and I don’t have the form here -- sent to councillors by Dr. Silcox. Well, he’s not a doctor; I am not sure that I prefer calling people doctors who are not doctors who perform operations, but instead get a doctorate in something or other; however I will call him Dr. Silcox. Some of the questions in the forms he sent out really threw me. I had a county councillor bring one down and show me. One thing he wanted to know was what political party you belonged to, and he wanted to know what religion you belonged to. This was what he was sending out to county councillors for information. I understand that it was brought to his attention and he sent another one out later, hoping that they would disregard that first one.
Since that day, I must admit my respect for his ability has been very low, I haven’t attended any of his meetings, since I don’t figure that is where I should go; that is for the local input. I told him that if there was any change in government I would have an opportunity to speak in the Legislature on it, and I would certainly put the point across as to what I thought was reasonable for the country. When someone does something like that, it lowers the standard of what he is trying to do, as far as I am concerned, and I haven’t felt that good about it since.
Mr. Deans: Why?
Mr. Ruston: In the county of Essex, we have 21 municipalities, and I think the county gets along reasonably well, but what I would suppose is a bit of a problem under the Municipal Act is the number of representatives from a municipality depending on the population. I don’t think it is very fair and I think something we should be doing is looking at the Municipal Act and the representation under the county system. Each municipality has a reeve and if it has over 1,000 owners on the assessment roll gets a deputy reeve. If it has more than 3,000, I think it is, the reeve and the deputy reeve get one extra vote. It is rather complicated and it was never used, I think, any time I was in county council and that was six years. I think it was used once in the last couple of years.
I would think it should be related a little more to the population. As I say, some of the municipalities have 14,000 population and have a reeve and a deputy reeve; they do have this voting right but it is very complicated and many of them prefer not to use it. We should have it on the basis of population, in a much fairer way.
That will be one thing which I certainly hope the restructuring study would show because even in here, in the Legislature, we have had redistribution and the rural areas are allowed so many people compared to the urban areas and there is a little better ratio here. I think we have to look at that in county government as well.
Another matter is highway safety and what some call the carnage on the roads --
Mr. Deans: Why are none of your own members listening?
Mr. Dukszta: But it is very good representation -- two.
Mr. Ruston: That’s fine. We had our big show the other night and since you all read it after I would just like to let the NDP know, so they are aware of what is going on.
Mr. Deans: If we provided you with as much of an audience as your own members you wouldn’t have enough people here to speak to.
Mr. Ruston: I would suppose you would because you have higher representation. You should have more here if you are going to carry out your responsibilities properly.
Mr. Worton: You have one more.
Mr. Deans: You have driven them all out of the House; you realize that, don’t you?
Mr. Worton: Ring the bells.
Mr. Ruston: I think that is par for the course so I am not objecting to that. I am sure that when the member for Wentworth --
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Mr. Ruston: I am sure that when the member for Wentworth spoke for seven hours last year he drove everybody out of the House because I noticed that on a number of occasions he had to keep complaining about it.
Mr. Speaker: Will the hon. member please sit down?
Mr. Ruston: I will assure him that I wasn’t here when he spoke for seven hours although I spent a few minutes at different intervals. I will assure the member for Wentworth that I couldn’t sit through his speech either.
Mr. Deans: I want you to understand it was 12 hours.
Mr. Ruston: I thank him for being present. At least I got him listening.
Mr. Deans: Why don’t you go back to telling jokes? It was better than this.
Mr. Ruston: Maybe you are the joke. I don’t know.
Mr. Deans: You keep reading what --
Mr. Ruston: However, if you don’t like what I am saying you can leave; I have no objections.
Mr. Deans: I have tried that.
Mr. Ruston: You can leave any time; it wouldn’t hurt my feelings.
Mr. Deans: The trouble is I can’t. I would love to, believe me.
Mr. Speaker: Let the hon. member go on with his remarks.
Mr. Ruston: With regard to highway safety, this is something I have been interested in for some time. I have brought to the attention of members in the estimates and so forth some of the things which may improve our highways and cut down on accidents.
One thing I mentioned a couple of years ago in the estimates was signs on throughways. We have these big, wide signs going across, over the top, and I mentioned at that time we should be putting up electric signals as to the road conditions ahead. If we are going down a throughway the first thing we know is we’re at some place where there has been an accident or something and traffic is tide up for a mile or two. These types of signs, I think, could indicate what’s ahead -- driving conditions or accidents or whatever it might be, a road partially closed -- and people could get on to the secondary roads and get on their way.
I think that’s something the ministry has said a number of times it was thinking about and looking at. I think it is something we should be looking at in the metropolitan area. I think it would be a great improvement to our expressways in the metropolitan areas.
As far as provincial highways, county roads and so forth are concerned, something which I have felt was needed in many of the built-up areas around the cities and towns, where the highway traffic is quite heavy, is traffic lights. These don’t necessarily hold up traffic if they are only on these important intersections.
In the village of Cottam in Gosfield North township, Highway 3 is a very busy road with 6,000 cars a day. About 10 to 15 per cent of them are trucks. We’re trying to get some improvements there but since the tightening up of funds I understand that the ministry is not proposing to go ahead with the balance of the bypass to Highway 3 for a year or two. However, we’re never always sure of that. The property is there and we understand that they may in the future still continue with it.
We’re a little concerned now about it. We think these roads should be improved. They should be widened out through some of these villages. That would be a great improvement then for those in the area. Traffic signals on some of these busy corners certainly would cut down the accidents. In fact, a reporter from the Windsor Star was going out to the meeting they were having in Cottam the other night and the headline was “Reporter in Accident While Researching Intersection Story.” They were asking for either a warning signal at the corner or a traffic light, and it so happened that the reporter got into an accident at that particular corner. I guess that will give us a little publicity on the matter. Luckily, no one was hurt in that particular accident.
A matter of concern is the attitude of some people and their driving ability. Many people can drive but sometimes they get frustrated or maybe they have problems, I suppose, on that particular day or what. That’s something we’re going to have to look at in the future, how we can control and give people the right to drive, if they are not suitable to be on the road with a car. And there are some of these people, I’m sure, driving cars today as the accident rate is terrible. Just this morning on Highway 427 I heard on the news three or four people were killed. We really have to do something about this.
Someone mentioned the other day about one person being shot. Certainly it’s a sad affair, but we’re killing an awful lot of people on our highways. It seems to me that we’re going to have to be more careful on the highways and have more defensive driving.
I really haven’t got much more to go on with. I could, I suppose, mention a number of different articles but I’ve really covered the main items that I had to go with, so I’ll stop this time.
Mr. Speaker: The hon. member for Downsview is next, but as it’s so close to the hour of closing, it might be appropriate if he adjourned the debate.
Mr. di Santo moved the adjournment of the debate.
Motion agreed to.
Hon. Mr. Welch: Before moving the adjournment of the House, may I indicate the order of business for next week. I apologize that I haven’t got the whole week’s programme because there are some decisions that will have to be taken later today with respect to the balance of the week.
We will carry on with the Throne Speech debate on Monday afternoon. There will be no sitting Monday night. On Tuesday we will go back into Committee and finish supply, hopefully introduce the supply bill, and with whatever time remains we’ll go the legislative programme. I’m expecting bills back from some of the select committees at the first part of the week.
Hon. Mr. Welch moved the adjournment of the House.
Motion agreed to.
The House adjourned at 12:55 p.m.