The House resumed at 8 p.m.
THRONE SPEECH DEBATE (CONTINUED)
Mr. McKessock: Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate you on your high office and I know that you will give us, who sit on your left, continued fair treatment.
Coming from the riding of Grey, which is 50 per cent rural, I find it encouraging that the Throne Speech promised legislation enabling a voluntary farm income stabilization plan. The discouraging part is that the Minister of Agriculture and Food (Mr. W. Newman) will not give us a date when we can expect such legislation.
The government does nothing to hold farmers on farms in Ontario. This is quite evident by the fact that 1971 census figures show that between 1966 and 1971, 26 acres of unproved agricultural land went out of production in Ontario each hour. This may have slowed up some in the past five years, but it is questionable.
Considerable amounts are going for Hydro corridors without thought or input from the farmer. Hydro argues corridors don’t take up much land. I wonder how many of them have ever tried to steer machinery around or work a field that had a Hydro corridor going angularly across it. If they would keep these corridors along lot lines the farmer would certainly appreciate it. I believe that the power stations at Douglas Point should be stopped from further expansion and power stations shifted up north to encourage development away from good agricultural lend.
The way to make sure this land stays in agriculture is to make sure the farmer gets a decent return for his labour, his interest on investment and his management ability. If this was being done, you would not have to worry about land going out of production because it just wouldn’t be for sale.
You may say that we have too much production now and this is true. I will say that Ontario has had a good agricultural research programme for some years now, probably too good. The farmers have been quick to pick it up. Farmers have greatly increased their efficiency over the last 20 years, only to find that their talents, hard work and increased efficiency have worked against them to create surpluses, to lower prices and to give a reduced net income.
The result is that farmers in Ontario are quickly being seduced. Some are leaving because it doesn’t make economic sense to stay there when you can get more money from the interest on the sale of the land than you can by farming it. Some are going bankrupt, not because they are inefficient but because their costs have skyrocketed. They have large debt loads and their incomes have been reduced so that they cannot meet their payments.
Some are retiring and not being replaced because their sons don’t like the odds they face -- such as unstable markets, surpluses, debt loads of $200,000 to $300,000 -- to establish what is supposed to be an economic unit. Unless his father gives him a terrific start, he is better off to put on his hat and walk down the road where he can pick up a $5 to $10 per hour job with nothing invested, every holiday and weekend off and finishing promptly at 5 o’clock whether it looks like rain or not.
We are making a mistake by letting these farmers go. Farmers are the only people I know who will work for $2 an hour, 14 hours a day, and never tire or squabble -- as long as they are making money. But when they lose money they get tired and squabble -- and rightly so.
Overproduction seems to be our problem: We overproduce and our incomes drop. No wonder I’m a bit skeptical when our party whip, the member for Windsor-Walkerville (Mr. B. Newman), keeps at me to produce in the Legislature. Being a farmer, I can’t help but be a little afraid of overproduction.
I wonder how many in this House have ever worked a whole year for nothing. Just suppose the Treasurer (Mr. McKeough) said to you: “We didn’t make any money last year, so you’ll have to pay back all the money we gave you; and it depends on what kind of year we have this year whether you get any wages or not this year.” This is exactly the kind of situation the farmers face. Not all the commodities at the same time but most of them, in their turn, come up to this situation sooner or later.
I say again we are making a mistake in letting these farmers go. Once they leave the farms, they will not come back. Agriculture is a continuous, ongoing resource. Too many of our resources are terminal by their very nature, not by lack of attention as in farming. For the benefit of the producer and the consumer alike, and Ontario as a whole, we should be giving agriculture some really deep thought as a resource that bias established this country and as a resource that will pull it through again if we prepare now to give it a chance later.
The government should be coming in now with an income protection plan for farmers to make sure that all efficient farmers are able to stay on the farms with a decent income that will allow their sons to follow in their footsteps, without fear of falling markets putting them out of business.
We were promised, by the former Minister of Agriculture and Food, that an income protection plan would be in place before the seeds went in the ground a year ago. Evidently he missed seeding last year.
The Ontario Federation of Agriculture has offered to help administer this plan. This is an offer we cannot refuse. If we are working with agriculture, we must fully involve the farmer. If we are working with industry, we must involve the industry people. If we are working with energy, we must involve the energy people.
Surely nobody would grudge the farmer an hour for his labour -- a secretary makes more than that -- as interest on his investment and a nominal fee for his management ability. This cost would be worked out on a per unit basis and each farmer would be allowed to produce enough units to allow for an economic operation. Price per unit would be worked out between the Ontario Federation of Agriculture and the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food.
The farmer would be paid accordingly for the number of units that would provide him with an economic operation. If he produced more than this amount, it would be sold on the open market at market price. If, by reason of exceptional management ability, the farmer could produce cheaper than the established price, it would be to his gain. If, by reason of poor knowledgment, he could not produce the product for the established price, he would be forced out of business.
No doubt there will be a small percentage of farmers who will be against such a plan; therefore, the plan should be voluntary. A questionnaire which I sent out in my riding showed a majority of farmers in favour of an income protection plan. The OFA has 25,000 members, representing a large number of Ontario farmers, and is pushing for legislation to allow for an income protection plan to be established. The plan should have a premium paid one-third by the farmer and two-thirds by the government. This plan would allow consumers to buy foods continuously at a reasonable cost and would allow farmers to farm continuously at a reasonable profit.
When I talk about a unit this could mean 100 lb of beef or pork or milk or chicken; or a bushel of apples or wheat or corn, etc. It could work for all farm commodities.
I have just briefly outlined the plan. I do not believe this plan would produce that much more, if any, than we are producing right now, but if it did it would be up to the government to establish markets for it.
Other provinces within Canada have established good export markets for food. There is and there will be in the future a great need for food. Once the plan is in place and we want more food, either for home consumption or for export markets, all we have to do in five or 10 years from now is increase the number of units in the plan and you’ve got it, because you are going to have those farmers still here.
It is just like having an oil well which never runs dry running at half speed; 10 years down the road open the tap a little more and you’ve got it. A little further down the road the oil may be done but maybe the Arabs will still have some and maybe they would like some food for it. If we don’t make an effort to keep these farmers here 10 years from now when we go to open the food tap it will be dry like the oil wells.
We in Ontario who eat well and are used to sitting down at the first table will then be sitting at the second sitting. The farmer doesn’t strike for more money not only because he feels strikes are senseless and a waste but also because if he did, he wouldn’t even get a holiday which most strikers are able to enjoy.
If the farmer did strike and the food was destroyed and the milk dumped down the drain, there would be an awful public outcry about such waste. Think about it. It would be no more wasteful than a people strike because this is a waste of time. In today’s society you must agree that time is more valuable than food. If it were not the farmers would be the richest people in this country, and it just is not this way.
We talk about being held at a 10 per cent increase in pay. Give the farmers a 10 per cent increase in pay and you will see a very happy lot of people. The dairy farmers in Ontario have had their federal subsidies cut 25 per cent. This gives them a six per cent cut in total income. If we had a provincial income protection plan in effect now it would take over in Ontario and protect our dairy farmers. We in Ontario have to stop leaving things that concern this province to the federal government. This province continues to decline each year in its share of agricultural production in Canada. The consumers’ association should be pressing government to make sure we keep all the efficient farmers we have left in Ontario now --
An hon. member: Where’s the minister’s assistant?
Mr. McKessock: If we don’t and we let the production drop and the production gets into the hands of a few, watch the prices rise. Then we will be lucky to get enough to eat let alone trade some for oil.
Mr. Speaker, before I leave agriculture I would like to mention a little about community pastures. Community pastures within the community are tracts of marginal land which are bought and developed by the rural development branch of the Ministry of Agriculture and Food in consultation with the community pasture board. This is a board set up within the local community.
Community pastures allow farmers, especially young farmers, to rent this pasture at an economical rate per animal while they use their capital to build up their other farm operations. The land is too expensive for them to purchase all the land they need at one time. Community pastures have been a great influence on land use, turning land which produces very little into land producing tenfold more.
This land in the past has been bought for $150 an acre and developed for another $150, for a total of $300 per acre. With increased costs today it will take $450 an acre to purchase and develop. The rural development branch pays only $300. In order to carry on this very worthwhile project we would ask the Minister of Agriculture and Food to supply interest-free loans to provide for this extra $150 an acre. This loan would be paid off by --
Mr. O’Neil: Any Ontario farmers here?
Mr. McKessock: This loan would be paid off by the income received from the farmers pasturing their cattle in the community pasture programme. A surcharge would be charged per animal to discharge the loan.
I would like now to cover another area that affects a great many of the people in the riding of Grey. This is the Niagara Escarpment control area. This affects not only farmers but developers and landowners of any kind. The Act reads that once this plan is finalized it will be renewed every five years. We would like it shelved for five years now, to take another look at it five years from now. We are the people who have preserved it for the last 200 years. We would like to continue for at least another five. By that time we expect to have a Liberal government in Ontario and they just might not steal our possessions on it. The have told me they are going to be fair and just, allowing the individual to maintain his rights. That’s why I joined the party.
Mr. Riddell: If the member for Lanark (Mr. Wiseman) wants to keep his farm, he better come across the floor.
Mr. Cunningham: Not to mention his nursing home.
Mr. McKessock: If by some unjustified move this Niagara Escarpment plan continues, the control area of 1,280,000 acres must be reduced to about 300 ft, more or less, from the face of the escarpment. This would entail less than 22,000 acres which could be purchased by the government at a fair market value.
There are many areas of marginal land within the Niagara Escarpment area. The contour of the land and tree cover is such that many building lots could be created and never noticed. It would not change the natural environment one little bit, but it would provide beautiful living quarters for many people who would like to live in our area.
An hon. member: Minister of Housing, sit up and take note there.
Mr. McKessock: It would also provide some income for the farmer who would like to sell a lot or two and retire on the farm.
Did you people realize that a landowner cannot even sell, or give, a lot to his son or daughter unless he is going to remain on the farm; and then it is limited to one lot?
I have four children. I think I should be able to sever a lot for each one of them. I would --
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: What happened to your agricultural land policy? Out the window!
Mr. Kerrio: You didn’t hear the rest of it, you just got here.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Mr. Nixon: Why didn’t you wait a little while, John?
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: You guys are all awake anyway.
Mr. McKessock: Read it in Hansard tomorrow --
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. The hon. member for Grey has the floor.
Mr. Riddell: The question is, where is your agricultural land?
Mr. Ruston: Answer that, John.
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: Right here.
Mr. McKessock: To sever a lot for each one of my children would improve the look of the countryside.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. The hon. member for Grey has the floor. Would the rest of the members give him the courtesy of listening instead of speaking?
Mr. McKessock: These lots would improve the look of the countryside, especially for that family. I would like to think that families are still important. I would like to refer again to the questionnaire I sent out to my constituents. I asked the question: “Should a landowner be allowed to sever a lot for any member of his family?” Eighty-four-point-seven per cent were in favour.
What some farmers don’t understand is the difference in locality. What is good for one part of the province is not necessarily good for the other. What is good for one part of Grey riding, which stretches some 90 by 60 miles, is not necessarily good for the other part. This is why we believe the final decisions on regulations should be left to the local municipality and their elected members of council and not undertaken by appointed people in Toronto or other areas.
I would like to give you an example of how these restrictions work. A person who owns a 35-acre piece of property, all grass and weeds, in Kimberly, sold it subject to approval of the Niagara Escarpment Commission giving a building permit for a nice chalet which would have enhanced the beauty of the countryside. The building permit was not granted by the Niagara Escarpment Commission. This means that this party now has to hold this parcel of lands and weeds for the rest of us to look at for ever and ever, at his expense.
Mr. McKessock: I have had people call me who have fought in the last world war for freedom in this country. They say although they won the war, they are now losing their freedom.
Mr. Nixon: We might as well live in Russia.
Mr. McKessock: In 1973, the government of Ontario established a Pits and Quarries Control Act. This Act makes it difficult and in some cases impossible to obtain gravel for our roads within a short hauling distance. This increases the cost in maintenance of the roads. Our roads are mostly gravel roads. Is this government going to give us increased grants to cover these imposed extra costs or are our roads going to continue to deteriorate?
In times of inflation such as these, this Act is unacceptable in its present form and must be changed. We agree with the rehabilitation of gravel pits when they run out, but not every time you take some gravel out of them. We, in our area, can live with gravel pits. You never really notice anything wrong with them and still don’t. Nothing looks better than a nice pile of fresh gravel or a freshly gravelled road. It gets rid of the bumps.
If we don’t get some of these laws changed we may have to have another election and get rid of some of the bumps in the government.
Mr. Eaton: Are you going to call it on Monday?
Mr. Makarchuk: Don’t provoke them.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Mr. McKessock: The controls embodied in the Pits and Quarries Control Act and the Niagara Escarpment Protection Act are putting the small operator out of business and cutting competition, and the large operator is laughing all the way to the bank. Give the small guy a break. Don’t force us to come down here to the big city. I know you are nice people, but instead of us coming down here we invite you to our area.
We would like to develop the small towns and villages and the countryside more. We like it there; you will too. In order for us to develop, however, we must be allowed to keep our schools, our churches, our nursing homes and our senior citizen apartments; and in order to do this we must also be allowed to keep our hospitals.
I question the reasoning and economics of some of the programmes of this government. When we are told that Chesley Hospital keeps per day bed costs at $77-a-day; and Durham, where the per-day bed cost is $70 must close to save money; and then we move the patients to a hospital where the per-day bed cost is $85 to $105; and when we learn some city hospital beds run nearly $200 a day it just doesn’t make sense. Maybe this is another new math in our new educational system.
Small-town people have always worked together to raise money and help support the local hospitals. Durham even has a volunteer ambulance service. The people in the small towns didn’t create the health cost problem. Why should we be penalized for it?
There is something about the nursing home regulations I don’t like. I believe so many units should be allowed in each town or village, not a blanket of so many in each county. When the regulations say so many beds in a county, they can all end up in one town. I think retiring in dignity means being able to retire in the town, village or area in which you spent your life and where your friends are.
If, when you get older you have to move out of your area, and away from your friends to go to a hospital, a nursing home, or a senior citizens’ apartment, you might just as well shoot us. I hate to say that, because the way we’re being pushed around in the small communities, I’m afraid by the time I reach retirement that is what will be happening.
Mr. Nixon: Unless we have a Liberal government.
Mr. McKessock: Before I get too far away from the Ministry of Natural Resources and its infringements on our rights, I would like to say that landowners should not have to put up signs to keep people off their property. It should be automatically trespassing if people go on land without written permission from the landowner. This must be made law.
I’d like to refer again to my questionnaire. I asked the question: “Should it be law that hunters and fishermen must carry written permission from landowners to be on their land?” Response was 80.4 per cent in favour.
Mr. Norton: They should enforce it with shotguns too.
Mr. McKessock: Why should a landowner have to go to all that expense and waste of time putting up signs every 50 ft, or whatever it is, to keep people off his own property?
Mr. McKessock: Why shouldn’t it be that potential trespassers have to get permission before entering private property?
One other thing we would like to see changed is that the hunting season should be determined by township councils in consultation with the Ministry of Natural Resources for each local township.
Mr. Angus: Councils? You’re kidding.
Mr. McKessock: Mr. Speaker, I would like to talk for a minute about small businessmen and the small wage earners. They are sometimes run down by saying they have the same chance as everybody else. This is not true. When the fellow making $5,000 a year gets a 10 per cent raise, he gets $500. When the man making $25,000 gets a 10 per cent raise, he gets $2,500. Is this fair?
Mr. Nixon: Or a cabinet minister making $42,000.
Mr. McKessock: Is that giving the small guy an equal chance? The $500 to the low wage earner is a necessity. The $2,500 to the high wage earner is a luxury. No wonder the rich get richer and the poor get poorer; we encourage it.
Mr. Eakins: Are they still taking the five per cent off?
Mr. McKessock: Why not give a guy who makes under $8,000, $500 off on a new car or a used car instead of giving the sales tax rebate to everybody like the government did?
An hon. member: Restraint, but you still will be getting your five per cent.
Mr. McKessock: Ninety-five per cent of those who took advantage of the sales tax on cars would have bought cars anyway. Why don’t we give a $1,500 first-home buyers’ grant to people who make under $15,000 or only on homes under $35,000?
Mr. Nixon: They like to buy votes from the rich people, too.
Mr. McKessock: This would help to keep down inflation by encouraging people to buy lower-priced homes.
We should give lower interest rate loans to small businesses of $100,000 or less instead of always giving the breaks to the large operator. We seem to forget that the small businessman still employs over half of all working Canadians. This information was taken from the most recent taxation statistics. The small businessman doesn’t want a lot of handouts but he wants equal opportunity. Given equal opportunity the small operator will never go broke.
I don’t want to have more than one negative paragraph at a time without coming in with a positive one. During the election campaign I stressed one thing that I thought should be done by all governments. That was to put three or four questions of importance regarding government on the ballot on election day for the voters to answer. For example: “Are you in favour of compulsory seatbelts?” Are you in favour of capital punishment?” “Is there too much violence on TV?”
At the close: of election day we would have the answers, far better than any royal commission; and the voters wouldn’t charge a cent.
I mentioned capital punishment. We may say this is a federal issue but here again I think we should take a stand as a province. If Ontario could say to the federal government the people in Ontario are in favour of capital punishment or they are against, I think it would have a lot of weight in the decision-making in Ottawa.
Right now I have a petition with 1,100 names on it from a small town in the riding of Grey, supporting capital punishment. When I sent out my questionnaire to the riding that was one of the questions. Seventy-nine point four per cent were in favour of capital punishment. I think we should find out what the people feel and want and take a stand as a province.
I would like to mention a little short bit on education. I don’t believe that students should be out of school for 30 days or even 30 minutes due to strikes. A few years ago, we went to school from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. with no spares; and that is the way it should still be. Go into the secondary school yard today and we find students out in the yard smoking almost any time of the day. This doesn’t only promote, it prolongs the drug situation which exists in our schools today.
I would certainly like to persuade the Minister of Education (Mr. Wells) to put a stop to students’ free time during school hours. I would also like to persuade him to encourage more discipline in the schools. Coupled with no free time this would make it much easier for parents and teachers trying to raise our children.
I would like to mention a little bit about the tourist area -- the great tourist area we have in the riding of Grey.
The growing town of Meaford on Georgian Bay, with its great harbour and greater potential, hopes to embark on a harbour development programme, in co-operation with Environment Canada’s small craft harbour branch and the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources Great Lakes access programme, to further develop the harbour there so as to enable it to tie up several hundred small beats. I took a delegation from Meaford to meet the Minister of Natural Resources (Mr. Bernier) today, and we hope to get the programme under way in about eight weeks’ time.
The Georgian Bay Sports Fishery Advisory Board has been working for many years to promote fishing in the area. This harbour development will certainly give the spurts fishermen and these commercial fishermen a greater opportunity to expand. With pleasure craft in Canada increasing at a rate of 12 per cent a year, a marina of this magnitude in Meaford will certainly be an asset to the town and to the province as a whole.
The riding of Grey consists of 13 of the 16 townships in Grey county; the towns and villages of Hanover, Meaford, Durham, Markdale, Thornbury, Dundalk, Flesherton, Chatsworth and Neustadt; the township of Minto in Wellington county; and the towns and villages of Palmerston, Harriston and Clifford and the township of Melancthon in Dufferin county. I believe I have the most beautiful riding in Ontario in terms of countryside-and the most beautiful people.
Mr. Speaker, I would like to say how happy I am to be here representing the riding of Grey. While I am here I will try to inject honesty, fairness and common sense into this government. Thank you.
Hon. B. Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, it is with a deep sense of privilege that I rise to participate in the Throne Speech debate as the member of this Legislature for York Mills, which for those of my colleagues who do not know, is a riding of almost 30,000 households in the northwestern area of the borough of North York in Metropolitan Toronto.
Mr. Reid: I am from the northwest too.
Hon. B. Stephenson: Slightly farther northwest. It was a riding which was designated during the last election as significant by certain of the print media for, I believe, the wrong reasons. York Mills was described by the Globe and Mail as the riding of affluence. There are some within that riding who do in fact fit that description --
Mr. Reid: There are a lot of doctors there, we understand.
Hon. B. Stephenson: -- but in truth the riding of York Mills encompasses the complete range of socio-economic classifications which are so dear to the heart of classical sociologists. The significance of the riding of York Mills lies not in its affluence, so-called, but in the quality of its citizens. They are concerned and committed human beings of all races and all creeds, with dozens of different national backgrounds, all living in harmony.
Mr. Nixon: This speech is going to be mailed out at public expense.
Hon. B. Stephenson: Only the Grits do that.
Mr. Reid: You are meeting a multicultural group tomorrow night; they’ll be surprised when they hear that.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Hon. B. Stephenson: The citizens of my riding are concerned not only about those issues that touch them personally, but also the larger issues which face their community, their province and their society as a whole. The list of occupations of the citizens of York Mills spans the total glossary of human vocations -- in the trades, in the professions, in labour, in management, in business, in industry and in all of the arts. But whatever their occupation, the citizens of York Mills demonstrate daily, with their diligence, the value of work as a human need.
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: Do you hear that word, Pat?
Hon. B. Stephenson: They are all workers, whether they are labourers or lawyers, tradespeople or teachers, musicians or managers, employees or proprietors. They have interests ranging far and wide beyond their electoral boundaries, they devote time to informed support of community activities, and energy to invaluable voluntary service in a wide variety of organizations directed toward social and cultural progress, service which I think none of us in government should ever ignore for it is, in fact, priceless to the advancement of society. It is for me a real honour to represent each and every one of those citizens within that riding.
Mr. Reid: Each of whom is going to get a copy of your speech.
Hon. B. Stephenson: As a matter of fact, they are not going to get a copy of my speech.
Mr. Reid: You are getting politically wiser every day.
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: I think they deserve a copy of that excellent speech.
Hon. B. Stephenson: For me it is a great pleasure as well to function as the Minister of Labour of this province, and I believe that I fit that role reasonably well, because I lived almost all of my life in the work-oriented riding of York Mills and I’ve spent 27 years as a worker in the field of community health services.
Mr. Mancini: Now you sound like Stephen Lewis.
Hon. B. Stephenson: No, I don’t. I sound like me. These are very difficult times, troublesome times, troublesome for all of society and rampant with change and economic stresses. Almost the only constants in our society at the moment are change and stress and they’re reflected, I think, increasingly in the visible conflict and confrontation and the general disenchantment which our society seems to be expressing about the world in which we live and the institutions with which we function. These conflicts certainly have a disruptive effect in both the industrial and the service sectors of our society.
I don’t really think that the reportage which we get in all of our media does much to improve our disenchantment with certain institutions. Certainly it does nothing but to fortify the disenchantment which a very large number of the citizens of this province feel presently about the labour-management relationship in this province and in this country. Unfortunately, the reportage usually ignores completely the almost 95 per cent success rate which the collective bargaining negotiations in the Province of Ontario achieve every year.
Mr. Martel: That’s the Tories, crying all the time.
Hon. B. Stephenson: And it does tend, I’m afraid, to emphasize those situations where failures of collective bargaining result in work stoppage.
Mr. Martel: It is your colleagues who stress that continuously over the years.
Hon. B. Stephenson: Unfortunately, the recent failures of collective bargaining have had a very serious impact on our provincial economy and on our national economy, and they are perceived, unfortunately as well, by the public as symptomatic of some dreadful distortion within the process of collective bargaining which it is felt, I’m afraid generally, may yet precipitate economic disaster in this jurisdiction.
Flawed it may be by continued emphasis upon the adversary system, but the collective bargaining process, I believe, is the least imperfect of all of those methods yet devised for relationships between employers and employees. It does suffer today from the lack of recognition of many things. It suffers from a lack of recognition of changing characteristics within our society. It suffers from a lack of understanding of the increasing interdependence of the groups within our society. It suffers from a failure to appreciate the general improvement in the level of knowledge of all citizens in this province. It suffers from a failure to utilize the increased ability which most of the general public now possess, and it also suffers from a failure to assimilate sophisticated information as readily as it should, as well as a failure to exploit new skills and new expertise devised by a variety of disciplines.
But I think it suffers most from a slavish perpetuation of old, ill-founded and poorly developed bargaining techniques.
On behalf of the public generally, and on behalf particularly of the parties to the bargaining process, the Ministry of Labour of this province is embarking now upon a thorough examination of the entire collective bargaining system. Our objective is not simply to examine it, but to isolate those defects which can be demonstrated therein, and to propose, to develop, and to implement improvements which will be therapeutic to the system itself, and further to the entirety of the labour-management relationship.
I am sure that my colleagues within the House recognize that recent personnel changes within the ministry, with the appointment of several individuals with great expertise in labour-management relations, will enhance the Ministry of Labour’s capability in carrying out this very important task.
The Ontario Labour Relations Board, as well, has been strengthened recently by new appointments, so that its service, I believe, will be very much more readily available to both labour and to management throughout the length and the breadth of the province.
Mr. Reid: You will have to change the law.
Hon. B. Stephenson: Augmented as it has been by recent changes in the Labour Relations Act, I was very much disturbed to find that the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Lewis) has persisted in making misleading statements, particularly throughout northern Ontario, towards the end of the late, very disturbing, pulp and paper strike. He was consistently --
Mr. Reid: He is consistent anyway.
Hon. B. Stephenson: -- you are right -- moving from town to town in northern Ontario, telling the local labour leaders and the local municipal leaders that it was the responsibility of the government to lay charges of bad-faith bargaining against the pulp and paper companies, knowing full well that the Labour Relations Act empowered either party to bargaining to lay those charges.
I further learned that not only was he making those statements falsely throughout the north, but at a public meeting at York University, which in fact was recorded, I learned that the hon. Leader of the Opposition, without any supportive evidence or shred of documentation, when asked by a student to explain what he meant when he said the government should lay charges of bad-faith bargaining, said well, of course, it was the government’s responsibility.
The student who responded stated that it was his understanding that either party could lay such a charge at the feet of the Labour Relations Board, and could have a hearing. The Leader of the Opposition then publicly stated that the Labour Relations Board in the Province of Ontario was a joke and a farce and that no self-respecting union in this province would ever --
Mr. Martel: Hear, hear; absolutely.
Mr. Makarchuk: Absolutely.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Hon. B. Stephenson: -- lay a case before the Labour Relations Board. I would like the Leader of the Opposition to know that, in fact, one union has taken up his challenge. The result was reported last week and the case was found in favour of the union.
Mr. Makarchuk: After how many years?
Hon. B. Stephenson: That was the very first application that had ever been made by any union with the changes in the Labour Relations Act and the union won the case. I can really only wonder whether, in fact, the hon. Leader of the Opposition considers the recent board decision regarding a man very close to his own heart, which found in that gentleman’s favour, to be equally farcical with his view of the Labour Relations Board.
If he does, I hope he remembers it for a long time.
Mr. Renwick: There are significant changes with a minority government, aren’t there?
Hon. B. Stephenson: The favourable opinions expressed generally by organized labour, members and leaders throughout the province regarding the work of the Labour Relations Board in this province certainly do not support the view presented by the Leader of the Opposition.
Mr. Renwick: They certainly did up until the last year, no question.
Hon. B. Stephenson: There have been significant reorganizations as well within the labour services division within the last two months. As you know, we are attempting diligently to improve ministry responsiveness and effectiveness in terms of employees’ and employers’ needs and requests related to safety programmes, and to legislation, employment standards and employment --
Mr. Martel: That’s a farce.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Hon. B. Stephenson: The branches have been co-ordinated into a labour services division which, I want the hon. members to realize, will ensure better communication, and enhance co-operation with district officers and between the programmes of the labour service division.
In addition to that, we have established a pilot project to test and to evaluate the efficiency and effectiveness of decentralization of ministry service. The pilot project region which has been chosen is southwestern Ontario with its headquarters in London.
Mr. Renwick: It’s always southwestern Ontario benefiting. Just try it in Riverdale.
Hon. B. Stephenson: It is proposed that this pilot project will be tested and evaluated consistently throughout the next year and the report will be made available to this House upon its effects and efficiencies in March, 1977.
Mr. Renwick: This is a death bed repentance.
Mr. Speaker: Order please.
Mr. Martel: Your industrial history is a disgrace.
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: What are you chirping about?
Hon. B. Stephenson: Just to make the hon. member for Sudbury East a little happier, I’ll now talk a little bit about occupational health and safety.
Mr. Martel: Your record is a disaster.
Hon. B. Stephenson: It’s not nearly as disastrous as the hon. member for Sudbury East is, but that’s a minor detail.
Mr. Renwick: Talk about occupational health. Don’t be cheap.
Hon. B. Stephenson: The importance of occupational health and safety is growing within this ministry, with the assumption of responsibility for co-ordination for in-plant pre-development reviews which will assist us to ensure that potential occupational health hazards --
Mr. Martel: Only the seals behind you believe that.
Hon. B. Stephenson: -- in proposed industry will be fully recognized in order that maximal health protection of all workers --
Mr. Renwick: You cannot do it by structural changes, you have got to do it by law.
Hon. B. Stephenson: -- may in fact be built into a plant before it is constructed. In addition, the Ministry of Labour is going to be responsible for, and is responsible now, for ongoing monitoring in existing industrial sites, utilizing the consultive services of the occupational health specialists to augment this role of continuing --
Mr. Martel: Another disaster area.
Hon. B. Stephenson: -- critical surveillance of the industrial workplace on behalf of Ontario workers.
Mr. Renwick: What increase in staff are you going to have for that purpose?
Hon. B. Stephenson: The Occupational and Environmental Health Advisory Council is in place and I’m happy to say functioning.
Mr. Martel: Oh fine, it has been in place for a long time.
Hon. B. Stephenson: It is indeed. Its membership, as I’m sure the hon. members know, is tri-partite in nature and it is an extremely functional group, a group which is working actively and effectively together in a non-partisan way on behalf of the health and safety of the workers of this province.
Mr. Renwick: Like scurvy in the Mutiny on the Bounty.
Mr. Martel: It’s too bad somebody wasn’t partisan in favour of the worker for a change.
Hon. B. Stephenson: That committee, along with the health accord mechanisms about to be implemented, will ensure that the government’s high priority in occupational health will benefit from the total cooperation and co-ordination of prevention and correction policies, and programmes of the four ministries involved under a co-operative framework which is headed by the Ministry of Health.
The advisory council right now is examining and recommending standards for safe levels of a number of chemicals and compounds which may be found within the workplace in this province, but it is also examining very carefully the possible role and function of an institute of occupational health and it will bring its recommendation to the Ministry of Health within a very short period of time.
Mr. Renwick: This is unbelievable.
Mr. Martel: In another 100 years.
Hon. B. Stephenson: I think it is important to know that in fact there is a strong commitment on the part of the government through those four ministries to the total picture of occupational health and safety in this province.
Mr. Renwick: There is no strong commitment and the minister knows it.
Hon. B. Stephenson: Every effort is going to be directed toward improving Ontario and making it truly the safest place in Canada or in North America in which to work.
I would like to say a little something about the other ministry --
Mr. Kerrio: You are shirking parliamentary responsibility.
Hon. B. Stephenson: -- for which I have assumed some responsibility during the last 10 days and I think that probably the thing I should talk about is the restraint programme.
Mr. Mancini: You don’t want to talk about that.
Hon. B. Stephenson: Yes, I do want to talk about it, because all of you keep talking about dollars all of the time and that is not the only purpose of this programme within the Ministry of Health.
Mr. Renwick: That wasn’t the purpose and you can’t waste dollars.
Hon. B. Stephenson: But restraint is, in fact, necessary if we are to introduce any degree of real rationality into a health care system which, although it provides the best services available to any citizen in North America, is out of control in terms of its financing.
Mr. Martel: There must be another way of saving money.
Hon. B. Stephenson: There was a bins introduced into the health care system, very dramatically, by the hospital insurance programme in 1959. It placed excessive emphasis upon treatment and care within the acute general hospitals. Of course, this was done in order to ensure there would be some insurance coverage for those individuals who required services.
Mr. Renwick: That’s right, that is why it was done.
Hon. B. Stephenson: Over the next seven years, unfortunately, more and more services were covered by the hospital plan and the hospital became the focus of the delivery of health care services. I will tell you that it was quite inappropriately the centre and the focus of those services.
Since 1968, as a matter of fact, there has been a series of reports of task forces and special committees, not only within this province but in four other provinces of Canada and some commissioned by the federal government, which have recommended very strongly modification of the direction of health spending from that very costly area, the acute general hospital, to the less costly ambulatory and community level services. As a result of these recommendations, early in this decade the government of this province developed and expanded programmes for home care, extended care within the community, coverage within nursing homes, within chronic care institutions, and established more than a score of innovative primary care programmes within various communities of this province.
One would have hoped that with the increased encouragement of primary and ambulatory care, there would have been decreased use of the acute general hospital as the focus and centre of treatment or of providing services, but that was not to be. It has been my experience that if Parkinson’s law applies in any situation, the corollary to Parkinson’s law pertains to this situation more than to any other. That law, of course, is that as long as there are acute general hospital beds, doctors will make sure that there are patients in them, and they will be filled constantly.
Mr. Riddell: So who is to blame for the system?
Mr. Germa: Doctors make the system.
Hon. B. Stephenson: Unfortunately, the medical profession in this province, and across this country, must assume a major part of the responsibility for this imbalance within the health care system.
Mr. Reid: This government should assume some responsibility. It set up the programme.
Mr. Reid: Over 33 years you set up the system.
Mr. Renwick: Come on; you deal with the doctors.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Hon. B. Stephenson: I would like to let my hon. colleagues become aware, as well, that over the past decade there have been innumerable studies of the quality of patient care within hospitals, and the results have been strikingly similar in almost all of the studies in a variety of jurisdictions, not only in North America but also in Europe.
Mr. Renwick: If you want to speak to the doctors go and speak to them at the convention.
Hon. B. Stephenson: The result is that there is, in fact, a critical sixe of acute general hospital below which it is impossible to provide the range and scope of high quality care which a patient who requires admission to an active treatment acute general hospital deserves, in terms of specialized care and support in this day, in this age, with the degree of our medical services development.
Incidentally, I think the report made by Dr. Chance in yesterday’s newspaper, a report which was delivered to the Clinical Research Society of a study which he is carrying out, financed by the Ministry of Health of this province, emphasized the validity of this concern when he raised the problem of the fragility of premature infants in transportation shortly after they were born.
If in fact we could persuade small hospitals to close obstetrical units in which there are only 200 or 300 deliveries a year and in which there is no specialized service in terms of pediatrics or obstetric, we would have much less difficulty with the transportation of those infants. If we did what can be done -- that is to congregate obstetrical services in central hospitals within each county or each region or each town so that all the obstetrical services wore provided in one institution and so that high quality specialized care by both physicians and nurses could be supplied -- then we could be assured that those small fragile, premature infants would not have to be transported except under exceptional circumstances, and that could be done relatively easily with a premature ambulance.
It is relatively easy to do this. It is relatively easy for the conscientious physician to assess prenatal patients, to establish an APGAR type rating for those patients so that high-risk pregnancies and the high risk of prematurity can be predicted with some accuracy. This is not impossible --
Mr. R. S. Smith: You are still building that type of hospital.
Hon. B. Stephenson: -- but it does require co-operation and co-ordination of medical services within community hospitals so that we will not have a myriad of small, inefficient and unfortunately not totally safe obstetrical units scattered in small hospitals throughout the country.
Mr. R. S. Smith: You are still building them.
Hon. B. Stephenson: That is an example of what I am talking about in terms of the maintenance of high quality care, the care to which any patient in the Province of Ontario is entitled if he or she requires acute general hospital treatment. They do require an institution which is of sufficient size to enable that institution to provide the scope of services and facilities necessary to --
Hon. B. Stephenson: -- ensure all of the care which can be provided within those hospitals in this day and age.
Mr. Renwick: Is that a justification for the closing of the community hospitals?
Hon. B. Stephenson: As a matter of fact, it is a justification for closing some small hospitals because the level of care --
Mr. Renwick: Are you suggesting there has been inadequate care in the community hospitals you closed?
Hon. B. Stephenson: I am suggesting -- if the hon. member across the floor would let me continue I shall explain to him --
Mr. Renwick: You would never have dealt with this question if it had not been in the Globe and Mail over the last two days.
Hon. B. Stephenson: The hon. member for Riverdale fails to remember that in November, 1975, I spoke briefly on this subject in this House. Of course, he doesn’t remember; he probably wasn’t here; or if he was he wasn’t listening. At any rate, in my medical judgement --
Mr. Renwick: When you have been here long enough you will know that kind of argument doesn’t get you anywhere.
Hon. B. Stephenson: -- this has been one of the major factors in the programme of decision regarding the closing of small hospitals.
Mr. R. S. Smith: But you are still building the hospitals.
Mr. Renwick: Justify the closing of community hospitals.
Hon. B. Stephenson: We are attempting to improve health care services for the people in this province.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. Will the member for Riverdale try to contain himself?
Mr. McKessock: The people in Durham would rather have their babies born in a small hospital than in a snowbank on the side of the road trying to get to a larger one.
Mr. Renwick: I know I am right when I get applause from all sides of the House.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Hon. B. Stephenson: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. There is no doubt that continence in a male is a virtue.
Mr. Reid: It sounds like a female chauvinist remark to me.
Hon. B. Stephenson: I can be just as chauvinist as the member.
Mr. Reid: No, you can’t.
Hon. B. Stephenson: Yes, I can. You haven’t tried me yet.
Mr. Reid: You just were.
Hon. B. Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, there is a very real need to restrain rapidly escalating costs of health care. They are escalating most rapidly within that field in which it is important to ensure that the services which are provided are adequate to the patient needs.
It is therefore important to ensure that we direct the money which is available to that area of service which will meet the needs -- the medical needs, the health care needs -- of 80 per cent of all the demands which our society can place upon a health care system. Eighty per cent of all health care needs can be provided on an ambulatory care, primary care basis. That is the way we must move.
This is certainly one of the basic reasons for the programme of restraint in hospitals. We are rationalizing our health care expenditures in a way which will, in the near and distant future, provide better health care for the people of this province.
Mr. Warner: Going to control private labs?
Mr. Makarchuk: Not what the people say.
Hon. B. Stephenson: We must continue to move in that direction, wish the help of responsible people in the communities in which small hospitals are being closed, with the help of responsible boards of governors of the hospitals, with the help of district health councils concerned about the services which those people require.
Mr. Renwick: When you have been here long enough you will know that kind of argument doesn’t get you anywhere.
Hon. B. Stephenson: We shall, in fact achieve that purpose and we will go on building a health care system in this province which is the envy of all other jurisdictions and will continue to be so.
Mr. R. S. Smith: But you are still building the hospitals.
Mr. Renwick: Justify the closing of community hospitals.
Mr. Swart: I rise to speak in support of the amendment to the amendment to the Speech from the Throne and the amendment to the Speech from the Throne. I’m sure that everyone on this side of the House, as both leaders have committed themselves, will be voting in favour of both the amendment to the amendment and the amendment.
Mr. Angus: Put the signs out.
Hon. B. Stephenson: We’ll take you on any day, particularly you.
An hon. member: Okay, call the election.
Mr. Swart: We are ready for it if either of the other two parties wishes to call the election. I want to say, as I said last fall, that I’m proud to represent the riding of Welland. I’m proud that it’s going to be renamed, I expect, and I’m hoping I’m not being presumptuous, the riding of Welland-Thorold since that is now appropriate because that riding is made up solely of those two cities and completely of those two cities.
I could spend a great deal of time extolling the virtues of that area, I suppose, but I had intended, really, to say very little about the virtues of that area until the Minister of Labour and the acting Minister of Health (B. Stephenson) made comments about the working riding which she represented. After the minister made that comment, I thought perhaps I should give some proof that I also represent a working riding. Perhaps the fact that I did work in industry for some 37 years and the fact that I was a member of the Pulp, Sulphite and Paper Mill Workers Union for over some 30 years may indicate that I too have some connection with labour.
Perhaps, more important, the real connection that you have in labour is I suppose whether you associate with the working people, whether you have worked with them for years and whether you therefore know the trials and problems they experience in the workplace and don’t get it just second hand from other people.
Mr. Norton: Such arrogance! How dare you, sir?
An hon. member: You ought to know what arrogance is all about.
Mr. Martel: Allan Lawrence used to hold a card too as a summer student in some labour movement. He used to brag about that
Mr. Swart: The Minister of Labour made some reference to the fact that collective bargaining has perhaps suffered from some outdated methods and suffered froze a few other things. I have to say here this evening that what collective bargaining is suffering most from now is the Anti-Inflation Board which the government of this province has sold out to lock, stock and barrel.
Mr. Warner: Wage without price controls.
Mr. Norton: You don’t recognize wage controls,
Mr. Swart: I would just point out that --
Mr. Reid: Who voted for them last fall? Who supported this government last fall? You are all big talk but you voted for it last fall. Remember that.
Mr. Mattel: We’ll see how you vote on your amendment.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. The hon member for Welland has the floor. Do him the courtesy of listening to him.
Mr. Swart: I would just point out, Mr. Speaker --
Mr. Ferrier: Why don’t you call the member for Kingston and the Islands (Mr. Norton) to order?
Mr. Swart: -- that the application of the Anti-Inflation Board policies in this province are totally the responsibility of the federal Liberal government and the provincial Conservative government. They both must share the responsibility.
Mr. Hodgson: You have never had that responsibility. You have never had any responsibility so don’t worry about it.
Mr. Swart: I want to say that I’m not going to speak at any great length in extolling the virtues of my riding because I believe my constituents want me to deal with the problems that are facing them. I think that’s perhaps why they elected me instead of returning another member on the other side of the House.
Mr. Ferrier: Another trained seal.
Mr. Swart: Before I get into some of these problems, I would just like to make two suggestions for the consideration of this House, and I make these suggestions rather humbly as a new member.
The first of those suggestions is that I personally would like to see the term MPP changed to MLA again. There is confusion across this province with that terminology. Throughout most of the provinces the members of the provincial Houses are known as MLAs and I would think there would be some value in returning to that designation for us.
The second recommendation that I’d like the House to consider -- and this, I guess, is not done in other jurisdictions -- is that this House, instead of sitting for a session of several months, I would think should sit perhaps for the first two or three weeks of each month for 10 months of the year. I think there’s merit in this because it would give those who don’t live close to Toronto an opportunity to get back to their ridings for a week or two of each month. It would give them a chance to find out the feeling of the public. I think it would do particular good to the government members at this time if they went back and talked about hospitals and about government cutbacks. I think it would give the members’ staff and the ministers’ staff and the staff of the government the opportunity to do a bit more fruitful work than the panic work which perhaps has to be done when a session sits for three, four, five months and then doesn’t sit for another two or three months. Therefore, I would like the House to consider that sort of programme with regard to the sessions.
The problems that I’m going to deal with this evening -- that my constituents, and I’m sure, most of the people across this province feel -- are very much the same that we dealt with last fall. They are the same because the Throne Speech did nothing to solve them. In fact, most of the problems that existed last fall in my riding, and elsewhere I think, now are compounded by the action the government has taken in some fields and the inaction that it has shown in others.
Last fall I brought before this House the problem -- injustice perhaps would be a better word -- of the freezing of hydro commissions where regional municipalities were created, particularly in the Niagara region. When the Niagara region was planned in 1970, the government of this province took action to freeze the hydro commission. Some 26 municipalities were made into 12 municipalities. In most of these municipalities we then had hydro being supplied to pan of the municipality by the utility commission or the hydro commission of that municipality, and the remainder of the municipality being supplied by the Ontario rural hydro. The reasoning given for this was that they wanted time to investigate new structures of hydro before they determined that the new districts should all be put in with the old hydro commissions.
So there was a task force of the government appointed which sat for two or three years and in 1972 brought in a report that the municipal utilities should be rationalized into upper-tier regional utilities where and as new municipal government is implemented.
That created quite a stir; the result was that the Ontario government then appointed another committee to examine that task force report. That committee reported in 1974. It recommended, believe it or not, that another committee of local people be appointed.
Mr. Martel: Some of them were defeated Tories, were they not?
Mr. Swart: Yes, quite possibly. There are a lot of them around.
Mr. Martel: They don’t want to go on the unemployment roll so they get a job in government.
Mr. Swart: It is now six years --
Mr. Martel: They should do that for the hospital workers.
Mr. Swart: It is now six years since the hydro commissions were frozen; it is over six years, we are going on to the seventh year. This committee said it hoped that it would report by October of this year, and just in March there is a new report by that committee which they say would result in the technical subcommittee reporting to that committee in October of this year.
After that they will hold public hearings. It will be seven or eight years from the time the commissions were frozen -- at least that much. In fact, we are no further ahead now than we were six years ago, not a bit further toward resolving this problem. It certainly will be seven or eight years.
The people in those municipalities can’t even elect their hydro commissioners. In the city of Thorold, for instance, there is not a single commissioner left who has been elected by the people; they have all been appointed.
The areas are developing and growing. They are connecting, even right adjacent to the urban municipalities, to the rural hydro. The city of Welland, to put it mildly, is frustrated by this. The mayor, who happened to be my Conservative opponent in the last election, has taken real issue with that government over this stand.
I am asking here this evening that the Ontario government -- I believe the freezing was done by the Treasurer (Mr. McKeough) -- lift that freeze and let the municipalities proceed on their own to supply hydro to their own urban area. It just makes no sense to carry on with the so-called freeze of boundaries and of commissions.
I want to turn for a few minutes, to the question of the preservation of agricultural land. Here again, the situation is no better. If anything, perhaps it is worse than it was when I spoke last fall in the Throne Speech debate.
There is no mention in the Throne Speech of the preservation of good agricultural land, except some vague reference to greater productivity on good land. There is no reference, in spite of the public sentiment in the last election. That was expressed at least partly, in the defeats of a number of government members. There is no reference in the Speech from the Throne, even though last December the agrologist of this province brought down a report, titled “Preservation or Starvation”, which said that by the year 2000 we will be short two million acres of land in this province to feed the people of this province; that said the government of this province should enact legislation within one year to preserve class 1, 2 and 3 agricultural land.
There is not even any mention in the Throne Speech of what must be recognized as the continuing destruction of the very best agricultural land in this province.
I drive frequently, of course, from Thorold and St. Catharines to the Legislature; and all along the way, year by year, month by month, and day by day, I see further destruction of the best agricultural land in Ontario. The John Deere company -- and there must be a bit of irony here -- a company that manufactures farm implements, has just built a new plant near Grimsby on 72 acres of the best agricultural land in the Niagara Peninsula. They are destroying the very land they are attempting to service with their farm implements.
Mr. Wildman: They should be building factories up north.
Mr. Swart: That is correct. I just point out to this House that from 1971 to 1975 there was an increase in population in the Niagara region of 19,653. Of that increase in population, more than 17,000 took place on the one-fifth to one-quarter of the land below the Niagara Escarpment or within two miles above it, where the climate is moderated from Lake Ontario and still able to grow either fruit or grapes. Something like 80 per cent of all population growth has taken place in that one quarter and yet nothing is being done about it.
I sat on the Niagara regional council when we were discussing the regional plan for Niagara. We almost begged the government to give us guidelines on what form the plan should take. We never got those guidelines.
The regional council, over the objections of many of us, passed a land-use plan that provided far more land than could ever be used even on the best agricultural land during the 20 years of the plan. It was submitted to the government in September, 1974, but nothing was heard from the government until Sept. 8, 1975. It seems to me, if I remember correctly, that was about 10 days before the election was to take place.
There was a letter from the member for Carleton-Grenville (Mr. Irvine), under whose jurisdiction that came at that time, which said something to the effect that he was requesting council to reduce substantially the encroachment of future urban development on this irreplaceable resource and therefore recommended that the plan not be approved.
A bit later, the new Minister of Agriculture and Food (Mr. W. Newman) on Oct. 22, 1975, sent another letter to Niagara region. In it, he said:
“It has been indicated by both the Minister of Housing and the Premier of Ontario that this government does not wish to see urban development infringe on the unique agricultural resources in the Niagara region. This must apply to the unique and tender fruit and grape land north of the escarpment and also to the other prime agricultural land resources within the region … Growth in the remainder of the region must also be directed to lower-quality land so the best agricultural lands in the region are retained for agricultural purposes.”
That is a very worthy-sounding objective, but what has happened in this period of time and what will happen now to that fruit land? The Niagara regional council will receive tomorrow, I believe, a report from its planner which will state that the boundaries for the urban municipalities in the areas of the good agricultural land should be reduced by something like 2,500 acres from the present 7,000 acres which have been designated for urban development.
Already the municipalities are fighting these proposals. Tomorrow, St. Catharines will appear before the regional council to tell the regional council it doesn’t want its boundaries drawn in to that degree. The irony of it all is that the proposals now before the regional council are almost identical with the proposals put forward by the planner back in 1972 and 1973; almost identical to what they were at that time. The council enlarged it and we’re going through the same process.
There is no doubt that the only way we can get a meaningful land use plan in this province is if the province itself is prepared to set the guidelines for developing a master plan for this province and is willing to give direction to the municipalities. It’s too much to expect of local municipalities that they can bring about this preservation of prime agricultural land without getting guidance, without having a firm blueprint set for them by the Province of Ontario. I say that municipalities generally want this sort of thing and, believe me, the public certainly is anxious that this he done.
Another matter on which very little action has been taken is the matter of price control. I thought the new release by the Anti-Inflation Board on March 20 of this year perhaps depicted more clearly than any words from the labour leaders or anyone else the exact method in which that Anti-Inflation Board is functioning.
Mr. Mancini: What about Manitoba and Saskatchewan?
Mr. Swart: There have been charges made over and over again, and rightly so, that it is a wage control board. Last Saturday the Anti-Inflation Board -- I’m quoting now:
“Stung by criticism of its failure to control prices, the Anti-Inflation Board plans to make public a list of companies that have agreed to reduce planned price increases after talks with the board. Late this week the board was still contacting the companies to get their permission for the public statement expected about Thursday. It will be a short list, less than 10 companies.”
Let me point out the significance, really, of what this is saying.
Mr. Mancini: What did Ed Schreyer do?
Mr. Swart: It says, “Plans to make public a list of companies that have agreed to reduce planned price increases after talks with the board.” They’re going to the companies to get permission to do this and there is a maximum of 10 companies. To the best of my knowledge those have not yet been released.
Mr. Martel: Five. Great stuff.
Mr. Swart: They have released five companies, have they? They released that for five companies. Surely, if anything proves the board’s attitude towards prices it is its own release.
Mr. Mancini: What about your wages, Mel?
Mr. Swart: When the Irving Co. overpaid its workers the board didn’t go and ask permission to release it; it fined the company $125,000. It isn’t just five or 10 groups of workers or contracts which have been signed they rolled heck, there are literally hundreds of them. I say that what the Anti-Inflation Board provides is compulsory wage control and voluntary price control. That is really what the Anti-Inflation Board is doing at the present time.
Mr. Kerrio: What are you doing here with it?
Mr. Reid: What a bunch of gobbledygook.
Mr. Mancini: You guys had a chance to vote against wage and price controls and you let it go right by.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Mr. Speaker: We don’t need these side debates. The hon. member for Welland has the floor.
Mr. Swart: The government of Ontario has taken exactly the same sort of attitude as the federal government with regard to any control on prices. Nothing, in fact, is being done.
Mr. Kerrio: They are partners.
Mr. Swart: You know the price of natural gas, for instance --
Mr. Kerrio: You made them partners.
Mr. Swart: -- in December went up in my area -- and in the Toronto area -- by 35 per cent to 45 per cent. That followed other increases over the last 18 months, which made a total increase in natural gas prices between 80 per cent and 90 per cent. Those were approved by the National Energy Board and by the Ontario Energy Board.
When I complained about these kinds of price increases in a press release a week or so ago, I got a very sharp letter from the Minister of Energy (Mr. Timbrell), who objected because he said the Ontario government had not really permitted this sort of thing. They really had no control over it, and anyhow, they had made great input to the federal government in objection to it.
I want to read one paragraph of the letter that I received from the minister. I quote:
“The Progressive Conservative government of Ontario welcomes your concern. We have been making it a major issue for over two years now, and we will continue to fight battles on this issue and hopefully win most of them as we have in the past.”
I just say in reply to that letter, if an 80 per cent or 90 per cent increase in gas prices is a win, I would hate to see what a loss is by the government of this province.
The same lack of concern for price increases has been shown in the field of auto insurance. We know that on Feb. 1 of this year the speed limit was reduced and the wearing of seatbelts became compulsory. Any examination of the facts from other jurisdictions where these two things are in effect will show that there is a drastic reduction in deaths, in injuries and in damage to automobiles. Yet the government refuses to take any action to assure that the savings from these lower speed limits and from seatbelt use are passed on to the motorist of this province.
The savings are substantial. It is estimated that it will cut the cost of accidents by at least 20 per cent. That’s a very -- forgive me for using the word -- conservative estimate, that they will be cut by 20 per cent. This will mean something like $120 million to $150 million in savings to the insurance companies in this province. And you know what the insurance companies say about this? The president of the Insurance Bureau of Canada said, and this is dated Nov. 19, 1975, after the legislation was enacted, that the Highway Traffic Act amendment will probably have a beneficial effect in reducing accidents with an obvious reduction in the insurance level. But, he added, it will be more than two years before insurance companies will be clear enough about any reduction in the number of accidents to adjust their rates. More than two years!
Just more recently, on March 15, I see where the Premier of this province (Mr. Davis) said that motorists deserve insurance savings. Speaking in Waterloo, I believe, he mentioned the 27 per cent drop in fatal highway collisions last month. He said that there should be a reduction passed on to the motorist, but the companies have already increased insurance rates for this year. And the Premier mid later in an interview he doubts they will be reduced no matter what the savings. Then he goes on to say that the companies will need another three or four months to get a more accurate picture of cost savings. It is still very early but the signs are encouraging.
The Premier says three or four months. The president of the Insurance Bureau said it will be more than two years. I ask this House, who will win out? Is the government prepared to bring in legislation so that rates will be controlled and the savings passed on to the motoring public? I doubt it very much.
Finally, I want to deal a bit with the cutbacks, the cutbacks in the hospitals, the cutbacks on assistance to municipalities. The first thing that I want to say with regard to this is that it is all being clone in the name of inflation. This is what we’re told -- it doesn’t matter whether it is a federal government or whether it is provincial government, it’s all being done in the name of inflation.
I want to say that we don’t, in fact, have inflation. The definition of inflation, according to any dictionary we look at, we will find that, one way or another, it says there is too much money chasing too few goods. We know this was the situation during the war years. That of course is not the situation today.
There is not too much money chasing too few goods. People are unemployed because others can’t buy the goods which we can produce in our society, and what we really have is a period of price escalation. That is what it is, and not true inflation; it’s price escalation that we have in our society, and I say to this House that the best way to control price escalation is to control prices. That’s where the emphasis should be, not on controlling wages, as is the total emphasis being put by the two levels of government.
In fact, we are saving little or no money of the people of this province by the cutback programme. Just look at some of the figures -- the $50 million. The 5,000 people who will be laid off in the hospital field at a saving of $10,000 per person. If they go on unemployment insurance they will be paid $5,000 a year on unemployment insurance. There will be some $2,000 a year which will be lost on taxes of one form or another. That’s $7,000 a year. That’s $35 million that, in fact, won’t be saved at all, if we consider the graduates from the nursing schools, if we consider the graduates from the teachers’ colleges who will not be able to get jobs, the social workers who graduate, if we consider the investment that we have put into these people over the years and then have no jobs for them to go to, there is, in fact no saving whatsoever to society as a whole by these cutbacks.
Of course, we know in the field of the cutback in the labs, it’s a myth. The OPSEU did some studies on the costs of the tests being done, what OHIP is paying to the private labs, and regardless of whether it’s clinical or whether it’s the other, the facts are that it costs about 50 per cent more to have these tests done in private labs than in the public labs, and in the long run it’s going to cost more. There is no saving in this sort of thing,
So there is going to be very little saving from the cutbacks in that field and in the municipal field. Again, people are going to be laid off or there is going to be a pass-through to the property taxpayer. It still has to come out of the same people and that pass-through is going to be pretty substantial.
The real problem with this cutback programme -- the whole SPR programme -- is that it’s being done in isolation. It’s being done in isolation from the overall problems that face our society and the major problem is unemployment. That’s where the emphasis should be, because if we can solve the problem of unemployment we won’t have to worry about the price escalation.
The second point that I want to make on the cutbacks, and it has been made before, is the way in which it was done. It’s an about-face and the methods of implementation make no sense at all. The acting Minister of Health (B. Stephenson), when she was speaking this evening, made some comments about the rationale for the cutbacks. I suggest that the rationale in the method of cutback, and even for the cutback, is totally missing.
Surely one or the other must be true. Either the government has colossally overspent in building hospitals and in staffing them in recent years, or now it’s a mistake to cut back. It has to be one or the other, because our population is increasing, the needed usage of hospitals and all the other facilities must be increasing, and yet they have now made an about-face and are cutting back.
Mr. Wildman: An oversight.
Mr. Swart: If, over the last two or three years, they had not allowed the private nursing homes to be built to the extent that they did; if there are too many active treatment beds, if they had diverted floors to nursing care treatment, we could have saved the 3,000 beds and the cost of operating those that are now in the private nursing homes. But, of course, the government of this province is opposed to the public operation and favours the private nursing homes.
Another point that I want to make on this issue is that what is going to happen as a result of what is being done is that the new health councils are going to be destroyed before they ever get started. In some areas, health councils are now being asked to report back to the Ministry of Health on where the cutbacks should be made in their area. If they report that no cutbacks should be made, the Ministry of Health is going to ignore that; they’re going to make the cutbacks anyhow. If they report that cutbacks should be made, it is going to destroy their credibility in the community. Where they are not being asked to report on this, and these major decisions are being made in the health field without their being consulted, then their credibility is also going to be destroyed. The whole purpose of the health councils when they were instituted -- in the news releases and all the rest of it -- was to rationalize health care in the various areas of the province. They are, in fact, going to be destroyed by the policies of this government.
I want to say a few words about the cutback in assistance to municipalities. The first point I want to make is that the Treasurer (Mr. McKeough) has stated that the province this year is going to get by on a 10 per cent increase in its expenditures. Included in that 10 per cent increase about which they are bragging is the cutback to the municipalities. If we exclude these transfer payments from the government’s total expenditures, we find in fact that they are going to be spending closer to 11 per cent more than they are the 10 per cent to which they say they are going to limit their own expenditures.
The simple facts are that the municipalities are being penalized because last year the government cut back in an election year in the hopes of winning support from the public. Because they based their transfer payments to municipalities on the revenue to the provincial government and when they cut back the sales tax and they cut off the tax on machinery to industry, it meant that municipalities then had to get along on a lesser amount this year than they otherwise would have.
I would just point out that revenue to the province increased from 1972 to 1973 by 13 per cent, and from 1973 to 1974 by 18.9 or 19.5 per cent, depending which government document you’re looking at; but in 1975 it dropped down to 8.5 from 10.8 per cent and this year it is going back up to 14.7 per cent The municipalities are being caught in a political decision by the government of this province.
The municipalities, by law, must provide many programmes that the provincial government has initiated and delegated them to carry out, and yet the money is not being given to them by the province to do this job. In addition, they are providing services and they have commitments that they simply can’t cut back; for instance, in the primary treatment of sewage, the treatment of phosphates, which increases the cost by perhaps 25 per cent, was initiated by the provincial government.
Let me relate briefly what is happening in the Niagara region with regard to social services. The regional levy there is going to be up some 14.4 per cent, and the director there has stated that it is doubtful if that budget will provide sufficient funds to last to the end of the year. So far this year in the Niagara region, the expenditure for social services is up 25 per cent over the corresponding period last year. There has been a nine per cent increase in the welfare case load in the Niagara region. So it is doubtful, even with this increase, if the money will last until the end of the year.
What have their cutbacks meant? The dental programme for social service recipients in the Niagara region is proposed to be cut back this year from $330,000 to $50,000, a reduction to less than 20 per cent of what they spent last year. The daycare cost to people who can pay the full costs has gone up from $5 per day to $11.50 per day. And, perhaps worst of all, there will be no increase this year to the welfare recipients.
The situation with regard to the homes for the aged is perhaps even worse. The Niagara region operates about 1,000 beds for the aged. So far their cutbacks have meant they have had to lay off about 32 people. The expenditure is still up 13 per cent after their cutbacks, but the levy at present is slated to go up 41.6 per cent. If the province comes through with higher payments to the extended care section of the homes, the increase may be only 29 per cent.
The homes can continue to operate. But they won’t be quite as clean, and there won’t be quite as much nursing service. In addition, they have to make sure that they don’t admit chronic cases or what are likely to be chronic cases. In fact, they have to exclude from the home those who very well may need the service the most.
Another aspect of this just simply makes no sense at all. The director of the homes for the aged in the region of Niagara has been told by the Ministry of Community and Social Services that a freeze must be put on foster homes. This was a programme, first developed in the regional municipality of Niagara, where people who were ambulatory and were able to be taken care of in private homes, were put into the foster homes and payment was made for them in the foster homes.
The gross cost of keeping people in foster homes now runs at $3,430 each, compared with $4.300 each if they are kept in the homes for the aged. But the significance of this is that the net cost for putting them in foster homes runs at $560, whereas if they are kept in the homes for the aged it runs $1,430, or 150 per cent more, and yet the ministry has told them that they must have a freeze on foster homes and cannot move additional people out of the homes for the aged into the foster homes.
I suggest that the comments which have been made by my colleagues in this group have been sufficient to prove that the policies of this government have reached the point where the public should have a say on whether they want that government to continue.
Mr. Kerrio: We think you should resign.
Mr. Swart: So I and my colleagues are prepared to vote so that the government comes down and the public of Ontario can pass judgement and if they so wish they can bring another government into this province.
Mr. Eakins: Mr. Speaker, it’s a pleasure to rise and participate in this debate. I intend to speak only briefly. However, with the undivided attention which each speaker receives it is tempting to go on for an hour or two. I must say that if any changes were being made in the House, the one which I would make would be some limitation on the length of speeches.
I’d like to recognize first our friends from Halton-Burlington who are under the Speaker’s gallery here, constituents of the member for Halton-Burlington (Mr. Reed). It was a pleasure meeting with them earlier this evening and we certainly welcome them to the House here tonight.
Mr. Gaunt: Great riding, great member.
Mr. Eakins: That’s right.
An hon. member: Tremendous.
Mr. Eakins: One of the pleasures in coming into the House has been to renew acquaintance with many of the people whom I knew when I served in the municipal service as a councillor and as a mayor and many from all sides of the House who are here tonight. I know that the Minister of Agriculture and Food (Mr. W. Newman) and the Chairman of Cabinet (Mr. Brunelle) have both been very kind to our municipal associations, and in particular the towns and villages, and I note in tonight’s paper the member for Cochrane North is not going to seek re-election. I don’t believe he’s in the House, but I just want to wish him well.
There is one person I believe who deserves to be in this House as much as anyone and it’s the member for Welland (Mr. Swart). He’s a good municipal friend of mine whom I’ve known over the years and who made a good contribution to municipal affairs. He served on the mayors and reeves executive and certainly the member for Welland is one of the people who has spent many elections endeavouring to get here and I’m delighted to see that he is here tonight.
Mr. Kerrio: Actually, they need him worse back in the region.
Mr. Ruston: Overnight guest.
Mr. Eakins: As I said I feel very honoured to rise and participate in the Throne debate and to speak on behalf of my constituents in that great riding of Victoria and Haliburton. I want to say first of all that I’m most grateful to the people of my riding for allowing me the opportunity to be of service to them here at Queen’s Park. I feel very humble as their member, especially as I look back over the years on the history of these two great counties and of the quality of the members who have served. While the history extends back to when Victoria and Haliburton was divided and had two members, I’m sure most people recollect and recall the days in a more familiar way from the 1930s onward. Perhaps I’m more aware of it because there had not been a Liberal member elected since the election of 1934 until last Sept. 18.
Hon. Mr. Snow: May be short-lived.
Mr. Eakins: For a number of years from 1934 this great area of the province was served by the late William Newman of the village of Lorneville in Eldon township. Mr. Newman served with distinction and a record to be proud of and made a great contribution to this House.
Mr. Gaunt: He was the late William Newman. The present member is the great William Newman.
Hon. W. Newman: He was the wrong side of the family.
Mr. Reid: There was one smart one in the family.
Mr. Riddell: It seems to me you were a Liberal in college. Were you?
Hon. W. Newman: No.
Mr. Eakins: It is interesting to note that the last election the late William Newman won was in 1934.This was also the year of the only election defeat ever suffered by his opponent who was a gentleman by the name of Leslie Frost. Mr. Frost ran again, as members know, in 1937 and was successful and, of course, I from that day to this, the events of those years are well recorded.
Hon. Mr. Snow: Great man.
Mr. Reid: We need him back now.
Mr. Eakins: The Hon. Leslie M. Frost, who became Premier in 1949, will, I’m sure, be remembered as one of the outstanding figures in Ontario’s political history. He was a leader in every sense of the word. He was astute; he was understanding but most important, and what some politicians seem to forget today, he knew and understood the common man.
Hon. W. Newman: That’s because he was a Tory.
Mr. Reid: He’s the last Conservative who did.
Mr. Eakins: In private conversation, one was able to learn first-hand of the high regard he held for many of his political opponents.
For the past 12 years this seat was held by Glen Hodgson, a gentleman for whom I have a very high personal regard. I am delighted to see that this week the riding is having a dinner in his honour.
Having come up through the ranks of municipal service and knowing the history and representation of my riding, I feel very humble and most honoured to have the opportunity to represent the people of Victoria-Haliburton at Queen’s Park.
I want to mention first and to express very strongly my deep concern over the closing of the small community hospitals in Ontario, as many other speakers have mentioned in their speeches. If this government is serious in any way regarding the need for decentralization, to my mind it is going about it in a very awkward way. The order to close Bobcaygeon’s Hillcroft Hospital is a very deep blow to this community and its surrounding area.
I question very seriously the advice and the wisdom of the Ministry of Health in the manner in which this was carried out. I find it unbelievable that these closings would be announced when the House was in recess and without any opportunity to debate the merits of these orders I’m sure that anyone who has served in municipal office would know that if municipal councillors carried out their discussions and business this way, they would be removed at the nest election.
Mr. Kerrio: That’s going to happen here.
Mr. Eakins: It is quite apparent that neither the minister nor his staff even knew where Bobcaygeon was located. Even the minister was quoted as saying that he didn’t realize the distance between Lindsay and Bobcaygeon, a distance of some 24 miles, was as great and that with adverse road conditions the drive was much longer than anticipated.
I believe that whoever gave the minister this poor advice also did not take into consideration the fact that Hillcroft Hospital serves a very large summer population of upwards of 100,000 people. With the beautiful Kawarthas on the doorstep of Metro Toronto, many find it convenient to use the services of Bobcaygeon and Ross Memorial in Lindsay when they have sudden illnesses and accidents in the summer. This should not be overlooked because many of the Metro people find it convenient to have their accidents in this part of the province.
The cutback at Ross Memorial Hospital in Lindsay is one of the heaviest in the province. When this hospital was built a few years ago and opened about two years ago, it was built according to the specifications and the requirements of this government. Now the government says it is too large and has to be cut back. I believe and I say that the ministry must bear full responsibility for the poor planning of which it is the author. Please don’t put all the blame for restraints on the citizens for asking too much.
Mr. Ruston: Mismanagement.
Mr. Eakins: When you close hospitals and close beds and lay off people in small communities, you are in effect tearing the heart out of the community and telling the towns and villages of Ontario they haven’t much of a future.
I would like to ask the Health ministry and the Premier (Mr. Davis) some questions and I would appreciate their response. Does the Ministry of Health have an overall plan with regard to health care and the place of each hospital within that plan? If so, this should be communicated to the hospitals and to the public.
Is there an actual plan with regard to the present restraint programme as it affects all hospitals? It has been suggested, though this has not been substantiated, that one yardstick you are using is that the ministry is to cut $1,000 per bed. If this is so, why is it so unevenly applied? If this is the case, then the Ross Memorial Hospital in Lindsay has about the equivalent of 3,000 per bed removed from its 1976-1977 budget.
Why is the whole programme handled in such a manner? Is it actually for shock value; and why has the Ministry of Health been placed so drastically in the forefront of the government’s total restraint programme?
The letter from the ministry to the hospital notifying them of the sudden switch in policy with regard to this hospital suggested there is no appeal mechanism. This does not seem right to me, that they cannot appeal the orders from the ministry.
The present method of handling the whole situation actually suggests a state of panic in the Ministry of Health. Of course, this might be passed further up the line to the responsibility of the Treasurer (Mr. McKeough).
I recognize that restraints are not only inevitable but advisable. I also recognize the method in which they have been brought about and how unevenly they have been applied across the province.
I am also very concerned about the lack of government initiative to develop our smaller communities. I think we must all give serious thought to the need to develop a system of balanced growth in Ontario.
Urban development is progressing in some areas at a pace which is clearly out of control from the point of view of housing and transportation facilities. The entire social/economic situation is a matter of real anxiety for some people living in the Metro area. There is a great need for a slowdown in the development and expansion of many of our larger cities.
In England, for example, the capital city of London, faced with a similar situation, took action to bring some control to development by creating a greenbelt around the city and giving enormous incentives to the location of industry in areas away from the metropolis.
Many small communities in Ontario experience great difficulties because of the small tax base. They are losing their young people and skilled workers to the cities because that is where the jobs are to be found. At the same time, industry is attracted to tie city because of the availability of manpower.
We have, in effect, a vicious circle. We must take action before we have a serious crisis on our hands. Sooner or later we must take the bull by the horns and inaugurate an all-over provincial plan of development to assist our small communities. I know that in many of our communities, an increased population of 2,000 would be a tremendous assistance. But in others, up through my riding, even 500 people would make a noticeable difference. At the same time, we would be removing some of the intense pressure being experienced in our urban centres.
Any effective means of bringing out a degree of balanced growth in Ontario must be based on a considerable amount of government participation. In many respects I think governments have been far too much involved in our day-to-day lives. When I say that considerable government participation would be necessary to achieve balanced growth, I certainly don’t mean I feel less concerned about the extent to which government bureaucracy tends to infringe on the rights of the individual.
However, there are some results which can only be achieved by the direction and participation of the government acting on a province-wide basis, and balanced growth falls into that category.
When one is considering a problem as complex and wide-ranging, I see centralization of growth in the urban areas and development of our last densely populated regions. This has to be dealt with under the auspices of the provincial government.
One suggestion that has considerable merit in this connection is the concept of some form of land servicing programme. But one of the many obstacles in the way of opening up or improving specific areas for residential or industrial development is the expense of making available sufficiently serviced land. If a provincial servicing programme were to be established, the government could, in consultation with municipalities, designate specific areas where it is agreed that residential, commercial and/or industrial development is desirable and necessary.
The availability of comparably inexpensive serviced land in underdeveloped areas would encourage the location of secondary industries, with the attendant residential development in the vicinity of the new employment source. Capital grants, low interest and long-term loans would be additional incentives for secondary industries and small business enterprises to locate in areas away from the big cities and the highly industrialized regions.
At one time, the private and public sectors of the economy were clearly defined and separate. However, over the years they have become almost inextricably hound. Taxes on payroll, on income, capital gains on sales, on succession, by reducing profit and the ability to finance growth, tend to encourage the small businessman to sell out. On the other hand, the larger firms, the multinational corporations, the conglomerates, are in a position to obtain special tax advantages.
Capital incentives, the ability to deduct interest costs of borrowing for acquisition, the right to offset the losses of one firm against the profits of another, these are only a few examples of the way the larger companies can benefit. We must find a means to reverse the trend to larger and larger and to encourage the proliferation of smaller companies suitable for location in smaller communities.
Government intervention in the private sector has helped to bring about the drift toward larger companies at the expense of the individual, the small businessman; and no doubt only government intervention can bring about a change of direction in this area by providing the incentives necessary to encourage small operations to come into existence and remain afloat.
It is a pleasure to rise and to speak on behalf of the people of Victoria-Haliburton and to represent them here at Queen’s Park. Thank you.
Hon. Mr. Bennett: I have the pleasure of rising to support the excellent address of Her Honour, the Lieutenant Governor. As the member for the constituency of Ottawa South and the Minister of Industry and Tourism, I feel it is most important to address the Legislature at what I consider to be a very crucial and critical time in the history not only of Ontario but indeed of Canada.
Before I get into my full remarks, I want to recognize an accomplishment by an Ottawa firm that in recent days presented its best foot forward in the Oscar awards and that is the firm of Crawley Films from Ottawa, and to recognize that the feature length documentary they produced, “The Man Who Skied Down Everest,” was awarded the Academy Award for a feature film.
I want to recognize the fact that the Ministry of Industry and Tourism, realizing that this particular movie was in the competition for an Academy Award, sponsored, along with the firm, a preview of the film prior to the competition in an effort to make sure that Ontario and Canada’s film producer and the feature film had been viewed by those people that would have some say in the award-winning decision.
I want to congratulate Crawley Films of Ottawa and Mr. and Mrs. Crawley for their fine effort in representing the film industry and in the success of this particular movie. I might also say to the members of the House, that I hope the opportunity will come early in the month of May for Crawley Films to have a showing of the film at Ontario Place for the members of the Legislature and other invited guests so that we can all witness this fine production by a Canadian firm.
Mr. Reid: Cocktails are on the minister.
Hon. Mr. Bennett: Maybe we can get the Liberal Party in Ottawa to supply that portion of the operation.
Mr. Reid: We just supply the judges.
Hon. Mr. Bennett: I’m going to make some very quick comments on areas that I’m reporting for as the Minister of Industry and Tourism. I want to recognize the fact, first of all, that it’s very simple and easy to sit back and criticize some of the problems that we face in the business community today. We listen to the discussion and the comments continuously about the imbalance of payments that we in Canada have as it relates to other countries of the world. One recognizes the fact that those imbalances are here for a multitude of reasons. I know some will say that it’s the auto industry that is responsible. Others will look at other areas of a responsibility and say that it has been caused because governments have not invested sufficient funds.
While we’re in the process, both federally and provincially, of analysing the impact of these imbalances to try to find some solutions to them, I say honestly and fairly to the House that federally and provincially we discussed them yesterday with the Minister of Industry, Trade and Commerce from Ottawa in the hope that we will eventually find some corrective measures that can be taken. In the auto industry the discussions have been going on for some time. The Americans have felt that they have been taking the short end of the stick and the Canadians also believe that they have the short end of the stick so far as production is concerned.
We have, as a province, been invited by the Minister of Industry, Trade and Commerce to participate in a review programme that they are presently going through on the autopact to see whether some changes should be made at this time; and if they are to be made, what they will do in complementing the industry in our country.
Mr. Samis: It wasn’t me; it was the member for Niagara Falls (Mr. Kerrio).
Hon. Mr. Bennett: I heard that comment that the Americans might give it to us again. It was 11 years ago that we got into the autopact. We believed it was in the best interests of the industry of Canada, and indeed of North America. I would find it very difficult, in looking at the situation, to say that if we had not been in the autopact the conditions would have been a great deal worse than they are today. We can continue to try to press our case, both provincially and federally, in an effort to find a greater opportunity for parts manufacturing in the Province of Ontario and the further assembling of cars in this country. I believe it’s going to come through hard, tough negotiations; and as to whether we shall see those in the year of 1916, with the US presidential election pending, is a giant question mark.
Mr. Wildman: We have lots to lose.
Hon. Mr. Bennett: We might have a lot to lose in the autopact arrangement, but let me assure the member that not all of it lies with the government of Canada, there must also be a degree of co-operation and interest in opening up the pact by our American colleagues.
Mr. Sands: Tell Vance Hartke that.
Hon. Mr. Bennett: Let me say that Mr. Hartke’s remarks have created some interest. But if you were to follow the press releases, you’ll find that most of the press that is being produced is here in Canada. The impression he’s making in the United States in the American press is very insignificant.
Mr. Samis: He hasn’t changed his tune though.
Mr. Kerrio: He has lots of support over there from unions.
Hon. Mr. Bennett: I want to touch on two or three areas of the ministry. I recall at the time of my estimates the member for London Centre (Mr. Peterson) made some remarks on trade missions that our ministry has had in operation for some 13 or 14 years. I recall one of the remarks at the time by the member was that he considered them big drunks. I say to the member, an importer of electronics, that he should not try to make people believe that the missions have not produced positive results for our province.
The missions go out and abroad, in this country and the world, with the ministry paying the economy air fare for the participants, and in some cases, I might say, we’re fortunate there are a number of participants who look after their entire financing of the trip. The ministry becomes the catalyst of the operation in making sure that at the other end there are appointments and arrangements for them.
They have produced some very positive, concrete results for our province and we shall continue to send trade missions throughout the world. There have been many success stories as a result of missions, and I invite members of the House to look at some of the reports that have appeared in the various journals relating to the business community.
I want to clearly indicate that trade in this world has changed considerably and that programmes must be redesigned to accommodate the new direction. The Speech from the Throne indicated that, as a ministry and as a government, we are now going to start to put together a turnkey operation in the marketplaces of the world.
There are a number of countries that are building very sophisticated plants, people who are into educational and hospital systems and are looking for expertise and technology that we happen to have in the people and the industries in Ontario; and I would have to expand that to say other industries and companies across Canada.
Mr. Wildman: Lots of people in the hospitals are losing their jobs.
Hon. Mr. Bennett: In this next year, we shall put together these selected teams; and while we do not have all of the opportunities that exist in some countries where governments can indicate clearly which company will participate in a particular consortium, we hope that with the federal and the provincial ministers we will be able to convince companies that a Canadian firm, or a consortium of Canadians, will be better off in the marketplace than several competing for the same business.
One of the particular cases we are working on at this very moment, which I hope will produce positive results for a consortium here in Ontario and in Canada, happens to be in Caracas, Venezuela. We are participating, through the Urban Transportation Development Corp., in a bid for a quarter-billion-dollar subway system in that community. Both federally and provincially, we have worked with industries in Ontario and Quebec -- indeed, there will be industries from other province of Canada -- in trying to place a bid on behalf of the industry of Canada on that particular project. We shall continue to follow up that type of bidding in that country and in that marketplace at this time.
Someone said he believed we should look more closely at our foreign operations. The ministry has 5 offices in foreign countries of the world, and I want to indicate clearly that sometimes I have reservations as to the potential that they can develop for us, whether they are properly located in the year of 1976, whether some of them shouldn’t be relocated in other parts of the world, or whether some offices should be closed completely.
Hon. Mr. Bennett: I hear the provincial secretary for --
Mr. Reid: He wants an appointment to one of those foreign places. Paris?
Hon. Mr. Bennett: Let’s not get into that one tonight. What we are looking at is the opportunity of perhaps realigning some of the foreign office operations of the Province of Ontario. In recent weeks, I have had some very lengthy discussions with the Minister of Industry, Trade and Commerce in Ottawa in the light of the fact that the federal government believes there are too many provinces represented in the foreign field; that them is confusion and interference being run because there are eight or nine provinces represented overseas; and that foreign customers are never quite able to keep track of whether it’s Canada, Ontario or Quebec, because they run them all into one as Canada.
I am willing to admit to Mr. Jamieson and others that there has been and definitely is confusion in the foreign market as a result of Ontario, Alberta, Quebec and other provinces participating. And I have asked the minister and his colleague, the Minister of External Affairs, to see if it is not possible that facilities could be made available to Ontario and other provinces to be boated in the federal government offices in the various countries of the world where the province of its choice wishes to be located. I hope I will have the opportunity in the next short period of time of reporting conclusively to the House that we are able to enter into some special arrangements with the federal Minister of Industry, Trade and Commerce and the Minister of External Affairs.
I realize there will be some problems in the eyes of others that we will lose our complete identity in certain parts of the world. I want to assure the House that I do not think we will lose our identity. But I think it’s essential at this time that we try to find ways of cutting down the expenses of doing business on behalf of Ontario and Canada.
I think we are going to have to look more closely at some of the trade shows. In other countries of the world, trade shows have become an extremely important part in industrial expansion and development of commercial goods. I do not believe that we, in Ontario, indeed we in Canada, have made the best possible use of all of the foreign trade shows that exist in the European countries.
We are looking at, particularly in France, rather than establishing an office on behalf of the government of Ontario, the opportunity of locating a desk at the Canadian Embassy and Trade Council in Paris. Indeed, we are looking at the possibilities of using their trade shows to a greater extent than we have in the past.
It’s great to talk about consumer goods if they can find a place in the foreign market -- that is providing that Canadian manufacturers, both in this province and in other provinces, are going to spend some time appointing the right agents and are prepared to put up a great deal of money in the promotion, advertisement and advancement of those products. In our recent assessment, we believe it can be accomplished to a great extent, with great success, through trade shows. So we shall be pursuing that particular area.
May I also speak at this time, with regard to domestic goods going into a commercial market in foreign countries. There are a number of problems that confront Canadian manufacturers and I suppose we could say manufacturers of other countries of the world as well. More and more countries are putting up non-tariff barriers to eliminate or exclude producers from other countries in a particular market.
So we’re going to have to become much more alert and aware of other opportunities we believe are present and available for us in various countries of the world. We’re looking now at the possibility of our officers in foreign fields becoming more direct in the line of trying to relocate industries from those counties in the Province of Ontario.
I hope that in the next short period of time, with some of the films that we have produced -- and we have produced them in five different languages of the world -- we’ll be able to go out and around to the various marketplaces and to bankers and industrialists, whether it be in Germany, France, England or any of the other countries, to indicate clearly by feature films what Ontario has to offer in the various communities across our province.
I was indicating earlier this evening, to several members of the House, that in recent days we have had a decision from the foreign investment review agency in Ottawa. I’m sure most in the House realize that the Ministry of Industry and Tourism is responsible for reviewing all applications made to the bureau programme in Ottawa. Forty per cent of the cases examined since inception have been referred to this province for a decision or a position. I can only clearly indicate that within my ministry there are six people employed to do a constant review of applications as to whether the takeover by a foreign company really has a long-range benefit to the economy of Ontario; and in the long run the economy of Canada.
In Ontario’s case, 74 of the takeovers have been allowed. We believe they will likely produce results for us. Nine have been disallowed, which is 11 per cent of the applications, and 40 cases are pending. There have been a number of cases withdrawn as a result of first hand indications that there would be some opposition at one or two of the political levels.
We have asked Mr. Jamieson, through his ministry in Ottawa, to find out if there is not a faster way of processing some of the fairer applications. Members of this House have complained to me that in the case of certain firms being taken over in their communities, the period of time taken by federal agencies, and I suppose by the provincial agency, has been too long.
We have now come to a decision, as of yesterday, that we hope we can cut the time of the process which averages out at about 77 days for each and every application. We hope on certain selected applications, where the employment is 100 or less, the value is $200,000 or less, to be able to process to completion within a 10-day period.
It might be an opportune time to indicate to those members who have an interest in the White Corp. takeover of Westinghouse Canada Ltd., that it was announced in the federal House today by the Minister of Industry, Trade and Commerce that the White takeover of Westinghouse has been disallowed for the second time. That leaves the case completely open to Westinghouse to make its decision as to which step it wishes to take next in the disposal of its Canadian assets. I only quickly add that in my personal opinion I think the right decision was made. We will wait to see, with the union having an interest in it, and the Canadian interests having an interest in this Westinghouse asset, what will transpire over the next short period of time.
About a year ago we implemented in the equipped a bus and put some experts on board, along with a great deal of equipment. We also hired two students from Mohawk Community College. Their job has been to go throughout this province to conduct on-site inspections and make recommendations as to the facilities that they’re inspecting when they relate directly to either the consumption of electrical power or to heating of a particular office or factory.
Results have been pleasing, most rewarding, from industry after industry and community after community that they have visited. In a year they have covered 121 plants and they have analysed the heat loss and the overuse of electrical power. Projections would indicate that if the recommendations as put forward under the energy management programme were to be implemented by the industries it would have a potential saving of 18.8 per cent, or something in excess of $5 million.
I apologize to members of the House, those who have asked us to send the bus into their particular communities. We will try to put in the second unit if it’s within financial reason for the ministry and also if we can find the right personnel to run it. It will work on a constant basis throughout this province and I sincerely hope we’ll find that its continuation will be pleasing, rewarding and will return financial dividends to the industries examined.
We’ve also produced for the energy management programme a brochure which has received great acceptance across the province, and of recent days the Baiting Council of Canada has requested of our ministry sufficient copies so that they can distribute them to each and every bakery that is a member of their association from coast to coast in this country. I say again, this programme is important and will continue.
On May 4, 5 and 6 of this year in the city of Toronto we shall be holding the Manufacturing Opportunity Show. The show was last held in 1972 and it brings together a great number of companies in this province that are manufacturing goods or have the capability of manufacturing particular types of goods and are now looking for related industries that wish to purchase goods along their particular lines.
I think one of the more important areas of the Manufacturing Opportunity Show is for those industries now importing goods to this country which are unable, in their opinion, to find a supply of goods or a manufacturer in Ontario or Canada. They will ministry an energy management programme to assist industry across the province. We now have the opportunity to display the particular part or parts they are importing to see whether they can locate a Canadian or Ontario manufacturer to supply their needs.
In the venture this year at the Manufacturing Opportunity Show will be a corner of the building set aside to encourage and to give an opportunity to inventors to display their wares and their inventions. That particular area of the show, amazingly enough, has drawn a tremendous amount of interest and the capacity of the show, both for the inventors and in the regular exhibit, has now been exhausted. The show, I think, can be termed a tremendous success.
The 1972 exhibition reported that over $50 million in new business was generated as a result of the show. I have no doubt that the success story will be as great for this year.
In 1975 the ministry went through the process of putting together 13 industrial sector analyses for the Province of Ontario, looking at industries section by section. I believe that the sector analyses will produce for this province a better understanding of the industries that we should be moving in to protect through our tariff negotiations. It will afford Ontario a better position in putting its positive points to the federal government in the relationship to the GATT negotiations that the federal government will be responsible for.
Both federally and provincially, we have gone about making decisions on tariff regulations, cutting tariffs, putting us into a free-trade position without really truly knowing the industries that we in Ontario and Canada should be putting up a very strong defence for with -- I hate to use the word protections with sufficient tariffs to make that industry continue to survive in the Province of Ontario.
A number of industries over the years, it has been said by federal and provincial people, should be let go because their economic impact on the community wasn’t that great. Then we came to realize that some way down the road we had missed out by allowing the industry to slip through our fingers because when the product became a requirement or in a crisis time it wasn’t available to us.
I think back to a situation which was decided on about four years ago, that the nylon cord industry in Canada should be allowed to drift to the United States and did. In 1974 when tire production was at its peak nylon cord wasn’t available to Canadian manufacturers and some difficulties happened to arise.
Those are the areas which, through the sector analysis, we hope we will be able to fend off. Copies of the sector analysis have received wide circulation. It is not a definite position of government, it is an opportunity for industry and the associations across this province to analyse and report back to government. I hope eventually that we will be able to draw some very positive conclusions, not only based on the bureaucracy that happens to serve the government but those that work in the private sector as well.
Tourism division: As many in this House will remember, it was reorganized into its present situation in 1973. It brought research, development and marketing into a single co-ordinated division and I think it has produced some very positive results for us. We believe we have a very sophisticated programme which sells the Province of Ontario, northern, eastern and central Ontario, not only to people of our own province and of our own country but in other markets of the world.
We will continue, of course, with our information centres throughout the province, with the 10 permanent ones we have and the 27 seasonal reception centres which have produced very positive and informative results for our people. Ontario has had good fortune in that while some provinces in 1975 lost some of their capacity and some of their tourist trade we were able to continue to improve and expand with an 11 per cent increase in the year 1975.
For every dollar that we spend in the field of promoting tourism in the Province of Ontario our returns statistically are $260.
Mr. Reid: Does that include Minaki?
Hon. Mr. Bennett: I shall come to that one.
Mr. Reid: I thought you might.
Mr. Laughren: How about Maple Mountain?
Hon. Mr. Bennett: I shall come to that one. I don’t think we will have to worry about Maple Mountain. I think it has been well taken care of by some legal actions which satisfy me as the minister, let me assure the member.
The expenditure by Quebec -- for every dollar it spends in the field of tourism its return has been $147; by the federal government, for each dollar it has spent in the field of promoting tourism, the return has been $175. So Ontario’s programme has been very effective and has produced results for us.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. I wonder if this would be an appropriate place for the hon. member to move the adjournment of the debate?
Hon. Mr. Bennett moved the adjournment of the debate.
Motion agreed to.
Mr. Speaker: As previously announced, the member for York Centre has filed notice of dissatisfaction, understanding order 27(g), with the answer given on March 17 concerning the land freeze at the Pickering airport site. In accordance with standing order 28(a), I now deem a motion to adjourn the House to have been made. The hon. member who has expressed his dissatisfaction and an hon. minister may now speak for five minutes each. I will call on the member for York Centre.
Mr. Stong: Thank you, sir. In 1969 the Province of Ontario developed a compatible land use table which dealt with problems of aircraft noise. It was in this context that a document called “The Annex of Understanding, relating to the Proposed New Toronto International Airport at Pickering” was drawn up and agreed upon between the federal and the provincial governments in 1972. Based on that table, a minister’s order was issued which in effect froze the development of the land to existing uses. That was almost five years ago.
Immediately after the provincial election in September, 1975, the Premier (Mr. Davis) announced through the media that services essential to the development of the airport were to be withdrawn, thereby effectively cancelling the construction of that airport. Six months later, on March 17, 1976, I asked the provincial Treasurer (Mr. McKeough) when the freeze would be lifted, because in view of the announcements of the Premier, why should the government continue to cause hardships to the people of that area?
This most insensitive and oppressive situation can probably be best exemplified by the case of Mr. Albert Roberts. Mr. Roberts is a 67-year-old retired gentleman living in rented premises on Avenue Rd. in Toronto. He bought 10 acres of land in Markham in 1962 using his entire life savings. His intention was to build a retirement home for him and his wife. The story of the treatment of Albert Roberts by this government as a result of its freeze is a sad one. If it doesn’t bring tears to your eyes it surely does to his when he recounts his tale.
His property is in Markham and is located almost two concessions away from where the airport was proposed. He made an application to the planning committee on Aug. 3, 1972, requesting an amendment to the minister’s order which froze his vacant land so that he could be permitted to build his retirement home. It was refused. Intervention was eventually made after all legal remedies were exhausted with the then Treasurer of Ontario either to purchase the property or to allow Mr. Roberts to build.
Both requests were refused by letter dated Oct. 24, 1973, over the signature of Donald Irvine, the then parliamentary assistant to the Treasurer, but only until Mr. Roberts could, and I quote, “prove that the rejection had caused him undue hardship.” What kind of political games is this government playing -- refusing a request, but in the same breath holding out as a carrot the very reason for the request in the first place, namely, undue hardship.
Again, on April 10, 1974, after efforts were made through his ministry for relief, the Minister of Housing (Mr. Handleman) refused. Reams of paper passed between the ministry and Mr. Roberts until Sept. 16, 1975, with Mr. Roberts asking and even pleading for help, on his own and through his then provincial member, Mr. Donald Deacon. But on each occasion he was put off by the ministry.
Then by letter dated Sept. 16, 1975, from the Premier’s office, signed Bill Davis, Mr. Roberts received the final put-down. Not three days later the government had reversed its stand on the airport, but six months later again, on March 17, 1976, in answer to my question on the subject, the Treasurer said: “This matter is under consideration by the government.”
Mr. Speaker, the freeze around the aborted Pickering site has been under consideration by this government for almost five years. When is it going to quit considering and do something? Six months ago this government announced the effective cancellation of that airport, so why hasn’t the freeze been lifted? Why hasn’t some relief been given to the people hurting the most?
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: Mr. Speaker, the answer to the hon. member’s question by the hon. Treasurer was in fact, I suppose, the only answer that could be given to him, and that is that the matter is under consideration by the government. It is a question of policy. As to what that policy will be, it will be duly announced in this Legislature and for the hon. member to realize. The Treasurer really cannot give any other answer, nor can I as the Minister of Housing, until that policy is established by the government.
I think it is fair to say to the hon. member, though, to suggest as he has that the question of the land freeze has been under consideration by this government for five years is not correct. It is true the freeze was put on in 1972, but it was in September of 1975 that the decision was made not to provide services to that particular site as it related to the airport. So the question of whether the land freeze will be removed or not has only been under consideration, if we wish to use that terminology, since September, 1975. Prior to then, in accordance with the agreement we had entered into with the federal government, the land freeze remained in place under the considerations that that site would probably be the airport that was being proposed by the federal government.
At the present time, as I think the hon. member knows and other members of this House know, the Minister of Transportation and Communications (Mr. Snow) has been in discussions with the Minister of Transport in the federal government discussing what the future holds as far as that total area is concerned, because the federal government still has control over the land as it relates to any use for an airports. As far as the government is concerned at this stage, we want to conclude the discussion that are going on between the Minister of Transportation and Communications and the federal government, and at that line a definite position will be taken by this government. We have not removed the freeze at this date -- that’s quite correct -- and when those discussions are complete, then there will be an announcement made as to the future of the land freeze in the area of the Pickering airport.
Mr. Speaker: I deem the motion to adjourn to have been carried.
The House adjourned at 10:37 p.m.