The House resumed at 8 p.m.
THRONE SPEECH DEBATE (CONTINUED)
Mr. Speaker: I recognize the member for Renfrew North.
Mr. Kennedy: You had a good dinner, I can tell.
Mr. Nixon: Get back to your seat.
Mr. Conway: Act 1, scene 1 of a most humble address to the most humble address to Her Honour, the Lieutenant Governor. I stopped at the dinner hour at the end of the first section of this small discussion.
Mr. Nixon: It was just the introduction.
Mr. Conway: Well, I’m reminded -- if I might be allowed one brief digression, Mr. Speaker -- of something that was said by a very --
Mr. Hodgson: Bob Nixon is the only one who wants to hear it.
Mr. Nixon: Listen and you will learn.
Mr. Conway: I’m reminded of a story told by a most eminent Canadian from Elgin county who had the misfortune, at least from the point of view of those who lived in Elgin, of recording his memoirs for posterity, but in that John Galbraith noted that there was a very fine line between the articulate man’s wisdom and the windbag, so I hope and I pray that I follow more closely to the former than the latter, and I shall try to be commensurate in my brevity.
Mr. Conway: There are certain issues that pertain and obtain in our particular part of Ontario that are extremely important in a local, parochial sense, and I know that members present will bear with me while I do something of the traditional speechmaking and make reference to a number of these issues.
Renfrew county is one of those parts of Ontario which has for the last number of years not witnessed, quite obviously, the degree of prosperity that has been the fortune of other more illustrious, perhaps, and fortunate parts anywhere from North York through Lambton to Windsor-Riverside and such places. We haven’t had that kind of care, I suppose.
An hon. member: Here’s the apple picker.
Mr. Conway: We’ve felt the very serious economic pinch, and so it was that in the election campaign of September, 1975, we did find a certain focus on issues economic. So it was, for example, that the local transportation system, and more particularly, the local roads became an issue of very considerable importance.
I know there are many in this room who might find it very difficult to relate to such a parochial issue as roads, but we in Renfrew county, and certainly in Renfrew North, felt very strongly about the fact that there was nothing -- nothing in all the range of provincial government issues -- that was more testament to the fact that this government over the 33 years in which it has not only been in power at Queen’s Park, but during which time it had had local representation, nothing was more significant, nothing was more -- as I said earlier -- testament to the fact that they had chosen to pay less attention than we thought desirable for the economy of Renfrew county and in particular to the north riding of the county of Renfrew, than the absolutely deplorable condition of the highway network with which we found ourselves in the year 1975.
I think it important that the government of the day recognize that to the extent they no longer control in an electoral sense the north riding of the county of Renfrew, they pay heed to the fact that transportation systems in that particular area are a very significant matter of public concern and public policy. I was particularly appreciative of the response from the new Minister of Transportation and Communications (Mr. Snow), who just a short time ago responded to an inquiry made by me several weeks ago, outlining in a not too heroic fashion, I might add, what it was the government was prepared to do and not to do over the next 10 years in that particular area.
Mr. Bain: Nothing.
Mr. Conway: Whether or not the hon. member for Timiskaming (Mr. Bain) has a sense of prophecy --
Mr. Bain: That’s what they do to all our roads in the north. They’re going to put in an austerity programme.
Mr. Nixon: They are going to roll them up.
Mr. Speaker: The member for Renfrew North has the floor. Thank you.
Mr. Conway: While not professing to be a prophet, unlike the member for Timiskaming -- and I am not a prophet in politics, for those in the democratic left who --
Mr. Bain: The Treasurer (Mr. McKeough) said in his statement there would be a moratorium on building and repairing roads in the north.
Mr. Speaker: Order. Thank you.
Mr. Conway: Would that these hon. gentlemen would extend to a quiet, decent fellow as myself the sense of decorum --
Mr. Nixon: He is unreasonable.
Mr. Conway: After all, ladies and gentlemen of the 30th Parliament, we are here, are we not, to establish a new set of principles for the electronic media, who are going to be watching our every move.
Mr. Breaugh: That’s not the final --
Mr. Conway: I would think it would be most indiscreet, particularly for the hon. gentleman from Timiskaming, who certainly has a reputation, in local terms at any rate, to be very careful about, because I understand that his predecessor was a man who graced this particular assembly in a unique way --
Mr. Nixon: He made a great impression.
Mr. Conway: -- and I am sure the new member for Timiskaming would be very circumspect in his actions there too.
Mr. Bain: I trust that you prefer what I say about you to what he would say.
Mr. Conway: Pardon that digression as well. But it is important --
Mr. Mancini: He wants you to smarten up, Bob.
Mr. Conway: It is important for this government --
Mr. Bain: That’s what he said. Why didn’t he say so?
Mr. Bain: Control the rabble to your right over there.
Mr. Conway: I don’t know how I brought this down upon myself. But it is important. I think, for the government and for this assembly to realize that there are parts of Ontario which are not beneficiary to the kind of transportation systems to which the hon. members in southern Ontario have grown accustomed. That is an obvious fact; I don’t think it is one that we can expect to remedy overnight. I am not as naive as some who I am sure sit here and think that if we want it, we can have it overnight. I think we have got to be fair.
In our particular area we pay the gasoline tax, much of which is supposed to go into the highway construction fund; and when the gasoline tax is collected in my particular area there are many people who feel that we are not getting our fair share. For example, in the far northwestern portion of my riding, which is in the Algonquin Park area, there is in Whitney and in Madawaska -- where I had a meeting just a week ago -- a feeling of being cut off. Being nowhere near a public transportation system is an extremely vital concern, because in most cases the government nowadays assumes that there is a capacity for public transportation at any rate, so that if you are called to appear, in our case in Pembroke, for your unemployment insurance hearing, at least you can get there without undue difficulty. I hope that the government certainly takes into consideration these kinds of problems.
Nothing, in my estimation, highlighted the insensitivity of this government more so than when, a little over two years ago now, the Trans-Canada bridge at Petawawa fell and the 4,000 or 5,000 people situated on the Pembroke side were completely cut off from the employment which they find at the Canadian Forces Base Petawawa and Atomic Energy of Canada, beyond the Petawawa River. It seems like a small point until one realizes that much of the economic life blood in that particular area at that particular time was completely cut off and very seriously threatened.
What did the government have to tell us at that time? Well, the hon. gentlemen opposite pronounced that it was a minor inconvenience. Indeed, it was a minor inconvenience to that government, which for so long had chosen to treat it as such. I presume that the measure of education extended to my hon. friends opposite as of 9 or 10 o’clock on the evening of Sept. 18, 1975, was the beginning of their education in what is fast becoming a new political awareness and a sense of injustice in our particular region, which has also found its course in areas represented by those from northern Ontario who understandably feel the same sense of distance and neglect.
We are told, for example, that the economic salvation in our particular region must ultimately lie with something known as tourism.
That brings me to a whole range of interesting items. There was created, for the encouragement of the tourist business in particular but for the economic furtherance of our area, something called the Eastern Ontario Development Corp.
The Eastern Ontario Development Corp. has now been an entity unto itself for something like 18 months to two years, and I found it very interesting upon my arrival here to see, as one of the first public documents that I saw, the list of disbursements given by the Eastern Ontario Development Corp. in its first year of operation. It was extremely interesting to note, for example, that in the county of Renfrew there were, I think, 17 disbursements, 15 of which went to the south riding in the county of Renfrew and only two went to the north riding. Out of the two that went into the north riding, not one addressed itself in geographic terms to the large economic centre of Pembroke and Petawawa. This is a situation which clearly is unacceptable.
I was looking the other day at one of the royal commissions done by our friends in Ottawa, by all our friends in Ottawa as representatives of the federal government, and in that there was an interesting exposé as to what the Eastern Ontario Development Corp. was capable of. We now learn that $170,000 has been lost at Gomes Yarns in Renfrew, lost and squandered in the most indefensible of ways.
I am sure that our illustrious friends in the special programme review would reflect upon that with no little bit of chagrin and I know my hon. friends in this caucus look upon that kind of senseless and extravagant waste with a great deal of chagrin because the fact of the matter was that Gomes Yarns in Renfrew had no industrial or commercial profile. It was a front from the beginning. They put the money into the thing and when we had a chance to save not all, but part of their hides, they extended a second mortgage and now have effectively managed to lose the whole thing. In a small area like ours, this gets out. CBC television in Ottawa, the Renfrew Mercury and the local press have done their job and they have exposed this kind of procedure. But what it does, and rightfully does, is that it discredits the Ontario government and its Eastern Ontario Development Corp. as being a supporter of things which should have no support on the basis of what they have or have not done.
Then we have the other incident at the Eganville Creamery. I know hon. members here have probably tired of it -- I know my friend from Victoria-Haliburton (Mr. Eakins), whose good wife is here tonight and I am happy to welcome her, is commenting upon the fact that we have the problem that we do at the Eganville Creamery. But there again what does the Eastern Ontario Development Corp. do? It turns around and in the first year of operation it gives to Ault Foods of Winchester the largest single disbursement that it chooses to give. Now I am prepared in an academic sense to accept that in part at any rate. By a conservative progressive stretch of my Liberal imagination, I am prepared to accept that, if only for debating purposes. They give $1 million to Ault Foods of Winchester -- this is the Eastern Ontario Development Corp.
The fact of the matter is shortly thereafter Ault Foods announces the purchase and takeover of the Eganville Creamery. The Eganville Creamery is in a town which has had an unending series of economic crises in the last five to 10 years. I know that the very illustrious and favourite son of Eganville, the present Ombudsman of Ontario, who subscribes to the Eganville Leader like many of us, can tell you that in a private kind of way. Eganville has had a rough time and one of the steady sources of financial and employment strength it did have was the locally-owned, or at least locally-operated, Eganville Creamery. So here given $1 million, Ault Foods buys the Eganville Creamery and, in and behold, it decides to close it down.
This is what this government and its Eastern Ontario Development Corp. is doing for the cultivation of jobs and agricultural interests in my particular county. Hansard should very well report “shame, shame,” because shame there is and lots of it. Worse still, the government goes to the people at the Pembroke Creamery and says: “Given the fact that we are going to be losing 34 jobs in Eganville” -- 34 jobs which Eganville just cannot afford to lose -- “and given the fact that we now have almost 500 cream producers in the Renfrew county area who are really in serious trouble, will you, ladies and gentlemen of the Pembroke Creamery, whose primary interests are now in the dairy spread business, upgrade your facility and take that particular part of the operation over?”
The gentlemen at the Pembroke Creamery did that, and what do they find? They find that while the government of Ontario encouraged them to come to the government’s assistance at their time of crisis and take the local supply, the government was in no way prepared to ensure that its good offices would be brought to bear to assist that Pembroke Creamery in getting at the local demand which was controlled by and large by the large chain stores, and into which this local industry could not make its way. Oh no. The government in those terms found it very difficult to consider co-operation and assistance, and only through the independent and individual initiative of the ownership of the Pembroke Creamery, together with some assistance from members of the opposition, has that problem been mitigated to some extent.
So there we see, in those two instances, some measure of the seriousness of this government with respect to the Eastern Ontario Development Corp. Who is it that qualifies for its help and assistance? And, secondarily, who is it in the agricultural community that this government is prepared to help and assist? How is it that this government can justify what it has done in support of Gomes Yarns which has gone up in smoke, very sadly? How is it that the hon. Minister of Industry and Tourism (Mr. Bennett) can justify that, explain that; not so much to me, because I am, in one way or another, less involved than those cream producers and those people in the area who are trying to get some assistance from the development Corp., who have a legitimate basis from which to operate, and who cannot get so much as a fair hearing from the Ontario Development Corp.? How then does this government, and any one of us as a member of government in politics in Ontario, go with good face and standing to these groups and say that the government and the province is, in fact, serious about helping you in your particular area?
The whole question of roads, of course, bogs what it is we’re going to be getting cut of our tourist economy. Quite simply, given the fact that the Pembroke-Deep River-Barry’s Bay area is closer to Ottawa than to Toronto, one has to look at the transportation system which is presumably going to bring the tourist dollar and the tourist person into our particular area; and how this government expects to attract people into the Algonquin Park region from the Ottawa Valley side, given the present condition of Highway 41, for example, is quite beyond my humble imagination. No doubt, the hon. gentlemen opposite have some way of explaining it.
Then we have the Algonquin Park situation with respect to the local timber economy. We are presently finding ourselves in the early days of the actual operation of the Algonquin Forest Authority, and I know both labour and management in the particular area are expressing concern about what this forest authority is going to do and what it is going to mean with respect to the local and very tenuous, I might say, lumber economy. This afternoon it was my pleasure to meet once again with friends from the Algonquin Wildlands League. Theirs too is a concern, granted an antithetical one, to the lumbering interest, and we all admit that.
Politics being what it is, we must build a bridge and try to strike a compromise and a consensus that will allow for not only the continuance of economic interest in the Whitney and Deux Rivieres part of my riding, but that will also accommodate hon. gentlemen like the member for Scarborough Centre (Mr. Drea) who may very well decide that he wants to come to my great riding and enjoy the summer holidays. I’m interested in accommodating that kind of interest on both sides. Indeed, I will accommodate the hon. gentleman from St. Andrew-St. Patrick, who did my Celtic race no little bit of pride the other day, I might say, in his eloquence on March 17.
Mr. Nixon: He is going on for some time. You won’t get on tonight, Frank.
Mr. Drea: I’m not going on tonight.
Mr. Conway: We’ve got the concern there, we’ve got the real concern about the local lumber industry. I share that and I will admit -- as the hon. member for Renfrew South (Mr. Yakabuski) and his sidekick from Middlesex (Mr. Eaton) will tell us -- that my family has been long representative of and active in the local lumber industry; and they have and they presently hold licences which go back prior to --
Mr. Nixon: Now you’ve got it, Frank.
Mr. Drea: I’ve been wondering.
Mr. Conway: -- the establishment of the particular park. But I am coming here tonight, and I tell the hon. gentleman from Scarborough Centre that I’m quite proud of the fact that I do have connections with the local lumber industry --
Mr. Nixon: So are we all.
Mr. Conway: I am not afraid to admit that, and in personal terms I appreciate that there is to that extent some measure of conflict of interest, in my mind at any rate.
Mr. Nixon: Conflict, no.
Mr. Conway: But what I am interested in saying is that the other day I just happened by some of the Progressive Conservative election accounts.
Mr. Ruston: No.
Mr. Mancini: No.
An hon. member: Shame!
Mr. Conway: And interesting it was. I found something that made me think of speeches given and battles won or lost in the election campaign of --
Mr. Martel: They were the same ones; the Liberals were getting them from the same group.
An hon. member: Elie, give yourself a raise.
Mr. Conway: -- of election battles won and some lost in September. At that time I took it as a matter of public interest and debate that the two appointments from the Renfrew county area to the Algonquin Forest Authority just happened to be -- and I hope the hon. gentleman from Scarborough Centre is bearing with me --
Mr. Ruston: He’s here anyway.
Mr. Conway: -- that at that time I thought it important to highlight the fact that what we were trying to do in the Algonquin Forest Authority was get away from the politics of development, so magnificently explained and expressed by Prof. Vivian Nelles in his famous book of the same title; a kind of development and a kind of politics that was to some extent or another, seamy a bit, questionable at least.
Mr. Nixon: Howard Ferguson you know, one of our boys.
Mr. Conway: We were trying to establish in the minds of the people of Renfrew county that at long last this government, in its enlightened despotism, had decided that they were going to break that tradition and move in the directions provided by the Algonquin Forest Authority, so what did they do? The first public gesture they make with respect to the Algonquin Forest Authority is to appoint two people from Renfrew county; fair enough. And who are they? Who, pray tell, would you think they would be?
Mr. Drea: Not Liberals.
Mr. Grossman: Two NDPers?
An hon. member: A defeated Tory?
Mr. Nixon: Would you believe John Robarts?
Mr. Moffatt: Your grandfather?
An hon. member: Not the member for Scarborough Centre, surely?
Mr. Conway: When they decided that the former member for London North, the former Premier of this province, was also in a conflict of interest in one way or another perhaps, with respect to the Algonquin Forest Authority, and when they decided that the member for Scarborough Centre clearly had intellectual pursuits that would take him otherwise and he would not therefore be available, they decided and they pursued the policy --
Mr. Drea: What was that?
Mr. Conway: Whom did they appoint?
Mr. Conway: Whom did they appoint? Well, they searched the 85,000 souls or thereabouts in Renfrew county and they came up with two people, I suppose by accident, and they just happened to be Progressive Conservatives serving on the executive of their respective associations.
Mr. Nixon: No! Shame! Incredible!
Mr. Moffatt: Sounds like the good old days.
An hon. member: Unbelievable!
Mr. Conway: I don’t really know how that happened, but I thought, I am going to give this government a chance. Now clearly they will be appointed and they will --
Mr. Drea: What’s that to do with me?
Mr. Conway: I must say that I am delighted that the hon. member for Riverdale (Mr. Renwick) has graced me with his presence. I trust that that’s where it ends tonight.
Mr. Conway: I thought, though, that what these gentlemen would do was forsake their party’s political connections and walk the mainstream of public purpose, as the hon. gentleman from Lambton (Mr. Henderson) knows so well, and forsake that --
Mr. Ruston: With his pork barrel.
Mr. Conway: -- and forsake the lower road for the higher road. But no, no, they continued, and it just happened that some of those people continue to take a fairly active part in the politics of the Progressive Conservative Party in our particular area. It’s not that they’re not entitled to do so, and I want to be fair and reasonable about this. It’s not so much what is done, as we all know, but it’s a question of what is seen to be done, as the hon. gentleman from St. Patrick-St Andrew, or whatever, knows so well with respect to Doctors Hospital.
Mr. Davidson: Oh, you’re being too generous.
Mr. Conway: But we must get away from that kind of politics which appears to be party oriented.
Mr. Davidson: Is that not Liberal policy?
Mr. Conway: That’s a matter for some discussion. But I would hope that the government party, and its fine and hon. members here present, would give the Algonquin Forest Authority a chance to work. I have been among its strongest opponents, because I’m not so sure that government-run log marketing agencies will be effective. I am willing to be convinced. It may be that they are, in fact, going to be a success in logs where they have not been, for example, in eggs.
I wish them well, but I would hope that the hon. gentlemen opposite will give the Algonquin Forest Authority a chance to see something more than the partisan light of day, that they will extend to each and every operator in the particular area a fair and equitable opportunity to participate so long as participation in lumbering in Algonquin Park is permitted by this assembly, that each and every operator in that particular area and indeed in the province is given an opportunity to so benefit.
One of the issues that has really been driven home to me in the last number of days particularly, because I have been meeting with officials in this particular area, is the state and quality of education in our particular county. I must admit that it has been a long, long time since I was in the school room. In my old age I reflect --
An hon. member: Oh, come on. Be serious.
Hon. B. Stephenson: At least 1½ years. Six months?
Mr. Conway: Who told you it was June? You’d better check. As I reflect in my old age about where it is that education has come in our county and indeed in our province --
Mr. Grossman: You’re proof of how good the system is.
Mr. Moffatt: That’s a strange comment. I really don’t understand that.
Mr. Conway: We have education systems in the province which have not --
Mr. Conway: Mr. Speaker, I would hope that you would intercede on my behalf to protect me from some of this rather sinister attack which will make me shudder for the rest of my days. Education in Renfrew county is an issue today such as has not been for some time, because the restraint programme in the Province of Ontario assumes in its basic way that each and every area and each and every school board has equal capacity to deal with the hardships and with the restraints that the government is prepared to dish out. This is simply not true, and nowhere is it more untrue than in the county of Renfrew, where we have, and I lament in having to admit this, an unacceptably high unemployment rate and a county where the board of education and the educational system among other things are the second largest employer in that particular county.
I think that is important in more than a peripheral way, and I’m sure we’ll all agree with that and support that, but not only are the educational and intellectual prospects of the generation to which I belong threatened, but there is the fact that we have got a very large employer being threatened in a very fundamental way.
I implore this ministry and the education ministry in particular to extend special consideration to areas like my own, given the fact, for example, that we in Renfrew county have the lowest assessment per pupil in the Province of Ontario, and that, for example, on the basis of the restraint programme outlined by the ministry the secondary school level is going to increase after the firing or the releasing of 12 per cent of the secondary school’s teaching staff, and that’s no small number I can tell you -- 55 of 438 teachers released is a tragic, tragic price to pay.
After that is taken into consideration, and after staff has been cut further by 10 or 12 per cent, and after the Renfrew County Board of Education -- a board which I know well and a board which has been sincere and consistent and long standing in its efforts to restrict and to restrain in a sensible manner while at the same time trying to lend credibility to this ministry, which has for whatever reasons tried to say that it has made throughout the province an honest effort to provide the quality of education to all -- after the Renfrew County Board of Education has worked hard and long in trying to accommodate that principle, now with an executive stroke of that ministerial pen, years of work have been summarily destroyed and it’s not going to be easily rebuilt.
It’s more than that. When the Champlain ye Vocational High School was established some years ago, one of the programmes -- just to take an example -- that was instituted at that time was a programme for registered nurses’ assistants. In the city of Pembroke we have two 150-bed hospitals, or there were until the restraint programme came along. The hospitals are the third or fourth on the employment list there and an important aspect of the local economy.
Mr. Ferrier: How are the doctors getting along up there?
Mr. Conway: The registered nurses’ programme was begun some years ago and took into its enrolment 22 people who were processed ever four years, all of whom got jobs and all of whom were profitably employed locally or nearby. We have an example of how vocational education really meant something. In the local school situation, in accordance with what John Diefenbaker meant when he provided those grants a way back, it was working and it was seen to be working.
Now the administration of the Renfrew County Board of Education tell me that that is a programme that simply has to be cut away. I hope you understand what that means. It means for 22 people, and 22 people on a yearly basis, the economic and job prospects of Renfrew county have to that extent betrayed them. It will behove this government and behove it very much to take a long, serious second look at this kind of situation and perhaps to use sore thing like a grant-weighting factor to allow for the special consideration which is what they deserve and expect if they are to be in the mainstream of education.
We need it as much, and probably more, as many of those areas in the more affluent parts, economically at any rate, but not spiritually -- I certainly will never concede that -- of the Province of Ontario. It’s important that the restraint programme at some point in time is reduced to those kinds of fundamentals and those kinds of very human and basic considerations. It’s extremely fashionable, as the hon. and eloquent member for Oshawa (Mr. Breaugh) so articulately explained earlier, that to have restraint in education may sell politically but it certainly doesn’t wash in an economic kind of way.
It’s important for this government to realize what the restraint programme will mean in the county of Renfrew. It certainly disturbs me that the government didn’t consider it worth its time to respond to the brief presented to the minister on Feb. 23 in Ottawa which expressed these concerns in a very frontal and basic kind of way. The fact that the government has taken six or seven weeks now to display its indifference to the very seriousness of the need has left the people in the education process in Renfrew county certainly reluctant to believe that this government is serious and that the Premier (Mr. Davis) could be serious when he in his altruistic kind of way gets u0p and tries to assure us, as he did this afternoon, that really we have a fine and equitable system on all sides, because students, staff, teachers and parents in the county of Renfrew understand what is happening.
I understand the politics of restraint in education and it concerns me a great deal that there are those in politics who will take the opportunity to take a system which has been controversial, and well it might have been. We have a provincial debt today of which there has been some talk, and the education spending has been to some serious extent contributory to that. So controversial it certainly has been and understandably so, but for the Premier to get up in his self-assuring way and tell us something that we in Renfrew county know to be transparently untrue, we consider it to be something more than an insult, and something less than what we want and consider that we deserve.
The hon. gentleman from over there somewhere mentioned earlier, not too, too long ago, something about health care. As the member for Renfrew North I find myself involved in a hospital cutback programme. I find myself involved in a situation where the medical community in my fair county is undergoing some measure of disagreement. We all know, as we see from the very outstanding, if difficult at times, acting Minister of Health (B. Stephenson) that the medical community can be a pretty intransigent lot. Sometimes I think they are more than intransigent, that they are unfeeling and dictatorial. Those are just some scattered thoughts that I confide in my diary.
Mr. Davidson: Not your crystal ball?
Mr. Grossman: It will never sell.
Mr. Moffatt: I am sure the rest of this story gets more interesting.
Mr. Conway: And so I stroll through my political life --
Mr. Davidson: Do you also wander Jarvis St.?
Mr. Conway: That, Mr. Speaker, was an aspersion upon my otherwise outstanding character and I am sure the hon. gentleman from Cambridge meant no such thing.
Mr. Martel: He did.
Mr. Davidson: I withdraw it.
Mr. Conway: Elie, Elie, why have you forsaken me? But there is a problem, and I am certainly not going to hide from that problem. It is for all of us in government and in politics --
Mr. Conway: There is a problem and I am not going to deny the problem. What has to be done with that problem, clearly but most difficultly, as in all polities is to find some measure of compromise, some measure of common ground. In the beginning it was a dispute which had right and wrong, which had personality confrontations as we all expect, not only in medicine but sometimes, my heavens, in politics, there are personality clashes and all that. And it has made the debate on health care a serious issue, as we all know, in the Province of Ontario today, very difficult in that particular county, and my sympathies are with them not only my group and the group right but certainly the Minister of Health (Mr. F. S. Miller) and his acting counterpart.
Mr. Grossman: And St. Andrew-St. Patrick, how about me, Sean?
Mr. Conway: Well, I certainly have no little bit of sympathy for the member for St. Andrew-St. Patrick.
In the city of Pembroke we certainly have a cutback programme. As I noticed today, the people from the Pembroke Civic Hospital are disturbed about the fact that they have been chosen, for no apparent reason, as the victims of the serious cutback in beds. Jim Roberts, the administrator, has a good point when he asks me to ask this House and the government a question that has been asked and re-asked and hopefully will be continued in its asking: What are the criteria for these cutbacks? Why, for example, 18 beds? On what rationale? Why, for example, were the Renfrew and Arnprior hospitals cut back in a similar way? All we are asking is for some measure of answers.
We have problems that extend beyond the city of Pembroke. In one of the fairest and finest communities in my electoral district, the fair town of Deep River, they have built a new hospital, much to their credit. They have built and opened the new hospital on the understanding -- in fact, it was on the urging of the government of Ontario, the Ministry of Health -- that there had to be an ambulance service. I was at an ambulance service meeting in Deep River last Tuesday, and I was happy to be with my hon. friends from the two other political groupings who were there. They deserved to be there, and I hope they continue to be there. Sometimes one is not too sure where politicians in some parties might stand on this particular issue in this particular community, but it’s important that they be consulted because, as the hon. gentleman from Lakeshore (Mr. Lawlor) might tell us, polities is a very fleeting business. When you win by 36 per cent of the vote, you don’t want to be too cocky about it all. You want to be participatory about your approach, because we in this great party, as the hon. member for Lakeshore well knows, are the sole authors of participatory democracy and not the kind of socialistic authoritarianism for which they are so terribly famous.
Mr. Lawlor: Still, you want everyone on the public payroll.
Mr. Davidson: I would never have thought that of you.
Mr. Conway: As I say, it was wise and it was fitting that those people be there, but the fact of the matter is that 18 months or two years after the fact, with a new hospital Open and with an ambulance bay and garage there, there is no ambulance there. The question that the people of Deep River, Chalk River, Rolphton and Stonecliffe so rightly ask is, “Where is the promise?” Surely this government, this outstanding group of individuals, which in 1971 was doing things for people and in 1975 was the only group that was doing this, that and all the rest of it while the other parties were made up of shirkers -- surely this is the party that experiences no gaps between promise and performance.
Mr. Martel: Credibility.
Mr. Conway: Indeed, their credibility seems to be very seriously undermined in all of this. I’m willing to give them the benefit of the doubt --
Mr. Lawlor: What doubt?
Mr. Conway: -- but if there is not some move in the next little while on behalf of an ambulance for that particular area --
Mr. Thea: You’re going to call an election.
Mr. Angus: He won’t; he won’t.
Mr. Conway: -- and there should very well be some serious discussion, if nothing else --
Mr. Conway: There should be some serious discussion, if nothing else, about this lack of performance. I sympathize with the Deep River and District Hospital Board, and I presume they know what they’re talking about.
Mr. Hodgson: You and your leader don’t know what you are talking about.
Mr. Conway: Indeed, they find themselves in a locale which is far more explained and far more understandable, and there’s a substantial enough gap between the Deep River and District Hospital Board and its particular situation than there might be between North York and Nanticoke.
Those are the kind of things, those are the sorts of gaps about which we must talk with respect to this government. I think that when the hon. member suggests that they don’t know what they are talking about, he perhaps should investigate, because they have a series of proposals and letters and inquiries which I think very substantially support their case.
The time has come for this government to either renege on its promise or live up to its promise. Because, when all else is said and done, that is an area which has seen a number of deaths which, according to my acquaintances in the ambulance service industry there, clearly indicates that deaths and serious injuries are to some extent attributable to that lack of service. Therefore, I do hope that the acting Minister of Health (B. Stephenson), when she receives the report which is presently being prepared, gives fair and due consideration to the very serious request put there by them. Well I’m getting on and I remember the distinction --
Mr. Mackenzie: How long were you going to speak?
Mr. Conway: In the county of Renfrew right now there is something called a restructural study going on and, given the fact that I’ve been around for so long aid I know the municipal political situation so well, I’d like to bring to this assembly’s attention what it is that the government of Ontario portends or is seeming to portend in the local restructuring committee.
Mr. Davidson: They are going to regionalize you.
Mr. Conway: There has been some talk about that, but rumour has it that they are lacking a good partisan appointment for the regional chairmanship. I hear they are looking at Sudbury --
Mr. Haggerty: How many Tory appointments are on it?
Mr. Conway: -- and that may deter them.
Mr. Grossman: Drake Personnel is hiring them.
Mr. Conway: I think it important, Mr. Speaker, that we keep this above the personality level because, lo and behold, we could get ourselves into some serious difficulty.
Mr. Mackenzie: If we weren’t already.
Mr. Conway: But the fact of the matter is --
Mr. Davidson: Let’s just say we’d like some information on the appointment, let’s put it that way.
Mr. Conway: -- there is a concern on the part of the people of the county of Renfrew and the city of Pembroke about what it is this government, through the Ministry of Treasury, Economics and Nincompoopery or whatever that title is, there is a concern --
Mr. Conway: There is a concern that we are going to get the same kind of insensitive approach, if not result, that has been the diet of so many other parts of Ontario, some of which has been referred to, in an aside at any rate, by my hon. colleague from Cambridge.
Mr. Conway: But there is a concern there and it’s one I hope that this ministry takes into full consideration, that the regional government bogey is clearly one that hangs over this entire deliberation. To this date I have not seen a great deal of endeavour on the part of those involved to allay those suspicions and it’s important that those suspicions be allayed. It’s important that the local municipality, certainly in the county of Renfrew and the city of Pembroke, be given ample time, which we suspect they may not get, to weigh the projects and the proposals and the alternatives fully and adequately and that they are given freely the choice to make in terms of where it is they’re going to go.
Mr. Davidson: Which would be more than anyone else has.
Mr. Conway: And then we have justice, and again I come back to my predecessor from Oshawa (Mr. Breaugh) who spoke just moments ago, and he talked about the Solicitor-Generalship and he talked about a number of things. He talked about one issue that I found most interesting. He used the expression law and order, and as a --
Mr. Angus: Mike’s speech?
Mr. Conway: -- private citizen and as someone now involved in politics, I do feel that that is a particular handle that politicians use. Some Conservative politicians, if I might be allowed to interject that bit of partisan name-calling there, some Conservative politicians in my area made no little bit of the fact that what we needed, by God, was law and order.
I shudder when I hear that because I can take refuge in the very inspired comment, I think, of a very great Canadian and a Conservative and an Irishman, which is just incidental. Sen. Gratt O’Leary, whose politics are well known, said in a discussion in that Valhalla of Canadian socialism, the Senate of Canada, he said --
Mr. Conway: If it’s good enough for one of the authors of the CCF manifesto, it’s good enough for me. But he said in the Senate of Canada recently that law and order was the war cry, the battle cry, the political cry of every pirate in history. And I think that lays the issue to rest. I think that it speaks well of something that is far deeper than a mere platitude which is booted around by politicians -- politicians of all stripes at some times, but regrettably at times in the recent past by members of this ministry and the back benches -- I think with a degree of recklessness which we would come not to expect.
But in the Renfrew county area, we are famous again for our legal system. For those of you who share with me a personal recollection of the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s -- and the 1960s to some extent --
Mr. Angus: Have you been hallucinating again?
Mr. Conway: Well, when I look over here I think it must be an hallucination. At least I hope and I pray sometimes that it is an hallucination.
Mr. Davidson: Look over my head when you say that.
Mr. Conway: Mr. Speaker, it’s important for us in our area to remember that the law of Killaloe as it’s happily, jokingly referred to -- I don’t know how many of you are aware of that appellation -- I know the good Ombudsman is aware of that and we have talked at some considerable length about the famous law of Killaloe. And you know it is picturesque and it’s kind of interesting; it’s got an academic and historical kind of flavour about it and it still exists.
Mr. Mackenzie: Good fishing too.
Mr. Conway: What the law of Killaloe concerns itself with in some way or another is the fact that we have a process of law in our particular county which is seriously compromised, and I think in a negative way, by the fact that we don’t have facilities -- and I know there are most parts of Ontario lacking in the full facilities that they might want, but our situation there is absolutely awful. The judges will tell you, the lawyers will tell you, I’ll tell you, and the citizenry involved will tell you. I think rather than making bellicose statements about law and order, this government might take time to visit on every second Wednesday, to see the kinds of conditions which our provincial court judge -- who is presently ailing in the hospital and who I hope certainly will be back with us shortly -- has to work in, because they are absolutely incredible The law community is still there, it is still there in all those rather tragic circumstances, that there is not so much as equality before the law in this province, when you take that kind of a bad system into consideration.
I think that we have got to be appreciative of that fact and we have got to move as quickly as restraint will allow to redress that situation. I know a visiting Toronto family court judge referred to the family court situation in the county of Renfrew as absolutely appalling and appalling it is. I hope too, that the hon. Attorney General (Mr. McMurtry) considers it worth his time and desires to consider something there, because he has in his hands a very in-depth statement from the provincial judge in the county of Renfrew, a document which, among other things, cries out for help that has been so long coming.
I hope that this government becomes less worried about putting its friends in the local registry office and more worried about being fair to the judge and giving the poor man a chance to operate in the way in which he can and he wants. That’s law and order. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, that’s the kind of law and order which I am sure we all want to see. That’s the kind of law and order that is more than mere platitude, and I hope and I pray that the judge and the system are given a fair chance to do a job as important, if not more important, than any other that we have.
There was, for example, the story not so long ago in the Renfrew Mercury about the fact that there was “no room in the dock.” The facilities were so bad that they didn’t have room to conduct the business of the day. There are times when, for example, the docket has got something like 85 cases. How then in this day and age are we expected and can we expect any man to continue to survive under such conditions? What he was doing is clearly herculean. No successor, I suspect, will be able to follow in that man’s footsteps.
I hope that the old patronage politics finds its way out of that appointment structure and finds its way into a clean and a constructive approach to providing the people and the staff
Mr. Mancini: Frank knows all about that, he’s very interested.
Mr. Conway: -- for a basic system, which at this point in time, is seriously compromised.
We come now to the hon. Prince Edward from Lennox, or the hon. Minister of Community and Social Services (Mr. Taylor) who has, in his own inimitable way, decided that he too is going to show the members of this House and the people of this province what real restraint means. I know the member for St. George (Mrs. Campbell) certainly feels very strongly about that and I have come, in my tender age, to share her sensitivities for this kind of approach from this particular minister. Indeed, that is one of the anomalous conditions of minority government that future historians will no doubt comment upon -- that in the year 1976, with all its bicentennialism and attendant anniversarial tones, we would end up with something like Prince Edward of Lennox in something like family and community services or Community and Social Services or whatever.
It takes no small stretch of the imagination to follow the prime ministerial logic that will allow that to obtain, seconded, I suppose, only by the appointment of the hon. gentleman from Hamilton Mountain (Mr. J. R. Smith) to the sensitive position of Correctional Services. Obviously, that gentleman has a rock upon which he is going to build more than his church.
Mr. Mancini: Frank is going to straighten him out.
Mr. Conway: It is important to understand again what that 5.5 ceiling or guideline means to Raymond Gray and his staff at the Renfrew County Family and Children’s Services. I spent three hours with them on the morning of Feb. 9 and at that time and since they have been doing all they can in a public way to draw clearly to the people of our county who for a variety of reasons may not be attuned to the specifics of restraint in that particular area what it is they need and what it means to have a whole range of responsibility, as we all know, under the Child Welfare Act, to have that whole range of responsibility and yet, on the other hand, to have no money with which to perform the task designated to you and for you.
Given the fact that the judge has already commented upon how badly it is that we need a family court judge, it is absolutely inacceptable again that the hon. member for Prince Edward-Lennox (Mr. Taylor) says to us that there will be no consideration for the fact that we simply are in a position of not being able to afford the restraint as presented to us, I want to take this opportunity to put on the record without equivocation and delay the fact that the Renfrew County Family and Children’s Services are absolutely unhappy. They have made every effort. They have done more than their share to popularize their position, to acclimatize the public in our particular area as to what it is they do and how it is they are not going to be able to perform as they are legally bound to under the restraint programme of the hon. minister.
Indeed it is interesting that the hon. gentleman from Oshawa (Mr. Breaugh) should find in such an illustrious journal as the Nappanee Beaver occasion to support that position. It goes to show you, I think, Mr. Speaker, that there is a range of opinion and consensus forming here which is certainly most unusual.
I see that I am getting on to the hour and I do want to take just a few more moments to deliberate upon things that are less parochial and more general in their dimension and import, and I know that the House will bear with me for these last few moments. I see the hon. gentleman from Scarborough Centre bearing with me in a magnanimous manner and indeed he must surely set the example.
I found it interesting that in all of these restraint programmes and much of what I have tried to put before this august assembly this evening and certainly late this afternoon is the fact of what is being threatened in all of this, as the hon. member for Durham East (Mr. Moffatt) will well know. To close hospitals, to cut back in schools and to allow the Prince Edward of Lennox to run around putting a lid on things on the 5.5 white charger as the modern-day Sir Galahad are particulars about which we can complain.
Clearly it is more difficult, as we all know, and certainly this is the position in we can debate and we can do all the rest of it, which any loyal opposition must surely find itself, ultimately to decide in its own way how it is it might respond in policy alternatives. But they leave us in a general philosophical kind of way -- certainly for those of us in the non-metropolitan parts of Ontario -- one standard objection to the meanderings in the name and guise of restraint followed and supported by this particular government, and it is this: They tell Raymond Gray and his people of Renfrew County Family and Children’s Services that they must operate on the 5.5 guideline. You go to Victoria-Haliburton and say to the people in Bobcaygeon you have lost your hospital and you go to the Renfrew County Board of Education and you tell them that your assessment picture really doesn’t count for very much. You are saying something of more than just a particular nature. What you are saying and what you are actively causing to happen is something which undermines one of the basic principles of a broad philosophical stream to which nominally at least I belong as a Liberal, and it is more than a nominal relationship I can assure you.
An hon. member: That would raise doubt occasionally though.
Mr. Conway: I’m sure the member for Cochrane South (Mr. Ferrier), together with his colleague the member for Lakeshore (Mr. Lawlor), will bring my intellectual baggage into the port of my train of thought. But the import of all of this, must surely be that what we are seeing under those conditions is that we are tearing at parts of Ontario, those parts of Ontario which are our hinterland as opposed to a metropolis; is that we are not going to have, or be free to have at any rate, the equality of opportunity which is clearly the prerogative of those who live in downtown, city Ontario. That when we get out into Huron-Middlesex and you tell the people of Clinton and when you tell the people of Goderich their hospitals are gone, you are telling those people, to some extent -- and you’re telling them in an irrevocable and in a very simple way -- that we as a government are at least going to compromise the proposition that they, like all citizens of this province, are entitled to equality of opportunity. Even along the neglected corners of Renfrew county in eastern Ontario they know what it means.
We’ve had the Tories; By God they’ve had us, I think!
An hon. member: Any response -- on the government side?
Mr. Conway: That is the import of all of this; that it’s the equality of opportunity that’s being taken away, that we’re not going to equalize the starting gate. If you live in Chesley, if you live in Durham, if you live in Bobcaygeon, if you live in Clinton, if you live in Goderich; you are not going to have equal opportunity to the extent of those people who reside in this building, who as an example are so close to the hospitals that we see before us.
I know there are qualifications to this basic position. But it seems that in the way of public policy we must be sensitive about this perception, and we must be ever vigilant to ensure that the people of this province see that they are, each and every one of them, entitled to the equality of opportunity which a modern, democratic society of whatever stripe -- left, right, centre -- we might care to call it, is expected to provide and I say must surely provide. That’s the objection.
In a long-winded kind of address, I hope that if I leave nothing for your serious and deliberate consideration, Mr. Speaker -- and I know coming as you do from an area which is less than metropolitan you can appreciate what it means in terms of the classic dichotomy between hinterland and metropolitan centre -- I make this one point. That’s what we’re telling the good people of Bobcaygeon and Durham and Goderich. That’s something that really concerns me, as a Liberal, and as a member of a government situation and to that extent accountable. I hope that some measure of consideration is given to that.
Briefly on the restraint programme again and its effects -- again on much of what has been said before. The fact is -- and I was impressed by what the member for Oshawa (Mr. Breaugh) was saying about restraint -- I just happened to be reading some of the local press and I was thinking “restraint, restraint”. The catchword of Ontario provincial politics in this day and age must surely be restraint. Then I wondered, and I know the good member for Yorkview (Mr. Young) -- together with the member for Windsor-Riverside (Mr. Burr) and the member for Kent-Elgin (Mr. Spence) and many of my more senior colleagues -- would certainly share with me a feeling of restraint when they look at the government’s figures as expressed to and by the election expenses commission; because if ever there were a model of restraint, it was surely the level of expenditure offered to the public of Ontario by this restraint-oriented party, which just happened to spend $60,000 trying to win Carleton East; which just happened to spend twice as much as anybody in electing the hon. member, pray tell, for Toronto St. David (Mrs. Scrivener). Those figures really indicated restraint. I was impressed; and I continue to be impressed.
I look at Hanover hospital and I say yes, I think I know one of the political guiding spirits behind that and I am impressed. I go into the hallowed halls of Queen’s Park and I find the hon. retired member for Welland, Mr. Morningstar, and his sometime colleague from Toronto Dovercourt (Mr. G. Nixon), and sometimes spotted the member for -- well, I forget the other one, but at any rate at least those two -- and I am impressed too by the restraint that this government is showing in the post-election period of just happening to find office space for this sort of thing.
I read in the press, particularly the northern press, on the weekend that the hon. minister and member for Kenora (Mr. Bernier) has been applying his own kind of restraint to the regulations procedure followed by members of the Crown, given those discretionary powers that they really don’t want, and find themselves having to exercise it, at difficult and inappropriate times.
I am impressed by that restraint. You know, I really am. I regret to inform this House that the kind of impression I get is one that where present politics is concerned, this wretched lot of souls, in a general party kind of way, care to be profligate in no mean way. And I know that the hon. member for Lambton (Mr. Henderson), as a member of Her Honour’s ministry, will make sure that that kind of stuff ceases and desists as of Sept. 19, 1975, and I put my entire faith in him as a public watchdog of party affairs.
Mr. Burr: He wasn’t listening, say it again.
Mr. Conway: I will go on to two general areas that I want to conclude with. One of them has to do with what I call the politics of the anti-inflation programme, and it’s an interesting set of politics. It’s a set of politics which has given my friends, my phoney, dear and close friends to my right -- my very close friend from Cambridge (Mr. Davidson) and his clan here -- I know that that’s the politics of the anti-inflation programme. Load that poor, unsuspecting group on to the rocks of political compromise.
Mr. Conway: Pray tell in December, when given the fact there was something called a want of confidence in Her Honour’s ministry.
Mr. Angus: There was no confidence.
Mr. Conway: They decided as their full intelligence, guided no doubt by the hon. members for Riverdale and Toronto Lakeshore and all the rest, they decided, as I can understand they might, to forsake some of their friends who --
Mr. Conway: -- had been almost irreverent in what they had said about the anti-inflation programme.
Mr. Gaunt: Ask Monty, he will tell you.
Mr. Conway: They have said, as Joe Morris said In a very eloquent way on “Question Period” some months ago, that time will allow us to vote on the basis of those price controls. Joe Morris is a very highly respected member of a very highly respected sector of our society. But there is a difficulty there, as this party found, and I can appreciate that; it’s no easy thing this, deciding on whether or not one wants an election, and I myself have found, in times not so very far distant --
Mr. Davidson: Particularly an election.
Mr. Conway: -- that that decision can be highly troublesome --
Mr. Angus: How far distant?
Mr. Conway: -- can be troublesome. But the politics of the anti-inflation programme are interesting, and they are interesting in a general kind of way for this reason. To the extent that the Progressive Conservative Party in government had an issue in the 1975 provincial election campaign, it was this -- and I think hon. members present would agree with me when I say that we were told, for whatever good or bad reason, that the one particular claim that the Progressive Conservative government of Ontario had on our good suffrages was the fact that they were out with a pack of rascals -- and don’t we know it -- in Ottawa --
Hon. Mr. Henderson: You are right. Right on,
Mr. Drea: Right on.
Mr. Conway: -- mismanaging, as the hon. member for Lambton would happily tell us, in the most irresponsible way the affairs of this great Dominion. And there is no doubt about that. All the advertising said that. And you know I am a man of Christian breadth and I accept these deeds of the world and of the province in the very Christian way in which they were intended.
But it is interesting that the government party which said that the one and only reason -- the prime reason at any rate -- for the provincial support of their incumbency was this no-good outfit in Ottawa, what do they do when they get in power in a minority situation but a few days later, in one of the most unprecedented :and interesting political gestures ever taken by the Province of Ontario Progressive Conservative Party? That’s interesting too.
The Hon. William Grenville Davis, as first minister of Her Honour’s government, said to the federal government that he had just spent six weeks disclaiming and discrediting and condemning, “Gentlemen, you incompetent buffoons, here, take it. Take cur provincial sector,” at a time when we all agree that the situations economic are more critical and more immediate than ever before. You will tails about logic, as the good member for Lambton will well know. That was some turnaround. To say on the one hand that this government is incompetent and then a few days later to say. “Ladies and gentlemen of thin House and of this province, we will happily, in these times of great difficulty and economic distress, give to that no-good government a whole provincial sector.”
Mr. Swart: Sounds like the Liberals in the Throne Speech in Ontario.
Mr. Conway: I think it was interesting and I know the hon. members opposite share with me what appears to be some measure of illogic if nothing else, and I think it interesting too to see that the argument -- and it’s important from just an argument’s point of view -- to see how it was that the government justified this. The hon. Premier stood up and he said, for good reason, that the prime concern, and the one outstanding cause and the one reason for doing what he had dons, was that the time had come for this province to take not a parochial and not a provincial but, most importantly, to take a national view of the situation.
That’s interesting because it is an absolutely impossible position, and the impossibility of that position was underscored and underlined and driven home by the hon. member, the Don Juan from Don Mills, the Minister of Energy (Mr. Timbrell), who told us but a few weeks later at the National Energy Conference in Ottawa that he will not tolerate Peter “the Red” Lougheed and his red Tories in Alberta. They’re not going to take us to the energy cleaners. No sir. We are a provincial Conservative government that is sensitive to our particular constituency. There it is. There is a time in a very similar situation to be national, because as we all know, so much of the impending inflation problem is one of energy. But what happened?
Hon. Mr. Henderson: Now he is acting like Mitch but he speaks like David Lewis. Now he is waving his hands like David Lewis used to.
Mr. Mancini: He is pretending to give out cheques.
Mr. Conway: There is in that, to me at any rate, a certain transparency which I’m sure even the hon. member for Scarborough Centre (Mr. Drea) could detect. We cannot in this province, in this social province, in a province which we all know in a historic sense has been more central than its geography, have on the one hand the Premier stand up and say, “No, we’re going to take the anti-inflation problem in its totality and we’re going to be national about it and so, therefore, we’re going to give all that we can give and we’re going to give it to the federal government.” Fair enough, fair enough.
What happens? When he takes a serious component of that, he decides, through the illustrious member for Don Mills, they simply cannot do it. Why? Became when the nuts and bolts are looked at, Ontario is, in the energy situation, clearly the largest consuming province and constituency that there is, and it’s not in his or in my best interests to take a national view of the energy situation, because it is going to hurt, because it just won’t hold water, to turn a phrase.
That brings me to that essential component -- that the Province of Ontario is a province like none other. Since the very beginning this province has in this Dominion, exercised a degree of influence and control unmatched by any other, and most certainly unmatched by any other province in a modern day. We’ve got to know that, and in the academic community, without wanting to be pedantic, it refers to a tradition developed by the first Liberal Premier of this province end followed by every Premier, including the Premier of the Farmer-Labour government of 1919-1923. It became known as the Mowat heritage in federal-provincial regulations. What it said basically was that in matters of economic concern, this province may as well recognize that it is the business of the government and the ministry to protect the economic jurisdiction and to fully guard and fully exercise those responsibilities.
Nobody, not so much as fine men like Howard Ferguson, E. C. Drury or any of them, ever abdicated responsibility in a fashion like this particular government. That’s important. It’s impossible, as the Minister of Energy indicated only a short while ago, because we are the central province. In economic terms we are more central, and we are more central in geography. And I think it is important for that reason.
To conclude this short address, this most humble address, this most quiet address --
Mr. Bain: This most redundant address.
Mr. Conway: Such are the vagaries of party politics. I want to conclude on a note of some seriousness --
An hon. member: Conclude?
Mr. McClellan: Your conclusion is about half an hour on.
Mr. Conway: -- and it is one which refers to what I think we could generally call a national question. It has been referred to in this House by more than a few people, and certainly it reflects a very deep feeling of more than disgust -- of tragedy that I felt in the last provincial election campaign. It relates to a national question. The Premier was the one who really made me think more deeply about this. He’s a man of very instructional tendencies.
I remember well his reply to the Speech from the Throne in December. At that time he was reflecting upon the quality of campaigning in September, 1975. He stood there, in his unique way, and he referred to members opposite -- to some more particularly than to others. I thought I detected in that inscrutable personality of his, a sense of deep hurt in the kind of campaign run by certain groups and certain individuals in the last election. To that extent, I agreed with him in that principle, because I was in eastern Ontario and I watched the campaign develop. I saw one of the sorriest and most pathetic demonstrations on the part of two, and possibly three, members of the government caucus then and now. It’s interesting in light of what this Premier has said about wanting to be national. I refer to comments made by the hon. member for Carleton (Mr. Handleman) and the hon. member for Ottawa West (Mr. Morrow), who regrettably are not with us today.
Mr. Speaker, it is with a feeling of deep sadness that I reflect at this time, as others have earlier, on the quality of campaign that they ran. To say that it was low and callous and base and disgusting, I think, from my point of view, would be to misrepresent it in a positive kind of way. Those two members, together with others in the caucus, were crusading around eastern Ontario and they were focusing public attention on the fact that there was a Liberal Party in Ontario that quite obviously, by nomenclature at least, was associated with the federal government party.
The hon. member for Carleton and his sidekick from Ottawa West introduced, I suspect conspicuously and very consciously, the French question. They introduced, and they certainly seemed to introduce that famous Ontario expression; and you only have to read the advertising of at least the member for Ottawa West to understand what they were doing. I can stand here as a student of Canadian history, if not as a long participant of same, and say that that is an absolutely unacceptable kind of campaign. I don’t want to sit here --
Mr. Conway: -- and I’m not here to tell you, Mr. Speaker, or members of all parties in this House that I am some Johnny-come-lately purist in politics in Ontario. That is not true. Despite what my friends in the democratic left might tell you, I do have my imperfections. But I think it absolutely important that we subscribe to the Premier of Ontario’s basic feeling that there are times when it is necessary to be national because we are Ontario and we are the central province.
What we do in energy, what we do in the inflation situation in general is absolutely important and central and directing. But between the needs of the Dominion of Canada and the Province of Ontario there is a historic line of division and we all know it because we all live with it. When I say “we”, I speak at least of those of my colleagues in all parties in eastern Ontario who live in the shadow of the Province of Quebec and who live happily with those Franco-Ontarians who vote and who live with us.
So it is that I consider it indeed tragic that members of a government party, member of the Progressive Conservative Party, a party which, given the fact that it has had its times of difficulty, has in its origins and in its career a very marked success, at least in the early stages, in building a compromise along the line of cleavage which is most difficult and which is most destructive in this country and in this province, that members of that party -- without being cliché-ish--of the party of Macdonald and members of the party of John Robarts could feel themselves comfortable with the campaign which said that one of the reasons you should not vote for another party is that they are the party of rampaging bilingualism, that you’ve got a Liberal government in Ottawa and you’ve got a Liberal government in Quebec City of all things, so do we want and can we afford in social terms a Liberal government in Toronto?
You are part of that and I can appreciate that and I want to be serious for a brief moment, because if this country of ours is anything, it is exceptionally frail and fragile and the history of this country and of this province, if it does anything at all, tells us that it is an uneasy alliance, a most difficult and a tenuous connection. We as party politicians have got to understand that
Mr. Renwick: You’re not suggesting we want a Liberal government in all those places, are you?
Mr. Conway: I am saying that it saddens me that members of a government party in eastern Ontario in 1975 could find themselves comfortable with that kind of calculated campaign directed at an undermining of that uneasy compromise in a province which continues to wrestle with that uneasy alliance, at least in eastern Ontario. If I thought that it just ended there, I would leave it there but those ads were appearing in the Ottawa Valley press in August and September.
Do you know what was appearing a few weeks later in the one daily paper in the county of Renfrew and was probably the most talked about advertisement in the paper? I took the issue of Monday, Dec. 15, 1975, just as an example. It is a small ad that ran for a number of days that said nothing more and nothing less than “Keep Ontario English.” That’s the corollary; that’s the product of that kind of campaign -- not wholly and I don’t suggest entirely at all, but those gentlemen from Carleton and Ottawa West, as members of a provincial assembly, and more particularly those who are expected to lead and to take a responsible position in the public affairs of eastern Ontario, have got to accept their measure of responsibility, because they, by their actions, clearly contradicted all that the Premier of this province (Mr. Davis) intended all of us to be and to do in our national contribution. I hope that sometimes, if not already, he finds it in the orbit of his time and patience to draw that at least to the private attention of those people involved. It’s immaterial whether I survive another election or whether I go on and continue to represent my riding. There are issues of transcendent importance, and they may appear to be ethereal and ephemeral and less than substantial, and I will grant support to those who feel that way when, in my province and in my county, I have to pick up a paper and read an ad which says: “Keep Ontario English.” If that kind of sentiment is allowed to continue and if there is any measure of cultivation on behalf of government members -- many of whom are Franco-Ontarians -- if that has to continue then I, like the Rt. Hon. John George Diefenbaker, fear for the future of my country.
Mr. Gregory: Mr. Speaker, it is an honour and a privilege for me once again to address myself to the Speech from the Throne.
I must admit that I rise in all humility at this time, I don’t think I’ve ever heard a better impersonation of the leader of the official opposition (Mr. Lewis) than I just heard. I can only think that I somewhat yearn for my lost youth. I think it must be marvellous, at such a young age, to have fallen so deliciously and passionately in love with one’s own voice. I congratulate the member. I am glad that he cut his remarks short. I’m certainly glad he cut his remarks short because otherwise none of us would have got on tonight. Thank you.
Mr. Grossman: Is the member for Renfrew North flattered?
Mr. Kennedy: It ends there.
Mr. Drea: His maiden speech.
Mr. Gregory: Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate you again on the fair and impartial way in which you conduct the affairs of this legislative assembly. While I’ve only been a member for a very short time, since last September -- as has the previous speaker, and my associate -- I have one concern and one only regarding the Legislature, and that is, the access of people to the floor of the Legislature. I would request, if it is at all possible, that you instruct the staff to be more vigilant about who enters and who does not enter this Legislature. By stating my concern in this fashion I do not want to be overly alarmist --
Mr. Foulds: Some carry brown paper bags.
Mr. Gregory: Some are disappointed leadership candidates too.
By stating my concern in this fashion, I don’t want to be overly alarmist, but I think it’s important that the security staff be more aware as to who does enter the floor of this Legislature. It would be better to be safe than to be sorry if any particular unfortunate event should occur.
What concerns me most about the addresses which I have heard to date is the highly irresponsible and casual manner of the remarks of the leader of the official opposition, and specifically the way in which the leader of the official opposition marshalled his facts regarding this government’s efforts to restrain government spending. I find his criticisms utterly stupendous, excessive distortions of reality, or partial exaggeration’s of the real situation.
He describes our restraint attempts in the closing of community hospitals or on the more efficient use of welfare funds as insensitive and irrational. These same terms could be applied to the very criticisms the hon. member is making on these and other issues. He acts like a fellow who uses buckshot to kill pigeons. If you spray the whole barn with sufficient buckshot you are certain to hit something or other. It doesn’t matter what you hit, as long as you hit something.
Mr. Philip: You won’t hit a farmer -- they are all going out of business.
Mr. Gregory: The word restraint is a word that simply does not appear in the vocabulary of the NDP leader or any of his colleagues. They just don’t know what it means. Never for a moment does he consider whether the public sector can do the job better than the private sector or vice versa.
Never for a moment does he think about the impact of government spending on the pocketbooks of the taxpayers.
An hon. member: Right on; right on.
Mr. Gregory: Never for a moment does he think through the consequences of assuming that the bureaucracy can spend the tax dollar more wisely and efficiently than the ordinary individual. Never for a moment does he examine the consequences of building up the government sector at the expense of the private sector --
Mr. Samis: That’s gobbledygook and you know it.
Mr. Gregory: -- and in turn creating a set of programmes with supporting clientele, both of which develop a built-in dependency which can never be affected, impinged upon or re-examined in any fashion. If you examine such consequences, you’re immediately branded as a child-exploiter, as anti-human in the treatment of social assistance recipients.
Take, for example, the leader of the official opposition’s remarks regarding the administration of welfare in Ontario. On the one hand, he accuses this government of forcing mothers back into the labour force and by so doing taking their children away from the mothers. On the other hand, he criticizes this government for creating a monstrous welfare state and having no concern for getting jobs for those very parents he claims we are forcing back into the labour force. I don’t believe the member for Scarborough West (Mr. Lewis) can have it both ways. When the Minister for Community and Social Services (Mr. Taylor) states that he intends to improve the regulations under which people receive welfare, either through the family benefits programme or through general welfare assistance, his specific aim is to help those people who are able bodied and can work to get back into the labour force, rather than rely on public assistance for the remainder of their lives.
Mr. Foulds: Provide the jobs, just provide the jobs.
Mr. Gregory: What I find most interesting is the reaction of various people to the ministry’s attempt at more efficient spending of public funds for social assistance recipients. Recently in the Toronto Star, I read an article in which a Mrs. Andree Roche, who has formed a single working parents’ association, has praised the attempts of Mr. Taylor to help those mothers who are relying on public welfare at this stage of their lives.
Mr. Swart: Were there 10 in that organization?
Mr. Gregory: Mrs. Roche, of Scarborough, makes about $10,000 a year as a secretary. She has raised her daughter on her own, and I quote here Mrs. Roche’s words:
“I am sure many of these welfare mothers would be glad to work if they had proper child care facilities; many wouldn’t work no matter what you offered, and they’re the ones that make me so mad. It’s important to me to be able to hold my head up. It’s a quality that I want my own child to learn. I didn’t want her to grow up thinking people owe you a living.”
Those were Mrs. Roche’s words, not mine.
The minister has consistently told these mothers they will not be forced back into the labour force if it is more important that they be at home to raise their children. However, what he did say is that if a young, single woman with a child is also living with her mother, does that child need two women to supervise one child? Is it not possible that a young mother of a two- or three-year-old child could be settling in to 13 or 14 years on welfare if there are not sufficient day-care facilities available, or if there is not a back-up help in the home available to that particular mother? In changing the regulations the minister is attempting to break 13- and 14-year cycles of dependency on welfare. That is the central issue of which we are talking today, not welfare baiting or job creation.
Mr. Foulds: Not job creation? I am glad you think that.
Mr. Gregory: The real philosophical difference, however, in the approach to this whole question of job creation between this government and the official opposition --
Mr. McClellan: You are opting out.
Mr. Gregory: You know, when one is speaking in terms of the opposition, one gets the definite impression of making a sudden noise on a turkey farm, and I mean no irreverence to the turkeys.
Mr. Mackenzie: He’s clarifying the minister’s statements for us.
Mr. Gregory: The real philosophical differences, however, in the approach to this whole question of job creation between this government --
Mr. Foulds: Have you ever been on a turkey farm?
Mr. Gregory: -- and the official opposition, is that the official opposition wants to expand the number of jobs in the public service regardless how significant those jobs may be. Again they are at least consistent, in contrast to the Liberals on this matter. We want to see mothers who have relied on welfare working in the private sector, if that is at all possible, not in the public sector.
What I find so distasteful about the casual remarks of the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Lewis) is that he is exploiting the emotional content of this issue by portraying his own New Democrats as the really great good guys and the Progressive Conservative government as the terrible, evil Tories.
Mr. Di Santo: What do you guys do?
Mr. Foulds: That’s a fair evaluation.
Mr. Gregory: He refuses to concede the possibility that we are attempting to improve --
Mr. Lawlor: When are you going to call him to order, Mr. Speaker? He is reading.
Mr. Gregory: -- the administration of public welfare in Ontario by breaking the dependency of social assistance recipients on public welfare wherever possible; he accuses us of intensifying anxieties and agonies in those very people. Yet if we even allude to his exploitation of emotionalism in this case, we are still branded as insensitive and irrational, as ii New Democrats had a monopoly on sensitivity and virtue.
Mr. Foulds: Only sensitivity; not virtue.
Mr. Gregory: What I find so disturbing about his remarks concerns the lack of perspective, the lack of balance in approaching social issues. For example, I find the recent proposal made by Mr. Martin Goodman, managing editor of the Toronto Star, in an address to the Canadian Red Cross Society, most intriguing.
Generally, he favours the presence of a large number of volunteers in the social service community as a vital and valuable presence. He proceeds to propose that volunteers be permitted some minor degree of compensation for their time and effort in the role of volunteer through deduction in their income tax. He states:
“Surely the social values reflected in taxation policy should recognize the benefit from people giving their time, particularly when it comes from the young, the elderly or the working poor. Certainly society would gain more from the new volunteers who would come in than it would lose in tax revenues.”
But I suggest the hon. member for Scarborough West would find such a proposal impractical, because he would in all likelihood suggest that the greater use of volunteers in the social service community would offset the professionalism of the experts.
Mr. Lawlor: This is not fair. When he is reading his speech like that it is hard to interject, particularly when you are sitting in the wrong seat.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Mr. Gregory: The institutionalization of the whole social field is their goal. It is in his interest and in his party’s interest to see a greater unionization and expansion of the social service sector.
Mr. Lawlor: That’s a prepared text; isn’t that so?
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Mr. Germa: Who wrote that?
Mr. Ferrier: Did Taylor write that speech for you?
Mr. Speaker: It is quite in order, that’s his own speech.
Mr. Samis: One of Taylor’s old speeches.
Mr. Gregory: If members opposite don’t understand it just try and listen anyway as I go along and maybe they will learn something.
Mr. Philip: Why don’t you stop, do you think you will lose your place?
Mr. Gregory: It is in the interest of the leader of the opposition party to see the greater unionization and expansion of the social service sector, for he and his party want to see the institutionalization of charity in the form of a Crown corporation.
There is no need for amateurs in the field of social services, according to him. Like everything else only the state knows better than private effort or individual initiative even in this field, in his opinion.
I was also disappointed, Mr. Speaker, in his politically opportunistic attempts to portray the side effects of the 5.5 per cent limit on social service expenditures as established fact, as a fait accompli. For example, he describes the impact of the 5.5 per cent limit on the Kingston Children’s Aid Society by pointing out that officials at that CAS will have to reduce by $1 per day the value of feud used to feed children in the group homes run by CAS in that city. He says that food will now cost $1.98 a day rather than $2.98 a day. How did he arrive at that conclusion?
Mr. McClellan: They told us.
Mr. Gregory: Yes, I can quite imagine.
In all likelihood New Democratic Party researchers phoned up people at the Kingston CAS and asked them: “What effect will the 5.5 per cent increase have on your budget for the coming year?” And they probably replied:
“Well it leaves $1.98 per day instead of $2.98 per day to feed children in group homes;” and that’s that.
Mr. Foulds: Yes, based on their needs.
Mr. Gregory: What the Leader of the Opposition leaves out is the fact that the budget for the Kingston Children’s Aid Society has not been finally determined in the 1976-1977 fiscal year. Yet he makes the realm of speculation a political fact of the day. He fails to mention that Kingston Children’s Aid Society officials will consult with Community and Social Service Ministry personnel to determine the final budget, not in terms of specific allocations of each item but in the total amount of funds required to run that CAS operation.
Mr. Foulds: How do you arrive at that total?
Mr. Gregory: In Kapuskasing, he lets it be known that there will be a staff reduction of 6.5, that there will be no funds available for summer camp programmes and that all preventive programmes will be dropped. What he conveniently ignores are the assurances of the minister and the people in the Community and Social Services Ministry that in the event that certain Children’s Aid Societies cannot function with the 5.5 per cent limit, attempts will be made to change that situation. What it also indicates is that the herculean efforts of the NDP research people are really a myth.
Mr. Gregory: Any person, including myself, can phone up people at Children’s Aid Societies and ask them what impact 5.5 per cent limits on social service expenditures will have on their operation.
Mr. Foulds: Why didn’t your ministry do that?
Mr. Gregory: I can only speak for myself.
Mr. Foulds: Thank God.
Mr. Gregory: I did that. I phoned and contacted in person the head of the Region of Peel Children’s Aid Society and inquired whether the 5.5 per cent limit would severely affect their operation in the coming year. Much to my surprise, as a matter of fact, I found it would not mean a drastic curtailment of services so I could conclude just the opposite of what the Leader of the Opposition is saying.
Mr. Ferrier: Did you call Kingston?
Mr. Gregory: I am not from Kingston, sir. I am from Mississauga East.
Mr. McClellan: Fifty per cent of the societies cannot live on the guidelines.
Mr. Gregory: I realize most sincerely that these people are going to have a difficult time working within the 5.5 per cent limit.
Mr. McClellan: Oh, you do?
Mr. Gregory: Yes, I do, but I also congratulate them --
Mr. Germa: They are expendable, aren’t they?
Mr. Gregory: I congratulate them on really making an attempt to reduce wastage in public funds, if there is any, in this specific field. I congratulate the social service personnel in the region of Peel for the responsible and even-handed manner in which they face this problem or challenge. They didn’t go running off to the press, to the media, making all sorts of unjustified claims about the impact of the 5.5 per cent limit. They did not scream, as has happened in certain areas of Ontario, that there will be more teen suicides --
Mr. McClellan: Continue to attack the Children’s Aid Societies.
Mr. Gregory: -- that there will be more children running around lost in the streets of the city of Mississauga, that there will be more drug abuse. No, they didn’t resort to those irresponsible and sensational tactics of getting publicity for their cause, Mr. Speaker. In that fashion they didn’t commit undue damage to their cause because they see themselves serving the community in a highly responsible and serious manner.
In changing the approach to welfare administration and the distribution of welfare funds in this province, the Community and Social Services minister is taking the first important step in the long road to overhauling the whole system, an overhaul that has been needed for a long time.
Mr. Foulds: Yes, 32 years.
Mr. Gregory: The NDP response is anti-reform in rhetoric, and status quo to any change in the welfare system. The minister is to be congratulated on his effort, particularly in the light of undertaking this overhaul without affecting the overall services provided to people. So long as the NDP leader continues to demonstrate the deficiencies of the restraint programme, I could stand here and counter him with examples of people who are working hard to work within the context of the restraint programme.
Mr. Foulds: You have given us one example against 17 that we have.
Mr. Gregory: All I have to do is look to the city of Mississauga; and what do you find there?
Mr. Gregory: There go those turkeys again, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Gregory: City council will maintain an overall level of municipal services within a 10 per cent increase. There will be no reduction in city staff and no serious curtailment in services. Again these officials and locally-elected representatives are to be congratulated for trying to make the restraint programme work. Again, Mr. Speaker, I must stress that these same people have not gone to the media screaming their heads off about how they need more money.
In further discussing the reply to the Speech from the Throne by the leader of the official opposition, I am most disappointed in his total absence of proposals for the construction of new housing in the province. Certainly this government has done more --
Mr. Angus: What about your lack?
Mr. Gregory: This government has done more in the way of getting new houses constructed than any other government in Canada.
Mr. Samis: How many last year?
Mr. Foulds: That’s because you live in Mississauga.
Mr. Gregory: Our assortment of programmes has helped all cross-sections of the Ontario community --
Mr. Samis: Only two provinces went down last year.
Mr. Gregory: -- ranging from low and moderate incomes to those individuals who would normally be able to make equity purchases in housing, but because of the crushing burden of inflation have required that extra help to become new and proud home owners. The leader of the third party in this House has remarked on the failure of the first time home buyers programme. Again, the Liberal leader dismisses it as a giveaway programme. How does he justify his remarks when you look at the actual results of the first time home buyers grant programme? Up until the middle of March over 112,378 parties applied for this grant.
Mr. Nixon: Including several in $100,000 homes.
Mr. Gregory: Oh, isn’t it wonderful that somebody can buy a $100,000 home? I don’t find that too frightening.
Mr. Nixon: You and your Tories.
Mr. Gregory: They’re not all Tories.
Mr. Good: And you give them $1,500 to do it.
Mr. Gregory: Some of them are New Democrats, as a matter of fact. Several are New Democrats. Some are New Democrats in the far north who own $100,000 homes, and you all know it, don’t you? And a few Liberals have them too.
Mr. Hall: They are human too.
Mr. Gregory: Over 82,000 individuals or families were able to take advantage of moving into a new home, and thus in a small way opened up rental accommodation to those people who prefer to rent on a continuing basis.
Mr. Germa: That’s $1,000 a vote.
Mr. Gregory: Not a bad result for such a terrible programme as described by the leader of the third party. At the same time, I’m happy to see the introduction of the New Home Warranties Act, designed to protect new home buyers from questionable workmanship in new housing.
Mr. Foulds: Especially in Mississauga.
Mr. Gregory: Yes, I’m going to get to that, as a matter of fact. This legislation, when it becomes a reality, will be a tremendous help to residents in my riding, since I understand from the newspaper this morning the region of Peel received 96 per cent --
Mr. Foulds: No, 91.
Mr. Gregory: It was 96.
Mr. Foulds: No, 91.
Mr. Gregory: All right, will you split the difference at 93 per cent?
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. Would the hon. members direct their comments to the Chair?
Mr. Gregory: Thank you. Ninety-three per cent of the OHAP grants during 1975 were in the region of Peel. Five Tory members there too; it’s marvellous.
Mr. Good: How comes the Peel region got all that government money?
Mr. Gregory: Because we did all the work. We released all the houses, did all the work. You know, you were there.
Mr. Good: Show us who gets all the money.
Mr. McCague: Who else wanted it?
Mr. Gregory: Mr. Speaker, if we can cut down the gabble over there, I would urge the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations (Mr. Handleman) to see if ways can be found to extend the New Home Warranties Act to older homes built in the last few years. However, I would urge the government to intensify efforts to increase the supply of new housing in as many communities as possible throughout this province As the Metropolitan Toronto area grows ever larger with the possibility of ever-declining rates of construction in new homes, whether they be condominium, high-rise, townhouse developments or single family dwellings, with the impact of rent review we must recognize the urgent necessity to get on with the job of getting new homes built.
As the Minister of Housing (Mr. Rhodes) has repeatedly shifted on many occasions, we can all go about looking for villains to lay blame upon for the lack of housing and there are certain villains no doubt, but we must bend our energies to building new homes.
For these reasons I would like to just briefly outline a method which one specific developing company has brought to my attention and which would be most applicable to the city of Mississauga and certainly many other communities in Ontario.
Mr. Germa: Tell us who it is.
Mr. McClellan: How much profit?
Mr. Gregory: I wouldn’t suggest for one minute, in addressing myself to the New Democrats, to even discuss profit. I realize how it hurts their sensitive feelings.
Mr. Semis: Don’t condescend.
Mr. Germa: Tell us who this developer is.
Mr. Gregory: As a matter of fact I will tell you. There is a group known as Taro Properties, in co-operation with a planning consulting company known as Rogers-Thomson Associates, who associated themselves with firms of engineers, architects, landscape planners, etc. They undertook the task of designing a single family home that could be marketed in the Mississauga area under the price of $50,000. One of the reasons was in order to qualify for the federal government’s $1,000 homebuyers’ grant on new homes under a certain price.
There were many, many problems in undertaking a task of this sort, as you will well realize, anyone who comes from the Metropolitan Toronto area. One of them was the land cost. In the Mississauga area that we are talking about, on previously zoned industrial land the price was $70,000 per acre unserviced. They had a rather tricky problem right there. The second problem was the local council had been very reluctant to employ or to use the zero line concept. These were two almost insurmountable problems.
The end result that they have come up with after many, many months of study and design is a design that will put single family homes -- I am not talking about semi-detached or townhouses or anything else -- on the market at a price of $47,000.
Mr. Makarchuk: Listen, I did it for $32,000.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Mr. Gregory: Where?
Mr. Makarchuk: In Brantford.
Mr. Grossman: In Brantford, when?
Mr. Bounsall: Have you heard of it?
Mr. Makarchuk: Last year.
Mr. Gregory: Have you any idea of the price of land in Mississauga as opposed to Brantford?
Mr. Makarchuk: It is about the same.
An hon. member: It is identical.
Mr. Gregory: It is not identical.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please, the hon. member will continue.
Mr. Gregory: The speakers have been arguing the --
Mr. Angus: Find his place for him, will you?
Mr. Samis: Has he mixed up his pages or what?
Mr. Gregory: I haven’t mixed up my papers at all.
Mr. Grossman: He doesn’t need papers.
Mr. Gregory: There is absolutely no way, and members know it, though they talk, unless it’s on a co-op basis -- and you can’t do this on a mass basis -- that you can do it for anywhere near this price with any other design. And you have no knowledge of anything under that.
Mr. Gregory: You people state your mark, you just pick your figures out of the air, you couldn’t care less for facts.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Mr. Gregory: I won’t confuse you with facts. Your mind is made up.
Mr. Angus: That is what you would like the people to believe.
Mr. Makarchuk: Cut out the speculators and I will build the homes.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Mr. Grossman: There is no speculation in Brantford.
Mr. Gregory: If you let me go on you might even like one of these and buy one in my area.
Mr. Speaker: The hon. member will continue.
Mr. Gregory: The end result is that the housing will be put on the market -- you don’t keep quiet long enough to learn anything -- at a price of $47,000, complete with full landscaping, paving, park system, in conformity with standards of the Planning Act, bicycle path, walkway system, transit system and connecting with the major Mississauga transit system, so that no homeowner is further than 500 ft from a transit system.
Mr. Makarchuk: At that price the consumer gets ripped off by about $10,000.
Mr. Gregory: Match that in Brantford: Houses are built on a series of cul de sacs, each containing four houses. Each home has its own private back yard. Mississauga council, which has been somewhat reluctant to innovate, has accepted this concept unanimously, and for Mississauga council to do it, fellows, it has got to be good.
Mr. Swart: What percentage of the population can afford them?
Mr. Gregory: At $47,000?
Mr. Swart: Yes.
Mr. Grossman: Just the teachers.
Mr. Gregory: The people have to afford them at $47,000. There is nothing cheaper. You know and I know that anywhere in the Mississauga area, in Metropolitan Toronto, townhouses and townhouse condominiums are selling for more than $47,000.
Mr. Grossman: Too expensive for lawyers.
Mr. Gregory: You people from the backwoods countries wouldn’t know that, of course.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Mr. Foulds: What have you got against the rest of Ontario?
Mr. Makarchuk: How many houses have you built?
Mr. Gregory: These single family detached homes will be built at 11.5 units to the acre, which is just 3.5 units less than that allowable for townhouses. I recognize that it’s not going to be appreciated because there doesn’t seem to be any knowledge on the other side of the House for anywhere other than their own rural communities. It would be nice if they did know something about the urban communities.
Mr. Makarchuk: How many houses have you built in Ontario?
Mr. Gregory: My only reason for outlining this plan is to show that private enterprise really to co-operate in providing reasonable cost housing to the people.
Mr. Swart: How did they get there?
Mr. Gregory: And the government of this province is more than ready to co-operate with private enterprise in supplying this need to the people.
Mr. Speaker: The hon. member for Fort William.
Mr. Grossman: Who wants to try now?
Mr. Angus: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Angus: I thank my colleagues for time to collect my thoughts. Mr. Speaker, as this is my first opportunity to speak in relation to the either of the three Throne Speeches, I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate the Speaker, the Deputy Speaker and Chairman of the Committee of the Whole House, and the Deputy Chairman on their selection and to thank them for the fine jobs that all three of them have been doing throughout these very confusing and interesting sessions that we have been going through.
Mr. Samis: Confusing or interesting?
Mr. Angus: Both. Mr. Speaker, I would like to start by going through, to a certain extent, the Throne Speech as it was presented by Her Honour the Lieutenant Governor. The first item that I want to look at is the comments about the national anti-inflation programme performing without flow or inequity.
I would like to read an excerpt from a letter to a number of us from the Premier of Ontario (Mr. Davis), relating to a request that we made to him to intercede on behalf of the pulp and paper workers of this province who were placed in a situation, after many months of a labour dispute, of having a wage settlement forced on them by the Anti-Inflation Board of Canada.
We asked the Premier of this province to act on their behalf to get a settlement that was more realistic, more reasonable in terms of the costs as we have seen them rise in this province. The Premier replied as follows:
“As you are aware, it has been this government’s policy not to interfere in the collective bargaining process, except as a last resort in the case of strategic services. As I understand it, the overwhelming majority of Canadian Paperworkers locals have concluded their bargaining process and agreements signed are currently under review by the Anti-Inflation Board. All indications are that these agreements follow the pattern established by the Irving case and should prove acceptable under the federal guidelines.”
Mr. Foulds: What is the date of that?
Mr. Angus: Mr. Speaker, the date of that letter, in response to my colleague from Port Arthur, is March 17, 1976.
The whole question is one of understanding. We asked the Premier to act on their behalf. His letter seems to suggest that he doesn’t even know what is really happening in this province. He doesn’t know that the pulp and paper mills have been using the workers to increase the profits to a greater extent than we’ve ever seen before. He has not taken the opportunity of trying to win back some of the labour votes that he has obviously lost over the last six or seven months, because I know in my community it was the labour votes that contributed very greatly in my election on Sept. 18. I think that it’s very inconsiderate and inconsistent and, I would suggest with all due respect, Mr. Speaker, bordering on incompetence for the Premier of this province not to support the workers of Ontario.
He said he might interfere if it was a strategic service. Well, Mr. Speaker, on behalf of my colleagues in northern Ontario, and some in southern Ontario, whose communities rely solely on the wages, profits and services provided by those pulp and paper industries, I say they are essential services; they are strategic services. As we saw, many of our northern communities bordered on the brink of economic disaster because of the prolonged labour dispute.
I would suggest to you, Mr. Speaker, right off the bat, that the Premier, through the Lieutenant Governor, has lost our confidence -- the little that we had to begin with.
The next item that the Speech from the Throne speaks to is the possible curtailing of costs and reordering of priorities in the provincial and national interest in the hope that other governments and the private sector will be encouraged in the battle against inflation. Ironically, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce came out very shortly thereafter and was talking about reordering the priorities and reordering the government’s spending. They talked federally, of course, about eliminating the baby bonus and such unnecessary programmes as that. I’ll tell you, Mr. Speaker, that we, the representatives of a fairly large number of people in Ontario, deplore that kind of attitude.
The Throne Speech talked about the social programmes that have been rearranged and about the constraint programmes. Just two weeks ago, my colleague from Oshawa (Mr. Breaugh) instituted a series of awards called the Albatross of the Month award. I happened to be in his office today when I saw one of them. It came very close to my heart because it relates to the Ministry of Industry and Tourism and the minister himself.
While the Throne Speech talked about government restraints, the Minister of Culture and Recreation (Mr. Welch) announced, I believe it was on March 20, that the Minister of Industry and Tourism (Mr. Bennett) threw a party in Hollywood as a means of supporting the Canadian film industry. This is almost totally unbelievable, Mr. Speaker, because it’s a truly Canadian situation, we don’t throw a party in Canada for our film industry; we throw it in the States. That is the fallacy at the whole illogical attitude that we Canadians have about our own film industry, about our industries, and about the country as a whole,
So I was very pleased to see a gentleman from Kincardine had written in to nominate the Minister of Industry and Tourism, the minister in charge of squandering my tax money, for the “artistic squandering of public funds” category in the next Albatross presentation. I have taken the liberty of seconding that nomination.
Once again the Chamber of Commerce has come to the forefront in austerity and in Saturday’s Globe and Mail the new president of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce has talked about a balanced budget for Ontario. He has some interesting comments that I think I should share with you. On one hand, he says there is a need for changing programme priority: “Government programmes should have genuine special benefits and these come best from programmes that create jobs,” Mr. Meakes, the president said. He has decreed that we should stop spending money on cultural programmes; on arts, recreation, and what have you.
I admit that in this time of restraint we have to reconsider our priorities and possibly some of the programmes in the arts and recreation and culture may have to suffer a bit. But the thing that really bothers me is where he wants the money to be spent. He wants to see more tax incentives, more government grants to industry in this province.
While I realize that we have to take a look at how we relocate industry throughout Ontario to have them locate in other parts of the province, I can assure you, Mr. Speaker, that providing tax incentives is not the way to do it. The companies look upon those as gifts; one-tenth of one per cent of their profit is a present to them. They would have located where they did even if they didn’t have them.
Another item that has come to our attention in the NDP in the last couple of months has been the series of press releases between the Minister of Labour (B. Stephenson and the Minister of Industry and Tourism relating to the whole idea of tip differential for sectors of the hospitality industry. The first group they have lashed out at has been the people who work in those holes and jug lounges in the Province of Ontario who, the ministers believe, receive a considerable amount of tips so that they can enjoy greater benefits and their employers don’t have to spend as much, so they have a minimum wage of $2.50 when everybody else has $2.65.
We were worried when we saw the initial statements, because we thought that the ministers were going to require that the employees, as was seen in one of the areas in Toronto just recently, would be forced to deposit their tips with their employer and he in turn would pay them a minimum wage only. That itself would have led to cheating -- in fact, it probably did -- on behalf of the employees. It obviously led to cheating on behalf of the employer, because he confiscated all the surplus earnings of the workers.
As it stands now, the minimum wage workers in a lot of the non-union firms are deprived of vacation and other benefits laid down by law. It’s an obvious contravention of the law of Ontario, but because of the type of operation they have, mostly bordering in a lot of cases on the illegitimate, they are able to get away with it because the type of people who work there are very concerned about their income and are very concerned about not rocking the boat. I say it is a shame that that kind of attitude is supported by the Province of Ontario.
The president of the Canadian Union of Public Employees said that the provision will unfairly penalize the workers affected because fringe benefits are calculated on the basic wages, not on income from tips, and financial institutions look only at basic incomes when considering loan applications. You know, Mr. Speaker, that in July of 1975 the average income for all wage earners in the Canadian hotel, restaurant and tavern industry was 4,307.16. It is obviously not a great contributor to inflation.
I have yet to see any documentation that shows that the employees of the liquor industry, in the lounges and the beverage rooms in Ontario, are overpaid because of tips. I would suggest that the opposite is true. In fact, I know a number of beverage rooms where I think the employees would be shocked if they ever got an extra nickel thrown on the table. They work for the basic wage.
As it stands now, the basic wage in Ontario is much lower than it should be in terms of the costs of survival for those people who, because of circumstances, whether it be education or what have you, are forced to work in that type of industry. That’s the only thing they can get and they must deal with and survive with $2.50 as the Ministry of Labour has decreed. In terms of the social services cutbacks I would like to detail a couple of items from my area. I received today a resolution from the city of Thunder Bay, and I would like to read it. It’s addressed to Mr. I. Angus, MPP, Toronto, Ont.:
“Dear Mr. Angus:
“I have been directed by my council to forward to you a copy of a resolution which has been adopted and which is forwarded for your information and attention. We recommend to council endorsement of the director of social services’ recommendation concerning the determination of the province’s subsidy base line contained in the report dated March 1. 1976, and that a copy of this resolution be forwarded to the Treasurer of Ontario, the Ministry of Community and Social Services, and the local MPPs.
“For your information the director of social services’ recommendation referred to in his report is as follows: ‘That we request the province to exempt from their constraints any moneys which are merely transfers under the Canada Assistance Plan from the federal government to the municipalities.’”
I suggest that that shows a fair bit of understanding on behalf of the city of Thunder Bay, and particularly of Mr. Don MacLeod, the director of social services, of the problem in Ontario. I believe we have one of the best social services departments in the province. They have gone out of their way to develop services to get people off the welfare rolls. In fact, there was a situation about a year ago when they had to lay off their own staff because of the quality job they were doing. They laugh when they hear that the hon. Minister of Community and Social Services is going to bring in regulations that will force people to work, because in effect they had been encouraging and developing people in such a way that they were able to go out and work; anybody who is left on the rolls is there because there is no alternative. Yet the government is prepared to try and force people who have no qualifications, no opportunities, off the welfare rolls when there are no jobs available.
There is one situation in my riding -- and I believe in many other ridings in Ontario, a lot of our urban communities have those so-called fringe benefits they can cut back on. I say so-called because they are daycare and work incentive programmes and what have you where they are not tied into this, that or other programme dictated by other agencies.
In my riding there is a municipality called Paipoonge that has a population of somewhere around 2,300 people. Their overall budget is very small, but they have no control over the majority of their budget. The district Children’s Aid Society tells them how much they have to pay for the 1976 fiscal year. The Lakehead Roman Catholic School Board tells them how much they have to pay for the coming year. The Lakehead Board of Education tells them how much they have to pay for the coming year. The district Home for the Aged tells them how much they have to pay for the coming year; and under the General Welfare Assistance Act they are required by law to assist those individuals who meet the criteria as set out by the Province of Ontario.
So where do they go to meet that 5.5 ceiling, or the 8.8, depending on the area? Do they go to the roads budget, which is approximately $89,000 a year to operate and maintain 100 miles of road in a very rural, very strung out community? Or do they go after the recreation budget, which is $6,000 and provides for the basic heat and light of their community centres and allows them to open a swimming pool in the summer time?
They are not unique, because there are many other rural communities in the province that are in that kind of situation. They have one choice -- they have to raise the property taxes.
In the area of health care I’d like in a Few minutes to detail what I call musical beds in Thunder Bay, because it’s quite interesting in terms of the inconsistencies and incompetence of the Ministry of Health in their recent decisions. Before I do that, I’d like to make one comment, one which I think affects more my colleague from Lake Nipigon.
The government has talked about deterrent Fees for health services in the Province of Ontario. Mr. Speaker, I would like to assure you that the people in northern Ontario already have a deterrent fee. As the member for Lake Nipigon (Mr. Stokes) says, the deterrent Fee for some of the people in his riding is 396 miles. That’s the distance they have to go to see a medical practitioner of one kind or another. We have deterrent fees in that we don’t have the facilities or the services of a qualified medical staff. To be honest with you, Mr. Speaker, because of the size of our community we never will have the quality of workers and staff you have here in Metropolitan Toronto or who are available in other major centres in Ontario. Yet we have to pay out of our own pocket to travel almost 1,000 miles to come to Sick Children’s or Toronto General Hospital or any of the other fine health centres in Toronto, in order to get the very necessary health services that people in my area and the member for Port Arthur’s area and the member for Lake Nipigon’s area require for their survival.
in terms of a human situation, as to the prob I ems that have existed and will be only compounded by the present reduction in medical beds, active treatment beds in Thunder Bay, plus an additional comment on the whole health services field, I received a letter on March 18 from a constituent of mine who has a daughter residing in one of the outlying areas -- not within my riding but within a 150-mile range -- and the daughter is the same age as myself. She had to wait from July, 1975, until Oct. 23, 1975, to get an appointment with a doctor in Thunder Bay and then had to wait until Dec. 7 for a hospital bed. When her problem was finally looked into, a bone biopsy was finally done on Dec. 17. Now that is close to six months from he initial date of request.
When the bone biopsy was done, she was found to have bone cancer in her arm and since the doctors in Thunder Bay were unable to do anything for her at that time, they arranged for her to go to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester where she had her case diagnosed in one day. The next day, Dec. 30, they had to amputate her right arm and shoulder because by now the tumour had penetrated too deeply and they were forced to do this radical amputation. “I feel that had she not had to wait so long to see a doctor and for a hospital bed, she may have been spared some of this heartbreaking situation.” That’s a quote: from her mother.
That’s the kind of situation that we’re really scared about because of these cutbacks. This happened before the cutbacks, and I don’t think any one of us in this House will agree that that should continue to happen. It’s ironic that she had to go to the United States of America for the diagnosis.
In Thunder Bay, we presently have a very interesting situation in terms of health beds. It’s quite possible that because we are a geographically isolated community, the Minister of Health (Mr. F. S. Miller) cannot tell us that our people can go to Ignace or Schreiber or Pickle Crow or what have you for our health services. We’re self-contained. Everything we have we use. If we don’t have it, we don’t use it unless we travel great distances.
The Minister of Health has decreed that 107 hospital beds in Thunder Bay shall be eliminated within a month or so. The Lakehead Psychiatric Hospital over the past year has eliminated 122 treatment beds. The Northwestern Ontario Regional Centre, which is a mental retardation unit in the same building as the Lakehead Psychiatric Hospital, has eliminated 25 beds. Over the past two or three years, Lakehead Psychiatric Hospital ironically was in a very overcrowded situation. They had eight, 10 and 12 individuals in a ward that now houses four.
There was very extreme overcrowding and, rightly so, they moved out those patients. Primarily they were psycho-geriatric patients and through a variety of processes, I think, some were returned to the community, some were transferred to other communities and a fair number of them over the two or three years were transferred to one of the long-term private nursing homes, an authorized home under the Ministry of Health. This one home right now has a total of 105 of its 105 beds being utilized by psycho-geriatric patients.
There are still approximately 80 to 90 psycho-geriatric patients at the Lakehead Psychiatric Hospital. In our three general hospitals in Thunder Bay -- McKellar General Hospital which is in the riding of Fort William, and St. Joseph’s General Hospital and the Port Arthur General Hospital which are in the riding of my colleague (Mr. Foulds) -- there are anywhere from 60 to 100 long-term-care patients. These are individuals whom their doctors, because of their medical circumstances and because of the lack of long-term-care beds in Thunder Bay, have admitted to the general hospitals because there is no other place to put them. They can no longer cope at home either with their family or with home care. In fact, I’ve talked to a few doctors in Thunder Bay -- I admit that I don’t talk to that many because we ace of different political streams -- but those I have talked to have suggested to me that they delay as long as they can in admitting people to the general hospitals for long-term care or treatment. The story is that once they get them in there, they don’t have any hope of transferring them to a nursing home or a long-term-care home, because it is just impossible.
I have clearly set the scene for the situation. We have 60 to 100 individuals in our general hospitals who should be in long-term-care homes. We have 105 psychogeriatric patients who were transferred from the Lakehead Psychiatric Hospital. Presently, at the Lakehead Psychiatric Hospital, we have one empty wing, a 100-bed wing that has no one in it; the doors are locked.
What I would suggest to the acting Minister of Health (B. Stephenson) is that there must be a re-analysis of the bed situation in Thunder Bay. If the psycho-geriatric patients are returned to that empty ward in the Lakehead Psychiatric Hospital and the long-term-care patients are moved out of the general hospitals into private nursing homes, it would in effect have a saving initially of a considerable amount of money because in the general hospitals the average cost is somewhere around $90 to $100 a day, while I understand the per diem for a private nursing home is around $18 to $20 per day. If a private nursing home, in its free enterprise world, can very adequately look after these psycho-geriatric patients, then I cannot see why the Lakehead Psychiatric Hospital or some other portion of the ministry could not take care of the same residents at a similar cost in the Lakehead Psychiatric facility.
I am tempted to do some mathematics, but I have found that even by using the ministry’s figures as opposed to the figures provided by the hospitals themselves, it is very difficult to get a clear picture.
I would like to talk very briefly -- I realize the hour of adjournment is coming upon us -- about some of the activities of the Northern Ontario Development Corp. The one thing I am concerned about, because I am a northerner and I grew up in the tourist industry, is the kind of money that we have been splurging in some of our areas in a way that I feel is very frivolous. I know my colleagues have spoken on this many times in the past, sir, but the area I am concerned about is Minaki Lodge.
We have talked about our constraint programme; we have talked about saving money; we have talked about cutting hospital beds -- and the hon. gentlemen across the floor always ask us for the alternatives. I realize it’s hindsight, because the money has been spent, and I doubt very much that you could find a buyer.
I don’t know the total amount of dollars that has been spent for the work which has been done, and which I understand is far from being completed, on Minaki Lodge, but I would respectfully suggest that it is at least over $5 million. I feel that is very irresponsible indeed. Even in terms of northern Ontario, in developing the tourist industry or developing secondary industry, that money could have been better spent. It could have been better spent on providing much-needed health transportation for northern Ontario, whether it be ground ambulances or air ambulances.
It is incredible that over the years, and especially this year, the government of Ontario has been so inept in its spending priorities.
Mr. Foulds: The Provincial Secretary for Resources Development (Mr. Irvine) is listening to this.
Mr. Angus: Mr. Speaker, I am not sure whether the hon. Minister of Industry and Tourism went to Hollywood. I notice he is not here tonight; perhaps he is watching the Academy Awards on television.
Mr. Foulds: He probably went to Disneyland instead.
Mr. Angus: My colleagues are getting restless.
Mr. Speaker, I must admit there have been some bright notes in the speech at the opening of this Legislature. One of them has been the Blind Persons’ Rights Act, and I know that when I communicated to the city of Thunder Bay that this Act had been introduced they were quite pleased because they, as well as many of the other communities throughout Ontario, had lobbied with the Ontario government to provide a little hit of equality to those people who do not have the same senses that we in the Ontario Legislature have. Mind you, some of my colleagues, and possibly some of those in the rump -- I like that -- might suggest that some of us don’t have some of our senses either, but eyesight possibly is not one that we have missed.
Considering these things -- you know, it is interesting to note them but I am not going to comment, Mr. Speaker, until I see the legislation, because so often in the past we look at something like the New Home Warranties Act and say, “Great. Fantastic” -- and then when we get the real bill it is nothing anywhere near what we considered.
On page 10 of the Speech from the Throne it talks about the alcohol-related driving offences, particularly involving young people. I know my colleague on my right, the member for High Park-Swansea (Mr. Ziemba), is very concerned about those kinds of problems in our province; and I too am concerned.
I think, Mr. Speaker, that one of the things this government failed to do in its Throne Speech was to bring in any kind of legislation to control or restrict or eliminate advertising by the liquor and beer industry in Ontario. I do not buy the concept, Mr. Speaker, that liquor ads and beer ads only tend to sway the already committed drinker from one brand to another. With all due respect, Mr. Speaker, I suggest that those ads highlight the so-called good times of alcohol and entrap people, particularly young people, to alcohol, to the pubs, to drinking driving -- that kind of situation.
Just as an example, Mr. Speaker, I had occasion to speak to one of the individuals from the Addiction Research Foundation. We were exploring this kind of problem and he really brought it home to me -- he has been working in the field for a number of years and is quite well respected in my community -- when be said that his four-year-old or five-year-old son is singing beer commercials. If a five-year-old is taking notice of it and is thinking beer, what is going to happen when he is 13 or 14 or 15, let alone when he gets to 18?
Mr. Speaker: Does the hon. member have further remarks to make?
Mr. Angus: Yes, Mr. Speaker. I would be happy to continue tomorrow.
Mr. Angus moved the adjournment of the debate.
Motion agreed to.
Hon. Mr. Meen: Mr. Speaker, before moving the adjournment of the House, I would just advise the House that tomorrow we will continue with the debate on the Throne Speech.
Hon. Mr. Meen moved the adjournment of the House.
Motion agreed to.
The House adjourned at 10:30 p.m.