The House met at 10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker: Statements by the ministry.
PICKERING NUCLEAR GENERATING STATION
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: I should like to report to the House that unit No. 4 at Ontario Hydro’s Pickering nuclear generating station has been shut down due to a failure in the end windings of the generator.
Mr. Nixon: Is that the one you just got fixed?
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Let me get my breath.
Mr. Nixon: You are only 28.
Mr. Reid: There is an epidemic going on.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: I am pushing 30.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: I should stress that this failure is in the conventional or nonnuclear section of the unit.
This unit had been returned to service on March 25 after 10 months of shutdown to repair pressure tubes in the reactor and to repair the generator. Yesterday evening it was discovered that a small threading tool had been inadvertently left in the coil of the generator and this has resulted in a failure of the machine.
Mr. Singer: That’s always good.
Mr. Moffat: A cigarette lighter.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: It must have been a surgical clamp.
Mr. Nixon: The minister must have visited there again.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. Let’s get on with the statement now.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: It is anticipated that the unit will be out of service for several months.
I might remind the House that, despite the problem Ontario Hydro has experienced with this unit, the Pickering station during 1975 held a production record of 62 per cent of capacity for the entire year and met 16 per cent of the total demand for power for Ontario during the period 1973 to 1975. This means that, based on the current value of coal imported from the United States, the station has saved the province some $500 million.
Mr. Reid: It is not working very well either.
POINT OF ORDER
Mr. Nixon: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker, just before we begin oral questions, have you responded to the letter from the photo editor of the Toronto Star complaining of the unnecessary restrictions on still photographers now that we have opened up this chamber to the television cameras?
Mr. Speaker: We have had a meeting with the hon. gentleman and I think everything has been resolved or is in the process of being resolved, yes.
Mr. Nixon: Mr. Speaker, to the point of order, is the resolution going to remove some of those restrictions so that the still photographers can have access to the chambers?
Mr. Speaker: There was a misunderstanding on that, I might say.
Mr. Nixon: Thank you.
Mr. Renwick: What did you find out from that?
Mr. Lewis: A misunderstanding on whose part?
Mr. Speaker: On the part of the gentleman from the Toronto Star.
Mr. Renwick: Can they take pictures or not?
Mr. Lewis: It happens to the Star every time; they never get anything straight.
Mr. Speaker: Oral questions. The hon. Leader of the Opposition.
DENTAL CARE COVERAGE
Mr. Lewis: May I ask a question first, Mr. Speaker, of the acting Minister of Health: Can the minister endeavour to explain exactly what is intended on the part of the ministry in the cutting of costs associated with dental care for those who are recipients of social allowances and for those whose dental care is paid for via OHIP in hospital? Without trying to make an argument for what was revealed here yesterday on the take of some oral surgeons, what does the ministry expect to save by cutting back dental care for those on social allowances?
Hon. B. Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, the question of the dental care programme for those on social allowances does not fall within the Ministry of Health, as a matter of fact.
However, we have been discussing with the Ontario Dental Association the problems inherent in the OHIP coverage of certain dental procedures and certain abuses which have been taking place under that programme. The ODA has agreed with us that certain modifications of the regulations must occur; and those regulations will be promulgated rather shortly as a matter of fact.
Really, what we are looking at is the problem of dental extraction of post-eruptive teeth in hospitals, which the programme was really never intended to cover in the first place but which it has, unfortunately, been covering because of certain practices.
Mr. Lewis: By way of supplementary: Does the ministry expect to achieve a significant saving and can the minister put a dollar amount to that, as she has put to so many other of the health programmes? What kind of saving are we talking of, for Ontario?
Hon. B. Stephenson: About two-thirds of the total cost of providing dental services under OHIP.
Mr. Lewis: Which is?
Hon. B. Stephenson: I can’t give the hon. member the exact figure right at the moment. I will get it for him.
Mr. Nixon: A supplementary: Is it the intention that the regulations will reduce the services which may be rendered by dentists or oral surgeons, or is it just an effort to control the amount of service?
Hon. B. Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, it’s an attempt to control potential abuse of the programme. It’s not an attempt to decrease the kind of service which is provided by dental or oral surgeons.
Mr. Lewis: By way of supplementary: The implication that flows from that, if the ministry will save fully two-thirds of the cost, is that the abuse of the programme was at a level of 66 per cent -- which says something about OHIP and its competence -- but it also suggests that the dentists, not just the oral surgeons but dentists generally, were engaged in a scale of abuse which is hard to believe. Surely the minister didn’t mean it?
Hon. B. Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, I would doubt that any specific dentist has been involved in any tremendous abuse of the system but, overall, a very large number of people have had multiple teeth extracted under the OHIP programme which the programme was not intended to cover. It has been a matter of discussion between the Ministry of Health and the Ontario Dental Association for the past several months that this potential difficulty should be removed.
Mr. Speaker: Any further questions?
Mr. Nixon: Will you permit a further supplementary?
Mr. Speaker: Yes.
Mr. Nixon: Will the minister look for the abuse beginning with those oral surgeons who are billing at the rate of over $100,00 a year?
Hon. B. Stephenson: Yes, Mr. Speaker. I promised yesterday that I would do that and I shall do so; we have begun today.
Ms. Bryden: A supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Can the minister assure us, since she is discussing it with the Minister of Community and Social Services (‘Mr. Taylor), that this correction of abuses, or whatever she calls it, will not mean less dental care for welfare recipients who may have trouble even chewing their bologna?
Hon. B. Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is again confusing two matters, which are entirely separate. The matter of providing dental services under community welfare projects and that sort of thing is a matter of concern for the Minister of Community and Social Services. We have not intended in any way to decrease the services which are necessary for people in the dental area.
Mr. Speaker: Any further questions? The Leader of the Opposition.
Mr. Lewis: Perhaps, having dealt with the minister in charge of multiple teeth, whatever that is --
Mr. B. Newman: And bologna.
Mr. Lewis: -- we can go to her colleague, the hooded fang on her right, and see whether we can extract from him some information -- which would be a joy.
Can I ask the Minister of Community and Social Services if he intends actually to decrease the dental services provided to those on social allowance as indeed the Ontario Dental Association asserts will occur under the ministry’s programme?
An hon. member: If they have fewer teeth, they eat less --
Hon. Mr. Taylor: In response to the Leader of the Opposition, he may or he may not know --
Mr. MacDonald: That’s a good answer. Stop right there.
Hon. Mr. Taylor: -- that insofar as dental service to those receiving general welfare assistance is concerned, this is provided through contracts between municipalities and the dental associations.
Mr. Wildman: It’s like pulling teeth.
Mr. Swart: Supplementary: Is the minister aware that in the Niagara region the cutback in funds for dental care for this year is from $330,000 to $50,000 because of the limitations to social services? Does he think this is good for the health of the welfare children and that in the long run it’s going to save money?
Hon. Mr. Taylor: Again, in response to that, the region determines the range of services that will be provided to welfare recipients. By that, I’m talking about the general welfare recipients. I gather they had quite an elaborate agreement in that region. The region has now determined that its priorities apparently don’t dictate that the same range and level of service be extended. That will be up to the region.
Mr. Cassidy: It is your heavy hand that has done that.
Mrs. Campbell: Supplementary: In view of the fact that Metro has stated that it is likely to have to cut its $67,000-dental programme by reason of the financial responsibilities which the minister has put upon them, could he comment as to his responsibility for this cutback in service?
Hon. Mr. Taylor: Certainly, Mr. Speaker. I’ll deny that the cutback in service is as a result of the restraint programme of this province and my ministry.
Mrs. Campbell: Deny it?
Mr. Bain: Then you’ll deny anything.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Hon. Mr. Taylor: If the member wants a further explanation -- and I don’t wish to be unduly provocative or extended in my answer --
Mr. Cassidy: You are being provocative and it is just rubbish.
Hon. Mr. Taylor: -- may I say that what will determine the type of agreement is the approach that any municipality may take in terms of the range of services. They may say: “If we’re going to put a crown on, it should not extend to the acrylic type of crown.” There may be a limitation on the types of dental work for adults. There are different ways of handling it. It will be up to the municipalities.
Mr. Cassidy: They are poor kids; let their teeth rot.
CARE FOR MENTALLY RETARDED
Mr. Lewis: I have another question of the Minister of Community and Social Services. Is the minister aware that the mental retardation co-ordinating committee of Metropolitan Toronto wrote his ministry toward the end of February pointing out that the 5.5 per cent ceiling imposed on the Children’s Institution Act and the Homes for Retarded Persons Act would result, effectively, in removing from placement a great many young children who might be placed by private families in the community, that they have not yet received a reply and that it has raised within his ministry many discussions and issues, both destructive and bizarre? Does he understand that’s going on because of the 5.5 per cent?
Hon. Mr. Taylor: No, that’s the conclusion the Leader of the Opposition draws from some correspondence. It’s not the conclusion that I would draw. If they haven’t received a reply yet, it’s in the mail -- and I’m sure the Leader of the Opposition will have a copy of that.
Mr. Renwick: Send us a copy.
Mr. Lewis: By way of supplementary: Perhaps the minister could read or look at the memo which was sent by Alan Gordon, his assistant deputy minister for development resources, to Lloyd Jackson, the director of the mental retardation community resources branch, with a copy to the other mental retardation people in his ministry, indicating the issues that were raised by this question. The memo pointed out -- and I ask the minister about this:
“Because of the financial constraints, Children’s Aid Societies are reducing their number of placements, resulting in a number of vacant beds which cannot be filled. The ministry may want to force the freeze and closure --”
Mr. Reid: Is there a question here, Mr. Speaker?
Mr. Lewis: Yes. “The ministry may want to force the freeze and closure of these residences, and thus we should not increase our -- ”
Mr. Singer: Is that a speech or a question?
Mr. Lewis: To continue: “ -- funding through the Homes for the Retarded Act.” There are several other possibilities within his ministry. Does he understand --
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. I think the question is inherent.
Mr. Singer: Question.
Mr. Lewis: Does the minister understand how destructive this all is in terms of his guidelines?
Hon. Mr. Taylor: I don’t accept that conclusion at all.
Mr. Shore: A supplementary: I understand this to be a semi-myth or a red herring; as I understand it, the 5.5 per cent is really not the true figure. Why can the minister not clarify to this House and to this province that any statutory requirements are going to be met? Why leave people dangling like this? I would like to hear the minister’s comments on that.
Hon. Mr. Taylor: Well, sure --
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. The question had to do with the mental retardation services in Metro and it seems to me we are getting back to the other set.
Mr. Reid: You let the Leader of the Opposition go on for almost five minutes without asking a question. What kind of rules have we got here?
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. There was a question inherent in what the hon. Leader of the Opposition said.
Mr. Singer: It was inherent in his speech.
Mr. Speaker: Does the Leader of the opposition have further questions?
Mr. Lewis: No.
Mr. Speaker: Questions from the member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk?
PICKERING NUCLEAR GENERATING STATION
Mr. Nixon: Mr. Speaker, I would like to direct a question to the Minister of Energy following his statement this morning. Since he has told us that the Pickering reactors have saved us $500 million now, wouldn’t he have felt that it would have been useful -- and I now ask him -- to tell us what is the cost of the further repair of unit No. 4, since somebody left a screwdriver in the coils when it was started up for the first time after having been shut down for many months to repair cracked tubes?
Mr. Singer: Ten months, he said.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: They weren’t cracked tubes, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Nixon: How much is this new repair going to cost?
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: As the hon. member knows, they were not cracked tubes; there was a problem with the rolling joints, the joining up of the various parts of the tubes for the heavy water.
Mr. Shore: How would you know?
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: The problem was just discovered last night. There is not yet an estimate of the cost of repairs. It is covered to a certain extent, I understand, by insurance but if the hon member wants to let me take that as notice, when there is an estimate and we know the extent of the insurance coverage, I will give him a complete answer.
Mr. Nixon: A supplementary: It would surely be easy to calculate that if it’s going to be shut down four months, even without the cost of repair, this is going to be a tremendous loss to the energy system of the province.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: I am sorry, Mr. Speaker, I thought the hon. member was talking about just the cost of repairs. There again, rather than giving an estimate off the top of my head, I would sooner give an exact one.
Mr. Nixon: That will be fine.
Mr. Germa: Mr. Speaker, could I ask the minister if these repairs were carried out by private contract or by Hydro work forces?
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: I will take that as notice as well, Mr. Speaker. I want to make clear that my purpose in making this statement this morning was to allay the possibility of unsubstantiated rumours beginning in that area. I want to make it very clear that it is the non-nuclear part of the reactor we are talking about. I will take that as notice and, in answering the question put by the member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk, I will include that as well.
Mr. Germa: Mr. Speaker, if the minister does find out that these repairs were done by outside contract, is it not reasonable to assume that the contractor should be responsible for the cost of any further repairs?
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, again the member is getting into a hypothetical situation. I mentioned that it is my understanding that there is insurance coverage, probably with a deductible clause, but to what extent I am not sure. I think, again, rather than trying to deal with it piecemeal, I will, in answering the member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk’s specific questions on cost, include the member’s concerns as to whether it was outside repair men or employees of Hydro, in the overall answer.
Mr. Bounsall: A supplementary?
Mr. Speaker: All right, a final supplementary.
Mr. Bounsall: Just a brief one to the minister on the close-down time of the unit at the station. Does this mean that the J. Clark Keith station in Windsor will continue to operate in order to provide the power lost?
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: No, Mr. Speaker, because we are, of course, entering a period of the year when the demand for electricity declines substantially. I suppose if this had occurred in, let’s say December or January when we are at our peak consumption, that would have to be considered; but recognizing the period of year we are coming into the mothballing of J. Clark Keith will not be delayed past May.
Mr. Nixon: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the acting Minister of Health. From her statements, mostly made outside this House, can we now come to the conclusion that the four hospitals that were to be closed under the previous policy will now not be closed in the sense of being locked and boarded up, as was inherent in the statement made by the Minister of Health? May we convey the information to those people concerned directly, that the buildings will continue to be in operation in some useful capacity and, in fact, will not be closed?
Hon. B. Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, since I do not know the precise words which the Minister of Health used on each of the occasions --
Mr. Nixon: He said they would be closed.
Hon. B. Stephenson: -- I presume that his statement inferred that the institutions would cease to be used as active treatment general hospitals. I have said that we are considering the proposals and the briefs which those four institutions have presented to us, and that in fact we shall be announcing the decisions regarding this within the next few days.
Mr. Reid: It’s 1984 already.
Mr. Nixon: Supplementary: Since there was an implication that they would be closed -- the statement was clear, and I’m sure the minister must have read at least his formal statement -- would it be fair for us to communicate with those people directly concerned in my constituency and at Doctors Hospital, at Clinton, and in Durham, that in fact the facilities will continue to operate in some capacity? Can the minister assure us there is no possibility that the buildings will be locked and boarded up?
Mr. Shore: Claire Hoy can.
Hon. B. Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, I would again say that it would be entirely fair to communicate to the people involved in those institutions that we are examining their proposals and their briefs, and the decisions regarding the institutions will be announced to this House.
Mr. Lewis: Supplementary: I take it that if the institutions are transformed in nature, as now seems to be emerging, if that should happen, I assume that accompanying the minister’s statement will be the revised estimates of cost savings from what was originally announced to what will now occur.
Hon. B. Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, I would hope that we will be able to provide those figures at the time the decision is made.
Mr. Speaker: A supplementary; the member for Grey-Bruce.
Mr. Sargent: At the last meeting we had in the same vein, the minister had a list of 24 hospitals that were going to be closed. The Premier (Mr. Davis) doesn’t know this. Will she tell him that’s going to happen?
Mr. Nixon: Did the Premier tell the minister that it is not?
Hon. B. Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, might I say that I have never seen the list of 24 hospitals. I do not possess one. It was stated by the Minister of Health (Mr. F. S. Miller) that there was such a list. I have never seen it.
Mr. Shore: It’s in the shredder.
Mr. Sargent: Who knows about it?
Mr. Nixon: A question of the Solicitor General: Did he not state, when he was questioned about the tragic chase in Peel county that resulted in the death of seven young people, that the policeman was not operating at anything over legal speeds? If that is so, how can he justify the fact that at the inquest the policeman said he was travelling at speeds up to 100 miles an hour and not able to catch the pursued?
Hon. Mr. MacBeth: Mr. Speaker, I made a statement somewhat similar to that. I indicated that during the time they were in certain speed zones in the town and immediately outside the town, where the speed limit wasn’t the full highway speed limit, that they had not been going over the posted speeds. I did say that, and that was the information I received at the time from an OPP report, parts of which I read to the press at that time.
From the evidence that has appeared to come out in the last two days at the inquest, it would appear as though that was not quite the case and there is a discrepancy there. I understand the inquest has finished, but the report of the inquest has not been made; and I would like to refrain from making any more comments on it until we do have that final report.
Mr. Nixon: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Even though the minister would like to refrain from comment, is he not aware that his statement, either in the House or at least widely reported, allayed the very serious concerns that many people had about high-speed chases, because if it had been clear at the time that a high-speed chase had resulted in this tragedy, I’m sure that the community response would have been much stronger than it was. Is the minister going to reconsider his instructions to the police having to do with guidelines in these matters?
Hon. Mr. MacBeth: Mr. Speaker, I don’t think there is any need to change the instructions that the various police forces have outside of what I said that day. I indicated that we should have instructions similar to those that the OPP and some of the metropolitan forces have, in the hands of all police constables. That is in the process of being done; there is a set of guidelines approved by the Ontario Police Commission which will go out to all forces no matter how large or small. I said that at the time and I’m sure that should still be done.
Now I’ve wandered off and forgotten what the first part of the member’s question was, sir.
Mr. Nixon: That’s good enough.
Mr. Speaker: Are there any further questions from the member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk?
Mr. Nixon: No.
Mr. Breaugh: I wonder if the minister would table a copy of that OPP report? It seems to me rather damaging since the Solicitor General did say, in his initial response to the House, that he was quoting a police report and that might raise some questions in some minds. Obviously, there is a great discrepancy between the report which he referred to in the House and the information that was presented at the inquest. Could we see a copy of that report?
Hon. Mr. MacBeth: Mr. Speaker, I’ll look that report over; I don’t have it with me this morning. I don’t believe there is any reason why I shouldn’t table that report. I’ll review it, and with that restriction I’ll be pleased to table it.
I would point out that I don’t think there is any great discrepancy from what I said the other day, which was based on an OPP report, and what has come out in the inquest, but that's the reason I want to refrain from any further comment.
Mr. Lewis: There’s a discrepancy of about 50 miles per hour.
Hon. Mr. MacBeth: Not as far as the time is concerned. The member is suggesting now there was a high-speed chase. I’m not so sure it really was what one would call a high-speed chase.
Mr. Nixon: It was over 100 miles an hour.
Mr. Speaker: Are there any further questions?
Mr. Cassidy: You guys are abusing the English language you know.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Mr. Singer: A supplementary.
Mr. Speaker: Is this a supplementary? One final supplementary from the member for Wilson Heights.
Mr. Singer: Did I understand from the minister’s reply to the member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk that mandatory instructions are coming forward from the Ontario Police Commission to all police forces in the Province of Ontario, including the OPP, including Metro, including the Halton police -- the people in the Halton police seemed a little confused about that this morning -- instructing them as to procedures in case of pursuits?
Hon. Mr. MacBeth: Yes, sir, I have asked that such guidelines should be prepared.
Mr. Singer: When will they be distributed and orders given that they will be observed?
Hon. Mr. MacBeth: I can’t answer that yet. I haven’t asked them how long it would take, nor have I suggested that it should be done in a rush manner.
Mr. Singer: The OPP have them now.
Hon. Mr. MacBeth: The OPP have guidelines and I assume that --
Ms. Gigantes: They don’t work.
Hon. Mr. MacBeth: -- they are suitable for all of the forces, but at the same time, it’s the police commission that I have asked to do this. I’m not so sure they want to adopt holus-bolus the OPP guidelines. Although, again, I guess there’s probably no reason why they wouldn’t be suitable. But I’ve asked the Ontario Police Commission to review the various guidelines that the various forces have. I’m not so sure that the Metropolitan Toronto police force guidelines are the same as those of the OPP. I don’t think they are. There may be some co-ordination required.
Mr. Speaker: Are there any further questions?
Mr. Singer: Some guidelines are better than none.
CAVAN TOWNSHIP BUILDING FREEZE
Ms. Sandeman: I have a question of the Minister of Housing. In view of the considerable financial hardship -- which I believe the minister is aware of -- that individual lot owners in Cavan township are now suffering, and in view of the fact too that the building season is now opening up, could the minister tell me when he is going to lift the building freeze on Cavan township?
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: Mr. Speaker, I am well aware of the problem to which the hon. member refers. We have discussed it informally and in letter form. The situation is that we have asked Cavan township to prepare zoning bylaws. They are in the process of doing that. I hesitate to remove the zoning order that I have on that township until such time as we get, from the township, a general idea of what direction they want to go within their development.
We are concerned about the scattered sort of development that will take place on individual lots and severances, which I think is very well in keeping with much of the attitude reflected by your own caucus as it relates to planning.
Mr. Shore: I have a question of the acting Minister of Health. Since the Victoria Hospital in London has pointed out gross errors in the figures and the corroborating criteria used by the ministry as reasons for its $1.9 million cut at the hospital there, is the minister reviewing his earlier decision and when will this final decision be announced? Would the minister advise me why it has taken two or three days after the request was put by administrators in London to get the information that the senior officials of the ministry were not able to tell them and know where they got it? Could the minister advise on that?
Hon. B. Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, in answer to the last question -- no, I can’t, but I’ll find out. In answer to the first question, the ministry is actively reviewing all of the proposals and the information which is being submitted by the various institutions. We will be discussing with those institutions the resolution of the differences.
Mr. Shore: A supplementary: With the greatest respect, I haven’t had an answer to that particular question as far as the gross errors aspect is concerned. Would the minister assure this House that when the officials find that information she will present it to this House? Why would the officials allow the hospitals to have to go under the conditions they are now? Why would the ministry not bring into its confidence top senior administrative people, who are right in the front lines of hospital administration, in establishing these criteria?
Hon. B. Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, I am not at all sure that that has happened but I shall most certainly investigate to assure the hon. member for London North.
Mr. Shore: Would you report back?
Hon. B. Stephenson: I shall attempt to find out the information.
POLICE USE OF PSYCHIATRIC PATIENTS’ FILES
Mr. Breaugh: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Solicitor General. On what grounds were the Metro Toronto police able to get a court order to review the confidential files of psychiatric patients at Toronto Western Hospital?
Hon. Mr. MacBeth: Mr. Speaker, I noticed in the Toronto papers the other day that the doctor there was complaining that police had asked for these files. I don’t know whether or not they had any warrant or any authority to view them. I can get a report on it if the member wishes me to do so. I know nothing but what was in the paper. If they had proper authority to do so then, of course, it is in order; but if they didn’t have authority, they shouldn’t have been doing it.
Mr. Breaugh: A supplementary: That’s a portion of the problem but the bigger problem is that a police force would actually review an entire set of psychiatric files, not just making an inquiry.
Mr. Speaker: Is that a question?
Mr. Breaugh: I want to know if that is acceptable precedent in Ontario, to have a police force review a complete set of files for one psychiatric hospital during the course of an investigation?
Hon. Mr. MacBeth: Mr. Speaker, I question whether those files are or are not properly available to the police; on the other hand, if they are properly available, I see no reason why the police shouldn’t make use of them.
Mr. Lewis: By way of supplementary.
Mr. Reed: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Minister of Energy.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. If the member for Halton-Burlington would just wait a moment, please, I think we will allow a supplementary.
Mr. Lewis: I would appreciate it if the minister would give us a clarification, because what he said, whether he meant it or not, was that the police should have access to psychiatric files as a matter of course.
Hon. Mr. MacBeth: I didn’t say that at all, Mr. Speaker.
Hon. W. Newman: He didn’t say that at all.
Mr. Warner: Yes, you did.
Mr. Lewis: You did; you certainly did.
An hon. member: Even the Premier was surprised.
Hon. Mr. MacBeth: I questioned whether or not the police should have access to those files; that’s what I said at the start. On the other hand --
Mr. Renwick: It’s your file, not mine.
Hon. Mr. MacBeth: -- if they have proper authority to look at them and they are available to them, I see no reason why they shouldn’t make use of them.
Mr. Kennedy: Same as the NDP.
Mr. MacDonald: A supplementary.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. There will be a final supplementary on this.
Mr. Reid: You can’t argue with that.
Mr. MacDonald: If the minister questions whether police should have the right to go in and see confidential psychiatric files, will he move immediately to clarify the law so that that right will be withdrawn from them?
Hon. Mr. MacBeth: Mr. Speaker, I undertook earlier to get a report on this matter. All I am going on is the newspaper reports and I think that’s all the member is going on unless he has some brown paper envelopes which I haven’t got.
Mr. Reid: Is the NDP caucus file there?
Mr. MacDonald: That would be par for the course.
Hon. Mr. MacBeth: In any event, I will undertake to see whether or not this review of the files -- if, in fact, it was done -- was done with any authority.
BRADLEY-GEORGETOWN HYDRO ROUTE
Mr. Reed: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Minister of Energy. Has the minister, as indicated on March 30, looked into the total Hansard situation to determine whether or not the statement I reported to him as being made by the former minister in November, 1974, was out of context? In view of the apparent discrepancy between that statement made in 1974 and the action taken by the minister in 1975, will the cabinet now give the Ombudsman permission to investigate the Bradley-Georgetown corridor?
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, I have indeed. I just got back late last night from a meeting in western Canada and I found on my desk a copy of a press release issued by the hon. member.
Mr. Shore: Everything all right out there?
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Yes, just fine thank you.
Mr. Reid: Are you going to make a report on that meeting?
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: I did, at that point, investigate Hansard and I found that in my opinion, in fact, the member was taking it out of context if he was trying to suggest that the comment by my colleague the former Minister of Energy, the present Treasurer (Mr. McKeough), was meant to apply to the whole route. In fact, it was not.
In fact I dictated, last night, a four-page letter to the hon. member, which he will get later today or on Monday, answering this point.
In point of fact, what the hon. Treasurer was answering on that particular date, Nov. 14. 1974, was a question from the former hon. member for York Centre which dealt with the portion of the proposed transmission line between points 33 and 95 -- in other words, between Colbeck and Limehouse -- not with the whole line.
To answer the second part of the question, discussions are under way with the office of the Ombudsman on this question, to define whether, in fact, he has jurisdiction under the Ombudsman’s Act in this case.
Mr. Reed: Supplementary: When is the cabinet going to decide whether or not to give the Ombudsman permission to investigate?
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, it is not a question of the cabinet deciding. It is a question of looking at the Ombudsman’s Act and determining whether, in fact, under the terms of the Ombudsman’s Act he does, in fact, have jurisdiction. I suggest to you that he does not.
Mr. Lewis: Under the terms he doesn’t have; and he clearly doesn’t have the money to launch the investigation.
Mr. Reed: Supplementary: Is the statement reputed to have been made by the minister on March 24 --
Mr. Speaker: Order please, it is difficult to hear with the interjections. Thank you.
Mr. Reed: Is the statement which is reported in the Georgetown Independent, which says it is now up to the government of Ontario to decide whether or not to give Ontario’s Ombudsman permission to investigate the proposed Hydro corridor -- a statement which was attributed to the minister by a Mr. Silverman of Global Television --
Mr. Speaker: Is there a question please?
Mr. Reed: -- an accurate description of what the minister told him?
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: I didn’t see the programme, Mr. Speaker, and I don’t recall my exact words. If I said it that way then I said it wrongly. In fact, it is a question of looking at the Ombudsman’s Act and determining the jurisdiction under the section -- and I forget the section -- dealing with executive council decisions.
Mr. Nixon: He would need a lot more staff to get into this.
Mr. Lewis: What do you mean looking at it? You know he is precluded from examining it.
PURCHASE OF HOSPITAL EQUIPMENT
Mr. Warner: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Attorney General. Does the Attorney General consider it legal for a supervisor of a publicly-funded hospital to use his position and public funds to develop new medical equipment within the hospital, then use his supervisory position to order the new equipment for the hospital from his own company?
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Mr. Speaker, the hon. member for Riverdale has always advised me against giving off-the-cuff legal opinions. So my answer to the question would be that I would be delighted to consider the matter if my friend opposite would provide me with the total particulars which are in his possession at the present time.
Mr. Lewis: Your deference is appreciated.
Mr. Warner: Supplementary: If the Attorney General is willing to accept a plain brown envelope, would he be further willing to investigate the matter fully and report back? Is he willing to do that?
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Yes, I’m willing to review the information and advise the Legislature as to whether, in my view, an investigation is warranted.
CENSORSHIP OF FILMS
Mr. Singer: I have a question of the Attorney General. Could the Attorney General advise what action, if any, Ontario is taking as a result of the unanimous decision of the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal, which determined that it was beyond that province’s power to set up a board which dealt with censorship of movies being shown in that province?
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: We are naturally aware of that decision. As to whether the policy will change in Ontario, that is a matter for cabinet as a whole and I have no comment to make at this time. My personal view is that, first of all, that decision is not binding on the Province of Ontario. Whether or not we will be influenced by the wisdom of the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal will remain to be seen, but that decision, as the member knows, is in no way binding on this province.
Mr. Singer: By way of supplementary, is the Attorney General going to intervene on behalf of the Province of Ontario when that decision finds its way to the Supreme Court of Canada?
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: No decision has been made in that respect at this time.
Mr. Lewis: Don Sims doesn’t censor anybody. He just enjoys it.
LUNG RESEARCH ON STEELWORKERS
Mr. Mackenzie: Is the Minister of Health aware of the work of Dr. Ronald Woulf, a biophysicist at McMaster, on the lungs of employees of the steel mills, and of his training and expertise which appear to be both rare and in much demand, and of the fact that he’s leaving shortly for the United States due to a lack of funding at the university?
Hon. B. Stephenson: I am aware of that specific physician and the work that he has done. I gathered from the information I had that he was leaving because of lack of research funds for the type of research which he was doing, which is a federal responsibility.
Mr. Mackenzie: Supplementary: Would the minister not try to find alternate funding, possibly through the industrial health or Workmen’s Compensation Board or even the environment area, for this valuable research on the problems which are just emerging, and on the extent of the problems in the lungs of steelworkers in the mills?
Hon. B. Stephenson: I shall most seriously consider it.
Mr. Bounsall: Supplementary: Does the minister realize that research funds provided to the Ontario Research Foundation are specifically in the area of applied research, and this would be a most appropriate body through which this type of applied research should be funded? Will she investigate that aspect most seriously?
Hon. B. Stephenson: Yes.
WINDSOR TEACHERS’ DISPUTE
Mr. B. Newman: I have a question for the Premier. Has the Education Relations Commission reported to him concerning the effects of the disruption of secondary school education in the city of Windsor as a result of the walkout-lockout in the community?
Hon. Mr. Davis: No. I checked before coming into the House and I expect a report from the commission, both on Sault Ste. Marie, Algoma and Windsor, sometime this afternoon.
Mr. Deans: Walkout-lockout? That’s getting on both sides of the issue, isn’t it?
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: You have done a good job.
Mr. MacDonald: I have a question of the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations.
Mr. Lewis: Well, it’s taken us years.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Yes, you have come a long way.
Mr. MacDonald: I hate to interrupt.
Mr. Speaker: The member for York South is placing a question.
Hon. Mr. Davis: It is his leader who is making the interjections.
COMPUTERIZED CHECKOUTS IN SUPERMARKETS
Mr. MacDonald: With reference to the planned installation by supermarkets of computerized checkout systems using the universal product code, is the government going to respond to the widespread demand by consumers’ associations that price identification of individual products should be continued in order to make comparison shopping possible?
Hon. Mr. Handleman: First, as far as we are aware there is one experimental installation in Ontario and we have been monitoring that. We have examined the installation at Steinberg’s in Dorval. In both cases, there is product price identification at the shelf. There’s also a means whereby the consumer can mark the price on the product before taking it to the cash register.
However, we have not yet accepted as desirable practice the whole concept of computerized checkouts. There are pros, and there are cons. Along with the consumers’ associations, we’ve been weighing those, so we have not given our endorsement to the programme in its entirety. If we did, we certainly would be safeguarding the interests of individual consumers.
Mr. MacDonald: Supplementary: Does the minister mean the interests of the consumer will be safeguarded by making certain there will be price identification on each individual item, rather than giving him a wax pencil when he goes in so he has to do it himself, if he wishes?
Hon. Mr. Handleman: No, I haven’t made that commitment. I said we would safeguard the interests of the consumer in the implementation of the programme.
Mr. MacDonald: What does that mean?
Hon. Mr. Handleman: There may be a variety of ways of doing it, not just a single way, as the hon. member suggests.
Mr. MacDonald: Final supplementary: What other alternative way is there of protecting the interests of the consumer so that he can do comparison shopping, other than having the price on each individual item?
Hon. Mr. Handleman: The one alternative that has been put to us is giving the consumer the option of marking the product himself or herself if he or she wants to.
Mr. MacDonald: That’s a piece of nonsense.
Mr. Deans: Can you imagine doing that on a Friday evening?
Mr. Lewis: Better budget some money for pencils.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Mr. Worton: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Minister of Correctional Services. In view of the statement by the Minister of Agriculture and Food (Mr. W. Newman) that every effort was to be made to retain the $168,000 that was payable to the Essex people, has the minister been able to obtain a legal opinion as to whether this can be used for payment to the farmers of the moneys owning to them?
Hon. J. R. Smith: Mr. Speaker, there is no legal way that could be applied to the debts owed to the beef producers; this was applied to the licensing fee for the beef station in Guelph.
Mr. Gaunt: A supplementary: On a matter clarification, since I gather the money has been paid, will that money become an asset of Essex Packers or otherwise?
Hon. J. R. Smith: Mr. Speaker, it is my understanding that the $165,000 cost, resulting from an over-expenditure on the construction of the beef station, was applied at so much per month as a licensing fee to the receiver, and not to Essex Packers, and it is just about completely depleted.
Mr. Shore: The bank gets it.
Mr. Nixon: So the bank gets it and the farmers don’t.
WCB STAFF NEGOTIATIONS
Mr. Bounsall: A question of the Minister of Labour: Will the minister involve herself directly in what is coming to be a very dragged-out procedure at the Workmen’s Compensation Board in management’s negotiations with the newly formed CUPE union of the staff over there to ensure that a first contract gets signed rather quickly?
Hon. B. Stephenson: I am sure that all the provisions of the Labour Relations Act of Ontario will be applied in this instance and that the problem at the Workmen’s Compensation Board will be resolved shortly.
COMPULSORY USE OF SEATBELTS
Mr. McKessock: I have a question for the Minister of Transportation and Communications.
An hon. member: Wake up, Jim.
Mr. McKessock: Because of the number of complaints and petitions that I and others have received on the legislation on compulsory seatbelts, would the minister consider putting the question, “Are you favour of compulsory seatbelts?” on the ballot at the next election and let the people decide whether this legislation should be compulsory or not?
Hon. Mr. Davis: Oh, here’s the new policy of the Liberal Party. Where is Albert? Holy smoke!
An hon. member: Jack, did you hear this?
An hon. member: The member for Kent-Elgin (Mr. Spence) didn’t want it.
Mr. Yakabuski: He didn’t want it; you wanted it.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. The answer?
An hon. member: Was that caucused?
Hon. Mr. Davis: Do you want a plebiscite as to whether people want an election?
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. We are wasting valuable time here.
An hon. member: We sure are.
Hon. Mr. Snow: I wonder, could the member repeat the last part of his question? I didn’t hear it at all.
Hon. Mr. Davis: It is such a gem we all want to hear it.
Mr. McKessock: Would the minister consider putting the question, “Are you in favour of compulsory seatbelts?” on the ballots at the next election and let the people decide whether the legislation should be compulsory or not?
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: What are you in favour of, reversal?
Hon. Mr. Davis: Aren’t you embarrassed?
Hon. Mr. Snow: Mr. Speaker, as you well know, and I am sure the hon. member knows, when the legislation was passed a few months ago all members of the Legislature present that day voted in favour of the legislation. I don’t know whether the hon. member himself was here or not that day.
An hon. member: He was playing tennis that day.
Hon. Mr. Snow: It may have been a tennis day, but --
Mr. Yakabuski: You all wanted it. It was a private member’s bill.
Hon. Mr. Snow: In the light of the statistics that I gave the House yesterday on the first two months since the legislation was introduced, at this time I certainly have no intention of making a change.
Mr. Speaker: The oral question period has expired.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to present to the House today the report of the, Ontario Law Reform Commission on mortmain charitable uses and religious institutions. This report proposes some fundamental changes in the law governing land holdings by charitable corporations and recommends substantial alterations to the Mortmain and Charitable Uses Act.
In particular, the report proposes the abolition of the licence in mortmain and its replacement by a registration system similar to that in use for extra-provincial corporations. The commission also recommends revision in and consolidation of the statutes under which charities are required to report their financial affairs.
In its review of the Religious Institutions Act, the commission proposes major changes so as to permit religious bodies other than Christians and Jews to take advantage of its provisions respecting the holding of land by unincorporated groups. I will be studying the implications of the report and will be discussing it with my colleague, the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations (Mr. Handleman), who will have a major interest in these proposals.
The government will be consulting with representatives of religious and charitable organizations to ascertain their views on these recommendations. From this process of public consultation, I will bring forward appropriate legislation to modernize the areas of the law which clearly need to be brought more in tune with modern society.
Mr. Speaker: Motions.
Introduction of bills.
PUBLIC COMMERCIAL VEHICLES AMENDMENT ACT
Hon. Mr. Snow moved first reading of bill intituled, An Act to amend the Public Commercial Vehicles Act.
Motion agreed to; first reading of the bill.
Hon. Mr. Snow: Mr. Speaker, this very short amendment to the Public Commercial Vehicles Act is intended to alleviate certain of the problems that have been experienced by users of and carriers of class R commodities whose established business practices have historically carried them across the present regional boundaries. By this amendment, the minister may issue an operating licence for two prescribed regions of the carrier’s choice rather than the one as is now permitted under the Act.
MID-ERIE ACCEPTANCE CORP. ACT
Mr. Eaton moved first reading of bill intituled, An Act respecting Mid-Erie Acceptance Corp. Ltd.
Motion agreed to; first reading of the bill.
ATHLETICS CONTROL AMENDMENT ACT
Mr. Grossman moved first reading of bill intituled, An Act to amend the Athletics Control Act.
Motion agreed to; first reading of the bill.
Mr. Grossman: Mr. Speaker, the purpose of this bill would be to require the use of the newly developed hockey helmet with face-guard that covers the eyes of hockey players, during all amateur-league organized hockey games -- particularly, of course, by the younger hockey players.
Hon. Mr. Meen: Mr. Speaker, before the orders of the day, I wish to table answers to questions 7, 8 and 10 standing on the notice paper.
Mr. Speaker: Orders of the day.
Clerk of the House: The first order, resuming the adjourned debate on the amendment to the amendment to the motion for an address in reply to the speech of the Honourable the Lieutenant Governor at the opening of the session.
THRONE SPEECH DEBATE (CONTINUED)
Ms. Sandeman: Mr. Speaker, when the House adjourned last night I was addressing myself to some remarks in the Speech from the Throne which announced that the government now realizes it is necessary to streamline government programmes regularly to prune out redundancies or waste that might arise. I commented that I took that for granted as part of the procedures of government, but what made me concerned was, in fact, that many programmes which are necessary are not in place. I spent some time talking about the fate of children now in training schools under section 8 of the Training Schools Act.
This morning I would like to address myself more precisely to the question of pruning out redundancies and waste, which the government has been attempting to do, it says, by cutting back spending in general hospitals. My colleagues have spoken at length on the closure of hospitals; I’d like to look at what happens to a general hospital which is told that it must cut back its expenditures.
I’d like to take as my example Peterborough Civic Hospital. This is a very average general hospital in what is often described as a super average Ontario city.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Described as what?
Ms. Sandeman: A super average city. Chatelaine magazine described it that way. “Could you live there?” they said.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Yes.
Ms. Sandeman: As an aside, I might say the Chatelaine article also said the women of Peterborough had not yet discovered politics and it didn’t look as if it was likely that a woman from Peterborough would ever be elected to any office.
Hon. B. Stephenson: Chatelaine is becoming the sociological authority for Ontario.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Chatelaine has been wrong before.
Ms. Sandeman: It might be again.
Mr. Kennedy: Circulation will go down.
Ms. Sandeman: I think the recent experiences of Peterborough Civic Hospital can be looked on as representative of what’s happening to similar hospitals across Ontario, as well as illuminating some general truths about how this government is handling health care spending. This situation, of course, is of particular concern to the people of Peterborough and area, and I’d like to speak very briefly about two facets of the situation at Peterborough Civic Hospital: Firstly, the $550,000 -- just over half a million dollars -- that the hospital has been required to cut from its spending, and I’d like to relate that to a budget shortfall they experienced last year. Secondly, I’d like to speak about the psychiatric programmes at that hospital and in that area of eastern Ontario.
As long ago as last July, Peterborough Civic Hospital made requests to the Ministry of Health for help with a shortfall in their budget. It became evident to the administration of the hospital that the price of medical and surgical supplies and drugs was rising much more rapidly than they had budgeted for, and there were other items in their budget which they had underbudgeted. They asked the ministry for some help.
The discussions with the ministry continued until March of this year. The hospital carefully documented its spending, and took extremely stringent cost-cutting steps on its own initiative in, for instance, inventory control, use of laundry, and not filling empty positions in the hospital. It took the ministry an extremely long time -- from July, 1975, to the end of March, 1976 -- to recognize there was indeed justice in the request for a budgetary supplement. Finally, $95,000 was granted to the hospital as a supplement for the 1975 budget.
However, how very different affairs are when the situation is reversed. When the ministry wants to go to the hospital and say, “You must cut $550,000 from your spending,” the ministry doesn’t give the hospital from July of one year until March of the next to discover how it may do that. No, the hospital is given one month and four days to decide how it can possibly cut out that money and, in fact, start doing so. Not only does the ministry expect the hospital administration to act nine times as quickly as the ministry does itself when making budget decisions but it does not do the hospital the courtesy of giving a detailed rationale of the figures arrived at, whereas the hospital, in its turn, patiently and frequently documented its own spending for the ministry.
The process of deciding that Peterborough Civic Hospital must cut half a million dollars is based on that mystical process, regression analysis. I find that procedure interesting and perplexing. It’s a procedure in which the computer is asked to measure paid hours, which are a constant, against a series of variables such as patient days, pounds of laundry, people coming into the hospital, people being discharged, and a variety of variables. One problem the hospital has with looking at these variables is that it is not clear if they are weighted in any way -- if a pound of laundry is worth more or less than or the same as a patient being admitted to hospital.
An interesting anomaly occurred in the figures which were finally supplied to the hospital after some weeks of asking. When the hospital began to look at the variables it found, for instance, that in the obstetrical department at Peterborough Civic Hospital the variables fed into the computer included pounds of laundry, of course, and admitting the patients but nowhere was there any figure which covered delivery of babies, which seems an extraordinary lack in a department whose main business is to deliver babies. I wonder if Peterborough Civic is being expected to save money by finding their babies under gooseberry bushes in the fine old fashion.
In fact, the ministry at first said it couldn’t provide a departmental breakdown of overspending, if any, in the hospital. It explained that the cuts necessary were arrived at on a global basis after this regression analysis procedure had been carried out. The hospital found itself very confused at being told that somehow it had overspent or was over- budgeting by half a million dollars. The ministry’s own statistics and the HSI statistics from the Ontario Hospital Association show that Civic Hospital is below average in its spending in all areas except in some special services which that hospital provides.
One might ask what are these special services which are provided by Peterborough Civic Hospital? It has a remarkable record, for instance, in outpatient surgery. Peterborough Civic Hospital performs more surgery on an outpatient basis than any other hospital in its group.
The percentage of surgery on an outpatient basis at Civic Hospital in 1972 was 42.5 per cent of the total. In 1975, that percentage had increased to 52.4 per cent of the total surgery in the hospital. Over half the surgical procedures in that hospital are done on an outpatient basis which means that the hospital is not put to the expense of keeping patients overnight. It’s very careful to cut its costs in that kind of way and, of course, can only bill the ministry for a daily rate rather than the overnight rate.
If one compares the outpatient surgery rates at Civic with other hospitals, we find that the average for the 28 hospitals in the Peterborough Civic Hospital group is 19 per cent of surgery being done on an outpatient basis; whereas at Civic, as I say, it’s over half the total.
That decision to perform surgery in that way was consciously and rationally arrived at by the administration of the hospital who, for years, have been conscious of the cost saving involved; of the increase in efficiency involved; and the fact that patients can be treated for minor surgery as outpatients and then sent home with proper backup. This kind of procedure is obviously to be encouraged -- it’s encouraged by the ministry -- but the hospital feels that it is being penalized for this.
Other special services that the hospital provides include an excellent diabetic day-care clinic on a 100 per cent outpatient basis. Excellent preventive medical care is being given in that situation. It has psychiatric outpatient services and psychiatric day care, which deal with many patients who are not admitted as inpatients to the hospital but receive first class services on an outpatient basis. All of these services and others that the hospital gives, reduce the need for expensive inpatient care and they provide preventive care of a very high calibre for the community.
The hospital looked at its cost and it said to the ministry, “If our statistics show us as spending below the average in all areas except our special services, and if our costs are unusually high only because we have special outpatient services, is this where we should cut back on our spending?” “Well no,” said the ministry officials, “we won’t allow you to cut those special services.”
So we arrive at an extraordinary circular argument where the hospital is told, “You are spending more than you should by half a million dollars.” The hospital says, “We believe that the reason we are spending more than other hospitals in the group is because of our special services and we believe we can document that,” and the ministry says, “Well, if that’s where you are spending too much, that is not where you may make your savings.”
The hospital is put in the ridiculous position of having to close 30 beds of inpatient care in medical and surgical wards because it is spending too much on psychiatric outpatient services -- too much, that is, according to the ministry’s calculations, certainly not too much according to the needs of psychiatric patients in the Peterborough area.
One of the ministry’s officials commented during these discussions that the hospital had with the ministry that regression analysis is rough justice, that it tags institutions which are high cost but it doesn’t show why they are high cost. There is no way that the preliminary studies of regression analysis can show whether that high cost is justified or not, and indeed it may very well be that so-called high-cost institutions are doing a better job, a different job, or providing special services.
We know, of course, what rough justice means these days. It’s the phrase which alerts us immediately for injustices. In fact, with the lack of information which is given to Peterborough Civic Hospital and to all the hospitals which have undergone this regression analysis procedure, those hospitals are unable to make rational decisions about where to cut the amounts they are asked to cut -- half a million dollars or whatever it may be -- and are forced in the Civic Hospital case, as I say, to close 16 surgical and eight medical beds which involves laying off 30 staff, most of whom are nurses, and we know what the employment picture is like for nurses. That’s been discussed at considerable length in this House recently.
The hospital felt it imperative to act quickly to close those beds, because it realized that for each day they stayed open after yesterday, April 1, it would be overspending at the rate of $15,000 a day and it wasn’t prepared to jeopardize its budget later in the year. In fact, by bringing in arbitrary demands that the hospital cut large amounts in a very short time, with no helpful background information provided, the ministry was forcing the hospital to make arbitrary cuts in its turn.
The letter that arrived at the hospital requiring these cuts to be made contains a very strange sentence, which I would like to draw to your attention, Mr. Speaker. The letter, to the executive director of Peterborough Civic Hospital from Mr. Alan Backley, tells the hospital that it must cut out $550,000, and says, “It is recognized that your hospital may have to reduce the availability of essential services required by your community.” We’ve already heard some “new-speak” here this morning, and I think we’re about to see a redefinition of essential services.
Let me just turn briefly to the ramifications of the decisions made about spending on psychiatric services in Peterborough and in the surrounding area. Within the past 18 months, Kingston Psychiatric Hospital, for which Peterborough is a feeder, so to speak -- psychiatric patients from Peterborough go to Kingston’ Psychiatric Hospital and Whitby if they can’t be treated in Peterborough; but most go to Kingston -- has had a total loss, at the ministry’s insistence, of 58 staff and now it has been told it must reduce its staff by a further 74 in the 1976-1977 fiscal year.
We are told that closure of beds does not take place before alternative services are in place. The alternative psychiatric service for the Peterborough area, if closures are taking place at Kingston which they are, would be found in the promised expansion of the Civic Hospital psychiatric department from 25 to 68 beds and a concurrent opportunity to increase the outpatient psychiatric services at the hospital.
But the expansion of the psychiatric department at the Civic Hospital has been put off once again. We’re not even sure now that we shall be given permission in Peterborough to proceed to working drawings for that psychiatric facility this year. Meanwhile, acutely ill, long-term patients from the Peterborough area are being refused admission by Kingston Psychiatric Hospital but the facilities at Civic Hospital are intended mainly to provide short-term active treatment of less severely ill patients. Some of the severely ill patients are being admitted to Civic Hospital but it leaves a severe shortfall of psychiatric beds in the Peterborough area.
Where are these acutely ill psychiatric patients to go? We are waiting for the ministry to provide interim arrangements for them, but while there are bed shortages at Kingston anal bed shortages at Peterborough for psychiatric patients the situation is very grim. I think the community would have to agree with Mr. Backley when he says that essential services required by that community may be reduced.
The pressure on beds in the psychiatric services in Peterborough is nothing new. The problem has been documented for the ministry for at least two years. We were aware that even when Kingston Psychiatric Hospital was working at full capacity before the staff cuts started not all the patients from Peterborough who needed beds there were getting them.
In 1974, the Peterborough Civic Hospital dealt with 1,080 psychiatric patients. Of those, 332 were admitted to the psychiatric unit at Peterborough Civic Hospital; 68 were sent to Whitby Psychiatric Hospital; 268 were sent to Kingston Psychiatric Hospital; and 412 of them had to be admitted to the regular medical and surgical beds in Peterborough Civic Hospital.
That was two years ago when over one-third of the psychiatric patients in Peterborough could not find psychiatric beds and were putting unwelcome and unnecessary pressure on medical and surgical beds. That was before the high level of staff cuts at Kingston Psychiatric Hospital began and before Kingston started refusing, even more firmly than it is now, patients from the Peterborough area.
Mr. Chatfield, of the ministry, commented some time ago that 1,000 psychiatric beds must come out of the system and there’s been some discussion with the CMHA and with the hospitals about how this should be done. There’s a new formula, apparently, for Kingston Psychiatric Hospital. The ratio in the acute ward at that hospital is now 1.4 patients per clinical staff member, which effectively reduces the care at Kingston Psychiatric Hospital to custodial care; it is in no sense fully effective active treatment. Custodial care is all that can be given to acutely ill patients with 1.4 patients per clinical staff member.
The plans for the Kingston area appear to include the Queen’s Medical Sciences Centre which will become the active psychiatric hospital for the Kingston area and will not be part of the catchment area for Peterborough any longer. It looks as if Kingston Psychiatric Hospital will be reduced even more to tertiary -- that is, custodial care -- while the active psychiatric patients from the Kingston area go to Queen’s; meanwhile, Peterborough Civic Hospital will desperately need its new active treatment facility for psychiatric patients. And the planning in the Kingston area is dependent on the assumption that Peterborough will have an enlarged psychiatric unit of 68 beds.
The planning at the moment seems to me to be in a total shambles. With staff cuts, with a refusal to admit patients to active treatment beds in Kingston, with a kind of freeze on the planning procedure, we are in a desperate situation for psychiatric patients which is mirrored in other communities in the Kingston-Whitby catchment area.
Both the situations I have outlined to you, Mr. Speaker -- the situation of children who should be looked after in the community and currently are in training schools under section 8, and the situation of general hospitals such as Peterborough in terms of their general services and psychiatric services -- make me very sceptical about the fine promises declared in the Speech from the Throne.
We see a restraint programme which is reducing essential services to troubled adolescent kids; which is reducing essential services to mentally ill adults which does not ensure that alternative and adequate services are available for those children or those adults before the cuts are made; which does not take into account the needs of individuals; and which promises unacceptably high costs in the long run.
Troubled adolescents who go unhelped, and disturbed and unmanageable adolescents who go unhelped, will cost us all money, both in terms of financial costs, their unhappiness and unacceptable social costs. And the return visits of psychiatrically ill adults who do not get adequate treatment will cost us more in the long run. The inability to function of those psychiatrically ill adults will cost us more in the long run, besides costing them and their families unacceptable unhappiness and suffering.
Because of such failures as these of the government in its present restraint programme, our party has brought an amendment before the House, which states in part that we regret the government’s failure to develop an overall policy for the delivery of services and its failure to respond adequately to the financial needs of vital social services, particularly as exemplified to the Children’s Aid Societies.
I, for one, shall have no difficulty at all in supporting wholeheartedly that amendment to the motion to accept the Speech from the Throne; and I would have no difficulty at all if the need should arise, and I rather hope it does, to explain my stand and that of the New Democratic Party to the voters of this province on those situations.
Mr. B. Newman: Mr. Speaker, I too would like to make a few comments on this occasion, which provides an opportunity to every member to make a reply to the Speech from the Throne. First, may I congratulate the hon. member for Northumberland (Mr. Rowe) and the hon. member for Lake Nipigon (Mr. Stokes) on the fine way in which they are conducting the business of this House.
My first comments concern the length of the speeches during the debate on the Speech from the Throne. I have nothing whatever against anyone who wishes to speak for any length of time, but I think in fairness, to allow all members an opportunity to speak, there should be some type of time limitation.
Mr. Cassidy: Talk to the member for Renfrew North (Mr. Conway); he took three hours.
Mr. B. Newman: The reason I say there should be a time limitation is so that everyone who wishes to speak will have that opportunity. Looking at the number of speakers who still want to make comment, there is absolutely no way that all of them will have that opportunity, simply because half a dozen others wish to use more than their fair share of the time.
Mr. Cassidy: You can help them by sitting down.
Mr. B. Newman: I would say that the time perhaps should be allocated to speakers on an individual time basis, and a total time given to each party, so that each party can speak, let’s say, for the want of a figure, 20 minutes times the number of members that it has and in this way it would be allocated fairly. So if one member wishes to speak for two hours, there’s nothing wrong with that. But, as a result, some other member in his caucus will not have that opportunity to speak.
Mr. Cassidy: Have you talked to the member for St. George (Mrs. Campbell)?
Mr. B. Newman: I’m not criticizing the previous speaker one bit. I knew yesterday that the member for St. George did speak for more than 20 minutes, and the criticism -- if it is criticism, and I hope it’s constructive -- refers to all of us. Likewise, there is always the discussion in the House as to whether we are using the 45 minutes allocated for the question period. I would strongly suggest as I have in previous times, Mr. Speaker, that a clock be on the Clerk’s desk with a one-hour circle so that you, Mr. Speaker, can control it and after 45 minutes a bell goes off and that’s the end.
Hon. Mr. Kerr: Big alarm.
Mr. Haggerty: You can get a grant from Wintario on that one.
Hon. Mr. Kerr: Especially at 8 o’clock at night.
Mr. B. Newman: Mr. Speaker, earlier in the proceedings of this House, I asked the Premier if the Education Relations Commission reported to him concerning the effects of the disruption of the secondary school education in Windsor as a result of a walkout-lockout of recent days.
Mr. Cassidy: Which side are you on?
Mr. B. Newman: When I said lockout I referred to the teachers going out on strike. I did not refer to them simply walking out of the job. The lockout was the board locking the teachers out. So we have two situations in there, both a strike and a lockout, and in the interests of the students we would like this resolved.
The first topic that I would like to bring to the attention of the House is one that I found in the March, 1976, issue of the Friendship News, a publication of the Windsor senior citizens’ centre, a very fine publication, edited by an Al Stephenson and assisted by a Miss Agnes Pineault and a Mrs. Shirley Smith. It’s a publication that brings to the attention of senior citizens items of special interest, not necessarily local interest but interests that could affect them in their dealings with both provincial and federal governments.
The first article that really appealed to me was an example of unfair tax laws. I’m reading from the article:
“A Mr. Herman Swanson, a member of the team that has been providing free income tax service to senior citizens for several years, agreed with our brief mention of tax unfairness last month and submitted the following article: [This is kind of interesting. It shows how $1 in income can adversely affect you to the extent of almost $70.]
“Not only are the so-called simple income tax forms far from simple, they are downright discriminatory. Let us examine the federal and Ontario tax table first. If you have a taxable income of $1,400 you do not pay any income tax. But if you have $1,400.01 of taxable income you pay $2 federal tax and you pay $61.60 Ontario tax. [Just for one cent you are taxed to the extent of $63.60. But wait, there is more.]
“When you make out your Ontario tax credit form if you had $1,401 in taxable income you would have to subtract two per cent of your taxable income from your total Ontario tax credits, amounting to $28.
“[So that one extra dollar affects your tax credits to the extent of $28.] But if you had $1,395 or less of taxable income you subtract nothing.”
So you can see, Mr. Speaker, that just cents, so to speak, affect the senior citizen by dollars. One can’t quarrel with the federal tax table as it is constituted; but to say that there is room for improvement in this method used by the federal and Ontario governments to calculate income tax is certainly an understatement.
When the National Pensioners Association presented their annual brief to the federal government on March 3 of this year, one of the resolutions pointed out that the people with low interest income were being discriminated against. Those who have very little interest income get no advantage. For example, if two persons had the same income and the same personal exemptions, but one person had interest income of $1,000 while the other person had interest income of only $300, the person who had the $1,000 interest income would have a $700 greater tax exemption than the one with only $300 interest income. As the Act says, one can deduct up to $1,000 of the actual amount of interest income, whichever is the lesser. So one can see that even on the interest income, there’s a substantial disadvantage to the individual who has the smaller amount. Then take into consideration the one who doesn’t have any; his standard of living has been decreased by $1,000.
There is another interesting article in there. I don’t intend to read it, but I do hope that the Ministry of Community and Social Services keeps a very close eye on the experiment that will be conducted in Sweden effective July 1 of this year and that concerns the flexible retirement age. Too many of our senior citizens who work up until the age of 65 have never had the opportunity to prepare themselves for an early retirement. A lot of the times it’s because they needed every dollar they could possibly earn to keep themselves in some type of a standard of living. We would hope it would be higher, but in a lot of instances it isn’t.
As a result of working all their lives, then being retired on reaching the magic age of 65, all of a sudden they’re told they’re no longer good enough for the work force. They are put out on retirement without any type of preparation for coping with retirement. Maybe we’re going to have to take into consideration, as in the Swedish experiment, a flexible retirement age so that these people can adjust to what is coming in the foreseeable future.
In the interests of economy, as the government keeps preaching economy, I just want to bring this one simple example of waste in government, and this can be multiplied by thousands and maybe a hundred-thousand fold. I received this from the Ministry of Revenue, a familiar brown envelope with one mimeographed sheet, 8½ by 11 inches. Why in the dickens couldn’t this have been put in our postal boxes? Why had time to be wasted to insert it in an envelope and then put it into our boxes? Mind you, one of the good things is this envelope is not addressed, so it can be used again. But time and time again, I find this from all governments. Rather than simply folding this as some of the ministries do, we still have ministries in government that will throw away cents which make dollars in the long run. Surely those ministries that are using this practice should check on it. Let’s save the few cents we can and we’ll find out very quickly that that mounts up into substantial amounts of dollars.
My first topic is the unemployment situation. Probably the most important thing that we could concern ourselves with is jobs and unemployment. My own community happens to have either 10.3 per cent or 10.8 per cent of the work force unemployed. That’s an extremely high number. It really is intolerable.
Mr. Speaker, you can imagine the effect such a high unemployment rate is having on the whole community and the social effects it is having on many of the families. There may be one bit of salvation in this in the fact that some are still eligible for unemployment insurance and are not suffering to same extent as those who have no unemployment insurance benefits.
There has to be some method of resolving some portion of the unemployment problem. Government, management, the unions or a combination of all of them have to sit down and see if they can’t come up with an answer -- maybe not a complete answer but a partial answer -- to the problem.
I don’t have the answers but I can make a suggestion. My suggestion is the one I made on March 21 last year and, I think, one year prior to that when I introduced a bill entitled An Act to amend the Employment Standards Act.
In listening to television back home -- what little time I do have to listen to it -- and seeing and hearing the meetings of the UAW in the city of Detroit and some of the demands they were going to put to their employers in future negotiations; and listening to the members, the executives from the UAW and from my own community making constructive suggestions, I think government, management and labour are going to have to sit down in an attempt to distribute the amount of work available over larger numbers.
It is wrong for one person to sit at a table and gorge himself while others at that same table are starving or not getting their fair share. What is the difference if it is at a table with food or if it is in a community with hours of work available? In my own community and, I would say, in many communities throughout the Province of Ontario there are many workers who are working substantial numbers of hours of overtime.
I can understand them wishing to have the additional overtime. I can understand the economic conditions with them. They have mortgaged themselves, so to speak over the hilt and have heavy mortgage payments. Not only is the overtime needed by that individual but in many instances the wife and/or the children have to go out to work to take care of the high cost of housing and the high cost of other consumer items which they must buy.
I can understand their concern but that is exactly the same for them to take more than their fair share of the hours of work as it is for an individual who takes more than his fair share of food at a table. It has to be distributed a little more equitably.
My bill, at that time, attempted to distribute work a little more evenly. I admit it will probably be a little costlier than it is today. It will be costlier to the manufacturers; it will make the price of the consumer item increase. I admit that. I don’t know how you could come along and hire more people and reduce the price of an article you are selling but something has to be done to distribute better the amount of work available in our work world.
My bill would have limited the work day to eight hours; the work week to 40 hours. I really think it is out-fashioned in today’s society. Eight hours a day and a 40-hour week might have been good enough maybe two or three years ago but in an attempt to accommodate more people in the work force we are going to have to reduce progressively the work week. Maybe my suggestion of an eight-hour day and a 40-hour week will have to be phased down so that it becomes a 39-hour week one year, then 38, 37, until we get down to a figure so that the amount of work available is distributed over a larger number of people.
I know we have to have overtime in some jobs because there could be a machinery breakdown or something of that sort. If we don’t get it fixed up immediately it is going to mean everyone is going to lose work the following day.
Let me bring to your attention, Mr. Speaker, the attitude of the union on this, which is commendable. I am going to bring out the names of the union leaders in the community who speak out strongly. They were speaking out on this in an international meeting in Detroit trying to show their brothers in labour in the US, where they also have to consider the suggestions that are coming from our Canadian labour leaders. Let me tell you that a lot of our Canadian labour leaders are by far more progressive than many of them across the border in the United States.
Mr. Kerrio: Many of them are Liberals too.
Mr. B. Newman: There are a lot of Liberals. I wouldn’t be here if they weren’t Liberals.
Mr. B. Newman: Thousands of Windsor workers are collecting plump paycheques by putting in long hours on the assembly line; but for many more there is no assembly line. The only paycheque they collect is from a government computer and a lot of times that computer breaks down as you yourself know, Mr. Speaker, when you have unemployment insurance problems. The reason for the delay in payments or the incorrect amount was always blamed on a computer. A lot of those problems have been resolved today and things are moving a little smoother but still it is the computer while here we have fat paycheques and unemployment insurance. Can’t we find a good balance between the two?
Overtime has become an accepted institution in Canada since the Second World War but the current recession is forcing the labour movement to look closely at the effects of extended work hours. One of the most powerful unions in North America, the UAW, over the last year had the bitter experience of seeing thousands of its members laid off while others piled up overtime.
I can speak from seeing this. The Chrysler plant is only three-quarters of a mile away from my home. The parking lots are filled up on a Saturday and Sunday quite often. I know darn well that a lot of these fellows would prefer not to have to work on the Saturday and Sunday, to be able to enjoy that time with their families and in the summers enjoy it maybe just in leisure. But maybe from financial commitments or maybe even pressure on the part of management or someone else, they are forced to work overtime, even though I understand in the Chrysler situation all overtime is voluntary. But you know that sometimes “voluntary” has two different ways of applying.
The UAW has now decided that existing penalties in keeping employees on overtime aren’t stiff enough. In the 1976 contract talks with the big three, the union is expected to press for bigger financial penalties for extended hours, probably double-time and triple-time in place of the current time-and-a-half and double-time. It is cheaper for management to come along and pay overtime than it is to spread the work out to a greater work force. The only way you are going to get management to come along and hire extra people is at the point when it is more economical for them to hire additional manpower.
Some workers in the community are putting in over 70 hours a week by double shifts on weekends. That’s probably not many more hours than some of us work here and I know we can work 70 hours without any difficulty. Some of us spend probably eight hours just coming to our job. Maybe I am wrong in eight hours; it might even be substantially more than that.
The article makes mention that they can earn as much as $110 to $115 a week clear on overtime only, so one can see that over the course of a year, if that individual works 50 weeks a year that’s $5,000 in extra revenue clear. I don’t begrudge him that, but I do think that the work has to be spread over greater numbers. Let’s try to equalize the work opportunities.
Mr. Charlie Brookes, UAW Local 444 president and chairman of the UAW’s Canadian council, says present penalties no longer discourage corporations from scheduling overtime. He said companies now find it cheaper to pay overtime rates than to put more workers on the payroll and pay their fringe benefits. The fringe benefits average about $2.50 an hour by those who work for the big three. Mr. Brookes said corporations will stop scheduling overtime as soon as the cost of it is boosted higher than that of hiring more workers: He considers overtime a serious health problem, and I quote: “A lot of those guys are burning themselves out. They are working for an early date with the undertaker.”
Overtime, says Mr. Brookes, is a case of one worker putting in extra hours in order to pay heavy income taxes to support another worker who remains jobless. To some members overtime seems to be a way of getting over financial hurdles, but it gets him in over his head and then he is in constant search of overtime or a second job. They get so accustomed to that additional revenue they elevate their standard of living to assuming that they’re going to keep earning that same amount, and then when overtime is cut out they have to jog around in an attempt to get a second job opportunity and then deprive someone else of that opportunity to work.
Mr. Brookes said Local 444 members in Windsor can average more than $20,000 a year if they accept all the overtime that is available. Those who take it are not working out of a hole, as they think, they’re working themselves into a permanent hole.
John Moynahan, the president of the UAW Local 195, the biggest auto parts industry union in Canada, believes workers won’t be fighting to stay in the plant if they’re given an adequate living wage based on a normal work week. If we have a normal work week we can spread the work out to many more individuals in our society. He says: “How can we argue for a shorter work week while our people are demanding more overtime?” That’s the big problem. Some demand more overtime, yet the union would like to have a shorter work week. As I said earlier of food on the table, one eats more than his fair share and then the others don’t get it.
Mr. Moynahan says we must get wages to the point where an employee can maintain his standard of living on a five-day work week. He said overtime should only be scheduled in emergency situations.
There’s a little different situation when it comes into the construction trades, because weather affects the construction trades. They don’t have that same opportunity for extended work, a 52-week work period, and as a result there may have to be, in any type of legislation or consideration, some factors built in to accommodate and to compensate for conditions that would affect those in the construction trades.
Pat Doyle, business agent for ironworkers Local 700, which represents 500 southwestern Ontario structural steelworkers, strongly supports overtime for the construction industry. He wants overtime and he makes a good argument for it. Members of his union get double pay for overtime and rarely turn it down. Regular wages will be in the area of $13 an hour in 1977. Mr. Doyle says: “Our people would like to get more overtime to bring them up to a full year’s pay.”
Now you see, they are not being work avaricious, they simply want to elevate their standards so that with that overtime they are getting a year’s pay. They are affected by weather conditions. Those who are not affected are in a completely different category.
As Mr. Doyle puts it:
“Bad weather conditions and unemployment keep most construction workers from coming close to the 2,000 work-hours a year averaged by industrial workers. In our business it’s often a race against time because of weather, construction deadlines and uncertain delivery schedules. We need to use all the daylight hours available. It amounts to ‘make it while you can.’”
Probably all the members of the House are familiar with the name Paul Forder. He’s the political education director of the Ontario Federation of Labour who sent various questionnaires out to each of us prior to the previous election, and again sent information out to us after an election as members of the Legislature.
Mr. Forder says that he or the Ontario Federation of Labour, is going to make the issue of overtime an issue in the presentation to cabinet. He said the Ontario Federation of Labour will urge the provincial government to stop issuing overtime permits to corporations except in emergency situations. With 800,000 Canadians unemployed, said Mr. Forder, the labour movement must intensify a bargaining drive for measures that will result in a minimum amount of overtime. He said corporations get off cheaply with overtime because it doesn’t involve any additional health and benefit costs, administrative costs or training expenses.
Mr. Forder thinks there will inevitably be a hue and cry from a minority of union members when their leaders take steps to eliminate overtime. Naturally, those who are receiving overtime hesitate to give it up but those who are not working at all and haven’t been working for a period of time certainly would like their fair share of work available.
The other big local in the community is Local 200 of the Ford Motor Co. Mr. Steve Harris, president of that local, represents approximately 4,000 workers in the city of Windsor. At one time it was approximately 15,000 but with the switch of operations from the Windsor area to the Oakville area, the 15,000 work force has dwindled to approximately 4,000.
He comments that time and a half means nothing to the company as a cost factor. Mr. Harris says overtime shifts are scheduled at Ford’s Windsor operations right up to the summer vacation period. He said some emergency overtime is necessary because of the breakdowns but the union takes the position that more workers should be hired to help boost production. The guy working overtime isn’t making that much more per hour because he is actually subsidizing the government with his taxes.
An interesting comment comes from one of the pioneers in the labour movement, one who has made a real contribution in the past; that is Mr. George Burt, who is the former Canadian director of the UAW. He said unions never meant overtime to be a means of increasing worker income. Mr. Burt, who is now 72, says: “Overtime rates were won in the 1930s, but the Depression kept extending hours from becoming an important problem. Prior to the war, we were lucky to get 30 hours a week”.
Overtime was first heavily used during World War 2, said Mr. Burt, when it was needed to spur production in spite of manpower shortages. He said corporations since then have come to realize that overtime is a bargain compared to cost of hiring new workers, training them and paying for costly pensions and fringe benefits.
Overtime is unfair to those who are laid off. It is unfair to those who work it and it is unfair to Canada. We are all paying welfare and unemployment insurance benefits.
Those are comments concerning the limitation of the work week so that overtime can be used to hire many more individuals rather than giving it all to a select few. I know were I probably working in an auto industry, I too would like to have all of the overtime available in an attempt to prepare for a rainy day. But is it really fair to take more than your fair share?
Mr. Speaker, I have a whole series of topics that I was going to comment on, but I will simply touch on them very briefly so that the record will show that this member from the Windsor area is extremely concerned about more than just one issue, the issue of overtime.
The auto trade pact is an extremely important issue because Sen. Vance Hartke of the United States, truly a rabble-rousing Senator, wants the auto trade pact discarded. He doesn’t see the benefits from the auto trade pact, which was strongly endorsed by the labour unions. In fact, the pact originally was suggested by the late alderman, Bill Riggs, on the Windsor city council; and it was Prof. Bladen of the University of Toronto who conducted the study that led to the auto trade pact.
The auto trade pact was an attempt to rationalize the manufacturing of automobiles in the two jurisdictions so that at least we could get our fair share. Mind you, I’m not saying we got our fair share. I’m saying we should be able to get our fair share. Where we have fallen down tremendously on it is in the parts industry.
All the automobile companies are owned by the US interests. But when it comes to parts manufacturers, the majority of them are substantially small, independent and Canadian-owned and operated. They are the ones who are suffering. So if there is any change in the auto trade pact, I would sincerely hope that the changes are to adjust that difference in the parts industry so that we in Canada get our fair share. I don’t ask for more than what we are entitled to.
We are fortunate that the automobiles being made in Canada today are big sellers in the United States. Subject to correction, I think 85 per cent of the production at Chrysler is exported to the United States; as a result, our people at Chrysler are working. On the other side of that token, a lot of the other cars are being imported from the United States; and the parts especially are being imported.
But there is another problem that is going to come up very shortly; that is, looking at the world-wide picture today, where an engine may be made in Brazil, the undercarriage could be made in France, the generators and so forth could be made in Italy and then all of them are brought to an assembly plant in some Canadian centre, and then put together, qualifying in some fashion under the auto trade pact.
The auto trade pact has to be looked at very closely; it’s got to be brought along and made so that it is fair to the Canadian auto worker. I would prefer it to benefit us substantially, but for the sake of fairness, just as in the case of overtime I would like to be fair, would like to be fair in the case of the auto trade pact. The automobile industry is the prime source of income to many people living in the community.
There is another problem when it comes to work, and that is the number of students who shortly will be put into the work force with very little concern registered on the part of perhaps governments or industries, or perhaps a combination of both. Just as the Ministry of Natural Resources uses the Junior Ranger programme, which is an excellent educational and work programme, I think the government has to look at other areas where we can provide employment to students, and especially students who are going to continue their education. The reason I say that, is that we either provide them with funds to carry on or we’re going to give them loans or grants. Why shouldn’t we come along and allow them to earn some of the funds needed to go into post-secondary education and even in secondary education so that they can buy some of their books and clothing and so forth to make it a little easier on the family, especially if the family is a low-income family?
I know some will say how do you do it? If I had that amount of brain, I wouldn’t be here and many of us wouldn’t be here either. We’d be living a little easier type of life rather than going through the long hours of work, which all of us must like or we wouldn’t be here.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: I thought you were referring to that side of the House.
Mr. B. Newman: I beg your pardon. I didn’t hear you.
Mrs. Campbell: Oh, don’t bother. It isn’t worth it.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. The hon. member will continue.
Mr. B. Newman: I think government is going to have to assist these students in some fashion by finding work for them. Sure we’ve got Experience ’75 or ’76. It’s going to provide, I think, 7,500 jobs. One of the bad things on that is that last year, when we had Experience ’75, one of the students in my community wrote in immediately -- I shouldn’t say immediately; actually it was before the time for an application. She wrote the letter, had her name in and everything of that sort, and never received a reply. She finally wrote again but it was too late. This hurts me. Here we’re trying to encourage these youngsters to improve society, improve themselves and be good citizens, I hope. I don’t think the jobs are being given to any with favouritism being shown, but I think that programme has to go through Manpower in a community and the individual applies there.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, will the hon. member take a question?
Mr. B. Newman: No, the minister will have a chance to get up.
Mr. Speaker: I think the hon. member should continue. This is not a debate.
Mrs. Campbell: Let the minister sit down.
Mr. B. Newman: I want to give two other people an opportunity to speak yet today.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: He won’t take a question?
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. This is not a debate.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: He’s afraid of questions.
Mr. Speaker: The hon. member has indicated he wishes to continue.
Mr. B. Newman: Ask me before the question period.
We’ve got a way of providing these funds to students and to others. Wintario just makes scads of money. What better social and cultural benefit could moneys be put to than trying to assist these young future parliamentarians in obtaining an advanced education. Let’s not have education the sole right and prerogative of those who have the financial wherewithal.
I know a lot of us in here haven’t had the financial wherewithal to get the education that we got, but let’s not have everybody, or too many, suffer as a result. Let’s try to help them when we can help them and I think government can come along and help. They’ve got to find some method, and I don’t just mean make-work where no benefit is obtained from it. There can be programmes established such as the Experience ’76 programme, but on a broader base so that more young folk can be given this opportunity.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: How many more?
Mr. B. Newman: I have some comments to make on the nuclear power dangers, the outlook concerning that in the United States and the comments made by US scientists concerning even our own Candu reactor not being safe. I know the Ministry of the Environment hasn’t looked into it.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: What about the Rasmussen Report? Did you mention that?
Mr. B. Newman: The US government is looking for a dumping site for their nuclear waste, their plutonium. Where do you think they’re looking for it? Right under the city of Detroit. They’ve got four or five million people in that vicinity and they’re looking at the salt mines down there to dispose of material that will take over 1,000 years to deteriorate. We don’t know with our present technology what could happen with it. I hope the overall ministry, and the Ministry of Energy in particular, looks into the US energy research and development administration attempt to find a dump site for highly radioactive waste from nuclear power plants in the US -- not in Canada -- by putting it right in the city of Detroit, which can adversely affect millions of people.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: They are also looking at Nevada and New Mexico.
Mr. B. Newman: I was going to make comments concerning PCBs and legislation which has already been passed in the Michigan State Legislature controlling them. I don’t have time.
I was going to ask the Ministry of the Attorney General to look into or to be a little more active concerning hockey violence. The recommendation I was going to make was to use a point system just as we have for driving licences where one loses points after certain violations. Let’s do the same thing in hockey so that certain penalties are going to mean a certain number of points. When the player has accumulated a certain number of points he can’t play hockey for a given period of time; that’s all. His living is gone.
Let me tell the members that violence would decrease in a hurry. In the same way an individual is scared that he is going to lose his driving privileges by losing points, likewise they could lose their playing privileges through violence in hockey.
I was going to talk about gas stations and the big oil companies, the adverse effect they have on the stations and the vertical integration there which has to be broken so that none of the big gasoline companies is going to be operating the stations or having any connection with them other than providing the fuel. The others would be all independently operated.
Mr. Speaker, to enable others to have their share of the time, I would like at this time to thank those of the members who have stayed in the House to listen to the humble remarks by the humble member for Windsor-Walkerville. Thank you.
Hon. Mrs. Birch: I would like to begin by offering my best wishes to the Speaker, the hon. member for Northumberland (Mr. Rowe), and to the Deputy Speaker, the hon. member for Lake Nipigon (Mr. Stokes). I hope that during this session they may be successful in their efforts to assure that the atmosphere in this chamber is marked by dignity and an amiable spirit.
As the member for Scarborough East I would like to say a few words about my riding and about my borough. I have lived in Scarborough for almost 20 years and for many years I was involved in the life of my community as a volunteer with many of the agencies which provide the social services.
I believe, and I can’t stress this too much, that communities such as Scarborough are fun places in which to live because of the community participation in such programmes. The people in Scarborough have accepted their responsibility for each other. They have organized many social programmes on a community basis and they have developed those programmes with a lot of voluntary participation. That is the kind of dedication and involvement which governments just can’t provide.
While I am on the subject of responsibility, I would like to turn to this government’s measures -- responsible measures -- for dealing with the growing costs of social and other services. I believe this kind of responsible restraint is what the people of Ontario want from their government. I believe it is important for all of us in this chamber, if we hope that the debates and deliberations here will serve interests beyond partisan ones, to understand that what the people of Ontario want and what this government is proposing is no dismantling of a system of services which people have come to depend on. It is no downgrading of the importance of government’s role as a provider of services.
I can give the most compelling evidence of that by stating the simple fact -- one simple fact -- that this year the people of Ontario, through their government, will spend more than $8 billion, some two-thirds of the total provincial budget, on social services. I believe that fact is a clear demonstration of the very high priority this government continues to place on the services of people.
We will continue to have disagreement in this chamber. Part of the function of the debates we have here must be to state those disagreements clearly, so that the people of Ontario can decide. Yet, when we speak of the social services it seems to me that too often a large part of our effort is bent not to the clear presentation of our views but rather to the distortion of the views, philosophies and motives of our opponents.
The dilemma that we all face in Ontario and across Canada in the social services is very real. If there is not action to stop the process that we have witnessed in recent years -- where each year the cost of each service increases more quickly than either inflation or our total wealth as a society, apparently regardless of the numbers of people using the service or even the effectiveness of the programmes involved -- not only will government’s consumption of our total wealth have to increase to impossible proportions, but the capacity of governments and of communities to respond to new needs will be hopelessly compromised.
My colleagues and I do not believe that government’s share of our total wealth can be permitted to increase indefinitely. We believe the individual citizen of Ontario is a far better and more prudent manager of his or her own affairs, responsibilities and income than any government can ever hope to be.
Our critics have a somewhat more optimistic view of government and of its capacity. They say that government can take greater and greater portions of the wealth that results from the productive work of people across Ontario without creating any serious disincentive to productive work. They believe, and sincerely, I think, that the results of government spending decisions will almost always be of greater general benefit to the community than the individual spending decisions people may make with regard to their own income. They believe, I think, that there are very few problems that are beyond the power of government, armed with the taxpayers’ dollars, to resolve.
As I say, those are all legitimate beliefs. I hope I have not misinterpreted them. They are legitimate, although anyone who has watched the experience of governments in other jurisdictions -- and I might mention Alberta, British Columbia, New York and England -- will find it difficult not to feel that they are also very naive.
I believe there are beliefs that run contrary to the traditions and practices that have built the prosperity we all enjoy here in Ontario. We have succeeded in becoming one of the best fed, best clothed and best housed people in the history of civilization. In Ontario, we have built one of the best -- and perhaps the best -- systems of social services in the world. Our health, education and programmes such as GAINS are admired, studied and copied by many other jurisdictions. What has made all of these achievements possible has been the initiative and incentive of individuals. They have created the wealth that makes our social services possible.
When we talk of priorities and of the choices that governments must make, it seems to me to be only logical that we consider not simply whether government ought to devote resources to this social service or that, to this programme to create employment and opportunity or that, or to the police or to the roads, but that we consider the very basic alternative of choosing to leave the resources in the hands of those who work to earn them. The experience of this society has proved that it is often a very creative alternative indeed.
But no one on this side of the House has suggested that the essential services government provides should be removed or dismantled. We have said that the rate at which the costs of these services increase must be subject to a realistic restraint. We have said that the people whose work produces the wealth that pays for our social services have a right to demand that their government take the steps necessary to assure the greatest possible efficiency and effectiveness in the colossal amounts of spending that are devoted to these services.
I would suggest that the deliberations in this chamber will be more useful to Ontario if all members understand it is possible to be concerned about the rate at which the costs of social services have increased, without in any sense denying the collective responsibility we share to all those among us who need our help.
We will not pretend that all of our actions to achieve control of the rate of growth in social services will be pleasant for everyone. I think it is safe to say that those who are employed in the social services can no longer expect their relative financial positions in society to improve perhaps as quickly as they have in the past decade or so. When one has come to expect constant and rapid improvement, that is really no small matter.
Those agencies that rely in whole or in part on government financing will find themselves faced by a demanding financial discipline. After years of rapid budget growth, that is no small change. But anyone who, like me, has worked with these agencies, will have little doubt either that there is room for improvement in their efficiency or that the people who operate them do have the capacity to realize that improvement. But enough funds will continue to be available for our network of social services to continue to meet the needs that people in Ontario encounter in their daily lives.
We have studied these matters in great detail and very carefully, and we believe the control we are practising on increasing costs is realistic. But all of us in this chamber will be watching closely to assure ourselves that the effects of restraint do not seriously hinder the provision of necessary services. I would suggest that serious efforts to promote greater efficiency and effectiveness within social programmes are more appropriate now than the indignant anticipations of disaster that will never happen.
It is important to remember that the levels of support for social services in Ontario, even with our efforts to restrain cost increases to a realistic level, are generous.
Mr. Reid: Does this mean we’re going to have a tax increase? Is that what you’re telling us? Are you getting us set for a tax increase on Tuesday night?
Hon. Mrs. Birch: But not all of our disagreements with our critics will be about the level of financial support available to the social services. Once again, some of our friends in the official opposition will disagree with us on a philosophical basis about the rate at which new services can be introduced and existing services expanded. I believe we should make our differences clear to the people across Ontario, because they will finally have to decide between the two positions.
In a sense, the development of many of the social services in Ontario has been a process whereby responsibilities that were the individual’s or the community’s, in a general way, have now been delegated to government, either because they were too onerous for the individual or the community or too difficult for them to discharge, or because the consequences of any failure to discharge them were intolerable. So we developed systems to provide health care, education, financial security and all the other services that we have built. But where it is possible my colleagues and I believe it is preferable for the individual to meet his own responsibilities directly, whether we are speaking of him as a parent or a spouse or a citizen. We believe that the greatest possible area of personal responsibility is a positive benefit to the individual and to those who depend upon him or her in Ontario. Some of our critics feel no such respect for the individual meeting of responsibilities. They see no particular disadvantage in having more and more responsibility delegated to the state, regardless of need, and that is where we differ very basically.
We believe that the state should intervene to meet those responsibilities that are beyond the capacity of the individual. Where people are generally able to discharge a particular responsibility without state assistance, we would favour the provision of particular assistance to those who, for some particular reason, need it. Our critics favour the assumption of responsibility by government, whether the general run of our population are able to discharge that responsibility or not. They believe there is something better in the uniformity of a government service than in the multi-faceted system that evolves from the various ways that individuals, acting voluntarily, choose to discharge their own responsibilities.
I believe that people in Ontario do not want or need further government help or interference in the discharge of the responsibilities they bear as parents, spouses or citizens of communities. I believe they would prefer to retain the greatest possible portion of the incomes that they work to earn and be free to meet their responsibility in their own way. I do not believe that government is the repository of any special capacity to make problems go away simply by taking to itself a greater share of our total wealth or the sum of the responsibilities throughout our society.
Government does not have personal independence within its gift. Government can provide an income; it can provide food, shelter, and clothing, but these material goods do not equate with personal independence. We say that those who are able to work and have the opportunity to work should not live on welfare. We say that will help to restrain growing welfare costs but we say too that we believe a continued dependency on the government, when there is a realistic alternative is bad.
People who can work should work. They should contribute to the community around them and to its total wealth. It will benefit them materially and it will benefit them with a satisfaction and an independence that is not available any other way. I am aware that there are those who consider such beliefs to be, at best, old-fashioned and, at worst, heartless. From them I can ask only that they do my colleagues and me the credit of accepting that we hold these beliefs very sincerely, that a large number of people across Ontario share these beliefs with us, and that they are based not merely on a concern about levels of spending --
Mr. Reid: Only 38 per cent.
Hon. Mrs. Birch: -- but on a clear conception of what best serves the interest of the individuals involved and of the community as a whole.
Hon. Mrs. Birch: Being able to work, having an opportunity to work and support oneself and those who depend on you and then being asked to work is not, in my view, an indignity.
Mr. Warner: Is raising children work?
Hon. Mrs. Birch: As the minister responsible for the policies and the directions we follow in the social services, I have not tried to argue details or statistics. That role could be more properly performed by my colleague.
We, in government, are attempting to protect the interests and to follow the wishes of the people across Ontario. As we perceive them, there are different perceptions in this House. None of us can pretend away the very real dilemma that governments across Canada face as they attempt to achieve some realistic control of the rate at which the social services are increasing.
The final decisions about how we deal with that dilemma will be made by the people of Ontario as they choose among the positions the various parties take. The dilemma is real and its resolution is critically important -- too important, I would suggest, to deserve anything other than the frankest and most open debate we can bring to this chamber.
Mr. Warner: Can you explain the $2 million debt, then?
Mr. Bain: Mr. Speaker, today I would like to discuss some problems which I believe are very serious, especially when one looks at the words contained in the Throne Speech as delivered by the Honourable the Lieutenant Governor, outlining the policies of this government.
The policies of this government as contained in that speech are riddled with omissions and failure. Failure because the Tories have done nothing to guarantee safety in the work place; they have done nothing to relieve the difficulties faced by farmers. For over three years, they have done nothing to resolve the caution on the Timagami area.
This government has supported Northern Telephone in its practice of charging $800 to $1,000 for the installation of a telephone in rural areas. Now the government is in the process of depriving people of proper health care and in the process of waging war on children who cannot defend themselves.
For anyone who has any knowledge of the communities associated with the extraction of resources, the problems which have existed in the mining industry for years have been of deep concern. The story of United Asbestos is not a pleasant one.
This company is located in Midlothian township, southeast of Matachewan, and was due to start operation last summer. Still today the asbestos mill is operating at about 30 per cent capacity and recently the government was finally prodded into action and the Minister of Natural Resources (Mr. Bernier) took a safari to the mill site. I would suggest that it is going to take more than one visit by the minister and his ensuing contradictory remarks to get the mess at United Asbestos cleaned up.
I will quote from some of the reports tabled in the House, which came out of that visit. The first I refer to is one from the occupational health protection branch, dated March 10:
“This asbestos mill has been in operation for about eight months. It has operated below capacity, 30 per cent capacity. Both area and personal air samples were taken in the mill.”
Of course, personal air samples, I feel, are much more important and more valid than the area samples because the personal air samples are actually taken by the men as they work in their individual work places.
Some of the comments in the report are as follows: “Some operations in the quality control room, particularly dumping of asbestos on benches without local exhaust, could be hazardous.”
I would suggest that’s an understatement. “Dry sweeping is carried out in the mill by cleaning crews.” As anyone who is familiar with asbestos plants knows, dry sweeping is not desirable. “Incoming air though vents without baffles on the fifth floor agitated dust on the floors.”
Some of the comments in the report from the mines engineering division, Ministry of Natural Resources, that came out of the same visit are as follows:
“During the period of the survey it was noted that general housekeeping improved considerably due to the conversion from dry sweeping to portable vacuum cleaners.”
I would suggest that the most important part in that reference is, “during the period of the survey.” Of course, when people are on the site from the Ministry of Natural Resources or from occupational health, conditions improve. But what happens when they leave?
The report also makes reference to respirators. Respirators, as far as I am concerned, are just another way of trying to cover up the basic issue. These in fact are not respirators; they are simply masks that fit over the mouth and the nose. It has been proved repeatedly that these masks, if worn beyond two hours per shift, will cause enlargement of the heart and ensuing heart difficulties.
Some of the readings from the occupational health survey in the area are indeed disturbing. As I mentioned earlier, area readings are not very indicative of the actual work place, but in this case only one out of 10 was beyond the acceptable level of two fibres per cubic centimetre. In the personal samples, six out of 11, or 54 per cent, were beyond the acceptable limit of two fibres per cubic centimetre. In the Ministry of Natural Resources samples that were taken, three out of nine of the area samples, or 33 per cent, were above the acceptable level; and in the personal samples eight out of 11, or 72.7 per cent, were above the acceptable levels. There were also samples that read as high as 12.8, 8.1, 7.3, 7.9. 6.8, 6.5. These readings are indeed alarming if one considers that the plant is operating considerably below capacity, and when it does operate at capacity the amount of asbestos fibres in the air will be even greater.
After the trip of the Minister of Natural Resources (Mr. Bernier) to United Asbestos, this directive went out from the Ministry of Natural Resources to the mine manager at United Asbestos. I won’t read it all, but suffice to say I’m paraphrasing it accurately when I say that the only items mentioned were that respirators were to become mandatory, which in fact are nothing more than gauze masks; and the sample results are to be posted in the plant. And that’s about it. Where is the directive to the company to clean up those hazardous working conditions, which the minister now admits do exist? In the House the other day, the Minister of Labour (B. Stephenson) said there were such directives and she would make them available to us. That has not yet been done.
As early as the fall of 1975, the Ministry of the Environment at Timmins threatened -- and I quote from an actual letter to the manager -- that “if the pugmill is not cleaned up, it may be found necessary to cause your operation to be shut down.” If that was the case then, I submit it is even more the case now and, as the mill is shut down and cleaned up, the men should be retained on complete and full pay. The company has had numerous warnings and has responded in each case by doing nothing. In each case the mine manager sent a letter back to the authority from whence came the letter, saying that all is now in order.
All has never been in order and it still isn’t today. Conditions have become so bad that the Manpower office in Kirkland Lake now refuses to send men to United Asbestos. It advises them of the risks, and if they choose to go they do so at their own risk.
As we all know, Manpower always insists that people take available jobs. If Manpower is not directing people to United Asbestos the conditions indeed must be bad -- so bad, in fact, that in an area of high unemployment, United Asbestos cannot find adequate numbers of workers. Recently, they have taken to advertising in the Globe and Mail, “Immediate opportunities available with United Asbestos.” Needless to say, they mention nothing about the working conditions.
I would suggest that if the government needs any more factual information it just go and ask the workers. Let it ask the workers what they think of United Asbestos and ask them about the conditions. They will tell the government that men are covered with asbestos; there is asbestos in piles all over the plant, on the floors and on the machinery; asbestos covers the men when they go into a lunchroom; asbestos is in their lockers where men put their street clothes that they bring to work in; and because the company will not allow them two lockers, put their work clothes in that locker when they come off the job, mixing their work clothes and their street clothes together, so that they are certain of taking asbestos fibres home to their families.
The men have asked for a laundromat where their clothes could be washed, and they have also asked for a double set of lockers, so they could avoid taking asbestos home to their families. The company refuses to budge.
What’s going to happen in 10 or 15 years to these young men who are now starting to work at United Asbestos? Is the Minister of National Resources (Mr. Bernier) going to be around then to go and tell them there was no danger, when they are suffering from asbestos-induced diseases?
The problem is so serious because there is irrefutable proof that working in these kinds of conditions is a hazard. Dr. Selikoff, of the environmental science laboratory, Mt. Sinai School of Medicine of the City University of New York, has made the results of his detailed and very reputable studies available to the public. Even under one month of exposure doubles the chance of death from asbestos diseases. With one year of exposure, you would expect the average person in the population who was exposed to conditions on the site to have this kind of disease. You would expect 3.7 out of 105 workers to get this kind of disease; roughly four workers out of 105. But in the actual study that Dr. Selikoff did, it was 20 workers. In the study he did, out of a total of 805 men who were exposed to asbestos, we would expect that, statistically speaking, 33 men out of 805 would get diseases that could be induced by asbestos. Yet, in the actual study, 155 men ended up with asbestos-induced diseases, and the ensuing suffering that resulted.
It’s important to remember that in the short time that the mill at United Asbestos has been operating, 200 men have already passed through that plant.
United Asbestos is indeed an interesting company in that it’s almost impossible to find out who owns it. If one looks at Statistics Canada, foreign ownership of United Asbestos is indicated. From this source, 75 per cent is said to be controlled by foreign owners. Four of the directors are from the United States, and there is also Japanese money involved in the financing of Matachewan. The net income of the company in 1975 over 1974 was up 81 per cent -- certainly a tidy return -- but the company still refuses to act to clean up the mill.
One might say that if we push the company, they would close up their operation and the jobs would be lost. As someone who grew up not more than 25 miles from Matachewan, I am fully aware of the situation that existed in Matachewan when the gold mines closed and a population of over 3,500 people was left without jobs, with the small exception of a few jobs in other areas. Basically the entire economy was pulled out from under the community.
We were all happy when Matachewan was going to experience growth because of the location of United Asbestos there, but we are not happy with the present conditions, nor are the people of the community. If the company should threaten to close down, I would suggest that would be entirely a bluff. The company has over $33 million invested in this project and they are unlikely to close the doors and walk away.
But they must be forced to clean up the plant. There should be a committee consisting of three men -- one representative from management; one representative from among the workers; and one of the inspectors from the occupational health protection branch who warned the government last fall of the hazardous conditions -- which would have control of the working conditions in the plant. This committee would have the power to close down the plant, direct cleanup operations and ensure that the workers were compensated in wages for lost time. This I believe is the absolute least that the government could do.
If the company should close down the operation because of the government’s insistence, which I have yet to see, that the plant be cleaned up, I would think that this would be an excellent opportunity for the government to do something that was worthwhile and innovative. The government could take over the operation as a Crown corporation, and because it was closed down and the corporation refused to operate it, this would only devalue the actual operation in dollars and cents terms, so the government could obviously pay a reasonable price for it; it wouldn’t be exorbitant. The government could set it up, as I said, as a Crown corporation. There would be workers on the board of directors and the workers would have a veto power on all matters of safety in the plant.
Mr. Warner: Called industrial democracy.
Mr. Bain: Yes, it is called industrial democracy. 1 hesitated to use that phrase with the government because last time I used it, the Provincial Secretary for Resources Development (Mr. Irvine) didn’t know what those words meant, so in this case I trust they understand what would take place if United Asbestos was operated as a Crown corporation. Not only would this be a model of worker participation in the running of a plant, it could also become a model of what can be achieved in safe working conditions in the asbestos industry.
The government has a strong obligation to act in the case of United Asbestos. Failure to do so will jeopardize the future health and happiness of countless men and their families.
If we look also at the area of agriculture, we find another area that the government has at best been slipshod about. I won’t get into as many aspects of agriculture as I would like to today. If I recited the government’s poor record in this area, I would be going on for several hours.
Suffice it to say that one matter that has been recently brought to my attention that disturbs me greatly is that two years ago the provincial government actively encouraged farmers to get involved in the production of industrial milk. This government instituted the Industrial Milk Production Incentive Programme, whereby it lent farmers money to set up an industrial milk operation.
If I might quote briefly from a letter that was sent out by the Ministry of Agriculture and Food to all farmers who enrolled, it goes as follows:
“An increase in industrial milk production on your farm is required in order to obtain a refund on the principal payments that are due in the second, third, fourth and fifth years of the loan.”
In order to qualify for the benefits of the loan the farmer had to increase production; but now what’s happened?
The federal government has indicated to the farmers that they are to reduce production and, in fact, on recent pay cheques the farmers have received for their butterfat, they were paid for only 60 per cent of what was shipped. Can members imagine working and getting paid for only 60 per cent of the work they do, considering the rising costs that farmers are faced with?
One farmer I visited took out his loan in 1974. He was asked to fill out a sheet indicating his costs. At that time he estimated that in 1976 his hydro for a year would be $350. His actual hydro for the two months just passed was $250. His costs are escalating. He’s in danger of losing all benefits under the industrial milk production incentive programme loan which he took out. He’s going to be penalized on that loan and he’s also being penalized because now he can’t produce the milk he needs to pay off the loan.
This government, because it encouraged farmers to get into industrial milk, has an obligation at the very least to redo the terms of the incentive loan so that farmers won’t be further penalized.
The government’s record in cow-calf stabilization is not a good one. Recently it has been asking farmers to make a commitment to a $10 premium per cow -- whereas last year, it was $5 -- without any commitment whatsoever from the government as to what the support price will be; or any sort of commitment as to what poundage of animal the support price will apply to.
Needless to say, farmers are not willing to accept this kind of pig-in-a-poke attitude by the government. It’s time the government was straight with farmers, sat down with them and honestly negotiated with them for a decent support price for the cow-calf operators.
As I mentioned in my introductory remarks, and as I exposed to the House yesterday in my question to the Attorney General, there has been a caution on 110 townships in the Timagami area since 1973. Since many members are not aware of the situation in regard to the caution, I think it would be beneficial to outline some of the problems and some of the repercussions which will be evident if the government refuses to act.
On Aug. 14, 1973, a caution under section 48 of the Land Titles Act was registered in the land titles office in North Bay against unpatented lands in 110 townships in the Timagami area. This caution, in effect, has been a land freeze and has caused a great deal of difficulty for people in the area, since they can’t obtain any loans from the bank, because they can’t receive clear title to their land. The community itself is unable to expand in any way. In effect, the community has been held in a state of limbo.
The government is supposed to assist in the resolution of this problem. A directive circulated within the Ministry of Natural Resources in the summer of 1974 indicated that the claim as registered by the Bear Island Indian Foundation is sufficiently strong that the claim should not be resolved through the courts for fear that the Crown would lose.
I might briefly add that the principle which would be established and set by this precedent would be the same one that would give the Indian people of the Northwest Territories the right to their claims in that area. In effect, this claim and its resolution is not only important for the Timagami area but is important for other areas of this province and of this nation.
The Attorney General’s office therefore suggested very strongly to the Ministry of Natural Resources that its claim be resolved through negotiations that would be undertaken by the Ministry of Natural Resources with the Bear Island Indian band.
The Ministry of Natural Resources refuses to do anything, and in return indicates that it is something that should be settled by the Attorney General. But the Attorney General, as was indicated yesterday, is not really aware of the problem and his ministry is not doing anything. Nobody, whether in Natural Resources or the Attorney General’s office, is doing anything to resolve the problem; and the people in the Timagami area are experiencing a great deal of difficulty.
That’s just another area of government inaction. I hope, now that this has been pointed out clearly to the government, that it will embark upon a clearly stated policy to resolve the caution, either through negotiations or through the courts, so the people in the Timagami will know when they can expect this caution to be resolved.
Something that I could not believe when it was first brought to my attention -- and I am sure the members in this House cannot believe it either -- is that Northern Telephone Corp. is charging rural communities us much us $800 to $1,000 per phone as an installation charge. When was the last time anybody in an urban area was charged even $100 to install a phone, let alone $800 to $1,000? If this was happening in Toronto, you could rest assured that the government would take action. But because it is happening in a rural area, the government refuses to do anything.
I submit that the government has a moral obligation to ensure that people all across this province, whether they be in rural communities or in urban areas, get the same rates and the same rights. And I would suggest that the next time Northern Telephone applies to the Ontario Telephone Services Commission for a rate increase, which it is going to do within the next year, that the government should say there will be no rate increase until the people in the rural areas have phones installed at the same installation charge that is charged to urban dwellers.
Mr. Grossman: In Metro Toronto you sometimes can’t get a phone at all.
Mr. Bain: I am sure that if you are a Tory backbencher the phone company is wide open to you. Unfortunately, these people don’t have the same “ins” that you have.
Mr. Grossman: My people still can’t get the phones.
Mr. Bain: The problem of educational TV is one that has been brought up in this House repeatedly by northern members. I would just like to add one thing: Everything they have said about the need in northern Ontario, about the lack of facilities in comparison to southern Ontario, is true -- and I want to second what they have said.
The government was forced to go ahead with the transmitters at Sudbury and Thunder Bay, after it was pointed out by the official Opposition that we were going to lose $900,000 by defaulting on those contracts to have those transmitters installed. The government grudgingly went ahead with the installation of those transmitters -- but they will only be hooked into cable television in both those communities. I would simply like to point out that for an extra $500,000 we could have those transmitting stations broadcasting to the communities of northern Ontario. How much money has the government spent on educational television in southern Ontario? Only $500,000 would ensure that countless communities all across northern Ontario had access to educational TV. I am sure that even the government will admit that this is something that everybody in this province deserves and has a right to expect.
The report, tabled recently in this House, from the Ontario Educational Communications Authority, says in the preamble:
“The goal of the Ontario Educational Communications Authority is to utilize electronic and associated media to provide educational opportunities for all the people in Ontario.”
It didn’t just say for southern Ontario. So let’s live up to the goals as outlined for the educational television network in this province.
“Hospital cutbacks, Children’s Aid; the topics themselves create a great deal of difficulty for me. I just cannot conceive how a government would use things like hospitals and children for political purposes.”
All I can say is that cutting back in hospitals in this province is not warranted. The government talks about cutting back on frills. Ask the hon. member for Cochrane North (Mr. Brunelle) if we have any frills in the hospital line in northern Ontario. I’m sure he’s not going to point to too many of them. I certainly can’t point to any in my own riding.
The government is closing out the public labs. The public labs are cheaper than the privately-run labs. It’s strange to note that public labs don’t make a profit. I don’t know whether this means that something that isn’t dedicated to the profit motive is cheaper or not, but certainly that is a conclusion that could be drawn.
The private labs simply assess the government their fixed rate. There’s no competition amongst them. Figures have shown that if the public health labs did the work that was done by the private labs the savings to the taxpayers would be approximately $33 million in 1976 alone. I feel that the government has a moral obligation to keep the public health labs open. The one in North Bay provided extremely good service to northeastern Ontario and the private lab setup the government has initiated will be a very poor substitute.
We hear an awful lot about the escalating cost in health care. I think one figure alone will put this into perspective. In 1970, the percentage of the Ministry of Health’s budget in comparison with the total provincial budget was 33.6 per cent. That same percentage was down to 26.3 per cent in 1973. Where’s the escalating health costs?
As to 5.5 per cent increase in the Children’s Aid budget, such generosity is totally overwhelming. The government knows and has to admit that keeping the budget for the Children’s Aid Society at 5.5 per cent is going to inflict many injuries upon the children of this province who need its services. In my riding alone the Children’s Aid Society has said that 20 to 40 children this year will not be able to receive the services required because of the cutbacks. Essential needs such as a group home for girls will not be able to be embarked upon. There’ll be a further delay in the badly needed increase for foster parents’ home rates and there may even be the possibility that the home for young boys in Haileybury will have to be closed.
Surely the government realizes that a few dollars now to provide adequate care for the children that are in need will not only be returned in financial terms, in that these people when they grow up will not need detention in training centres or perhaps even later in life in prisons, but it’s also a tremendous return on that money in a human sense. Surely the government cannot turn its back on children who are in need in this province.
Another problem that arises for all people who represent natural resource industry areas is compensation. The Workmen’s Compensation Board, when it was set up in 1914 under its Act, didn’t progress very much from that date. I have one case I would briefly like to share with you that illustrates to me some of the severe shortcomings of the Workmen’s Compensation Board.
Recently a constituent came to me because his compensation had been cut back in 1972. He’d written for two years to the board for an explanation. His compensation was for a smashed hand. Finally, a letter came back saying his compensation had been reduced because the board had inadvertently made an error in the original settlement. This man had one finger missing from his hand, so when his hand was smashed and the compensation board calculated his pension, they deducted that finger from his compensation. Do they mean to tell me that when a man smashes a hand, because he had one finger missing already, in some way he still has the use of that missing finger as far as the Compensation Board is concerned in calculating his pension for the smashed hand? I would hope not.
The only thing that can be done to provide workers with decent compensation when they’re injured in the work place is to enter into an insurance programme that would guarantee that workers would be able to apply, much like OHIP, and collect when they were injured and unable to work on the basis of their doctor’s report. This compensation programme through insurance would be covered by a premium contribution from both the employer and the employee, which then could become an item of collective bargaining. I would feel this would be a far better, far more compassionate type of compensation to provide the workers of this province.
Mr. Speaker, would you entertain a motion for adjournment?
Mr. Speaker: Yes, if you are --
Mr. Bain: I have ended at one section and I have only a few more sections to cover, but I feel it would take me about 10 more minutes. If you want to go over the adjournment period, I’m quite willing --
Mr. Nixon: We don’t.
Mr. Bain: -- but I am sure the members would like to adjourn on time for today, so I’ll move a motion of adjournment for today and continue on Monday. Thank you.
Mr. Bain moved the adjournment of the debate.
Motion agreed to.
Hon. Mr. Meen: Mr. Speaker, on Monday next will be the wind-up of the Throne debate with the vote on the amendments and the motion in reply to the Throne Speech at about 10:30 on Monday night.
On Tuesday, we will be in legislation until 6 o’clock, and then at 8 o’clock will be the budget speech. On Wednesday, I am advised that the House will not be sitting. On Thursday, we will have legislation in the afternoon and in the evening; and on Friday of next week we also anticipate legislation.
Hon. Mr. Meen moved the adjournment of the House.
Motion agreed to.
The House adjourned at 1 p.m.