The House met at 2 p.m.
Mr. Speaker: Statements by the ministry.
GREAT LAKES WATER QUALITY AGREEMENT
Hon. Mr. Kerr: Mr. Speaker, I would like to table copies of a new, five-year agreement that the province has signed with the federal government with respect to water quality in the Great Lakes. This new agreement, known as the Canada-Ontario Agreement for Great Lakes Water Quality, was signed last Friday in Ottawa by the Hon. Jean Marchand, Minister of the Environment, Canada, and by myself on behalf of the province.
The main purpose of this agreement, which is effective from Jan. 1, 1976, to March 31, 1980, is to ensure that Canada will be able to meet its continuing obligations under the Canada-US agreement on Great Lakes water quality. It extends the original agreement, which was undertaken with Ottawa in 1971 and expired last December.
The new agreement goes beyond our original agreement, which basically entailed research, capital construction for sewage works, and phosphorous controls. Now we are placing more emphasis on environmental assessment and protection as well as keeping watch for new pollutants, including toxic chemical substances.
As members are fully aware, the St. Lawrence Seaway has transformed the Great Lakes into an international transportation system serving the industrial heartland of North America as well as our grain elevators at the Lakehead. We therefore intend also to place stronger controls and stricter penalties on vessels using the lakes which discharge oil, sewage and other contaminants.
Ontario has indicated to the government of Canada its acceptance of a set of regulations permitting either sewage retention on large ships or provision of reliable sewage treatment devices. Increasing emphasis must be placed on correcting other vessel pollution problems caused by inadequate handling of bilge waters and cargo-handling wastes.
The new agreement will encourage cost savings through joint programmes. It stipulates that Canada will first consult with Ontario on all proposals for discussion between Canada and the United States. Abatement measures to be undertaken in the agreement include maintenance performance requirements for waste treatment systems, a search for practical means to reduce pollution from combined storm and sanitary sewers, provisions to require prior approval of construction and operation of industrial waste treatment facilities, measures to eliminate industrial discharge of toxic heavy metals and toxic non-degradable organic contaminants as well as thermal and radioactive discharges, and measures to control the discharge of contaminants from vessels using the lakes, including contingency plans.
I am pleased to report that Ontario met its deadline last December, under our former agreement with Ottawa, for cleaning up phosphorous in the lower lakes. Permanent removal facilities are now either in operation or practically completed at all sewage treatment plants in the lower lakes basin. Clear proof of the effectiveness of our phosphorous control programme is apparent from the fact that by the end of 1975 there was a 40 per cent reduction in the amount of suspended algae in Lake Erie’s western basin, compared with data taken prior to 1970, when that lake showed signs of rapid eutrophication before the control programme began.
Ontario’s industrial waste control programme has advanced to the point where minimal national levels of control are generally in effect and improvements in waste treatment are now being made to meet local water quality needs. The one shortfall for Ontario continues to be the pulp and paper industry, and I’ve notified the industry that we will negotiate specific compliance dates in each case where programmes are lagging.
Early problems with funding and procedures on the US side have been recently overcome, and I am assured our neighbours are now giving high priority to Great Lakes projects. Work on the great backlog of sewage treatment programmes in major US centres will be mainly completed over the next two or three years, with one plant at Cleveland delayed until 1981.
In the past five years, up to last December, some $480 million has been spent on sewage treatment in Ontario municipalities. On the United States side, about $2.5 billion has now been committed and is being used for construction of sewage works in the basin.
Canada and Ontario will continue to share costs for sewage works under an existing separate agreement with Central Mortgage and Housing Corp., which commits, by the end of 1977, a further estimated expenditure of about $400 million, most of which pertains to Great Lakes cleanup.
Research begun but not completed under the 1971 agreement will continue to be shared equally between the two governments until March 31, 1978, at a total cost of $1 million.
Canada has agreed to pay half the cost of provincial surveillance of Great Lakes water from April 1, 1976, to March 31, 1977, the federal portion being a maximum of $762,500. Following March, 1977, a further sum for surveillance of the boundary waters will be determined by the two governments, based on information gathered at that date and on recommendation of the International Joint Commission.
Only last week, the IJC released its third annual report on Great Lakes water quality. It has recommended to all jurisdictions involved in the agreement that they marshal their environmental planning efforts and implement these across the entire system.
Finally, let me say that the people of Ontario have a great stake in the Great Lakes, since our province’s whole southern shore borders along some 1,300 miles of these fresh water resources, providing Ontario with the greatest supply of fresh water in the world.
Today, 90 per cent of Ontario’s population resides in the Great Lakes basin. This fresh water is one of our most vital resources, so it’s imperative that we clean up the lake and maintain them in a healthy condition, and we intend to do all in our power to achieve this objective.
Mr. Speaker: Oral questions.
WELFARE PAYMENTS TO METRO TORONTO
Mr. Lewis: First, Mr. Speaker, to the Minister of Community and Social Services: In the budget that’s been passed by the department of social services, municipality of Metropolitan Toronto, there is an amount of $7,333,000 meant to apply to general welfare assistance over and above the 5.5 per cent to which the province has agreed. Can the minister explain how it is, under law, that the government has withdrawn its obligation to pay this additional amount of money, which is now assumed exclusively by the municipality?
Hon. Mr. Taylor: First of all, very simply, we haven’t withdrawn any legal obligation at all. As the member knows, the province pays 80 per cent of the total costs of welfare --
Mr. Lewis: A supplementary, Mr. Speaker -- my question has been answered; I really don’t thank the minister -- I take it that the province will pay 80 per cent of whatever obligation arises under general welfare assistance?
Hon. Mr. Taylor: May I say this, what we have done is set out the parameters of overall spending, which we think is reasonable. As a matter of fact, there have been some concerns of ever-escalating caseloads which, in fact, have not been true, because the percentage increase is dramatically down this year over a year ago rather than the other way.
Mr. Lewis: So the province won’t pay?
Hon. Mr. Taylor: So we’re convinced that they can live within the overall parameters that we’ve set out for their spending.
Mr. Lewis: By way of supplementary: Therefore, as I hear the minister, he is saying he is convinced that the 80 per cent to which he is normally committed can be met, and they need not budget in excess?
Hon. Mr. Taylor: I’m saying that our prediction is that the additional 5.5 per cent over what we funded last year will be adequate for them to meet their needs.
Mr. Lewis: If it is exceeded, will he pay it, as he is obliged by law?
Hon. Mr. Taylor: That’s a hypothetical question. In terms of --
Mr. Lewis: Thank you. He has answered my question. Mr. Speaker, I’ve another question, if I may --
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Mr. Lewis: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order, this question period has lost a lot of time by excess answers. The minister has answered, sir, and thank you. I would like to ask his colleagues questions if I may.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. Is this a supplementary question?
Mr. Lewis: I’m sorry.
Mr. Speaker: Does the member for St. George have a supplementary?
Mrs. Campbell: Yes, Mr. Speaker, if I may. Could the minister explain what his obligations are under the CAP arrangement with the federal government, and whether or not he will pay the 80 per cent required under CAP, whatever the cost may be, to the municipality for general welfare assistance?
Hon. Mr. Taylor: Of course, under the CAP agreement, which is a fairly broad and open agreement, we have to ensure that we qualify for various programmes in order to share in federal funding. Generally speaking, we obtain 50 per rent from the federal government in terms of cost-sharing; then, of course, the provincial contribution is an additional 30 per cent and the municipality picks up the 20 per cent. That is the arrangement that we have worked on under CAP and I don’t expect that to change.
Mrs. Campbell: The minister will honour it?
Hon. Mr. Taylor: I don’t expect that situation to change.
Mr. Lewis: May I ask a question of the Chairman of the Cabinet: In view of the election that now seems both likely and imminent, probably before the end of May, would he be willing to raise at cabinet, at the earliest opportunity, in his role as chairman, the desirability of a moratorium on all the hospital and public lab closings, at least an extension in time on them all, until the public of Ontario has had an opportunity to render its judgement on the appropriateness of the government’s action?
Hon. Mr. Brunelle: Mr. Speaker, this would be a government decision. I will be pleased to bring it to the attention of cabinet.
Mr. Lewis: That’s good of the minister. Does it perhaps strike the Chairman of Cabinet that it makes sense, since the intended date of the closure will correspond so closely to the likely date of the election that these three closings should at least be held in abeyance until there has been a public decision as well as a political decision? Does it strike the minister as fair?
Hon. Mr. Brunelle: That will be taken into consideration.
Mr. Lewis: A question of the provincial Treasurer, if I may: If memory serves me, the Speech from the Throne made reference to the continued support of the government for the federal wage and price guidelines. Can he, just out of curiosity, indicate to us any single significant price alteration in any sector of Ontario’s economy since the Prime Minister of Canada made his speech announcing the guidelines?
Hon. Mr. McKeough: Mr. Speaker, the fact that the consumer price index has fallen for three months in a row is of some interest of all of us, I think.
Mr. Lewis: I agree. By way of supplementary, can the Treasurer indicate where the Anti-Inflation Board -- or can he recall any single instance in the field of prices where the Anti-Inflation Board has taken an initiative, either stabilization or rollback? He may know, where others wouldn’t.
Hon. Mr. McKeough: Mr. Speaker, no, not offhand, I can’t. We are aware of a number of price increases which have been put in front of the board -- and not all of them, as I understand, granted.
Mr. Lewis: But the Treasurer knows of no single instance that has been denied?
Hon. Mr. McKeough: That has been denied? I think I am aware of some which have been modified.
FIRE INSURANCE RATES
Mr. Lewis: May I ask the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations whether, if he had evidence, as I believe he has, that rate increases on fire insurance rates from Allstate on some houses -- I have here a letter for an individual home in Toronto -- have gone up 50 per cent for 1976, would he be prepared to intervene on behalf of the person making the complaint before the Anti-Inflation Board?
Hon. Mr. Handleman: I don’t know when the rate increase that the hon. Leader of the Opposition refers to was made.
Mr. Lewis: After Thanksgiving.
Hon. Mr. Handleman: It may have been imposed after, on the basis of the schedule that was imposed before Thanksgiving Day, and whether or not it is subject to the AIB I really don’t know.
Mr. Cassidy: You are squirming.
Hon. Mr. Handleman: I would be prepared to look at that again and see if it is subject to AIB. I can tell the member this, that the insurance companies have been called to AIB, are negotiating their rates with them, and setting justifications before the AIB.
Mr. Cassidy: Negotiating?
Mr. Lewis: A further question of the minister: Is he aware of the Toronto, Hamilton and Buffalo Railway case involving increases in rent on land leased to cottage owners of $150 a lot to $500 a lot? Is he prepared to go before the AIB on behalf of those cottage owners and protest the increase in the rental rates?
Hon. Mr. Handleman: Mr. Speaker, I don’t believe I caught the whole question; and I must apologize to the hon. member. I didn’t realize he was directing another question to me.
Mr. Lewis: I meant to ask the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations. I am bringing to his attention yet another very major increase in costs, this time in the area of rant of properties leased to cottage owners by the Toronto, Hamilton and Buffalo Railway that have jumped from $150 a lot to $500 a lot. Would he be prepared to intervene before the Anti-Inflation Board, since they do not appear to be willing to respond?
Hon. Mr. Handleman: Mr. Speaker, it is not the function of our ministry to intervene before the Anti-Inflation Board. I assume from what the hon. Leader of the Opposition says the property is not subject to rent review and, therefore, there would be no legal basis for our intervention?
Mr. Cassidy: What about price?
Mr. Lewis: Does the minister feel he has any obligation at all, of any kind politically, to intervene to protect the consumers in Ontario when the federal wage and price guidelines do not turn back illegitimate prices -- or does he wash his hands of it?
Hon. Mr. Handleman: No, Mr. Speaker, we don’t wash our hands of anything in this government. We use the legislative remedies that are available to us; and if there is a legislative remedy available to me, I’m prepared to look into it. But I do not intervene with the AIB, nor does this government.
Mr. Cassidy: And if there isn’t a remedy, you wash your hands.
Hon. Mr. Handleman: If there isn’t any remedy, what do you do?
Mr. Cassidy: You find one.
Hon. Mr. Handleman: You find one? Where?
Mr. Cassidy: You found one with the AIB. You had no problem there.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT STEERING COMMITTEE
Mr. Breithaupt: I have a question of the Minister of the Environment with respect to the environmental assessment steering committee. Can the minister advise us what work has been done by that committee, which was to report progress on a weekly basis, and whether that work has been completed to the point that we can expect an expedition of the Environmental Assessment Act in its proclamation as soon as possible?
Hon. Mr. Kerr: Mr. Speaker, that committee has met regularly since last year and it is my understanding now that there is one more meeting to be held. I hope the regulations will be finalized so that they can be presented to cabinet by the end of this month.
Mr. Breithaupt: By way of supplementary, can the minister advise us, when the Act does become law, if the Ontario Municipal Board will have to withhold any decisions until the Environmental Assessment Board applications are heard in all cases that might come before that board?
Hon. Mr. Kerr: I doubt that very much. I think the Act and regulations in all probability will apply to any new applications by any government body or agency.
Mr. Breithaupt: A question of the Minister of Education: Can the minister advise us when we will know when the grant regulations for school boards will be produced, which were promised, as I recall, in mid-January but apparently have not come forward, so that the boards are having difficulty in planning for their budgets?
Hon. Mr. Wells: First, Mr. Speaker, let me say that the information that the school boards need in order to compute their grants is all in their hands and has been in their hands for three weeks. The printed grant regulations, which are sort of the final printing of the actual regulations that put the changes for this year into effect, will be in their hands next week. But I must point out to the hon. member that the school boards now have all the information they need, and have had it for three weeks, in order to fairly accurately compute what they are going to get in grants.
Mrs. Campbell: Fairly accurately?
Mr. Breithaupt: Supplementary: Is it correct that there will be certain school boards that can and will receive either the same or less funds because of the declining enrolment factor, and the shift in provincial support for education costs being a greater amount than the increase of eight per cent and the eight per cent plus $80 which is planned for this year?
Hon. Mr. Wells: In actual dollars, some of the boards will receive less in grants this year than they received last year. Yes, that is quite right; that will be due to a variety of circumstances. In some cases indeed it will be because they have fewer pupils. In other cases it will be because of changes in their assessment; if they become a richer board, in assessment terms, than they were last year, there could be a change.
RENT REVIEW PROGRAMME
Hon. Mrs. Scrivener: Mr. Speaker, in answer to a question directed to me by the member for Algoma (Mr. Wildman) on Monday of this week, concerning rent charged to employees in government-provided accommodation, I am pleased to advise as follows:
For a number of years the Ontario government has provided accommodation for some employees in certain northern areas of the province and in some relatively isolated situations, such as parks or very small communities, where it has been necessary to ensure effective programme delivery. The administration of government-provided employee accommodation has been and is currently administered by the Civil Service Commission.
In June, 1973, the Ministry of Government Services was asked to complete appraisals for these properties to provide a basis for fair market rental. The Ministry of Government Services completed the appraisals and the ministries involved were requested to commence payroll deductions on Oct. 1, 1975, based on the revised rental rates.
In most cases the revised rental rates necessitated an increase in rent. However, in no case was the rent increased by more than $25 per month on Oct. 1, 1975. Further increases, if necessary, were to be made at six-month intervals, with such increases not to exceed $25 per month, until fair market rental was reached. The full adjustment was planned for completion by Oct. 1, 1977.
When the Residential Premises Rent Review Act came into force, the plan to provide for fair market rental of these houses was inconsistent with the provisions under the rent control legislation. Although the government is not bound by the rent control legislation, we intend to be consistent with the provisions of the Act. Therefore, there will be a roll-back where indicated. From now on, all rental increases for employees in government-provided accommodation will be made in accordance with regulations under the Rent Review Act and any rental increases which have been implemented and which exceed the provisions of the legislation will be refunded to employees.
Mr. Lewis: First the member for Algoma saves Bruce Mines and now all of the workers who rent. Not bad for one day.
Mr. Cassidy: You are covered by rent review as well.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
SEASONAL FARM WORKERS
Mr. MacDonald: A question of the Minister of Agriculture and Food: What has happened to the election promise made by the Premier (Mr. Davis) in a speech in Ridgetown on Sept. 9 to the effect that there would be a full rebate of provincial income tax to anyone engaged in seasonal work on the farms and that the province would approach the federal government to extend the $1,000 exemption to any Canadian engaged in seasonal work on the farm?
Hon. W. Newman: That matter is under very active consideration in my ministry now. There are very active discussions on this particular point. We have had some discussions and we hope we will have an answer for the member very soon.
Mr. Moffatt: It is in the Throne debate.
Mr. Martel: Next year!
Mr. Makarchuk: It’s so good you are keeping it around for the next one.
Mr. Foulds: They are not going to have another chance.
Mr. MacDonald: In view of the commitment of the Premier that whether or not the government of Canada responds to the $1,000 exemption at the federal level, the government of Ontario is prepared to rebate its share of provincial tax to those who were seasonally employed, can the minister at least give us the assurance that he will move on that aspect of the election promise that relates to the provincial government?
Hon. W. Newman: There have been a lot of changes since the budget came in but let me say the whole matter is under active consideration.
Mr. Lewis: Since the budget came in? What budget?
Mr. Moffatt: What budget?
Mr. Speaker: A final supplementary, the Leader of the Opposition.
Mr. Lewis: What is the minister talking about?
Hon. W. Newman: I am sorry, I am talking about estimates. My apologies.
Mr. Lewis: Since the estimates came out?
Hon. W. Newman: We are pulling this whole thing together now and hopefully we will have an answer.
Mr. Lewis: I have his promise at this time.
Mr. MacDonald: Why wasn’t it in the supplementary estimates we had to consider yesterday?
Hon. W. Newman: Why wasn’t it in the supplementary estimates?
Mr. MacDonald: Right!
Hon. W. Newman: We will look at them when the time comes.
Mr. Lewis: Oh, will you?
Mr. Martel: What a bunch of windbags over there! They promise everything.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
GOVERNMENT SERVICES EXPENDITURES
Mr. Riddell: A question of the Minister of Government Services: In keeping with the budgetary restraint programme of this government, which we on this side agree is necessary, if applied in areas which do not present further hardships to the sick --
Mr. Lewis: Restraints if necessary but not necessarily restraints.
Mr. Riddell: -- the handicapped and the poor, would the minister not agree that the government expenditure of $30,000 plus to decorate the plush four-storey MTC office building on Highway 135 with green plants was completely unnecessary at this cost-cutting period of time and would she not agree that the expenditure of $67,500 to construct and furnish a more modern office and suite for the Honourable the Lieutenant Governor is surely a lower priority item than a public health lab, the closing of which is supposedly saving the government $12,000? Which is more important, green plants and modern suites or patients?
Hon. Mrs. Scrivener: The member is equating apples with oranges.
An hon. member: And some of the apples have gone rotten!
Mr. Peterson: That’s people.
Mr. Reid: There is a high degree of responsibility right there.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Mr. Singer: Quite an answer, that one!
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. The member for Oshawa with his question.
Mr. Lewis: It is quite an effective reply.
Mr. Breaugh: I would like to ask the Solicitor General if he is prepared to set a uniform policy for police chase procedures in Ontario.
Hon. Mr. MacBeth: Not to the point where we take away from the individual officer on the scene or at the site the final discretion of whether or not the police chase should take place. That must remain, in my opinion and in the opinion of those who are senior in the importance of law, with that individual officer.
As far as policy is concerned, the OPP have an extensive policy in regard to when and when not in their opinion -- that is, in the general guidelines as to when a chase should or not take place. It is similar to what the Metropolitan Toronto force has and, I believe, what most major forces have. I am asking the police commission to review all these policies and all guidelines and put them all together and make sure that every force in the province has those guidelines to follow. But, as I say, it must remain up to the individual officer to make the decision in any one case.
Mr. Breaugh: Supplementary question, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Speaker: We will allow the supplementary.
Mr. Breaugh: Does the minister think it quite fair to put on to one individual police officer something that becomes, after the fact, a matter of great public scrutiny? I would quote for him the case of the incident in Acton recently where --
Mr. Speaker: The question has been placed. Thank you.
Mr. Breaugh: Is that really fair?
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Hon. Mr. MacBeth: Yes, sir, that’s one of the responsibilities that goes with being a policeman.
PICKERING LAND FREEZE
Mr. Stong: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the provincial Treasurer: In the light of the announcement about six months ago by this government that services would not be provided for the Pickering airport site, thereby effectively stopping construction at that site, when does the Treasurer intend to lift the freeze around the lands in that area so that the people affected, such as those in the town of Markham, may enjoy relief from the continuing and oppressive losses to their home values?
Hon. Mr. McKeough: Mr. Speaker, that is a matter that is under consideration by the government.
PORT ARTHUR CLINIC DISPUTE
Mr. Foulds: Mr. Speaker, a question of the Minister of Labour, if I might: Does the minister have a report on the dispute at the Port Arthur Clinic? Has the ministry closed the file on that particular dispute, or is there a possibility that negotiations may still continue?
Hon. B. Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, we have not closed the file. We have been in communication by letter during the last 10 days, as a matter of fact, with bath parties to this dispute. We have had a response from one party. We have not had a response as yet from the other side; we are awaiting that.
Mr. Foulds: Supplementary, if I might, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Speaker: Supplementary.
Mr. Foulds: Does the decision by the Ontario Labour Relations Board concerning a recent case -- and I think it’s in Barrie with DeVilbiss (Canada) Ltd. and the electrical workers -- have any bearing on the clinic case, as I believe there is a first contract element in both?
Hon. B. Stephenson: I would suppose that any case heard by the Ontario Labour Relations Board regarding a first contract would have some bearing on this situation. I am not sure that one has any direct bearing at this time.
Mr. Bullbrook: Through you to the Treasurer, Mr. Speaker, with reference to the application being made to the Supreme Court of Canada as to the validity of the agreement that the Treasurer signed with the federal government, presuming that the Supreme Court of Canada might find it to be invalid and presuming that there wouldn’t be a Legislature extant in Ontario at the time, what does he intend to do?
Hon. Mr. McKeough: Well, Mr. Speaker, I think that’s a very hypothetical question.
Mr. Bullbrook: By way of supplementary, and most respectfully: In view of the mess the leader of the New Democratic Party is getting us into, surely it can’t be regarded as hypothetical at all.
Mr. Lewis: Have they been worrying overnight -- this crowd over here?
Mr. Speaker: The member for Beaches-Woodbine. Thank you.
Mr. Lewis: We are not backing off.
Mr. Speaker: The hon. Leader of the Opposition will please take his seat.
Mr. Foulds: Where is the Liberal leader today?
SPECIAL PROGRAMME REVIEW
Ms. Bryden: Mr. Speaker, I also have a question for the provincial Treasurer. I would like to ask him how he could sign the report of the special programme review, in which it is stated that the tax credit for mortgage interest is in effect in November, 1975, when in actual fact it was only an election promise which had not been implemented at that date, and which has now been rejected, according to the information we received yesterday?
Hon. Mr. McKeough: Mr. Speaker, I would want to check the wording, without doubting the veracity of my friend’s question or the implications in the question, but she might also want to check and she will find that my signature is not on the report.
Ms. Bryden: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: I have the exact wording here if the minister would like me to read it to him.
Mr. Speaker: I think not.
Mr. Conway: Through you, Mr. Speaker, a question for the Minister of Agriculture and Food: Is the minister aware of the serious difficulties in which the Pembroke Creamery presently finds itself?
Hon. W. Newman: No.
Mr. Conway: By way of supplementary, Mr. Speaker, would the minister please -- in the light of the fact that the difficulties at that particular creamery are the direct result of an inexcusably bad loan arrangement made with the Eganville Creamery -- look into what is a serious problem at the Pembroke Creamery, because most of the Renfrew county cream producers are in serious jeopardy today?
Hon. W. Newman: I don’t know what the member means by being in difficulty, because if I remember last fall that was taken over, was it not, by Ault? Is that the one he is talking about?
Mr. Conway: The question would be that because of the fact that the Ault --
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. I believe the hon. minister just wished clarification as to whether he was dealing with the right matter.
Mr. Conway: Perhaps the question would be better put if it was put this way: When Ault Foods, with the help of a $1 million ODC loan, took over the Eganville Creamery it took over all the area of sale in that particular Renfrew county zone. The Pembroke Creamery was approached by the government of Ontario --
Mr. Speaker: And the question?
Mr. Conway: -- and told to take over the cream production --
Mr. Speaker: And the question, thank you?
Mr. Conway: -- and now they can’t sell their product. What is the minister going to do about it?
Hon. W. Newman: If the member is talking about the market share quota situation, which I believe he is, about a surplus of market share quota -- that’s a surplus of powdered milk, plus a surplus of butter -- if that’s what he’s talking about, I am meeting with Mr. Whelan and with the other provincial ministers this coming week, as a result of a wire I received from him this morning, to try and sort out that whole situation across this province and across Canada.
WATER QUALITY OF MILL STREAMS
Mr. Angus: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Minister of the Environment. Now that the minister obviously has the results of the intensive analysis of the pulp and paper mill streams of the province -- I say obviously because of the cleanup orders that he is negotiating -- could the minister share those facts and figures with this Legislature, as he has promised to do twice in the past?
Hon. Mr. Kerr: I believe, Mr. Speaker, I have given the hon. member the figures on the improvements in water quality downstream from those particular mills as a result of a shutdown, if he doesn’t have that, that’s an oversight. I should have followed up, I’m sorry. I’d be happy to let the member have those figures. I gave this information in a speech in his home town just a month ago.
AUTO LICENSING AGENCIES
Mr. Reid: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Transportation and Communications. Is the minister prepared to tell the House how he is going to clean up the motor vehicle licensing branch in his ministry? Can he tell the House how much of public funds has not been turned in to the Treasury from these motor vehicle licensers across the province?
Hon. Mr. Snow: Mr. Speaker, the hon. member has had a question on the order paper for the last few days, I believe it’s under his name, inquiring as to the amount of shortages of funds over the past five years. I expect I’ll have that report to table within the next day or two. In the meantime, I assure you, Mr. Speaker, the amounts involved are minimal.
The other part of the hon. member’s question or statement as to what I am going to do to clean up the branch, I believe is the way he put it; first, I don’t think I’m going to take any action to do any cleaning up of the branch.
Mr. Reid: What about the checking of receipts when they come in? Did the minister read the auditor’s report?
Hon. Mr. Snow: Certain comments were made to my ministry, through my deputy minister, by the Provincial Auditor some months ago concerning things that came to the auditor’s attention. Since that time considerable action has been taken by the ministry and considerable improvement has been made in the computer programme, which I’m the first to admit has given us some problems. I think as of this date the accounting part or the reporting part is very well under control.
Mr. Reid: A supplementary, if I may. Is the minister satisfied with the way the ministry operates in appointing motor vehicle licence issuers across the province? Is he satisfied with the way that is done, the way it is handled, without any bonding? Apparently there are people who have charges against them and yet they are handling public funds.
Secondly, and more specifically, is the minister prepared to continue the practice of having Ontario Hydro have its trucks registered with a private vehicle licenser in the Province of Ontario, which apparently brings that person some $35,000 in vehicle licences when it could be done downtown?
Mr. Speaker: I believe the second part of that question is not supplementary to the main question. The answer to the first part, the hon. minister.
Hon. Mr. Snow: First of all, I would say I am satisfied that the present system of having private motor vehicle licence issuing offices is the most appropriate and the most economic system for --
Mr. Reid: It needs a little tightening up.
Hon. Mr. Snow: -- issuing these licence plates that is possible.
Mr. Lewis: You could do it through Drake Personnel.
Ms. Gigantes: That’s a good idea.
Hon. Mr. Snow: Obviously, a programme such as this we are reviewing continuously. There will no doubt, from time to time, be some changes made. On the comments regarding the bonding of the particular issuing agents, the hon. member may not be aware that the government is a self-insurer. We do not provide bonds in this case as we do not provide insurance on most capital --
Mr. Reid: There is a slight difference, though, don’t you think? You are dealing with public funds.
Hon. Mr. Snow: I would suggest that when I am able to table the --
Mr. Lewis: Why don’t you watch the issuers?
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Hon. Mr. Snow: When I am able to table the report --
Mr. Lewis: Why don’t you enforce the law?
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Hon. Mr. Snow: Mr. Speaker, do they want me to answer this question or not?
Mr. Singer: We are very concerned that you answer it.
Hon. Mr. Snow: Mr. Speaker, I am sure when I do table the figures the hon. member asked for he will be pleasantly surprised and it will be obvious that over the past years the operation of this system has been such as to indicate no need for all the agents to be bonded.
Hon. Mr. McKeough: It will make your spring vacation.
Hon. Mr. Snow: With regard to Ontario Hydro buying its licences through a private agency, I would suggest that perhaps the hon. member should take this matter up with the Minister of Energy (Mr. Timbrell) as I have no authorization or no way of telling a particular motor vehicle owner where he or she or that company should buy the licence. I have some concern regarding the member’s statement that there was $35,000 in commissions involved.
Mr. Reid: The total cost.
Hon. Mr. Snow: I believe he meant annually; $35,000 would be something like 50,000 vehicles.
Mr. Speaker: I think the balance of the answer should come in the written answer.
SCARBOROUGH EXPRESS BUS EXPERIMENT
Mr. Warner: A question for the Minister of Transportation and Communications: Is it a lack of government concern for public transit or is there some other reason for not providing the supplement needed to continue the Scarborough express bus experiment?
Hon. Mr. Snow: Mr. Speaker, there is no lack of government concern for transit. A great many million dollars of funds are being made available to the municipality of Metropolitan Toronto which, in turn, makes that money available to the operating authority, the Toronto Transit Commission, which, in turn, sets its priorities for the operation of the transit system. The decisions as to the operation of that system are basically with the local authority.
Mr. Warner: Supplementary: Is the minister not aware that representation has been made to the government that if a supplementary grant is not received from the province by May 1, it will result in that experiment being curtailed?
Hon. Mr. Snow: First of all, that is not an experiment of my ministry. If it’s an experiment at all, it must be an experiment of the TTC. I am not aware of an application for a special grant. I have received no communication regarding that. And, although I’ll naturally review any request that I receive, I would have to say that the possibility of any special grant for the municipality of Metropolitan Toronto for a specific bus service is almost nil.
ELECTED OFFICIALS OF HOUSING AUTHORITIES
Mr. Eakins: Mr. Speaker, a question for the Minister of Housing. Are there any elected officials serving on housing authorities, has the minister received any requests for such, and is he planning to change legislation to accommodate elected officials?
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: To the best of my knowledge, Mr. Speaker, I don’t believe there are elected officials serving on housing authorities. I trust the hon. member is familiar with how appointments to the housing authorities are made. I don’t intend to change the legislation. From the sound, Mr. Speaker, I note there may be others in the House who don’t know how they’re made either.
Mr. Bullbrook: I’m one of them. Lorne does mine all the time.
Mr. Cassidy: Supplementary: Apart from the three tenants now on housing authority boards, does the ministry have any further plans to include more tenants on these public housing authority boards?
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: No, I don’t have any plans to specifically include tenants on the board. Perhaps I’ll take the time to remind the hon. member, as I think he is aware, that appointments to the housing authority are made on an alternating basis as the positions become vacant, from the federal government, from the municipal government and from the provincial government; and although these appointments are all confirmed by an order in council, they are never rejected when they come in from the federal or municipal governments. The hon. member should talk to the rest of his colleagues in the various levels of government.
Mr. Cassidy: How about you?
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: You’ve already spoken to me and I’ve taken care of your problems.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
ACCESS TO OSHAWA MARSH
Mr. Moffatt: Mr. Speaker, a question to the Minister of the Environment. I would like to know if the members of this minister’s staff are still being denied access to the marshland known as the Oshawa Second Marsh, which is presently under control of the Oshawa Harbour Commission.
Hon. Mr. Kerr: Mr. Speaker, I’m not aware that they are prohibited from inspecting that site. I’ll get the information and give it to the hon. member.
INVESTMENT PORTFOLIO OF COMMUNITY COLLEGES
Mr. Sweeney: A question of the Minister of Colleges and Universities, Mr. Speaker. Is the minister aware of the fact that Seneca College, through his ministry’s funding mechanism, has been able to build up an investment portfolio of $2 million? If so, does he approve of this procedure?
Hon. Mr. Parrott: I am aware of the dollars that each institution has. We think that there should be every reason for those fund to be used appropriately for the purposes for which they were designated; and I’m sure, given the present financial restraint that all of the areas have to cope with, that’s precisely what will happen to those funds.
Mr. Sweeney: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Speaker: Supplementary, the member for Scarborough-Ellesmere.
Mr. Warner: Supplementary: Will the minister be instructing the colleges to use their reserves and that, in future, only a percentage of the budget will be allowed for reserves and nothing beyond that percentage?
Hon. Mr. Parrott: I’m sure that the hon. member is aware that reserves are not a usual problem; if I read the press correctly, it is usually to the contrary. Usually the colleges are complaining about the deficits that they have faced -- particularly when we announce the amount of money. We hear a great deal about the deficits that they expect to have; the deficits don’t usually materialize to that degree. I’m not contemplating legislative controls in that instance.
Mr. Warner: Supplementary.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. Did the hon. member for Kitchener-Wilmot have a supplementary?
Mr. Sweeney: Yes, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Speaker: I’m sorry, I didn’t notice you earlier.
Mr. Sweeney: Supplementary: Given the very point that the minister has just made, that so many of the colleges are in difficulty, how is it possible for them to build up those kinds of surplus reserves?
Hon. Mr. Parrott: I would like to correct the interpretation that the hon. member has placed on my answer. I did not suggest that they were in difficulty. I suggested that the press would report, when the colleges were given their original allocations, that they suggested they would be in difficulty.
I also noted that usually that deficit didn’t materialize but, indeed, a balanced budget was struck. In some instances, with good efficiency and good management on the part of the administration, there was a surplus -- not usually very large -- but, indeed, there should be. I want to encourage a surplus position if it is created by good management within the administration. I would not want to criticize a community college for building a surplus if it could be done through good management. I think there is an occasion here and there where that does occur. But, certainly, there is very little evidence in the original press release that they expect that surplus to become a fact of life.
GO TRANSIT TERMINALS
Hon. Mr. Snow: Mr. Speaker, I believe it was on Monday that the hon. member for Oriole (Mr. Williams) asked me a question regarding transit terminals. Due to the fact that the answer is somewhat lengthy, perhaps I could table it with the Clerk.
Mr. Swart: Mr. Speaker, in the absence of the Minister of Health and the Premier, perhaps I can direct this question to the Chairman of Cabinet. Is he aware that the House leader made an announcement yesterday morning that the matter of the bed closings and the cutbacks of the hospitals in the St. Catharines area is now being referred to the hospital council in that area for its review and a report with recommendations to the Minister of Health (Mr. F. S. Miller)? Is this a change in policy whereby the government is now going to consult with the health councils and other concerned people in all of the areas where there are cutbacks in closings?
Hon. Mr. Brunelle: No, I was not aware of that statement.
CERTIFICATION OF SKILLED WORKERS
Mr. Mancini: I have a question of the Minister of Colleges and Universities. In view of the fact that the meat cutters of Ontario serve an apprenticeship of nearly 4,000 hours, why is it they are not issued certificates which would classify them as skilled workers?
Hon. Mr. Parrott: I can’t give the member a detailed answer on that question. I’ll be prepared to get it for him. I think that if the information he supplies in his question is correct, it probably illustrates a prime reason for the Industrial Training Council we recently established -- and one of their duties would be to look into the apprenticeship programme. We have already identified that as one of their prime responsibilities.
Given that the information is correct in the question, we’ll certainly refer that item to them. In the meantime, if I can give the member some more information, I will do so in due course.
CONTAMINATION OF FISH
Mr. Foulds: I have a question of the Minister of the Environment. Is the minister aware of the report that was released some two weeks ago by the Great Lakes Environmental Contaminant Survey Board of the high levels of contaminants in fish, particularly trout, in the western part of Lake Superior -- those contaminants being PCBs, mercury and DDT? Is the ministry taking action to warn people not to eat those fish more than once a week, as that report recommended?
Hon. Mr. Kerr: Yes, Mr. Speaker, I’m aware of the report; the report pretty well confirms our statistics. As a matter of fact, the report has some information from my ministry and the Ministry of Natural Resources. It confirms the figure that we’ve had for about six months, specifically in relation to the trout in Lake Superior.
Mr. Foulds: A supplementary, Mr. Speaker, if I might. Has the minister had discussions with the Ministry of Natural Resources as to the effect that this will have, up to this point, on recovering the lake trout fishing industry in Lake Superior?
Hon. Mr. Kerr: Yes, Mr. Speaker; and also when we had the original information regarding PCB’s in trout, and also information on Lake Erie and Ontario, that information was publicized quite widely and people were warned as far as the contents in those species were concerned, and to be careful as far as eating them was concerned.
Mr. Speaker: The member for St. George has a final question.
REPORT ON DAY CARE
Mrs. Campbell: A question of the Minister of Community and Social Services: In view of the fact that the Citizens Advisory Committee report on day care was presented to the minister on Friday, Jan. 30, could the minister advise when that report, paid for at public expense, is to be brought to this House and submitted for consideration by the people of this province?
Hon. Mr. Taylor: Might I remind the member that the committee was specifically set up to advise the Minister of Community and Social Services in connection with the field of day care. That report has now been submitted to me as the member has indicated. I am reviewing that report and in due course I will determine the distribution of it.
Mr. Speaker: The question period has expired.
Mr. Edighoffer from the standing miscellaneous estimates committee reported the following resolution:
Resolved: That supply in the following supplementary amounts and to defray the expenses of the following ministries be granted to Her Majesty for the fiscal year ending March 31, 1976:
Ministry of Revenue
Guaranteed income and tax credit programme $9,100,000.
Ministry of Agriculture and Food
Agricultural production programme $9,000,000.
Mr. Speaker: Motions.
Introduction of bills.
HIGHWAY TRAFFIC AMENDMENT ACT
Hon. Mr. Snow moved first reading of bill intituled, An Act to amend the Highway Traffic Act.
Motion agreed to; first reading of the bill.
Hon. Mr. Snow: This bill contains a number of amendments directed toward highway safety. Some of the changes include amendments which will allow for better noticeability of motorcycles on the highway; the regulation and control of oversize farm vehicles on the highway; the use of paved shoulders for passing movements in limited circumstances when slow-moving or stopped vehicles impede other traffic; and the rule of the road respecting school crossing guards.
Other amendments respecting the suspension of drivers’ licences are in response to amendments to the Criminal Code and provide for court-ordered extensions of suspensions and suspensions following absolute or conditional discharges.
Finally, a shipper who knowingly causes a vehicle to be overloaded, intending it to be operated on a highway, will be subject to the same penalty as the operator of the vehicle.
SUCCESSION DUTY AMENDMENT ACT
Hon. Mr. Meen moved first reading of bill intituled, An Act to amend the Succession Duty Act.
Motion agreed to; first reading of the bill.
Hon. Mr. Meen: Mr. Speaker, amendments to this bill are intended to minimize the effectiveness of certain methods of tax avoidance; to remove anomalies in the payment of forgivable duty on farming assets; to increase significantly the amount that can be paid out to the family of a deceased person, without ministry consent, by insurance companies, banks and pension funds; and to promote loans of artistic and cultural property to Ontario institutions by non-residents of Ontario.
ONTARIO MUNICIPAL EMPLOYEES RETIREMENT SYSTEM AMENDMENT ACT
Hon. Mr. McKeough moved first reading of bill intituled, An Act to amend the Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System Act.
Motion agreed to; first reading of the bill.
Hon. Mr. McKeough: The amendments in this bill extend the benefits to permanent staff members of a municipal employees association or union who hitherto were prevented from participating in the system.
The second provision expands the type of service which municipalities may include when crediting employees for service for supplementary benefits. This would include service with other municipalities or other government employers and military service.
The third provision permits the Lieutenant Governor in Council to grant retroactive application of regulation changes when a benefit provision is changed.
EDUCATION AMENDMENT ACT
Mr. Grande moved first reading of bill intituled, An Act to amend the Education Act, 1974.
Motion agreed to; first reading of the bill.
Mr. Grande: The purpose of this amendment is to make it clear that it is permitted for a teacher to teach a language other than English at both the elementary and secondary school level and to communicate to pupils in a language other than English or French at both the elementary and secondary school levels.
Mr. Mancini: You are dreaming.
Mr. Speaker: Before the orders of the day I’ll recognize the member for St. Andrew-St. Patrick.
ST. PATRICK’S DAY
Mr. Grossman: Mr. Speaker, in the tradition of this House, although I’m not wearing green today, I thought I would rise, particularly in the absence of the member for Wentworth (Mr. Deans) I suppose, to acknowledge this day. I would ordinarily be wearing green in honour of St. Patrick’s Day but the colour of the faces in the Liberal Party today will suffice.
Mr. Riddell: Look in the mirror.
Mr. Peterson: Since when did you represent the Irish?
Mr. Grossman: I can’t even comment on St. Patrick Day without being controversial.
Mr. Singer: Compare apples and oranges, will you?
Mr. Peterson: You would be more appropriate on Groundhog Day.
Mr. Grossman: Suffice it to say that in honour of one of the patron saints of my riding, when there was some suggestion a few weeks ago that some members may want to recommend name changes for their ridings, in spite of the fact that I would have considered changing the name of my riding to, say, Muskoka, Brampton or Riverdale, I decided to stick with St. Andrew-St. Patrick. I might also note that of the, I believe, seven hospitals which are in that portion of either St. George or the now St. Andrew-St. Patrick riding, that were formerly in the riding known as St. Patrick, none were closed. Therefore, the luck of the Irish must still prevail.
Mr. Bullbrook: I have come here to listen to the Premier (Mr. Davis) today, not this fellow.
Mr. Peterson: How appropriate your remarks!
Hon. Mr. Welch: Before calling the orders of the day, the order paper today doesn’t indicate the meeting of the miscellaneous estimates committee. Immediately following the Premier’s contribution to the Throne Speech debate, the miscellaneous estimates committee will meet to consider the supplementary estimate requirements of the Ministry of the Environment and the office of the Assembly.
Clerk of the House: The first order, resuming the adjourned debate on the amendment to the amendment to the motion for an address in reply to the speech of the Honourable the Lieutenant Governor at the opening of the session.
THRONE SPEECH DEBATE (CONTINUED)
Mr. Cassidy: This may be the Premier’s last time, you know.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I will say to the hon. member, Mr. Speaker, that I wouldn’t count on that. I wouldn’t even make book on it.
Mr. Kennedy: Beware the ides of March.
Hon. Mr. Davis: However, it is not my intention to be at all provocative or controversial today.
Mr. Mancini: That is what he said the last time.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Not much it isn’t. However, at the outset, Mr. Speaker, I would like to begin by congratulating the mover and seconder of Her Honour’s most excellent address.
I was deeply touched by the words and commitments expressed by my good friend, the member for Stormont-Dundas-Glengarry (Mr. Villeneuve), who has served in this House and his constituency so well for so many years. I know I speak for all members in this House when I say how pleased we all are that he has made such an excellent recovery and that he is able to continue in the service of this province and in the service of the people who have sent him to Queen’s Park with such great consistency and commitment for many years, and I would hope for many years yet to come.
I also express my congratulations to the seconder of Her Honour’s address, the member for St. Andrew-St. Patrick (Mr. Grossman) who carried on a tradition here this afternoon as he serves in a very non-controversial way, an example that has been set for him by his very distinguished predecessor in that particular constituency.
I think it is very important in this day and age, and above all important for our democratic institutions, that a member has an opportunity to cite his concerns with respect to a local matter without limiting his support for the government.
I think, in the view of any thoughtful observer, it reflects well in the strength and vitality of a government when one of its members can be allowed to present differing views within the context of the Throne Speech debate.
Clearly there will be differing views expressed today from those expressed on Monday by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Lewis), and those which appear to have been expressed by the leader of the Liberal Party.
Hon. Mr. Handleman: It was pretty hard to understand what he was saying.
Hon. J. R. Smith: Where is he?
Hon. Mr. Davis: I want to say this at the outset and I hope the hon. House leader will understand when I ask him to convey to his leader the very constructive suggestions I have to offer to his new leader here in the non-provocative sense that I suggested at the outset -- I did receive a note from the new leader of the Liberal Party --
Mr. Breithaupt: I will even take notes.
Hon. Mr. Davis: -- in spite of the fact that we had arranged these debates for about 10 days that he did have a commitment elsewhere. I regret, and I don’t say this critically, that in the light of his observations yesterday and the serious way in which all members of this House take them, that one would think --
Mr. Lewis: He would think!
Hon. Mr. Davis: -- that he might have been here this afternoon.
There are amendments to Her Honour’s address before the House, which, let’s not fool anyone, constitute direct expressions of non-confidence in the government which it is my privilege to lead.
I don’t really see any reason to express either shock at the decision of both parties to make amendments or sub-amendments to the address. It is rather a time, and I say this sincerely, to express disappointment.
I want at the outset, however, to lay before this House and the province some of the fundamental choices and issues which we face as a province and which are suggested by the Throne Speech itself.
I start with the premise, which was unfortunately underlined once again by the posture in this House taken by the Leader of the Opposition and his Liberal colleague, that there are some in this House who are prepared to make those choices and some who insist on running away from them.
There are some in this House who are prepared to put those choices honestly and deliberately before the people and there are some who refuse to face up to the fundamental economic reality of our time and the fundamental public responsibility we all share in this House to serve the economic wellbeing of future generations of Ontarians.
It is interesting to sit back, as we did, and assess the thrust of the speech made so eloquently and intermittently passionately by the Leader of the Opposition. You know, there is clearly a new angle emerging to the traditional NDP approach of claiming a monopoly on public interest, a monopoly on concern for people and a monopoly on social and economic equality.
My good friend, the Leader of the Opposition, and those whom it is his pleasure to lead, now stand before this House and want to debate the issue of economic management and fiscal responsibility. I will return to that discussion very shortly. But, of course, the Leader of the Opposition took every opportunity, during the initial part of his remarks, to make passing reference to the new leader of the Liberal Party in Ontario. And while it would be inappropriate for me to suggest that his remarks were not totally complimentary, I would point out with respect to the leader of the Liberal Party, who, as I said, I had hoped would be here, that he can probably do without that sort of praise from his colleague on his right, the Leader of the Opposition. I have had some experience with praise from the Leader of the Opposition --
Mr. Lewis: You ain’t seen nothing yet.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Oh! I am delighted. I am delighted.
Hon. Mr. Handleman: It is going to be a love-in.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I have had some experience and I have come, not to take it with a grain of salt, because that would be unfair, but to consider it carefully in my mind and to seek the advice of others before truly accepting it as praise. I have to analyse these things very carefully these days. There is no question that he is well known for his tremendous intellectual and debating capacities, backed up by a researcher or two or three or four or five -- how many does he have now on staff?
Mr. Lewis: Nine.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Nine?
Hon. Mr. Handleman: How many have you got on our staff?
Mr. Cassidy: We’ve got 50 on your side.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I offer this not as a comment but merely as advice to the leader of the Liberal Party: The Leader of the Opposition lacks no instant answer to any long-term problem. That is indeed refreshing at a time when more and more people wonder whether government is considering all the right options; at a time when we wonder whether those who have in the past claimed to have all the answers have indeed succeeded in doing anything more than creating more problems in the process.
It is reassuring for both the leader of the Liberal Party and myself to know that, notwithstanding the problems the province may wish to have carefully considered -- and notwithstanding the complexity of the issues facing the people of Ontario today, whenever there is doubt or the need for review or for second thoughts, there will continue to be in this Legislature a single repository of instant answers and instant responses to all of our problems.
Mr. MacDonald: That’s a cheap shot.
Hon. Mr. Davis: It’s a statement of fact.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I am sure that our democratic system and politics generally in Ontario are made better, as I am sure the Liberal Party would agree, by the presence of an individual who has no doubts, no fears --
Mr. Lewis: Enormous doubts.
Hon. Mr. Davis: -- but simply simplistic and one-dimensional answers. Of course, what we face in reality today, and it is one of the problems we have in this province and one of the realities touched upon very directly by the Throne Speech is that government in real life in an open and free democracy is simply not that easy.
Clearly, for example, the Leader of the Opposition, if he were Premier of this province -- and rye got to tell you, Mr. Speaker, we’re going to make every effort to see it doesn’t happen -- would like to see the Minister of Health and the Ministry of Health operate in a one dimensional, simple-minded fashion.
To follow the logic, and I listened carefully to his observations on Monday, which is not totally unrepresentative of previous positions he has taken, the Ministry of Health would sit down and decide that because there were certain individuals who may be involved in overbilling with respect to laboratories, because certain doctors and laboratories may be involved in misusing the OHIP system, because there may be meaningful losses which may be resulting in this sort of activity, and before every last possible misuse of funds was rooted out of the system, the ministry should stop all streamlining activities it had embarked upon in order to preserve the integrity of the system.
Mr. Lewis: I never said that.
Hon. Mr. Davis: The Leader of the Opposition may not like to hear it said that way, but really if one follows the line of his logic on Monday that is precisely what he is saying.
Mr. Cassidy: That’s not the way he said it.
Mr. Lewis: You guys should resign, is that what you’re saying?
Hon. Mr. McKeough: He asked a question today to the same effect.
Hon. Mr. Davis: That’s right.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: Where’s that caucus discipline over there?
Hon. Mr. Davis: I just want to interject this observation, and I confess my personal bias, but I think we’re lucky in this province of ours that our Minister of Health and our Ministry of Health is not receptive to that type of simplistic and distorted view of government.
Mr. Moffatt: He’s not here.
Mr. Lewis: That’s a wrong supposition.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I was impressed by the degree to which the Leader of the Opposition sought to engage this government on the matter of consultation.
Mr. Lewis: Yes.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I’ve heard this observation from him even before he became Leader of the Opposition.
Mr. Lewis: That’s entirely possible.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I heard the questions on consultation with the art college, with various other post-secondary institutions --
Mr. Lewis: Going back to the old days.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Yes, and one should never forget the old days, I would say to the hon. Leader of the Opposition, because we have a very good memory and we may be reminding the people of some of those observations.
Mr. Lewis: When you used to exhort the students.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Mr. Lewis: You went down to the art college to inflame the students to riot.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Yes, I certainly did. I’m interested in consultation.
Mr. Cassidy: You’re really grasping for straws.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I sometimes think we do it seven days a week; never to the satisfaction, of course, of those who are directly affected. But I really ask the Leader of the Opposition, if he were to try to look at it objectively, if that’s possible? In what community in this province, with what city council or town council, with what board of hospital administrators will any government find agreement with respect to closing an institution or limiting its size? I’ve met with some of these people and I’m going to meet with some more this afternoon. There isn’t a mayor, there’s not a hospital board chairman or an administrator who isn’t going to make a case for his community and for his hospital; and I totally understand that.
Mr. Lewis: Does that mean you don’t give them that opportunity?
Hon. Mr. Davis: To say you’re going to solve these problems through the straight process of consultation only; I wish it were possible, Mr. Speaker, but I’ve got to tell the Leader of the Opposition he has to be somewhat realistic.
Mr. Cassidy: They used to do that in Spain.
Hon. Mr. Davis: This government has the capacity and it has the courage to face that type of difficulty --
Mr. Martel: Who created it then?
Hon. Mr. Davis: -- and to make the type of decisions which are in the long-term interest of a health system that is providing -- and this is something that you sometimes forget over there --
Mr. Lewis: We agree.
Hon. Mr. Davis: You don’t state to the public, and I can understand this, that it happens to be the best system of medical services anywhere in this country. And I’ll be more expansive today --
Mr. Lewis: I’m sure you will.
Hon. Mr. Davis: -- anywhere in North America!
You know, there has been a lot of emotion in the last couple of months. But let’s not forget one thing: Whatever restraint is being imposed, whatever alterations are being made in the system, the system in this province will still be the finest that can be had anywhere in this country; the hon. members across the House know it and it’s time the public had a greater awareness of it.
I have got to tell the hon. members opposite that this government, which they say is insensitive and has no feeling of humanity, this government helped create that system -- and they shouldn’t forget that in the process either.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Certainly we did -- and it’s the best.
Mr. Cassidy: You were dragged into it kicking and screaming. Remember John Robarts? What about John Robarts and Medicare?
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Hon. Mr. Davis: People aren’t flocking to Manitoba or Saskatchewan; they may start moving to British Columbia now a little bit, but they sure weren’t for a while.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, to get back to the more relevant parts of my --
Mr. Cassidy: You’ve been studying the speeches of John Robarts, haven’t you?
Mr. Lewis: So far, so good.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Listen, don’t become too relaxed; I wouldn’t want that.
Mr. MacDonald: It’s a pretty imaginative approach.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Well, I know the member for York South, with his years of experience, likes imagination.
Mr. MacDonald: Look around this enlarged caucus and you can see the results of my imaginings.
Hon. Mr. Davis: He has been imagining things for the last X years in this House.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I can even go back to what the hon. member imagined some of his colleagues were trying to do to him at one point in time. I can remember that so well.
Mr. Lewis: Leave him alone. He imagines; you hallucinate!
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I would say my hallucinations probably have greater relevance than anything the Leader of the Opposition has to contribute.
Mr. Moffatt: He imagines you were Minister of Education.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Well, I was. Those were the simple days.
An hon. member: Oh, yeah!
Hon. Mr. Davis: I don’t want the member for St. George (Mrs. Campbell) to take offence; when I said they were simple days. I meant they were uncomplicated days. She is gone; she is not here to listen to me. I am disappointed.
Mr. Sweeney: She has heard it before.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I say this respectfully to the member for St. George, if her colleague would convey this impression to her: She may have heard some of this before, but anything more that she can gain from these relevant passages this afternoon will stand her in totally good stead. I say that very kindly, very objectively. I will get around to the third group here shortly.
Mr. Cassidy: Now you see them, now you don’t.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Oh no, it’s worse than that, it’s worse than that.
Mr. Lewis: We could have a good campaign if they could be excluded.
Hon. Mr. Davis: And I know who would win -- even with them included!
Mr. Bullbrook: Do you know why Stuart Smith isn’t here to hear you today?
Hon. Mr. Davis: Because he is in Windsor.
Mr. Bullbrook: He has heard you before.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Hon. Mr. Davis: He is in Windsor. Listen. I know the member for Sarnia is a very loyal party supporter; I sat and watched him yesterday during his leader’s observations, and there is no question he was totally embarrassed at what was going on.
Mr. Bullbrook: Very prideful I was.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I was just glad the member for Sarnia wasn’t giving the speech yesterday afternoon.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I want to get back to these important passages.
Mr. Moffatt: Before somebody misses them.
Mr. Foulds: Because they have already been released to the press.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, what the Leader of the Opposition implied -- and I tried to analyse what he said -- what he implied, perhaps indirectly but nevertheless very clearly on Monday, is not only a lack of faith in this government, for that’s what he is paid to say --
Mr. Cassidy: He didn’t imply that; he said that.
Hon. Mr. Davis: That’s what he’s paid to do; that’s part of his responsibility -- and that shouldn’t be revolutionary or surprising to anyone in the gallery or anywhere else.
Mr. Cassidy: Not even to you.
Hon. Mr. Davis: But it’s his lack of faith in the people of this province and in their capacity --
Hon. Mr. Davis: His lack of faith in the people of this province --
Mr. Lewis: Come on.
Hon. Mr. Davis: -- to separate their wants from their needs and to separate inconvenience from lack of service. I guess this is one of --
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. The hon. Premier has the floor.
Hon. Mr. Davis: This is one of the fundamental differences between the Leader of the Opposition and those whom he leads and the party it is my privilege to lead. I want to return for a moment to the question of economic management.
Mr. Bullbrook: Yes, you should.
Hon. Mr. Davis: It is clear that the -- I heard that; I’ll get around to your capacity to manage. Not his personally, I would say to the member for Sarnia; I think it is tremendous.
Mr. Bullbrook: You are the author of this deficit situation we have had to endure since you became Premier.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Be very careful.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Mr. Bullbrook: You are the fellow who built the hospitals you are now closing. Tell us about that.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I want to return to the --
Mr. Cassidy: Do you want a razor blade?
Hon. Mr. Davis: Listen, we’ve been here for 30 years and this province, in terms of health, education, transportation, social services, any field you can mention, is the leader in this country and hon. members very well know it.
Hon. Mr. Davis: That’s right; that’s true.
Hon. Mr. Davis: The only thing we haven’t got are the Olympics. We haven’t got the Olympics.
Mr. Bullbrook: You are the champion spendthrift of all time.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Mr. Bullbrook: You built the hospitals that you are now closing up.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I will say to the member for Sarnia that what his people promised to spend from 1967 onwards would curl his hair.
Mr. Shore: How is the German mark?
Hon. Mr. Davis: Well, it would.
Mr. Speaker, I want to get back. It is becoming pretty obvious that the Leader of the Opposition is somewhat stealthy and quietly seeking to reach into the Liberal quiver of arrows and stones to sort of steal away the financial manager’s role as he gets ready for the next campaign, whenever that may be.
I have lunches with the Rotary Clubs -- which I know he is enjoying as well -- and the real estate boards across this province. They’re getting to the Leader of the Opposition; they really are, and I’m not referring to any caloric intake. The fiery radical, the champion of the little people, the man for whom no injustice could be tolerated, has now discovered fiscal responsibility. What a revelation! Where did he get it from?
Mr. Lewis: It is time.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Certainly it is.
An hon. member: You’re not getting at anybody.
Hon. Mr. Davis: In his attack on the Throne Speech, he moved a non-confidence motion which, I say with respect, it is his traditional responsibility to do. No one questions that. I assume we’ll be voting on it on April 5 and I want all members to understand that the first plank in my friend’s campaign for sound economic management is to deny the people of Ontario a budget on April 6.
Mr. Renwick: He gave us the budget on Dec. 11.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I can see the billboards now: Vote for us because we don’t want a budget. That’s plank No. 1.
Mr. Nixon: Your last one put us in debt by $2 million. We cannot afford another.
Hon. Mr. Davis: That’s what I describe as a good beginning. It is a good start on fiscal responsibility.
Mr. Reid: You are out.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I want the House leader to remind the leader of the Liberal Party that that is precisely the approach to economic management he would be supporting by joining with his friend, the Leader of the Opposition, on April 5. Don’t let him think he can weasel his way out of the responsibility for what may happen.
Mr. Lewis: Offer your budget.
Hon. Mr. Davis: He’s not going to be here on the night of April 5? I don’t believe it.
Mr. Shore: Red herring.
Mr. Kerrio: Salvation of Ontario.
Mr. Nixon: Your last budget gave us a deficit.
Mr. Lewis: He couldn’t be here; he has a barbecue.
Mr. Eaton: A pool party.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I want to remind both my friends across the House that if it is their wish that Ontario should be plunged into an unnecessary election at this time, an election that will cost the taxpayers millions of dollars; if it is their wish that this government be denied its opportunity to present its budget simply because the leader of the Liberal Party wants to get to know the people, or someone over there has taken a poll, then I would say --
Mr. Shore: It cost $500 million the last time.
Mr. Lewis: He’s missing.
Mr. Mancini: We know where he is, he is in Chatham.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Chatham; Windsor -- he’s in western Ontario.
Mr. Lewis: He’s missing this for Chatham?
Hon. Mr. Davis: Listen, you don’t get this kind of entertainment anywhere.
Mr. Lewis: Who would believe it?
Mr. Nixon: It’s the most repetitious show in town.
Mr. Lewis: He’s propping up the member for Windsor-Walkerville (Mr. B. Newman).
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: He can’t go to the Soo either.
Hon. Mr. Davis: What I want the members of the House and the public to know, Mr. Speaker, is that the calling of any election will be on their heads across the House, and it will be a critical issue they will have to answer for in any campaign.
Mr. Nixon: Do you know Eddie Goodman almost got into the wrong meeting last night?
Hon. Mr. Davis: Listen, ask your friends in London North. I intend to be done by 4 o’clock, I hope. I’ll give you a little quote later on.
Mr. Yakabuski: What has happened to you fellows?
Mr. Eaton: What’s gone wrong?
Mr. MacDonald: The Premier is interrupting himself.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Yes, I am, far too much. I would acknowledge that from the member for York South. I’m interrupting myself far too often.
The leader of the Liberal Party, Mr. Speaker -- and I was very sincere at the opening of the House in extending my congratulations to him; I’m not going to repeat them except to say that I understand some of the difficulties of being a leader of a political party --
Mr. Lewis: But!
Hon. Mr. Davis: No, there is no “but.” I do wish him well; not too well. But I would say because I’ve said it before, that in spite of differences, the member for Brant-Haldimand-Norfolk --
Mr. Nixon: How soon you forget.
Hon. Mr. Davis: When he was the member for Brant I had no problem at all; it’s when he became the member for --
Mr. Nixon: You used to go out of your way to call me that, as I recall.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I do express my best wishes to him as well; most sincerely, in spite of the -- .
Mr. Nixon: Not on my retirement, I hope.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I was wondering if that might take place. But whether that takes place or not, I do express to him by best wishes.
Mr. Lewis: Why?
Hon. Mr. Davis: I’ve got some advice, now, for the leader of the Liberal Party. He really shouldn’t give in so easily when his colleague, the Leader of the Opposition, seeks to steal the financial management issue from him. Please convey this to him. For while the NDP may handle it more effectively than it was handled in the last campaign, the record in government should also be kept in mind. I offer this only as assistance to the leader of the Liberal Party in his battle for retention of this issue. I think there’s a lot to be learned elsewhere.
Mr. Lewis: Don’t be silly; there is nothing to be learned elsewhere.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Oh yes there is, and you know it.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, he might take a look at what was the pride and joy of the New Democratic Party of this country, the great Province of British Columbia.
Mr. Lewis: Stick to Ontario, for heaven’s sake; that was in the past.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Of course, I apologize to the Leader of the Opposition for mentioning British Columbia.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I really apologize for mentioning it. I struck a sensitive nerve.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I did indeed. On Dec. 12, the day after the NDP experiment was rejected out there -- and really, I should not be so hard on my friends in the New Democratic Party; they are, after all, so fair and reasonable in their criticisms of the government here, always fair and reasonable -- I could mention what happened to the ICBC; but that would be unfair, I don’t want to do it.
I could discuss BC Hydro; but I won’t. Or the transit bureau of that province; but I don’t think it really is that relevant.
Mr. MacDonald: How about Krauss-Maffei?
Hon. Mr. Davis: The people will know. Indeed, when one looks at it, especially if you get into deficits, it’s really something else.
Interjections by hon. members.
Mr. Speaker: Order please.
Hon. Mr. Davis: But with an NDP average growth rate in spending of 28.5 per cent and a forecast record of 30.4 per cent in this past year, economic management in the terms of the New Democratic Party very simply means economic disaster.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I am saying this as constructively as I can.
Hon. Mr. Davis: But it’s true and they know it’s true. This is the type of performance, this is the kind of direction and the policy that the leader of the Liberal Party would be supporting if he joined the New Democrats to prevent us from continuing to govern. He is supporting that type of approach to government.
Mr. Reid: I think the Premier is stretching it a little bit.
Hon. Mr. Davis: The Liberal leader certainly is.
Mr. Reid: We are not supporting you, that’s who we are not supporting.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I don’t care what he says in this House, that’s what he is doing.
Mr. Reid: We are not supporting you and your phoney programmes.
Mr. Eaton: They didn’t do anything for you up north, eh?
Mr. Sargent: Just fed up with you, that’s all.
Hon. Mr. Davis: It has occurred to me that there may be some other motivation behind the Liberal Party’s rekindled desire to obstruct the work of this House and force an election.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I know that all of us make observations from time to time and we wonder why we made them.
Mr. Reid: Yours always happens during elections, though.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I know that Feb. 20 was quite a while ago, but you know, the leader of the Liberal Party is quoted in the St. Catharines Standard -- and that is a very reputable paper --
Mr. Good: What happened to the member for St. Catharines (Mr. Johnston)?
Hon. Mr. Davis: -- where he told a meeting of politicians in Metropolitan Toronto --
Hon. Mr. Davis: -- the Grits would not vote with the NDP in the Legislature to bring down the minority government.
Hon. Mr. Davis: That wasn’t long ago, but that is while there was still some degree of leadership. But what was worse -- and I think it’s a tremendous quotation; this is really quite incredible -- and this is directly a quote of the new leader of the Liberal Party of Ontario, not too many days ago: “I suspect if we bring down the government on this issue they may win the subsequent election with a thumping majority and be in power for another four years.”
Mr. Lewis: My, oh my.
Mr. Reid: That’s as close as you will come to thumping, I’ll tell you. The last time some of you will thump your desks.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I’ll tell you this much, the member for Brant-Haldimand-Norfolk, even if he thought we would, would never have said so in public.
Mr. Nixon: I never thought you would and I don’t think you will.
Hon. Mr. Davis: He never would have said so. But you know, Mr. Speaker, I am a little suspicious --
Mr. Sweeney: It took him a month to learn.
Hon. Mr. Davis: -- the motivation behind the amendment yesterday may be something else. They may be afraid of the April 6 budget. It may be that they are a little concerned --
Mr. Reid: Tell us about the supplementary estimates you bring in in the fall.
Mr. Sweeney: One billion dollars, two billion, three billion.
Hon. Mr. Davis: They may be a little concerned that their $2 billion projection of the deficit will not be borne out. They may be a little concerned about that.
Mr. Reid: What is the deficit going to be?
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Mr. Shore: Give us a little preview.
Hon. Mr. Davis: They may be afraid that their prophecy of gloom and doom will be destroyed by the facts; something that party has always had difficulty in coming to grips with.
Hon. Mr. Davis: They may even find facts that will discredit their approach and they may find facts that they don’t want us to put to the people. I don’t want to exaggerate these things --
Hon. Mr. Davis: Of course not. Of course I don’t. But the budget planned for April 6 would have constituted a similar expression of faith in the capacity of our people, and it’s up to my friends opposite --
Mr. Sweeney: We have faith in the people. It is you we don’t trust.
Hon. Mr. Davis: -- it’s as simple as this, to decide whether or not that expression of faith is to be allowed to proceed.
Mr. Lewis: If you want to bring it in now, bring it in now; do it.
Hon. Mr. Davis: It is up to the gentlemen and ladies opposite that we will be allowed to continue and allow this government to continue its battle against inflation and its battle to ensure an economically stable future for this province. From the very beginning, our party has stood alone in this province in supporting total co-operation with the national anti-inflation programme.
Hon. Mr. Davis: You people have not supported it. You make no bones about it.
Mr. Cassidy: You mean the anti-wage programme.
Hon. Mr. Davis: We also stood alone in saying there would be no special cases, no inequities, no last-minute interventions by any hastily concocted provincial board.
Mr. Cassidy: You mean that anti-wage programme.
Mr. Lewis: Rough justice is what you call it.
Hon. Mr. Davis: We stood alone in this country for governmental spending restraints and reducing the drain on the gross national product by too much spending.
Mr. Good: What a distortion of the facts!
Hon. Mr. Davis: Listen, don’t try to divorce yourselves. Show me what restraints the federal government of Canada is really exercising in its own fields of responsibility.
Mr. Cassidy: Show me what restraint you are exercising.
Hon. Mr. Davis: On April 5 we may stand alone in this House in our defence of a bright and economically viable future.
Mr. Singer: When the argument gets hot you rant and rage at Ottawa.
Hon. Mr. Davis: We may stand alone in wanting to provide people with secure and comprehensive medical care by streamlining the system.
Mr. Singer: That is what it is?
Hon. Mr. Davis: We may stand alone -- read the whole Throne Speech -- in our commitment to reduce welfare spending and encourage more people to seek work.
Mr. Cassidy: Which is not available.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I want the people in the Liberal Party to hear this because I really know that the NDP have gone beyond any hope in this area.
Mr. Shore: Tell the Minister of Community and Social Services (Mr. Taylor) to hear it.
Hon. Mr. Davis: We may stand alone in our commitment not to squander Ontario’s resources or destroy free enterprise in the north. We may stand alone on all of these issues on the evening of April 5. I’ve got to tell the members opposite something: We may stand alone here in this Legislature, and if we do, I tell you we will be standing with the people in this province and if we are forced by the other parties --
Mr. Lewis: Yes, but out there in the great public we will have hordes.
Mr. MacDonald: What about the 64 per cent who voted against you?
Hon. Mr. Davis: We will take our case to the people and we’ll let them know where we stand and we will sure as heck let them know where you people stand in the process.
Mr. Makarchuk: They have insomnia on the back benches there.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I am not really impressed by the Leader of the Opposition’s sort of sense of helplessness about the situation the Legislature now finds itself in.
Mr. Lewis: I don’t feel helpless.
Hon. Mr. Davis: A little bit helpless yesterday.
Mr. Moffatt: At least he is not beside himself.
Hon. Mr. Davis: He appears to have taken the view that he’s been trapped by events and is a victim of some obscure Liberal plot.
Mr. Lewis: We invited events, my friend. We are not trapped by them. I’m quite happy with them.
Mr. Warner: Are you talking down?
Mr. MacDonald: It is that group down there that is upset.
Mr. Lewis: We moved the amendment.
Hon. Mr. Davis: There is no question but that that amendment threatens the stability of this Parliament. So he thinks he will shift part of the blame that the fat may now be in the fire, as would the leader of the Liberal Party yesterday. But his cavalier action indicates he simply cannot. His amendment, and I say this to the leader of the Liberal Party, is as profound as his party’s 1975 election platform. It really is profound. I don’t know who drafted it for him, whether it was the member for Wilson Heights (Mr. Singer) or who did it.
Mr. Good: You lost the 23 seats, we didn’t.
Hon. Mr. Davis: For example, he would force an election on the people because some would say they would have hospitals stay open -- and who would not -- and would say that this government is insensitive. He would say that municipalities and school boards who are being asked to share with Ontario the job of cutting priorities and protecting our economic future --
Mr. Nixon: Carry the load.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Certainly they are.
Mr. Cassidy: You are passing the buck.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I’ve got some news for you -- I think the municipalities and the school boards are going to be able to do it, in spite of the observations you people across from us make.
Mr. Singer: Not much longer. That’s your fault.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Ceilings on growth in social services are being provided to ensure that this province can always afford the social services it needs for its people. This appears to be, in his mind, a cause for an election and the Liberal leader appears to have decided to use these levers of obstruction and instability. The Liberal leader apologized for any comments he made --
Mr. Singer: Anyone who disagrees with you obstructs or is unstable.
Hon. Mr. Davis: -- which were misinterpreted with respect to Marx and the NDP. I thought that was a great observation.
Mr. Singer: The Liberal leader expressed it before.
Hon. Mr. Davis: As well he should have. The Leader of the Opposition wondered why Adam Smith or Sun Yat-sen were not cited as philosophical antecedents for certain forms of Ontario political thoughts. I have to say that Marx, Sun Yat-sen and Adam Smith are far too thoughtful ancients for the Liberal Party in Ontario and its new leader to relate to. Far too ancient.
Mr. Peterson: For you, include King Farouk.
Mr. Lewis: I also said Henry VIII.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I am usually a charitable person. I really am.
Mr. Peterson: Come on; let’s hear some desk thumping.
Hon. Mr. Davis: If it had been the Liberal leader’s maiden speech, if this was going to continue, I might not make some of these observations but I have to.
Mr. Nixon: Go ahead.
Hon. Mr. Davis: It is a very serious matter and we are taking it seriously. Yesterday’s nonchalant speech -- it is the only way I can describe it -- the negativism in it and the almost --
Mr. Lewis: Studied.
Hon. Mr. Davis: -- casually drafted innocuous motion -- I used to play a little football -- they are reminiscent of the halfback who has suffered one too many tackles --
Mr. Shore: What position did you play?
Hon. Mr. Davis: -- and sort of seems incapable of understanding the play, let alone carrying the ball.
Mr. Riddell: You were a lot better last fall.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I believe that this Legislature has the right to know precisely --
Mr. Gaunt: Are you an Argo fan?
Hon. Mr. Davis: Yes, I used to play a little. This Legislature has the right to know precisely what initiatives and measures the success of a non-confidence motion on April 5 will affect. Let us look at what a defeat on the Throne Speech would affect:
The steady progression toward consolidation of financial resources and the services which these resources provide --
Mr. Cassidy: What on earth does that mean?
Hon. Mr. Davis: -- in the protection of the ultimate interests of the citizens of this province is something my friends are prepared to unite against.
Mr. Singer: Another $2 billion deficit? Or maybe $2.5 billion?
Mr. Lewis: What does that mean?
Hon. Mr. Davis: The continued reduction of government spending at all levels is something the Liberals and New Democrats appear to be uniting against.
Mr. MacDonald: Your budget will be bigger this year.
Hon. Mr. Davis: The maintenance of a healthy climate for the growth of the private sector and the generation of greater wealth for all our citizens is what the Liberals and the New Democrats are prepared to unite against.
Mr. Lewis: You make it sound like the anti-Christ.
Hon. Mr. Davis: That, my friends, is only part of the story. A programme by the Ministry of Labour to reduce labour unrest in this province through greater analysis and study and initiatives. This, too, my Liberal friends and NDP friends appear to be uniting against.
Mr. Singer: The teachers will certainly attest to that.
Hon. Mr. Davis: The return to the taxpayer -- the Metro members should think of this one -- of unused funds due to the strikes of employees of school boards. My friends are prepared to bring this House down so that the taxpayers in Metro will not get relief from this legislation. They are opposing it. Sure they are.
Hon. Mr. Davis: They are prepared to deprive the farmers of an income stabilization programme. That, too, they are prepared to unite against. Oh, yes, they are.
Mr. Cassidy: You have no credibility at all.
Hon. Mr. Davis: They might as well know discredit is their name.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, they are quite obviously against the home warranty programme as well. How are they going to explain that on the hustings to all the new home-buyers? They are opposed to it. They don’t want to see it go through.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Mr. Lewis: I’d be willing to pay for this performance.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Despite yesterday’s motion and the posturing by the opposition members of this Legislature, Mr. Speaker, do you know what they haven’t done? They haven’t told the people of Ontario what they stand for.
Mr. Lewis: Yes, we have. We’ll tell them more in the campaign.
Mr. Sweeney: The Premier didn’t even keep his election promises.
Hon. Mr. Davis: They sure know what they stand against.
Mr. Lewis: We have told them chapter and verse.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Obviously, my friends opposite don’t want to hear the development goals which the Throne Speech clearly indicated this Legislature was going to be asked to consider and support.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Clearly, they would wish this province with no goals, no development strategy and no capacity to protect its future.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, of course this would not be too surprising for those who have watched the vacillation and contradiction of the Liberal leader, on this issue, for example, since his recent election to that post. Let me offer one example in a kindly fashion to him. In my good friend’s speech at the convention -- I watched a portion of it --
Mr. Nixon: Excellent.
Hon. Mr. Davis: -- which chose him as leader. I thought the member for London Centre (Mr. Peterson) made a very good speech.
Mr. Nixon: Excellent -- very good.
Mr. Moffatt: Tomorrow starts Monday.
An hon. member: Chose the wrong guy again.
Hon. Mr. Davis: He lamented the disappearance of farm land. He underlined the need to do something about it and then --
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. Order.
Hon. Mr. Davis: -- later on in that same speech. You see, Mr. Speaker, the Leader of the Opposition is wrong in believing the leader of the Liberal Party vacillates between lunch and dinner. He can move more quickly than that. It can be in the same speech. Later on in that same speech, he called for the dismantling of those levels of government and for the limiting of this province’s very real capacity to exercise any influence, to slow down the paving or the asphalt, or the reduction or the over-development of farm land. He raises the issues and then some of the vehicles that we can use to come to grips with the problems -- and he then suggests in the same speech that they should be totally eliminated. Mr. Speaker, he gladly offers an umbrella when the sun shines but wants it taken away when it rains.
Mr. Speaker, I would be delighted and I will be looking forward to debating his approach to this issue in this House and perhaps across Ontario, if need be. I say to the member from the Soo --
Mr. Sargent: Why are you running scared?
Hon. Mr. Davis: -- I might even ask him to join me in Sault Ste. Marie, if he isn’t too frightened to go back there.
An hon. member: You mean he is prepared to go into the north again?
Mr. Nixon: I hear your member there is in trouble.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Don’t put Sault Ste. Marie on his itinerary; not on his itinerary.
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: They don’t like it there.
An hon. member: You don’t want to go north.
Hon. Mr. Davis: But there are development goals; and these are some of the elements, along with greater assistance to the mining industry, that my friends opposite are clearly against. I am not surprised. They are consistent. The NDP has taken its stand against assisting the mining industry -- the party of nationalizing potash; the party of nationalizing the resource industries --
Mr. Renwick: That’s right.
Hon. Mr. Davis: If they can’t nationalize them, they tax them out of business --
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Hon. Mr. Davis: The pulp and paper industry -- I can recall the member for Welland (Mr. Swart) asking when we were going to nationalize it. I didn’t even mention it when I was in his riding the other night. Temptation was great, but I behaved myself. I didn’t mention it.
Hon. Mr. Davis: At least, Mr. Speaker, they are being consistent. They still believe in nationalization of the basic industries in the Province of Ontario. But what I am disappointed in, Mr. Speaker, is the Liberal Party. By taking the same stand on this vote, they will be voting against the Throne Speech -- and they are saying some pretty basic things about their commitment to free enterprise in the north and throughout Ontario.
I say to the member for London North (Mr. Shore), who professes to be a great free enterpriser, along with the member for London Centre (Mr. Peterson) -- well, he’s the most. Does he want to know what he is doing? That is the most. He can construe that any way he wants. Does he want to know what he is doing? In supporting that amendment he is voting against the expressed direction that this government wishes to take in assisting the development of the mining industry within the free enterprise system of the province. And they are going to have to take the consequences. We are not going to let them forget about it.
An hon. member: It will be hard to get out of.
Hon. Mr. McKeough: You are as red as they are. You are red over there.
Hon. Mr. Davis: And you know, Mr. Speaker --
Hon. Mr. McKeough: Join together!
Hon. Mr. Davis: I’ve got to say this, it’s not red tape; no question.
Hon. Mr. McKeough: That’s right.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Of course, any leader who is capable of calling the reduction of welfare costs with respect to able-bodied people, pandering to some right-wing sentiments, I think, is --
Mr. Lewis: That’s not what he said when it was announced. When it was announced he congratulated you. It became right-wing after.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Certainly he did. I just find it totally amazing. I think he used the term “red neck sentiment”; anybody who expresses that, I think, is capable of expressing anything.
Mr. Lewis: That’s true. He is in the Liberal tradition.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I make this promise to the House: To no longer express surprise at the meanderings of a party which lacks any philosophy, which understands very few urban and critical issues and offers no direction for the people of this province. I express no surprise anymore. Yesterday’s exhibition was a clear example of the nonchalant and casual way they would choose to deal with Ontario’s vital interests.
Mr. Lewis: Kind of “Trudeauesque,” you might say. Come on, he’s their Prime Minister; let them come with us.
Mr. Lewis: Bill Stewart is out phoning the judges.
Hon. Mr. McKeough: Well, they’re not in Chatham, I’ll tell you that.
Hon. Mr. Davis: There is more that could be said, of a partisan nature, but I’m going to resist. I’m going to add only one final thought to this part of my observations --
Mr. Singer: How are you going to vote?
Hon. Mr. Davis: Anyone who believes that yesterday was a total accident and that one of my colleagues opposite found himself unwillingly trapped in some chain of events, is naive and simply mistaken. Ontario is faced with an effort to force an unnecessary election on the people of this province by two opposition parties jockeying for position. Insofar as the government I lead is concerned, I offer to this Legislature and to the people of this province one fundamental pledge: We will continue to govern, to lay before the people and the Legislature the elements of our programmes.
Mr. MacDonald: Including your budget?
Hon. Mr. Davis: If you allow us.
An hon. member: Bring it in tomorrow.
Mr. Cassidy: Go ahead.
Hon. Mr. Davis: We will continue with our legislative plans and programmes. We will not alter the ongoing commitment to govern this province which was sought in the last election campaign. The Progressive Conservative government of Ontario shall continue to govern until it is defeated by the opposition in this Legislature. It is as simple as that.
Mr. Singer: It won’t be long.
Hon. Mr. Davis: The people shall continue to be served and we’re not going to move precipitously with respect to a campaign until there is a combined no-confidence vote, such as the one that apparently is scheduled to transpire on April 5. When the opposition parties decide they will force an election, there will be an election in this province. Until that time, the people of this province have the right to know that government continues to serve and problems continue to be dealt with. The initial goals of this government --
Mr. Nixon: That’s what you’re being paid for.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Listen, ask one of your members; we’re going to try and deal with one this afternoon. I’ll see you there in about an hour.
Mr. Warner: It is 4 o’clock.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I was going to try to be done by 4 o’clock but we were pretty tolerant on Monday last. We were pretty tolerant.
An hon. member: We don’t mind; carry on.
Hon. Mr. Davis: The initial goals of this government, established in the Throne Speeches last fall md this spring with respect to guiding Ontario through -- let’s not kid one another -- tough economic times which are international in scope, will continue to dominate government policies; the continued commitment to underline the need for an affordable society in all government actions will continue to dominate government spending and activity. Our continued participation in the national programme to fight inflation will also persist, you might as well know it.
The security and freedom of the individual from oversized government, economic breakdown at the institutional and personal level from inequity and disadvantage -- these remain the guiding principles and directions of this government.
A firm position with respect to Ontario’s interest within Confederation and Canada, with respect to energy, with respect to trade, and with respect to tax sharing -- these will also continue to determine our posture as part of this country.
A firm position with the public sector with respect to strikes and withdrawal of services will typify the discipline that we seek to provide as an example.
Encouragement for moderate growth across this province in the interests of the economic viability of all regions will dominate our government’s overall strategies and attitudes.
A belief in the need for government to provide greater safety for the consumer, for the motorist, through more effective safety regulations, continues to typify this government’s concern with respect to the personal well-being of the citizens of this province. If the opposition parties persist, and if we are unable to effect the improved changes in the administration of justice, the rights of people, the blind or the homeowner with a meaningful warranty, if this is their decision --
Mr. Singer: Start by giving the Attorney General (Mr. McMurtry) more money.
Mr. Lewis: You have had 30 years to do that.
Hon. Mr. Davis: But, Mr. Speaker --
Mr. Speaker: Order. Order, please. Order.
Hon. Mr. Davis: -- this will not prevent us from continuing to fight for these things with every means at our disposal.
Mr. Lewis: You are going to have to.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, it may very well be that things have been set in motion here that preclude this government from continuing to govern. That is something ultimately for my friends across the House to determine. You know there was --
Mr. Lewis: Have faith in the public.
Mr. Renwick: They will decide.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Oh no, let’s not kid one another.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Hon. Mr. Davis: You people will be making this determination.
Mr. Lewis: Have faith in your great public.
Hon. Mr. Davis: There was a belief, Mr. Speaker --
An hon. member: They don’t want to know. They don’t want an election.
Hon. Mr. Davis: -- that a minority Legislature could have worked in this province; I think there was a belief.
Mr. Lewis: Not the way you have behaved.
Mr. Speaker: Order. Order, please.
Hon Mr. Davis: I think there was a belief that political parties would be responsible enough to give it a chance to work --
Mr. Lewis: You don’t even have a Legislature.
Mr. Martel: We gave it a chance.
Mr. Cassidy: We made it work.
Hon. Mr. Davis: -- and obviously, Mr. Speaker, on April 5 --
Hon. Mr. Wells: They want you to work here.
Hon. Mr. Davis: -- it will be the date for broad public judgements of the sincerity of that effort.
Mr. Martel: Balls.
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: That was the member for Sudbury East.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. Order.
Hon. Mr. Davis: A great contribution, Elie. A great contribution.
Hon. Mr. Wells: You just get down to work here.
Hon. Mr. Davis: You are a great contribution.
Mr. Lewis: Come on, that is political patois around here.
Hon. Mr. Davis: As Premier, Mr. Speaker, and as leader of our party, I know that there is nothing in the present obstructed state of, affairs that is the doing of our government. And I can live with my conscience, knowing that we have given minority government, and are still prepared to give it, our very best. And we will be encouraged by one thought, Mr. Speaker --
Hon. Mr. Davis: -- and I just want you to listen to this because I think this may be, relevant.
Mr. Sargent: Get off your knees. Quit begging!
Hon. Mr. Davis: We will be encouraged by one thought as we face the difficult days ahead in trying to preserve stability in government for this province --
Mr. Lewis: Come on now.
Hon. Mr. Davis: -- and quality in governmental activity on behalf of its people.
Mr. Lewis: By repeating it, it doesn’t happen, my friend.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Hon. Mr. Davis: There is no battle of ideology that burdens this Legislature.
Mr. Lewis: Oh, yes there is.
Hon. Mr. Davis: There is no battle over ideas or principles. Who is kidding one another?
Mr. Lewis: Not at all.
Hon. Mr. Davis: This is a battle purely and simply over responsibility -- those who possess it and those who do not. And you know what category you are in. There is a battle over those who would provide monolithic government and insensitive bureaucracy, massive tax-gobbling programmes as answers to all of the problems, even those outside the purview of government --
Mr. Cassidy: That is your record. That is what you’ve been doing for the last five years.
Mr. Lewis: That is what people think of you now.
Hon. Mr. Davis: -- and those who are trying to hold the line and provide greater economic security and stability for Ontario and enhancing the real freedom, in an economic sense, of our citizens.
Hon. Mr. Davis: And you know, in playing a game with our system, and that commenced again yesterday, neither on the left nor on the right, was there a statement of conviction or principle in the total address made yesterday, but purely a whim. It’s a party that showed more clearly than ever before that it is a branch plant of a national party with no direction, no dependability and no policy, none whatsoever.
Hon. Mr. Davis: It is a party not only incapable of governing but clearly not even competent in opposition.
Mr. Reid: You must be in worse shape than we thought.
Mr. Lewis: He shouldn’t be allowed to.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Hon. Mr. Davis: If we are forced into this unnecessary election, it will be time for the people of Ontario not only to consider the economic choices that are critical to their future but the political choices that would gravely threaten their future. There is one party that is prepared to seek a means of protecting this future, its long-term interest and the freedom of self-respect of its people and do so in this Legislature.
Mr. Lewis: You are more self-righteous than we are.
Mr. Shore: You sound like the Leader of the Opposition more and more.
Hon. Mr. Davis: It is a pleasure for me, Mr. Speaker, in speaking in support of that very excellent address delivered by Her Honour, to lead that party in serving the people of Ontario at a most critical time in our province’s history. We are a party and a government --
Mr. Lewis: Good grief!
Hon. Mr. Davis: -- that sees an Ontario where self-respect, economic security and social stability are the heritage and birthright of all, an Ontario where health care, social service and good government are given within a context that is ever-broadening and ever-changing --
Mr. Warner: Look at all the debt.
Hon. Mr. Davis: -- an Ontario where the rural life is a life of quality and satisfaction, a reward and satisfaction --
Mr. Cassidy: No jobs too.
Mr. Eaton: You know a lot about rural Ontario. It’s pretty obvious over there.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Mr. Eaton: And what are you over there?
An hon. member: Take you out of your hundred acre farm.
Hon. Mr. Davis: -- an Ontario where government knows its place and where the average citizen can aspire --
Mr. McNeil: Old MacDonald had a farm.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Hon. Mr. Davis: -- to any level of success and achievement, an Ontario undeterred by temporary international economic difficulties and one that is strengthened by our resolve as a society to preserve a bright future for all by making the choices that must be made now.
Mr. Lewis: This is as close to a soap opera as you have come. Good grief, get another speech writer, for heaven’s sake.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I don’t have eight researchers.
Mr. Cassidy: Just one lyricist.
Hon. Mr. Davis: It is my obligation to urge all members across the House, in spite of those amendments, to support the Speech from the Throne and to reject the amendments offered.
Hon. Mr. Davis: It is a privilege for me to reflect the broad scope of public opinion in this province and urge my fellow members of this House on all sides to support the vote when it takes place on April 5.
Mr. Lewis: That was a most enjoyable speech. Tamer than I expected.
Mr. Renwick moved the adjournment of the debate.
Motion agreed to.
Clerk of the House: The 22nd order, House in committee of supply.
SUPPLEMENTARY ESTIMATES, MINISTRY OF COMMUNITY AND SOCIAL SERVICES
Mr. Chairman: Does the hon. minister have an opening statement?
Hon. Mr. Taylor: Mr. Chairman, before moving to the first vote, 2602, I would like to point out that in these supplementary estimates this ministry is seeking nearly 36 million additional dollars to the 1975-1976 estimates of $855,064,000.
Just over $27 million or three-quarters of that increase is required in support of our income-maintenance programme. The remainder is for the support of our social and institutional services programmes; some $7 million additional for services to children; and $1.3 million additional services for adults.
The additional funds requested in the income-maintenance area are largely to cover increases in benefits to recipients affected since tie 1975-1976 estimates. An additional $4.8 million is required to cover the budgets of the Children’s Aid Societies -- which, after lengthy discussions, were approved at higher levels than were allowed for in the estimates.
The extra $2.3 million required in day nursery operating fundi is due to a greater number of children being subsidized at a higher than anticipated cost. A further $1.3 million is necessary for homes for the aged, due to higher per diem costs.
I’ll ask that we consider vote 2602, item 1.
Mr. McClellan: Mr. Chairman, because of the seriousness with which our party views the events that have been taking place, the actions of this ministry during the recess between sessions, I want to perhaps spend a little bit longer than one normally does on the overview.
Let one begin with the overall reduction in expenditures -- the level of the restraint programme for this particular ministry, which has been set at eight per cent.
Let me remind the House, Mr. Chairman, that on Dec. 11 the Treasurer of Ontario (Mr. McKeough) said to the Legislature, and I quote: “Welfare spending will be held to the rate of inflation, plus projected growth in caseloads.” In fact, while other ministries have been held to a level of 10 per cent, the Ministry of Community and Social Services has been held to an overall level of eight per cent. In fact, for the majority of social service programming, and for a substantial part of income maintenance programming, the actual level of increase over 1975 is 5.5 per cent.
The explanation offered is that prior capital commitments by this ministry necessitate the lowering of service and income maintenance and transfer payments to 5.5 per cent in order to achieve an eight per cent overall. I really have to question that rationale; these capital commitments. I really seriously wonder, Mr. Chairman, how much of that is, in fact, new money and how much of that money for capital construction is, in fact, recycled from old Tory budgets. I suspect a major portion of the $18 million committed to capital construction next year is, in fact, recycled from previous budgets. What you are doing is promising the same thing each year -- year after year -- with the same money, and never do you get around to doing what you said you would do in the budget.
In fact, your budget resembles nothing so much as your campaign promises. You promised in campaigns to do this and do that and you promised in your budgets to do this and to do that and you do nothing. For example, in day care you are spending next year $6 million in day care capital. The fact is this $6 million comes out of moneys allocated in 1972 -- $10 million then -- and moneys allocated in 1974 -- $15 million then. You still haven’t spent it. It has been in three budgets and it will be carried over to four.
I would ask if I can conclude my remarks; the minister may want to respond but I would like to proceed because of the length of my remarks. Could I just move through and then perhaps the minister could respond? Is that acceptable?
Hon. Mr. Taylor: May I say that my friend, the member for Bellwoods is really dealing with the projections for the next budget rather than the current supplementary estimates. When he talks in terms of the additional allotment in the next fiscal year in terms of the eight per cent and how that reflects in terms of the 5% per cent and the reasons for that, I feel it is more relevant to next year’s estimates that the supplementary estimates we are considering today.
I would be delighted, if the Chair wishes, to get into the explanation of the additional moneys my ministry will have in terms of the various social services and the agencies for next year but I hardly think it is relevant in light of the matters for determination today.
Mr. Lewis: I would like to speak to the point of order. If that position were to obtain, the entire pattern of the debate that surrounded the Health estimates should have been ruled out of order. As a matter of fact, we spent the Health estimates discussing hospital closings for which not a penny was budgeted in the supplementary estimates.
The reality is that particularly the leadoffs for an estimate -- supplementary estimates or major estimates -- are always seen as vehicles for major statements which flow naturally from them. I think that that is perfectly consistent with the kind of thing which this Legislature has permitted.
Mr. Chairman: It has been traditional, from my observations, that when you bring in a set of estimates the two lead-offs and the minister in his opening remarks can sort of given an overview, having regard for income maintenance, services to children, services to adults. After that is completed you go into an item-by-item consideration of the money to be spent, at which time those speaking can address themselves to those particular items. Unless I get some other direction from the committee, that’s how we will continue.
Hon. Mr. Taylor: Mr. Chairman, at your pleasure, I am not objecting to what my friend says; if the Chair rules that it is appropriate and in order, of course, by all means. If you wish, and if my friend has made his overview or general remarks, I would be prepared to respond to them. If he wishes to continue, of course, I will defer until he finishes his remarks.
Mr. Chairman: I would like to caution the member for Bellwoods that we don’t want a full-flowing debate as though we were dealing with a whole --
Mr. Lewis: You would never get a debate with that minister.
Mr. Chairman: It has been the practice in the past to allow the lead-off speakers of the two opposition parties an overview in keeping with the amount of money and the nature of the expenditure. The minister will have an opportunity to reply. When we get into an item-by-item consideration of the money being expended, you will have to address yourself to that specific item. Is that agreed?
Mr. Foulds: On a point of order, Mr. Chairman, there is no quorum.
Mr. Chairman ordered that the bells be rung for four minutes.
Mr. Chairman: The member for Bellwoods may continue, having regard for our understanding earlier.
Mr. McClellan: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I want to continue by looking at the reality of the minister’s assertion that it has been necessary to restrain social service expenditures more severely than the restraints imposed on other ministries because of the growth in his ministry over the last five-year period. While it’s true there has been growth, it has not been that substantial in relation to gross provincial product or in relation to gross provincial expenditures. A good chunk of your impressive annual growth rate can be accounted for by the transfer of the mental retardation services from the Ministry of Health to your ministry.
I want to point out to the House that our research team, which causes our opposition so much teeth-gnashing, has prepared some interesting material. Using the Statistics Canada definition of social welfare expenditure, which includes items such as workmen’s compensation and tax credits as well as income maintenance and child welfare, the five-year average expended as a percentage of total expenditures was computed by us for the 10 provinces. Do you know what place Ontario is in, Mr. Minister? You might guess; I doubt that you would. It’s in eighth place, behind New Brunswick, behind Prince Edward Island, behind Newfoundland --
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Look at the unemployment they have there. Of course their expenditures are higher. How ridiculous!
Mr. McClellan: The minister had asserted that it was his tremendous growth rate that was the basis for more severe restraints.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Just look at the other factors.
Mr. Foulds: You keep managing the economy your way and we will have employment rates that high.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: I beg your pardon?
Mr. Foulds: You heard me.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: No, I didn’t. It is probably just as well, it probably was totally irrelevant.
Mr. McClellan: The fact is, Mr. Chairman, that community and social service expenditures, as a percentage of the total provincial budget, have remained reasonably constant over the past five-year period and I suspect any increase that has taken place is accounted for, again by the addition of the large mental retardation services expenditures from health to your ministry.
I want to deal as well with the problem of the restraints imposed on capital projects for 1976-1977. I raise this now because there is a shortage of funds for capital projects in this province. Planning for future needs in both the field of day care and the field of senior citizen housing will be placed in a state of limbo by the refusal of this minister to place additional new moneys into capital works for the coming year. There are already 1,400 people on the waiting list for senior citizen housing in Metropolitan Toronto.
Day care in this province is, contrary to the minister’s assertion, not adequate. It is not adequate simply in terms of the number of women with children of school and preschool age who are currently in the labour force. The minister knows that and yet there is going to be no new money. There will be old money spent this year but there is no new money in his capital budget proposals.
The fact is that what we see is a minister who shows monumental incompetence in planning and developing essential facilities to meet present needs and has a chronic inability to translate the money budgeted into brick and mortar day care centres, into brick and mortar houses for senior citizens. Because of this ministry’s own incompetence we will have what amounts to a catch-up year in 1976-1977 while the ministry scrambles to deal with the log I am and backlog of capital projects that are already on the board for which commitments have already been made. We will have a year’s inactivity in 1976-1977.
What this does to the planning for future needs of this province is rather frightening to contemplate. It means, I suspect, a gap of a year in even conceptualizing and planning for future needs and so the shortages will be with us not just this year but along the pipe in years to come.
I want to comment with some emphasis on what can only be called this minister’s welfare-hashing proposals. There is a qualitative difference between the restraints proposed by the Minister of Health (Mr. F. S. Miller) and the restraints proposed by the Minister of Community and Social Services. At least with the Minister of Health there has been presented a clear rationale, with which we can and have disagreed; but at least a version of reality was presented to us, with documentation which we were then in a position to dispute. Evidence was made available to us with which we could disagree and it then became appropriately placed in the arena of political decision.
This minister has not produced one shred of evidence to detail the necessities of his major changes in the welfare and social service structures of this province. This minister does not appear to deal in the domain of rational thought.
He has been engaged over the last three months in what he calls a dialogue with the social service sector of Ontario. He has met with over 2,000 people, but it is clear that the minister is playing out some murky psychological drama of his own rather than engaging in dialogue.
Let me recount to you the meeting between the social agencies and the minister in Ottawa.
The director of the Children’s Aid Society told the minister that budget cuts could mean losing homes now housing 36 emotionally disturbed children. The director of Victorian Order of Nurses said that budget cuts represent 1,500 home visits the nursing service will not be able to provide in 1976. What did the minister reply by way of dialogue and listening? “I am not suggesting that everyone is going to volunteer their services”, said Mr. Taylor, recalling that when he was a child his mother followed the neighbourly tradition of delivering soup and doing a little dusting for sick friends.
When presented with the clear and straightforward statement of the consequences of his actions this minister engages in huff-puffery and preposterous non-sequiturs. That has been the pattern of his behaviour since the restraint programme was first announced and it continues to characterize his actions to this day.
I ask again, as my leader asked, where is the evidence of welfare chiselling in Ontario He told us to talk to the welfare administrators. We did so and they all told us the same thing. In Metro, a person who refuses a job, presumably with good reason, is given a second chance and then the case goes to the board of review. If the refusal is blatant they are cut off the first time; there are about three or four cases per month out of current caseload of approximately 22,000. “We can’t do much tightening up unless we find jobs”; and there aren’t that many jobs going.
The Ottawa-Carleton social service administration says if a person refuses a job the welfare office will try to sort out the reason and if it’s a lack of boots or hard hats, will try to supply them. People given a second chance for short-term assistance are then pointed toward a job. If they don’t accept it, they are cut off. In Ottawa-Carleton the labour market is dry. “It’s surprising how many people want work, not welfare.”
In Hamilton, one refusal without good reason and you are cut off by the social service officials in that jurisdiction. In January, 1976, Hamilton refused or cut off assistance to about 100 cases of a total caseload of 2,100 employable people on welfare. This is the highest figure mentioned to us. They said they can do very little tightening up over and above what they have been doing all along.
In London people are cut off if they refuse one reasonable job.
In St. Catharines, no second chance is given if a job is refused without good reason. In the case of married men they go on to say there is no point in cutting people off if the family then starves; if the father deserts them the wife and kids become the recipients; or if the father turns to crime. They said very few turned down jobs without cause and they said, “We wouldn’t even want to estimate what part of a per cent.”
The story is consistent across Ontario. The fact is, the problem is one of jobs. There is no evidence that major changes in the welfare legislation are required to prevent the abuse suggested by the minister. There is no evidence of abuse.
The minister has said that there are teenagers on welfare -- I assume in great numbers. Let me tell you what the commissioner of welfare in Metropolitan Toronto had to say about that in the Toronto Star, Feb. 18. Mr. Tomlinson said “there are about 500 Metro teenagers now in this category” -- that is to say, on general assistance. Then he went on to say he did not think they should be cut off. “We screen them carefully.” They will only give them welfare if the choice is between welfare and dropping out of school.
If there is abuse of the welfare system, it must be ended. But the burden of proof is on the minister before he launches a major attack on welfare recipients in this province; and before he proposes major changes in the legislation in this province.
As for the proposal itself, to the extent that one is able to understand what this most incoherent of ministers is talking about, let us deal with his proposal for “a day in the scrap yards,” as he described it in the Globe and Mail on March 10. It seems to be a proposal to require welfare recipients to take temporary, seasonal and irregular jobs, or be cut off. It might well be described as a “day in the scrap yards.”
In the highest Tory tradition of libertarian concern, this denial of assistance will apply equally to women as to men; and not just to women, but to women with children. Children of what age, you may ask, Mr. Chairman? Again, in the Globe and Mail, he said, “older than two but younger than 12.”
“No, no,” said the Premier the next day in the Star, “he couldn’t have meant that.” So later the minister revises his suggestion and says he meant mothers with dependent teenagers. Well, Mr. Chairman, either he means mothers with little tots, or he means to force teenagers to drop out of school. Let us just put it on the record in the context of that same distasteful announcement; it has to be one of the most insulting slurs on women ever uttered by a minister in this province. He said in the Globe and Mail on March 10 that his ministry is promoting work activity programmes to encourage mothers whose children have gone off to school to “get up, to get dressed and be somewhere at a certain time.” Apart from the sheer burlesque quality of this minister’s announcement, in his brave new egalitarian world, there are some more sober considerations.
How will it work, this “day in the scrap yards”? The general welfare assistance tax-back rates are already 100 per cent. That means if you go to work you get cut off. Would you cut a man off for the sake of two days’ work in the scrap yards? Will you recalculate his allowance entitlement for each part-time work period? Is that kind of increase in red tape part of your savings programme?
What will you do if a woman, a mother, refuses your offer of a day in the scrap yards? Will you cut her off and let her children starve? Will you take her children into public custody? Are you really prepared to force teenagers to drop out of school for a day in the scrap yards?
Somebody was muttering about the NDP and welfare. Let me quote from an article by Ronald Anderson in the business section of the Toronto Globe and Mail, normally not a hot bed of socialist thought.
Mr. Mackenzie: As long as it is not too complicated.
Mr. McClellan: Well, I can’t make the guarantee that it is not too complicated for the minister. I want to read it because we agree with it. Mr. Anderson said:
“It is entirely reasonable to expect all those who are able to work to support themselves and their dependents when work is available to them. But to demand that they take the first job offered is too arbitrary. It eliminates freedom of choice for the individual and potentially places employers in a position to exploit unskilled workers who will be forced by the government to take any job, however dirty, dangerous or physically exhausting it may be.
“If the government insists on maintaining the work or starve ethic, it could at least allow some degree of freedom of choice. Benefits could be cut off, for example, if welfare recipients refused the first two or three jobs offered by Canada Manpower. That in fact, of course, is the current policy throughout the province. Any able-bodied person who simply refuses to work out of sheer laziness deserves little sympathy, although his wife and children may. [And of course we agree with that.]
“The Ontario government intends to apply the new rules to both men and women, even mothers of small children. This is surely one of the most distasteful measures proposed by any government in Canada for many years.”
The long and short of it is that the minister’s proposal is simply a hoax. The problem in this province is not welfare abuse. The problem is jobs and the issue is jobs. The failure of your government is its failure to create jobs; and the failure of your ministry is its failure to help people on welfare return to productive employment, because you’ve always run the welfare department as a pay wicket, as a money shop rather than as a rehabilitation service.
There’s always been an absence of any serious commitment to job counselling, job training, job placement, job readiness or job creation. You pay lip-service to work and to the work ethic, but in fact you are the real destroyers of the work ethic in Ontario, with your money-shop welfare system, now with a few welfare-bashing additions, and with your positive enthusiasm for a fiscal attack on Ontario’s debt crisis which raises the level of unemployment.
You really prefer unemployment and swollen welfare rolls to tackling the hard business of making jobs and the hard business of facilitating re-entry into the work force and into productive employment. You prefer swollen welfare rolls to the creative use of public sector employment for the disadvantaged. You prefer to run the welfare office as a pay wicket instead of running a welfare office with a focus on rehabilitation.
Your office lacks, in fact, the basic data to plan a re-employment strategy. When we began to compile our statistical material, we found to our amazement that all you have is raw numbers of welfare recipients. You have no data at all on educational training levels, on work skills, on work records, on work experience. Without that data, it is utterly impossible to develop serious programmes to facilitate re-entry into the work force. Even the data you have are utterly ludicrous. The March registration shows 565 employables on general welfare assistance because of their inability to find employment. It also shows 79 employables who suffer permanent ill health.
If you really believe in work instead of welfare, you would not be forcing cutbacks in work activity projects. Our leader yesterday demonstrated, and I believe he gave a cost-benefit example of, work activity; and yet your Jan. 28 policy of restraint announced: “No new work activity projects can be approved. Current projects will be held to a 544 per cent increase. Renewals will be scrutinized for efficiency and effectiveness.”
In Toronto that has meant the work activity programme of Metropolitan Toronto -- which I believe our leader used as his cost-benefit illustration -- that excellent project will be cut back in the amount of $50,000.
In Thunder Bay -- I’m going to read this because this is interesting; this is from a report of the commissioner of social services in Thunder Bay to his council:
“One of the most critical areas of cutbacks is that of the work activity programme in which it appears that we could suffer because of the very deliberate process on our part to ensure that the project was researched and planned properly before being initiated. We were recently visited by the top federal authority on work activity, who made the statement in which he said he felt this project was the best-planned programme in the whole of Canada. But now it is endangered because we did not, like many other centres, jump into a project without doing a great deal of detailed planning beforehand.”
Wonderful. The YWCA in Metropolitan Toronto has a programme called “Focuses on Change” which appears to help women develop job readiness skills and move into job training preparatory to employment. We have a cost-benefit analysis of that particular project that shows that 5.5 family benefit recipients a year moving successfully through the programme are sufficient to recover the entire costs of the programme and yet they have difficulty in getting serious and stable funding from your ministry.
Vocational rehab services has been cut back. You won’t allow us to use the word “cutback” but when we have double-digit inflation and you allow 5.5 per cent increases, that is a cutback. Vocational rehab was cut back in your statement of Jan. 28.
The Minister of Labour (B. Stephenson) indicated, in an answer to a question, that you were prepared to move into community employment strategy but it is my understanding -- I hope I’m wrong -- that not a single area in Ontario has been designated as a community employment strategy area. I don’t think I am wrong. I don’t think you have the slightest commitment to create a public sector employment or to community employment strategies in general. Frankly I think you prefer high unemployment.
A project called the human services community, funded by your ministry for three years, which proved through its own effective programme that it was possible to move people on welfare back into productive employment, is now being allowed to die now that its three-year pilot programme grant has expired.
The real problem is that you’ve always used labour as a factor of production to be used, dropped or discarded. You don’t have the slightest concept of labour as a human resource that has to be planned for and developed and this is implicit again in what you’re proposing now. I might remind you of your own commissioned report, the Swadron report, I believe in 1971. It reminded you again that:
“The hard facts are, however, that most of our manpower policies and programmes are aimed at those most likely to succeed. Little action has been taken to serve the needs of the more difficult to help. Our preoccupation has been with meeting the needs of industry in a truly economic sense, industry, at least in Canada it seems, has not responded to the needs of the disadvantaged.
“More enlightened economic planning and employment industrial development policies, whether manpower and employment forecasting or closer integration of our educational training systems to meet future manpower requirements, are essential but they are not enough.
“Without specific programmes to fulfil the needs of those who cannot otherwise compete, we shall continue to have a growing minority of disadvantaged persons alienated from the rest of society in thought and in action, unable to enjoy its benefits, relying on the indignity of handouts and becoming increasingly contemptuous and hostile towards a system which rejects their humanity and is oblivious to their fate.”
In December, 1974, your Ministry of Labour completed a study as follows:
“The most pressing need is for improvements in the way we develop and utilize Ontario’s human resources, particularly those of youth, women, and minorities. Both employers and the education and training systems must be guided by longer-term considerations in their planning for manpower development. We must do a lot better job of facilitating entry into satisfactory employment for youth, women and minorities.”
Facilitating entry into employment does not mean kicking people who are already down. It just doesn’t mean that.
Mr. Warner: He doesn’t care.
Mr. McClellan: For the one-third of general welfare assistance recipients, some 22,000 people, who are on welfare because of their inability to obtain employment -- because they can’t get jobs -- what’s needed is a serious commitment to job creation through a manpower policy which focuses on a full utilization of our human resources in an array of programmes to facilitate re-entry into the labour force. Of the two-thirds of social assistance recipients who are there by virtue of long-term need, for whom it is impossible to return to work and for whom you now provide a form of guaranteed annual poverty, what is simply demanded is justice.
Because of the shortage of time, I am going to shorten my remarks on income security and the minister’s disastrous welfare policies, and have a look at an even more serious area -- in many respects -- than that of social services.
As in the field of social assistance, the provision of social services in this province takes place within an almost complete policy vacuum. The management and administrative processes and procedures are hopelessly old-fashioned and inadequate.
I think our leader said you probably know more about roads than you know about the people on your social assistance rolls and I think that’s true. I shudder to think what would happen if you ran the Ministry of Transportation and Communications the way you run your own ministry. I suspect we would have bridges adjacent to roadways in farmers’ fields and paved shoulders and gravel median lines.
Social services in this province are characterized by almost total fragmentation; duplication -- duplication within the context of critical gaps; monumental difficulty of access and confusion around entitlements for clients; income maintenance workers provide counselling; counselling agencies provide financial support. A morass is competing -- centralized funding authority makes the orderly planning and development of services for human need almost impossible.
Mr. Warner: You are offering it only because you have to, not because you want to.
Mr. McClellan: I suspect that one of the reasons you have got yourself into such an incredible mess with the Children’s Aid Societies is the inadequacy of your management systems. You simply don’t know, despite having a $1 billion budget, what it is you are buying or what it is you are paying for. You are still not on a uniform system of programmed budgeting across this province.
The effect of your restraint programme is to delay further the introduction of programmed budgeting to the Children’s Aid Societies. You can’t tell me what your unit costs are. You can’t tell me, with the kind of specific detail that, for instance, the Ministry of Health is able to provide, what your dollars are going toward -- when you make cuts, your cuts are as random as your expenditures.
You don’t know what you are cutting. We will tell you what you are cutting. I gather you are starting to catch on but we will give you some more material.
The second really critical failure in your ministry, aside from its traditional management difficulties and, I suppose, the prior problem of just sheer indifference, is the absence of a coherent policy framework. For us, it would simply be prevention; for you, it remains as it always has over the last 10 to 15 years -- an approach of crisis intervention, of Band-Aid patch-up once family breakdown has already occurred.
You still have not implemented the preventive clauses of the 1965 Child Welfare Act. You still have not provided sufficient funds for preventive services in this province. Your ministry still discourages the development of preventive social services in Ontario. I want to describe the social service crisis that this minister has created. It is a crisis of major proportion.
The Treasurer of Ontario, speaking in the Legislature, on Dec. 18, again on his restraint programme, said:
“Despite the dire need for restraint by all sectors of the economy in these uncertain times we cannot expect disproportionately greater sacrifices from our elderly citizens. We must endeavour to shelter them to the best of our capacity from the rough and necessary justice of Canada’s anti-inflation measures.”
How you shelter them! You are bringing in restraints that require the cutback of staff in senior citizens’ homes. For example in the Premier’s own riding six staff in the Peel municipal homes have already been cut. You propose to confiscate comfort allowances; you cut action age grants.
You reduce the effective level of funding for elderly persons’ centres, funding which is already inadequate, funding which already is complicated by a basic inadequacy of the legislation to provide funds for the kinds of services for senior citizens that are needed. Rate increases for seniors in institutions will be passed on to them. There is a freeze on capital construction of new senior citizens’ homes. As I said before, 1,400 sit already on the waiting list for accommodation in Metropolitan Toronto. That is how you shelter the senior citizens of this province from the rough and ready justice of your restraint programme.
Family service associations are in an equally invidious situation. In Toronto there are four major family service associations which serve to provide counselling for families and individuals in this metropolitan area, Huntley Youth Services, Catholic Family Service Association, Family Services Association, Jewish Family and Child Service. These agencies are currently facing a total projected deficit of $506,250. If this deficit is allowed to stand, then these agencies will have to cut 23 staff with the result that some 840 families a month will be denied service as well. They will have to close either Illahee Lodge, the camp for medically handicapped kids, or they will have to reduce the number of places at Bolton Camp from 2,250 to 1,800. They have appealed to your ministry for help, and to my knowledge no help has been forthcoming.
Within the context of the closing of hospitals and the elimination of bed space, one would expect a rational government to plan for the expansion of visiting homemaker services as one of the forms of alternate health care. That is a service whose funding is the responsibility of this ministry.
Let me read to you in some detail what is happening to the Visiting Homemakers Association here in Toronto. The president of the board writes:
“During 1965 we provided 260,000 hours of homemaker service in 1,773 households, involving personal care to 1,258 elderly, handicapped and convalescent adults and 2,854 children, many of whom were physically and/or mentally retarded.
“For the first time since the depression years of the 1930s, recruiting eased significantly in 1975 and we were able to increase our homemaker staff 18 per cent by year-end. Service in the fourth quarter was 16.7 per cent higher than in the last three months. Service is currently being provided at a level of 25,000 hours per month, compared with 21,000 in January, 1975.”
They go on to say they anticipate a cutback of 20 per cent, which could completely wipe out the gains that they had managed to make in 1975. These are their projections of the effect of this projected 20 per cent cutback:
“To the elderly or handicapped adult, a cut of 1,900 hours a month to at least 50 individuals and a reduction in service to an additional 20 or 30 homes.”
I’m sorry, I should add that their estimate is that an additional 50 or 60 elderly people in 1976 who are refused service as a consequence of cutbacks, and who could have been socially maintained at home with part-time service, will be admitted to nursing homes or hospitals. What a marvellous restraint programme this is.
“Families with dependent children: A 20 per cent cutback from present service levels is equivalent to 2,294 hours of service to 40 families each month. Even at present levels of service, we have to turn down 15 to 20 urgent applications each week during the peak period of mid-October through May.
“The results of the cutbacks and denials of service: Increase admission of children to Children’s Aid Society care; sole-support or breadwinner father losing time for work with lost income, and more critically, putting their jobs in jeopardy; postponing needed medical care for mothers; delaying convalescence; impairing health of mothers. In some situations, lack of needed help or enough help will result in hospital readmission, particularly to mental hospitals, and to the placement of children in care. There will be placement of severely handicapped children in institutions because some families cannot cope with the excessive care demands of such children without support and relief.
What you are doing is cutting precisely those programmes that serve to strengthen families, to prevent their breakdown, to prevent them coming into care at double or triple the cost, to prevent them from ending up in later years on the welfare roll or in mental institutions, or in jail -- at double, triple or quadruple the cost. It’s precisely the kind of programming that is being most severely hit by your mindless austerity programme; by your shifting of the burden of paying for service to municipalities and to the property tax in an election year. That’s the consequence of what you’re doing.
In the field of mental retardation, we’re supposed to be in the midst of a massive programme to transfer care of the mentally retarded from institutions to a community-based care system. What is happening here is simply grotesque.
Instead of providing the promised community resource centres for the mentally retarded, the minister is using his massive amounts of federal assistance money to create a new set of smaller institutions around Ontario. Burwash penal institution is now called a residence for the mentally retarded. Northeastern Psychiatric Hospital is now called a community resource centre; as is Goderich Psychiatric Hospital.
The promised partnership between the ministry and the various district work groups and co-ordinating committees has been totally subverted by this ministry. Perhaps the most tragic irony of all is the 5.5 per cent ceilings on agencies and programmes means that none of the social agencies within the province have the resources to meet their new responsibilities to provide backup support to this new community-based care system. Not only can they not meet new and additional responsibility, they cannot even maintain the present level of service for the mentally retarded.
Let me turn now to what I am afraid is the most critical area, that of child welfare, and this will be the final section of my introductory remarks.
It is not unfair to say that this minister has brought this province to the verge of a child welfare catastrophe. Your intransigent stand -- the minister smiles and chuckles; maybe the minister won’t smile and chuckle --
Mr. Warner: He enjoys disasters.
Mr. McClellan: -- when the consequences of his irresponsibility start to come home to roost. Your intransigent stand on the 5.5 per cent increased ceiling is simply beyond description. Ontario’s largest Children’s Aid Society, the Children’s Aid Society of Metropolitan Toronto, I gather has finally been given a reprieve from the death sentence which you yourself issued to it, although we have not yet seen the details This society accounts for 30 per cent of your ministry’s budget. Its position is the most critical, but is by no means unique.
Fully one-half of the 50 Children’s Aid Societies in Ontario cannot meet the 5.5 per cent ceiling, and I am going to list the ones that we have talked to that are in serious difficulty as a result of your restraint: Thunder Bay, Lambton county, Kingston, Durham, Elgin, Essex, Hamilton, Brant, Lanark, Niagara, Northumberland, Ottawa, Peel, Prescott-Russell, Porcupine, Rainy River, Renfrew, Simcoe, Stormont, Sudbury, Kirkland Lake, Kitchener-Waterloo, Wellington, Metropolitan Toronto CAS, Kenora, Kapuskasing. This ministry is in the process of utterly destroying the child welfare service that has grown up in Ontario over the last 50 years.
Mr. Warner: They had to threaten to resign in order to get some response.
Mr. McClellan: As my colleague has said, only the threat of resignation has appeared to bring this minister to his senses. I am not sure that it has.
The 5.5 per cent allowable increase over 1975 levels does not even appear to cover the rollover increase from 1975 ministry approved budgets for a substantial number of societies, and I want to explain these rollover costs to the House.
Since 1968, the ministry has been requiring societies to delay and refrain from implementing budget changes, new programmes, until July of the current fiscal year. So as a result the actual budget for the past year has only enough funds for months’ operation of new programmes, and rollover is the extra six-month cost which has to be approved the following year to cover a full 12-month period.
The ministry, in 1975, approved society budgets at six-month levels which it knew could not be run on a 12-month basis at a 5.5 per cent increase. The ministry knew that so well before the 5.5 per cent ceiling was increased, and the degree of duplicity and perfidiousness of that kind of behaviour simply can’t be tolerated in this province when we are dealing with the lives and welfare of the most disadvantaged and needy children in our society.
Mr. Warner: You don’t care, that is the worst of it all.
Mr. McClellan: Let’s look in some detail at the effects of this minister’s handiwork. The Kapuskasing Children’s Aid Society has responsibility for children living within a 100,000-square mile territory. Presently there are 13 social workers, five group home workers, and four administrative people and clerical people on staff. The average caseload ratio is 35 to one. In 1975-1976, the budget of the society was $654,455.
Due to the fact that they ran a deficit of 2.6 per cent in 1975-1976, the 5.5 per cent increase for the 1976-1977 fiscal year means 2.9 per cent for them, or $671,474. They have asked for a 30 per cent increase which, if you include the deficit, means a 1976-1977 budget of $848,000. The reason that they ran a deficit in 1975-1976 was because of an increase of children in care.
To fit within the 5.5 per cent guideline or 2.9 per cent as it really is, the Kapuskasing Children’s Aid Society would have to forego staff salary increases -- but I suppose nearly all societies are doing that. They would have to reduce their staff by 6½ positions. There would be no increase in foster parents. They would have to drop their regular service, of having a worker on call 24 hours a day. They would have to drop a planned group home for the treatment of adolescents; they are presently sending kids to North Bay. They would have to drop their summer camp programme. And they would have to drop all preventive programmes.
The director wonders how bad a service has to get before it is in fact a waste of money.
The Sudbury Children’s Aid Society may be dealt with by my colleague. The Kenora Children’s Aid Society was dealt with, I believe, by our leader the other day. I just want to remind yet again that the three group homes that they opened last year, with your approval, would have to be closed this year at your insistence. They would have to fire five staff --
Mr. Foulds: Weren’t those the ones that the Minister of Natural Resources (Mr. Bernier) opened with a big show?
Mr. McClellan: Maybe the Minister of Natural Resources can preside over the closing of the three group homes in 1976-1977.
They would have to dismiss five staff, close two full-time and two part-time offices and decrease foster home payments for those salary staff increases. This is the Children’s Aid Society that probably has the most difficult caseload in all of Ontario, as the minister well knows; and yet the minister tells them to accept the 5.5 per cent increase that will cut their programme to ribbons.
The Children’s Aid Society of Ottawa will be in the position, with the 5.5 per cent increase, of being in debt by $1.25 million for 1976-1977. The minimum they need to continue functioning is a 20 per cent increase. Since your freeze, they have already closed three group homes. Fifty kids are already on the waiting list for group homes or institutions. At 5.5 per cent they would have to close six group homes and fire 75 people.
My colleague from Thunder Bay will tell you about the society there.
In the Children’s Aid Society in Lambton county, to reach a five per cent increase over the 1975 approved estimate level, there are only twin cost areas which could be cut -- children in care and staff.
“To attain the necessary further savings of $63.000, we would have to discharge at least 31 of our current children in care for a full six-month period. That is in excess of one-quarter of our current child care caseload and is only possible by blatant refusal of service. The alternative is staff cuts in an already understaffed agency. We have only two supervisors to oversee 16 social workers, so no adjustment could be made at middle management level. At the level of line staff, it would require the immediate release of one-quarter of current complement to effect the necessary saving. Since most of our staff are still generalists, this would drastically curtail all areas of service.
“If we are to be required to reduce this budget further, we would appreciate your informing us in what areas this must be done and assuming the resultant responsibility for lack of service.”
Your actions have simply made it impossible for child welfare movement in this province to continue to perform its responsibilities under the Child Welfare Act. More than one society has asked us: “How can the minister so violate the law?”
Mr. Warner: Have you an answer?
Mr. McClellan: I could go on and on. I could possibly go on for a couple of days --
Mr. Warner: It might be worthwhile.
Mr. McClellan: -- giving in more and more minute detail chapter and verse of the duplicity, the perfidy and the irresponsibility of this ministry.
I want to review again the situation of the Children’s Aid Society of Metropolitan Toronto. The leader of this party has pointed out the way in which you tried to euchre them out of the difference between 3.1 per cent and 5.5 per cent. It’s utterly inexplicable behaviour.
When on Jan. 15, president of the board of the Metro Children’s Aid Society wrote to you a heartfelt letter of concern detailing what would happen to child welfare services in Metropolitan Toronto if they were frozen at 3.1 per cent, you replied with an attack on the society. On Jan. 15 you were advised by the president of the Metro CAS just what your ceiling meant.
I’m taking this out of the letter of Jan. 15. You had the information fully two months ago. Their bank overdraft situation would increase to $47,000. They would have to bring an end to their introduction of programmed budgeting. They would have to freeze salaries. They would have to freeze foster care rates. They would have to freeze group care facilities. They would have to close admissions. They would have to reduce the volume of children in care by 20 per cent of the Jan. 1 level.
They would have to fire 90 staff and that, again, is because of the rollover. They were not approved in their budget until late in the year. They did not hire until October, I believe, for the programme expansion, and the effect of your ceiling would be to knock them back to the pre-1975 levels.
They concluded that they were simply unable, and would be unable, to perform their responsibilities under your Child Welfare Act. It took the threat of their resignation as a board to bring you to some kind of sense.
We still are not sure of the details. I just hope and pray, for the sake of the children in this city, that you have been brought to a mature and rational decision -- but your initial response was to attack the Children’s Aid Society.
Mr. Warner: Who forced you to do that? Have you no explanation? Do you really like children?
Mr. McClellan: You claimed they were in some sense less efficient than other societies, using dummy census statistics to prove that their ratios were higher than the CCAS. You held up to them the example of the Catholic Children’s Aid Society “as proof that societies could live within the guidelines very comfortably.” I think that’s a direct quote.
Unfortunately for you, the Catholic Children’s Aid Society of Metropolitan Toronto overspent its budget in 1975 by 5.5 per cent.
One of the most amazing of this minister’s statements and, I think, the statement that most clearly proves his incapacity to serve in the office he holds, is his statement that child foster care must be developed and expanded as an alternative to institutional residential care.
Mr. Martel: Strengthen the home.
Mr. McClellan: That statement is just so bizarre as to be beyond belief. Yet I assume that since the minister says it over and over again it’s to be taken as the policy of the ministry.
All of the agency material that we’ve seen has the same thing in common, that foster rates are frozen and that they are going to experience difficulties in getting and even holding the line in existing foster care. Nevertheless, the minister is saying that it’s going to be expanded at the same time, perhaps concurrently.
But that’s not the point; the point is that you say it’s an alternative to residential care. Residential care can be provided and is provided to children by Children’s Aid Societies because of emotional disturbance. New treatment facilities can and have been provided by many societies as a desirable alternative for disturbed children, but the ministry has in fact been discouraging and even criticizing some societies for doing this.
To suggest, as you have done repeatedly, that unpaid, untrained foster parents can even cope, let alone help, the very disturbed kids, displays an ignorance and indifference to children in public care which is totally unfitting to the m:inister responsible.
Let me give you some cases from a large society; it illustrates the point that I’m trying to make.
Male, aged three and a half, admitted to Children’s Aid Society early 1976; epileptic, suffers prolonged grand mal seizures. Shortly before admission he had been in HSC with encephalitis and was at the time of admission on an untested regime of medication. It was felt that the combination of medication was actually stimulating and provoking convulsions. A few days after his admission, he was suffering such acute and prolonged convulsions that he spent five days in North York General Hospital. Prior to admission he was so hyperactive as to be a real danger to himself and he was restrained by being tied in his crib. In his frequent stays in hospital, his limbs were splinted to prevent his injuring others or himself. The report says; “In the opinion of the doctors involved, what he needs is custodial care in a medical setting which we have so far not been able to obtain.”
Male, aged 13½ years, admitted to a Children’s Aid Society care as emergency in May, 1975 after physically and violently attacking his mother. Angry, extremely disturbed, violent adolescent; self-destructive, threatened suicide frequently, attempted it twice. He was in York Cottage for 19 days, during which time we tried every way we could to get him admitted to an appropriate resort. He was admitted here on the understanding that he was scheduled for admission to Lakeshore. This, however, turned out to be false. Finally, he was admitted to Whitby at the end of May, 1975.
Male, aged 15 years, ward of CAS. He was living in a Browndale camp until he was finally asked to leave for fear the whole group home would disintegrate. He’s aggressive, violent and threatening. He has problems communicating with adults and difficulties working with his peers. It is felt that he can’t live in a family setting. Finally he was moved into an outside institution where he is making some progress. He has a limited intelligence, an IQ around 83.
Male, aged 11 years. He was first placed with Metro CAS when he was very young. His mother is emotionally ill, a chronic alcoholic and was unable to manage the care of him. He was placed in a specialized foster home but had to be moved to an outside institution. He’s impulsive, destructive, autistic; a fearful child who needs structure and affection but has difficulty accepting parenting. He is of above average intelligence, can add and subtract.
There’s no place for him and no place for the other kids on my list; and this minister suggests, in the face of everything that we know about need in this province, that foster homes represent an alternative.
The Children’s Aid Society, in the same letter where they detailed to the minister the consequences of the 3.1 per cent ceiling, also indicated that the patterns of kids coming into society care have changed; that they are getting more and more kids with more severe disturbance and less and less of the kinds of kids who can be handled easily and without difficulty in foster care. Yet the minister goes on saying, despite the fact that is the pattern right across the province, that foster care is an alternative to residential treatment. It is simple nonsense. It is as nonsensical as the whole of this minister’s package, his welfare measures, his whole restraint programme.
It is clear only to us in this party that this minister is unfit to be entrusted with the lives and welfare of Ontario children, and it is clear only to us in this party that to avert a child welfare tragedy of major dimensions the Premier (Mr. Davis) must replace the Minister of Community and Social Services without delay.
Hon. Mr. Taylor: May I respond to those opening remarks, Mr. Chairman, prior to dealing with subsequent remarks that may be made?
Mr. Cassidy: No.
Mr. Martel: That’s not usual.
Mr. Chairman: The normal procedure has been for --
Hon. Mr. Taylor: Well it’s usual. It has been done before, and while this is fresh in members’ minds, I would like the opportunity. I think it would be in order.
Mr. Chairman: The Chair has no objections.
Mr. Foulds: The other members, unlike you, have.
Mr. Chairman: I think the hon. member for St. George (Mrs. Campbell) is indicating that she gave her consent to the minister to answer these questions, and then he will answer yours on your leadoff speech. Is that correct?
Mrs. Campbell: Mr. Chairman, I am in your hands. It has, in fact, been dealt with that way before and I have no objection, providing I sometime get the opportunity to open for the Liberal caucus in this matter.
Mr. Chairman: I think we could do whichever will be the most expedient to hear the estimates. If the minister is going to be fairly brief in answering, why then we’ll listen to the member for St. George.
Hon. Mr. Taylor: I am sorry, Mr. Chairman, I cannot hear you.
Mr. Chairman: I would say that if the member is going to be fairly brief, then we will deal with the member for St. George following your comments.
Hon. Mr. Taylor: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. May I say that the linguistic extravagance of the member for Bellwoods is absolutely amazing. Not only that, if he manifests his knowledge of this ministry through his observations and critique, I question whether he is fit to be the opposition critic.
May I say that here we have supplementary estimates introduced into this House which request an additional $36 million of spending to assist the very agencies and to address and service the very concerns the member has enunciated. If his thinking carries forward what he has said in terms of words, then I am sure I won’t have any difficulty with the supplementary estimates, because I am here, of course, to ask for additional funding to address some of the problems you may have alluded to, although incorrectly.
You started off in terms of criticizing the amount of money my ministry has been allocated in terms of overall spending for the next fiscal year. I pointed out that in my estimation it’s not relevant to the supplementary estimates to be involved in the estimates or projected estimates for next year, because they are not before the House.
However, may I say that in reference to the criticism of the eight per cent and the questioning of the 5½ per cent which will be an increase for most agencies in the province and in reply to the --
Mr. Cassidy: Not in real terms it isn’t.
Hon. Mr. Taylor: -- suggestion that there will be no new growth, I would like to make a few remarks.
First of all, I have indicated that there will be additional capital expenditures in areas such as day care. And in that regard I have already indicated to this House --
Mr. McClellan: Point of order, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Chairman: The hon. member has a point of order.
Mr. McClellan: Are we free to interject --
Mr. Sargent: Anything you want.
Hon. Mr. Taylor: I was quiet while you made your remarks.
Mr. McClellan: I want to challenge that. That is not new money.
Mr. Chairman: Order, please.
Mr. McClellan: It is not new money.
Mr. Chairman: Order, please. You can raise that on subsequent comments.
Mr. Sargent: Please be seated, Jim. Please be seated.
Mr. Chairman: I think the minister should continue to acknowledge or answer the comments without getting into a debate back and forth.
Hon. Mr. Taylor: Mr. Chairman, I am addressing the remarks that my friend made --
Mr. Foulds: The minister should continue his apology.
Mr. Chairman: Order, please.
Mr. Bullbrook: He is being like the Premier, he is not provocative, Mr. Chairman.
Hon. Mr. Taylor: In regard to additional capital moneys, may I repeat that in the field of day care alone there will be approximately 86 million of capital funding --
Mr. McClelland: It is old money. Mrs. Campbell: It is not new, it’s not new.
Hon. Mr. Taylor: All right. You can say it is not new but there will be new capital --
Mr. Cassidy: Redistributed, recycled.
Mr. Foulds: What are you, a Social Crediter?
Hon. Mr. Taylor: -- for construction in day care in this province. As a matter of fact, earlier this week I opened a new daycare centre in the member for Bellwoods’ own riding and your absence, I may say, was conspicuous.
Mr. McClellan: On a point of order, I was given the wrong day by your ministry.
Hon. Mr. Taylor: Well, in any event, I am just saying that a new daycare centre is there.
Mr. Foulds: You can’t even get your dates right.
Mr. Cassidy: A Conservative plot.
Hon. Mr. Taylor: When you look at the estimates that we will be considering, and hopefully are considering, you will see that additional moneys are required. As a matter of fact, there is $2.3 million for operating expenses this year for day care, so that the operating expenses for day care in the current fiscal year are something in excess of $27 million.
With the new capital construction in the next fiscal year we have to provide, by necessity, operating moneys for those daycare centres. I think it is ludicrous to suggest that not be provided. If we have to allocate moneys for those capital programmes, then of course it must of necessity be taken from the overall funding that will be given to my ministry in the next fiscal year.
A similar situation exists in terms of homes for the aged. Of course it will be necessary to allocate operating moneys for those new homes for the aged and the additions that will take place in the next fiscal year; and by necessity that must come from the overall funding that will be allotted to my ministry, which reduces the amount available for distribution to most agencies to the amount of 5½ per cent.
Mr. Cassidy: Will the municipalities get those extra operating costs? Will they get those extra operating funds?
Hon. Mr. Taylor: The hon. member for Bellwoods has made mention of the growth of my ministry over the past five years and I would like to say that the average annual rate of growth has been 20 per cent. That is 20 per cent increase in spending over the past five years and I may say that that takes into consideration the actual programmes that are now operated by my ministry, and the transfer of the mental retardation services from Health to my ministry.
Mr. McClellan: That’s just a reflection of the increase in growth of revenues.
Hon. Mr. Taylor: It is something I know that you have been saying, but we took the cost while it was in Health and we take the cost while it is now in my ministry.
Mr. McClellan: The percentage is constant.
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: It’s a conflict of interest. You are a social worker. He is trying to keep his job for after next month. He wants to make sure he has a job to go back to!
Hon. Mr. Taylor: You will see that the growth rate has in fact been tremendous; the effective annual increase has been 20 per cent.
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: Why doesn’t the member make sure he’s got a job to go back to after the next time out?
Mr. Chairman: Order, please.
Hon. Mr. Taylor: It’s all very well for the member for Bellwoods to refer to Ontario’s position in Canada in terms of welfare spending, but I challenge him to travel this country, to talk with the welfare ministers of Canada and to examine the programmes of the other provinces. If he does, he will find -- and he should know this, because he has spent all of his mature life as a social worker, including a stint in my ministry --
Mr. Foulds: Not while it was your ministry.
Hon. Mr. Taylor: -- he will find that Ontario has the finest programme of any jurisdiction in North America, let alone Canada. There is just no question about that.
Mr. Martel: Who are you trying to kid? You have been behind the eight-ball from time immemorial.
Mr. Chairman: Order, please. The hon. minister was attentive when the previous speaker was addressing the committee and I feel that the committee has to give him the same type of consideration. The hon. minister will continue.
Mr. Chairman: Order.
Hon. Mr. Taylor: The member for Bellwoods criticized my ministry for a lack of senior citizens’ housing, and may I advise him that senior citizens’ housing does not come within the jurisdiction of my ministry.
Reference was made on several occasions to the Children’s Aid Societies and various programmes that were and are being undertaken by them. Before dealing with that, I would like to make mention of the criticism he has levelled in terms of tightening up the welfare system in this province.
Again, may I say that the member’s remarks, in my estimation, not only today but in certain radio broadcasting that he has made, are not only inaccurate but misleading if innocently so. It may be lack of understanding and knowledge of what we are trying to do and what in fact we are doing that leads him to state that --
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: The minister is right; you don’t understand.
Hon. Mr. Taylor: I am quoting now from a broadcast: “Yeah, they are cutting out again the kinds of programmes that are designed to keep families from falling apart in the first place -- and that means homemakers’ services.”
Some hon. members: Right on!
Hon. Mr. Taylor: “Cutting out.” You say it’s homemakers’ services they are cutting out; actually it’s the marriage counselling parts of the programme that are being cut out.
Mr. Foulds: That’s right.
Mr. Martel: They can’t even hire them in Sudbury; there’s not enough money to hire one.
Hon. Mr. Taylor: “Ah, group homes for mothers” -- and I put that “ah” in there because I am quoting accurately.
Mr. Foulds: For a change!
Hon. Mr. Taylor: “Ah, group homes for mothers, to help them to be more effective in raising their own kids, are going to be cut out.”
You might have -- well, you know, it just goes right down across the board.
Then you go on to say: “I have always been frankly fairly critical of the social services delivery system. And I -- but, you know, when it’s being absolutely gutted and destroyed, one has to point out what is being done.”
Now that is an exaggeration, that the social service system is being absolutely gutted and destroyed. You know and I know that the amount of government spending for welfare in this province is approaching $1 billion; and we are here today to seek approval of this House for an additional $36 million. To say that these programmes are being cut out is just sheer nonsense.
Mr. McClellan: You should hear what other people say about you if you think I am being critical.
Hon. Mr. Taylor: You know and I know that a good many of these programmes are administered by the municipalities through purchase-of-service agreements. You also know that a good many of these programmes are operated through the Children’s Aid Societies, and you know and I know how those are funded by this province and by the local municipality. So to say that those programmes are being gutted and destroyed is not only inaccurate, but it’s untrue.
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: Right on!
Mr. Mattel: You should hear what Reuben Bates is saying about you.
Mr. Cassidy: You should see what the Children’s Aid board say about you fellows -- and they are all Conservatives too.
Hon. Mr. Taylor: Well, I will get on to the response in connection with the Children’s Aid Societies in a few moments.
Mr. McClellan: You’d better stop him; I’m serious. You’d better watch what he is doing.
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: He’s putting you out of work, and you are worried about it.
Mr. Cassidy: You are offending the sector of people that used to support you.
Hon. Mr. Taylor: I just want to reiterate that when we’re talking in terms of tightening up the welfare system and eliminating certain provisions which are discriminatory on the basis of sex, it does not attempt to do the types of things you have so erroneously stated.
At present, for example, as you know, an able-bodied wife of an unemployed person is not required to seek employment even though she is both capable of working and has no child-rearing responsibilities.
Mr. McClellan: Why don’t you make that simple statement?
Hon. Mr. Taylor: It’s that type of a situation that we’re trying to address. Of course, you don’t agree with that.
Mr. Foulds: You might create some jobs.
Mr. McClellan: Just tell us about the jobs.
Hon. Mr. Taylor: For example, a single mother with a 15-year-old child is automatically eligible for assistance even though she is fully employable and has no direct child-rearing responsibilities which would preclude her from employment.
Mr. Foulds: What are you talking about?
Hon. Mr. Taylor: I’m talking about the existing system. What you are saying is the system we have now must be perfect because you are opposed to any changes I have suggested be made. There has been and is no intention on the part of this minister or this government to force mothers with family responsibilities into the labour market. I’ve never said that; you may have said that.
Mr. Cassidy: Tell us how you are going to change it. What are you going to do?
Mr. Martel: The only way you’re going to change it is make them lose jobs.
Hon. Mr. Taylor: You may be responding to accusations in that regard but that is absolutely incorrect.
Mr. Cassidy: That’s exactly what you’re doing there, I guess.
Mr. Foulds: How many times have you been misquoted?
Hon. Mr. Taylor: Every time one of you opened your mouth I’ve been misquoted. That’s often, believe me.
Mr. Chairman: Order, please.
Mrs. Campbell: Mr. Chairman, on a point of order.
Mr. Chairman: The hon. member will state her point of order.
Mrs. Campbell: I did yield, as a matter of courtesy, to the minister’s request to answer. It does seem to me that at least I might be accorded the courtesy of the NDP in allowing the minister to proceed so that I may exercise my right to address this particular debate. I would ask that you enforce the rules of this House and let us get on with it.
Mr. Martel: Speaking to the point of order. I don’t know why you parted with tradition by allowing the minister to respond after the lead-off of the New Democratic Party. Tradition around here has it that both critics are given an opportunity to make lead-off remarks and it’s at that stage that the minister makes his response. I’m not sure why you departed from that.
The minister indicated a very short response but that was 13 minutes ago. I would suggest we return to the procedures followed in this Legislature and allow the member for St. George to get on with her remarks and then we will proceed in a normal fashion with the vote.
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: Speaking on the point of order, the hon. members well know that while the hon. member for Bellwoods was making his presentation, the only time there was any interruption it came from the member for Sudbury East for one -- while he was here -- and the member for Scarborough-Ellesmere (Mr. Warner). This side of the House sat and listened with patience.
Mr. Martel: I wasn’t here.
Mr. Cassidy: No Tories were here.
Mr. Foulds: All three of you did.
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: As soon as the minister began his response, after the courtesy was extended to him by the member for St. George the hon. members in the New Democratic Party interrupted continually, especially the member for Bellwoods.
Mr. Martel: The hon. minister is not even speaking to the point of order.
Mr. Chairman: Order, please. The hon. member for Sudbury East has already spoken. This is not a debate.
Mr. Martel: I was speaking to the point of order.
Mr. Chairman: You have already spoken to the point of order.
Mr. Martel: Certainly, I have spoken to the point of order. That was a deliberate misleading statement. It doesn’t speak to the point of order at all. The manner in which this Legislature works --
Mr. Eaton: Sit down; throw him out.
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: Mr. Chairman, on a point of privilege; it’s been said that I have deliberately misled the House and I expect the hon. member to withdraw that.
Mr. Martel: I do not intend to withdraw, Mr. Chairman.
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: Mr. Chairman, I expect that he should withdraw it. I did not intentionally mislead the House at all.
Mr. Chairman: The minister says that you should withdraw it.
Mr. Martel: He should speak to the point of order if he is speaking to anything and not bring in some red herring.
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: Mr. Chairman, I still feel that the hon. member should be required to withdraw the statement that I deliberately misled the House.
Mr. Cassidy: It’s like a blue herring.
Mr. Martel: I must find out where I said that. It will be in Hansard.
Mr. Chairman: The Chair did not hear the hon. member say it.
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: Mr. Chairman, I trust it will not appear in Hansard, is that correct?
Mr. Martel: You can change it if you want.
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: The point was stated by the hon. member and I expect you, sir, to make a ruling on whether it should be withdrawn or not.
Mr. Foulds: What?
Mr. Martel: He didn’t hear it.
Mr. Chairman: I didn’t hear the hon. member say it.
Mr. Eaton: Did he say it or didn’t he? Ask him,
Mr. Chairman: I will ask the hon. member did you indicate that the minister was misleading the House?
Mr. Martel: If I did, I probably meant it. I can’t recall having said it.
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: Mr. Chairman, either he knows what he said or he doesn’t. Most of the time he doesn’t.
Mr. Chairman: I will ask the hon. member to withdraw that statement. The Chair heard that.
Mr. Martel: This is reaching the ludicrous stage, Mr. Chairman. I said if I said it I probably meant it. Now what’s that mean? That if I made a statement --
Mr. Chairman: You are inferring that the minister was misleading the House.
Mr. Martel: I didn’t say that, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Chairman: Perhaps we can check Hansard to see what the initial statement was and in the meantime the hon. minister could continue with his brief remarks.
Mr. Martel: Mr. Chairman, on a point of order. Are you going to continue to move away from the way the House traditionally works?
Mr. Chairman: I have already ruled.
Mr. Martel: Or are you going to go on with this nonsense?
Mr. Chairman: I have already ruled on that matter. The minister said this was the way he preferred to answer. The hon. member for St. George agreed, the committee agreed at that time and the Chair has agreed to proceed on that basis.
Hon. Mr. Taylor: Mr. Chairman, if I may proceed then. I was mentioning the remarks of the member for Bellwoods (Mr. McClellan) in terms of the proposed changes to the General Welfare Assistance Act in terms of a variation or amendment to the regulations of that piece of legislation.
Of course, the proposal is to redefine the definition of employment. As the member knows, or should know, a person is not required now to take temporary, casual or seasonal work even though that may be available. In other words, a person may be receiving welfare assistance and continue to receive that assistance provided that there isn’t a job for him which is of a full-time or permanent nature and, presumably, of a type of work which is preferred by him.
What we are introducing are changes which will enable a person to take on part-time work to help maintain himself. I don’t see anything particularly wrong with that. If we can get more persons to take jobs which may be available, even though part-time or casual, frankly, I see nothing wrong with that. That may be a part of the work ethic which our friend from Bellwoods doesn’t believe in, but nevertheless the changes in regulations will reflect that.
Similarly, it is incumbent now upon a welfare officer to make payments to a child between the ages of, say, 16 and 18 who has left home and who may not be going to school. That mandatory provision is being redressed so that payment of welfare to that type of parson will be on a discretionary basis rather than a mandatory basis. I think that is good in that it will not encourage children of that age to leave home and to set up independent housekeeping for no good reason.
Mind you, there may be circumstances in which a young person may be better off out of the family setting because of severe home problems. It may be better for his health, physical and mental. Those cases, of course, will be dealt with individually in light of their own particular circumstances.
There are other amendments which will be made and which have been mentioned. While they are not here for consideration, nevertheless I would like to make those few remarks in response to the attack made by the critic for the opposition on those regulatory changes.
The criticism was made that the regulation should not be tightened and instead there should be more job opportunities made available, and in that regard there was an attack on the government and my ministry for not providing work activity programmes. May I point out to the member, who, with all of his research staff and particular powers in terms of scavenging material, should know that in the last ministry’s budget provision was made for an expenditure of $1,157,500 for work activity programmes.
I may say that there were 16 programmes approved in the province as a result of the provision for that type of undertaking, so to say that we are not interested in work activity programmes is sheer nonsense. As a matter of fact, the members know and should know that these programmes are developed by the local municipalities and again financed 80 per cent by the province and 20 per cent by the municipality as a part of the municipal social service programme. Those programmes are, in fact, in operation and he should have a list of those. If not, I am sure that one could be made available to him.
In terms of job opportunity, I have mentioned before and I wish to repeat that my ministry has been working with Canada Manpower in terms of placing jobs to match the people and we have set up personnel in 11 Manpower offices in this province. That is only a pilot project, I suppose, but depending on the success of the programme, it will be expanded. So far I am very heartened with the results, so that now we will have our general welfare workers in the Canada Manpower offices so that we can better match employment opportunities with persons on welfare we are servicing. I think that’s a positive, constructive step that the member should be mindful of when he is criticising this ministry and its programmes.
Mr. Martel: Did you talk to the Minister of Housing (Mr. Rhodes) about the jobs?
Hon. Mr. Taylor: Mention was made of an insulting slur on women of this province, which I certainly take very strong objection to. Again, it shows the lack of comprehension and linguistic extravagance of the member, because there was never any suggestion made by me that would suggest that a woman would be made, by this government or by my ministry, to get up in the morning and get out of her bathrobe, or however you put it.
Mr. McClellan: Direct quote.
Hon. Mr. Taylor: Well, you can take your quote, and you know, you read and you believe whatever you want to believe, but as a matter of fact the question was asked of me by that reporter about what was happening in terms of work activity programmes. I indicated that there are some problems with persons who are on welfare for a long period of time in terms of a work discipline. In other words, the longer one is on welfare, the less disciplined one is in terms of getting up at a certain time, being punctual and adopting a regular routine. I don’t think it takes one of superior intelligence to see that, but --
Mr. Foulds: It takes one of lower intelligence to see that
Hon. Mr. Taylor: -- I pointed out that Metropolitan Toronto had work activity programmes on that would help the people to adjust themselves for the work force. The way that came out, of course, the way that you are reading it, is that I am suggesting that the women of this province get out of their bathrobes and get to work, and that, of course, is an absolute falsehood. I particularly object to the perpetuation of that type of remark, which you know is not what I intended --
Mr. McClellan: Take your programmes to the Legislature.
Hon. Mr. Taylor: -- what I never did say, and you, of course, are dedicated to perpetuating misleading statements.
Mr. Martel: You should withdraw that statement.
Hon. Mr. Taylor: All right.
Mr. Foulds: Why don’t you get out of your pinstripe suit and get to work?
Hon. Mr. Taylor: All right.
Mr. Chairman: Order, please. This is developing into a debate. Would the hon. minister continue?
Mr. Martel: Mr. Chairman, aren’t you going to make him withdraw that statement?
Hon. Mr. Taylor: In conjunction with that, the remark was made that when a person does work, he or she is taxed back the money that that person receives. Again, my friend should know very well that a single person is exempt the first $50 plus 25 per cent of his or her earnings. If a single person has dependants --
Mr. Martel: Not on GWA. Not on general welfare; or mothers’ allowance. Don’t mislead the House.
Hon. Mr. Taylor: -- then it is $100.
Mr. McClellan: You should resign. After six months you don’t even know your own legislation.
Hon. Mr. Taylor: There are provisions for --
Mr. Chairman: Order, please. The hon. member indicated that the minister was misleading the House.
Mr. Martel: On general welfare you are not entitled to keep the $25.
Hon. Mr. Taylor: I am telling you that --
Mr. Martel: I am telling you that you are wrong. It is discretionary. On some general welfare --
Mr. Chairman: Order, please.
Hon. Mr. Taylor: My friend was talking about taxing back income of persons who are getting back into the work force and I am simply explaining what that is.
Mr. McClellan: I was talking about general welfare assistance, and you know it.
Mr. Martel: Not on general welfare.
Mr. McClellan: You are ridiculous; preposterous.
Hon. Mr. Taylor: Again, you know very well that a person is allowed to keep, as I say --
Mr. Martel: On mothers’ allowance.
Hon. Mr. Taylor: -- the first $100 on family benefits.
Mr. Martel: That is not general welfare.
Mr. McClellan: That is not general welfare assistance, for the fourth time.
Hon. Mr. Taylor: When you are talking about general welfare assistance, you know and I know that that is administered by the municipalities and there is a discretion there on the part of the municipality as to what they keep. You know that. If you don’t know that, you should know that.
Mr. Martel: Oh bull. You tell me the ones that allow it.
Mr. Ferrier: They will be looking over their shoulder at every move you make.
Hon. Mr. Taylor: Well, as I say, sure you want to perpetuate the system. What we are trying to do is to rehabilitate. We are trying to refrain, where possible, we are trying to match people with jobs and --
Mrs. Campbell: Oh no you are not. Don’t say that. That is nonsense.
Hon. Mr. Taylor: -- to restore the work ethic and to restore self-respect and dignity.
Mr. McClellan: That was your suggestion.
Hon. Mr. Taylor: And that is something that you probably don’t know, if you don’t agree with what we are trying to do in that regard. To suggest sending the mothers in the scrap yard --
Mr. Breaugh: Stop saying it.
Mr. Foulds: Put both feet in your mouth and stop talking.
Hon. Mr. Taylor: -- again that’s sheer nonsense, and you know it. It’s that type of misleading statement that is doing a disservice to the people on family benefits and welfare in this province. You know, through that type of remark all you are doing is upsetting people who are in true and genuine need and whom we are trying to help. You are upsetting them emotionally and every other way by making statements that are absolutely inaccurate. I think you are doing a great disservice. You might think about it more closely. You can tear a strip off me if you wish and I can take it, but just don’t pick on the people of this province --
Mr. Martel: Oh, you are preposterous. You are preposterous.
Hon. Mr. Taylor: -- who are actually on welfare, who are in need and who we don’t intend to touch because they are legitimate cases.
Mr. Martel: You are unreal.
Hon. Mr. Taylor: You are trying to upset and disturb them, and I think that is terrible. It’s shocking.
Mr. McClellan: By quoting you, that would upset them. You are right.
Hon. Mr. Taylor: It is certainly shocking.
Mr. Chairman: Order, please. It is now almost 6 of the clock. Before the House leader speaks, I would like to indicate that the Chair will recognize the member for St. George as the first speaker when we go back into committee to discuss these estimates further.
Mrs. Campbell: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Hon. Mr. Welch moved that the committee rise and report.
Motion agreed to.
The House resumed, Mr. Speaker in the chair.
Mr. Chairman: Mr. Speaker, the committee of supply begs to report progress and asks for leave to sit again.
Report agreed to.
Hon. Mr. Welch: Mr. Speaker, before moving the adjournment of the House may I indicate that tomorrow, Thursday, we will take into consideration the resolution standing in the name of the Treasurer (Mr. McKeough) with respect to interim supply, and hopefully conclude the supplementary estimates before we finish our work tomorrow night at 10:30, following which, with those two matters in hand, we will then have the mid-term break.
Hon. Mr. Welch moved the adjournment of the House.
Motion agreed to.
The Mouse adjourned at 6 p.m.