The House met at 2 p.m.
Mr. McNeil: Mr. Speaker, I would like members to welcome some 60 students from Davenport Public School in Aylmer who are here today under the guidance of their teacher Mrs. Koleada. Aylmer is located in the heart of that great riding of Elgin.
Mr. Speaker: Statements by the ministry.
Mr. Nixon: What ministry?
Mr. Speaker: Oral questions.
Mr. Deans: Why don’t we start over again?
Mr. Lewis: Why don’t we ring the bells for four minutes, Mr. Speaker?
Mr. Deans: Try some more prayers.
Mr. Nixon: I’m afraid you’ve got a quorum, though.
Mr. Lewis: Yes.
Mr. Lewis: A question of the Minister of Transportation and Communications: Why is the minister willing to reverse single-handedly what appeared to be a tough government decision on the Pickering airport by allowing it to be considered as one of the options as a major air transportation base even two years hence?
Hon. Mr. Snow: Mr. Speaker, I haven’t reversed any decisions at all. I did meet with Mr. Lang yesterday morning for about three hours, discussing transportation matters in general. Mr. Lang and I agreed on the proposal I put forward for the establishment of a federal-provincial committee on regional transportation so that we would have a proper liaison committee of federal and provincial representatives to deal with transportation matters. The committee will be co-chaired by Mr. Lang and myself and, as I said, it will be made up of staff of both ministries.
One of the first assignments of this new committee will be to complete a thorough study of transportation needs for passengers in southern Ontario. This study will cover all modes of transportation and will look into the possibilities of all alternatives -- rail, bus, STOL aircraft, second-level air carriers; as well as the potential of existing facilities, including existing airports and existing rail lines. In general, it will be a total study of all transportation needs in the Province of Ontario and will come up with recommendations as to how these passenger needs can be best fulfilled for the best interests of all the citizens of Ontario.
Mr. Lang stated that due to the fact that his government owned --
Mr. Lewis: It should be a ministerial statement.
Hon. Mr. Snow: You asked the question.
Mr. Lewis: But I didn’t ask this question. I didn’t ask the minister to review in the House what he has already said to the entire media. Therefore, it should be a ministerial statement. I asked the minister why he did not --
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. It was a very brief question.
An hon. member: It was not a very good question.
Hon. Mr. Snow: I was just about to finish anyway, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Speaker: Thank you.
Hon. Mr. Snow: Mr. Lang was quite concerned in that since his government owns the land at Pickering where they had planned to build an airport, he wanted to maintain the Pickering land as a possible option if and when all these studies were completed.
Mr. Lewis: Right. By way of supplementary: Then, in fact, the minister did accede to the federal request that two years from now the proposed Pickering airport may be an airport. My supplementary is another phrasing of the question: Why did the minister not rule out Pickering altogether? Does he not realize what havoc exists for regional planning in Durham, when they are now in effect held up for another two years as the government’s position may be reversed again?
Hon. Mr. Snow: Mr. Speaker, I did not accede to any change in the policy of this government. I agreed to an overall study. I must point out to the hon. Leader of the Opposition that the federal government, under Mr. Lang’s ministry, owns the site for that airport; and as the airports come totally under their jurisdiction, I was not in any position --
Mr. Lewis: Say no.
Hon. Mr. Snow: -- to tell Mr. Lang what he should do with his piece of real estate.
Mr. Givens: Supplementary: Aside from this basic piece of real estate -- let’s get out from behind the barn -- aside from this basic piece of real estate, isn’t it a basic assumption of the study that the minister was talking about that this area requires a second airport, whether it is going to be at Pickering, whether it is going to be in Borden or whether it is going to be anywhere else? Isn’t it a basic assumption of this study that this area requires a second airport for international airplane traffic?
Hon. Mr. Snow: No, Mr. Speaker. I am not at all prepared to accept that assumption of the hon. member for Armourdale at this time. This is why the two levels of government have agreed to this very thorough study.
I happen to believe there are a great many options that have not been properly explored; that the air branch of the federal Ministry of Transport, in planning totally for transportation needs with a very high degree of reliability on air, decided some years ago that Pickering airport or a second international airport was needed for the Toronto area. I think a great many things have changed in the last few years, including new technology coming forward on new possibilities of better rail transportation, and these matters must be looked at before any decision is made on Pickering.
Mrs. Campbell: A supplementary, Mr. Speaker, to the minister’s answer: In view of the fact he has stated he is looking again at STOL, does this mean he’s reviving the possibility of a STOL airport at the Island Airport, and will there be municipal input into those decisions?
Hon. Mr. Snow: Mr. Speaker, I’m sure the hon. member knows as well as I do the status of the Toronto Island Airport. I’m very surprised at that question.
Mrs. Campbell: I haven’t the faintest idea.
Hon. Mr. Snow: I’m sure everyone in the House knows there is a study --
Mr. Bullbrook: She knows as well as the minister does? And she says she hasn’t the faintest idea.
Hon. Mr. Snow: -- being carried out now involving the federal government, the provincial government, Metropolitan Toronto, the city of Toronto, the Toronto Harbour Commission -- that’s five -- and my ministry and the Ministry of Treasury and Economics are involved as the provincial representatives. This study got under way very recently. There will be input from all segments, all the participants in the study. It’s being funded jointly by all those I have just mentioned and I believe the study is to be completed by August or September, 1976.
HEALTH OF COKE OVEN WORKERS
Mr. Lewis: May I ask the Minister of Health: Was the minister aware there are 20 compensable cases presently before the Workmen’s Compensation Board, arising out of coke oven exposure at both Stelco and Algoma; almost half of them for cancers of various kinds?
Hon. F. S. Miller: No, I wasn’t aware of the specific number, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Lewis: May I ask the minister, since all of these perhaps compensable claims are emerging from the coke ovens, where the emissions today are as they always were and are as yet unmeasured, is there any conceivable way in the world to provide extra protection for the 900 or more workers in Ontario who are clearly hazarding the same con sequences now as those whose cases are emerging?
Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, I’m not sure I’m going to accept the first two statement’s in the member’s question as being factual -- I’d like to check that the emissions are as they always were and that nothing’s being done. I understand we have been gradually tightening up on the acceptable levels of tars in those areas and that steps were being taken. We could argue whether that is true or not; it is our intention to see it is done in any case.
I obtained some information on this from one of the member’s colleagues quite recently and I looked at the fact that we’re accepting American standards currently, in lieu of having anything better to accept. These standards have been tightened up for coke oven operations and it is being recognized that they are, without question, dangerous places in which to work and steps have to be taken.
Mr. Lewis: I want to come back with one supplementary in two parts: One, it is true, is it not, that nowhere in Ontario have we yet made tests of the actual emissions around the coke ovens that the minister could provide for public view? Second, what does one do in a situation like this? It’s almost a moral question to the minister: When we can predict in advance that some of the workers now involved in that coke oven exposure will fall prey to disease some years down the road, what steps might be taken as the minister?
Hon. F. S. Miller: It’s interesting, Mr. Speaker. I think we have to take steps once the problem is recognized. They have to be taken, I’m quite sure, with the understanding of the unions and management that the steps requested by us are realistic and desirable. Yet not too long ago, when I was talking to some of the press about problems in the asbestos industry, I alluded to problems we were concerned about in connection with the coke ovens. Very quickly I got very hostile reactions from both management and labour, saying that in fact I had no business making comments like this about their particular industry until I was sure of that of which I spoke. Like the member, I’m concerned, but I do realize that recognition of the problem is only now sinking through to both management and labour. I’m glad to see it is sinking through. We’ll be able to take steps. I understand that requests have been placed with the Ontario Research Foundation to undertake a study in that area and that they should be starting it very shortly.
Mr. Lewis: A question of the Premier, Mr. Speaker: Is the Minister of Labour (B. Stephenson) currently meeting on the pulp and paper strike?
Hon. Mr. Davis: I’ll be careful not to nod my head for the record. I know how the member for Sarnia operates in court and he always puts on the record the fact of people nodding or not nodding.
Yes, she is.
Mr. Lewis: Has the Premier anything to report about that?
Hon. Mr. Davis: No. She is meeting with them right at this moment.
MOOSONEE FEDERAL BASE
Mr. Lewis: A question to the Provincial Secretary for Resources Development, if I may: What submissions has the provincial government made on the use of the abandoned federal base at Moosonee in terms of the possible houses that might be freed and the building of a school?
Hon. Mr. Irvine: Mr. Speaker, some weeks ago, I think two or three, I sent letters to the two federal ministers responsible, asking for clarification as to their position in regard to the base. I have not yet received an answer from them. I am hoping we will have the utilization of the base for an education facility. I mentioned that in my letter to the ministers. I’ll try to get an answer as quickly as possible. Sometimes it’s not as easy to communicate with the federal ministers as we would like.
Mr. Speaker: Any further questions?
Mr. Lewis: I have one brief one of the Minister of Housing if he’s in the House.
Mr. Roy: Yes, he is up here lobbying.
Mr. Lewis: Well, I am sure he was --
Mr. Roy: He is afraid of you.
Mr. Lewis: He would be fleeing from you, not from me.
MORTGAGE INTEREST TAX CREDIT
Mr. Lewis: Just on his way out, can the minister tell us -- perhaps he can speak as he’s departing -- whether he has yet reached a decision on the mortgage interest rate subsidy plan announced by the government during the election campaign?
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: I can tell you, Mr. Speaker, that such a decision has not been finalized.
Mr. Lewis: Thank you, no further questions.
Mr. Singer: Is it as the Premier (Mr. Davis) said or have we changed that?
Mr. Speaker: The member for Ottawa East.
Mr. Reid: Give it to him, Albert. Ask him for a donation.
Mr. Singer: Tell him where your headquarters are.
Mr. Reid: Any donations?
Mr. Speaker: Now for the questions.
Mr. Roy: I trust they will keep applauding after the questions are asked.
Mr. Lewis: Have you got a guaranteed monthly income?
Mr. Roy: You would like to know? Wouldn’t you like to be this popular?
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. Let’s get on with the question period.
Mr. Roy: Mr. Speaker, a question to the Minister of Housing: When can we expect to get accurate answers when we ask questions of OHC? For instance, I received an answer from OHC indicating that in Windsor a project had been purchased by OHC for $6,945,000, when in fact I was not advised that 25 per cent of the houses on the project were to be hulk by the developer and were not subject to public tender; and secondly that the developer was to build 992 lots and to be paid $1,000 per lot -- again, not subject to public tender. When can we expect to get that sort of information when we ask for information from OHC?
Mr. Sweeney: As soon as we defeat the government.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: Don’t hold your breath.
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: Mr. Speaker, in response to the guest leader for Tuesday the ninth, I would hope that he would be able to get accurate answers at all times. If the hon. member would direct that particular question to my attention, I will attempt to get him an accurate answer.
Mr. Roy: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Would the minister not agree with our earlier proposition to him that we should at least have access to the minutes of these negotiations between developers and OHC?
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: No, Mr. Speaker, I would not agree.
Mr. Lewis: Supplementary, if I may: Why are we as legislators denied access to the minutes of a Crown corporation involved in doing public business? Why does the minister stand on that secrecy?
Mr. Singer: It is none of your business, or my business, or anybody’s business.
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: Mr. Speaker, it’s not a question of secrecy; I think it’s a matter of negotiations and discussions that are going on in that particular corporation that involve third parties. Aside from this House and the Ontario Housing Corp., there are third parties involved and I think their interests must be protected.
Mr. Bullbrook: How about last year’s minutes?
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: I am not satisfied that we should be able to open the minutes of every corporation or agency of this government or any other government to public scrutiny, especially, as I say, since it involves other people, a third party.
Mr. Reid: Where is the accountability though?
Mr. Roy: Supplementary: Does the minister not feel that when any corporation, Crown corporation or otherwise, is spending public funds, there should be accountability to the public of this province through the members sitting in this House?
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: Mr. Speaker, the accountability of that particular agency is to this House through the Minister of Housing, and they respond to questions that are appropriately asked during the estimates and here in the Legislature. In no way, I believe, should it be expected that all of the minutes of the meetings of that particular corporation should become public documents.
Mr. Bullbrook: It is prejudging your decision, Mr. Speaker, you know that.
Mr. Roy: How are we going to get that public information?
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Mr. Singer: Supplementary. Did all the manoeuvring that went on in readjusting the head office vote of the ministry, as it became clear in the estimates, herald the vanishing of OHC? Is OHC, in fact, being abandoned?
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: Not to my knowledge, Mr. Speaker. We don’t intend to abandon OHC; it’s a very effective organization doing a good job in this province.
Mr. Speaker: Final supplementary on this question.
Mr. Lewis: Why does the minister’s accountability stop at precisely the point when members of the Legislature ask for specifics of transactions; even in the past, never mind the present transactions? Would the minister table minutes relating to OHC for the past two or three years, leaving out the current year?
Mr. Singer: South Milton, for instance.
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: Mr. Speaker, I think the past experience in the Legislature will show that if members do ask for specifics, or a specific item, the answers are made available.
Mrs. Campbell: They don’t get them though.
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: I can well recall --
Mr. Singer: No, we never got the answers on South Milton.
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: Mr. Speaker, I can well recall my predecessor tabling information in this House that was specifically requested by members of the opposition, concerning Ontario Housing.
Mr. Bullbrook: Very restricted information.
Mr. Speaker: Further questions.
Mr. Roy: Mr. Speaker, whether by way of supplementary or new question to the same minister.
Mr. Speaker: A new question.
Mr. Roy: In response to the minister’s answer about giving us information --
Mr. Speaker: Is this a new question?
Mr. Roy: A new question, Mr. Speaker. I specifically asked on the order paper for information of these transactions since 1968, and that’s why the information that I have received is misleading. That was a question I asked the minister this morning. The information that we get from OHC is not accurate.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. Order, please, will the member ask his question?
Mr. Roy: Now, how does that conform with the answer he just gave now?
Mr. Speaker: Order please; the member is debating something that happened earlier.
Mr. Speaker: Does the member have a question now?
Mr. Roy: Mr. Speaker, a new question to the Minister of the Environment. The Minister of Housing is backing off answering that question, isn’t he?
Mr. Speaker: Will the hon. member continue with the question please?
CHEMICALS IN WATER SUPPLY
Mr. Roy: Yes. To the Minister of the Environment: Would the minister advise if he is prepared to review the regulations which allow owners of large apartment buildings, especially here in Toronto, to add corrosion inhibitors to the water supply? Secondly, has he checked recently to see how various municipalities are administering these regulations as to quantities and the type of chemicals used?
Hon. Mr. Kerr: Mr. Speaker, I will review the regulations. No, I haven’t heard of any complaints, but I will get a detailed reply for the hon. member.
Mr. Roy: Supplementary: Is the minister aware that in Metro there are supposedly 23 apartment buildings using what we call corrosion inhibitors -- in fact, one of them is called sodium silicate. Is there any danger of these chemicals to the health of the residents of these units?
Hon. Mr. Ken: Mr. Speaker, assuming there is some permit or licence involved in using the inhibitors, I would assume they are safe, but I will find that out.
Mrs. Campbell: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Does the minister realize that Metro has only information about two such apartment buildings having these inhibitors? Metro is the authority which gives permission; and yet we are advised by the Ministry of Health there are 23. Would he not think he should look into it urgently?
Hon. Mr. Kerr: Yes, Mr. Speaker, but if Metro has given a permit, permission or licence to use the inhibitors, I would assume they are safe; that they are proper.
Mr. Roy: No, the problem is --
Mrs. Campbell: No.
Hon. Mr. Ken: If there are more apartment buildings using them, and if there is a danger from such use, I will get that information.
Mr. Speaker: Further questions; the member for Ottawa East?
OTTAWA HOSPITAL FACILITIES
Mr. Roy: Mr. Speaker, one further question to the Minister of Health: In view of the minister’s proposed cutbacks -- and letters have been sent out to hospitals just on the weekend -- how does he intend to correct the situation in Ottawa, where they’re attempting to save money? More specifically, what do you tell the Ottawa General Hospital, for instance, which during the period of Sept. 9 to Oct. 17, 1975, attempted to discharge certain patients who were better suited for chronic care and was not able to do so; and in fact lost some 548 hospital days during this short period of time?
Hon. F. S. Miller: Well Mr. Speaker, the hon. member should know that if there’s any place in the province I’ve been acting to solve a problem, it’s in Ottawa.
Mr. Roy: You have not been doing very well.
Hon. F. S. Miller: I have done very well, with the co-operation of the health council and the member knows it.
Mr. Roy: You are starting to move because we made it an election issue.
Hon. F. S. Miller: The very fact that it’s succeeding may be an embarrassment to the member.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Hon. F. S. Miller: In fact, we have a problem in Ottawa. We have had a 40 per cent admission rate to that hospital from the Province of Quebec.
Mr. Roy: What’s that?
Hon. F. S. Miller: At that particular hospital the admission rate from the Province of Quebec has been roughly 40 per cent.
Mr. Roy: That’s nothing new. It’s always been like that.
Hon. F. S. Miller: It has not -- and the member should check his facts. It used to be approximately 20 per cent.
Hon. F. S. Miller: We have talked to the Minister of Health in Quebec. He is opening up 200 beds in Hull. I’m sure you know that. At the same time, the council of health has found me some 200 beds in Ottawa for chronic patients to take the roughly 300 chronic patients out of your hospitals there and free up the system.
Mr. Roy: Supplementary to the minister.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Mr. Roy: The minister knows full well that the Quebec situation is a red herring. Quebec has been there since Confederation, you know.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. Could we have fewer interjections across the floor so we could get on with the question period? The time is slipping away very rapidly. Order, please. The hon. member for Ottawa East has a further question.
Mr. Nixon: Clear those seats.
Mr. Roy: Is the minister prepared to give us a date on when we’re going to have the 300 chronic care beds in Ottawa? Secondly, is he prepared to advise the members here that there will be no delay in the promised construction of some 500 active care beds in Ottawa?
Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, I should say I must be kind in responding to the member’s questions, because we want him to win.
Mr. Roy: Are you trying to help me or hurt me?
Mr. Speaker: Would the hon. minister answer the question now, please?
Mr. Lewis: I think we do too.
Hon. F. S. Miller: I should also point out that the last leadership candidate for the Liberal Party that took --
Mr. Nixon: Come on; come on.
Mr. Speaker: Order please, would the hon. minister answer the question that was asked?
Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, they can roam at length, so why can’t we?
Mr. Roy: I didn’t go on; I was cut off.
Hon. F. S. Miller: The only thing I can say is the last leadership candidate who took lessons in enunciation and gesticulation didn’t do too well.
Mr. Haggerty: That’s not the answer.
Mr. Roy: What are you trying to say?
Mr. Speaker: Now, could we get to the answer, please?
Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, I understand the first of those beds will come on stream in January. I think there are 46 beds coming on at Queensway-Carleton in January; and another number of beds will come on shortly thereafter and we should have all of them in process during the winter.
Mr. Speaker: Any further questions?
Mr. Roy: What about the active care beds promised; the new hospital?
Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, I’m sure the hon. member knows that Queensway-Carleton is coming on stream soon. That has a number of active treatment beds in it.
Mr. Roy: The new General?
Hon. F. S. Miller: The General is being replaced on the new health science centre site.
Mr. Roy: That is not going to be delayed?
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Hon. Mr. Davis: You are interrupting, Albert.
Mr. Roy: Thank you.
Mr. Speaker: Any further questions? The member for Elgin has a question.
Mr. McNeil: I have a question of the Minister of Housing.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. I would like to hear the question.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. I want to hear the question.
Mr. McNeil: Can the minister explain the case of the missing desk that was mentioned in Dr. Shulman’s article this morning in the Sun?
Hon. J. R. Smith: The singing desk.
Mr. Nixon: Oh yes, let’s hear about it.
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: Mr. Speaker, I’m very pleased to respond to that question. The mystery of the missing desk has been solved. It’s amazing that Dr. Shulman’s great detective abilities failed so miserably. The missing desk is now located, and has been for some time, in the office of Ombudsman, room 157 --
Mr. Roy: Ombudsman?
Mr. Singer: His wife gave him a desk.
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: They can drop in and see that. It’s there; it’s alive, it’s real.
Mr. Roy: That was good police work.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. I am sure that was not of great public importance, so there can be no supplementaries.
Mr. Cunningham: Supplementary, if I may.
Mr. Speaker: No, no. We’ll get down to serious business here.
Mr. Lewis: What do you mean by serious business? It is serious business when the member for Elgin (Mr. McNeil) asks a question.
Mr. Speaker: Now the member for Wentworth.
ACTIVITIES OF FUND RAISING FIRM
Mr. Deans: I have a question of the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations: Will the minister investigate the activities of a firm known as Northeastern Advertising Canadian Ltd., which conducts fund-raising campaigns and currently is involved in one in the city of Hamilton? The firm is associated with a parent company in the United States, which it is alleged is being sued by the State of Pennsylvania. Will the minister determine whether or not their activities are legal in the Province of Ontario; and if they are, whether or not they are desirable in the Province of Ontario?
Hon. Mr. Handleman: Mr. Speaker, certainly I will investigate what the hon. member has alleged, particularly with regard to whether or not their activities are illegal. I don’t know whether I would want to make a judgement decision as to whether or not they are undesirable, but I would certainly even look at that.
HOME WARRANTY PROGRAMME
Mr. Mancini: I have a question for the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations. Will the minister please report to the House on the long-promised home warranty programme, other than it will come in the fullness of time?
Hon. Mr. Handleman: Mr. Speaker, I have never used that phrase since I have been in this Legislature. It will come in due course.
Discussions are taking place in Ottawa at the present time. Mr. Danson announced at a housing ministers’ conference that he had full agreement from the provinces on a home warranty plan. Unfortunately, he didn’t discuss it with the proper minister. But we are letting Mr. Danson know that we are ready to proceed; we have a plan in place. The shortness of this session does not permit us to bring in the legislation at the present time, but I can assure the hon. member that if there is not a federal plan in place by the time we reconvene in the spring, I intend to bring it in at that time.
Mr. Deans: Oh, oh. A supplementary question.
Mr. Mancini: Supplementary.
Mr. Speaker: A supplementary for the member for Essex South, first of all.
Mr. Mancini: In view of the fact that there are already two provinces, one being Quebec and the other Alberta, which already have their own plans, why doesn’t this province proceed now and give some protection to the consumer instead of waiting?
Hon. Mr. Handleman: Mr. Speaker, first of all, the Alberta plan is an entirely voluntary plan. It is our intention that we not copy the Alberta plan. I am not aware of the Quebec plan, and I met with the minister just last week. She had no information on a home warranty plan. I would be interested in receiving from the hon. member any information he may have that has not been made available to me.
Mr. Speaker: Is this a supplementary?
Mr. Moffatt: Yes, it is, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Speaker: This will be the final supplementary.
Mr. Moffatt: I would like to ask the minister if homeowners have any recourse now on the kind of shoddy workmanship that goes into a number of housing developments, particularly in light of the fact that people are trying to complete homes for the rebate that is presently available. When contacting his ministry, they are told, “We can’t do anything.” Is there no consumer protection at all?
Mr. Deans: No, there is none.
Hon. Mr. Handleman: Certainly. There is the normal consumer protection under the law; and it would be under the law of contracts.
Mr. Deans: The worst programme is the home ownership programme.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Hon. Mr. Handleman: I would suggest that if the hon. member has specific cases --
Mr. Lewis: Yes, they can bankrupt themselves.
Hon. Mr. Handleman: -- if he brings them to my attention, we will either attempt to mediate or to advise the consumer as to the recourse he has.
Mr. Nixon: Are you not prepared to use the Unconscionable Transactions Relief Act?
DISRUPTION OF PROCEEDINGS
Mr. Williams: Mr. Speaker, a question for the Premier. Yesterday afternoon, Ald. Dan Heap, Ald. Elizabeth Eayrs, Ald. Dorothy Thomas, Ald. Allan Sparrow and Ald. Michael Goldrick, all members of the city of Toronto council, were among the demonstrators who disrupted the proceedings of the Legislature in a staged outburst in support of a speech by the New Democratic member for High Park-Swansea (Mr. Ziemba).
Mr. Speaker: Is there a question now?
Mr. Williams: Would it not be appropriate to request a formal apology from the mayor, David Crombie --
Mr. Singer: Oh, come on.
Mr. Williams: -- on behalf of the city of Toronto council --
Mr. Williams: -- for the stupid, childish and irresponsible behaviour of these city of Toronto elected officials?
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. The question has been asked.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, in reply to the question -- of which I want to assure members I had no notice -- I can only say that to really expect the mayor of the city of Toronto to be accountable for some of his associates on council is like asking the Leader of the Opposition to be totally responsible for the member for High Park-Swansea and the things he does.
Mr. Lewis: Careful.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I let the Leader of the Opposition off the hook.
Mr. Lewis: The Premier let me off the hook?
Mr. Speaker: Did the hon. member have a point of privilege?
Mr. Ziemba: Yes, I do.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. State the privilege.
Mr. Lewis: How does the Premier handle his man in the corner?
Mr. Ziemba: I would: simply ask you, Mr. Speaker, if you would ask the member for Oriole (Mr. Williams) if he would withdraw that portion of his remarks which indicated it was staged. It wasn’t staged, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. I think the hon. member for Oriole should withdraw that remark. There is no evidence that anything was staged.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. If the hon. member will, very briefly.
Mr. Williams: Mr. Speaker, the suggestion that it was staged was not a reference to activity by the member for High Park-Swansea, but by the --
Mr. Renwick: Withdraw.
Mr. Singer: He is defying you, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Williams: -- elected officials from the city of Toronto, who should know what the protocol of the House is.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. I ask the hon. member to withdraw that, because that is known as imputing a motive to another member, and it’s not allowed here. Irrespective of opinions, I’m not interested in that; I would just ask the member to withdraw the word “staged”.
Mr. Singer: If the member doesn’t withdraw it now he is defying the Speaker.
Mr. Williams: Mr. Speaker, I withdraw the term “staged,” lest it impugn the integrity of the member for High Park-Swansea.
Mr. Speaker: That’s sufficient, thank you.
Mr. Williams: It was intended to apply to the demonstrators.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Mr. Lewis: How does the Premier cope with that kind of member?
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. Can we get on with the question period now, please? The hon. member for Peterborough.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. The matter is closed. The member for Peterborough, please.
Mr. Lewis: We let you off lightly.
POLITICAL ACTIVITY BY PUBLIC SERVANTS
Ms. Sandeman: I have a question of the Chairman of the Management Board of Cabinet: Could the minister tell me if he sees any conflict between the conditions of the Public Service Act that deal with political activities by public servants, and the recent announcement by the principal of St. Clair College that he intends to seek the leadership of the federal Progressive Conservative Party?
Hon. Mr. Auld: Mr. Speaker, I think that is within the terms of the Public Service Act. My understanding is that if he is going to take time off --
An hon. member: With pay.
Hon. Mr. Auld: -- to campaign, that he would apply in the same way as he would on any other political activity --
Mr. Good: There is nothing political about the federal Progressive Conservative Party.
Hon. Mr. Auld: -- as many members of the staffs of the colleges have done in the past.
Mr. Speaker: Does the member for Peterborough have a supplementary?
Ms. Sandeman: Could the minister assure me that he has already begun his unpaid leave of absence?
Hon. Mr. Auld: I’m sorry, Mr. Speaker; I’ll have to find out about that.
Mr. Speaker: The member for Rainy River.
Mr. Cassidy: I have a supplementary.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. We’ll allow one final supplementary --
Mr. Mancini: That is enough supplementaries, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Speaker: -- since I didn’t warn you. The member for Ottawa Centre.
Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Speaker, is the minister prepared to re-examine the Act in view of the grave difficulties it creates for many people --
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. That’s a general question which could be a new question, completely.
Mr. Cassidy: It’s a good question, though, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Speaker: Well, I won’t rule on that. We’ll hear the member for Rainy River.
TORONTO SUBWAY PARKING FACILITIES
Mr. Reid: I have a question of the Minister of Transportation and Communications: Has he made any commitment to either Metro or the city of Toronto in regard to providing funds for park-and-ride facilities at Eglinton and other stops on the soon-to-be-completed subway?
Hon. Mr. Snow: Mr. Speaker, I think it was quite clear in the statement made by the Premier (Mr. Davis) last August, and it was certainly quite clear in the letter that I sent to Mr. Godfrey a few weeks ago, that the regulations relating to subsidies for parking facilities would be changed in this instance and the subsidy would be available for parking facilities.
Mr. Reid: A supplementary, if I may, Mr. Speaker: Would the minister not agree that it’s absolutely vital, if that subway is going to be in any kind of a position to even break even, that those park-and-ride facilities be in place before the subway itself is opened, or at the same time?
Hon. Mr. Snow: Mr. Speaker, I thought I had a copy here of my letter to Mr. Godfrey, which I was going to send over to the hon. member. I see I do not have a copy with me. I have been carrying it around with me for three weeks waiting for him to ask for it and he hasn’t asked.
Mr. Singer: Maybe you could use Buckminster Fuller’s drawings -- $15,000 worth of drawings.
HYDRO TRANSFORMER STATION
Hon. Mr. Kerr: Mr. Speaker, the hon. member for Carleton East (Ms. Gigantes) asked me a question a couple of weeks ago regarding the Ontario Hydro switching station in the vicinity of McCaul St. My information is that this proposed station will be on land presently owned by Hydro, is zoned commercial and meets all applicable zoning bylaws. The two buildings that are on the site at the present time are both vacant and have been for many months. One is a house, and I believe one is a store, although there may be living accommodation above the store. This site has been approved by my ministry, the Ministry of Labour and the Toronto Board of Health. Also the Toronto Planning Board has approved it and reviewed it and it is supported by a staff report.
Ms. Gigantes: I would like to ask the minister then, why we bothered to pass an Environmental Assessment Act. Every project gets reviewed, so why have an Act?
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. We don’t debate it. If you asked a question, that’s fine.
Hon. Mr. Kerr: I might say I hope to proclaim that Act --
Mr. Roy: That’s good of you.
Hon. Mr. Kerr: -- as I mentioned before, as soon as the regulations are available. I might mention that there have been two public meetings held in respect to this site: one in November, 1973, and one in April, 1974, both public meetings. The total attendance at both those meetings was eight persons.
Mr. Peterson: Has the minister not received a request from the Toronto council for an independent review of this switching station?
Hon. Mr. Kerr: No. The hon. member for Carleton East also asked that, indicating that there was a letter to the Premier. I understand that the Premier’s office has not received such a letter and I haven’t received such a letter.
Hon. Mr. Davis: On a point of order, so there would be no misunderstanding, I did receive a letter from the office in the city of Toronto. I think it was delivered last Thursday or Friday. I assume it was held up in the mail. It has been sent on to the Minister of Energy (Mr. Timbrell) and a copy will be going to the Minister of the Environment, but the letter did come, I think, last Friday.
Mr. Peterson: Supplementary.
Mr. Speaker: You may have an opportunity to ask a new question. We are just about out of time and there are several people with new questions. We are getting in about four supplementaries to a question and that develops into a debate.
LAKEHEAD OFFICIAL PLAN
Mr. Foulds: A question of the Minister of Housing: Can he inform the House when his ministry can be expected to approve the amendments to the Lakehead official plan that the city of Thunder Bay has submitted?
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: I am wondering if the hon. member would be good enough to advise me if he is referring to the rural part of that particular official plan.
Mr. Foulds: That’s right.
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: That particular plan is giving us some difficulty. The hon. member for Fort William (Mr. Angus) has inquired about it to sue. I cannot give the member a time on it. There are some problems that we want to discuss with the local people as well as with officials in the ministry.
Mr. Foulds: Supplementary: Can the minister at least inform the House about the nature of those difficulties? Is it because his ministry officials are insisting upon a plan that is more appropriate to a city bylaw than an amendment to an official plan?
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: I think that one of the problems-and I don’t intend to discuss them all -- is that the proposed amendment, as we look at it, would make the city of Thunder Bay about twice its size and we would like to keep that somehow under control.
GUIDANCE TO POLICE COMMISSIONS
Mr. Bullbrook: I would like to direct a question to the Attorney General. It’s a question with which I believe the Premier has a nodding acquaintance.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Or a shaking acquaintance.
Mr. Bullbrook: Could the Attorney General, as chief law officer of the Crown, advise me what legal rights his colleague, the Solicitor General, has to direct police commissions to disregard arbitration awards pursuant to the Police Act? If his response is the constitutional one, how does it hold water in the absence of a signed agreement between this government and the federal government?
Mr. Bullbrook: I just want to learn the government’s position once in a while.
Hon. Mr. MacBeth: On a point of privilege, I don’t think I used the word “disregard” at any point in connection with my explanation of it at all.
Mr. Nixon: You just told them not to pay it.
Mr. Speaker: Does the hon. Attorney General have an answer?
Mr. Roy: Get up and level with us and say no.
Mr. Bullbrook: Let me put the question again to someone.
Mr. Nixon: Nice work.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: My position is simply that I don’t believe the Solicitor General, when I was present in the House, did in fact state that police commissions should disregard arbitration awards, because they are clearly the law of this province. But it is also my position and my view, once the federal legislation is in place, that such legislation would override the provincial law in that respect.
Mr. Bullbrook: By way of supplementary, are we to take it -- and I am finally glad to have one cabinet officer give the response I thought should be forthcoming -- therefore, as a matter of the policy of this government, that they do not require an agreement as to the constitutionality of C-73; that as a matter of policy the Attorney General as chief law officer of the Crown is prepared to advise his cabinet colleagues that there is no need for an agreement, and that under POGG they have the right to do that which they are doing?
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: There are several questions involved in that one question. Firstly, it is our view that the federal legislation in its present form is constitutional. Any agreement that might be entered into by the province would not be in relation to the constitutionality of the legislation but simply to apply the legislation to the public sector in Ontario --
Mr. Lewis: He said so.
Mr. Bullbrook: He didn’t say so; he never said so.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: -- which would not, in itself, be covered by the federal legislation without such an agreement. As my friend understands, that being our position, if the federal government chose to extend the legislation to this public sector in Ontario without an agreement, it is my view that the legislation could be done and it could be so expanded and would in fact be constitutional.
Mr. Renwick: Oh, he can’t believe that. The Attorney General couldn’t be more wrong.
Mr. Bullbrook: It is really going to be interesting to see what happens. The minister is so far off base and doesn’t know it.
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: Yesterday the hon. member for Wentworth asked a question and at that time I did have some doubt as to what the question was. The reason for that is it is almost identical to the question the hon. member had asked me on Nov. 13 and to which I replied on Nov. 18.
Mr. Deans: That’s right but I wasn’t satisfied with it.
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: I don’t believe the situation has changed. There is no increase in the cost as far as the renting or the leasing of the land is concerned unless the land has been sold by the initial purchaser. The land is still at the same price; there is no change at all in the HOME project.
Mr. Deans: The minister is missing the point.
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: The initial point is that the lease on the land is for the book value of the land, not the market value, as the hon. member indicated was so yesterday.
Mr. Deans: I want to ask a supplementary question.
Mr. Speaker: I will allow one supplementary.
Mr. Deans: In the event that the ministry has another draw under the HOME programme, will the land value used for the purpose of that draw not be the market value rather than the book value?
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: No, the land value would be the book value; that is the way the programme is handled. Very briefly the book value is the initial cost of the land as it goes to the initial purchaser. There is a second mortgage taken on the value of the land between book value and market value. When the land is disposed of by the initial purchaser, then that second mortgage is recallable for that amount of money. It is an interest-free loan, I would point out, but remember that the homes are now a freehold. They are not leasehold; they are purchased.
Mr. Speaker: The oral question period has expired.
SPEAKER’S RULING RE PETITION
Mr. Bain: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to present a petition that has been signed by 8,282 people --
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. I would like to point out to the hon. member that the petition should be approved before it is read in the House to see that it is a true petition.
Mr. Bain: The petition --
Mr. Speaker: No, if you will take it up with the Clerk of the House later --
Mr. Bain: Would the Speaker permit me to have it conveyed to the Minister of Health (Mr. F. S. Miller)?
Mr. Speaker: You can do what you like with it. Order, please.
Mr. Renwick: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order.
Mr. Speaker: On a point of order, the hon. member for Riverdale.
Mr. Renwick: I refer to the standing orders of the assembly and I would ask the Speaker to point out the section of the standing orders which requires any petition of any member to be approved by the Clerk of the assembly before it is presented. The standing orders simply provide that a member may at the appropriate point in the order of business stand in his place and present his petition.
Mr. Speaker: The point is that it must be a true petition and I can’t rule on that up here so we ask that it --
Mr. Renwick: I approved of it.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. The hon. member is debating the Speaker’s ruling. It has been customary to have it approved to see that it is a true petition before it is presented to the House and that has been the way of it since I have been around here. This has been firmly established for as long as I have been around here and as far as I am concerned, that is still the ruling.
Mr. MacDonald: It could be wrong.
Mr. Speaker: It might be wrong.
Mr. Lewis: On a point of order.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. I will hear the hon. Leader of the Opposition briefly.
Mr. Lewis: On a point of order, it says, under section XIII, “Petitions”:
“83(a) A petition to the House may be presented at any time during the session by a member filing it with the Clerk of the House; (b) Or a member may present a petition from his place in the House during the routine proceedings under the heading ‘Petitions.’ He shall endorse his name thereon and confine himself to a statement of the petitioners, the number of signatures and the material allegations.”
As I understand it, my colleague has signed the petition. He has followed 83(b) to the letter and has presented it in the appropriate way. I don’t quite understand why he is being ruled out of order.
Mr. Speaker: In the first place, I think it should be determined whether it is a petition in proper form. This was a ruling that was laid down by a previous Speaker, which we are following at the present time. I am willing to review it to see if it’s reasonable enough but that is the present ruling by which we have been going. Mr. Speaker Reuter presented this ruling some time ago.
Mr. Bain: I would ask the Speaker’s indulgence. It would be very quick and then you could rule. I would merely like to present the petition and read the wording --
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. I would appreciate it if the -- order, please. Thank you very much. The Speaker is on his feet. Will the member take his seat? Thank you. I have given my ruling and please don’t debate it.
Mr. Lewis: It is a very arbitrary ruling.
Mr. MacDonald: It is an abuse of the rules of the House.
Mr. Speaker: Presenting reports.
Mr. Lewis: It is terribly clear, that point.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Mr. Lewis: This is the kind of thing which creates hostility.
Mr. Speaker: May I just say I indicated I would review that ruling but that is the ruling laid down by a previous Speaker, which we are still following.
Introduction of bills.
PLANNING AMENDMENT ACT
Hon. Mr. Rhodes moved first reading of bill intituled, An Act to amend the Planning Act.
Motion agreed to; first reading of the bill.
CONVEYANCING AND LAW OF PROPERTY AMENDMENT ACT
Hon. Mr. Handleman moved first reading of bill intituled, An Act to amend the Conveyancing and Law of Property Act.
Motion agreed to; first reading of the bill.
Hon. Mr. Handleman: Mr. Speaker, the amendment removes doubt as to the effect on encumbrances where a person who has a home on land leased from OHC acquires the title to the land.
LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY AMENDMENT ACT
Mr. Williams moved first reading of bill intituled, An Act to amend the Legislative Assembly Act.
Motion agreed to; first reading of the bill.
Mr. Williams: The purpose of the amendment would be to require a person who holds office as a member of a council of a municipality and whose term of office is not yet three-quarters expired to resign his office on official nomination day if he wishes to be elected to the assembly.
NON-RETURNABLE BEVERAGE CONTAINERS ACT
Mr. Cunningham moved first reading of bill intituled, An Act to prohibit the Use of Non-Returnable Beverage Containers.
Motion agreed to; first reading of the bill.
Mr. Cunningham: The purpose of this bill is to prohibit the use of non-returnable beverage containers and to require sellers to refund a minimum of at least five cents on each container returned to them.
Mr. Speaker: Before the orders of the day, I would draw the attention of the House to the exhibit which has been erected in the lobby just inside the main entrance of this building. The exhibition has been lent to this House by the Parliament of the United Kingdom and depicts the history of the evolution of our modem form of parliamentary government. I am grateful to the British Central Information Service for making this exhibition available for the next few weeks.
Also, before the orders of the day, pursuant to the provisions of standing order 27(g), the hon. member for York Centre (Mr. Stong) has given notice that he is dissatisfied with the answer given by the Treasurer (Mr. McKeough) to his question on Dec. 4. The hon. member will debate this maker at 10:30 this evening on the adjournment proceedings pursuant to standing order 28.
Hon. Mr. Welch: Mr. Speaker, before you call orders of the day, there seemed to be some question about the order for today. I might indicate that we will go into committee of supply and complete supply, following which we will call the concurrence items on the order paper and then bring in the supply bill. If there is time we will then do second readings of Bill 37 and Bill 39, and go into committee of the whole House and do Bill 4, and Bill 37 and 39 if they happen to be in committee. If, on the completion of that work, there is still time, we will do the Throne Speech debate today.
Mr. Speaker: Orders of the day.
Clerk of the House: The 10th order, House in committee of supply.
ESTIMATES, RESOURCES DEVELOPMENT POLICY FIELD
Mr. Chairman: The estimates of the Resources Development policy field, on page R8. May I draw to the attention of the committee that there still remain two hours and 17 minutes to debate supply.
Does the hon. minister have a statement to make prior to the questioning of the estimates?
Hon. Mr. Irvine: Yes, Mr. Chairman, I have a few words. First of all, I would like to congratulate you on your appointment, sir, as Deputy Chairman. I also would like to congratulate the member for Lake Nipigon (Mr. Stokes) on a very excellent appointment and the job that he has done so far, and I expect he will do in the future.
For the benefit of all the members, but in particular for the new members in the House, I want to say a few words about the Resources Development policy field. The secretariat has two essential functions. First, it initiates and co-ordinates policies within the Resources Development policy field. Second, it encourages public involvement in the development of government policies.
The first function, policy initiation and co-ordination, has become increasingly important in recent years, as government is called upon to meet ever more complex and diverse public needs. Each ministry, of course, is concerned with the public needs as seen from its own particular perspective. The secretariat’s role, on the other hand, is to take a much broader viewpoint --
Mr. Chairman: Order, please. There is a lot of noise in the chamber at the present time, and I am sure we would like to give the courtesy to the hon. minister so that we may understand exactly what he is saying.
Hon. Mr. Irvine: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I will start again. Each ministry is, of course, concerned with the public needs as seen from its own particular perspective. The secretariat’s role, on the other hand is to take a broader viewpoint, relating each ministry’s priorities to those of the other ministries in the policy field.
So I think at this time I should say for the benefit of the new members of the House, although we had in our secretariat the following ministries -- Agriculture and Food, Energy, Environment, Industry and Tourism, Labour, Natural Resources, Transportation and Communications -- we also had added to the resources policy field the Ministry of Housing and the Minister without Portfolio, the member for Lambton (Mr. Henderson), who has taken on some very onerous responsibilities in representing some of the tidings which are not so well represented by opposition members. He has also contributed a great deal to my policy field.
Mr. Moffatt: Sanctimonious.
Mr. Reid: We didn’t need that.
Hon. Mr. Irvine: Unfortunately this coordinating aspect of the secretariat’s work is not readily visible to the public, or to the members opposite, I might say. And to the members opposite, I want to give credit. They do follow our activities very carefully -- most times, at least. The fact is that policy management is not, in itself, newsworthy. Policy enunciation, on the other hand, often makes headlines and stirs a public response. It is the practice of this government to assign policy announcements to the ministry that will translate that policy into action. Consequently, the development and management role of the provincial secretariat fades into the background.
We are, in this context, the invisible hand that helps mould the policies of the government. The provincial secretariats and policy fields are contemporary innovations in government management. In fact, I reflect with pride on the fact that my secretariat carries out its co-ordinating responsibilities with a very small number of staff. We have six policy advisers in the secretariat, and a total staff of only 19 people, which includes my chauffeur.
The other important aspect of the secretariat’s function is to ensure there is continuous and productive dialogue with individual citizens and interested groups. Our objective is to enable the public to have a say in the formation and development of our policies, so that the policies generally reflect public preferences.
This emphasis on public participation involves the review of existing policies to determine what revisions are required. It involves the identification of new initiatives. By combining policy co-ordination with open public participation, we can in turn produce good government. Perhaps I could demonstrate to the members how we fulfil these two fundamental functions by referring to very specific examples.
One of our continuing concerns is the creation and preservation of jobs in northern Ontario. During the past year my predecessor -- who did an excellent job, I might say, along with the secretariat -- and I have been involved with other ministries and with the federal government to sustain job opportunities in such communities as Armstrong, Matachewan, Pickle Lake and Moosonee.
When the federal government announced it was proceeding with the sale of the radar base in Armstrong, we persuaded Ottawa to attach conditions to the sale which should create a potential for 25 jobs in the Armstrong area. We also persuaded Domtar Ltd. to create 50 long-term job opportunities in the Armstrong area as a condition of approval in Domtar’s major timber-cutting programme on Crown lands. Furthermore, by working with the Ministry of Natural Resources, we decided to fund construction of an access road to the logging area.
Those employment opportunities still exist in Armstrong, but I would like to point out at this time that the results today have been somewhat disappointing. For example, when it was announced that Domtar was moving into the area, 124 people expressed an interest in working for the company. Of that number, only 68 kept medical appointments and 59 were hired, the balance being declared medically unfit. Of those 59 workers who were hired, seven did not report for work, 29 quit and six were discharged, leaving only 17 on the payroll when operations ceased on Sept. 13 because of the pulp and paper industry strike.
In Matachewan and Pickle Lake we have co-ordinated efforts to create new jobs in the existing mining communities. By next June, a highly automated and very safe -- I should say at this time -- asbestos mine will be in full operation in Matachewan, employing approximately 174 workers. We anticipate the annual incomes, without overtime, will average $12,385 for the mine workers and the minimum annual wage will be almost $10,000.
Pickle Lake, with an existing population of 200, will be the site of an $80-million iron ore mine development, which eventually will employ approximately 360 mine employees. Secondary employment opportunities could create another 1,000 or more jobs.
We are currently exploring various ways to maintain employment in the Moosonee community, as I indicated when the hon. Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Lewis) questioned me today. This follows the federal government’s decision to close the radar base there, eliminating about 55 jobs. In addition, we are taking steps to ensure that the base is disposed of to the benefit of the community.
In all these projects, the role of the Provincial Secretariat for Resources Development has been that of an initiator and co-ordinator. The secretariat is also co-ordinating the activities of an interministerial task force which will evaluate both the Solandt report and public comments on it. The task force recommendations will then go to cabinet via the cabinet committee for resources development. I anticipate the government’s decision on the Lennox-Oshawa route will be made in the very near future.
I would like to add that with the submission of this second report, the Solandt commission has completed its assignment and has been disbanded. At this time, I think it would be very fitting if all members joined with me in thanking Dr. Solandt and his staff for their very excellent work.
Another example of the secretariat’s initiating role is creating a focal point for public participation in planning is the establishment of the royal commission on the long-range planning of Ontario’s electrical power needs, which opened its preliminary hearings in London on Oct. 28. For the benefit of all the members, the new members in particular, I’ll go through the members of the commission.
Some of the members will recall that Dr. Arthur Porter, professor of industrial engineering at the University of Toronto and first chairman of the Canadian Environmental Advisory Council, accepted our offer to chair this commission. Four other commissioners have been appointed:
Robert Costello, vice-president of corporate services, Abitibi Paper Co. Mr. Costello, an engineer, has an extensive industrial background and is a long-time resident of the north;
Madame Solange Plourde-Gagnon, a journalist, formerly covered Queen’s Park for the Le Droit and was a commentator for the CBC. Mme Plourde-Gagnon represents the consumers’ viewpoint on the commission;
Mr. George A. McCague, aside from his own farming operations, has served on the executive of many farm organizations, including the Ontario Federation of Agriculture;
The fourth commissioner is Dr. William W. Stevenson, an economist and current member of the Ontario Energy Board. Dr. Stevenson brings to the commission a very extensive knowledge of the electric power industry.
At this time I’d like to take a few moments to acquaint all the members with the commission’s proposed schedule which, you might say, is almost finished at this particular time for the preliminary hearings. The commission is or will be holding public meetings in 16 regional centres throughout the province. These meetings are designed both to educate the public about the role of power in society and to identify issues that the public wants investigated. An interim report based on these meetings and setting proposed guidelines for the main part is to be ready in February, 1976.
Incidentally, the reports I have been receiving from these first meetings have been very good. There has been a very large number of citizens participating and we have had many worthwhile ideas presented to the commission. To date, there have been more than 100 briefs presented. I think at this time, I should point out to the members that the estimates as shown in regard to the amount for the royal commission on electric power planning is now incorrect. It shows as $200,000 and the amount should be $725,700.
There’s one more aspect of this commission which I would like to mention and that is this government’s decision to empower the commission to provide funding for public participation -- this is a first. The objective of this experiment is to ensure that no person or group is prevented from contributing to the hearings merely from lack of funds. We want this commission to be accessible to as many people as possible. The commission has drawn up preliminary guidelines for funding participants and these guidelines are available through the commission office.
I would like also to mention that the commission is discussing the possibility of funding in some manner a public-interest counsel. Such a legal counsel would be available perhaps to help individuals apply to the commission for funds or to present briefs. The public-interest counsel might also serve as an independent source of information, acting on behalf of and reporting back to interest groups which are unable to monitor all commission hearings. These pioneering ideas, while they are experimental, in my opinion testify to the kind of innovative planning that goes on behind the scenes in our secretariat.
Co-ordination and planning and public consultation were also in the secretariat’s activities concerning the proposed deep-water port in the district of Manitoulin. In March, my predecessor requested that the Environmental Hearing Board hold public hearings on the environmental impact of the proposed Fisher Harbour complex.
Mr. Martel: What a bomb that is.
Hon. Mr. Irvine: You might think so.
Mr. Martel: Right. That ought to kill any possible development in northern Ontario.
Hon. Mr. Irvine: The board’s report called for stringent controls over the development in relation to such things as pollution control and hours of operation.
Mr. Martel: That will kill any development in northern Ontario because they will get the material out five times cheaper.
Mr. Chairman: Order, please. Will the hon. minister continue? The members can question him after.
Hon. Mr. Irvine: I would appreciate your comments at length later on, if you don’t mind.
Mr. Martel: No, but that was the appropriate time. It is too late. You’ve condemned the north.
Mr. Chairman: Order, please.
Hon. Mr. Irvine: Mr. Chairman, I will repeat it. The board’s report called for stringent controls over the development in relation to such things as pollution control and hours of operation. Detailed planning is proceeding and will be subject to the Hearing Board’s conditions and further approvals. This development, in my opinion, is an excellent example of the careful way this government has faced up to tough decisions.
A new responsibility assumed by my secretariat in 1974 was the development of a science policy for Ontario. The government announced, and I quote from the Throne Speech:
“Ontario will establish structures to develop and co-ordinate science policy, both within our province and in co-operation with the government of Canada and other provinces. Strong emphasis will be placed on the practical application of science to maintain our leadership in high technology industry. This is a key component in the government’s efforts to preserve our national economic independence and to ensure maximum social benefits are achieved.”
Since then we have accomplished a great deal.
In a speech last February, my predecessor announced an advisory committee for science policy. This committee consists of the three deputy provincial secretaries, the secretary of the Management Board, and the deputy ministers of the Treasury, Colleges and Universities and Natural Resources. The advisory committee may retain up to three external advisers.
The scientific community in Ontario has been told that the advisory committee and I will meet with interested groups of scientists to hear their views at any convenient time.
In a speech last February, my predecessor also announced the government’s intention to contract out as much of the government’s research and development work as possible to the private sector and to the universities. This policy will encourage the development of Canadian scientific and technological expertise throughout the province while at the same time producing increased value for the limited tax dollars available.
The government, of course, has also been involved in supporting and encouraging research in the province for many years. What we are doing now is organizing the research and development activities within a very comprehensive Ontario science policy. I believe our science policy should emphasize research that will advance the public interest in a wide range of areas. It should focus on problem-solving and problem-prevention. It should encourage Canadian research and development. It should establish priorities. Finally, it should be capable of advancing other goals of society.
The objective of our science policy will be to stimulate and support; it will not be to intrude and suffocate. We’ve had discussions with the federal government; well have more discussions. Discussions with some of the other provinces and with the scientific community have already been started. These discussions and the ensuing public debate will help all of us -- not just the government, all of the people of Ontario -- advance the cause of science for the benefit of everyone.
However, this is another example in which the role of the Provincial Secretariat for Resources Development in the initiation and coordination of policy is not terribly newsworthy. We are very confident that the benefits will, directly or indirectly, become apparent, particularly to the scientific community, as our science policy unfolds.
Often, the provincial secretariat is called upon to review existing programmes that involve several ministries and to develop with those ministries a new approach in response to changing public requirements.
One example I would like to cite right now is the government’s policy on occupational and environmental health. It was announced in April that this government has initiated an entirely new system to protect Ontario workers from occupational and environmental health hazards. The staff of my secretariat sewed as the co-ordinators for this policy development, bringing together the ministries of Health, Environment, Natural Resources and Labour, as well as government agencies and boards. This co-ordination and liaison has refined departmental and interdepartmental responsibilities to help serve our new occupational and environmental health policy.
Most members will recall that the Minister of Health (Mr. F. S. Miller) announced the appointment of the advisory council on occupational and environmental health on Nov. 6. The council enables industry, labour and other interested parties to work with government in conducting audits and investigations, to recommend new policies and programmes and to assist further in defining how health safeguards can be engineered into our industrial plants at the design stage.
I mentioned earlier that a second major function of the provincial secretariat is to ensure that there is a continuous and productive dialogue with all of our individual citizens and all of our interested groups in the development of public policies.
This principle of public involvement in the planning of our province is evident in many of the projects for which the secretariat is responsible, such as the Solandt commission, the science policy development, the proposed Fisher Harbour development and the royal commission on electric power planning.
The cabinet committee for resources development has also visited regions of Ontario to listen to the people, to hear at firsthand what they wish us to do and to determine what is best in regards to government policies.
Last year, for example, our policy Bald had a two-day public meeting in Kimberley. We met with 30 delegations. This year, in February, we held a similar two-day meeting with the people of eastern Ontario in Belleville. We received more than 60 presentations from local governments, business organizations, labour groups, farmers, environmentalists, tourist organizations, recreational groups and many other individuals. In our opinion, these listening sessions with the public proved to be very useful refresher courses for us on what’s going on in any particular part of the province and what problems need our attention in those particular areas.
In closing, I would like to repeat for the benefit of the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Lewis), who always stands up and says that we are attacking unnecessarily the members from northern Ontario, that our secretariat has paid particular attention to northern Ontario. We have the Fisher Harbour development and the major iron ore development at Pickle Lake, and we have encouraged employment opportunities in Armstrong and other communities. All of these, and other programmes, show that we have covered our commitments and we made a commitment to advancing the social and economic well-being in northern Ontario, despite the representation from northern Ontario in certain areas.
Mr. Martel: You’re not for real, you know. The last Tory who said that got wiped out too.
Hon. Mr. Irvine: I’m very confident that the provincial secretariat concept and the policy field structure --
Mr. Martel: There are four of them left, I remind you, in the north --
Mr. Wildman: They are shrinking.
Hon. Mr. Irvine: -- that have contributed enormously to improving the effectiveness of government, and have also facilitated public contact in the development of policies. We have progressed very significantly with a very small staff in fulfilling our two major objectives, and those again, I may say, are policy co-ordination and public input. I went to some lengths to say what I have because I was very disturbed when I sat in the House here a few days ago and listened to the Leader of the Opposition criticize at some length the role of the Provincial Secretary for Social Development (Mrs. Birch). It showed to me very clearly --
Mr. Martel: There is no role.
Hon. Mr. Irvine: -- that the official opposition has no idea as to what is going on in this government and never will.
Hon. Mr. McKeough: Or in the province.
Mr. Martel: Darcy, the public spoke on Sept. 18.
Hon. Mr. Irvine: Or in the province. The member had better get back to his old riding and understand that this government has done a lot for all of Ontario --
Mr. Martel: Like ETV last week.
Hon. Mr. Irvine: -- and in particular the role of the provincial secretaries is very necessary. My colleague has done more for social development than anyone else and certainly much more than the members opposite.
Mr. Martel: That doesn’t mean a heck of a lot. The government has done very little.
Hon. Mr. Kerr: Are you your party’s critic?
Mr. Martel: No.
Mr. Kennedy: Sounds as if you are.
Hon. Mr. Irvine: I look forward to seeing some contribution from the members opposite and I would be happy to have whatever reasonable debate they wish; they have some two hours. I wish it was much longer. I would like to spend a day or two but with those few words, I will welcome the remarks of the members opposite.
Mr. Martel: Little substance there.
Mr. Chairman: The hon. member for Timiskaming.
Mr. Bain: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Martel: Give it to them.
Mr. Bain: I am almost tempted, when I stand up, to tell the minister that somehow the people of northern Ontario are not aware of all these blessings you have bestowed upon them. You are obviously not getting your message across. I, as one who has lived in the north all my life, hate to tell you this but not only have you not got your message across, you don’t have a message for the people of the north except that we are to serve as the supplier of natural resources for the south and get nothing in return.
Mr. Martel: That’s a good opening line.
Hon. Mr. Irvine: Is that the only line you have got?
Mr. Bain: No, I have a lot more.
Hon. Mr. Irvine: I have heard that line quite a few times.
Mr. Bain: Your ministry, for example, impresses me greatly. I notice there are 19 people in your ministerial staff, including your own chauffeur. By that -- since the Treasurer is here and he would agree with me, I am sure, that money and staff talk -- your ministry can’t have much importance in the eyes of the government otherwise it would have much more support staff and be doing a much better job.
Mr. Gaunt: Heavens, they are overstaffed now.
Hon. Mr. Irvine: We do our best to make sure there is enough on staff.
Mr. Bain: I am not saying you don’t have potential.
Mr. Chairman: Order, please.
Mr. Bain: I would trust that the minister would be as indulgent in listening to my remarks as I was indulgent in listening to his.
Mr. Maeck: As soon as you say something intelligent.
Mr. Chairman: Order, please. The hon. member for Timiskaming has the floor.
Mr. Bain: I am afraid the hon. member would not recognize --
Mr. Martel: That’s the last member from Parry Sound.
Mr. Bain: -- intelligence if he ran into it as a brick wall.
Mr. Chairman: Order, please. I wonder if the hon. member would return to the estimates?
Mr. Martel: That fellow is half in northern Ontario and half in southern Ontario.
Mr. Bain: I am returning to the estimates, if you will control the opposition on the other side.
Mr. Chairman: I have already drawn to their attention that you have the floor. Will the hon. member continue?
Mr. Bain: Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. As I started to say, in reference to the number of staff the minister has in his ministry, the ministry certainly has a potential which is not being utilized.
After all, in this province and in this nation our prosperity is based on natural resources. It’s not the minimal amount of secondary industry in southern Ontario and southern Quebec which provides for the prosperity of this nation. It’s the forests and the mines and the farms of northern Ontario -- all across the north in all the provinces -- that provide for our prosperity.
I don’t believe that northern Ontario has been getting a fair shake in return since the natural resources of the province are drawn almost entirely from northern Ontario. I would suggest that you make a good case in your own government and improve the relative importance of your ministry. I would like to see your ministry get into a number of areas.
First of all, by way of possible condolences to southern Ontario -- I know you don’t have the same access to the outdoors as we do -- I have had a number of delegations mention to me that the people in the city would very much like to be able to have things like bikeways. They don’t have these sorts of facilities. I would hope that your government would be willing to construct some bikeways in the city and that you would contribute dollar for dollar to any municipality which would be willing to construct such bikeways. I know, coming from the north, that people from the north are loath to ride bikes in city traffic. You’re almost run over, and if you’re not run over, you’re certainly asphyxiated if you attempt to ride your bike. Construction of bikeways could demand the minister’s attention for a while.
Something else I am very concerned with is the encroachment of the urban environment upon our wilderness areas. I won’t go into a great deal of specifics, but suffice to say the minister is aware of the Maple Mountain project.
Mr. Reid: It has a familiar ring all right.
Mr. Bain: It does, doesn’t it? It gained a great deal of publicity a few years ago, before I had the pleasure of sitting in this House.
Mr. Wildman: I believe it bad something to do with your election, didn’t it?
Mr. Bain: Perhaps in some small way.
The report that was commissioned by the government was conducted by Marshall Macklin Monaghan Ltd. I think a lot of the motivation for the project is revealed in one sentence in the introductory letter provided by the consulting firm when they gave the government the report. It reads as follows:
“We appreciate the opportunity of working with you on this assignment and look forward to participation in the subsequent development phases of Maple Mountain.”
As far as I am concerned, the corporate interest in Maple Mountain was a lust for more profit and nothing else.
If you want to read the report, as I’m sure you have, you would see they talk about a town of approximately 6,000 people. It would have all sorts of really neat facilities that are available to all the people of the north already. There would be a convention centre. How many of our towns in the north have a convention centre? There would be one at Maple Mountain. There would be hotels and lodges, condominium units, clubhouses, a marina, stables -- the only people who ride in northern Ontario are farming people, we certainly don’t have riding stables as a common facility -- there would be skiing; there would be swimming, both indoor and outdoor.
Mr. Martel: You could get a horse for Ed Havrot.
Mr. Bain: There would be tennis, squash, badminton and golfing; all sorts of facilities that are available to the average citizen of the north. Well of course they’re not available to the average citizen of the north.
There would have also have been a highway constructed from Highway 558 at an approximate cost of $10 million. In total, the project would come close to $40 million or $50 million.
The private corporations didn’t see enough potential there to risk their own capital. They wanted $40 million or $50 million from the taxpayers of this province to subsidize a gigantic Holiday Inn complex for the rich and the wealthy; and this would be paid for by the average taxpayer. I hope that kind of a project will be condemned by your government and by yourself and that you would find better use for the money and that instead of the few jobs you’ve mentioned -- what was it, six or 26 at Armstrong -- you would use the $40 million that would have gone to Maple Mountain to develop some real secondary industry in northern Ontario.
What would I suggest you do with the whole Maple Mountain area? I would suggest that it be used as a wilderness park. Already just the Lady Evelyn River is set aside as a provincial wilderness park, but this wilderness park concept is very iffy. We don’t really know what you have in mind. I would suggest that wilderness parks be areas set aside to preserve the natural state and that access to these areas be by water or whatever means of transportation presently exist in these areas.
You may think it’s not a problem and you may think there is no necessity to preserve wilderness areas. I remember as a boy growing up in Elk Lake where there is a great deal of bush we can enjoy. I’m sure when the hon. member for Cochrane North (Mr. Brunelle) goes through his riding, he does not see any lack of bush. Nevertheless, when I was growing up, and I’m sure when he was growing up in his riding, there was never even the consideration that someday our wildernesses would be lost. Today that is a real threat.
We already own the land that I’m speaking of in northern Ontario. It’s Crown land and you wouldn’t have to buy it from I private interests. We could set up very large provincial wilderness parks that would preserve our part of the Country for years to come -- not all of it, just small parts of it -- for future generations to enjoy.
Another area that involves this ministry in its co-ordinating function is agriculture. I won’t go into the many problems that are experienced by farmers -- I will save that for my contribution to the Throne Speech debate -- but I would hope the government is aware of farm problems. Considering the Conservatives’ reduced representation from rural ridings, I suppose they are not truly aware of rural problems.
Suffice to say that the amount of farmland that is going out of production today still is at an astronomical rate. We have heard that 26 acres goes out of production every hour of every day of the year; these figures, of course, were based on the 1966 to 1971 figures for improved farmland. If we look at the 1974 figures, the picture is no brighter, because the rate at which farmland has gone out of production has accelerated since 1971.
I, for one, enjoyed my first introduction to the Niagara fruitbelt; it was a very wonderful experience for a small child. But each passing day, more and more apple trees, cherry frees and vineyards are bulldozed to make way for such things as parking lots, subdivisions, shopping plazas and so on. Surely to goodness we can find another place for some of this development. There are parts of this country that are underdeveloped, and it would be far better for southern Ontario if some of this development went to parts of the province which are underdeveloped, such as northern Ontario and eastern Ontario.
We cannot replace valuable agricultural land once it has gone out of production. Once the Niagara fruitbelt is entirely paved over, we cannot recreate it; it is gone for all time. Considering it is one of only three areas in this nation that can produce fruit, I would suggest, if there is a contradiction or a conflict between development and farmland, that farmland be given the priority in the Niagara fruitbelt every time.
Another area that’s of concern to me, and again a responsibility of the co-ordinating function of this ministry, are the forests. In northern Ontario we are blessed with a tremendous area; in fact, northern Ontario is fully six times the size of southern Ontario. I was interested to note the other day, in looking at a map of Ontario, that if I cut off southern Ontario at the French River, the map hardly changes; but if I cut northern Ontario away from southern Ontario, southern Ontario looks positively minuscule with the north removed.
In northern Ontario we are especially aware of the forests, because unlike the mines the forests need never be destroyed. Just by mining a resource such as the forests, we are destroying them. For example, there seems to be a tremendous urge to convert our northern forests into hard currency with a minimal effort at establishing a high-quality second forest for the benefit of future generations. There are vast areas that have been converted into a condition of reduced productivity or from black spruce to stands of shorter-lived species and less stable forest ecosystems.
There is a desperate need for real silviculture in the north. I don’t think I need to try to convince the hon. minister. Anyone who has travelled through the bush and looked at cutting operations realizes that the forests are not being protected properly. In fact, in many cases the forests are being liquidated. We must endeavour to establish a sustained yield in the north and in all of the province. For every tree that is harvested, another tree must be planted. Otherwise, we are in jeopardy of destroying a renewable resource, a resource that never need diminish in importance in the north and in this province.
The minister made mention of transportation, and I would just like to deal briefly with one transportation area, and that is the Ontario Northland Railway.
The Ontario Northland Railway operates for one purpose, and that is to extract natural resources from the north, no other purpose. If you lived in northern Ontario and wanted to buy a ton of newsprint, for example, and have it shipped in on the railway, you would actually pay more than it costs to ship a ton of newsprint the same distance out of the north to the south. On almost every commodity shipped on the CNR, it costs more to ship it in than it does to ship it out. How are we expected to develop secondary industries when the ONR -- a government-operated corporation -- is discriminatory in its freight rates and discourages development in the north?
Mineral wealth is extremely important in the north, but what has the ministry done to encourage participation of the average person in the mining industry? If you ask any prospector in the north -- and I am sure again that the hon. member for Cochrane North is aware of this -- what was the single greatest blow to the mining industry from the prospector’s point of view, he would say it was the withdrawal of mine recording offices from many communities in the north.
I always assumed these mine recording offices that were closed were losing money, but recently I was told by a mine recorder, who did not wish his name mentioned, that those offices were not losing money but the government had a policy of regionalization. If one was to regionalize the facilities one couldn’t have these mine recording offices where they were needed, close to the prospectors. So, they closed the mine recording office in Elk Lake; and closed the mine recording office in Haileybury.
The one in Haileybury is especially noteworthy, because you are familiar, of course, with the mining history of Cobalt and the contribution those discoveries there have made to the whole economy of the province.
Mr. Martel: Not so for Cobalt, though.
Mr. Bain: No, not so for Cobalt; and here is another case in point.
Mr. Martel: That’s the government’s fault.
Mr. Bain: The prospectors around Cobalt still like to go out and stake claims; they still like to prospect and they still have the hope of bringing in a mine. Since they have done so in the past, I suppose they have a great capability of doing so in the future. But again, these are not corporations that are prospecting; these are ordinary, average people who have a full-time job. They can only do their prospecting on weekends and therefore needed the mine recording office nearby in Haileybury to go and record their claims and get up-to-date blueprints, etc. But now, where is the mine recording office for the people in the Cobalt area? It is in Sudbury.
I know that Sudbury is getting a lot because they have good representation from Sudbury, so I don’t wish to begrudge them any facilities, but in this particular case, the prospector who is doing it on a part-time basis has to take a day off work -- if he can manage the trip in a day -- and go to Sudbury to record his mining claim and get up-to-date blueprints.
I know the government has gone through a facade of saying: “Well, you have all these facilities available to you through the nearest Natural Resources office.” This, of course, just isn’t true. The people at Natural Resources, despite the fact they are trying to do a good job, are just not familiar with mining. So there is need of a mining recording office near the prospectors.
I might say, if it was a matter of these mine recording offices not paying for themselves that would be one thing. In fact, the mine recording offices that were dosed in my riding were paying for themselves, but they had to be sacrificed to the god of regionalization.
Who, then, is gaining all the benefits of the mining industry? Does the minister need an answer, or does he agree with me that it is the corporations? What has Falconbridge and Inco done for the Sudbury basin? How long is it going to take before the government stops this kind of situation where whole regions of northeastern Ontario are at the mercy and the whim of multi-national capitalism at its worst? These corporations -- and I can’t fault the executives for doing their jobs -- but the corporations are after one thing and one thing only, and that is a maximum amount of profits.
We have seen in the past the long and severe strikes at Inco and at other companies in the north. Right now, we have one in the pulp and paper industry in northeastern Ontario, and northwestern Ontario too. We have seen for a long period of time where these companies have been loath to even give their workers a decent standard of living, let alone provide facilities for the communities.
I would only like to second a suggestion, indeed it should be phrased I suppose as a demand, a justifiable demand, made by the members from the Sudbury basin, that there be a full investigation, a select committee set up to investigate the machinations of Inco.
Exactly what does this company do? How does it gain its profits and at what cost? I know that Inco has tried to diversify its endeavours around the world so that it would not be at the mercy of a strike, so that it could go on unimpeded if the workers in Sudbury should be forced out on strike.
I don’t know whether you’re familiar with it but a small island in the south Pacific owned by France is now suffering merciless exploitation by Inco. In fact, when Inco is finished with that island, the entire population will have their island destroyed and there will be nothing but a gigantic open pit mine with tailings and slag and all the rest of it. Of course, Inco prefers to do operations in that part of the world, or in the Caribbean where there are almost no restrictions on it, but it’s the responsibility of your government to open the books of Inco, to find out exactly what their worldwide network of interests mean not only to the people in those areas of the world but also to the people in the Sudbury basin.
How much reserve does Inco have in the Sudbury basin? Can you answer that question? How long does Inco plan to operate in the Sudbury basin? And when I say Inco I also mean, by extension, Falconbridge. How long? It is important that the people of that community know. The Sudbury region now, I believe, has about 100,000 people under the new regional government. Those people want to know how long their jobs and their homes and their schools and their whole communities are going to be secure. Or will Inco, at some point in time, finish in a few years by taking out the most profitable ore bodies, leaving the rest and withdrawing to another part of the world where they can make more profit?
We’ve heard a great deal about labour strife and working people. I’m reminded of T. C. Douglas’s historic example of the cream separator. The owner of the factory or the capitalist sits on his small bench with the two spigots, cream and skim milk, and he controls them both. The farmer, of course, pours the milk in the top and the worker turns the machine; the small but very fat and prosperous magnate sits on his little bench and consumes all the output of both the labourer and the farmer. The only time he might give them a little is when they threaten to stop turning the machine or when they threaten to stop producing the actual resource.
The only time the corporation gives anything to the workers, or the farmers or the people of the province is when they’re forced to do so. So I would suggest that you start forcing them to do so. They will scream and they will yell and they will say they are going to go bankrupt, but it’s a miraculous phenomenon that they never have. A lot of the arguments that we hear by corporate executives today are the same arguments that the corporations used to justify child labour in the coalfields of the 19th century in Great Britain. The arguments never change, but it’s the responsibility of the government to make sure that corporations behave in a responsible fashion.
Mr. Martel: That’s called interference.
Mr. Bain: As I have mentioned, we hear a lot about industrial strife. I also mentioned that your ministry should start doing some innovative things. I would like to see your ministry develop a scheme that would introduce industrial democracy into this province. I would just like to cite a few examples that I think are very pertinent.
Between 1968 and 1972, Sweden lost an annual average of 62 days in strikes per 1,000 workers. In Germany it was 74, in the United States the rate was 1,534 and in Canada 1,724. Sweden loses 62 days per 1,000 workers per year in strikes, yet Canada loses 1,724 days per 1,000 workers per year through strikes? Why? I would assume the minister is not going to say, “Obviously all is well in socialist Sweden; that’s the answer.” The answer is much more simple and clear-cut than that.
A number of workers from Detroit who work in the automobile industry there and are members of the United Auto Workers went to Sweden and worked in one of the Swedish automobile plants. The American workers said they didn’t like it there because the Swedish workers worked far too hard and far too quickly. They were going at a phenomenal pace and this was unacceptable to the American workers.
The answer to why Swedish workers and West German workers work like this is because the plants are their plants. Workers sit on the board of directors. And all sorts of interesting things happen when workers sit on the board of directors. For the first time the books become open, for one thing, and you can really make judgements about profits.
The workers are involved in running the plant. The workers set production schedules. They help to plan what sort of product lines the company should get into and they also share in the profits. It is their plant.
I realize industrial democracy, even the phrase, is a new departure for your government. But I’m not suggesting that you introduce it overnight. I’m merely suggesting that you embark upon a good study and include members from the opposition parties. I’m sure there would be someone from our party who would wish to join this study and I’m sure someone from the Liberals would wish to join. We could get a certain amount of independence and a lot of different approaches. Let’s look at industrial democracy and let’s see how it can be applied to this country and this province.
In summation, I would simply like to mention that the natural resources of this country, of course, are the life-blood of the nation and of the province. If you take the natural resources away, we have nothing. Our natural resources are not only our future but the future of untold generations.
Multi-national corporations have no loyalty to Ontario and no loyalty to Canada. Multinational corporations have only one loyalty and that is to maximize their profits. I’m sure no government member would tell me that the corporations have shown compassion in the way they have literally roasted the Sudbury landscape. Or that the pulp and paper corporations, led by Abitibi, have shown compassion in the way they have dealt with their workers. Or that the meat packing companies have shown compassion to the farmers to whom they pay 24 to 30 cents a pound, in my area, for beef, yet sell hamburger for over $1 a pound.
Corporations are not in the business of showing compassion. It’s the responsibility of the government to make sure corporations obey the laws just like everybody else and function for the benefit of all society. It’s time that your ministry, the Provincial Secretariat for Resources Development, and all ministries, intervened actively on behalf of the people of this province in the economy of this province.
We need lots of things in this province, whether they be bikeways, parks, green belts for urban areas or wilderness parks. Most important, we need to protect our resources. We need to protect our forests. We need to protect our agricultural land. You need to make agricultural land your priority instead of more parking lots and more development.
Finally, I would like to reinforce the statement that simple justice demands that corporations be put under law. Whenever a corporate interest comes into conflict with the interest and needs of the people, let us make no mistake -- we should come down heavy on the side of the people; for after all, the resources of this province belong to the people.
Mr. Conway: I might begin by saying I feel somewhat more comfortable with the Deputy Speaker in the chair. Knowing his northern proclivities he can surely share the feelings of those of us who have had to bear the brunt of the insensitivity of this government in this particular area.
I might begin by saying that I shall try to keep my remarks brief, lest I give the impression that this ministry is worth a great deal.
Hon. Mr. Irvine: You had better make this speech long then.
Mr. Conway: I sat and listened -- and it has been no easy task -- to the ministerial statement read at the beginning of these estimates this afternoon. As a newcomer to this Legislature, I would like to think that this kind of a province and this ministry deserves much more by way of literacy and ministerial competence than we were forced to look at today.
To call this a superministry is indeed the biggest joke I can imagine. No greater-sounding indictment could I possibly imagine than the kind of nauseous drivel to which we were subjected this afternoon. A superministry indeed!
I was interested to learn, as I listened to that introductory statement, that here is an addition to this list, there is an addition to this list, that this hon. member for Carleton-Grenville (Mr. Irvine) adds to this illustrious list of ministers under his control the very capable and very illustrious Lord of Lambton, the hon. Minister without Portfolio (Mr. Henderson). What a wonderful addition indeed! What an interesting addition! Can we imagine anything that highlights the superministerial importance of this group? Could there be anything more significant than the addition of the Lord of Lambton to this particular group?
Mr. Martel: The Duke of Kent.
Mr. Conway: There was also a reference to the predecessors of the particular minister. I was spending a few minutes the other day doing a content analysis of this superministry. The most impressive thing that content analysis revealed was the unique, the incredible, ability of that former member for St. Andrew-St. Patrick (Mr. Grossman), whose progeny we have with us in this 30th Parliament. His unique ability was to consistently avoid answering any and all questions. Not once did I find anything that resembled an answer to any question. This is indeed a fine record and one I am sure the present member is well equipped to follow.
There are two comments, to which I shall return at a later moment, that were alluded to in the introductory ministerial statement. Incomprehensible as it was, I did in fact detect two statements that I think worth noting. Those statements were, firstly: “The minister’s responsibility is to affect a continuous and productive dialogue with the community;” and secondly: “The careful way this government has faced up to difficult decisions.” I would like to return to these two comments at an appropriate moment in the future.
Hon. Mr. Irvine: I can hardly wait.
Mr. Riddell: You should listen because you might learn something.
Mr. Conway: The Committee on Government Productivity, that wondrous, marvellous bureaucratic achievement of this government, some years ago indicated that there were really four reasons why the taxpayers of Ontario should pay for and why the hon. members of this House should endure superministries. Those four reasons were that ministers do not have the time for policy making; that government has grown too big and complex; that a priority system is required; and that government departments must no longer act independently of one another.
Independent of the fact that that very series of comments is an interesting indictment of the Conservative administrative procedures of the past years, I think it important to realize that that is the origin of the superministries with which we now deal. As I sat here the other day, and like all other members listened, difficult as it was, to estimates of the superministry for Social Development, I heard answer after answer as non-answers. “I don’t know. You have to talk to the Minister of Community and Social Services.” “You have to talk to the hon. Minister of Health.” “You have to go to Tasmania for that answer.” “You’ll have to read the Globe for this answer.”
I sat and I listened and I thought to myself, “This is the achievement of this superministry and, indeed, this is its outstanding contribution to the government and politics of Ontario.”
One of the other suggestions forthcoming from that Committee on Government Productivity was that we could expect green papers -- green papers outlining government policy. Well, where have those green papers gone? I think we would have more luck trying to squeeze green cheese from this ministry as opposed to getting green papers. My comment is: Where, after 2½ or three years, are these green papers? Where are they? As a new member I am anxious to enlighten myself with these green and other papers.
By way of specific comment, because I realize the hour is late and the estimates would include other ministries.
Hon. Mr. Irvine: We have got lots of time.
Mr. Conway: I don’t know, Mr. Minister, whether you do have lots of time. The words I hear in Carleton-Grenville are that your days may indeed be numbered.
Hon. Mr. Irvine: I’ll take my chances on that.
Mr. Conway: One of the points about which we are concerned is the whole area that my hon. friend, the member for Timiskaming (Mr. Bain), most recently referred to, and that is the preservation of agricultural land. Just as an example, Ontario Hydro has been given permission to build a 500-kilowatt transmission corridor from Bradley Junction to Georgetown, without public hearing. The brief from the Minister of Agriculture and Food to Ontario Hydro contained the following remark:
“The objective weightings did not give agriculture high enough ratings in the order of priorities. The farm owners are affected directly by the lines and towers, and therefore agriculture should have been given a much higher priority.”
A brief from the Ontario Federation of Agriculture this year stated:
“Yet the evidence presented indicates without question that Ontario is slowly losing its place as the pre-eminent agricultural province of this nation. We contend that this failure is due to the policies and commitments of this government.”
Again, regarding Ontario Hydro’s 500-kilowatt line from Lennox to Oshawa, a representative of the Minister of Agriculture and Food stated expressly: “Especially cropland seems to have been ignored completely.”
Has the minister met with the interested citizens of north Halton and Wellington who are opposed to the entire route of the Bradley-Georgetown line? Will the minister order independent hearings for that route?
Hon. Mr. Kerr: Oh, God -- again?
Mr. Conway: The point I raise is to what extent is this ministry sensitive to those guiding principles which were articulated some years ago in the Committee on Government Productivity? To what extent are you really coming to grips with effecting a constructive and public dialogue? The Ministry of Agriculture and Food, the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Ministry of the Environment, all three of them objected to the proposals for the Lennox to Oshawa line. Three of your ministries said that they did not approve of the main lines being projected for that proposal. But then it’s the worth of this appendage, of this superministry.
On the matter of conservation, we’re at the point now in the Ontario Legislature of dealing with that most interesting, most political and most controversial of agencies in this province, Ontario Hydro. One of the things that seems to be so very clear is that there is really no long-range planning to Hydro, and if it is there, it is marvellously obscured.
You know, we are told down there that we can’t cut. There is no way that there can be a cut from the proposed 25 per cent increase projected. But we were told that before and the hon. king of Kent, the provincial Treasurer, (Mr. McKeough), in his own arbitrary way slithered through that kind of a statement in the past, and he in his own way indicated that there is no lasting reason to believe Ontario Hydro when it tells you that we must have this kind of a rate increase. I have sat and listened, albeit not as often as I would like, to those negotiations, to the estimates of Energy, and one of the things that I am not convinced about is that this particular government and that particular agency appears to have no real alternative source of energy in terms of the future.
In terms of the future, there is $29,000 being invested this year on wind energy programmes. Only $29,000. Other provinces in Canada, to be comparative for a moment, have expressed a far greater interest in those kinds of alternatives. In solar energy, the Ontario government again is spending a mere pittance. I am forced to conclude that in the area of wind energy, all this government has to offer is the windful oratory of the front bench. I suggest to you that there may be a more useful approach to wind energy alternatives.
What about those alternative sources and what about those reports to which you have been privy, to which your predecessors have been privy? Let’s take a look at some of those. There was the Central Ontario Lakeshore Urban Complex task force report, December, 1974, and to quote for just a moment:
“With a growing population, and with a declining land base, Ontario may have to import 60 per cent of its food requirements by the year 2000. The prices paid to farmers and the resulting farm incomes have been too ow to allow agriculture to compete for land with the market forces generated by urbanization.
“If the Ontario government is to discourage the unwarranted use of prime agricultural land for other purposes and is to encourage the efficient use of land for food production, a system has to be devised whereby priorities in the use of agricultural land can be established and these priorities implemented in the operations of all governments.”
What have you done about that? Does the deep-seated concern expressed in this report gain any kind of a sensitive hearing from your superministry? Have you read the report? What have you got to tell us about what it is the government might do about those suggestions?
Then there is the report entitled, “Towards the Year 2000: A Study of Mineral Aggregates in Central Ontario,” which concluded, quote:
“With the present conditions, the region [meaning central Ontario] could only remain self-sufficient in mineral aggregates for perhaps 15 to 20 years.”
Given the extreme importance of aggregates to our economic situation, how does this superministry reflect upon that kind of suggestion? We go on and on, and I had intended in my remarks to spend more time delving into some of these particulars, but rather than do that I think I shall enter into a few specifies.
We talked to you the other day about the reforestation programme, and coming from an area which has a forestry experimental station with an excellent reserve of scientific personnel, and knowing something of the forest industry myself, one of the things that all scientific people agree on and one of the things that our good friend Max Henderson had indicated in his report is that all the platitudinous assurances of the government to the contrary, this government is not nearly doing the kind of reforestation that it must if it is to keep pace with the amount of cut allowable.
In my area of eastern Ontario, there are one or two things to which, as the member from Renfrew county, I would like to draw attention. I notice in your ministry you have the misfortune or otherwise of superintending the developments in the Ministry of Industry and Tourism. One of the things which has really impressed me since arriving here is the Eastern Ontario Development Corp. -- a fascinating government operation indeed.
In those estimates I looked at the pattern of EODC loans in the first year of its operation and we were dutifully provided with the list of disbursements made by EODC. One of the things that I found fascinating is that my community, North Renfrew, in which we find the largest industrial commercial centre in all Renfrew county -- the city of Pembroke -- received not one of the 18 disbursements made by EODC to the Renfrew county area. Not so much as one of those disbursements went to the largest industrial commercial centre. Two relatively small disbursements of those 18 went to my area.
The question which was foremost in my mind is upon what basis does the Eastern Ontario Development Corp. lend money? When I looked at who got money, I began to question seriously what I understood to be one of the major guiding principles in the lending philosophy of the ODC. I may be wrong in this but I was under the impression that EODC was set up as a government lending agency with the responsibility of providing money to those concerns which, for whatever reason, could not get money on the private market. I look at those who have received the money -- not that I begrudge it to those people in any way, shape or form -- but the evidence seems to be contrary to what I understood to be that lending philosophy. I would like the superministry to enlighten me if I am not correct.
In the specifics of those loans, for example, I find the question of the Eganville Creamery -- I realize it’s a local matter but I find it of use in discussing the generalities of this situation. The largest single disbursement made by the EODC in its first year of operation was to Ault Foods of Winchester, a subsidiary of Labatts.
Mr. Ferrier: Isn’t Winchester in the minister’s riding?
Mr. Conway: The question I note is that in the very recent past Ault Foods of Winchester have bought and taken over the Eganville Creamery, a long-standing well-respected agricultural establishment in Renfrew county. The first thing they do is announce the closing out of 50 per cent of the 44 jobs at that creamery. Let me tell he minister, 22 jobs in a community like Eganville are important.
I asked myself, “What are we doing here?” Is one branch of the government lending money, ostensibly for the creation and/or saving of industrial or other jobs in eastern Ontario, to a firm which, as its first priority, buys and closes out 22 jobs in eastern Ontario? Correct me if I’m wrong, but my impression is there is an inherent contradiction in that situation. It’s that kind of situation which I think the superministry, through the Ministry of Industry and Tourism, should be concerned about.
We have the case of Mount Madawaska in Barry’s Bay. We’ve had countless studies, two very expensive studies, commissioned by the Ministry of Industry and Tourism, to guide and direct the future development of that four seasons resort community. At this moment that project is in serious difficulty. It is in serious difficulty because one of the provincial secretary’s ministries refuses to clear title of one acre of the 3,300 acres involved in that property. The Ministry of Industry and Tourism, through the Eastern Ontario Development Corp., committed a $90,000 loan to that institution more than a year ago -- and I think it was a well-placed commitment -- but today the Mount Madawaska Corp., which is in desperate financial circumstances and would dearly like to have the rest of that money, finds itself in receipt of less than 50 per cent of the promised commitment.
I say to the provincial secretary, in all seriousness, this kind of contradictory activity, this kind of approach is simply not satisfactory, because in the very near future we may be faced with the closure of this particular resort. I think that would be a shame.
One area that is important to me in eastern Ontario relates to the Algonquin Forest Authority. I took a few moments the other day to refer to this matter, and I am going to repeat those comments in a very general and brief way this afternoon. Perhaps the most interesting development in natural resources for those of us in the Algonquin region has been the appointment of the Algonquin Forest Authority, which is in fact a government-run log-marketing agency.
We have all kinds of evidence to back up the fact that resource development, certainly in eastern Ontario and obviously in Algonquin Park, throughout the history of the Province of Ontario, has been characterized by political activity. Anyone who would contradict that. I think, is being unhistorical. The facts are there. I would like to think that in 1975 we can hope to redirect our focus and begin to get away from that kind of thing.
I was not and I am not still certain that the Algonquin Forest Authority is a proper avenue through which to consider the future forest development and other kinds of resource development in Algonquin Park. But assuming that it is, is it not reasonable to give it a chance; to give this controversial but fledgling institution a chance to survive, given the background of political pork-barrel kinds of resource development activity that I know to have existed in Algonquin Park over the past 100 years?
What does this government do? It does what is most expedient politically. It has two appointments to make to the board of governors from the Renfrew county area. Lo and behold, who is appointed? My good friends, the respective vice-presidents of the Renfrew North and Renfrew South Progressive Conservative associations.
Some hon. members: Shame, shame.
An hon. member: Surely not.
Mr. Gaunt: My goodness.
Mr. Conway: I ask the provincial secretary, what does that look like?
Hon. Mr. Irvine: It looks like they know more than you.
Mr. Conway: I am telling the provincial secretary that if he can produce to me --
Mr. Ferrier: Why didn’t the government appoint Maurice Hamilton?
Mr. Conway: -- those credentials which legitimize the role of the former mayor of Pembroke on that board of governors, then I will accept it gracefully. But I can tell you, Mr. Chairman, it will be a long day and a longer night before this ministry can produce to me the credentials for my good friend, the former mayor of the city of Pembroke.
Hon. Mr. Kerr: Sounds a little like Laurier, doesn’t he?
Mr. Conway: There are, surprisingly, Tories in Renfrew county who are qualified and who, in the goodness of my heart, I might recommend to this ministry; but to appoint that kind of pork-barrel politician --
Hon. Mr. Kerr: Tell us, tell us.
Mr. Conway: -- to make that kind of ridiculous appointment, I suggest to you, Mr. Chairman, is an affront to the future of the Algonquin Forest Authority.
Some members: Shame.
Mr. Conway: I think it unfortunate that this ministry is not prepared to give the Algonquin Forest Authority a chance to work; that concerns me.
Then there is the matter of the general development agreement for Renfrew county and the city of Pembroke; and that is interesting. We have been negotiating over time about some kind of general economic development programme for Renfrew county, including the city of Pembroke. I have, since my arrival here, been very deeply involved in co-ordinating appointments from those city and county officials with, particularly, the provincial Treasurer and the Minister of Industry and Tourism (Mr. Bennett), to find out what kind of commitment there might be in these times of obvious and regarded economic difficulty -- what kind of commitment there might be to the general economic development programme for Renfrew county and the city of Pembroke.
As late as last Friday, the mayor of the city of Pembroke was here and we met with the Premier (Mr. Davis) to discuss these and related matters as well as meeting with senior officials in the Ministry of Industry and Tourism. And what happened on Friday night?
What happened on Friday night in the city of Pembroke is a good example of why this minister should be thrown out of office as quickly and as uncomfortably as possible. At a Conservative dinner in the city of Pembroke my illustrious colleague from Renfrew South (Mr. Yakabuski), in obvious bad taste stood up and muttered, mumbled and jumbled an announcement allegedly committing the ministry to $2 million worth of money to the city of Pembroke and the county of Renfrew. At this time the mayor and the warden stood up in their surprise and wondered how, why, and specifically what for. But more than that, those people were insulted that they were here that very morning in consultation with the senior levels of this government and those senior levels, including the hon. Premier, did not consider it worthwhile to inform them that such an important announcement was forthcoming.
I say to you, Mr. Minister, that that is the kind of evidentiary material that makes me laugh, when you get up and so self-righteously affirm that your ministry is concerned with and about a continuous and productive dialogue. That is nauseous and that is untrue.
Mr. Edighoffer: Unbelievable.
Mr. Conway: Yesterday in this House, the hon. provincial Treasurer, with the -- what shall I say? -- oh, with the pomposity for which he is justifiably famous -- with the porous pomposity for which he is justifiably famous -- stood up and cavalierly dismissed my question relating to that particular announcement. Out in the city of Pembroke and the county of Renfrew today, despite those stupid assurances, those officials still do not know whether or not the city marina has been shelved; whether or not the industrial parkland is with or without provincial government assistance. And you talk about productive and continuous dialogue. I am afraid that I simply cannot believe it.
Mr. Edighoffer: Resign.
An hon. member: Move over.
Mr. Conway: I will not take any more of your time.
Mr. Reid: Go on, go on.
Mr. Ruston: You’ve got him on the ropes, so keep going.
Mr. Riddell: You have proven to him that his ministry is redundant.
Mr. Gaunt: That’s right, you’ll see the white flag soon.
Mr. Conway: It’s like having jelly on the ropes, it is hardly something to take delight in.
But there is one thing, in summation, that I thought most interesting. I was reading the other day just by accident, as is the case in this building, the Ottawa Citizen, May 20, 1972.
Mr. Nixon: He just picked it up.
Mr. Conway: Just by accident, Mr. Chairman.
Hon. Mr. Irvine: Are you that out of date?
Mr. Conway: There is a certain comment made there by a former member for Carleton East, who for whatever reason is not with us today, and who at that time was inaugurating this superministry. He was making a series of general comments about what it is he envisioned before this superministry of Resources Development.
He said at that time in May of 1972 -- and with your indulgence, Mr. Chairman, I would quote: “I have a dozen different fundamental matters of principle and policy involving everyone in this province -- ”
Mr. Lewis: And foreign trade with Cuba.
Mr. Conway: “ -- and those are very much on my mind. They will be coming out of the pipeline within the next six months.” My question is not who shot the sheriff, but who plugged the pipeline?
Mr. Chairman: Before we proceed, I want to draw attention to the hon. members that, pursuant to provision of standing order 27(g), the member for Carleton East (Ms. Gigantes) has filed notice that she is dissatisfied with the answer given by the Minister of the Environment (Mr. Kerr) today to her question concerning the proposed Hydro switching station at McCaul and Orde Sts. This matter will be debated at the adjournment of the House this evening.
Does the minister have a response to the opening statements?
Hon. Mr. Irvine: I was just going to ask, do I get equal time? At some time, I would like to reply. How many other members wish to speak?
Mr. Chairman: We have 51 minutes left for supply. I have four members who have indicated they want to speak, and, of course, the minister is entitled to equal time. I suggest, Mr. Minister, if you want it you should take it now.
Hon. Mr. Irvine: I think I will take part of my time now, Mr. Chairman, and match the other members who come forward.
The member for Timiskaming, who is not here, made --
Mr. Bain: I am here.
Hon. Mr. Irvine: -- I am sorry about that -- made a rather good presentation on bikeways to which I just wanted to reply. My colleague, the Minister of Natural Resources (Mr. Bernier), has already had discussion in this regard. We had a conference with the province’s Trails Council and it will be coming forward in the very near future with recommendations concerning all facets of trails activities, including bikeways, walkways and what have you. That matter is on his list, and is not forgotten about. It is one on which we want public input but we have started a conversation, which I expect will result in some good recommendations.
His second item was the matter of Maple Mountain in regard to the final disposition of that particular area. I think it is fair to say that we recognize that northern Ontario has a lot of potential for tourism. We intend to try to co-ordinate in this secretariat the activities of the Ministries of Industry and Tourism, Environment, and Natural Resources to ensure that we do have tourism where it is needed and where it is viable. But there is no way we are going to make a hasty decision on any particular subject in regard to a convention centre or anything else in Maple Mountain, northern Ontario, eastern Ontario, or southern Ontario, until we are very much assured that the project will be viable.
The third matter that was brought up was a matter which the Leader of the Opposition and I have debated at many times and at great length, namely, agricultural lands going out of use. I wish to state once again to the hon. member for Timiskaming that we are getting more production from agricultural lands than before. There is no doubt that certain lands that were in the agricultural classification have been used for other purposes. I said a few weeks ago during the very important time of our recent activities that I would like to have the Leader of the Opposition define to me how he was going to build 116,000 homes around the urban centres in south-western Ontario and southern Ontario where there are the finest agricultural lands.
You have to recognize that there are going to be some lands to go out of agricultural production for if you are going to have urban centres expand, and I believe we have to have some expansion in our urban centres in southern Ontario.
We also have to make sure that we try to preserve agricultural lands. As I stated in this House, as the Minister of Housing, we were going to ask for local input from the people to define the best use of the lands in their areas. I asked for that statement to be forthcoming to this government by Nov. 1 and I report to you that as of last week -- and I believe it still stands as of this week -- only four land division committees have reported to the Minister of Housing (Mr. Rhodes) in regard to the policy which would be most suitable for their areas.
What we want to do is to work with the people elected and appointed to ensure that we make the maximum use of our lands and have agricultural lands preserved. Classes 1, 2 and 3 are very clearly recognized by all parties, I believe. They should be preserved wherever possible except classes 4 and 5 -- if they are not viable farm lands.
I say to you we have looked at this many times. I have worked with the region in regard to the tender fruit lands. I worked with the region very carefully, with my former colleague, the then Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Stewart). We had meetings with the people in the area and we determined that those lands should be preserved. There are certain urban centres which would be expanded and this was after many hours of deliberation at the staff level and at the political level. We all have to do our own share in preserving what we think is a very necessary natural resource which is going to be preserved by this government as much as we possibly can.
You talked about the forest industry. We have, in our opinion, a very fine forest management programme which apparently you disagree with. That’s your right. But the Minister of Natural Resources and I have discussed this. We believe the programme is working -- maybe not to the fullest that it should but at least I think it is a good attempt to make sure that when we do cut certain types of timber we have other timber coming forward for future years. How can you ensure employment in the areas where we want employment, such as northern Ontario and eastern Ontario, if you do not continue to improve the forest presently there and which should be increased in regard to the type of lumber and the amount of lumber?
One of our roles, as I mentioned, was coordination. It was just last Thursday -- relating to your question on the Ontario Northland Railway -- I had a meeting with the railroad people, with Ontario Highway Transport Board and with all of our resource policy field to discuss what might be done in the way of improving rates in northern Ontario and how it might affect the economy in northern Ontario. I can’t tell you at this particular time what the discussions were or what they will result in but let me say to you that we have been aware of the problem. We are going to take some action and it will be taken before too long.
Mr. Bain: You have been aware of the problem for years and years.
Hon. Mr. Irvine: My friend, let me put the question to you. How long have you been a member? How long have I been provincial secretary? Not too long.
Mr. Bain: Yes, but changing ministers doesn’t mean the government can shirk its responsibility to do something. Surely there is continuity.
Hon. Mr. Irvine: Whenever I have a responsibility, as the members in the House opposite will, I think, sometimes agree, I try to do it to the best of my ability and I’ll try to do it again. I just say to you that I am aware of it. I think we can improve that situation.
On your point about having mining recording offices in every area I don’t think it’s possible. We’re trying to cut down on costs; you say there are no costs involved. I’ll take the matter up with my colleague, the Minister of Natural Resources. I really can’t give you an answer on that but if there is some feasibility, in opening up offices, fair enough. I haven t looked into it and I will be quite frank with you, I don’t know the answer to that except that we do try to decentralize. The members from Sudbury have always said, “We haven’t got enough in Sudbury,” but we’ve put many offices in Sudbury. I guess you and your colleagues are in some disagreement on that.
Mr. Bain: They never set out to regionalize; you did.
Hon. Mr. Irvine: There is one matter which I think is a very serious one and one which you and your colleague from Sudbury do have reason to be concerned about. That is the problems in regard to future employment and in regard to the industries now located in Sudbury and in northern Ontario.
There are two issues here. It’s all right to say that you want to take over the management of companies, but also it’s pretty important to make sure that the companies, after you’ve taken them over, can be a viable enterprise too. I’m very much concerned now when I read the reports about Canada -- and Ontario in particular, as we’re talking about Sudbury at the present time -- that we may have great difficulty in maintaining the job employment opportunities that we should have there. My concern is that we’d better try to work together to ensure that the people who are employed there are still employed five years or 10 years or 15 years hence, and that we do not have a problem whereby we can’t sell the particular product because of competition in other areas. This is a matter we are looking at very closely.
I think you have to remember that when you say industrial democracy, I don’t think -- and this is a difference of philosophy -- I don’t think the answer is like Saskatchewan’s, which was to buy out the potash industries. That’s your philosophy but it’s not mine.
Mr. Bain: Industrial democracy doesn’t mean you think you can buy everything. It means --
Hon. Mr. Irvine: I understood your remarks to mean that you were going to get into the industry in some way or other in regard to ownership or the actual management. In Saskatchewan, as I understand it, they are proposing to buy out the potash industries, and with public funds -- buying them at a very high price. They may be able to afford it.
Mr. Bain: Are you saying they shouldn’t pay for it?
Hon. Mr. Irvine: I don’t think they should be buying at this particular time, but that’s a matter for them to decide. The people will decide that at a later date.
I again say to you that we have a very difficult time in northern Ontario to provide jobs, and we’re determined to try to do our best. Our chairman of the House at the present time is the member for Lake Nipigon (Mr. Stokes), with whom I’ve discussed the matter of Armstrong. He is very much concerned, as I am. We’re trying to determine what the federal government can do to improve the economy in Armstrong as the agreement was drawn up. The member may be able to speak later on during this debate; I hope he can. If he doesn’t, I’ll say more on it later. It is, I think, incumbent on all of us, whether in opposition or otherwise, to work with the government to try to help the individual areas.
My position is to look after people, the people of Ontario, and to do the best for the area regardless of politics. I only say to you, if you have some ideas let me have them and I’ll do my best for you.
I’d like to go to the member for Renfrew North very briefly. I’ve not been very long in this House, Mr. Chairman, but I don’t know when I’ve ever laughed so hard. That was a real jury speech; it’s too bad there weren’t too many people here to see it.
Mr. Conway: My good friend Arthur Maloney is from Renfrew county area.
Hon. Mr. Irvine: I think the hon. member may learn at some time to quiet down a bit. It might be some good advice if he did. I’ll deal with this as briefly as I can, because there’s no use us going with the same kind of drivel, the same kind of nonsense that he came out with. I don’t like it, the members of this House don’t appreciate it and there’s no need for it.
Mr. Reid: Oh, don’t be patronizing.
Mr. Ruston: Look who’s talking. Look who’s calling the kettle black.
Mr. Reid: We’ve listened to the minister’s answers for years.
Mr. Ruston: When you were Minister of Housing you were the poorest excuse for a minister there ever was. Why did they take you out of the Ministry of Housing?
An hon. member: You know why.
Hon. Mr. Irvine: There are three points that I think maybe you should know. One is that when you ask the question about Eastern Ontario Development Corp., you know full well that the Eastern Ontario Development Corp. is to provide jobs and it’s also to stimulate the economy of eastern Ontario. If you looked at the number of loans that have been given to eastern Ontario you should be thankful, regardless of whether they’re put into your area or not.
The loan that went to Ault Foods in my former riding, Grenville-Dundas, is a loan which will help all of eastern Ontario, and there will be some spin-off effects whether you can see them or not at the present time. Eganville is a very important community.
I’ve been through it many times; not as many as you have, but I have certainly seen that it’s a thriving community. I agree with you that the jobs you’re talking about are important but the thing is this: We have to recognize the overall economy of eastern Ontario. The minister has said this to you at least three times that I’ve heard in the last three weeks.
Mr. Conway: Can you see a spin-off now, though?
Hon. Mr. Irvine: I think what we have to do is wait and find out what does take place. I happen to have a very firm conviction that Ault Foods will do more for eastern Ontario than any other industry in that particular line which I could name at this particular time.
Mr. Conway: I don’t dispute that. I’m worried about what the impact on Eganville will be.
Hon. Mr. Irvine: Right. We have to look at the overall effects and I believe the Eastern Ontario Development Corp. is something which you and I should be proud of. We shouldn’t be trying to dispute what they’ve done.
As far as the matter of land use and Ontario Hydro transmission lines and so on are concerned my colleague, the Minister of the Environment (Mr. Kerr), was here a minute ago. We have had so many hearings; if you read all the hearings you’ll be out of this House before you get through them all. You surely don’t want any more hearings? I think we have to get on with the job. Really, if you want green papers and white papers and all kinds of papers, I can give you enough to keep you busy for a long time.
Mr. Shore: He sure can because I think he’s got all kinds of them.
Mr. Conway: Please do, Mr. Minister. I would appreciate it.
Hon. Mr. Irvine: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I think that’s all I wanted to say.
Ms. Bryden: Mr. Chairman, my colleague from Timiskaming stated a truism -- that Ontario is rich in resources; and another truism -- that the people of Ontario are getting very little for their resources. The mines profits tax is estimated to yield about $100 million this year and the gross value of production will probably be over $2 billion. Less than five per cent in economic rent is coming back to the owners of those resources.
The minister said he’s concerned about working for the people of Ontario. I can’t see that he is bringing back very much return from their resources to the people of Ontario. The policy of past governments in Ontario and the present government, which may soon be a past government --
Mr. Martel: It will.
Ms. Bryden: -- has been to encourage companies to come in, dig out our resources and ship them out of the country at bargain-basement prices. Often those companies didn’t even find the resources themselves. It was Ontario prospectors, Ontario people, who went out and did the hard slugging work of finding those resources.
When it came time and they were ready for development they tried to raise capital on the stock market but they found that the very loose securities laws we had had spoiled that source because a lot of phoney mine promoters had siphoned off the money. When they tried to get money from the investment dealers of Canada, they found they were more interested in sending money to Wall St. and encouraging Canadians to invest abroad rather than in their own resources. When they tried to get money from the government to share with them in the development of Ontario’s resources they found a deaf ear.
Yet we are being asked to vote almost $1 million for a Provincial Secretariat for Resources Development which does not appear to have done anything to change the policy of letting our resources be developed piecemeal by private companies. It is not welding those resources into an industrial strategy which would create secondary industries based on those resources and which would marry an energy-resource policy with the development of our mineral resources and produce an Ontario economy which benefits from its wealth.
In question whether that $900,000 we’re being asked to vote is being well spent if there is no change in the present policy. The Special Programme Review report shares my concern. On page 74, it said: “It might also be appropriate to analyse the policy field concept.” They go on to say: “The role and operation of the policy field committees and their secretariats might be examined.” I think this is one of the places where we could start to save some money and have money for more important programmes.
There is one particular instrument which comes under the minister’s secretariat that I want to discuss at a little bit of length. I intended to discuss it during the Energy estimates but time ran out, and I think it more appropriate to discuss it here because it’s really a question of policy and of how this instrument could be used to achieve some of the resource developments I have been suggesting.
Mr. Chairman: Before we proceed any further, I would like to remind the hon. member for Beaches-Woodbine that there are only 32 minutes; if you take a large portion of that, it is going to deny other members of the committee from participating. I would hope that you would keep that in mind.
Ms. Bryden: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I might say that some of the previous speakers did take up a good deal of our time. I don’t know how we work out equal time.
Mr. Chairman: That’s normal, because they were the leadoff speakers for this particular estimate.
Mr. Lewis: One of them was a Liberal. What do you expect?
Ms. Bryden: Anyway, I will try to be brief, Mr. Chairman.
The instrument that I am speaking about is the Ontario Energy Corp., which is a brand-new Crown corporation, formed just this year. It should be a good Crown corporation because it is mainly built of NDP planks. We have been advocating such a corporation for a number of years, but the government only became interested in it when it decided to get in on the process of bailing out Syncrude. But it did this in typical Tory fashion; it put in $100 million and ended up with no control and with only about a third of the profits going to the government sector, which put up 70 to 80 per cent of the capital.
The Ontario Energy Corp., according to the estimates book, has these objectives:
“To enhance the availability of energy in Ontario by stimulating resources exploration and development and expanding production capability throughout Canada or elsewhere; to encourage investment in energy projects and the effective use of financial, human and other resources in energy projects; to encourage development of processes and equipment which avoid wasteful use of energy and minimize environmental damage; to improve the security of energy supplied to Ontario through acquisition, participation, guarantee and long-term commitment of resources.”
Most of these objectives have never been implemented. In fact, the Ontario Energy Corp. appears to be a shell which holds: the $100 million for Syncrude and a $10-million investment in the Polar Gas Project; yet this House is being asked to vote $226,000 for this corporation, of which $135,000 is for something called services. I would like the minister to tell us what that $135,000 item is, whether it’s the fees of the board of directors or what it is being used for.
But before he replies, I would like to suggest that the Ontario Energy Corp. is an instrument that could be used for developing an overall energy policy for Ontario. Energy is too important to be left to the energy companies. With prices for all forms of energy soaring, we now realize how it affects every industry, every job, every export and every homeowner and tenant in Ontario. It affects the people in my riding as well as the people in the north.
The Ontario Energy Corp. could become a marketing agency for energy since we import 80 per cent of our energy requirements. We should assume responsibility for controlling the marketing of energy coming into the province and leaving it. In no other way can we develop an overall energy policy.
There is already a precedent to follow in Alberta, which has announced it is bringing all natural gas marketing under a government board. But I see no reason why it should be confined to one energy source alone. The only way you can plan the best mix of energy sources is with pricing policies which will affect all forms of energy. The objective would be to promote use of the least polluting and the most efficient forms of energy, taking both cost and Btu content into account.
The energy corporation, by acting as a marketing board, could also ensure there is fairness for the gasoline dealers, who are complaining bitterly, as we have heard in this House many times, about the unfair pricing practices of the big oil corporations.
A recent Gallup poll indicated that the majority of people in Canada now believe that energy and mineral resources are really too important to be left to the private sector. They should be brought under public ownership and they should be treated as a public utility since they affect the whole economy. They are the lifeblood of the economy.
The Ontario Energy Corp., which has the power under the Act, should be starting to take over, in a staged process, the remaining energy resources in Ontario which are not now under public ownership. Hydro is. This would include the natural gas wells in the province; the lignite deposits in the north; and the uranium industry. I say in a staged process. They could be purchased with compensation being paid out of profits.
There may be some argument as to whether the province could take over the uranium industry because the regulation and marketing of uranium products are under federal jurisdiction at present. However, it appears that control of development and production of uranium products would be possible under provincial jurisdiction.
I recall that the provincial Treasurer (Mr. McKeough) himself, back in 1973, recommended that the industry be brought under provincial control except for international sales. He must have had some legal advice which led him to believe it could be done.
The corporation could also undertake the development of new sources of energy for Ontario. It could carry on research into solar energy, wind energy, methane gas, nuclear energy and other forms. Finally, the corporation could start to marry an energy policy with an industrial development strategy to be based on our mineral and natural resources in Ontario. It could promote secondary industries based on the location and availability of energy supplies and the resources.
If the superministry of resources had developed an instrument such as the Ontario Energy Corp. into an innovative vehicle for solving Ontario’s looming energy crisis and our job shortages, its existence might have been justified. Having failed to do so, I can see no reason for continuing to spend taxpayers’ money on the superministry.
I have two or three questions I would like the minister to reply to on this corporation. First of all, who are the board of directors? What directors sit on the Syncrude board and what control do we have there? Has the government any plans for utilizing this corporation as a marketing board? Is the government planning to sell stock in the corporation as Alberta has done with its energy corporation? It sold with considerable success -- there was an overwhelming demand for it.
I think if the minister could give us some information on that we might have a better idea of whether he has any concept of how this corporation could be used as an instrument to develop an overall energy and source policy for Ontario.
Mr. Reid: I want to discuss with the minister this afternoon the particular problems of one-industry towns in northern Ontario. Specifically, I would like to draw on the experience of the township of Ignace, which happens to be in my riding, and the problems that they have experienced, with a view to drawing the minister’s attention to these problems, which he is perhaps already aware of, and hopefully so that they won’t happen again.
Ignace is a small community along the Trans-Canada Highway in northwestern Ontario. Before 1971, it was a community of about 700 people; its main activity was being a divisional point for the CPR, and it probably was distinguished by having more gas pumps and motels per capita than any other little town in the country.
About that time, Mattabi Mines decided that they would go ahead and operate a nickel mine at Sturgeon Laker. Mattabi is a company pretty well wholly owned by Abitihi, I believe.
Mr. Chairman: Noranda.
Mr. Reid: In any case, they decided that they would develop these nickel deposits at Sturgeon Lake, about 55 to 60 miles from Ignace. At that time, the mining people wanted to put the town site right at the mine site. Obviously it was in their own best interests; the miners would be handy to the mine and they wouldn’t have to travel back and forth for their shifts.
But previous to that, the Treasurer (Mr. McKeough), in his early manifestation as Treasurer, had decreed as chief planning officer for the province that the Province of Ontario no longer would allow town sites to be at the mine site where there were communities with all the necessary services at a reasonable distance from the mine location.
The first such programme that came under this was the International Nickel mine at Shebandowan. They were told that they would have to use the dormitory towns of Kakabeka Falls or Thunder Bay. It was something that I agreed with at the time, and I still do, because I believe it is better that the miners commute from the town to the mine site, rather than have the children commute to go to the secondary schools particularly, but even to the elementary schools. It’s much better from all points of view that this policy be implemented and continue to be implemented.
The point of the matter is that it was the Ontario government that made the decision that the town site would not be at the mine site, and therefore inflicted on Ignace a problem that has resulted in the Treasury department taking over supervision of that town’s finances.
Admittedly, I myself, as the member, and the people in Ignace fought to have Ignace designated as a dormitory town site for the mine, because it was the only way they could see of growing and developing, and having the population base to be able to provide recreation and other social facilities.
The point is, however, that because of the decision of the Treasurer, the town grew from approximately 700 people in 1971 to something around the 3,000 mark now; fourfold in less than four years. This put an unbelievable strain and burden on the town. There was obviously no housing there for the miners at the time. Houses had to be built; they had to be built quickly. Services had to be provided; they had to be provided quickly.
The town council, in its wisdom or lack of wisdom, tried to meet these demands, which resulted in their overspending their current revenues and being in debt to the tune of something over $200,000. The Treasurer then told the council of Ignace that this obviously was not satisfactory, that they would be under financial supervision by the Treasury out of its regional office in Thunder Bay.
My point is simply this: The government made the decision; they should have accepted some responsibility to see that the necessary services -- primarily housing in this regard -- were provided and certainly at no cost to the town, Because, concomitant with that, the Treasurer also changed the mining tax base again, leaving a town like Ignace without any tax base other than the residential property tax. There they are providing these services, and they have no tax base, no industrial base on which to draw and from which to provide the funds for these necessary services. It seems to me incumbent upon the government that when they make a decision like that, when they force the town into a position like that, they accept some responsibility and that there be grant’s -- whether you want them to be specific or just general grants -- provided to municipalities like Ignace.
I’ve got correspondence here dating back years in which I’ve implored the Treasurer to make some special consideration to the town of Ignace to help them with their special problems. They got into difficulty primarily by providing a trailer park for the miners who were moving in -- not just miners; there was a spinoff effect. More businesses opened and the forestry industry decided that they would put people in Ignace. And so the trailer park, which was the only quick answer, was built at a cost of over $200,000 and is almost primarily responsible for Ignace being in the financial situation it is.
I couldn’t prevail upon the Treasurer and the township of Ignace couldn’t prevail upon the Treasurer, and were stuck with a present situation. I think it could still be rescued. I would like to ask this minister if he would look into this matter, because it’s not that difficult to resolve if he would do something about it.
Now, concomitant with this problem is the continuing problem of housing in Ignace -- a problem of having the land to put houses on; the problem of having serviced land. Again, this comes under this particular minister’s purview through the Housing and Environment ministries. I want to state to the minister as emphatically as I can that one of the largest problems in housing in northern Ontario is due to the Ministry of Housing. We can’t get consent applications; we can’t get severances. You wouldn’t believe what goes on in that Ministry of Housing -- although you should, because you used to be there. It hasn’t improved since you got out. It has gotten worse, and I didn’t believe that was possible.
I think it’s incumbent upon you, being in the Resources Development policy field, to try and explain to those people here in the city of Toronto that conditions in northern Ontario are not the same as in southern Ontario; that lot sizes don’t have to be the same; that we don’t need to wait nine months to three years to get a consent so somebody can build a house.
In the last session of the Legislature, every day there were questions about the housing problems in Ontario and the housing problems in northern Ontario, and part of the solution was obvious. Just get the machinery in the Ministry of Housing moving so that people can have title to the lot, so they can go and build a house.
Go to the Minister of the Environment and say: “Look, we don’t have three million people living in one city. We don’t have those kind of pollution problems. We don’t need the same kind of densities of material for sewer and water treatment. We don’t have those problems. Let’s get on with providing housing for people.”
You were talking to the member for Sudbury, or wherever, about employment opportunities in northern Ontario. My God, Ignace is screaming for people; Steep Rock Iron Mines in Atikokan; the forestry industry. We can’t get people up there because there is nowhere for them to live, and part of that responsibility is directly within the ministries that you were supposed to be co-ordinating.
Mr. Martel: As the former Minister of Housing.
Hon. Mr. Irvine: He’s already said that.
An hon member: Come on, Elie.
Mr. Chairman: I must remind the committee there are only 13 minutes left.
Mr. Reid: Yes, Mr. Chairman, I have a great deal I wanted to say, but there are other people who want to speak. I just want to reiterate the problems of Ignace. I would appreciate if the minister would look into them.
The town has been unfairly criticized. They have got this financial supervision that they had no choice about. I would hope that the minister might, through DREE, come up with a solution to provide housing, to provide the extension of the waterworks to the trailer park, and so on. I hope that he would take a look at it, and see if he can get together with the Treasurer.
I’d like to draw to his attention -- and then I’ll sit down -- what Alberta did; that great free-enterprise province of Alberta. It had a little mining community called Grande Cache. The Alberta government stepped in, took over the accumulated debt, and wrote it off as far as the municipality was concerned. It was $995,000, not just the $200,000 that we’re talking about in Ignace. They wrote off almost $1 million, put $250,000 into a hospital, $75,000 into recreation, and so on. The government in Alberta did it; if they can do it, surely this government and this minister can do it.
Hon. Mr. Irvine: Mr. Chairman, in regard to the member for Beaches-Woodbine (Ms. Bryden), some of the questions she asked as to the board of directors of the Ontario Energy Board and the directors of Syncrude and so on are absolutely not policy which I am responsible for. They are a matter of public information which I suggest that maybe she can get herself.
As far as whether or not we want to sell stock, it will be the government’s decision and one which I don’t think will be forthcoming in the very near future. I think if you look at the review committee, you will find out that the recommendation was that the Ontario Energy Corp. should not be expended further at this particular time because of lack of funds. I think with the constraints that we have in Ontario and all over Canada, it might be very good to sort out our priorities and make sure that they are a real priority before we spend money.
I don’t believe I’ll deal any further with the comments that were made, because I don’t think they come within my jurisdiction.
I would like to talk to the member for Rainy River (Mr. Reid), though, on the matter of Ignace. It’s one which we have dealt with extensively in our policy field since I’ve been the provincial secretary. It’s one in which his efforts have not been to no avail. The Treasurer, I expect, will be announcing regional priorities which will include Ignace. We are working with the federal government and hoping to get some DREE agreement. But whether or not we get DREE agreement for Ignace, the Ontario government is going to go ahead and alleviate the problem which you have quite well spelled out today and on previous occasions.
I assure you, as far as the land-use in northern Ontario is concerned, it’s one area which I have been working on extensively, not only for northern Ontario but southern and eastern -- all of Ontario. When I was the Minister of Housing I said -- regardless of the criticism across the House -- and in my present position I am still saying that I hope we will have an answer that will get rid of some of the red tape that exists at all levels of government and we shouldn’t have the same criteria for all areas. There has been a meeting of the ministers in my field. There will be a meeting of staff and ministers later on, early in the year. Later on this month we’ll be discussing it. It’s a matter or urgent priority as far as I’m concerned, and one which I hope will be resolved to everyone’s satisfaction and certainly to that of the members here.
I think that’s all at this time.
Mr. Chairman: The hon. member for Sudbury East.
Mr. Martel: Mr. Chairman, how much time do I have?
Mr. Chairman: There are eight minutes remaining. If you would like to share them with some other member --
Mr. Martel: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I’m not sure what I can share, but I’ll try.
Mr. Nixon: Great chairman! No one will question his fairness.
Mr. Martel: I haven’t even got time to warm up.
I’m just going to make a comment on two points then. One is the decision of this government to allow Fisher Harbour to proceed. I think for northern Ontario it’s a disaster -- for a number of reasons, but primarily because in fact natural resources will be taken out of the north at an even cheaper rate than was the case in the past. My understanding is that by shipping via boat the companies can reduce the cost outward by six or seven times what it was previously. I don’t know where your five per cent inducement to get people to process in the north is going to go with that type of inducement to work against it.
It’s just simply ridiculous for every type of reason going. The whole of the island opposed it. If it had come after we had secondary industry in the north one could say it’s a two-way street, but putting that in the north before there is any secondary industry, Mr. Minister, totally condemns the potential for further processing or even manufacturing in the north. This government stands condemned on that and I would hope that in some way it could change its decision, despite the fact that it’s a Tory who went ahead and built that without permission. That should be his loss and not northern Ontario’s loss to make a few bucks for him.
The second point I raised in committee the other day, Mr. Chairman, to the minister again -- I’m only going to take a moment -- is the number of industrial deaf cases in northern Ontario coming directly out of the industries which you, as superminister, helped to supervise; the pulp and paper industry and, in fact, the mining industry. As we learned the other day, there are over 5,000 cases, 50 per cent in northern Ontario, and this government isn’t doing a thing to put a system in the north where people could get speech therapy, where people could retrain and people could have the audiometric testing necessary in the north.
As it is, within the next week, we’ll bring 40 cases to Toronto for the proper testing. It will be one test, you’ll put a hearing aid on them and then send them back to the north. Who is going to continually bring those people back to make the proper adjustments in the hearing devices and provide the type of treatment that is necessary for rehabilitation such as lip-reading rand so forth? Again the Ministry of Labour, through the Workmen’s Compensation Board and your friends from the Ministry of Natural Resources, have done nothing (a) to ensure that and (b) more important, to reduce the noise levels which, in fact, lead to industrial deafness.
Mr. Chairman: Does the minister have any response?
Hon. Mr. Irvine: Mr. Chairman, only to say that I believe we have made some headway on the matter of occupational health hazards, because we do have a Minister of Health responsible, to be the minister to coordinate the efforts of our colleagues in the Ministries of Natural Resources, Labour and Environment. Each in his ministry is responsible for improving the safety of the workers. I’m hopeful that what we have brought forward just recently will actually accomplish what you have outlined and I’m quite sure it will.
Mr. Martel: I sure hope so.
Mr. Chairman: I have only one more speaker left on my list and that is the hon. member for Cochrane South.
Mr. Ferrier: I only wanted to be very brief. I noticed that there is $200,000 here for the commission on Hydro’s long-range planning. I think that the commission is good and there are good personnel on it, but I think that you should take a look at the number of support staff that they have going around with them; the way that they are spending money on long-distance telephone calls and this type of thing.
I was quite concerned, when they were up in my area, at the very rich way they seemed to be carrying on with the support staff and the way they had been contacting people and this kind of thing. I think you might very well take a look at that operation and see, as it continues its hearings, if it is sort of overplaying the public relations theme and this type of thing, whether they need all the support staff and whether they need to make the kind of long-distance telephone calls they’ve been making.
Hon. Mr. Irvine: Mr. Chairman, if I could, I’d like to point out to my hon. friend that I mentioned in my preliminary remarks that this amount shouldn’t be misunderstood. It’s not $200,000 in the estimates, it’s $725,700, and it’s a large amount of money which is certainly meeting with our scrutiny. As to the cost for next year, it hasn’t been determined as yet -- it has to go to Management Board -- but we will be examining the cost very carefully, because I can assure you that this is only a short period of time in this fiscal year and, under the constraints that we have, we have to do everything possible to curtail the expenditures of this government in as many ways as I think feasible. This may be something which we can look into and do something about for next year; this year’s commitments are made.
Vote 1601 agreed to.
Mr. Chairman: This completes the estimates of the Resources Development policy field.
Pursuant to the procedure outlined in the standing order No. 87, I am now required to put all questions necessary to carry every vote of each estimate now before the committee.
Mr. Chairman: Vote 101, Office of the Lieutenant Governor.
Vote 101 agreed to.
Mr. Chairman: Vote 301, Office of the Premier.
Vote 301 agreed to.
Mr. Chairman: Vote 401, Cabinet Office.
Vote 401 agreed to.
Hon. Mr. Welch moved that the committee rise and report.
Motion agreed to.
The House resumed; Mr. Speaker in the chair.
Mr. Chairman: The committee of supply begs to report that it has come to certain resolutions.
Report agreed to.
Clerk of the House: Mr. Stokes, from the committee of supply, reports the following resolutions:
Resolved: That supply in the following amounts and to defray the expenses of the government ministries named be granted to Her Majesty for the fiscal year ending March 81, 1976.
Office of the Lieutenant Governor $69,000
Office of the Assembly $8,609,000
Office of the Premier $1,451,000
Hon. Mr. Welch: Mr. Speaker, could we dispense with the details?
Mr. Speaker: Shall the resolution be concurred in?
Resolution concurred in.
CONCURRENCE IN SUPPLY
Resolutions for supply for the following ministries were concurred in by the House:
Ministry of Industry and Tourism;
Ministry of Labour;
Ministry of Energy;
Ministry of Housing.
Hon. Mr. McKeough moved first reading of bill intituled, An Act for granting to Her Majesty Certain Sums of Money for the Public Services for the Fiscal Year ending March 31, 1976.
Motion agreed to; first reading of the bill.
Hon. Mr. McKeough moved second reading of Bill 45, An Act for granting to Her Majesty Certain Sums of Money for the Public Services for the Fiscal Year ending March 31, 1976.
Mr. Deans: Mr. Speaker, I think there may be a couple of people with a comment or two which they wanted to make on this. Without unduly prolonging the debate, I want to make a point with the Treasurer (Mr. McKeough).
I know that during estimates which appeared before the House, certain discussion was undertaken with regard to the whole matter of the duplication of services available within the regional municipality of Hamilton-Wentworth. I don’t want to go through that again, but I do want to suggest to the Treasurer that there is a growing body of opinion -- and not only among elected people but among the citizenry of the area -- which leads me to believe that there is duplication of services currently provided.
Mr. Nixon: That is an interesting subject. Let’s go into that in some more detail.
Mr. Deans: I think we might. I am glad you asked. I think the minister would have to agree that if there is duplication it wouldn’t be in the spirit of the legislation that was brought in nor would it be suitable for the area. Some people have asked that an overall study be conducted, but I don’t happen to share that view. Others have suggested that it be disbanded, nor do I share that view. I think though there is every reason to believe we are spending moneys unnecessarily in that area, that there are duplications which could be cut out and therefore there are tax moneys that we could quite easily save the people of the area in terms of municipal taxes and in terms of the grants that are currently available from the Province of Ontario.
I think there are also some matters that are still unclear both in the minds of the elected representatives of the area and in the minds of the citizens of the area. One of those is whether or not or how the unconditional decreasing grants that are currently available provincially will be assumed by the various municipalities and therefore by their taxpayers and what the ultimate cost of regionalization is going to be on the tax base of the municipality, the regional municipality and the local municipalities.
It seems to be impossible to find the answers to those questions. No matter how frequently the questions are asked, it seems there aren’t any people around who can reasonably give answers that can be understood. I think the Treasurer has an obligation in this year of austerity to seriously look at whether there are duplications, and not only that but to determine clearly for the people of the area what costs they are going to have to bear over the next 2½ years until the end of the fifth year, when the grant structure as it now exists no longer will be in effect.
I would like the Treasurer, either now or at some other time, to state clearly how the provincial involvement will be phased out and how those additional costs are going to be apportioned to the various ratepayers. I would also ask the Treasurer to sit down with the local municipalities, either himself or his officials on his behalf, to determine whether it is true that there are duplications of services which are in themselves costing those taxpayers more money. If this is the case, then we have an obligation here at Queen’s Park to amend the legislation to ensure that those things can’t happen.
It may be that it’s impossible for the local municipalities because of the politics of it or for any number of other reasons to deal with those things themselves at this time. The transition was extremely difficult. The transition that took place two years ago was hard to accomplish and no one expected it to work perfectly. I think that there is a sufficient cause for concern. Given the budgetary restraints we all feel we are going to have to face, we have a very serious responsibility resting with us here at Queen’s Park to look at and to determine if there are savings that can be effected and to offer a guidance, if not direction, to the municipalities involved to ensure that they get full value for the dollars that they have available to them.
I also would like to ask the Treasurer, as he is reviewing that, if he would be able once again to clearly determine for us in the Legislature what the impact is going to be of the reductions he has indicated will take place in the grants that are available to municipalities in the coming fiscal year. It’s all good and well to talk about it in global terms and to talk about it as if it didn’t have effect in any given set period of time. But I think that these of us in the municipalities realize that in this coming year, with the provincial government determining that they are going to provide a lesser increase in the amount of grant moneys available than they normally might have been expected to provide, this burden will undoubtedly be borne by the local municipality and the taxpayers of those municipalities.
If you are serious about your fiscal restraint policies, then you should provide for the municipal taxpayers a clear indication of what the costs are likely to be, given that certain factors are constant, given that we know the municipalities suffer from inflation as do all other people, given that we know that there are rising fixed costs in most municipalities that are attributable to debentures, that are attributable to rising salaries and wages; and of course all other costs.
I think that it would be useful for our purposes and useful for the purposes of those municipalities if you could set out, in fairly clear items exactly what this is going to mean to the average municipal taxpayer in any of a number of chosen municipalities.
I would ask that the city of Hamilton be included, obviously out of self-interest in the matter; but I would ask also that other municipalities across the province -- large and small to give a reasonable mix -- be included in any analysis in order that we can see clearly what the average municipal taxpayer may have to bear, given what is probably an unavoidable increase due to the inflationary factors that are currently in force in the Province of Ontario and right across the country.
I think you have an obligation here to do those kinds of things. I think before we get around to voting such a thing as the supply bill, we have to put to you at this point that these are responsibilities here at Queen’s Park; that when any sector or segment of the economy is so dependent on the provincial government for grants, we have to be sure that any cuts, either in the grants that are available or any decrease in the rate of increase of grants, is clearly calculated and the impact very clearly set out so that we all understand it,
I think that would be most useful in any discussions that will take place between now and when the next budget comes down, I suppose in February of next year.
I feel very strongly that the government, if it is going to show any kind of fiscal responsibility, if it is going to be able to effect any cuts in expenditures, can’t do it at the expense of the municipal tax base. You can’t, at Queen’s Park, lay claim to having cut down on the numbers of dollars being spent and thereby reduce the rate of inflation, if all you’ve done is transferred it from the tax base of the province to the inadequate tax base of the municipalities.
You also can’t sit by idly and watch while there are duplications -- if there is duplication -- and say simply it is the responsibility of the local municipality to sort it out. It is quite often virtually impossible.
So I ask the Treasurer to address himself to these problems, because they are problems that are of great concern to a great number of people right across the province, The impact of what I am talking about on the people of the Province of Ontario may well determine whether any fiscal restraint is meaningful and worthwhile in the Province of Ontario.
I want to suggest to you that if you are going to go into a shearing operation, cutting back on the expenditures of the province -- and I want to tell you that there must be areas where we can cut back; I am sure there must be areas where there is duplication, where there are expenditures of this nature. The Premier’s office might be a good example, where there are so many people employed; perhaps you don’t need quite as many now since you don’t have as many members. You could perhaps cut back there and save some money; we would be happy to help you make those cuts, if we can be of any help.
Hon. Mr. Davis: My correspondence from the member’s riding has increased a great deal.
Mr. Lewis: You should only see my correspondence.
Hon. Mr. Davis: You would be surprised; there’s even some from High Park.
Mr. Lewis: That wouldn’t surprise me, no.
Mr. Deans: What I am really saying is that we agree that at this particular time it may be necessary to look very seriously at the expenditures of government. But remember that the expenditures we are looking at are the expenditures that were brought about as a result of the government of this province, the Conservative government of this province, and its actions over the last 30 years, particularly over the last four years.
So when we are looking at cutbacks, bear in mind that we are looking at cutbacks in expenditures that were in many instances approved by this government over the very valid objections of members of the opposition. We frequently stood in this House and voted against expenditures, while the government insisted on spending over the last four years.
So I have to suggest to you that when we start looking at the cuts that are going to be made, the cuts we are talking about, the cuts that will have to be made are going to have to be cuts in areas where the government has allowed fat to develop, where the government has failed in its responsibilities to ensure that the tax dollars of the very hard-pressed citizens of the Province of Ontario were well spent in years gone by. When we sit down to look at the budget of the Province of Ontario in the next fiscal year, we really will be looking at cuts that are being undertaken by this government in programmes, many of which we questioned over the last number of years and which the government, because of its large majorities, pushed through.
Nevertheless, we’re prepared to help the government to make those cuts wherever they can be made, because we recognize that the Province of Ontario cannot afford to continue to spend at the level that this government has made it spend over the last 10 years or more.
Mr. Speaker: Does any other hon. members wish to speak to this bill? The member for Wentworth North.
Mr. Cunningham: Mr. Speaker, I realize this is basically a routine debate, and I don’t want to take up a great deal of the time of the House, but the points made by my friend from Wentworth caused me to get up basically in support of what he is saying.
I would say to the minister, again on as nonpartisan a basis as I can state, that we require a really serious study of the duplication in my particular area. When I last spoke on this, the Treasurer (Mr. McKeough) suggested that it would be appropriate, if I was aware of these various duplications, that I point them out to him. I would say to the Treasurer that that is not basically my function, especially as I am one of those who opposed this kind of ill-conceived form of government that the Treasurer decided the people there should have.
What I see and fear is that the increased costs that are going to be borne -- especially by the people outside of the city of Hamilton but within the regional municipality of Hamilton-Wentworth -- are going to be great. In this particular area and at this time, I think it’s going to be very difficult for these people.
The suggestion that we cut costs is one that I’m sure all members of the House are in particular agreement with, and I specifically support the Treasurer in this; but I would think that the thrust of what I perceive to be his direction, is going to be an added burden to the people of this particular area. I would say to the Treasurer that I just find this to be very inappropriate. Recognizing that the Treasurer has seen fit to have studies or reviews in three of his ministry’s regions, I would again ask that he consider allocating some form of commitment to undertake a study to try at least make this system of regional government work.
There are a number of duplications, but the citizens of the area are particularly confused about areas of jurisdiction. I know my colleague from Hamilton West (Mr. S. Smith) raised a good point when he asked what happens when the regional road falls apart and the local sidewalk falls into it. Whose jurisdiction is that? On Charlton St. in Hamilton, that happens to be an isolated and particular sort of problem.
The Treasurer’s solution, at least the one that seems to be carried regularly, is a move to one-tier government. Again, in our particular area, the people who would be most severely affected are the people in my particular constituency. I am very concerned about the independence or the autonomy, the right basically to call their own shots for the smaller municipalities -- places like Waterdown, Strabane, Carluke and, I’m sure, Stoney Creek and Saltfleet.
I’m not going to continue this at excessive length, but I hope the Treasurer will recognize the political ramifications especially of inaction on his part, because I think it is not going to augur well for his party. Certainly that isn’t the motivation in my speaking here today. Again, I would say it’s a non-partisan thing, because the people of this particular area cannot afford a tremendous increase, which unfortunately is what I foresee, unless some sort of action is taken very quickly.
Mr. Speaker: Does any other hon. member wish to speak to this? May I just remind the members that this is the supply bill; general statements are in order but they should not get too specific because the specifics have been dealt with in each ministry’s estimates.
Mr. Moffatt: Mr. Speaker, the two previous speakers have alluded to the impending dangers to the municipal taxpayers as a result of the cavalier attempts of the provincial Treasurer (Mr. McKeough) to cut costs at one level and foist the tax load on another area. I think all of us see that as a very definite ploy by the provincial Treasurer and by the government in order to take some heat out of the business of taxation at the provincial level. I just want to say to the Treasurer and the Premier (Mr. Davis) that if the municipal taxpayers are going to have to bear the brunt of the presently-in-place programmes because of some commitment to the Edmonton formula and a new commitment to 5.6 per cent limitations on all municipal increases, the same thing is going to happen to the educational system in this province. Next year, if the costs of all of the hard services end supplies which boards and municipalities must purchase -- if that inflationary rate continues at even a reduced rate of 10 per cent -- we are still going to see a big gap between the amount of money available and the amount of money required.
If that happens the only place to get that money is from the local taxpayer, and if that kind of very back-looking and back-thinking kind of programme which was alluded to the other day, called the Special Programme Review, is going to be put in place, the people who will pay for the services which have been brought into this province by that government, with all of the fanfare -- and we have all heard it every time, called the most progressive, or the most up-to-date, or incomparable legislation; we have heard that so many times -- if we are going to have that kind of legislation stay in place and those programmes be continued, the only people to pay will be the local taxpayers.
I just want to caution the provincial Treasurer and the Premier that the people in this province are not going to put up with that kind of increase in their local mill rate and in their assessment; they just cannot stand that sort of pressure.
Mr. Speaker: Does any other hon. member wish to speak? If not, the hon. minister.
Hon. Mr. McKeough: Mr. Speaker, very briefly, some of the matters raised, of course, were matters which concern next year’s budget rather than this year’s supply.
Mr. Shore: It doesn’t really matter much.
Mr. Nixon: We thought we would talk about it before you spend the money.
Mr. Shore: For a change.
Hon. Mr. McKeough: I suppose that’s one of the perils of indicating very early some of our budget strategy, some of our thinking in terms of expenditures for the fiscal year beginning April 1 next. I would expect on Thursday of this week to be making a reasonably full statement which perhaps will amplify some of the things which we have already determined. We will certainly not give all the answers. We are some distance away from knowing what the impact of 10 per cent expenditure guideline overall will mean to Chatham or to --
Hon. Mr. Davis: Brampton.
Hon. Mr. McKeough: -- South Dumfries. Obviously those things have to be developed in terms of various grant regulations, and much more important, have to be determined in terms of mill rates by the locally elected councils or school boards. It is a very difficult matter for us to try and predict what the impact of certain levels of support will be on municipalities specifically, or for that matter even generally, and it would be very difficult for us to do so as early as Dec. 9.
Mr. Sargent: Is it a mini-budget?
Hon. Mr. McKeough: My friend from Grey-Bruce asks if it is a mini-budget. It is not. I think it is fair to say that it represents a substantial portion of next year’s budget, what would normally be in a budget. A budget is made up of two things, revenue and expenditures, and we will, to some extent at any rate, be detailing as far as we can at this moment where we see ourselves going in terms of expenditures next year.
In terms of Hamilton-Wentworth and the regional municipality of, I would simply say this to my friends, at some point they are going to have to decide whether they want one tier or two tiers.
Mr. Deans: That is not the question.
Hon. Mr. McKeough: I am really not interested in having a study which is just going to go into that whole argument again. If the member is convinced that there is too much duplication of services, then for heaven’s sakes, let him stand up in his place and say, “We want one-tier government;” that will eliminate that.
Mr. Deans: That is not necessarily the answer.
Hon. Mr. McKeough: That will eliminate the duplication.
Mr. Speaker: Order please, order please. The hon. minister has the floor.
Mr. Bullbrook: We want one-tier government in Sarnia. How is that?
Mr. Moffatt: Before you tilt at windmills you have to build the windmills.
Mr. Nixon: What about Chatham and Kent?
Hon. Mr. McKeough: That is the ultimate. The other point I would simply make is that I happen to believe that the people who may well be the best judges of whether there is duplication, whether there is inefficiency, don’t necessarily sit in this House. They sit on the local councils and on the regional council of Hamilton-Wentworth, and after two years of operation, I’m not going to sit back in some kind of judgement and say there may be duplication and there may be inefficiency. If, as and when the regional council feel that there is, they don’t need legislation to correct some of those duplications if they’re there. They can do it as a policy matter, and they can do it through by-laws of their own council.
I’m quite confident, I have great confidence in the regional municipality of Hamilton-Wentworth and its constituent parts. I’m sure if there are those inefficiencies and if there are those duplications, they will deal with them; and deal with them effectively and well and without the hand of provincial Big Brother looking over their shoulder continually.
Motion agreed to; second reading of the bill.
The following bill was given third reading upon motion:
Bill 45, the Supply Act, 1975.
INCOME TAX AMENIYMENT ACT
Hon Mr. Meen moved second reading of Bill 37, An Act to amend the Income Tax Act.
Mr. Young: This is a fairly simple bill, actually, setting the proportion of the tax to be levied by this province for the year 1976. However, within that setting of the rate there is always the question as to whether it is a fair and just allocation of taxation.
I would call to the minister’s attention what has been happening in recent years. We did have, in the 1960s, some real discussion of tax revision. A couple of committees, federally and provincially, worked on this; and we had a select committee of this Legislature working on it too. Some minor revisions took place, but fundamentally the tax structure has remained very much the same.
I would point out to the minister that during the past decade we have seen quite a change in the division of taxation in Canada and in Ontario. For example, corporate income taxes in 1964-1965 made up 24.1 per cent of the total tax revenue. That is the tax revenue, not the total revenue of the province; because we had other revenues, payments by the federal government and such like. But of the total tax revenue, corporate income taxes in 1964-1965 made up 24 per cent, whereas in 1975-1976 they made up only 19.2 per cent.
As against that, personal income taxes in 1964-1965 made up 20.2 per cent, whereas in 1975-1976 they have increased to 31.4 per cent. We had quite a dramatic drop in the proportion paid through corporate income taxes and a dramatic increase on the personal income tax level.
Corporations profits were at an all-time high last year. While they may be back a little from that this year -- and we hear a great deal about corporate profits dropping -- they’re dropping from the record high of a year ago. They’re still very much higher than the average over the past decade. Yet we haven’t, it seems, dipped into that tax source to the extent that we ought to dip.
The question arises as to whether the personal income tax and the corporate income tax balance is proper in this day and age, and whether the ministry should not be looking at that very carefully and wondering whether or not we are, in effect, setting correct figures in this legislation. It would seem that a further review of the taxing of individuals and corporations is long overdue; and in the middle of this decade, as we did in the last one, we should be looking very carefully at tax sources and looking at the possibility of much greater income for our resource industries from the corporate sector, and perhaps some relief at least percentage-wise in the personal sector.
It’s interesting that mines profits tax is only 2.4 per cent of our total tax revenue. When we come to succession duties, estate tax, gift tax; these, of course, in the face of a deliberate change in policy over the past few years on the part of this government, have dropped to point eight per cent, less than one per cent of the total tax revenue in Ontario. It may well be that we should again take a very careful look at the tax balance and tax mix in this province and do a careful assessment of where we are going in this field.
Certainly, as far as the general principle of this bill is concerned, we certainly will not vote against it at this time; but we do raise these questions with the minister and with this government as to what we ought to be doing at the present tune.
Mr. Speaker: The hon. member from Beaches-Woodbine.
Ms. Bryden: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. This bill, as we all recognize, is essential to establish the rate of Ontario’s income tax for 1976, and a similar bill has been brought in every year since 1972.
However, I would hope that next year something different might come in. The minister might consider an income tax bill which did more than set the rales, which did two further things. First, it would increase the tax credits to low and middle income people in this province in order to make our income tax more progressive. Secondly, it would close down some of the loopholes which the joint action of this government and the federal government have been opening in recent years in income tax.
Ever since the so-called tax reform following the Carter commission, the slight move toward greater equity which resulted from that commission has been largely nullified by new tax concessions, new loopholes, which principally benefit the upper income groups, the self-employed, persons in business, bet do not benefit the wage earners very much; and the province has gone along with these changes.
The reason I am raising this now is that I would hope the minister and the provincial Treasurer (Mr. McKeough) with him, would take the next year to achieve some real tax reform by consulting with the federal government and persuading them to reform income tax to close some of these loopholes to prevent money escaping to tax havens.
We all know that the more loopholes there are, the more income that escapes tax, the more tax that has to be paid by the rest of us who are not able to take advantage of these loopholes and who are not able to escape to tax havens. Concessions such as the registered home ownership savings plans and the registered retirement savings plans are of more benefit to the upper income groups than to the lower income groups. That is why we need more property tax credits, more income tax credits generally for the lower and middle income groups to offset this and to make our income tax more progressive.
If we had a fairer tax system in this province, with some of those loopholes closed, there would be money available for some of the essential services which the provincial Treasurer and the Special Programme Review committee think they will have to cut. There would be more money available for grants to the municipalities, and it would then be possible to prevent the tremendous increases in the property tax that my colleagues were mentioning earlier in the debate.
So I would ask the Minister of Revenue (Mr. Meen) and the provincial Treasurer to get together and bring in, neat year, an Income Tax Act that really produces tax reform.
Mr. Speaker: Does any other hon. member wish to take part in this debate?
The hon. minister.
Hon. Mr. Meen: Mr. Speaker, as indicated by the members, this is a more or less routine bill this year, extending for another year -- the taxation year 1976 -- the agreement with the federal government where we rent to them the personal income tax field and they collect for us, and will collect in the coming year, at the rate of 30.5 per cent on top of the tax as calculated under the federal Income Tax Act.
The member for Beaches-Woodbine (Ms. Bryden) raises an interesting point with respect to tax havens. She touched on that in a question she asked me in the House the other day with respect to provincial corporations tax. I think the same problem prevails in both areas. These are not matters of tax evasion, as she called it, but rather tax avoidance. As the Act stands, whether it be the federal Income Tax Act, the provincial Corporations Tax Act or the federal Corporations Tax Act -- the two Corporations Tax Acts parallel each other very closely -- the fact is there are, presumably, some tax havens around the world which can attract capital out of Canada, thereby earning income in those tax havens which does not attract the same measure of tax.
I suppose the federal government could be undertaking discussions with some of these jurisdictions and narrowing these loopholes, as we call them. The fact remains that there are still some of those. As long as we here in Ontario do two things -- in the case of the provincial Corporations Tax Act, parallel the federal taxing legislation and have their auditing cover certain areas, and our auditing under our provincial Corporations Tax Act cover other areas; and in the case of the personal income tax as long as we rent out the tax field to the federal government and have them act as our agents in a very efficient system of collection; or for that matter, of filing returns in the first place and then of collection of the tax in the second place -- I suppose we will be bound to encounter some of these problems. It is certainly something that is within the federal purview in large measure.
She also mentioned the question of the tax credits. I think we can be justly proud of the tax credit programme we have in place now, but I would expect it will be up to the Treasurer (Mr. McKeough), whose responsibility it is to look at all of these matters -- the tax credit being one element in making sure that our income tax system is not regressive and that our property tax system is less regressive than it otherwise would be without the tax credit programme -- it will be up to him to determine in the next year and in the years that follow, whether alterations should be made in our taxing structure for the benefit of the taxpayers of Ontario.
It certainly is true that the share of total revenues in the province paid by corporations, as indicated by the member for Yorkview (Mr. Young), has somewhat dropped -- that is at least until this year. But I might point out to him that the revenues this year are up substantially under corporations tax.
Mr. Deans: That’s because they are ripping off the public in the consumer areas; because they are raising the prices unnecessarily and unjustifiably.
Hon. Mr. Meen: The Treasurer, I should say, will also be looking at that matter, I’m sure, when he gets involved with determining his budget in the early part of 1976. I’m sure he’ll be taking a book at the percentage of corporations tax payable under our Ontario Corporations Tax Act in just the same way that I’m sure he would be taking a look at the degree of tax recovered under the personal Income Tax Act, and indeed whether the 30.5 per cent is adequate for our purposes.
Motion agreed to; second reading of the bill.
Mr. Speaker: Shall this bill be ordered for third reading?
The following bill was given third reading upon motion:
Bill 37, An Act to amend the Income Tax Act.
Hon. Mr. Welch: Mr. Speaker, it might be wise at this time if you concur to call it 6 o’clock. There is to be some discussion on the next order and it might be wise to start it at 8. We’ll have second reading of Bill 39 at 8 o’clock when we resume, followed by going into committee of the whole House to do Bill 4. Following the consideration of Bill 4 in committee, we’ll have the Throne Speech debate.
The House recessed at 6 p.m.