The House met at 2 p.m.
Mr. Speaker: Statements by the ministry.
DESIGN FOR ONTARIO LAND-USE PLAN
Mr. Lewis: A question, if I could, to the Provincial Secretary for Resources Development: In conjunction with his major design for Ontario, which I understand is scheduled for publication later this week or early next week, why was it necessary, on the land-use question relating to the preservation of agricultural land, to hire an outside consultant from the Hedlin Menzies firm to produce a document for the government which the civil service itself was unprepared to produce?
Hon. Mr. Irvine: Mr. Speaker, in reply to the hon. Leader of the Opposition, I don’t believe that the civil service was not prepared to produce it. The report was prepared in cooperation with the civil service at all times.
Mr. Lewis: I see. Now that we have it pinned down, by way of supplementary, when the provincial secretary is dealing with a matter of government policy, why does he bring in someone from the Hedlin Menzies firm to help create something which is largely an extension of everything we’ve seen for the last several years? Why was that necessary at all?
Hon. Mr. Irvine: Mr. Speaker, first of all, the hon. Leader of the Opposition is talking about something which is a supposition on his past. It’s not something that he has seen, as he said, largely for the last several years. It’s something that is going to be absolutely different and very practical for the people of Ontario to deal with --
Mr. Lewis: I have a copy, and it is not different.
Hon. Mr. Irvine: And although he may have a copy which he thinks is something the same as what has been happening in the past, that is not actually the case.
Mr. Lewis: It is a cop-out.
Mr. MacDonald: Supplementary: Is it accurate that the department which has been living with this problem and its solutions for a long time, prepared a couple of documents, both of which were turned down by the cabinet and, therefore, the provincial secretary got a politically acceptable one from a consultant outside?
Hon. Mr. Irvine: Mr. Speaker, no.
Mr. Lewis: A question for the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations: Is he able to do anything about the rent dilemma at 118 Overbrook Pl., where notice for rent increases was given to the tenants on Jan. 26, 1976, to be effective March 1, 1976, in direct contravention of the 90-day notice required in the Landlord and Tenant Act, and yet the rent officer ruled that the increase would take effect on March 1, thereby violating the Act?
Hon. Mr. Handleman: Mr. Speaker, the option, of course, is open to the tenant to appeal to the Rent Review Board under those circumstances. In a situation where the rent review officer’s finding is in violation of the law, I have every confidence that the board would find so.
Mr. Lewis: By way of supplementary, what can be done in this case? Is it possible, once I turn the material over to the minister, for him to encourage the tenants to make this direct appeal to the Rent Review Board, since they feel largely intimidated by the process even though they know from the rent review officials in North York, and from the landlord-tenant bureau, that there has been a violation of the law, they feel quite helpless?
Hon. Mr. Handleman: Mr. Speaker, I think it’s very regrettable that anyone feels intimidated by the process, although I appreciate that the complexity of the process may very well intimidate people. It is certainly not intended to do that, and I would appreciate receiving the information from the Leader of the Opposition so that I can look into it. I think we must appreciate, of course, that we will not direct either a rent review officer or the board to make a decision. This is an appeal process, which I think should be completely separated from the political process -- even from the administrative process in the ministry.
PROPERTY TAX INQUIRY
Mr. Lewis: May I ask the Treasurer, is there any substance to the rumour about a gentleman named Willis Blair launching a major commission inquiry into use and extension of property tax?
Hon. Mr. McKeough: Not to my present knowledge, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Lewis: Is it to the Treasurer’s imminent future knowledge?
Hon. Mr. McKeough: Mr. Speaker, there are many things which are not to my present knowledge but which will be unfolded to all of us in the fullness of time.
Mr. Lewis: Tomorrow night. Well, Willis is waiting, I guess, breathlessly.
TASK FORCE REPORT ON TRAINING SCHOOLS ACT
Mr. Lewis: One last question of the Minister of Community and Social Services: Now that he has received the interministerial task force report on section 8 of the Training Schools Act and the consequences which flow from it, can the minister indicate when he will be prepared to make a specific statement to the Legislature on the disposition of children and the funding arrangements?
Hon. Mr. Taylor: Mr. Speaker, with respect, the hon. Leader of the Opposition’s intelligence may not be entirely accurate, in that I expect the interministerial study to be coming forward for recommendation through the policy field and then it will go on from there, presumably, to the cabinet.
Mr. Lewis: What is the timetable on that, may I ask?
Hon. Mr. Taylor: I’ve been pressing very vigorously for some time to expedite that, and I’m hopeful that it will be soon.
FANCY LIQUOR BOTTLES
Mr. S. Smith: A question of the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations: Are we to understand by the introduction of fancy new liquor bottles by the LCBO that its function has been altered from a liquor supply house to a promoter of increased liquor consumption? I refer to the fancy bottles the LCBO is very keen about now.
Mr. Sargent: It’s the same old stuff.
Hon. Mr. Handleman: Mr. Speaker, I don’t know what assumption the hon. member is making. The LCBO has been carrying liquor in fancy bottles for many, many years and there is no special promotion on that kind of container.
Mr. Roy: That’s not what they say.
Hon. Mr. Handleman: I simply don’t understand the question. The LCBO has been doing this for years and simply announced it is going to continue to do it.
Mrs. Campbell: That’s not what they say.
Mr. S. Smith: As a supplementary, is the minister able to explain then the point of view taken by the LCBO that the new bottle marketing plan is one of their new directions and is expected to bring in an extra million dollars to the LCBO through sale of these fancy bottles? Can the minister explain why they should put forward that point of view?
Mr. Nixon: How about that?
Hon. Mr. Handleman: Mr. Speaker, first of all, the hon. member should understand that the minister who reports to this Legislature for the LCBO does not direct the LCBO. I would be glad to get an explanation, if one is really required.
Mr. Peterson: Like everything else.
Mr. S. Smith: Could the minister tell us whether he has been in consultation with the Minister of the Environment (Mr. Kerr) concerning that latter minister’s point of view about moving to fancy attractive bottles of this kind, rather than to standardized refillable bottles?
Hon. Mr. Handleman: Mr. Speaker, I understand the Minister of the Environment would object if the fancy bottles were put out for collection, but, of course, the purpose of the fancy bottles is that they remain in the person’s home as an object of decoration in the home.
Mr. Peterson: You wouldn’t have room in your house.
Mr. Reid: You must have run that through your shredder.
Mr. Lewis: If you had learned French, there is an expression for that.
LAB PROFICIENCY TESTING PROGRAMME
Mr. S. Smith: A question of the acting Minister of Health: Would the minister consider making the results of the laboratory proficiency testing programme administered by the OMA available to the doctors using these labs, as opposed to simply keeping them as something known to the labs and to the government and to the OMA?
Hon. B. Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, most of the physicians who use these labs are aware of true fact that the lab has been accredited. They may not be aware of the fact that the lab has not been accredited, and I would seriously consider that proposal.
Mr. S. Smith: I am sorry, Mr. Speaker. Perhaps, in fact, I have received a positive reply but I’m afraid I didn’t understand it. Could the minister please explain simply whether the results of the laboratory proficiency testing programme that goes on, that is a regular programme, would regularly be made available to the doctors using these labs? It’s a pretty straightforward question, I thought.
Hon. B. Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, the accreditation programme provides the laboratory with a certificate which is usually displayed within the laboratory. Therefore, the doctors who use the laboratories know whether, in fact, the laboratory has been accredited or not. They might not be aware as far as specific directions regarding upgrading certain tests are concerned, and they lose their licence if, in fact, they do not manage to keep abreast of the kinds of upgrading which has been suggested to them. If there was any merit in the thought of allowing physicians to know that laboratories need to be upgraded in certain specific tests, I would seriously consider that problem.
Mr. Rollins: Mr. Speaker, in view of the serious flooding in Hastings county, in Thurlow township and other municipalities south of Highway 7, I would like to ask the provincial Treasurer what funds will be available for those who are affected by water damage and property loss in this area? There is a high water level this year. What steps can be taken in this area, and also in the area of the dam at Marmora where there has been considerable expense with sandbagging and other items?
Hon. Mr. McKeough: Mr. Speaker, I think there are perhaps two parts to the question. First of all, with respect to the damage which occurred, the Ministry of Natural Resources is the lead ministry in the case of flooding such as this. I am informed that they are assessing the situation to see what help can be provided and what further help may be needed.
In terms of provincial assistance, the first step would be to declare this a disaster area, and I understand that MNR and other ministries are assessing those facts to see what dollar damage there is. There, is to be a meeting, as I understand it, on Friday of this week of the conservation authority. Officials from various ministries will be there and any decision on the part of the province will be taken after that meeting.
Mr. Rollins: Supplementary: With reference to the final decision which will be made after the meeting that has been arranged by the Moira Conservation Authority in this area on Friday, this will also pertain to a similar situation as it affects Marmora?
Hon. Mr. McKeough: Yes, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. O’Neil: A supplementary: I would ask if the Treasurer would keep my office informed as to the results of this meeting, as it affects part of my riding.
Hon. Mr. McKeough: Mr. Speaker, any information requested by any hon. member will, of course, be supplied.
Mr. Germa: A question of the Solicitor General, Mr. Speaker: Now that the feds have passed legislation which precludes county and district court judges from receiving extra remuneration, will that not encourage the Solicitor General now to amend the Police Act to remove judges from the police commissions of Ontario?
Hon. Mr. MacBeth: Mr. Speaker, yes, it is being considered by the cabinet as to whether or not an amendment will be necessary. I personally am hoping that it will still be possible that some police commissions will retain the services of judges, but in view of the federal action it is quite possible that some judges will not want to act. In which case, I think it will be necessary to amend the Police Act, because we might be operating with only two commissioners in places where they call for three.
Mr. Germa: Supplementary: Do I take it that the minister favours retaining judges on police commissions in Ontario?
Hon. Mr. MacBeth: Mr. Speaker, I have expressed the personal view that I do favour retaining county court judges on police commissions.
Mr. Reid: Supplementary: How can the minister, especially having a legal background, square the conflict of interest -- which is real in some cases, but certainly there -- of the judge sitting as a judge judging the actions of police officers and then also being on a police commission? How does he square that?
Hon. Mr. MacBeth: Mr. Speaker, there is a great deal of difficulty in squaring a lot of relations, I suppose, in conflict-of-interest matters. But it seems to me that the judges of this province probably have fewer conflicts of interest and know how to deal with conflicts of interest better than many other people do. The suggestion has been made that municipal politicians should take the place of some of the county court judges. I don’t know of any group that perhaps has more conflicts of interest than politicians.
Mr. Reid: Well, we are not dealing with that.
Mr. S. Smith: Speak for yourself.
Hon. Mr. MacBeth: We all have to deal with these conflicts of interests. There are very many other virtues that judges bring to police commissions. I think it is reasonable that those virtues should outweigh some of the objections that my friend has to the judges.
ICE STORM DAMAGE
Mr. Spence: I have a question for the provincial Treasurer. Has the minister made any decision on the request of some towns and villages that they be designated as disaster areas to receive assistance to restore hydro, after the severe ice storm on March 2 which caused a tremendous amount of damage to those villages and towns? These municipalities feel they must have some financial assistance or else it will be a hardship on them for a year or two.
Hon. Mr. McKeough: Mr. Speaker, an interdepartmental committee was formed to assess the whole situation, I think with representatives from Ontario Hydro, the Minister of Energy, my own ministry, and the Ministry of Natural Resources. Because this was a storm which did not fall into any category which heretofore we had contemplated, the Solicitor General’s is therefore the lead ministry. There is a committee of officials examining what the damages were and the costs and the implications. They will be reporting in due course to cabinet through the Solicitor General (Mr. MacBeth).
WINDSOR TEACHERS’ DISPUTE
Mr. Bounsall: Mr. Speaker, a question of the Minister of Education: Does the minister agree with the Premier’s (Mr. Davis) statement of last week to the effect that the Windsor Board of Education lockout of the teachers and students should be ended shortly by action of this House? I ask this question because it has led, in my opinion, to a slowdown in negotiations between that point and now. Will the minister clarify what his intentions are with respect to legislation, if at all, with respect to the Windsor situation?
Hon. Mr. Wells: First of all, Mr. Speaker, of course I agree with what the Premier has said. I think any thinking person would realize that an area where there was a 16-day strike in 1978, a 28-schcol-day strike in 1974-1975, and the thought of another strike that might go on 10, 20, 30 or 40 days affecting students who were affected by the other three strikes, has got to be considered in a different light from any of the other stoppages that we’ve had in this province. So therefore, I think the Premier very rightly expressed real concern at the time about a situation.
Mr. Roy: A real insight.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Hon. Mr. Wells: I would have to disagree with my friend’s statement that the statements made here last week, which I learned about in other areas, have impeded negotiations. I think the negotiations --
An hon. member: There should be a contract --
Mr. Lewis: You continue to support the Premier, do you?
Hon. Mr. Wells: I continue to support the Premier, of course --
Hon. Mr. Davis: As does the Leader of the Opposition.
Hon. Mr. Wells: -- as does the Leader of the Opposition, and I hope that the Premier will continue to support me.
Mr. Moffatt: Well, that is nice.
Mr. Lewis: That was incestuous, that was.
Mr. Foulds: As the minister and the Premier have both admitted the situation in Windsor is quantitatively and qualitatively different from the other situations we have faced, does it mean that if the government is forced to legislation it will bring in more innovative legislation than it has to end the previous disputes?
Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, I wouldn’t want to speculate on what type of legislation might be needed in this particular situation, if such is in fact needed. I think I’ve said many times in this House and will continue to say it, negotiated settlements are the best kind of settlements. I’m now making myself again familiar with what’s going on in Windsor. The Education Relations Commission will be doing likewise. We’re going to be seeing what innovative ways and means can be brought to bear to try to get a settlement in that particular area.
I might just say, for the member’s information, the Education Relations Commission is meeting at 8 o’clock tomorrow evening in Central Algoma to listen to presentations from both parties, particularly as to whether the pupils’ programmes are in jeopardy in that particular area, and at 9:30 on Wednesday morning in Sault Ste. Marie, to listen to presentations from both the board and the teachers in those particular areas.
Mr. B. Newman: Is the Education Relations Commission attempting to meet with both sides in the Windsor situation now?
Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, they will be deciding about that either today or tomorrow.
FRENCH IMMERSION PROGRAMME
Mr. Roy: Mr. Speaker, a question of the same minister, the Minister of Education: In view of the overwhelming success of the French immersion programme for English-speaking students in Ottawa, and in the view of the fact that this programme is now in jeopardy because of a lack of funds from the province and the federal government, what is the minister doing to make sure that this programme continues and, in fact, is extended across the province?
Hon. Mr. Wells: First of all, let me correct one wrong assumption that the hon. member has made. There’s never been any definitive answer given to the four boards in the National Capital area that there would be no particular extra funds coming from this government toward those programmes. I met with the boards on Feb. 23 and they made a presentation to me in which they said they would need roughly $3 million additional to continue on programmes which were begun with federal money for two years, then half federal and half our money in the last year. At that time, I said we would look at that and I asked our regional director to assess whether the $3 million was, in fact, an accurate figure. This he has been doing, his reports are coming forward and we will be back to those boards probably next week. That’s exactly what the situation is now.
I must say that also, at the same time, I gave them a letter from Mr. Faulkner which indicated that the federal government would not be making any more special grants, as it had been for the three years previous.
Mr. Roy: If I may ask a supplementary, Mr. Speaker, in view of the Spicer report just recently, and of the fact that it is hoped emphasis will be put more on education of students than senior civil servants, and in view of the fact that the federal government seems to be suggesting there is no question about the success of the Ottawa programme and that the funds to the province are contingent on the extension of the programme not only for Ottawa but right across the province, what is the minister doing to extend this programme, not only from the Ottawa experiment but to other areas in the province?
Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, we have had no indication from the federal government that it was making available extra funds to us under the bilingualism programme for extension of programmes in this province. They’ve indicated that they do make available funds now and that they feel they’re probably adequate for the extra costs necessitated because of bilingual programmes. I haven’t seen or heard since the --
Mr. Roy: You should get in touch with Faulkner.
Hon. Mr. Wells: As a matter of fact, I talked on the phone with Mr. Faulkner this morning and we intend to meet in the very near future.
I just wanted to make it clear, though, that I’ve heard it said, and read a couple of times in the paper in the last few days, that federal money was there if we would extend our programmes, and I say that is not so.
Mr. Cassidy: Supplementary: Is the minister satisfied that the present federal funding for limited programmes of French education in Ontario schools is adequate for the kind of immersion which is clearly proving successful in helping kids to become totally bilingual?
Hon. Mr. Wells: I think my friend should perhaps wait until the research from the Ottawa programmes is presented at a research colloquium that’s going to be held on April 26 in Ottawa, to see whether in fact the oft-held notion that immersion programmes actually are very costly things is actually a true one. I’m not sure that after one pays the start-up costs, the actual cost of immersion programmes -- taking away the cost needed to prepare curriculum material, which I think we have to face and we are facing -- are indeed that much greater, and I see boards like the Scarborough board moving from two schools to three schools with immersion programmes without any particular special financial incentives provided.
Mr. Cassidy: What steps is the minister prepared to take in order to ensure, if the points he makes are correct, an adequate supply of qualified teachers? That’s where the bottlenecks are going to arise if immersion is to be offered across the province.
Hon. Mr. Wells: We are prepared to take the very necessary steps in this regard. We agree that’s where the bottlenecks are, and part of our programme was outlined in the Gillin report and part of our thrust now has to be in that particular area. A lot of the money that is needed will have to be spent there, not necessarily on increased grants to school boards but on programmes to get the teachers available so that they can offer the programmes in the boards.
Hon. Mr. MacBeth: Mr. Speaker, on Friday last, the member for Oshawa (Mr. Breaugh) asked me if I would consider tabling a report which I received from the OPP in connection with the Acton fatalities and I am pleased to do that now. It is dated March 9, 1976, and is the report to me from the Ontario Provincial Police of that accident together with a copy of the statement made by the officer immediately after the accident and the diagram involved.
EFFECT OF FLUORESCENT LIGHT ON FOOD
Mr. Burr: A question of the acting Minister of Health: How has the ministry reacted to the three-year study at the University of Guelph revealing that fluorescent lighting has a harmful effect on foods displayed in stores -- food such as milk and butter -- destroying vitamins in as little as three hours?
Hon. B. Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, I would think that question would more properly be directed to the Ministry of Agriculture and Food. However, we are aware of that report and I am aware that stores -- the large stores -- have been made aware of this potential problem. I am not sure what the retailers are doing about it at the moment.
Mr. Burr: A supplementary: Inasmuch as I asked the Minister of Agriculture and Food (Mr. W. Newman) the same question three weeks ago and he referred me to the Minister of Health and some other ministers unnamed, I think it is about time the government got busy on this problem.
Mr. Sweeney: Mr. Speaker, a question to the Minister of Labour: Based upon predictions coming from the government’s own youth secretariat that there will be up to 150,000 students this summer unable to get employment, will the ministry be starting any special crash programmes to assist them this summer?
Hon. B. Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, I am sure the hon. member is aware of the fact that Experience 76 has established a larger number of job opportunities for the students in this province than we had originally planned to do. We have no further plans right at this time. However, the youth secretariat has been very diligent in its exploration of the problem and in its advertisement of the opportunities for young people. I must say that the applications have been coming in very rapidly.
An hon. member: Where are the jobs?
Hon. B. Stephenson: In all the ministries.
An hon. member: You are sidetracking.
Mr. Sweeney: Would the minister be prepared to speak to her colleague from the Ministry of Culture and Recreation and perhaps suggest that some large sums of unspent money might be used to set up special programmes in culture and recreation as crash programmes for this summer?
Mr. Ruston: From Wintario.
Hon. B. Stephenson: I think the member has done that most effectively, sir.
Mr. Warner: In all these deliberations, is the Minister of Labour aware that there likely will be at least 120,000 students without work this summer?
Hon. B. Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, the preceding speaker had a larger figure than that one; however, I am not sure that either of them is correct.
An hon. member: It’s misleading, that’s what it is. No OFY programmes.
Mr. Hodgson: I don’t know whether or not the Attorney General is aware -- I am sure he is aware of the bad condition of the courthouse in Newmarket -- that on Friday of last week due to that poor condition of the building and due to the building having --
Mrs. Campbell: Question?
Mr. Hodgson: -- no handrails, Judge Munroe fell down and was seriously hurt. Judge Munroe comes from Lindsay, Ont.
An hon. member: This is a speech.
Mr. Speaker: The question?
Mr. Hodgson: The question I would like to ask the --
Mr. Lewis: Are you saying if he hadn’t come from Lindsay he wouldn’t have fallen?
Mr. Hodgson: Well, you may think it is funny but it is not funny when you have a gentleman who is administering justice and he falls down.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Mr. Hodgson: If you think that is a joke, you are not fit to sit in this chamber.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Mr. Hodgson: Can the Attorney General tell me where are the plans at the present time for the new courthouse? Have they gone to the architects or the Minister of Government Services (Mrs. Scrivener), or are they in the minister’s department?
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Mr. Speaker, I was not aware of this misfortune in relation to the judge. I do recognize the fact that there is a new courthouse required in that area. The plans have been prepared and I hope it’s a matter that we will be able to proceed with in the near future, but --
Mr. MacDonald: Which year?
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: As to which year, I am not prepared to give a specific answer at this time, but I can say that the matter of the courthouse in Newmarket is receiving the highest of priorities in so far as the Ministry of the Attorney General is concerned.
Mr. Bullbrook: By way of supplementary: Would the Attorney General consider hand-rails as a stop-gap measure?
SHORTAGE OF SEALING LIDS
Mr. Swart: A question, Mr. Speaker, of the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations: Is he aware of the projected shortage of sealer lids for home canning this year and what is he doing to prevent that shortage?
Hon. Mr. Handleman: Mr. Speaker, if the hon. member is suggesting the government get into the production of sealing equipment for home canning, I would say we are doing nothing along that line.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Hon. Mr. Handleman: The same situation arose last year and we advised all home canners to try to make arrangements with their hardware stores and their suppliers for early supplies. That is all we can do. We are not going to go into the manufacture of this product.
Mr. Swart: In view of the fact that the minister has admitted there is apparently going to be a shortage, is he prepared to give any direction so that there is at least a fair supply made for home canning? What steps will he take to ensure that there isn’t the price rip-off that took place in previous years?
Hon. Mr. Handleman: Mr. Speaker, there is a limit to government intervention in the marketplace and that’s it.
An hon. member: Let them suffer.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
INSURANCE AGAINST RADIATION
Mr. Sargent: A question of the Minister of Energy: Is he aware of the fact that no insurance company in North America or in Canada will give one cent of insurance against nuclear power radiation and, further, that the State of California now is voting on a plebiscite regarding any future development of nuclear power plants? Can the minister tell me why Ontario citizens can’t have the same right to vote against a $30-billion project in nuclear power in this province?
An hon. member: We’re waiting for the budget.
Mr. Yakabuski: Do you want to take it away, Eddie?
Mr. Sargent: Yes, I do.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, as a matter of fact the Ontario voters have had three such occasions on which to vote against nuclear power -- in 1967, 1971 and 1975 -- and they returned the party which put it in.
Mr. Moffatt: This may be the last time you have the chance.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: I am aware, Mr. Speaker, of the plebiscite which is being held in the State of California on June 5. We are all, of course, interested in how that will turn out. I was in California about a month ago on a holiday and viewed for myself some of the material which is being distributed --
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. We are trying to hear the answers too.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Does somebody else want to say it instead?
Mr. Speaker: The hon. minister will continue, please.
Hon. Mr. Davis: How about if we put it on the ballot with seatbelts?
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: As for the question of insurance, I would think that should be more properly put to my colleague, the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations (Mr. Handleman), as it relates to the insurance industry.
Mr. Sargent: Supplementary: Do I understand the minister to say that we have had plebiscites on nuclear power for the people of Ontario directly?
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, what I was referring to is the fact that there have been three general elections in this province since the basic decision was taken, and the people of Ontario had the opportunity to hear the comments of the member’s party -- I am not sure where his party stands on this or any energy-related issue, notwithstanding memos that have gone to his leader on this question -- and they have shown their decision.
Mr. Lewis: That’s seatbelts and power plants.
Hon. Mr. Davis: What else do you want on the ballot?
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Mr. Davison: Mr. Speaker, a question of the Minister of the Environment: Would the minister table in the House the results of the investigation that his ministry’s officials conducted into Interflow Systems of Hamilton as a result of a citizen’s complaint in December, 1975; particularly those sections dealing with the company’s disposal of mercaptan, so we can understand why charges were not laid against the company for acting in such a dangerous and irresponsible fashion?
Hon. Mr. Kerr: Mr. Speaker, I will be happy to table or give the hon. member any information or correspondence dealing with Interflow and that particular matter.
SECURITY AT DON JAIL
Mr. Stong: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Correctional Services. What, if any, instruction has his ministry given surrounding the security at the Don Jail wherein on this weekend there was a jail break from the exercise yard where prisoners formed a human pyramid and hoisted a prisoner over the walls to a successful escape?
Hon. J. R. Smith: Mr. Speaker, I have asked for a full report on this. My initial understanding is there were 80 inmates in the exercise yard and two correctional officers and there were additional correctional officers on the other side of the wall; they were equipped with walkie-talkies and they were able to alert them immediately when the pyramid was discovered and the man was over the wall. In fact, when the inmate who made the break found he was being chased by the police --
Mr. Reid: Transfer the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations (Mr. Handleman).
Mr. Breithaupt: He is in charge of pyramid schemes, isn’t he?
Hon. J. R. Smith: -- he turned around and turned himself over to one of the correctional officers in pursuit.
Mr. Cassidy: After he swam the Don River.
COST OF SABBATICALS
Mr. Yakabuski: Mr. Speaker, I have a question. I guess it could be directed to either the Minister of Education (Mr. Wells) or the Minister of Colleges and Universities (Mr. Parrott), or both.
Mr. Martel: Take your pick.
Mr. Yakabuski: I, and I’m sure, a great number of the taxpayers of this province would be --
Mr. S. Smith: Question. Question.
Mr. Reid: Speech. Speech.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please, we’re wasting time.
Mr. Yakabuski: -- anxious to know what sabbaticals are costing the taxpayers of the Province of Ontario. This being an era of restraint, when are we going to end the sabbatical rip-off?
Mr. Sweeney: Better have a conference.
Mr. Speaker: Does one of the ministers wish to answer that?
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. We’re wasting valuable time. Does one of the hon. ministers wish to answer that?
Mr. Speaker: The member for Wentworth.
Mr. Deans: Is the minister going to answer?
An hon. member: Quit while you’re ahead, Harry.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Mr. MacDonald: Sabbaticals are for those who use their brains.
Mr. Speaker: The member for Wentworth with a question.
Mr. Deans: Is the minister going to answer or not? He can answer if he wants.
Mr. MacDonald: Your cabinet bows out.
PROTECTION FOR CONDOMINIUM BUYERS
Mr. Deans: I have a question for the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations. Can the minister indicate what steps he’s prepared to take now, given that we don’t yet have home warranties, to protect purchasers of condominiums against delays in registration; against rent continuing to be charged far beyond the period where the registration ought to have taken place; against workmanship that is downright shoddy; and against people like Settlement Corp., who made it clear in their advertising that the people who purchased would be eligible for the government’s $1,500 homeowner grant but who are now in doubt as to whether or not they will be because they didn’t complete the project on time?
Hon. Mr. Handleman: Mr. Speaker, first of all, the amendments which were brought in to the Condominium Act last year in our view, and I think in the view of most of the members of the House, achieved most of the objectives which the hon. member is questioning.
As far as the misrepresentation concerning home grants is concerned, a buyer of a condominium has protection under the Business Practices Act and he can actually rescind the contract, provided, of course, there has been misrepresentation. It takes more than an allegation to prove it.
Certainly as far as speedy registrations are concerned, the amendments to the Act last year should have achieved that. If there are any specific cases where there appears to be deliberate delay on the part of the original developer, I would be pleased to know of them because our property rights division would look into it.
Mr. Deans: Does the minister have within his attention the situation which currently exists in Hamilton with regard to the Settlement Corp. development on Upper Ottawa St., whereby those people were assured in the advertising they would qualify for the home owner grant and where there are now some serious questions and reservations as to whether or not they will, as a result of the company involved not having completed the business it had to complete in time to allow them to qualify?
Hon. Mr. Handleman: To the best of my recollection, I don’t know if that has come to my personal attention. There have been a number of cases involving condominium purchases where the homeowner’s grant was not paid because of some confusion as to the terms. If there is any confusion as to the terms of eligibility for that grant, those questions should be directed to my colleague, the Minister of Revenue (Mr. Meen), who administered the payment of the grant.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. There are several people wishing to ask questions along here. I forget who was first. I think it was the member for Windsor-Walkerville.
Mr. B. Newman: I will yield to my leader, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. S. Smith: Now that the Minister of Energy is in the House, I have a question to ask him. Could the minister explain to us some of the utterings by the Energy Minister of Alberta who, with regard to Syncrude and the Alberta-Ontario negotiations, has said that Ontario was about to reach agreement and then changed its mind and backed off and who has said that, long before they will risk the Syncrude plan, they will let Ontario withdraw? Can the minister explain whether Ontario is thinking of withdrawing from Syncrude; and could he explain why the Alberta Energy Minister should have made comments of this kind? What is the state of these negotiations?
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: I don’t know the date of those remarks. Could the hon. member say what year those remarks were made?
Mr. S. Smith: It was about three weeks to a month ago.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: If the hon. member had been in the House last week, he would know that I met with the Minister of Energy of Alberta, the Minister of Energy of Canada, and representatives of the private sector last week -- well there is Hansard -- and all outstanding issues were put aside.
Mr. S. Smith: Supplementary: But has it been settled? Forgive me if I missed the minister’s original remarks but this is quite important. Did he in fact settle with Alberta on the rate of return to the Alberta Energy Co. which was the problem at the time and what is that rate that he has settled at?
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, the final documents have yet to be signed, so I would like to take that last part as notice.
Mr. Peterson: A surprise on signing day or what?
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: I indicated in the House some time ago that Ontario was not considering withdrawing. I thought that must have been an old report. The member has confirmed that in fact it is, and since then we have met.
Mr. Reid: Will the minister table the documents when they are signed?
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: When they are signed, I will take that as notice.
COST OF PUBLIC ENTERTAINMENT
Ms. Bryden: I have a question of the Premier. Will the Premier obtain for us the figure on the cost to the taxpayers of the party which was given for the consular corps at the Art Gallery of Ontario in February; and does he think that perhaps this kind of public entertainment should be eliminated in a period of restraint when there is not enough money for a cost-of-living escalation for social allowance people?
Hon. Mr. Davis: I would be quite delighted to get that figure for the hon. member.
Mr. Mancini: I have a question of the Minister of the Environment. In view of the fact that it has been mentioned them will be chemical spraying against encephalitis, and in view of the fact that the bee-keeping industry of Essex county has suffered thousands of dollars of damage due to spraying last year, what is the ministry going to do to prevent more of this; and what is the ministry going to do about damages suffered last year?
Hon. Mr. Kerr: The hon. member knows a number of municipalities will be taking part in a spraying programme this year. The pesticide advisory council of my ministry attempts to advise local authorities how to conduct the spraying operation as safely us possible. Along with the Ministry of Health, we make recommendations as to the type of pesticides we feel are safe and effective. So, hopefully, the damage that occurred in the hon. member’s area last year won’t be repeated this year.
As far as last year is concerned, this was a municipal undertaking. We did not have the same type of surveillance, shall we say, in control over the municipality as will exist in this year’s programme. We advise as to the type of pesticide but not as to the method of application and how to apply it, whether by aircraft or otherwise. I don’t feel there is any obligation on the part of the province to reimburse those people who suffered damages. I think they should look to the municipality.
Mr. Speaker: The oral question period has expired.
Hon. Mr. McKeough: Mr. Speaker, there were meetings of the ministers of finance on Thursday and Friday of last week, and I thought I would table today the three statements which I made at the conference. I am also tabling two additional documents tabled it that meeting; one is a review of financing issues of the Canada Pension Plan, while the other one examines the federal costing of a recent guaranteed income proposal. The latter study shows the huge cost of proceeding with the kind of support and supplementation add- one being considered by the federal government.
Mr. Speaker: Motions,
Hon. Mr. Welch moved that the House would not sit on Wednesday, April 7, but will sit on Wednesday, April 14; and when the House adjourns on Wednesday, April 14, it will stand adjourned until Tuesday, April 20.
Motion agreed to.
Mr. Speaker: Introduction of bills.
PUBLIC UTILITIES AMENDMENT ACT
Hon. Mr. McKeough moved first reading of bill intituled, An Act to amend the Public Utilities Act.
Motion agreed to; first reading of the bill.
Hon. Mr. McKeough: Mr. Speaker, the purpose of this amendment is to repeal section 34 of the Public Utilities Act, which now provides for debentures issued on behalf of public utilities to be secured by the utility works and the land on which they are situated. Since debentures issued by municipalities are not secured on any specific asset, the repeal of section 34 brings the Act into conformity with this fact.
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)
Mr. Speaker: When we rose last, I believe the hon. member for Timiskaming was making some remarks.
Mr. Bain: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. Today I would like to conclude by briefly discussing two final items that are of concern to the people in my riding -- OHIP charges as made by some doctors and the growing power of multi-national corporations. Recently, a young boy was insured while involved in sports activities in the riding away from his home. This was very early in the morning and he was rushed to the hospital, where he had to wait a considerable length of time. The nurse in charge phoned the doctor on duty. The doctor wouldn’t come to the hospital but prescribed two pain pills. These were taken by the boy. He got more than a little restive, so finally he left the hospital.
Several days passed and the family received a bill for $17 from that doctor. The mother, of course, was very concerned about this and contacted the hospital, as the hospital was not in her home town, and she wanted to know exactly what was going on.
A spokesman for the hospital told her: “Why should you care? You’re not paying for it; it’s OHIP. Just give us your OHIP number.” Needless to say, the mother refused to do this.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. There are far too many loud, private conversations going on and it’s not fair to the hon. member who has the floor. Would you please carry them on at a very low level or outside someplace? Thank you very much.
Mr. Bain: Especially the members from the government side, Mr. Speaker, for I’m sure they’ll want to follow some of my suggestions in fixing up OHIP.
The mother, as I mentioned, wrote the doctor in question for clarification of why the family would have been charged $17 for the doctor merely prescribing two pain pills over the phone. The letter that came back stated that the charge was now $5.
This whole experience indicates that in many cases charges are made by doctors when people have no idea what they are for. They don’t even know they’ve ever been made because the hospital or the doctor has the OHIP number on file. The only reason this case was ever brought to anyone’s attention was that the family in question did not normally go to this hospital and the hospital did not have their OHIP number.
I strongly urge the Minister of Health (Mr. F. S. Miller) to investigate a system -- perhaps it could be a credit card system similar to that used by gas companies -- whereby the patient would have an accurate record of the charges that were made by the doctor in this patient’s name. I feel this would eliminate the abuse that exists and, far more important, it would also clear the names of many doctors who do not indulge in this sort of shady practice. The vast majority of doctors do not do this and their reputations are being unduly blemished by those doctors who do indulge in this type of a practice.
Another item that is of concern to me and also to working people in Timiskaming and all across this province is a reference that was made in the Throne Speech to the need to eliminate industrial strikes from the private sector. I feel that this can only be a method that would further take away the rights of collective bargaining. These rights are badly enough mutilated in this province already. They can’t afford to be curtailed any more.
The problem that exists in collective bargaining and in inflation is actually the multinational corporation. In the 18 months up to last August, the nickel corporations, Inco, Sherritt Gordon, Falconbridge, etc., raised the price of nickel five times for a total increase in that period of 44 per cent. In the two years 1973 and 1974, the average weekly wages and salaries paid in Canada rose by 21.8 per cent and the cost of living by 22.7 per cent.
You’ll notice, Mr. Speaker, that the rise in the cost of living in that time period was greater than the increase in wages. So what has happened with all these big wage settlements that the working man is supposed to have been extracting? How come inflation has been rising even faster than wage settlements? What about Inco and Falconbridge and all the rest who raised nickel prices 44 per cent in 18 months? What action is the government going to take to curb their avarice for profit? It’s obvious that the real power isn’t in the hands of the working people, whether they be unionized or non-unionized.
Mr. Martel: They walk across the water.
Mr. Bain: We read about strikes all the time in the newspaper, but they are always strikes by working men and women. We never read about strikes by capital and corporations. What about the potash corporations which have been on strike against the people of Saskatchewan? They’ve been refusing to report financial data that is required under Saskatchewan law. They fail to pay royalties and taxes required by law and they refuse to expand the industry so that the province’s potash production can grow to meet world demands.
Mr. Martel: They won’t have to worry about it much longer.
Mr. Bain: We never hear any screaming headlines against the corporations when they hold people and whole provinces for ransom. It’s very fortunate that in this country we have one government that’s willing to stand up to the corporations --
Mr. Nixon: That’s the government of Canada.
Mr. Bain: I hope this government will pursue some of the policies enunciated by the Saskatchewan government and get into natural resource industries.
Mr. Martel: They’ll give another tax concession.
Mr. Bain: The least the government can do is extract a decent tax from them.
Mr. Martel: Oh God, heaven forbid, no! Do you want to bankrupt them?
Mr. Bain: Just as Saskatchewan has, it’s time the government of Ontario stood up to Inco. Does the government think it could meet that challenge?
Mr. Martel: No way.
Mr. Bain: It’s time the government, on behalf of the people of this province, also stood up to Falconbridge and to United Asbestos.
I believe that the people of Timiskaming and of this province have basic inalienable rights that this government is thwarting. This government has forgotten about people. This government has forgotten that the most important thing in our society is the needs of people. The desire of a mill worker at United Asbestos to grow old and enjoy his grandchildren. The hope of a young farm family that they’ll be able to stay on the farm. The legitimate wish of the people of Timagami and area that they be able to enjoy the normal rhythm of growth experienced by other communities. The wish of a rural family to have a telephone at a price they can afford. The prayer of a young northern Ontario mother who would like to be able to have ETV so there will be suitable alternatives for her children to view --
Mr. Martel: Ask Bob Welch about that.
Mr. Bain: The young girl with emotional problems who pleads for a Children’s Aid group home so that she will not be sent to a training school or a reform school. The injured worker who asks for proper compensation so that he can support his family with dignity.
The people of Timiskaming and of this province demand justice. What will the answer of this government be? Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Speaker: The hon. member for Huron-Bruce.
Mr. Martel: He’s speaking from the second row.
Mr. Gaunt: Thanks very much, Mr. Speaker. First of all, I want to pay tribute to you, sir, for the job which you do in this chamber on behalf of us all. It’s not an easy or enviable job, but I say to you, sir, that given the make-up of the House, I think we all agree that you do a very commendable job.
At the same time, I want to pay tribute to the Deputy Speaker and to offer my congratulations to him on his appointment. He certainly has a faculty of getting along and pursuing the matters at hand so that he can call up the co-operation of all of the members in the House to get the job done; and I’m sure that we’re all very grateful for that.
I want to talk about a number of things today but I want, first of all, to comment on the government’s restraint programme. The whole emphasis in the Throne Speech was on the matter of restraint. Restraint is the new byword of the government. It’s rather amusing, and sometimes a little sad, that the government hasn’t come to recognize the word long before now, because the fact of the matter is that only after the horses get out of the barn and have almost gone out of sight down the road --
Hon. Mr. Kerr: You are the fellows who opened the door.
Mr. Gaunt: -- does the government realize that, somewhere along the line, it has got to embrace restraint. So here we are, entering into a phase on behalf of the provincial government where restraint is the byword in the application of all government programmes.
It’s interesting to note that in this period of restraint the government doesn’t hesitate to save money on the one hand and pour it out the pipe on the other. I draw to your attention, sir, a number of things that have been drawn to my attention from time to time in this regard. I have to mention -- it’s been mentioned before -- the $67,000 renovation for the Lieutenant Governor’s suite; the $500,000 undertaken to be spent by the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education to see whether high school students can read and write when they graduate; and the fact that while the government closed down the public health laboratory in Kenora to save $12,700 it had no qualms about spending $9,500 to provide a car for the Deputy Minister of Health.
I noticed also in the paper a while ago that the Ministry of Natural Resources flew 300 Canada geese down to Tennessee, all in the period of restraint. Not that I have anything against Canada geese but I think surely there are other priorities --
Mr. Ruston: They have wings of their own. They went down on a wing and a prayer.
Mr. Gaunt: -- in terms of government spending rather than doing that.
I presume that restraint has hit the Ministry of Agriculture and Food as well and while I have mentioned the raspberry case a number of times in this House I am going to mention it again. It was my view that the raspberry buyers’ free programme was being cut off as a vindictive measure on the part of the government simply because it lost a court case to the extent of having to pay something just over $100,000 to a farmer who got the wrong plants from the ministry and who discovered some years later that he couldn’t sell the wrong variety which he had been given.
That resulted in a court case in which he collected over $100,000, and shortly after that was resolved the government decided that it would simply phase out the programme. I saw that as a vindictive act on the part of the government. I just thought it was a sore loser.
The Minister of Agriculture and Food (Mr. W. Newman) tells me that is not the case but that there were other factors involved, and I am prepared to take his word on that. The only thing I draw to your attention, Mr. Speaker, is the fact that this was a very important programme and one which served a very real need of the farmers who grow strawberry and raspberry plants in this province -- indeed, in this country.
I draw to your attention also the fact that the Ontario Food and Vegetable Growers’ annual meeting passed resolutions asking that since no source of virus indexed to raspberry plants in Ontario is available the government have the raspberry programme reinstated immediately, and that the strawberry certification programme be continued.
As I understand it, both are going to be phased out and there are some plants going to the organization which will distribute them to the farmers. I think that is a far cry from what was in effect previously and I hope the ministry reconsiders.
There has been a lot said about hospital closings and what effect they have had on the communities involved. I don’t want to repeat that but I just want to make a few comments with respect to the Clinton Hospital by way of reinforcement of what has already been said.
The fact is Clinton was a very efficient hospital -- perhaps the most efficient hospital in the county of Huron. It did more operating in its facility than any other single hospital in the county. Its x-ray equipment was the most modern and efficient, outside of the largest city hospital. It had heart machines; it had a dialysis unit; it was a good operation, in short. That’s the one the ministry decided it was going to close down.
I know that the per diem rate is not a true indicator of the cost of operating a hospital because of the way in which these things are financed on a global budget basis, but nonetheless I think there has to be some correlation between the establishment of the per diem rate and the actual operating cost of that hospital, given the fact that it’s not really the bed that’s the costly thing, it’s the support services within that hospital that are the costly items.
Nonetheless, I draw to your attention and to the attention of the House, Mr. Speaker, that the average cost per patient stay in some of the larger hospitals -- now this is an average of the 400 to 600 bed hospitals in the province -- is $1,220.59. In Wingham Hospital, which is a 100-bed hospital, the average cost of patient stay is $780, but in Clinton it’s $547. In my view, any way one cuts that, it means that the average cost of treating a patient in Clinton Hospital is much less than the average -- even the average of the smaller hospitals, not to mention the large hospitals.
It seems to me that there are other alternatives to what the ministry has proposed. I think people would accept the cutbacks. People accept the fact that restraint is necessary. Notwithstanding what I said at the beginning of my speech with respect to the waste the government was engaging in even in a period of restraint, which in my view destroys to a great extent the credibility of the government’s restraint programme, I think most people could accept the fact that there have to be cutbacks -- cutbacks in a number of areas including hospital beds. In short, cutbacks, yes, but closure never, and I think that pretty well sums up the feeling of people across the province who have been affected by hospital closings.
Let me move on to a matter having to do with the Workmen’s Compensation Board I spoke to the minister back in the fall about this matter and I want to put some of these comments on the record, in connection with the workmen’s compensation appeal system, how it’s working, what the problems are as I see them and what I think can be done to improve the situation. I won’t take the time of the House to review all of the background leading up to the creation of the current appeal system other than to say that it did have a somewhat difficult birth, commencing with the select committee of the House which investigated the workings of the Workmen’s Compensation Board three years ago.
The committee found there were certain deficiencies in the operation of the board but recommended that a consulting firm be hired to make specific recommendations as to how the operation could be improved. A consulting firm was engaged, namely P. S. Ross and Co., which interestingly enough seems to specialize in clearing up messes that the Tory government finds itself in from time to time. Needless to say, they have been gainfully employed for some while.
Diverting for a moment to the select committee of the House, it was acknowledged by all that one of the chief complaints of the injured workmen was that it took so long to get a final decision from the Workmen’s Compensation Board. In those days, this was acknowledged as a problem which involved five or six or maybe even eight weeks from the time a file left the claims department until a decision of the board might be rendered for or against the workman. This wasn’t good enough and consequently one of the main requirements of the task force and its experts, P. S. Ross and Co., was to devise a system whereby a workman could get a final answer on a much quicker basis.
Much research went into this vital problem. I believe the present chairman, Mr. Starr, travelled across Canada, examined jurisdictions in the United States and came back with many ideas. The upshot of all this was that a new appeal system was devised; in fact a very complicated system. One needs to be an expert in finding one’s way through it. It’s true the appeal structure has isolated itself from the administrative sections of the board by taking over the 21st floor of the Fidinam building that stands at Bloor and Yonge.
If I can be permitted a digression for a moment, that Fidinam building is something else again. If you want to get to the 21st floor you ride there on an express elevator. If a member of the staff is called up to give an explanation to a member of the adjudication division he must go by local elevator, and it is challenging for any person to try to travel between floors of the Workmen’s Compensation Board system on the local elevators. If you stand on any administrative floor with a stopwatch and time yourself to see how long it takes you to get an elevator to go to another floor, one can readily understand why it takes an injured workman, or even a Member of Parliament, so long to get information on some of these files, because one must remember that the compensation board no longer occupies a mere five-floor building. It now occupies every floor between the sixth and 21st floors in that famous building.
Mr. Ruston: No wonder they say they lose their files.
Mr. Nixon: What a fiasco that was from the word go.
Mr. Gaunt: This is not a criticism of the administrative staff. It is a criticism, however, of the Conservative Party.
Mr. Nixon: Sold out for 50 grand.
Mr. Ruston: For 50 grand and they’ve got a mess now.
Hon. B. Stephenson: The elevator works perfectly fine; you just haven’t been them recently.
Mr. Gaunt: Yes, I have. That’s where I got a lot of my information as a matter of fact.
Hon. B. Stephenson: This week?
Mr. Gaunt: Yes, this week.
Hon. B. Stephenson: Not from the administration, no way.
Mr. Ruston: They have a habit of losing files over there, too.
Mr. Nixon: You haven’t got those people intimidated.
Mr. Gaunt: May I say to the minister that I have talked to some of the administrative people, I talked to one of them as late as this week -- last week, this is Monday.
Mr. Wildman: They completely revitalized the whole thing over the weekend.
Mr. Gaunt: Yes, they must have.
Mr. Nixon: They have now, the minister spoke to them a couple of days ago.
Mr. Gaunt: The fact of the matter is that the building was never built for the purpose of the Workmen’s Compensation Board; the board was made to fit into the building, rather than the other way around.
Mr. Wildman: That’s not what Starr said.
Mr. Gaunt: No it’s not hogwash, it’s true.
Let me get down to cases. I want to describe to you, Mr. Speaker, the procedure in handling a file that one might follow on behalf of a constituent. This is the case of a man feeling he is entitled to additional benefits beyond those paid by the administrative department. Therefore, he gets in touch with the board by letter and he sits back and waits. I know that the letter will find its way to the file in the section and if the man has been fortunate enough to express himself fairly clearly the matter will be referred to the review branch. This takes an average of a week or 10 days.
The review branch sees the file, looks for any way in which it can be of assistance to the man and if not, as is the case in this particular matter, it simply writes a letter back to the man reviewing the case and closing off with the sentence that he has the right to further appeal through the appeal structure of the board. He is given instructions to file his appeal with the registrar of appeals, who then will see that the file is processed.
So far, approximately two to three weeks have passed since the man got in touch with the board with regard to possible future additional payments, or treatment, or rehabilitation, or any other benefit that might come under the Act.
It is then assigned to an official known as an appeals examiner. We have now reached the nub of the appeal system. The appeals examiner now holds a viva voce inquiry -- which is a change. It used to be that an initial examination for the purposes of determining whether the matter was ready for a viva voce hearing was held, but this is now discarded and it goes immediately for a viva voce inquiry.
The appeals examiner has the authority, and rightly so, to direct that all additional administrative steps be taken in order that the full information might be made available on the file before the inquiry. A viva voce hearing is ordered, the file is returned by the examiner to the appeals secretary, who then sets up an appointment for a hearing.
On last checking, I found that there was approximately eight to 10 weeks’ wait before a hearing could be held in Toronto on behalf of the workman, so we add another eight to 10 weeks to the schedule. This brings us up to a total of at least 11 to 13 weeks before the man gets a chance to say his piece in front of the examiner as to why he should have additional compensation.
I have been to these appeal inquiries. They are not courts. The appeals examiners are men who know their work. They know the statutes. They know what is required. They know what to look for, and instructions from the board are admirable. They are there to see what can be done, in any way within the framework of the statute, to assist the workman. Consequently, there might be some delay.
After hearing the workman, the examiner may feel that further local investigation is required. He may feel that further evidence from witnesses is required. All of this, of course, brings about further delay. But even if there were no such delay, the examiner must weigh all the information he has, sit down and write it. What does he write? In fact, he writes a decision, but it is not a decision that goes out over his signature as an examiner. He simply gives the decision, which i’s then ghost written, and he has to come back and get it co-signed by a commissioner. That’s in response to one of the recommendations that was suggested by the task force. Consequently, whatever findings are made by the examiner must, in fact, be co-signed or agreed with by another person who comes within the terms of the statute; that is, a commissioner.
I can never imagine that the 1974 amendments to this statute intended that the commissioner should have his decision ghostwritten for him by someone else. There is provision in the statute for the office of appeals examiner, but the man who takes responsibility, the man who puts his signature on the order, which represents an order of a corporation set up under the statute of the Province of Ontario, and who in fact holds an appointment made by the cabinet itself, he must either accept the findings of the appeals examiner or go against the decision as written by the appeals examiner and say: “No, I don’t agree with that. I want this matter brought back before a full panel of the board itself.”
In actual practice, a commissioner very seldom disputes the decision of the examiner. Nevertheless, I think we can appreciate the iniquitous position in which both the appeals examiner and the commissioner find themselves. The appeals examiner is a man of many years’ experience in the compensation system. He knows how to adjudicate. He knows the requirements of the statute. He has the ability to reach conclusions with respect to practically any problem under the statute, and yet he himself has no authority to implement those.
But let us get back to the time picture; that’s really what I want to deal with here. From the time the appeals examiner dictates his decision it is approximately two weeks before this comes back to him in printed form. This is owing strictly to the volume of material which passes across the desks of these eight men and their overworked secretaries. These files and the decisions are then handed, of course, to the commissioners. Here is another time lag. Depending on the availability of the persons convened, it may well be another week to 10 days before the decision, approved without amendment perhaps, reaches the mail.
Some three weeks after the man has had his day before the appeals examiner, he receives an anonymous document -- since no signatures appear at the bottom -- setting out the findings. He also receives another little slip which tells him that if he doesn’t like the findings, he can always appeal.
Once again, he thrusts himself into the mill -- and this is where the real slowdown starts. In fact, he has reached the point where he is asking to appear before the board of commissioners. It doesn’t matter that he has already been heard by an expert; it doesn’t matter that his file has been raked over and combed to see if there is any other point in the man’s favour which can help him. The government feels that the man should have the right to go before a board of appointed commissioners as opposed to appointed officials.
Therefore, to get an appointment to go to the board, he writes to the registrar of appeals. No questions are asked as to the merits of the appeal or as to the purpose of the appeal. He is automatically put on the list and the wheels of the mills start to grind. Files are prepared for the commissioners. And the commissioners for the most part, do not feel that they want to read the files, though perhaps some of them do; but in the wisdom of the system summaries of the entire files are prepared for the benefit of the commissioners, and this takes time.
The man had to wait 11 to 13 weeks to say his piece to the examiner. Now he has to wait another three to four weeks at least to get before the board of commissioners. After that has been heard, the commissioners don’t write their decision but yet, in the words of the task force, reasons for decisions must be given. Therefore, there is a group of men sitting on the 21st floor whose job it is to translate the feelings of the commissioners into formalized language. A glance at their office and the offices of the girls who work for them will appal you -- files on the floor, on top of the filing cabinets, stacked on the desks and the chairs; everywhere that’s available. If one is fortunate and the decision is not too complicated, perhaps the thing will be written in about three weeks. Then it goes for typing. Then it goes to find the three commissioners concerned, and if they are not there it waits for them. Finally, after everything is signed, after everything is typed, the man will get a board decision.
Let us review the time lag. We will assume the board sees fit to give the man an additional award. He has a period of time from the claims department to the review branch, usually about three weeks. From the review branch to the appeals examiner, another week to 10 days. For action by the appeals examiner in setting up a hearing and holding the hearing, 11 to 13 weeks. For processing after hearing from the appeals examiner, another two to three weeks. For filing with the board itself an application for another hearing, two months or eight weeks. For rendering of a decision by the board, anywhere from three weeks to two months -- in fairness, let’s say five to six weeks. For typing and signatures and mailing, another two to three weeks. And that, by common consent, is roughly 34 weeks.
Then all he has to do is wait for the claims department to go back and process the order as finally written by the board. This is the so-called speedup system. This is the so-called improved system. This is the so-called result of the expertise of P. S. Ross and Partners. These are the figures on the time taken, when there are no complications, for one man to get what the board ultimately says he is entitled to -- and additional 34 weeks of waiting, better than half a year.
All right, let’s look at ways in which the system can be improved. I am sure no one pictured the need for a workman to have to go through all this morass of red tape that has been created. Surely it should be possible to devise a system whereby the board can keep the files flowing as they did before. Why must the small band of commissioners be so overwhelmed with work that they must have a large staff to summarize the matters they should be reading in detail for themselves?
This is not a judicial system. Nevertheless, this House must bear in mind the fact that it was first brought into being to replace cumbersome procedures which were present prior to 1915. Replacing the cumbersome procedures, it still did not replace the principles of a natural justice which are the basis of all adjudication. It is my contention that the principle of natural justice is not present in a system that has been put in place by this government and is currently being administered by the Workmen’s Compensation Board in this province. I think that is obvious when one sees that it entails a wait of some 34 weeks before the workman can finally have his appeal dealt with.
The remedy? I seriously suggest that the Minister of Labour and the government of the province consider scrapping the three level appeal system currently in operation and replace it with essentially a one level appeal system, with an ultimate appeal to the corporate board on matters of policy or where the decision of the commissioners is a split decision. Essentially, what I am saying is that all steps between the review committee and the board should be done away with and that the board should be enlarged to the extent that the flow of files can be adequately handled, that all matters should be heard in their final form by tribunals of three, that the members of such tribunals should be responsible for reading their own files and writing their own decisions. The members of such tribunals of three shall be commissioners within the meaning of the Workmen’s Compensation Act, so that the decisions rendered by them shall be final decisions within the meaning of the statute.
I think there have to be other changes as well with respect to how commissioners are dealt with under the proposed system I suggest. I think it’s important that these people should be given security of tenure because they have to be experts. They must learn how to study and read a compensation file. They must know where, in the administrative sections of the board, to go for answers they need when there is not sufficient material in those files. These people have to subscribe fully to the basic philosophy that the board is not an adversary system and their ultimate judgements have to be guided by the full rules of natural justice as understood and practised in the common law courts of the British Commonwealth.
For that reason I suggest that these commissioners have to be given security and protection on a long-term basis. Essentially, these commissioners would be appeal experts operating in a one-level appeal system which in my view would speed up the entire appeal process tremendously and at the same time wouldn’t sacrifice any advantages of the three-level system which currently operates.
I hope the minister will study this proposal and that some effective alterations will be made to the appeal system at the board. I’m sure the minister would agree with me that an 84-week wait is not good enough in the operation of the board in dealing with injured workmen across this province.
I have one final matter I want to deal with and that’s the matter of Essex Packers and the fact that the government has entered into an agreement with the Dejonge Group to operate the Guelph facility. I want to refer first of all to the statement given by the Minister of Correctional Services (Mr. J. R. Smith) in the House on March 18, in which he said: “The advantages of allowing production to continue in this way are many.” He outlined the fashion in which it was going to be done.
First, the unsecured creditors will receive some payment. I suggest that could have been achieved by other means, which I will suggest later.
Second, employment opportunities for some 200 to 300 former Essex Packers workers will be maintained. I say that I have the agreement here which was signed -- at least the proposal which was put forward which formed the basis of the agreement -- and there is absolutely no guarantee in the proposal, or, I understand the agreement, which would guarantee employment of the 200 to 300 former Essex Packer’s employees to whom the minister made reference. That fact has been confirmed by the lawyer for the Dejonge Group. They made no such guarantee at all, yet that was one of the key points the minister used in moving to sign this agreement with the Dejonge Group.
Third, there will be a continuing market in the Hamilton and Guelph areas for pork and beef producers, including those who weren’t paid when the Essex Packers went into receivership. I suggest that could have been achieved in another way as well.
Fourth, there will be no interruption in the ministry’s successful rehabilitation programme. Here, again, I think that could have been taken care of with an agreement on the basis of negotiation with the two other bidders who submitted proposals.
On that point, I must say that from time to time it has been suggested there was really only one proposal which the ministry could entertain. I have before me a proposal which was submitted by Paletta Bros. Meat Products Ltd. to the ministry on Jan. 23, 1970. I understand another proposal was submitted to the ministry on Feb. 26, and yet they turned back both proposals in favour of the Dejonge Group proposal.
I want to go back to the origins of this deal with Essex Packers. There are a number of questions involved here. I think we can very justifiably ask why was Essex Packers chosen in the first place? They certainly didn’t have a particularly good financial record, as is indicated by their financial statement. In 1971, based on the industry average indicating that net profits should be roughly three per cent of sales, it shows they had a net profit of $118,558 when, taking it on the basis of the three per cent statistic, it should have been $1,008,000. The same trend runs through all of the annual reports right until March 29, 1975, in which they had a net profit of $37,271 on total sales of $49,608,897, which should have given them a profit of $1,488,000. Obviously, this company was not strong financially and one has to ask why the government entered into an agreement with it in the first place when it was on rather shaky financial grounds.
The other thing I want to mention and pose in the form of a question is what happened to the unaccounted excess, which is the difference between the leasehold as set out in the lease and the $1 million that was spent by the government on improvements in the Guelph plant, which I should say allowed for a 20 per cent increase over and above the terms of the leasehold? In other words, what I’m asking is what happened to the shortfall of $534,000? It was agreed in the leasehold that a total of $285,000 would be spent. If one takes another 20 per cent, that brings it up to the extent of one-fifth, but when one subtracts that figure from $1 million, there is still a shortfall of $534,000. I ask has the government written that amount off, or what has happened to it?
As I understand it, when the government was entering into the proposal with Essex Packers, it actually advertised, and there were a number of companies which were interested. When it was all boiled down, Essex Packers appeared to be the only one which was keenly interested in pursuing the matter. One would have to ask at that point why was it never retendered when the interest waned? Obviously, when some of the successful packers in the business backed away from the proposal as outlined by the government in its tender, then something was wrong; certainly some lights should have gone on at that time with respect to that particular proposal and eventually the agreement which was signed with Essex Packers.
I want to deal for a moment or two with the claims that have been made as substantiation for what the government did in signing with the Dejonge Group to operate the Guelph facility. It has been said they never got any other proposals involving the total package. I suggest to you, Mr. Speaker, that they still haven’t got a total proposal. The Hamilton deal doesn’t mean a thing. What happened was that the Dejonge Group took a second charge debenture against the assets of Essex; that simply means that the receiver will operate the Hamilton plant for another six months at which time the assets will be sold, unless Essex can refinance, which is highly unlikely.
At that point, the Dejonge Group will call their second-charge debenture and will be paid off, after the bank. If the plants are sold as operating plants, which is certainly very likely to be the case, the employees will continue working as always; so the government didn’t gain a thing on that score.
The other matter was the payment of 15 cents to the unsecured creditors. That was a clever coup on the part of the Dejonge Group. They decided to pay 15 cents immediately; it was very tempting, so a large percentage of the unsecured creditors decided to grab it.
Contrary to what the minister and others have said, the farmers voted against accepting that proposal unanimously, with the exception, I believe, of five who weren’t able to attend the meeting because of weather conditions.
If the plants were sold today as operating plants, which they are, they could realize $1.2 million, which would look after the basic loan and the preferred creditors and would allow for a surplus of $361,000. That was as of this morning and it came from the receiver, so I presume it is accurate.
In my view, the deals should have been separated. The point is that this deal just delays the bankruptcy of Essex Packers for six months -- nothing more, nothing less.
The other part of all this is that the government could have received a far better deal than it got if it had dealt separately with the Guelph plant. It points up the incompetence of this government.
One of the proposals agreed to pay the farmer 100 cents on the dollar but was rejected in favour of the present agreement, which indicates to me that the government really wasn’t concerned with the farmers or that it had made up its mind before the other proposals were submitted -- one dated Jan. 23, 1976, from Paletta Brothers, and the other from Bradley and Watson, dated Feb. 26. The latter met with the cabinet on Tuesday, March 9.
In my view, it is a shabby way to treat the farmers. It could have done and been perfectly legal contrary to what the Minister of Correctional Services (Mr. J. R. Smith) has said. That is confirmed by one of the best bankruptcy lawyers in Canada, Mr. David Baird, here in the city. That is also confirmed by the fact that the present agreement pays the creditors off at different levels. Therefore, the argument used by the minister, that he couldn’t pay the farmers off at one level, 100 cents on the dollar, without paying everybody off at that level, is not so, and is not according to bankruptcy practice.
This agreement doesn’t guarantee anything for the employees beyond what they would have got if Essex had gone bankrupt or if the receiver had continued to operate the plant, as he intends to do. The government didn’t get the best deal it could have for the Guelph plant. The government sold the farmers down the river in negotiating 15 cents for the farmers when 100 cents on the dollar was offered. There were other advantages to the Bradley and Watson proposal, particularly as it relates to imports and the supplying of beef to the hotel trade in the province.
The government has an obligation to deal in the public interest. They have not done so in this case; far from it. They have been seriously negligent. No farmer in Ontario is going to sell directly to Better Beef for obvious and well-reported reasons. That means that Better Beef will only be able to buy cattle at public auctions or import beef for killing purposes.
In an Ontario government facility, Ontario beef should be killed in that plant; that is not going to be the case. I plead with the government to reopen this matter and to separate the Hamilton and Guelph facilities. I think the government should tender for the Guelph plant in an endeavour to get the best deal possible and to restore public confidence in the government’s handling of this particular affair.
Mr. Speaker, it is very much like the new Hydro building. Hydro fixed on Mr. Moog to build it, and it didn’t matter what anyone else had to say or what they proposed; that was it. The government wants to retrieve its credibility in this situation. The only recourse, in my view, is to reopen the entire matter, and so I leave it at that, Mr. Speaker, and I thank you, sir, for your patience and the opportunity to participate in this way.
Mr. Johnson: Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to have the opportunity to follow my hon. friend from Huron-Bruce. I was quite interested in his reference to our Canadian geese vacationing in Tennessee. This greatly concerned me, and I even offered my services to the ministry to travel to Tennessee and guide these wayward birds home. However, they turned down my request. I must also agree with the hon. member that I too am concerned with the Dejonge purchase of Essex Packers, and I hope that the Ministry of Correctional Services monitors this operation very closely.
At this time, I want to congratulate the member for Hamilton West (Mr. S. Smith) upon his election as the leader of the third party in this House. I know that in the coming days, weeks and years, assuming we survive the vote this evening, the new leader will take his rightful place in this legislative assembly and will make a positive and continuing contribution to the careful deliberations which characterize this Legislature. I trust that he takes solace and comfort in the presence of the hon. member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk (Mr. Nixon), and that his decisions will be guided and influenced by that member’s long experience in this assembly.
I am certainly happy to see that the member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk has not shirked from participating in his fullest capacity as a leading light of this assembly, and that’s the end of the compliments to the Liberals.
I also want to congratulate the leader of the official opposition for his incisive and witty remarks in his reply to the Speech from the Throne. Having said that, however, I cannot accept fully either the intent or the substance of his remarks because I find them full of futile criticism and rather barren in specific and constructive alternatives.
The present economic and social conditions which confront all citizens of Ontario reminds me of one of the great books of English literature, a novel which I am certain a large number of my hon. colleagues in this House has read. Written by Charles Dickens, “A Tale of Two Cities,” opened many worlds to all of us, worlds of which we were totally unaware. I think “A Tale of Two Cities” is very apt for the circumstances in which we find ourselves today.
I want to quote for a moment one of the great passages out of that novel:
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us.”
I believe that Dickens’ description of two of the great cities of the world has a specific application to our present situation. On the one hand, we have the government of this fine province attempting to put the brakes on government spending, attempting to bring the public sector of Ontario under some reasonable degree of control, attempting to rearrange spending priorities without basically affecting the overall level of human services provided to the people of this province, but on the reverse side we face the leader of the official opposition who refuses absolutely to acknowledge our efforts at restraining government expenditures, who fails to understand the impact of inflation on every citizen in our society, who refuses to see the other side of reality; an opposition leader who would consistently say “yes” to every increase in government expenditure, and yet in the same breath accuse this government of fiscal mismanagement.
Yes, Mr. Speaker, it is a tale of two cities -- a tale of two political parties whose political and social views, attitudes and philosophies toward the present set of circumstances are entirely different. In fact, I would go so far as to say those philosophies and attitudes are fundamental in division and basic in perception of the realities confronting all of us in Ontario today.
Together, let’s examine a little more closely the tale of the New Democrats and let us just see where they have arrived since last September. Opposite us is a party riddled with contradictions and inconsistencies in its political philosophies -- a party which is deeply divided within itself on the question of ideology, and yet it is not even aware of it.
Mr. Moffatt: Who are you talking about?
Mr. Davidson: What makes you aware of it?
Mr. Johnson: All we have to do is look at the new Leader of the Opposition, the new mask of the man who represents Scarborough West (Mr. Lewis), and what do we find, fellow colleagues? We find a leader who now projects the image of sweet reasonableness -- a leader who constantly uses the word “reason” and the word “reasonable,” a leader who believes in reasonable solutions from intelligent thinking citizens.
Mr. Moffatt: Are you not in favour of reasonable solutions?
Mr. Johnson: That is the new image of the official Leader of the Opposition, the new image of the New Democrats. I find the transition incredibly Jekyll and Hyde in its thrust, incredibly intriguing in terms of the tensions and contradictions created by this character.
Mr. Davidson: He took lessons from the Premier (Mr. Davis).
Mr. Moffatt: Do you agree then?
Mr. Johnson: While the Leader of the Opposition projects a reasonable image, the large majority of his followers have not abandoned, as he has, their bedrock socialism, their deep commitment to the internal expansion of government within the public sector.
Mr. Bain: We still believe in people.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Mr. Johnson: That is the central nature of their contradiction, that is the central nature of their tensions. How do you reconcile reason with socialism, a party of free enterprise with a party of socialist dogma? To use a favourite phrase of the New Democratic Party, let’s document this contradiction. Recently, the member for Etobicoke (Mr. Philip) explained that his party is becoming the party of free enterprise, and on what grounds does he make such a claim? On the grounds of protecting the small businessmen, particularly the individual operating a self-serve gas bar.
Mr. Moffatt: Good for him.
Mr. Johnson: He would seek to do this by setting one wholesale price for gasoline and preventing major oil companies from directly operating self-serve gas bars. In other words, through intervention of the state the New Democrats suddenly become free enterprisers. What a ridiculous claim!
What does such a claim indicate as to the philosophical directions of the New Democrats? What does such a claim tell the voting public about the internal contradictions of the political party opposite? What it does show is that the New Democrats understand the only way they will ever gain power in Ontario is to project an aura of sweet reasonableness, to portray themselves as the champions of the ordinary citizen, as champions to the downtrodden and the disadvantaged, as protectors of the small business community.
Mr. MacDonald: You are trampling them down. We are protecting them.
Mr. Johnson: In doing so, it means their complete abandonment of bedrock socialism. It speaks to their abandonment of their deepest socialist principles --
Mr. MacDonald: Nonsense!
Mr. Johnson: -- namely, the nationalization of the resource industries in Ontario, the enslavement of all our people and an increasingly complicated web of complex regulations and directives.
Mr. Bain: We can’t make regulations any more complicated than they are already.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Mr. Johnson: Instead of weaving a tale of deception and disguise, it’s time for the NDP really to tell the voters of this province where they stand on all the major issues of this day. The casual observer doesn’t have to look far for evidence of the kind of government which New Democrats would provide for Ontario citizens. Take a look at labour relations for a moment. Instead of attempting to reduce the number of labour disputes in this province, the NDP would intensify them by expanding the right of public servants to strike.
Mr. MacDonald: As you gave the teachers.
Mr. Johnson: We would end up with more labour disputes and more labour interruptions than we have already experienced; and heaven knows we have had enough of those now.
Mr. Moffatt: You are not in favour of strikes?
Mr. Davidson: In your view one strike would be too many.
Mr. Johnson: Mr. Speaker, the NDP version of free enterprise is almost laughable. Take a look at the record of the British Columbia New Democratic government before its defeat last December.
Mr. Moffatt: But look at the record since then.
Mr. Johnson: Incidentally, that was the record of which the New Democrats opposite used to be terribly proud and they used the slogan, “Strike it rich in NDP provinces.” Now we hardly ever hear of the former BC Barrett government. Why?
Mr. Moffatt: Because the papers are full of Bennett’s latest manoeuvres.
Mr. Johnson: Mr. Speaker, all you have to do is look at the NDP record in British Columbia and you will be startled by certain trends. For example, government capital investment in 1972, before the New Democrats gained power, was 33 per cent of total capital investment in that province. By 1974, total government capital investment had risen to 40 per cent of total capital investment in British Columbia. When the New Democrats speak of free enterprise, what they really mean is state capitalism in its full glory.
When the NDP speak of attaining their balanced mix of taxation in Ontario, that really translates as higher corporation taxes, especially on the resource industries in Ontario. Again, if we examine the NDP record in British Columbia, we will find the following: First, the mining royalties went from $15 million to $9 million during the past fiscal year.
Mr. Moffatt: That was great.
Mr. Johnson: Second, forestry stumpage went from $220 million to $135 million, because of high rates of corporate taxes -- rates that amount of outright confiscation.
Mr. Moffatt: That is what Darcy is going to do tomorrow night.
Mr. Johnson: From these examples can be seen the sorry state of declining capital investment in British Columbia. It’s a tale of increasing taxation, not only in the corporate sector but, in the long run, on the ordinary citizen. It’s a tale of government expansion at the expense of the private sector; at the expense of individual initiative; at the destruction of risk-taking.
For all of these reasons, the tale of the New Democrats is a woeful one. It’s a tale of contradiction, of socialist betrayal, of upside-down social priorities and of economic unreality. It is my fervent hope that the official opposition will return to its principle of bedrock socialism.
Mr. MacDonald: That’s what you hope.
Mr. Johnson: At least then the voting public will know what it is getting when it votes New Democrat, or old socialist. Compare the tale of the New Democrats with the tale of responsible government, of the Ontario government grappling with economic restraints and succeeding at a very uneasy assignment. I say that without any qualification, knowing that the official opposition is in favour of talking about restraint but never really putting it into effect.
In fact, I am beginning to believe very deeply that the New Democrats fail utterly to understand the real problems facing all of us in Ontario today -- that of double-digit inflation -- inflation which is enduring and sustaining; inflation which requires restraint.
The budgetary deficit which we have today stems in good part from the increasing demand for public services during the prosperous and growing 1960s. That deficit in part stems from this government’s response to the social and economic needs of all its citizens --
Mr. Davidson: Did they get a stadium for it?
Mr. Johnson: -- in recognizing the necessity of managing the consequences of economic growth, in realizing the development of larger towns and cities, and in the expansion of people services. Back in those years the New Democrats never accused this government of fiscal mismanagement, but they criticized it for not providing sufficient funds for all the types of public services, and those aren’t just empty words. All you have to do, Mr. Speaker, is look at the public record.
The basic facts must be faced. Provincial expenditures in social security have amounted to an increase of 221 per cent from 1970-1971 to the current fiscal year. Now the same party which criticizes the government for putting a 5.5 per cent limit on the growth of social service expenditures is criticizing it for cutting those expenditures back.
I ask the members: When did an increase of 5.5 per cent suddenly become a cutback? Do my colleagues opposite really understand the nature of the economic problems facing us? Do they realize that in the Province of Quebec government expenditures increased 21 per cent in the present fiscal year and that happened under a Liberal government? Do they also recognize that for the corning fiscal year that same Quebec government will limit overall expenditures in the government sector to an eight per cent increase -- two per cent less than here in Ontario?
I sometimes wonder whether the New Democrats wear coloured blinders in looking at the world. Listening to their criticisms, they often appear to regard the restraint programme being carried out by this government as a programme of welfare bashing; as a coordinated comprehensive attempt to undermine social services in this province; as a determined method to hurt those less fortunate than ourselves. If so, that is an unjustified and unwarranted interpretation of what the government is trying to do for the coming fiscal year.
Ontario does not live in an isolated, closed economic environment. Our large manufacturing industry in this province depends on a healthy export market and on a healthy international trading economy. In turn, government expenditures are directly related to the real economic growth of this province.
It is not just Ontario which is facing severe unemployment and high rates of inflation. All of Canada and most of the industrialized western world are suffering the same problems. It is in that context that the provincial government has consistently supported the need for economic controls to fight inflation, inflation eroding the savings of every citizen in this country.
That explains why this government placed the public sector of Ontario under the leadership of the Anti-Inflation Board at the federal level. Inflation is just not restricted to the borders of Ontario as suggested by the two opposition parties in the House in their proposal to have a provincial anti-inflation board. It simply defies economic reasoning, the very reasoning which the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Lewis) has so often appealed to in the past few months.
People at every level in Ontario’s society are already making hard choices about their personal budgets. Those same people expect the same type of practice and approach in public spending by their government. The government is subject to some fiscal imperfections but at least we were one of the first provinces in Canada to recognize that government spending in itself is the principal cause of inflation.
That is why I am happy to support this Speech from the Throne brought down in this session. The citizens of this fine province want strong and positive economic leadership in containing inflation and in having the capacity to carry out some hard decisions to provide for a more stable and secure future, economically and socially.
When people read back on this area of Ontario history, they will want to read about a tale of optimism; a tale of considering the long-range rather than the short term; a tale of hope and not one of despair.
Mr. MacDonald: Mr. Speaker, I intend to devote my remarks exclusively this afternoon to the topic of agricultural land use and the vital need for preserving our fond lands in this province.
Over the last three or four years, the provincial Treasurers -- first Darcy McKeough, then John White and now Darcy McKeough again -- have been teasing us with the prospect that the government of the Province of Ontario was going to unveil a land-use plan for the Province of Ontario. The news indicates to us that sometime later this week -- if not then, next week -- we are going to have such an unveiling and, in the contest of that unveiling, presumably the government is going to grapple with what has emerged as the most important issue in that whole land-use question, namely, the need for preserving our foodland.
Just so that the government won’t feel that it is slipping behind, I have a document that the leader of this party and I have just released to the press, which came to us in a brown paper envelope. It’s a very interesting document.
Mr. Bain: Somebody’s shredder is not working.
Mr. MacDonald: Apparently in the process of trying to make up its mind what the government policy was going to be on preserving foodland -- we have had a lot of rhetoric but we’ve had no policy and there was nothing in the Throne Speech to clarify it -- some one or two statements were prepared and my information is that they were turned down by the cabinet.
Mr. Davidson: Check those shredding machines over there.
Mr. MacDonald: Then the government went out to one of its regular consultants on agriculture issues and other issues over the last 10 or 15 years, namely Hedlin Menzies, and Roger Schwass of that firm produced a document, a copy of which I have in my hand, which reads like the first draft of a speech which is going to spell out, not too clearly, but spell out somewhat, the government’s programme for preserving agricultural land.
Mr. Kennedy: What’s the date on it? That’s last year’s brown envelope.
Mr. MacDonald: There is no date on it. It’s the date that is going to be when you announce it this Thursday or nest week.
Mr. Kennedy: That’s last year’s brown envelope.
Mr. Lewis: Thursday night last it was approved by you people.
Mr. MacDonald: Thursday night last, as a matter of fact, it was considered by a cabinet committee, perhaps chaired by the gentleman into whose charming blue eyes I am now gazing.
Mr. MacDonald: It was approved and, therefore, at least in terms of its substance it reflects something of what the government had in mind. I want to come back to some of that substance, because it is rather fascinating that nothing from the ministry was satisfactory and that a politically acceptable document was produced by one of the faithful consultants who have worked for the government over the last 10 or 15 years.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: What date is on your copy?
Mr. MacDonald: Mr. Speaker, let me make this point first, it is difficult for any government to move with a new policy if there isn’t a consensus in society with regard to that policy. Conversely, if there is a consensus then there is no excuse for not moving, particularly if that issue happens to be a vitally important issue, such as the preserving of foodland. I just want to remind the House of how remarkable is the consensus that has emerged in Ontario in the last year or so with regard to the preserving of foodland. For example, as my leader put on the record during his contribution to the Throne debate, we have this document from the Ontario Institute of Agrologists, which includes in its number the Minister of Agriculture -- I only wish he believed what was in the document -- and it was also interesting to note that the land use committee which prepared this document includes people like D. W. Middleton, of the Land Compensation Board, Dr. R. Frank, of the provincial pesticide residue testing laboratory, Lyall MacLachlan, of the food systems branch of Agriculture Canada, and V. I. D. Spence, the director of the food land development branch. All of these people presumably had an input onto it. And what does it say? Its key recommendation:
“That the government of Ontario, Within the next year [Let me pause, this came out in November, so that means within the year 1976] pass legislation designating class 1, 2, 3, and special crop lands as foodland or land for agricultural production and reserving such land for present or future production of food. The institute recognizes some occasions may arise when use of some foodland for other purposes can be justified. However, it recommends that other potential users be required to prove their need cannot be met by use of other land, and further, that where at all feasible they be required to use the poorer classes of food land.”
That is a clear-cut request of this government to pass legislation. That’s one.
Hon. Mr. Irvine: We met with them the same day.
Mr. MacDonald: Sure you did. You obviously didn’t listen to them or hear what they said. I have here a copy of a brief, “A Report on Planning in Rural Ontario,” prepared by the Ontario Association of Rural Municipalities. I don’t need to remind members that the Association of Rural Municipalities is made up of those elected rural representatives who have been grappling with the problem of rural land use. They’ve been facing the fact that agricultural land, without a policy from the top, has been disappearing quickly. What do they say? I quote from page 5:
“When legislation that restricts the uses of the designated agricultural land is enacted [in other words, they anticipate it; they assume it; it’s basic] and the authority having jurisdiction receives a proposal to change the designation, such change in use shall only be allowed when consent has been granted by the planning authority of the jurisdiction in the area; the local council in which the lands are situated; the county or regional council in which the local authorities are situated; and the provincial planning authority including the Minister of Agriculture and Food.
“If unanimous consent is not received from the above bodies the parties requesting such change shall have recourse to have their case presented before a land tribunal, empowered and informed to make a binding decision on the question.”
In short, they are calling for the establishment of a land commission like that in BC -- dare I, in the presence of my friend who has just sat down, shock him? -- like the land commission in BC, a land tribunal they call it, which will examine any application for exemption of foodlands which, generally speaking, should be kept for agricultural production, food production.
Mr. Lewis: By statute.
Mr. MacDonald: By statute, by legislation.
Let me go to another document and this is very fascinating. Here is the COLUC report and in case members of the House have forgotten, the COLUC report was the product of six ministries of this government -- namely, Agriculture and Food; Environment; Housing; Natural Resources; Transportation and Communications, Treasury, Economics and Intergovernmental Affairs -- along with the five or six regional governments in the “golden horseshoe” area.
What do they say?
“A firm, positive, long-term agricultural strategy is required for lands of mainly prime agricultural quality lying beyond the urban places examined in the COLUC mature state preferences. [A little later:] Clearly, the government’s first step in ensuring a viable agricultural industry is the designation of these lands as areas of agricultural priority for the foreseeable future.”
The minister can’t designate it without the statute which legislates that that’s going to be the case.
Hon. W. Newman: You would take all the authority away from the municipalities. That’s what you are saying.
Mr. MacDonald: Go away, that’s simply confusing the issue.
Mr. Lewis: This is a consensus from everyone.
Mr. MacDonald: This happens to be the agrologists. This happens to be the Association of Rural Municipalities who are the people elected and who are now running those municipalities. Don’t deny them when they’ve asked it.
Hon. W. Newman: And you would take all the authority away.
Mr. MacDonald: Just be quiet and don’t deny they have requested it -- the people whom you say we’re trying to take the authority away from. I’ll tell you why they want that authority in a moment if you’d just let me conclude. “Designation will have to be reinforced [and this is good for my friend from Wellington-Dufferin-Peel] by either a declaration of reserve [parenthetically they add] perhaps following the example of the British Columbia Land Commission -- ”
Mr. Lewis: Right.
Mr. MacDonald: To continue: -- “or a system of development controls or similar measures.” That, again, came from a document which was produced by six ministries -- six key ministries -- within this government.
We have listened to the minister. For example, when the leader of this party was spelling out this he interjected with sort of, “Do you want to freeze everything?” It is time for the minister to quit playing games. If the minister is going to indulge in the rhetoric of telling the people of the Province of Ontario that this government not only wants to but intends to preserve agricultural land, he can’t have it both ways.
If he is going to preserve agricultural land he must say now that agricultural land ceases to be a commodity in the marketplace which can be bought and sold by anybody for any purpose when and if he sees it. Agricultural land henceforth is going to be regarded as a precious natural resource and the only way the minister is going to be able to protect it as a precious natural resource is if he does as the agrologists ask.
The government does as the leaders of the local municipalities and the Ontario Association of Rural Municipalities have asked for, it does as its own COLUC report involving six of its key ministries asked for, it passes legislation to designate that land as food land from this point forward with the necessary machinery for considering exemptions where they’re justified. Don’t interject with this sort of cheap business about “we want a freeze.”
Hon. W. Newman: The member doesn’t know what we are doing in the ministry. He has no idea.
Mr. MacDonald: If the government wants to do it, let it do it.
Mr. Lewis: We have the minister’s speech.
Mr. MacDonald: We have his speech, and we listened to him in the interjections.
Hon. W. Newman: Which speech?
Mr. MacDonald: Now what has been done, Mr. Speaker? I want to acknowledge that something has been done by this government, and potentially it might even be effective, but not with what’s in the wind in this brown paper envelope that we received just a few days ago.
Within the past year, this government has established within the Ministry of Agriculture and Food a branch called the food development branch. That food development branch came into being on April 1, 1975, at least in terms of its first budget. Throughout the first six months or so of its operations, it was passing judgement on official plans; it was passing judgement on subdivision requests that had come in, on severances, and all these various matters that had come into one or other ministry, particularly the Ministry of Housing, and these judgements were passed around for comment. It was pointed out by many people in the press last spring and summer that sometimes it was heeded when they commented in the hope of protecting agricultural land, but most often it wasn’t heeded.
Last September something happened in this province. What happened in this province was, in addition to all of these experts who have produced documents now, the people of this province spoke. It was very clear in the people of this province speaking and the reduced majority of the government that one of the main issues was the government’s failure to grapple with this preservation of foodland, not only in rural areas, but also in the city areas. Since then, it is said that some messages come down that the efforts or the comments of the foodland development branch with regard to the use of agricultural land should be heeded more than had been the case in the past.
The point I want to draw to your attention, Mr. Speaker, is that it’s a typical piecemeal reluctant kind of approach. The foodland development branch has no statutory power. While they were sitting there protecting agricultural land, 60 per cent of the land that went into OHAP in Peel was class 1 and class 2 agricultural land. I have talked with the people in this branch, because I was very interested indeed and I think they are well-intentioned and, if they were given the power, they might do something, but they are not being given the power.
Do you know what it reminds me of, Mr. Speaker? It’s a delightful summary or estimate of how this government operates. I have here in my hands a copy of Jonathan Manthorpe’s book on “The Power and the Tories.” He has a quote on page 8, which is so magnificently appropriate here.
“To a large extent the Conservatives have not led the province; rather, they have been dragged along by the needs and demands of its people. Changes in policy directions have generally been taken, not to anticipate a need, but when the need had become a problem and the clamour for change had become so great that the political penalty for inactivity has outweighed the penalty for acting. ‘Do nothing until you have to and then only as little as you can get away with,’ might well have been the catch phrase of the government.”
That is a magnificent description of this government’s philosophy and approach, and never was it more apt than in its whole approach to the preservation of food lands.
Hon. W. Newman: Why don’t you say whether you believe in freezing series 1, 2, 3 and 4 agricultural land? Is that your policy or not?
Mr. MacDonald: I just said that the agrologists, an organization of which the minister is a member, have asked for just that.
Mr. MacDonald: I have just said that the rural municipalities have asked for just that.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Mr. MacDonald: I have just pointed out that six of the ministries in the government have asked for just that and, therefore, I am in favour -- are you listening? --
Hon. W. Newman: Yes.
Mr. MacDonald: -- of legislation to preserve food lands.
Hon. W. Newman: Freezing it?
Mr. Lewis: The member just said, “legislation to preserve food lands.”
Mr. MacDonald: Legislation to preserve food lands. You can call it freeze; you can call it what you want, but don’t try to kid the public that you want to preserve it when you’re not willing to pass the legislation.
Hon. W. Newman: We have been preserving it all over this province.
Mr. Lewis: You don’t have to pass legislation. You can establish the land and provide exemptions to it.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. The hon. member for York South has the floor.
Mr. MacDonald: We had a policy before that brown envelope arrived. That’s just the icing on the cake of my speech this afternoon. I had my speech prepared for last week.
The foodland development branch potentially is a land commission like the one they have in British Columbia. In other words, anybody who wants to make an exception and use food land for something other than that has to come before the foodland development branch and they make some comment. The problem with the foodland development branch is that it has no power. The government has given it no power, because the government is not willing to do that. It is just indulging in rhetoric; there’s no real action to make certain that it happens.
Let me go one step further. My friend across the way asks what we are going to do about it. Well, I am fascinated. Back in 1973, this government entered into a partnership with the county of Huron to make a study of how agricultural lands could be preserved and how to cope with the problems of urban development out into the rural areas. They spent $110,000 or $120,000, and 80 per cent of it came out of this government. They produced a report, the final version of which has been available since last July.
I haven’t heard a single spokesman for this government refer to this report. I have yet to hear the minister even allude to it. It is a report that spells out the policies for Huron county; but, even more important, it is a report that spells out a methodology that could be applied all across the Province of Ontario as a means of preserving agricultural land. Indeed, one of the recommendations of the report was that the government should test that methodology in some five or six other places; but, because of the restraint programme, that is just another potentially good thing that has gone down the drain. Perhaps it is being used anyway in Northumberland, in Simcoe and in Lambton, those three areas for which the government has new reports which the brown-paper-envelope speech refers to as coming down some time shortly.
But when is the government going to spell out its policy? That brown envelope speech, for example, refers to the fact that the foodland development branch is supposed to be producing guidelines. Just let me quote one interesting comment here:
“The branch is charged with developing food land guidelines for developing plans for urban growth and inter-agricultural use in fringe areas, for developing policies to divert pressures from rural, residential and industrial areas away from the food lands and into more suitable areas.”
Where are those guidelines? Are they going to be part --
Hon. W. Newman: You haven’t even seen them.
Mr. MacDonald: Are they going to be part of the great unveiling, the Cecil B. deMille extravaganza? Another design for Ontario that we are going to get on Thursday of this week or some time next week?
Mr. Lewis: No. 17.
Mr. MacDonald: I hope we will get them some time, because what this report does -- and I am not going to have the time this afternoon to go into it, as I would like to for an hour or two or three; it would be useful to do so, because obviously the government doesn’t know about it, because it’s not speaking about it. What this report suggests is that we should have guidelines in a context of overall provincial strategy, spelled out at the provincial level; then at the county level and at the regional government level we should designate what they describe as perspectives or areas of priority in which either agriculture, urban development, recreation development, forest development or mineral development might take place.
Mr. Kennedy: Now you don’t want it frozen.
Mr. MacDonald: There should be five different perspectives. Then, within the framework of those perspectives or priorities, the local municipalities -- right down at the grassroots level -- will then work out the details for implementing it. That can be done if this is what the government has in mind, and why the gestation period has taken so long, heaven only knows. That can be done only if the government spells out the overall strategy -- provides them with the guidelines. But it must be done in the context of what they have all asked for -- legislation to preserve food lands so that we will reverse the traditional approach that food lands are there to be used when and if anybody wants time for any either purpose. If the government doesn’t do that, the whole process is going to be another piecemeal, ineffective kind of approach.
Hon. W. Newman: You are contradicting yourself.
Mr. MacDonald: I am not contradicting myself. Let me just show members once again the contradictions between the reality of this report and their study and what’s in the brown-paper-envelope speech that the minister perhaps is going to give after the revisions have been made from this afternoon’s entry into this. On page 8 of the “Countryside Planning” --
Mr. Lewis: The report that Roger Schwass of Hedlin Menzies wrote for you.
Mr. MacDonald: Right.
Mr. Lewis: Just relax.
Mr. MacDonald: I quote:
“In the absence of government policies and planning controls [we had none] the use of land resources is decided by the free market economy. Whoever can buy it, gets it. He uses it as he pleases and our food lands go down the drain.”
What does this speech say? This speech, the brown-paper-envelope speech, uses the minister’s phrase -- obviously they are writing a speech to meet the minister’s prejudices -- “We don’t want freezes. Freezes are bad.”
What do they want? In the middle of page 13, “Instead, we believe that the marketplace should be left to operate as far as possible.”
Mr. Speaker, if the marketplace operates as far as possible and that’s what’s happened in the past, don’t let the minister try to kid the people of the Province of Ontario that he is going to preserve food land. It will not happen.
Mr. MacDonald: The interesting question is, does the minister know what he is doing?
Hon. W. Newman: Yes, we do.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. Order.
An hon. member: We know what you are doing. Look at North Pickering development.
Mr. MacDonald: Mr. Speaker, I want to have two footnotes to this and then I shall leave the matter now because I don’t have the time in the time constraints of this afternoon.
One footnote is that if the government is seriously going to move, it has to have a Canada land inventory which is up to date instead of the one everybody has been operating with until now and which was produced in the late 1920s and the 1930s. I know the minister, along with Canada Agriculture in Ottawa and this soil research branch -- is that what it’s called?
Mr. Lewis: Soil resource centre.
Mr. MacDonald: -- soil resource centre in Guelph has people who are engaged in the upgrading of the CLI so that we will have some more sound and reliable information in judging what are the categories of land we are working with.
One of the fascinating ways in which the government has operated, however, is that, faced with the prospect of all that agricultural land going out of production and out of use around Haldimand-Norfolk, it got in and upgraded it in Haldimand-Norfolk to discover that it was painfully in error.
For example, at the site of the town that is being built, as was pointed out by my leader in his Throne Speech debate contribution -- the Townsend site down there -- in 1928 CLI had only seven per cent of the land in class 1. In upgrading it we now find that 37 per cent of it is class 1 so there are tens of thousands of acres of agricultural land going out of use because the basic information we have is out of date. What is this government doing to get that information up to date so that it can move intelligently? In the Province of Ontario we have a professional soil surveyor -- pedologists -- three, the same as the Province of Newfoundland. When is the minister going to get at this because this is a basic requirement so that he can operate intelligently, authoritatively? The second and final thing that I want to draw to the attention of the minister is, is it considered policy which he finally enunciated -- I must point out for his consideration another recommendation of the COLUC report to be found on page 38:
“For the semi-idle land the government might consider selective purchase and sale back or lease back, possibly involving a government land sponsored assembly programme. It might also consider tax devices to coax idle land back into agriculture; e.g., an additional tax on speculative profits from idle land, shifting of the tax burden from farmers to owners of idle land; pegging farm tax to capability in agricultural use.”
In other words, without going into the detail of it, we have to have a farm income stabilization programme to assure farmers that they will have an income to meet their needs. At the other end we have to reduce their costs, perhaps by even more tax concessions than we have now, perhaps that’s in the wind in the next two or three days.
I hear little birdies whisper that perhaps that’s under consideration by way of trying to refurbish the government’s image out in rural Ontario. We will support it. We will support it as a means of strengthening the viability of agriculture. But if the government is going to bring back into the pool of that foodland something of the two million acres that are going to be required by the year 2000 in addition to the 10 million acres we now have, it has to have some sort of a mechanism for buying up the land, for assembling the land, leasing it to people who want to use it for food land purposes.
Hon. W. Newman: Do you know how many acres of land are being farmed in this province?
Mr. MacDonald: The government has an ARDA programme which is doing that. In other words, it is not so radical that it’s beyond the prospect of the government considering it.
Ninety per cent of the land in the Province of Ontario at the present time is Crown land -- a shattering thought -- owned by the government. A shattering thought If the government added another half or one per cent by accumulating it, in order that we protect it and preserve it, in a land bank, that I suggest is a mechanism that the minister might consider when he polishes up that speech in the brown-paper envelope that Roger Schwass wrote for him and gives us his final version through which he has sweated so endlessly over the last two weeks.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Lewis: It won’t be ready for Thursday, I tell you. It will be next week now.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. The member for York Centre now, thank you.
Mr. Lewis: It will be next week now when you rewrite it again.
Mr. MacDonald: I’ll make the minister an offer. I’ll write the speech for him. Furthermore, it would conform with all these proposals, too.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Mr. Stong: Mr. Speaker, I would like to address this House on a matter that was conspicuous more by its absence from than its inclusion in the Throne Speech, and that topic is our present attitude toward education.
Even as recently as last week, the Premier (Mr. Davis), while addressing students at Ryerson Polytechnical Institute, alluded to the fact that the weaknesses we are experiencing in our educational system may be grounded in the circumstances which exist outside that system. The work of this House has been involved with, among other things, two very significant matters since the adjournment before Christmas -- two matters which represent seriously escalating problems and which reflect the quality of life in our province. The two matters were the teachers’ strikes in Metropolitan Toronto and Kirkland Lake.
These strikes were significant, not only because the Legislature interfered by legislation with the inherent right to bargain collectively and ultimately strike, which had only one year previously been embodied in Bill 100, but also because legislating the teachers back to work has even more significance in that the situation underlines the fact that society has abrogated its own responsibility and relegated it to the teachers. Despite the legislation which this House has passed, the situation continues to grow and it exists even today in Windsor and Sault Ste. Marie.
Confrontation politics has finally struck the fibres from which society draws its strength. The teachers’ strike is apparently reduced to no more but no less than confrontation between teachers and parents. Teachers who on the one hand seek compensation for the extra demands made of them, and parents on the other who have transferred to the teacher much of their responsibility but who are, at the same time, unwilling to face the fact that they have done so.
When faced with the problem of a strike by the teachers in both Kirkland Lake and Metropolitan Toronto, this House directed its attention to a short-term solution and that was passing immediate back-to-work legislation. But before it is too late, this House must consider a long-term solution which is to embark upon a massive and immediate programme of educating and attuning the public to the changing role of the teacher so that teachers and boards of education may come to a more equitable settlement quickly and efficiently, and without acrimony.
In considering the long-term solution we must first direct our minds to what has motivated the teacher to enter the profession of teaching in the past. Formerly, the salary paid to the teaching profession was adequate and the position of a teacher carried with it the prestige and recognition of such an honourable and demanding occupation.
Mr. Moffatt: Well said.
Mr. Stong: Teachers had been offered a suitable and complete pension plan and were motivated by an ambition to improve society in general. Past conditions and discipline in the teaching profession recognize that the teachers’ federation was not a collective bargaining force, like a union negotiating early contracts; its primary interest was the improvement of internal education and the guaranteeing of job security.
In the past, teachers had been held in high regard by society, not only because they demonstrated their professional skills and personal satisfaction in educating our most precious possession, but they were recognized for their role. They had, and still do have, the greatest impact on our children, because they work with them throughout their formative years.
Teachers have always had tremendous contact with children, but as mothers and fathers assume a greater role in the labour market teachers have an even greater role to play with the formation of our children. Twenty years ago, day care was virtually unknown to our society but today parents take it for granted.
Let’s examine the basic historic values which no longer prevail in the year 1976. The salary of the teaching profession is no longer adequate compared to organized labour. The teachers’ pension plan no longer binds the teacher into an effective programme; first because inflation is eating away the value of the pension; second, pension plans are becoming more universal and organized labour has moved relentlessly to attain larger and better plans; and third, drastic reduction in family size means less population and thus fewer teachers, therefore a surplus of teachers is a very imminent danger.
In today’s society teachers have been forced to assume increased responsibilities. As service industry is growing by leaps and bounds and industrial production is expanding rapidly, more and more people in our society than ever before require vocational training. Also, as the mass media influences our way of life, our youth are lured into the field of sport as a lifetime occupation. The increasing availability of leisure time assists to make all this possible, and the teaching profession is expected to assume the responsibility of the formation of our athletic super stars.
As more parents are leaving the home to engage in the labour market, teachers are expected to assume a greater role in social education, particularly in the area of sex education, as well as in drugs and alcohol and the communication problems of our youth. This increased responsibility for teachers is created by an ever-changing society, where both parents work and the grandparents, if alive, are separated from the family, are living in nursing homes or senior citizens’ homes; or are holidaying out of the province or working to maintain themselves.
As these changes influence the family structure, more and more of our children are affected. Today’s teacher must, by necessity, have a greater impact on the child of this generation. Our changing society demands not less of our teachers but more, and will continue to do so.
As this shifting of responsibility continues, the growing confrontation between government, school board and teacher will rapidly shift to confrontation between parent and teacher if it has not already done so. Parents have unconsciously shifted their responsibility for their children’s development to the teaching profession without a compensating concern for the added burden which has been placed on the shoulders of those teachers.
Twenty years ago sociologists proved, and people accepted, the basic truth that children with inadequate diet could not truly benefit from the educational system. Therefore, warm meals became part of the school programme in some underprivileged areas. Today in the USA this is a federal programme, but we have not progressed beyond this simple dietary problem. If confrontations continue and become more severe, by 1981 there will be little prestige in this honourable and increasingly demanding profession. Historically, teachers have not enjoyed a high level of wealth, which perhaps has been compensated by personal achievement, if we accept this historic fact of life, then we can understand why the major goal of the teachers’ federation has been improvement of educational structures, with a lesser emphasis on collective bargaining.
As the provincial representative for York Centre, I have received great criticism from parents who, because of the location of York Centre, are greatly influenced by the Toronto mass media. In 1974, high school teachers in the regional municipality of York struck. In 1975, teachers of Metropolitan Toronto struck, and even now we have ever-increasing threats of strikes by teachers in other parts of Ontario.
Parents complain that children are finishing high school but can neither read nor write. They have expressed the view that our educational system is inadequate and does not reflect the increased realty taxes which they pay each year. They complain about school discipline in the academic subjects.
We have indeed run out of time as our children’s future is at stake and the teaching profession seems to be in jeopardy. But I remind my friends to the right, the official opposition, that no politician will serve this province who exploits this situation for political gain. We must strive together in a sincere attempt to end this critical situation in Ontario. It would be easy to hurl darts at the party in power for its imposition of spending ceiling which restricted wage settlements by school boards over the past five or six years, but this is a partisan political approach.
We must strive to ease confrontation, perhaps by permitting salary negotiations to be conducted by a provincial agency on a province-wide basis. Perhaps we will have to remove the right to strike from teachers, but we must make it quite clear to parents who want more and more attention paid to their children and who, at the same time, relate only to a dollar evaluation of education, that their changing demands on the teaching profession must generate compensation for that same profession.
Bill 100 created a body known as the Education Relations Commission whose main function is in the area of negotiations between teacher and school board. If indeed, the present confrontation between teacher and school board has developed into a confrontation between teacher and parent, then we must consider immediately extending the terms of reference of this commission to allow it, as an independent body, to embark upon a programme to educate the public in general with respect to changing attitudes in society with a corresponding change in responsibility being placed on the teaching profession.
This commission must have reasonable support and membership from teachers, school boards, the Ministry of Education and members of the public in order to inform the public of the problems that exist. It is only in this way that we are going to meet the demands of the future and avoid the situation which has presently developed, that is, legislating teachers back into the classroom, with the result that there is less than complete accord with the spirit of the legislation and the spirit that we have grown to accept from the profession itself, namely, 100 per cent effort in the development of our children.
As I indicated at the outset, this confrontation between teachers and school boards seems really to represent confrontation between parents and teachers and, as leaders of our community, we must immediately employ the tools at our disposal to prevent the continuing escalation of this problem and, by educating our constituents to the changing responsibilities on all sides, we may thereby improve the quality of life in our province.
Mr. Lane: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to take part in this Throne Speech debate and I would like again to congratulate you and your Deputy Speaker on the very fine job you and he continue to do in this House for the members sometimes, I’m sure, under very trying circumstances.
I would like to take the opportunity to thank the Minister of Housing (Mr. Rhodes) and his predecessor for the assistance they have given in my attempts to get sufficient rent-geared-to-income housing for the senior citizens in the great riding of Algoma-Manitoulin. We in this province owe a great deal to our senior citizens. They are largely responsible for the high quality of life we now enjoy. One of my greatest concerns is that we provide well for these people in the sunset years of their lives, and I think the place to start is to guarantee the availability of proper housing for them.
I also thank the Minister of Housing for his concern and assistance in providing funding to acquire and develop land for housing purposes in Elliot Lake. After many years of uncertainty, Elliot Lake is now fast becoming a very stable, fast-growing town and, of course, it is becoming a problem for housing to keep pace with the development of the mines, and we are working there with some success in expanding the secondary industries that are already there.
Elliot Lake, like other areas in my riding, is trying to attract new industry. One industry I think that could locate there and be well founded is Eldorado Nuclear Ltd. This industry could be located in Spanish or Blind River; it would greatly enhance the economy of this area and, if it was properly built and operated, I think it shouldn’t cause any health problems.
I have also got another secondary industry interested now in locating in my riding. It is too early at this time to elaborate on this particular industry but if it goes ahead, I will be in touch with several municipalities that could accommodate it. In the past, I think we have done too much talking about secondary industries and not done enough real work on it. It is my hope that we can accomplish more and maybe do less talking about it in the future.
Much has been said regarding restraints on spending, and I think that we all agree that something must be done if we are going to get rid of the dreaded disease known as inflation. Our only disagreement, it seems, is how best to do the job. Many people agree that restraints are good, but as soon as it touches our communities, the fat is in the fire and we members receive letters, telegrams and telephone calls advising us to do this or not to do that. There is no doubt in my mind that there will be some disagreement, as time goes on, as to how this job should be done. I think the main thing is that we get the job done.
I have been concerned in recent weeks by the amount of criticism and abuse that our Minister of Health (Mr. F. S. Miller) has taken from the opposition parties in the House and the public. While I do not altogether agree with the method being used to control the spending in the ministry -- in my opinion there are other methods that could have been used to save money without impairing our health service --
Mr. Cassidy: Why don’t you vote against him tonight for the way he has abused the health system?
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. The hon. member has the floor.
Mr. Lane: I do want to say that the hon. member for Muskoka is, without a doubt, one of the best Ministers of Health this province has ever had.
Mr. Cassidy: The competition wasn’t that great.
Mr. Lane: And while he may not always be right -- who is? -- one thing for sure is that he puts his job before himself, and he has the guts to stand up and say and do what he feels must be done. This is a quality that is sadly lacking in many people in public office today. I am sure all of the members of this House wish the hon. minister a quick and complete return to good health and that we will soon see his smiling face and hear his quick wit and sense of humour, which we have come to enjoy so much in this House.
Much has been said in recent weeks by members of the opposition about the people of this province wanting an election. As far as I can see all the people of this province want is good government.
Mr. Bain: They are not getting it.
Mr. Davison: That is why we want an election.
Mr. Lane: Those who want an election are those who have discovered that they elected the wrong person last September and would like to have an opportunity to undo this.
Mr. Bain: How about the constituents of your riding?
Mr. Lane: They are quite satisfied.
Mr. Cassidy: That’s not what they tell us.
Mr. Kennedy: They have got very good service; he’s a fine member.
Mr. Lane: Our people are entitled to a good government, and in a minority situation that responsibility rests on all parties.
I am very concerned about the increased costs of basic commodities in the north as compared to the south. An obvious commodity is gasoline. I had hoped to get a hearing of the royal commission in Espanola, but I understand the commission went to Kenora and Kapuskasing; in so doing they felt they had the feeling of the problem in the north, and they very well may have. In any event, on April 21 final arguments will be heard and anyone wishing to put forth an argument can be heard, starting at 10 a.m., at 151 Bloor Street West, here in Toronto.
The equalization of the prices of gasoline and other basic commodities in the north is just one of the inequalities which bother me about service to the north.
In my riding, there are eight Indian reserves. I feel I work hard to try to improve the lot of our native people. We are working together with them. We have improved the quality of life to quite a degree, I think. Yet, in spite of this, seven young people on the Wikwemikong reserve took their own lives last year. One of the problems is that white people do not understand the lifestyle of the native people, and they should have more direct input themselves.
These and other problems peculiar to the north have prompted me to propose a Ministry of Northern Ontario. This is not an administrative type of ministry but a co-ordinating type of ministry which would work together with every ministry in the government to take the government to the people in the north -- to research, investigate, develop it and assist the vast areas of the north without local councils to receive help or attention.
Or course, we would allow our native people to have a direct pipeline into the Ministry of Northern Ontario. Perhaps then we can better understand the desired lifestyle of our native people and not try to force on them a lifestyle that is frustrating and non-productive.
I am pleased to say that my proposal has received a great deal of support in the north. I quote from the Jan. 29 editorial in the Sudbury Star which reads:
“The idea is sound. It was a mistake in 1972 to merge the fledgling Department of Northern Affairs with the super Ministry of Natural Resources. In the two-year life of the Northern Affairs, it was a highly visible ministry. True, it shared its bed with the Department of Mines (full title was the Department of Mines and Northern Affairs) but it was a clearer link than now exists. Mr. Lane therefore will find no lack of northern support for the principle of a separate ministry. Indeed, his suggestion goes even a step ahead of the old concept since he would have one independent of any other branch.”
[They conclude by saying:] --
“Keep it up, Mr. Lane. It makes sense.”
The Jan. 8, 1976, editorial in the Elliot Lake Standard reads, “John Lane, MPP, is on our new year’s honour list. He deserves a bouquet for his recent proposal concerning a Ministry of Northern Ontario.”
The editorial feature page of the Espanola Standard Feb. 5, 1976, says, “The proposed Ministry of Northern Ontario which is being strongly pressed by John Lane, MPP, Algoma-Manitoulin, is being well received.”
I could go on at great length reading from editorials from northern weeklies. However, I will not take the time of the House. I just want to get the message across that the idea is sound and would be welcomed by the people of the north.
Mr. Lewis: But you know that the government has rejected it. Tried it and rejected it.
Mr. Lane: Members can imagine my surprise when I picked up the local newspaper a few weeks ago and read the headline, “Lewis Raps Lane.” The article goes on to say that Mr. Lewis disagrees with me for various reasons.
Another article, written by the hon. member for Nickel Belt (Mr. Laughren), states that the proposal would cost $1 million and makes no sense.
It amazes me that in the House here last year, we were hearing about the great government auto insurance plan in BC. We know how that turned out; it was a real failure, of course. We also heard the opposition members talk about the BC cow-calf stabilization programme and how good it was. Yet our government provided a more useful programme for our farmers.
Mr. Bain: You didn’t say a better programme, though, did you?
Mr. Lane: Since that time, of course, Mr. Barrett and company has been taken to the cleaners so we don’t hear any more about that.
Mr. Cassidy: They are giving away calves in eastern Ontario.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. The member for Algoma-Manitoulin has the floor.
Mr. Warner: You should have made this speech in Victoria.
Mr. Lane: What I can’t understand is why we haven’t heard more about the Department of Northern Saskatchewan. This ministry evolved under an NDP government.
Mr. Lewis: Yes, but it has a million people involved.
Mr. Lane: I have a report, the 1974-1975 report, on my desk. As a matter of fact, I have it in my hand.
Mr. Bain: So you admit your ideas are based on NDP philosophy.
Mr. Lane: Mr. Bowerman, the minister, says it is doing a tremendous job in northern Saskatchewan. As a matter of fact, just a very small quote out of the report says, “Many new innovative programmes have been implemented ... improvements have been made to existing ones ... advancement is far beyond any level previously contemplated in the north.”
Mr. Lewis: That’s because it’s an NDP government. It wouldn’t happen here.
Mr. Lane: Mr. Speaker, this is the very thing that I am proposing for northern Ontario.
Mr. Bain: An NDP government.
Mr. Lane: Yes we have the NDP members knocking the very thing that worked under their government in northern Saskatchewan.
Mr. Lewis: You weren’t here when Allan Lawrence was Minister of Northern Affairs. It was a disaster. They took a Toronto member and made him Minister of Northern Affairs.
Mr. Lane: The trouble with you people is you don’t want the problem to go away.
Mr. Lewis: It flopped.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Mr. Lane: You want to keep on making votes on it but you don’t want the problem to go away. You are always negative, never positive.
Mr. Lewis: Just take your ministries and get them to do a job. You don’t need a separate one.
Mr. Cassidy: That’s right.
Mr. Lane: As I see it, the only reason the NDP members are against any proposal is they are afraid it will work.
An hon. member: What about your own government?
Mr. Lane: And the people of the north will appreciate the improved service.
Mr. Lewis: Come on. Your own government rejected it. They said it was a ridiculous idea.
Mr. Lane: I say to the members of the opposition party that if given an opportunity this proposal will work.
Mr. Bain: Does your government support it?
Mr. Lane: If, by chance, sometime in the future the people of this province make the mistake of electing an NDP government -- heaven forbid that --
Mr. Lewis: They might. You never know.
Mr. Lane: -- but if they did, it will work just as well for you people as it will for us -- just as well. As a matter of fact, you’d probably bring it in, because you did in Saskatchewan.
Mr. Shore: Give it to them.
Mr. Bain: Elect us and find out.
An hon. member: That would be a disaster.
Mr. Lane: I say that this new ministry I’m proposing will work for any government of the day. I say to the members of the opposition, let us forget political advantages and disadvantages as politicians --
Mr. Shore: That’s right.
Mr. Warner: We’ll bring it in --
Mr. Lane: Let’s work together to --
Mr. Cassidy: No, neither were you. It is amazing how you guys get above party when your party is slipping badly.
Mr. Lane: Let’s work together as members for the north to improve government services and the quality of life for the people we represent. Surely this should be the first priority of us people who are elected to serve the north.
Mr. Lewis: You are on the government side. Do something about it.
Mr. Lane: That’s what I’m trying to do.
Mr. Lewis: Speak to your cabinet minister.
Mr. Lane: You people are official opposition. You should be helping me, not hindering me.
Mr. Lewis: We have.
Mr. Lane: You are going across this country --
Mr. Lewis: We have helped the north.
Mr. Lane: The member --
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. The hon. member for Algoma-Manitoulin will please continue his speech and the others will refrain from interjections. The hon. Leader of the Opposition, please.
Mr. Lewis: We have helped the north.
Mr. Lane: You made great marks in the north because you --
Mr. Lewis: We have nine northern members now; that’s why.
Mr. Lane: You talk about the problems but you didn’t do anything about them.
Mr. Speaker: We’re wasting valuable time.
Mr. Bain: What about the government?
Mr. Speaker: Order. The member for Timiskaming.
Mr. Lane: Again, I want to say the NDP does not want the problem to go away. They want it to be there to make marks on the next time around, I want them to go away now. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Lewis: If you go away we’ll consider it.
Mr. Lane: I won’t go away.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Mr. Wildman: Mr. Speaker, it’s a pleasure to participate in this debate after the comments of my colleague from Algoma-Manitoulin regarding his proposal that we institute -- or that the government institute -- a ministry for northern Ontario.
Mr. Warner: Here comes the truth.
Hon. B. Stephenson: You wouldn’t recognize it if you met it.
Mr. Wildman: I think that probably the reason he’s suggesting this is simply that the other ministries which are now already in existence haven’t done anything for northern Ontario.
Mr. Wildman: I must agree with him in that feeling, really, bemuse the north has been neglected for a long time by this government. That is why there are nine NDP members from the north and so few Conservative members.
Mr. Cassidy: That’s right.
Mr. Lewis: It’s a disgrace.
Mr. Wildman: I think his proposal for a ministry for the north, however, is a rather facile solution, when really what he should be doing is going after the Ministry of Natural Resources, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Labour and all of the other ministries which are especially involved in the north to do the job they’re supposed to be doing. What is he going to do if he sets up a ministry for northern Ontario?
Mr. Lane: We are going to package up the problem and drop it on the minister’s desk to show him what can be done.
Mr. Lewis: Do it now.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Mr. Wildman: I suppose he is suggesting that because he and the other back-benchers have such a difficult time telling their ministers what should be done in the north. If they would only listen to the suggestions made over on this side of the House, perhaps they wouldn’t have that same problem.
Mr. Lane: We don’t have any problem getting to the minister. Look at my record in this house.
Mr. Wildman: I’m participating in this debate in support of both amendments -- that of the Liberal Party and of the official opposition -- to the Speech from the Throne --
Mr. Bain: Are the Liberals supporting the Liberal amendment?
Mr. Wildman: -- even at the risk of being described as a criminal because the Minister of Housing (Mr. Rhodes) recently made a statement in which he said it would be criminal to oppose the restraint programme of this government.
Mr. Shore: The minister wouldn’t say that, would he?
Mr. Wildman: Even taking into account that he had said that, I’m going to vote against the government. It’s interesting that a colleague of his a few weeks ago made the comment that criticism of the government was subversive and then apologized to the House. Now the Minister of Housing not too long ago, made a statement that criticism of the restraint programme is criminal. I suppose, as a subversive and a criminal, I am voting against the government.
Mr. Lewis: You didn’t say criminal, did you?
Mr. Maeck: Who called him a criminal?
Mr. Wildman: I didn’t say I was one, now, of course.
Mr. Wildman: In good conscience, however, I just cannot support the dismantling --
Mr. Wildman: He didn’t call me a criminal. He said disagreement with the restraint programme would be criminal; and I really must disagree.
Mr. Wildman: In good conscience Mr. Speaker, I just can’t support the dismantling of our health and social service delivery system that this government has embarked upon between sessions.
In my riding the Ministry of Health ordered St. Joseph’s General Hospital in Blind River to close 15 active-treatment beds. They have moderated that stance to allow 10 of those beds to be shifted to chronic care and this will make it possible for the people who would have been laid off to remain in their jobs. But they have not done anything about the rather minuscule request of the Mental Health Association of Blind River for grants such as $45 and $60. These things have been effectively rejected by the ministry because the ministry has said that these kinds of things must be ruled on by community health councils; and in that area, of course, there isn’t a community health council, it doesn’t exist.
The Minister of Community and Social Services (Mr. Taylor) has also made claims that the 5.5 per cent ceiling on increases for social service spending will not hurt essential programmes and that it will not increase municipal taxation. I just wonder how the government relates that to the statement just recently by Mr. Flesher, the head of welfare services in Sault Ste. Marie, that there they are $95,000 short because of the government ceiling and that it is going to mean a great deal of money to Sault Ste. Marie taxpayers.
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: Wait until he sees the Soo mill rate.
Mr. Wildman: I am also opposing the government because in the Throne Speech there is basically nothing that deals with the issues that were major issues in my riding in the last campaign.
If anyone travels throughout Algoma they will notice the tremendous natural wealth we have and the tremendous responsibility we have to develop this wisely and to conserve it for future generations. However, when I see the actions of the Ministry of Natural Resources in the allocation of timber limits without insuring adequate returns to the people of this province, or the ministry’s failure to enforce regulations to protect workers in the mines and mills from accident and disease, I question the minister’s responsibility. For that matter, when he admits he has taken friends fishing in a fish sanctuary lake, I think it indicates his dedication to conservation and the enforcement of the laws and regulations that his ministry is supposed to administer.
There are many examples in my riding of the need for government activity. For instance, the need to produce jobs along the north shore of Lake Huron. That area suffers from an unemployment rate which approaches 22 per cent. There is absolutely nothing in the Throne Speech which is going to do anything about that. The suggestion that there be further concessions to the mining companies to help bring about more exploration does absolutely nothing to help those people who need jobs. It doesn’t even guarantee that there is necessarily going to be more exploration.
In other areas in my riding, of course, as in the town of Wawa which is more affluent than the north shore, there is a tremendous housing shortage. The government over the last few years has spent large amounts of money in loans and grants to commercial activity in Wawa -- tourist activity -- which is needed, I suppose, to help the economy of the area, but it seems an awful shame to see tremendous amounts of money spent on motels when people can’t find a place to stay or when they have to live in basements or second-floor apartments in what normally would be single-family dwellings.
Another issue which is of importance to my riding is agriculture. The government has again promised in the Throne Speech something to stabilize farm incomes. This year, of course, the bottom fell out of beef prices and as a result the farmers in my area have suffered. In some cases incomes are being cut in half. The government has brought in a rather inadequate, so-called stabilization plan and they have had to pay out twice as much as they first expected. Now they have ag reps going around talking to the farmers suggesting that perhaps the premium might be doubled and the poundage might be lowered, yet not even telling the farmers they are going to get the 50 cents they got this year. They are not even talking about raising it. They won’t even guarantee what they got this year.
So basically, although I risk being accused of being a criminal, I have to rise in opposition to the motion for the acceptance of Her Honour’s address and in support of the amendments. I will be voting against the government.
Mr. Roy: Mr. Speaker, I sort of looked forward to --
Mr. Cassidy: Enjoy it while it lasts.
Mr. Roy: That’s better.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. Before the hon. member embarks upon his address, I am just checking the time. By agreement, which is not a law of course, it looks as if there will be about six minutes left for the member for the Liberal Party and about 19 minutes for the PC party. For the NDP, there are about 15 minutes left.
Mr. Roy: Oh, no, no.
Mr. Speaker: That is if the arrangement is stuck to hard and fast. There can be some flexibility, I presume.
Mr. Roy: Mr. Speaker, by your calculation, we will never get to 6 o’clock, and I certainly want to make a contribution in winding that clock down. I will try to be brief in any event.
Mr. Cassidy: Never mind, the member on the government side isn’t ready to talk yet.
Mr. Roy: I want to say that I have been looking forward to participating in this debate. For the first time since 1971, I have enjoyed the contributions made by certain cabinet ministers. In fact, I am overwhelmed by the attendance of government members here today, including a few cabinet ministers. I feel very privileged to be speaking in the presence of such honourable gentlemen.
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: Your colleagues don’t like you.
Mr. Lewis: They don’t know a compliment when they hear one.
Mr. Roy: I do want to express my personal congratulations to you in your functions as Speaker in this House and to say to you that if you thought things were tough in the past, I would suggest they will probably be getting tougher in the future. But I am convinced that with the co-operation of all members you have the capability. Your associate, the hon. member for Lake Nipigon (Mr. Stokes) is doing a very credible task as well. He also deserves our support and congratulations. I would just issue one word of warning in this whole process, Mr. Speaker, namely, that even though we in the Liberal Party are some distance from you, please do not forget us. We are here, we are alive and we are well.
I want to say to you that in the process of enforcing the rules of the House the tendency in the past, and I don’t blame you for this at all, is that there’s been more enthusiasm, usually, on the part of the Speaker, to cut supplementaries or to cut any editorial comment in the question but not so much in the answers. I say to you that the great Speakers we have had, the succession of Speakers we have had at the federal level, have earned their reputation by being especially hard on the government. I say to you, Mr. Speaker, you will get support from the opposition if, once in a while when we get too much editorial comment in the answers from the ministers, there are some cutbacks made there as well.
Mr. Shore: We need restraint.
Mr. Roy: I would want to take advantage, as well, on the opportunity of speaking in this august assembly to thank the people of Ottawa East, the people who have given me the privilege to serve here again and have given me the privilege in an overwhelming fashion.
You will recall, Mr. Speaker, some time back there was some attempt -- and I don’t say it was on the part of the government at all -- there was some suggestion by the new boundaries commission to wipe out the riding of Ottawa East. You will recall that we put up certain objections to this, and in fairness to the commission -- and I want to thank the people on the commission for this -- they saw fit to change this.
I am told I have 13 minutes instead of six, Mr. Speaker.
So I want to thank the members of the commission who saw the light. In fact I felt the original decision of the commission seemed to have been based on rulers and on lead pencils and not on facts existing in the tidings, and too often communities were being cut up without any emphasis as to the history of the community or the composition of the community. It would have been sad indeed if the only urban riding in the province with a French-speaking majority would have not had a voice in this House, if it would have been cut up three ways, as originally proposed. So I do want to thank the members of the commission. Some people have said that we were able to save the riding for the Liberal Party, but we wouldn’t say that because our approach was subjective.
Mr. Cassidy: That’s true.
Mr. Ruston: We won’t say that.
Mr. Cassidy: It would have been an NDP riding if the original boundaries were stuck to.
Mr. Roy: I do want to emphasize again that I’m very grateful to the voters of Ottawa East for the overwhelming support I received in the election in 1975. I do want to thank as well the people --
Mr. Lewis: Wasn’t it nip and tuck?
Mr. Roy: It was tough. It was tough all the way. In fact, while I’m on the subject of Ottawa East, I should continue to say that I would hazard a guess, when I look at the money we spent in this election and the majority we obtained, that this was possibly one of the better investments, that the people who are going to get their tax credit made a wise investment in the riding of Ottawa East.
Mr. Cassidy: What about the $60,000 man?
Mr. Roy: We spent something like $13,000 in this riding -- $13,104 -- and we obtained a majority of close to 10,000. I would think that if we were to compare this across the province this is moderation and the results are, in fact, overwhelming.
Mr. Cassidy: What about the $60,000 man?
Mr. Roy: In fact, when I look at some of the investments made across the province, I can’t say as much. I wish my colleague from Carleton, the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations (Mr. Handleman), was here, because what a dirty trick he played on the Conservative candidate for Carleton East. The first thing he did, in an attempt to win that riding back for the Tories, was he sent down his campaign manager. That was the campaign manager who had run things down in the riding -- he’d run the election for Baker down there and he had run Syd Handleman’s campaign. Not only did this fellow cost the riding $9,000 to pay him during the election, but he spent $60,000 and he came third, a bad third. So I would say that was very unfair of the member for Carleton to send this individual down to Carleton East.
Mr. Ruston: Something like the NDP in my riding.
Mr. Cassidy: The NDP were in third place with $86.
Mr. Roy: I would think that was not fair at all to spend that kind of money. I want to tell you, the figures really bear out what we were able to observe.
I notice the member for Carleton East (Ms. Gigantes) is here.
In view of the plush headquarters this individual who worked for the Conservatives was operating out of, and the advertisements on television, money was no object. I can’t quite understand how this individual was really worth $9,000 for a short campaign period like we had provincially. There’s got to be a mistake. He certainly isn’t worth that kind of money.
I do want to say that the Tories basically spent some considerable amount of money in all the ridings in the Ottawa area. Claude Bennett, the Minister of Industry and Tourism and member for Ottawa South, he spent $48,996 --
Mr. Cassidy: He’s not worth it.
Mr. Roy: -- and in the process was able to reduce his majority from about 12,000 to 2,000. The investment there, again, was questionable.
Then we look at the riding of Ottawa Centre, where Gale Kerwin spent some $30,000, and again was some distance from being successful in that riding. Don Morrow spent, in the riding of Ottawa West -- and, Don, I’ll be kind.
Mr. Morrow: Look at the excellent majority, though.
Mr. Roy: I say to the member for Ottawa West (Mr. Morrow), I’ll be kind with him, because I won’t read the ad he had in the paper during that election, on bilingualism and the Trudeau socialists --
Mr. Cassidy: God save the Queen.
Mr. Samis: Rule Britannia.
Mr. Morrow: That’s all right.
Mr. Roy: -- and the Quebeckers who were involved in Ontario politicking. But anyway --
Mr. Morrow: The hon. member knows I didn’t put in the ad.
Mr. Roy: I know. You had nothing to do with the ad. Your people got turned away, I know. And you got carried away in spending as well. Again, the member spent some $41,000, quite a hefty investment.
Mr. Kerrio: There was no restraint in the Tory campaign.
Mr. Morrow: Look at the excellent majority though.
Mr. Roy: And then the minister --
Mr. Morrow: Not bad for 85,000 voters.
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: How much did you spend?
Mr. Roy: How much did I spend? I will repeat it for you: $13,104.
Mr. Morrow: Point of order, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Speaker: Point of order.
Mr. Morrow: The hon. member for Ottawa East must remember that Ottawa West has twice as many voters on the voters’ list as Ottawa East.
Mr. Roy: You wouldn’t know that.
Mr. Morrow: You have to take that into consideration, as well as the majority.
Mr. Lewis: That’s a racist comment.
Mr. Roy: I want to say to the member for Ottawa West that the only time he would know there were twice as many voters would be election time, not between the elections.
Mr. Morrow: That’s all I need.
Mr. Roy: In any event, then we go to the member for Carleton (Mr. Handleman).
Mr. Lewis: I hope you are running again because this time we are taking you on, my friend, in no uncertain terms.
Mr. Roy: The member for Carleton spent $42,094 in that riding and in the process that member was able to reduce his majority from 7,000 to 600.
Mr. Morrow: It’s just a myth with you people.
Mr. Roy: That was again some investment. I would point out that when I --
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: Your constituents thought you were going to be leader; they really did. They believed you. They thought you were going to be leader. Wait until next time.
Mr. Roy: What is that?
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: Your constituents thought you were going to be leader.
Mr. Roy: They thought I was going to be -- ? There was no question of leader at that time.
Hon. B. Stephenson: Yes, there was.
Mr. Roy: Now that they know I’ve got leadership potential, watch the majority. Mr. Samis: You said that before.
Mr. Lewis: Never mind potential; you would be better off if you were leader today.
Mr. Roy: No, don’t be harsh.
I would point out as well -- I can see I am not going to get very far in this speech at all in 13 minutes. I am not going to be able to say at all what I want to say. This is interesting because the member for Carleton -- I could see why he could afford to spend $42,000 because he had a number of --
Mr. Kennedy: He had money.
Mr. Samis: All the distilleries and wineries in Canada.
Mr. Roy: -- wine companies acid liquor companies which for some reason were supporting him. I am free enterprise but none of us was able to get that sort of contribution. I wonder why that is?
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: Have you told Trudeau?
Mr. Roy: I just wonder why that is.
Of course I have named all the rulings --
Mr. Roy: -- and the final one is the riding of Carleton East where this young intelligent man, who had the ins with the Premier had spent some time in the office.
Mr. Cassidy: He is the $60,000 man.
Mr. Roy: That’s right. He was going to come in and here he is, the $60,000 man, coming third. I really think --
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: Finishing third isn’t all that bad.
Mr. Roy: -- that here we have evidence that not only have the Tories wasted money as a government -- taxpayers’ money -- they have wasted money during the election.
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: Some of my best friends finished third.
Mr. Roy: They have operated their elections in the same way they run this government. It’s a bad investment all the way through.
Mr. Cunningham: Just like in Hamilton Centre.
Mr. Roy: The final thing I would point out is that in the riding of Ottawa East, I would love to tell members how much the candidate who ran against me spent but as a lawyer I guess he didn’t know the law and he didn’t file his return. He hasn’t filed his return yet. I am told that some people have called him up and he has admitted spending some $20,000. He says: “I am sorry. I am only ten days late in filing a return. I will probably be charged.” I say to that he will have no problems, he will defend himself, because after the election he was given his QC. Yes, he was. I was wondering what he was doing running in the --
Mr. Samis: It makes you wonder about lawyers, doesn’t it?
Mr. Roy: -- riding of Ottawa East. He seems like a reasonable individual yet there he is running for the Tories in Ottawa East. I thought he is either after a QC or a judgeship; either one.
Mr. Cassidy: Or both.
Mr. Roy: He got his QC and I suppose if he ran again there would be something else they would unlock. I want to thank him for the effort he made. Hopefully, the QC will help him in his defence. I expected that after the Election Commission had sent out notices to all candidates across the province saying the deadline is coming forward, he would have filed his return. He, as a lawyer who has a QC now, should have known enough to file his return in time. He did not.
Mr. Shore: Defend them.
Mr. Roy: The poor individual. Either he is going to have to be charged or prohibited from running again. I say it’s unfortunate that all this money was spent --
Mr. Samis: Too bad we don’t have a senate in Ontario.
Mr. Roy: -- and the returns on the investments were so poor.
Mr. Roy: Mr. Speaker, I had many more things to say that I thought were of some interest to the members of the House, but I want to abide by whatever gentlemen’s agreement has been arrived at here. I do want to comment briefly, though, on the efforts on the other side: I’ve never quite seen such a succession of ministers getting up and making a contribution to the Throne Speech debate. This is something we have never seen before.
Mr. Cassidy: We’ve never had anything but ministers.
Mr. Roy: Maybe I’m naive, but I sometimes think it must be Eddie Goodman who has talked to the Premier (Mr. Davis) and said, “Look, you’ve got to get some of your dummies out there. You’ve got to get them up front to take some of the flak.” They got a brown envelope from that ministry and from other ministries.
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: From Elie Martel!
Mr. Roy: It’s a process that I thoroughly enjoyed, listening to the ministers trying to justify their positions and telling the members here what a great job their ministry was doing. Some of them were precious. The other night I spent all evening here listening to the Minister of Revenue (Mr. Meen); I think it is sad that I should only have 13 minutes when I sat here for about half an hour listening to the Minister of Revenue --
Hon. B. Stephenson: Don’t talk. That leaping leprechaun from Renfrew spent 2½ hours.
Mr. Roy: -- telling us how well the flow charts were working and how well the computers were operating. That was about as interesting as telling us how he put his pants on in the morning.
Mr. Lewis: Actually, when you think of Arthur Meen, that would be interesting.
Mr. Roy: I’m not sure whether it would be more interesting than the computers.
Mr. Lewis: He might have difficulty about which end to start at.
Mr. Roy: Anyway, we’ve had a succession of ministers talking about this -- and I want to say, Mr. Speaker, that forced to close when I’m in full flight; I would really like to get wound up in this process --
Mr. Shore: Keep going.
Mr. Roy: Mr. Speaker, I want to say that the Liberal Party in Ontario, my colleagues and I, are alive and well. We have had a few problems in the last week, we’re going to correct the situation --
Mr. Martel: That is the understatement of the year.
Mr. Roy: -- and we’re going to operate on an even keel. Mr. Speaker, I can say this: When this was going on, I was away on a holiday, so I can’t take any of the credit for it. But as bad as I might feel, all I have to do is come back in the House, look across the way and I feel much better. I really do. And I want to say that we’re alive and well. Unfortunately, we’re going to have to keep the Tories in power for some time longer --
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: You are decisive.
Mr. Roy: -- because we feel that now is not a good time, and the voters want to see minority government work, so we’ll support the government for a while.
Mr. Cassidy: That is a flip-flop.
Mr. Moffatt: We heard these excuses before.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. Order.
Mr. Roy: I say to my colleagues to the right, if they were so keen in supporting a non-confidence motion, why didn’t they support us in the fall.
Mr. Moffatt: That is extremely weak.
Mr. Roy: Mr. Speaker, we will continue making a contribution here, and I’m very pleased to have participated. Thank you.
Mr. Speaker: The member for Mississauga South.
Mr. Ruston: The NDP aren’t going to vote tonight.
Mr. Martel: We will be here -- every one of us.
Mr. Speaker: The member for Mississauga South. Order, please.
Mr. Lewis: If we had supported you in the fall, you would have withdrawn the amendment.
Mr. Roy: Oh no, no, no.
Mr. Lewis: Oh, yes, yes, yes. We didn’t want to embarrass you.
Mr. Speaker: We are wasting valuable time.
Mr. Roy: Not at all, we were very serious. We stuck to it.
Mr. Moffatt: And now you are stuck with it.
Mr. Speaker: The hon. member’s speech is over. Thank you.
Mr. Kennedy: I am pleased that the hon. members opposite reminded us four times that the Liberal Party is alive and well, because we need to be told almost repeatedly; we would never guess.
Mr. Ruston: You are pretty dull over there, Doug.
Mr. Kennedy: First, Mr. Speaker, I would like to commend you and your deputy on your election to office, and on the excellent job you are doing in what is a most difficult job; it just doesn’t occur at one point over the course of a session, but day by day. I pay tribute to you and your assistants who have done so well.
I am delighted with the opportunity to participate in the Throne Speech debate --
Mr. Martel: The giveaway programme all those years.
Mr. Kennedy: Mr. Speaker, in my view, the people of Ontario realize that we face some critical economic and social choices in the coming years --
Mr. Martel: As a result of 30 years of Tory government.
Mr. Kennedy: Settle down and listen.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. The hon. member for Sudbury East.
Mr. Shore: Elie, be nice and quiet.
Mr. Kennedy: In my view, the people of Ontario realize that we face some critical economic and social choices in the coming years. As the Throne Speech outlines, we have already initiated that process. We have already started down that road through the various types of commitments which we have made in our restraint programme. Hon. members opposite claim a lack of substance, a lack of perspective, in this most important document. I would suggest they take another look, a closer examination of what the Throne Speech is about. While the major emphasis centres upon the need to restrain government expenditures, to interject a reasonable sense of control and direction over the growth of the public sector, the government’s Throne Speech doubly emphasizes that our restraint programme will be carried out in a sophisticated and responsible manner.
That means the programme cannot be undertaken in a willy-nilly unplanned approach.
Mr. McClellan: Tell that to Taylor.
Mr. Kennedy: It means financial and budgetary limits must be applied equitably --
Mr. McClellan: Tell that to the Minister of Community and Social Services.
Mr. Kennedy: -- in the areas of social services, health care and education.
Mr. Martel: Thirty years of mismanagement.
Mr. Kennedy: Which means that restraints must be applied carefully, so as not to undermine or alter drastically the essential services provided in these three significant policy areas.
Mr. Ferrier: What about mental health in Ontario?
Mr. Kennedy: It is not an easy task. However --
Mr. Kennedy: -- it is important to realize the restraint programme must be completely carried out. Otherwise we will lose sight of the real object of the exercise --
Mr. Martel: Shouldn’t have given away so much last year in election year.
Mr. Kennedy: -- which is the beating back of inflation.
Mr. Kennedy: I must say that hon. members opposite are completely missing the real point of the restraint programme.
Mr. Kennedy: Every day since the federal government on Thanksgiving brought forth its new economic controls programme, the opposition parties in this Legislature have failed to see or understand that inflation, which is a continual and constant erosion of people’s personal savings and consequently the weakening of the purchasing power of the Canadian dollar, have meant truly harsh and real sacrifices to those people most affected by inflation.
Mr. Young: Why didn’t you think of that four years ago?
Mr. Kennedy: You are not thinking of it yet. Both the New Democratic and Liberal parties demonstrate their absence of understanding by insisting that this province establish its own provincial anti-inflation board.
Mr. Martel: Remember you tried to buy the province.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. Could we have fewer interjections? Thank you.
Mr. Martel: He is misleading the House.
Mr. Kennedy: By stressing the unconstitutionality of the legislation, they miss the real point, not appreciating the concerns of ordinary Canadians or for that matter the citizens of this province. As far as the question of constitutionality is concerned, the federal government decided to legislate the price and income controls on the basis of the peace, order and good government provisions of the BNA Act. While the federal government can be criticized for moving at the 11th hour on these economic problems, at least it had the good sense to take hold and try to stop the general drift in our economic affairs, belated though it is.
Certainly the public record shows that the Premier of this province (Mr. Davis) urged as early as April, 1974, that a federal-provincial conference on the number one priority of inflation be held in this country. He repeated that at the Prince Edward Island conference, if memory serves me right, in July of the same year.
Mr. Warner: He always talks a good fight.
Mr. Kennedy: Before developing my remarks for this Throne Speech debate I went over some of the arguments used by the official opposition in its justification for wanting a provincial anti-inflation board. From their presentations, members of the NDP appear to be arguing for a regional approach in solving the problem of inflation.
Mr. Kennedy: Yes, you did. They appear to be rejecting the national dimensions of inflationary pressures --
Mr. Wildman: You are talking about the Liberals.
Mr. Kennedy: -- telling the voting public that the real origins of problem-solving on the inflationary front, the real levers of power for controlling inflation, lie in the capacity of the provincial government, and specifically Ontario.
Mr. Swart: You should do something about auto insurance.
Mr. Kennedy: Quite frankly, I find this approach most disturbing and thoughtless, and I say this because all the members have to do is look beyond the borders of Ontario. Recently I had the opportunity to attend the one-day conference of the Ontario Economic Council. We listened to an eminent American economist, Dr. Paul McCracken, Dr. McCracken played a leading role, both as an official and as an academic, in the development of the recent economic policy in the United States.
He spoke to the gathering on the topic of government expenditures on a renascence of discipline. The essence of his address focused on the rising public concern about the impact and the usefulness of government expenditures.
He pointed out that this concern transcends national boundaries. He questioned the rapid expansion of the public sector in the majority of industrialized western democracies. He alluded to Canada’s debt ratio going from approximately 26 per cent to over 43 per cent in the past 20 years. That is a phenomenal rate of growth that, in effect, has produced unfulfilled expectations in the minds of many people, regardless of their political affiliation.
Mr. Warner: You are guilty --
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Mr. Kennedy: In Ontario, we’ve been a part of that historical development. Changing and growing populations and rising standards of living have placed greater attention and stress on the provision of human needs. Thus, in turn, it became necessary to expand both the social and economic structure of this province. Our attitudes to these economic and social trends were generally acceptable. They were characterized by the general feeling that these massive expenditures of public funds were required for the well-being of our province. But those attitudes are now changing dramatically. This abrupt shift in public concern from one of acceptance of greater government involvement in our lives to one of questioning that very involvement, is very similar to our attitudes towards the use of energy.
The majority of members of this Legislature accepted the premise that Canada was not wanting for natural gas or oil during the Fifties and Sixties of this century. In fact, we believed that our energy reserves were in abundance so much so we could export millions of cubic feet of gas and hundreds of thousands of gallons of crude oil to the American market without affecting our future industrial strategy for this country. But that now has changed. The watershed year was 1973 when the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, OPEC, determined that the world price for crude oil was completely insufficient. They created the energy cartel and tripled the price of crude in the short period of only 18 months.
We can all dispute the benefits or disadvantages of these developments. To my mind, it is a time-wasting effort. It is water under the bridge; it has happened. Now we’re being asked to revise expectations, reassess our attitudes and reorder our priorities.
What is most important in our own lives is the shift which has gone undetected by members opposite. The nature of that change is so radical that it’s particularly hard for my friends over there to grasp. Instead of reacting to the specific interest of special groups, the NDP should take a leaf out of the book of their fellow socialists in Great Britain. When their country was racked by high rates of inflation with hundreds of thousands of people out of work, the Labour government --
Mr. Deans: If you raise the volume, you will drive the last Liberal out of the House.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Mr. Kennedy: -- of Prime Minister Wilson put into effect a prices and income policy last summer.
Mr. Deans: Now you have done it, there is not a single Liberal in his seat.
Mr. Kennedy: They know what’s coming, so they’ve vacated. Before the policy was implemented, the British were suffering inflation at the rate of no less than 25 per cent.
Mr. Martel: They got rid of the Tories.
Mr. Wildman: The Tories were in power.
Mr. Ferrier: It was the Tories who caused the problems for Great Britain.
Mr. Kennedy: Now some six or eight months later, the very economic controls to which the trade union movement in Great Britain was so adamantly opposed at the outset have helped to bring that crushing rate of inflation down to about 15 per cent. So said a CBC documentary two or three weeks ago.
Mr. Martel: It was the Tories who got them in trouble, though.
Mr. Kennedy: Their socialist colleagues in Great Britain have grasped the lessons to be learned from the impact of inflation.
Mr. Martel: It was the Tories who got them in trouble -- they were in power.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Mr. Kennedy: The other day, Roy Jenkins, the Home Secretary -- he’s in the socialist wing --
Mr. Cassidy: Good man, too.
Mr. Angus: It was the Tories who screwed it up, though.
Mr. Kennedy: -- made an interesting observation. He said, “There’s no future -- “
Mr. Kennedy: If you will listen for a minute, you’ll learn something and maybe it’ll change the attitude you have toward the people of Ontario.
Mr. Cassidy: We have been listening for four years and never learned a thing from you guys.
Mr. Kennedy: Mr. Jenkins said, “There is no future in believing that we can let public expenditure, as a proportion of the national income, rise significantly further. Either the taxation or the inflationary consequences will be unacceptable.”
So said Mr. Jenkins.
Put in simpler terms, Mr. Jenkins is just reiterating a basic fact of life for all governments: Namely, that ever-larger government, mushrooming bureaucracy and massive tax-gobbling programmes simply will not do to meet our present challenges.
Mr. Ferrier: You are trying to pass off the mushrooming of government bureaucracy the Tories have created, are you?
Mr. Kennedy: The answer lies not in the greater expansion of government services but rather in limiting that growth and in starting to evolve the more efficient use of existing resources. That is the dilemma which I see faces my friends in the NDP. They have a sincere commitment and belief that the public sector has the capacity to provide the answers for all those people in society who are less fortunate from the standpoint of material things.
Mr. Swart: Your system isn’t working that well, then.
Mr. Kennedy: The PC government of this province has acted in good conscience by using government resources to help those who are disadvantaged -- the disabled, the blind and those who require a second chance to get back on their feet and contribute to our society.
Mr. Warner: Sure. Tell the Children’s Aid Societies that this year.
Mr. Kennedy: A secondary dilemma facing the NDP -- perhaps in the long term it will become the most important dilemma to be resolved -- is that by advocating the expansion of government, by spending more money than it is taking in, government becomes the very agency which destroys any real hope for the very ones the government is supposed to be helping. That’s a paradox, a real irony.
Argentina is an outstanding example of the harsh reality of inflation. Faced with inflation rates of over 330 per cent for the past year, the armed forces overthrew the Peronist government.
Mr. Wildman: Are you suggesting that here?
Mr. Kennedy: What motivated them to do that, when the government was ushered in on a great wave of popularity about three years earlier? The military does grasp for power; we won’t deny that that’s a factor but an even stronger strategic consideration is to centre on what would happen if there had been no intervention. Possibly another one of the NDP’s respected socialist colleagues in Great Britain, Michael Foot, who ran as a candidate, put it more succinctly. In a recent paper, Mr. Foot said that not bringing the economy under control in the United Kingdom would mean, in the long run, the loss of individual freedom and the eventual collapse of Parliamentary government --
Mr. Wildman: He was talking about controlling industry, though.
Mr. Kennedy: -- as it has been mothered end fostered in that country and spread throughout the world. If you fellows would follow that example, your attitudes here might change.
Mr. Warner: Yes. We are talking about controlling prices as well as wages. All you want is controlled wages.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Mr. Kennedy: The reasons for the military intervention in Argentina may be complex, I don’t know, but the conditions which led up to that intervention are frightening. An article from the Sunday, March 28 edition of the New York Times --
Mr. Martel: You spent a billion dollars trying to win an election last year.
Mr. Speaker: Order. Order, please.
Mr. Kennedy: -- describes the economic conditions of Argentina in which hundreds of people made a huge profit on the exchange rate of the peso to the dollar. The official exchange rate was 140; the black market was about 340 and that’s the way the black market took off.
Mr. Kennedy: There was a lot of margin in the exchange operations.
Mr. Kennedy: One asks why were these economic conditions allowed to persist? They weren’t.
Mr. Martel: It was the Tories who borrowed from Germany, too, wasn’t it?
Mr. Kennedy: There was the overtaking of the Peronist government by the military. We don’t want to go that route. We don’t want to follow the course the United Kingdom was on in its steps down the garden path of inflation before we really put restraints on ourselves.
Mr. Deans: Who wrote this?
Mr. Warner: You talk about every country but this one.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Mr. Deans: Be honest with us, who wrote that?
Mr. Warner: Are you going to get around to Ontario?
Mr. Kennedy: The whole rationale for the restraint programme in Ontario centres on the control of inflation.
Mr. Moffatt: He drove John Rhodes out of the House.
Mr. Kennedy: Any member of this House who argues that we in this government have concocted a phoney issue in dealing with inflation is mistaken.
Mr. Ferrier: Why didn’t they close the hospitals in your riding?
Mr. Deans: You have dealt with it in the opposite way from which a sensible, fair person would.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Mr. Kennedy: We are not out to bludgeon the people who are on welfare and those truly in need of welfare. We are not out to deny the sick access to hospital beds --
Mr. Deans: Just because you say it doesn’t make it so, you know.
Mr. Kennedy: -- and those who raise this question are simply becoming emotional over the restraint programme.
Mr. Deans: Go speak to the member for St. Andrew-St. Patrick (Mr. Grossman).
Mr. Warner: You just put 5,000 out of work.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Mr. Kennedy: It is not warranted. No matter how often that topic rises opposite, it is not warranted.
Mr. Deans: Talk to Larry Grossman and --
Mr. Warner: Who built it?
Mr. Kennedy: It is just that you refuse to face the realities of inflation. The members opposite are on all sides; at least you are fairly consistent in supporting the ongoing rise of inflation.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Mr. Kennedy: Mr. Speaker, we don’t have all the answers in trying to beat back inflation. We believe that members opposite could have some sensible and useful answers in implementing a most useful and difficult task -- restraining government expenditures -- without affecting the basic overall service provided in health care, education or social welfare.
Mr. Warner: An answer to 30 years of Tory ineptitude.
Mr. Kennedy: I would appeal and do appeal for both opposition parties to re-examine this, and come forward with some specific and responsible solutions instead of engaging continually in rhetoric --
Mr. Martel: You are not for real.
Mr. Deans: After it has happened.
Mr. Makarchuk: Sock it to’em.
Mr. Kennedy: -- rhetoric that is not constructive, that is not helpful, and will not be of help in getting us over this time of economic difficulty. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Cassidy: Monsieur l’Orateur, --
Mr. Moffatt: Why are you leaving over there?
Mr. Cassidy: -- je vais faire un discours qui sera peut-être très politique mais malheureusement qui ne serait pas compris par beaucoup des députés qui sont avec nous aujourd’hui. Je crois que c’est désirable que l’un des discours de ce débat soit en français, l’autre langue officielle de cette province. Alors j’ai quelques mots à dire en général et j’aimerais bien parler un peu des deux problèmes qui affectent l’éducation en français de nos franco-ontariens et aussi de nos gens de langue anglaise dans la ville d’Ottawa.
Dans le Nouveau Parti Démocratique, M. l’Orateur, nous sommes déçus que le Parti Libéral de l’Ontario ait décidé de ne pas procéder avec leur intention de forcer une élection à la conclusion du débat sur le discours du trône.
An hon. member: Very good, Mike.
Mr. Cassidy: C’est du bon français, oui. Alors les Libéraux ont changé de position si souvent dans le passé, M. l’Orateur, et maintenant ils vont reculer encore une fois. Leur chef était si courageux le jour quand il présentait son amendement qui serait supporté par le Parti Néodémocrate, mais deux jours après, après son petit jeu de tennis il était si timide. Il parait que M. Smith manque maintenant la confiance de son caucus, qu’ils ont eu un petit discours et puis qu’il a changé sa position.
Peut-être les Libéraux ont pensé que le Nouveau Parti Démocratique n’était pas sérieux en présentant des alternatives au programme du gouvernement et en déclarant que nous étions prêts à les combattre dans une élection sur les problèmes, les programmes, les questions majeures des découpages des services sociales et de la santé.
Alors tant pis. Le NPD sait depuis longtemps que les libéraux étaient un parti d’opportunisme, un parti qui manque de principes et que c’est un parti qui manque de positions fixes et qui change sa position d’un jour à l’autre.
Mr. Roy: Point of order, Mr. Speaker. He is being very offensive there, very offensive and I think unparliamentary toward this party.
Mr. Moffatt: You should have heard him before you came in.
Mr. Cassidy: Je voudrais dire, M. l’Orateur, que ce n’est pas vrai. It’s not true what he’s saying about me.
Mr. Speaker: The Chair feels he is very parliamentary. We may differ with his views, though, on both sides of the House. The hon. member will continue.
Mr. Cassidy: Si je ne suis pas à l’ordre, M. l’Orateur, je suis certain que vous me l’indiquerez.
Ce changement, cet opportunisme du Parti Libéral n’a jamais été plus évident que dans les événements des récentes semaines. Le député d’Ottawa Est était absent en vacances à Miami, n’est-ce pas? A Sarasota, oui, en Floride. Ce qui est plus important et qui nous trouble bien plus c’est le changement de position du Parti Libéral, le gouvernement minoritaire du Premier Ministre (M. Davis) a gagné maintenant plusieurs mois de survie. Les Libéraux évidemment ne sont pas en position de défaire le gouvernement. Au moins jusqu’à l’automne et peut-être jusqu’en 1977 ils vont supporter le gouvernement sans aucun regard aux effets de ses programmes sur la population de cette province.
Ce n’est pas la position du Nouveau Parti Démocratique. Quand notre chef (M. Lewis) a proposé notre amendement de manque de confiance dans le débat sur le discours du trône, c’était bien plus que la motion traditionnelle proposée par l’opposition dans un système parlementaire. Nous avions à considérer, vu la situation minoritaire, si nous voulions précipiter une élection ou non. Notre résolution était rédigée pour être acceptable à tous les députés de l’opposition, ci-inclus les députés du Parti Libéral. Nous étions préparés pour une campagne électorale et nous continuons de croire que ce serait plus désirable de voter en mai que de laisser les conservateurs au pouvoir jusqu’à l’automne ou jusqu’à l’an prochain.
Ce qui est arrivé à Queen’s Park, M. l’Orateur, c’est que l’esprit de coopération offert par le gouvernement dans les mois suivant l’élection de septembre a été remplacé par un esprit de confrontation. Dans la situation de gouvernement minoritaire, il nous semble que la coopération est obligatoire. Mais en actualité le gouvernement a tourné le dos sur l’opposition et sur la Législature depuis Noël. Ils ne sont pas simplement anti-coopératifs, ils sont devenus anti-démocratiques.
Dans la dernière semaine de la session d’avant Noël, le trésorier (M. McKeough) a commencé le programme d’économie qui résulte maintenant en des découpages sauvages pour les services sociaux et les services de santé. Vous vous souvenez peut-être, M. l’Orateur, que c’était environ le 17 ou le 18 décembre, une couple de jours avant la fin de la session, que les plans du gouvernement ont été dévoilés. Puis le ministre de la Santé (M. F. S. Miller) commençait en janvier et en février à fermer des hôpitaux et obligeait environ 4000 employés à démissionner.
Des membres du cabinet ont fait une tournée dans la province pour informer les municipalités et les commissions scolaires que le régime provincial de coopération fiscale était terminé et qu’elles seraient obligées de hausser leurs taxes foncières d’environ $150 à $200 par an pour chaque contribuable, pour chaque maison et chaque appartement en 1976. Finalement le ministre des Services sociaux (M. Taylor) a fait son tour de la province pour informer les municipalités et les agences de services sociaux que des services essentiels comme l’aide à l’enfance, les garderies et les foyers pour les personnes âgées seraient coupés, qu’ils allaient subir un grand découpage dans leur budget réel et qu’il avait lui aussi, comme ministre, l’intention d’obliger toute mère de famille recevant l’assistance sociale à travailler même si c’était à temps partiel et même si elle avait des enfants petits à la maison. Voici le programme.
Tout cela s’est fait sans consultation avec la Législature, parce que la Législature n’était presque pas en session sauf en mini-session de deux jours en janvier.
Le gouvernement a élaboré son programme de réduction des dépenses pendant une période de presque trois mois, sans consulter les représentants élus des citoyens de l’Ontario. Puis le discours du trône, que nous débattons aujourd’hui, a parlé dans un ton réactionnaire de la détermination du gouvernement de réduire la qualité de vie de notre province avec une attaque sur les gens âgés, pauvres et faibles.
Dans cette situation, il nous paraît que c’est inutile de continuer avec le gouvernement minoritaire. Nous croyons que très peu de constructif sera fait. Le gouvernement ne veut plus de consultation avec l’opposition ou avec le public. L’autre jour, par exemple, M. l’Orateur, j’ai entendu le ministre des Affaires Commerciales et du Consommateur nous dire que c’était inutile de se présenter en des manifestations devant la Législature parce que cela n’avait aucune action sur le gouvernement.
Alors inutile de dire à ce ministre, M. Handleman, et aux autres ministres que la raison pour laquelle les gens viennent dénoncer devant la Législature c’est quand ils ont essayé toutes autres sortes de moyens d’influencer, ou de faire écouter le gouvernement sans aucun effet.
En plus, nous dans le Nouveau Parti Démocratique croyons que le gouvernement a fait une erreur fondamentale en mesurant l’opinion des citoyens de cette province. Évidemment personne ne s’oppose au principe que les dépenses du gouvernement doivent être freinées. C’est aussi évident que si les gens de la province avaient le choix, ils préféraient de ne pas avoir une élection, était même si on n’est pas allé aux urnes depuis plusieurs ans.
Mais la situation qui existe, M. l’Orateur, c’est un peu différent. Ce qui nous trouble c’est que nous sommes arrivés dans cette province à un déficit de deux milliards de dollars en Ontario à cause d’un manque de contrôle sur les dépenses par le même gouvernement conservateur qui se présente maintenant comme le gouvernement d’économie.
Ce qui nous trouble c’est que le gouvernement a lancé ces restrictions sans consultation. Le gouvernement veut détruire la qualité des services sociaux avec des découpages inconsidérés. Nous sommes troublés que le gouvernement ignore les dépenses qu’il fait pour aider les grandes corporations en même temps que les services les plus essentiels aux gens qui sont très pauvres, comme nos personnes âgées, sont retirés. Nous sommes troublés parce que le gouvernement ferme des hôpitaux et coupe les budgets des hôpitaux en même temps qu’il ignore l’abus des laboratoires privés, tandis qu’il donne une augmentation de cinquante-six millions de dollars en salaires à nos médecins, ou en même temps qu’il permet des opérations chirurgicales qui ne sont pas nécessaires et qui coûtent chaque année une quarantaine de millions de dollars.
En plus c’est un gouvernement qui continue d’ignorer les problèmes que nous avons soulevés a la dernière élection -- le logement qui est abordable, la perte de nos terres agricoles, l’énergie, la santé. La qualité de notre vie subit une attaque primordiale de la part du gouvernement et nous regrettons beaucoup que le Parti Libéral a décidé, pour des raisons strictement partisanes, de laisser au pouvoir le gouvernement conservateur --
Mr. Roy: Vous devez regarder la résolution de votre confrère, résolution numéro quatre.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Mr. Roy: Les gens de la province ne veulent pas d’élection.
Mr. Cassidy: M. l’Orateur, dans la dernière élection, le parti Néodémocrate a proposé des programmes très positifs pour assurer le logement abordable pour trouver des solutions aux problèmes du coût du logis, de la perte de notre patrimoine agricole, et sur les autres sujets que je viens de mentionner.
Les problèmes soulevés lors de la dernière élection n’ont pas été résolus, pas même considérés par le gouvernement, et c’est pour cela que si, par hasard, l’élection était déclenchée ce soir, nous l’accueillerons. Nous sommes prêts si c’est nécessaire et nous désirons bien avoir l’opinion du grand public de cette province parce que nous croyons aussi que le public est prêt pour une élection, qu’après une couple de semaines de considération de qui a déclenché cette élection, nous retournions aux questions primordiales qui résultaient dans la défaite du gouvernement conservateur dans la dernière élection.
M. l’Orateur, j’aimerais bien ajouter quelques mots sur d’autres problèmes qui sont très importants pour la population francophone et aussi anglophone de cette province.
L’une c’est la question de l’école secondaire française dans les régions d’Essex et de Windsor. Nous avons une situation à Windsor, où après de grandes pressions par le ministre de l’Éducation, la politique de la province d’assurer l’éducation en français partout où vous avez un bon nombre de francophones qui peuvent en bénéficier, a été accepté par la Commission scolaire d’Essex.
Ils ont fait un accord informel et coopératif avec la Commission scolaire de Windsor de bâtir une école française telle que celle qui existe dans la région d’Ottawa, au nord de la province, à Toronto, même dans la région de Niagara.
Mais voici que dans les dernières semaines cet accord a été rejeté par la Commission scolaire d’Essex. Ils ont passé une résolution pour dire qu’ils ne veulent pas continuer avec le projet de construire une école secondaire française. Ils ont basé cette décision sur un préjudice contre les francophones, et ils ont rejeté un accord fait avec le gouvernement et avec le ministre de l’Éducation (M. Wells) selon lequel la commission scolaire a déjà bâti deux extensions à des écoles anglaises dans la région sans maintenant continuer à conclure son l’obligation de bâtir une école secondaire française.
L’autre jour, lundi de la semaine dernière, en effet, la commission a décidé de procéder avec une option pour acheter un terrain pour construire une école secondaire. Mais c’est évident, même si la surpopulation des écoles secondaires qui existent justifie une nouvelle école, qu’ils ont l’intention s’il n’y a pas de changement influencé par ce gouvernement de procéder avec ou une école bilingue ou bien une école qui serait strictement pour la population anglaise.
M. l’Orateur, certainement ma compréhension était que la politique du gouvernement est que tout élève francophone dans la province serait assuré d’une éducation en français au niveau secondaire, partout où vous aviez un bon nombre de francophones.
La région de Windsor est presque la dernière région de la province où vous avez un bon nombre de francophones et où cet engagement du gouvernement est ignoré. La commission scolaire a donné comme raison la diminution des subventions du gouvernement de 95% à 77% du coût capital de cette école. Mais je crois que ce n’est pas une raison valable. Le ministre (M. Wells) doit exercer toute sa capacité pour persuader la commission scolaire d’Essex, ou si la commission scolaire n’est pas prête, alors de leur donner l’ordre de construire l’école française dans la région de Windsor.
Nous avons un précédent pour cette action dans le traitement des commissions scolaires dans la région de Toronto sur la question du transfert des écoles au système séparé. La précédente a été fixée et pour cette raison je crois que le ministre détient le pouvoir informel et peut-être formel pour assurer l’éducation secondaire dans une école française à Essex dès le commencement de l’année académique en septembre 1976.
Deuxièmement, M. l’Orateur, nous avons le problème de l’éducation de nos enfants anglophones en français. Les cours d’immersion français pour les élèves anglophones ont eu un énorme succès dans la région d’Ottawa mais sont menacés par le retirage des fonds fédéraux.
Évidemment, maintenant nous avons l’appui de M. Spicer, le commissaire aux langues officielles au niveau fédéral qui dit que c’est bien mieux de dépenser de l’argent comme ça que de dépenser des dizaines de millions sur l’éducation des fonctionnaires âgés de 30, 40 ou 50 ans. À peu près un tiers des enfants anglophones à Ottawa prennent maintenant leur éducation en français.
M. l’Orateur, c’est notre opinion que le gouvernement ne doit pas ignorer le besoin à Ottawa et que le gouvernement doit continuer avec un programme d’immersion pour assurer l’éducation en français pour tout élève anglophone qui en désire partout dans la province, que cela doit s’étager dans une période de deux ou trois années pour assurer que ces cours sont disponibles partout dans la province avant le commencement disons de 1980.
M. l’Orateur vous parlez très bien le français et j’aimerais bien continuer avec ce discours, mais le temps est fini. Nous sommes en désaccord avec le gouvernement. Nous croyons que le gouvernement a commencé une politique de confrontation contre toute la population de la province. Pour ces raisons, nous croyons que la disposition doit être défaite et une élection doit être déclenchée.
Mr. Bullbrook moved the adjournment of the debate.
Motion agreed to.
The House recessed at 6 p.m.