The House resumed at 8 p.m.
RESIDENTIAL PREMISES RENT REVIEW AMENDMENT ACT (CONCLUDED)
House in committee on Bill 60, An Act to amend the Residential Premises Rent Review Act.
On section 5:
Mr. Chairman: If the committee will come to order, I think the hon. minister had subsection (aa) of section 5 stood down. I understand he’s got something on it.
Hon. Mr. Handleman moves that subsection (aa) as it was proposed to be amended be deleted and the following substituted therefor:
(aa) situate in a building or project owned or operated by:
(i) a hospital approved under the Public Hospital Act as a public hospital;
(ii) a religious institution for a charitable use on a non-profit basis; or
(iii) a non-profit educational institution for the purpose of providing accommodation for its students or staff for educational purposes except that where the tenant is a student at the institution and the students have a recognized students’ council, this exemption does not apply unless the institution files with the rent review officer, before the notice of a rent increase is given, a statement certifying that there has been consultation with the students’ council respecting the increase.
Mr. Renwick: Before the amendment is put -- so we don’t get confused -- I would like to move an amendment.
Mr. Chairman: Mr. Renwick moves that the words “and the recognized students’ council” be inserted after the word “institution.”
In what line is that? I see institution is used here in several --
Mr. Renwick: In the proviso.
Hon. Mr. Handleman: I don’t really follow the member for Riverdale’s proposed amendment at all. Perhaps he might want to explain the intent of it; because we have incorporated in the motion the fact that the students, through their recognized student council, should be consulted. It’s in the amendment now.
Mr. Renwick: In the amendment which I have, the one that is now before us, there are certain words written in. I am reading from the written-in line. It’s the sixth line, after the word “institution,” so that it would read:
“except that where the tenant is a student at the institution and the students have a recognized students’ council, this exemption does not apply unless the institution and the recognized students’ council files with the rent review officer, before the notice of a rent increase is given, a statement certifying that there has been consultation with the students’ council respecting the increase.”
Mr. Good: I gather the intent of the amendment to this amendment is that both the institution and the students’ council certify there has been consultation. Is this the intent?
Mr. Renwick: That is the intention.
Mr. Good: All right; I think that is an important point. But there is one other important point and that is the variety of student groups represented at the university; and also the fact that the student council or the student union or the student organization may have very little, if any, relationship with the body or the tenants who have normally had the dialogue with the director of housing.
I know at the University of Waterloo there is a recognized group representing the married students and the married students’ quarters, who have been taken in on all the consultations. It is similar with the students living in the dorms. If the students’ council would also include -- or if there could be added the words “or the residents’ council”; that is a council that has been formed to represent those living on campus. There are such groups existing; they represent those who are living on campus, both in dorms and in married students’ apartments.
If the minister would be agreeable to enlarging this to include in those institutions where the students have a recognized students’ council or a residents’ council; and then if he would assure that there is certification by both groups that the consultation has taken place, then I think our objections would be completely satisfied and we would agree, I am sure this can be reworded quite easily by adding -- I would have to work this out unless the minister wants to just add it in his amendment and we would accept it as put forth by the minister. This takes into account a residents’ council as well as a students’ council. Could the minister speak to those two points?
Hon. Mr. Handleman: First of all, I would like to comment on the amendment to the amendment put forward by the member for Riverdale (Mr. Renwick). I have certainly no objection to both of the organizations, either the institution or the students’ representatives, signing the notice.
On the other hand, I would like to make it quite clear that this would amount to either body, and particularly the students’ representatives, having a veto on the question of the exemption from rent review. I don’t see how we could possibly incorporate the principle of a veto in an amendment to the amendment when the principle we’re trying to establish here is that it be taken out of the rent review process provided there has been consultation.
It really seems to me that if you can’t accept the certification of the institution that there has been consultation our whole system is in the process of breaking down. There is no trust whatsoever between anyone in any form.
I must simply say that I find it unacceptable to include in this amendment a potential veto power to include once again in rent review any group which says: “We have not been consulted and therefore we want a rent review process.”
Certainly the suggestion made by the Liberal spokesman in this case is not unwarranted. I would like to point out to him that perhaps a simple interchange of words -- instead of “a recognized students’ council” let’s say “a recognized council of students,” which would take care of any organization which is recognized by the institution as representing students -- might satisfy the suggestion that’s been put forward.
Mr. Renwick: Mr. Chairman, I accept the minister’s rationale. Do you know the reason I accept it? I moved the amendment to point out how totally ridiculous the amendment proposed by the Liberal Party was. I understood exactly what was being played this afternoon by the minister when he said, “Yes, we’ll embrace the proposal by the member for Kitchener-Wilmot (Mr. Sweeney) because it’s meaningless -- ”
Mr. Shore: It’s not meaningless.
Mr. Renwick: “ -- and because we can have it our way.” Your amendment tonight has it your way. The institution can certify but the persons who pay the rent can’t certify.
Mr. Shore: That’s not what was said.
Mr. Renwick: That’s what the minister has just said. He’s tried now to ride both ways. He wants to be able to say to the Liberal Party if the institution recognizes a council, not the students’ council for the university but a council with whom it has consulted, then he’ll accept the unilateral certificate of the institution.
I know the member for London Centre -- London North?
Mr. Shore: Have we met before?
Mr. Renwick: Yes, we’ve met. We’ve met personally. I’ve never met your riding.
Mr. Roy: No, and you’re not going to meet it for some time either.
Mr. Renwick: As a matter of fact, I am, on June 5. I’m going up to debate with the member for London North. The member for London North is very anxious because the Liberal Party is very anxious to play with the Conservative Party on this amendment. They’re working out the amendment, you see.
Mr. Roy: You’re not a very good sport, Jim.
Mr. Renwick: But what the minister has said is that the institution may certify; one party to the consultation may certify but not the other party. I simply want to put it the other way, that the tenants in such an institution cannot be subject to the veto power of the institution. Therefore, I agree and accept the minister’s rationale and I trust that not only will my amendment to the amendment be defeated but that the amendment itself will be defeated in the course of this debate.
Mr. Shore: With the greatest respect to the hon. member for Riverdale --
Mr. Sweeney: With the what? Watch out, he’s squinting at you.
Mr. Shore: That’s right. The purpose of this exercise, as I understand it, is to try to get some rationale and understanding and respect for the consumer of this service.
Mr. Warner: It’s known as rent review.
Mr. Shore: Are you finished for a minute or two?
Mr. Warner: No.
Mr. Shore: Okay; when you’re finished, let me know.
Mr. Haggerty: You talk to him.
Mr. Shore: As I understand it, that is the ultimate purpose. I don’t think the member for Riverdale quite understands it with his vetoes and his dictatorial process.
Mr. Haggerty: Keep after him.
Mr. Warner: He’s in a fog again.
Mr. Chairman: The hon. member for London North has the floor; and would he please ignore the interjections.
Mr. Makarchuk: Slightly out of his depth.
Mr. Shore: It so happens that a large constituency in London North riding is the University of Western Ontario, which has a great number of students.
Mr. Good: How many students do you have in your riding? You don’t have a student in your riding.
Mr. Shore: When this matter first came to the House I supported, and I still do, the concept of what we were talking about. It was brought to my attention, however, by a member of the university students’ council, that they opposed this concept initially. I then decided that it is important to understand this a little more.
I took it upon myself to discuss this with people, including the students’ council -- I asked the students’ council to make representation as to how they understood it -- and including the administrative body of the university. It must be made clear here, as I understand it, that the students’ council, as such, has no technical jurisdiction in this matter whatsoever. I think that is what we have to be careful of and that is why I am standing in support of the member who has made this amendment so that the consumer of this service is protected; and that is why I think we should keep that in mind. I think we should make sure that in this amendment to the amendment it clearly delineates that the students who are represented in these residences are the ones who are truly representative, not necessarily the students’ council.
I think we should stress that. With the greatest respect to the members of the official opposition, and particularly the hon. member for Riverdale who is on this veto bit, the purpose of the exercise is really to make sure the parties involved are representative. To suggest otherwise is wrong; and to suggest there is something wrong with this amendment is wrong.
Mr. Chairman: The hon. member for Scarborough-Ellesmere.
An hon. member: It sounds like papal infallibility being quoted.
Mr. Warner: This is really quite incredible, this whole thing; absolutely.
Mr. Sweeney: Enlighten us.
Mr. Moffatt: Listen and you will understand.
Mr. Warner: Before dinner we get presented by the Liberals with an amendment which in effect describes the rent review process, but without a rent review officer; and then after dinner, our dessert is to see in front of us an item which really describes class action. And yet the government has said consistently, through its rent review, that you can’t have class action, that that isn’t a principle of rent review. The principle of rent review is to deal with things in an individual way; and that is not what you are talking about in what you have presented to us tonight, not at all.
If the member for London North, or any other riding over there, happens to be really concerned about this protecting of individual students, then all they have to do is support rent review, because rent review is protecting the students, as we amply found out when we described all of the situations in each of the universities.
Mr. Good: You don’t know what you are talking about.
Mr. Shore: What’s that got to do with the amendment?
Mr. Shore: I think you said that before.
Mr. Warner: What I am saying is that we have been presented with two amendments that are not at all acceptable; they cannot be, because they take away the right to rent review.
In the one case a discussion between two parties with no mediator, with no arbitrator, with no referee; that is the Liberal amendment. The government describes a class action, leaving it up to some representation which you can’t even define. We have to vote against both of these amendments, they are absolutely ridiculous.
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: That is consistent.
Mr. Chairman: The hon. member for Kitchener-Wilmot.
An hon. member: Not again.
Mr. Sweeney: I would reiterate a comment which was made in the debate on the principle of the bill. As we did when the original bill was being presented, I would stress there are two sides to this issue. There are always two sides to every issue. In the original bill we tried to present some justice, some sense of justice, to both the landlord and the tenant.
Mr. Roy: You always try to do so.
Mr. Sweeney: The one thing this party stands for is trying to see both sides of the issue. The one thing this party tries to see --
Mr. Warner: Vote both sides.
Mr. Sweeney: The one thing this party tries to see, consistently --
Mr. Haggerty: They are coming around.
Mr. Sweeney: -- is there isn’t a black and white in these issues. There is a lot of grey in the middle and we have to work on that grey.
Mr. Foulds: All night long.
Mr. Sweeney: Now the two sides on this issue --
Mr. Foulds: The grey party.
Mr. Sweeney: -- are both the institutions we know as the universities and the colleges in this province, and we have to try to support them. We spoke to that in the principle of the bill.
We said very clearly, on the principle of the bill, that the kinds of funds allocated to the colleges and the universities of this province for operating expenses to provide post-secondary education must clearly be used for that purpose.
We said very clearly that we cannot do anything which would divert those kinds of funds for other purposes. We also said very clearly that the Ministry of Education has --
Mr. Foulds: The Ministry of Colleges and Universities.
Mr. Sweeney: -- made it very clearly known to the various presidents of the universities that their ancillary services have to stand alone. That is the one side. We tried to speak to that issue and I think we did.
The other side of this issue is trying to be supportive, and to the extent that we can, protective of the student tenant. I think what we are trying to do very clearly in this amendment is to point out that the student tenant must have a voice --
Mr. Foulds: No power but a voice.
Mr. Sweeney: -- in looking into the books, the expenses, the various factors which go into the determination, the justification, of the rents which the university institution, and college institution if you will, must charge to meet those expenses; to break even, to use the words of the Minister of Education.
Mr. Foulds: Colleges and Universities.
Mr. Sweeney: That is the point we wish to reiterate; that is the point we are trying to protect.
I have had telegrams from student unions and student tenants’ associations; I have had letters; I have had personal delegations. The point they have made clearly to me is that they want something in this legislation which is going to protect their right to have some voice in the determination of the rents they will provide.
That is the purpose of our original amendment. I would have to congratulate the minister and his staff on rewording the amendment to keep the intent and the principle intact. I believe I speak for my party when I say we will support this.
Mr. Foulds: But he is not sure.
Mr. Chairman: Order. Before I recognize the hon. member for Scarborough Centre, I would like some guidance from the member for Kitchener-Wilmot.
Mr. Roy: Which way are you guys going?
Mr. Foulds: You are in trouble.
Mr. Chairman: Your amendment actually was an amendment to an amendment which has since been withdrawn by the minister. Do you want the committee to consider your amendment in the light of the minister’s amendment?
Mr. Makarchuk: That it why they are supporting it.
Mr. Sweeney: Mr. Chairman, as I pointed out when that question was raised originally, the amendment was phrased before we knew what the minister was going to introduce. Once the minister had introduced it, I had no alternative but to put my amendment as an amendment to his.
I understand from what you have just said that we have gone back to square one, which was the original intention -- an amendment to the original section of the bill as we understood it. I would move that it be placed in that way.
Mr. Chairman: This gives the Chair some difficulty because we have a new amendment proposed by the minister and we have two subamendments to it. One was proposed by the hon. member for Kitchener-Wilmot and one by the hon. member for Riverdale. As long as that is understood by the committee when we come to vote.
Hon. Mr. Handleman: Mr. Chairman, I wonder if I might speak to this before you put any question. It was my understanding that the hon. member for Kitchener-Wilmot was prepared to withdraw his amendment to the amendment, on the condition that the government brought forward an amendment which was satisfactory to him. I would ask him if perhaps he would now withdraw his amendment to the original amendment.
Mr. Sweeney: Mr. Chairman, I think the record will show that my opening remarks stated that my concern and the concern of my party was with the intent and the principle and if the minister was prepared to bring in an amendment which respected that principle, we would support it. I would accede to what has just been suggested.
Mr. Chairman: Thank you very much. The amendment to the amendment, as proposed by Mr. Sweeney, has been withdrawn.
Mr. Drea: First of all, I’d like to point out as someone who has had something to do with this over the past two hours, no piece of legislation could be further from a class action than the particular amendments here, particularly those covered under triple (i).
Mr. Foulds: Triple (i)?
Mr. Sweeney: Under what?
Mr. Nixon: It just looks that way.
Mr. Drea: Triple (i); one, two, three. One of the difficulties in framing this along the lines first suggested by the member for Kitchener-Wilmot is that at some institutions there is more than one recognized body. In some cases, the student council does not represent the graduate students’ union or council; and in others there are tenants’ groups, depending upon the particular structure of the university residence.
A great deal of time was spent in making certain the right organization for the right people would consult with the universities, or in a couple of cases a community college. That’s why, very deliberately, the words were put in “and the students have a recognized students’ council.” Not “the recognized”; not “some recognized” or not just some organization, but “a recognized students’ council”.
The thinking behind that was that at every institution there are recognized groups, groups that can send delegates or are consulted by the formal students’ council, whether it happens to be the student council of undergraduates or a graduate group. I would think the wording in this provides the utmost flexibility so that the right organization for the right people has the opportunity to consult with the particular institution.
As a matter of fact, this is the second time a particular exemption or a particular difference has been recognized by this Legislature among students in post-secondary institutions.
The first one was in the old Bill 146, which dealt with student pubs on campus, which is now incorporated in the Liquor Licence Act. At that particular time, a great many distinctive privileges were extended to both the faculty and the students. In fact, one of the particular privileges was that we recognize that there is a difference, and a very distinct difference, between activities on a post-secondary campus and those on the outside.
One of the difficulties in the question of student housing has been the fact that for practical purposes a great many student residences are vacant from May through September. This makes the application of not only this Act but of some others extremely difficult, because it is extremely difficult to get into a case of rent review where there is no tenant and there will not be one for some future time.
I would suggest that the amendment meets the questions and the problems that were raised this afternoon about what happens to the student if, in the course of amendments as had originally been scheduled, student residences at the post-secondary level and elsewhere are immediately removed from rent review so that a right that students had would be taken away. I think by this particular amendment that right is not only protected but enhanced.
Far from being a class action, the procedure is that the council has to be consulted by the institution prior to the introduction or the announcement of a rent increase. It’s not just a rubber-stamping of an increase that has been ordered by the institution it is a consultation process.
I have never known, in this province, a student council which, faced with the facts of the institution, has not responded in a spirit of fairness.
Now to go to the length of the amendment to the amendment, to say they must certify as well, is as ridiculous as introducing a pair of double negatives; they cancel out. What we have suggested, what we have in the amendment, is that the institution will file documents which will certify there has been a consultation process.
Mr. Nixon: Did you write this amendment?
Mr. Drea: Either there has been or there hasn’t been.
Mr. Shore: Very good.
Mr. Drea: Why does the other side have to file? The institution files. It’s that simple. They’re the ones. The onus is on the institution to consult with the student council and not the other way around.
Mr. Renwick: Why do you not have the students’ council certify? Everybody knows that universities lie.
Mr. Shore: You guys trust anybody?
Mr. Drea: The onus is on the institutions to commence the consultation with the student group; and where the onus lies also lies the responsibility to file with the rent review office documents that certify such a consultation has taken place.
If the hon. member for Riverdale is going to suggest to me we can rely, in certain cases, that post-secondary institutions in this province lie to the provincial government or misrepresent a consultation, if he has that little faith in the post-secondary institutions of this province and their administration, then I suggest to him no amendment will cover those very basic doubts; no amendment at all.
Mr. Renwick: Why do you have them certify if you believe them?
Mr. Chairman: Order, please. The hon. member for Scarborough Centre has the floor.
Mr. Drea: The reason the word “certify” is used in the amendment is very simple. We didn’t just want a letter coming in, we wanted a letter certifying that the spirit of the amendment had been carried out, there had been consultation.
We didn’t want it to be ambiguous or left to somebody’s decision; or say perhaps a five-minute talk saying: “We have 50 per cent cost increases at this institution, therefore the rent will go up 50 per cent.” We want it to be a serious consultation with the student council, because as the member for London North has said: “This is consumer protection.” That is why the word “certify” is there.
I realize that brings some mirth to the member for Riverdale, but I find myself in a real quandary with him. If he cannot trust the post-secondary institution and its administration to obey the laws of the province, then my friend, perhaps anarchy is a little bit closer than at least I want it. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Chairman: The hon. member for Windsor-Sandwich.
Mr. Bounsall: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. None of us on this side of the House, in this party, is claiming universities won’t be truthful. We’re trying to carry through in this bill the principle of this bill throughout which says: “The tenants, whoever they are, have rights; and those rights should be equal with the rights of the landlord to find out what is going on.”
What we’re saying is that the landlord -- in this case it just happens to be a university -- shouldn’t be the only one who certifies that a certain action is taken. If you only want to choose one, the very reason we have a bill of this nature is to protect tenants from unwarranted rent increases that have taken place in this province over the last couple of years. If we’re only going to give it to one of them to certify, then the logic of that would be that councils of students, or graduate student council, or staff association, or whatever other groups it is necessary to have in this bill, would be the ones that would be doing the certifying.
It is not, nor are we saying so here, that universities are any more or less trustworthy than any other landlord. We’re just carrying through on what the principle of this bill originally intended last December, and what any amendment to that bill, we hope, would be doing.
I oppose the minister’s amendment for a further reason which has not yet been mentioned. I mentioned it before suppertime. One of the groups which you had left out in your consideration was the faculty and staff, many of whom live, certainly at the University of Windsor, even in single-family housing owned by the University of Windsor. You haven’t included in your exclusion from the Act people of the public who also live in those houses. You’ve now purported, in a rather screwed-up way, not a satisfactory way, to give students some say, but you’ve left out that whole group of university faculty and staff, which you mentioned in the initial part of your bill, who live in that housing.
Either the minister wasn’t listening or didn’t think to carry it through to his legislative draftsmen; or the minister has so little regard for the university faculty and staff in the universities in Ontario that he decided they absolutely didn’t count nor did their rights.
I know the institutions at the University of Waterloo rather well, having taught there for some years. The member for Waterloo North (Mr. Good) knows that in the graduate student residences there are faculty members who are in those residences as heads or senior dons. That occurs in many of the residences at the University of Waterloo. In that situation, under the minister’s bill the students in those institutions are going to have at least some consultation, but the faculty who are there, in presumably some supervisory capacity, do not have protection according to the amendment which the minister presented tonight.
He simply isn’t at all clear-thinking or consistent throughout any of this. If the minister wanted to be consistent with the thinking he put forward in his amendment he would at least, in his amendment, have said “students or staff”, and when he got to students’ council he could have put “and faculty and staff representatives.” That’s all that would have been required to make that consistent to us. But the minister and his legislative draftsmen did not even think that was appropriate.
On that basis alone, I would vote against the amendment proposed by the minister. But the arguments made earlier by my colleagues as to why we find the amendment not acceptable are just as valid. Really, the only way the minister could satisfactorily have covered this amendment would have been simply to have struck out all the words that start with “non-profit educational institution” and left them covered; and if necessary provided in this amending Act means by which there could be a mass action situation by the university and its students, all of one residence or residents of given rows of single-family housing as we have them at the University of Windsor. As it stands, particularly with staff included, and particularly with the onus on the proof of consultation being given in this case only to the landlord and not to the tenant, there is no way I can support this particular amendment,
Mr. Sweeney: I must confess the previous speaker did raise the issue immediately before the break. I concurred with him at that time and I would continue to do so. I would ask the minister if he would consider two small changes, because I appreciate it’s now the minister’s amendment.
The first one is that because we have had an opportunity to discuss this with some student representatives, we find that from their point of view the terminology “a recognized council of students” as opposed to “student council” is more acceptable to them.
The second point, as the previous member has just pointed out, is to be consistent with the earlier part of the amendment, where it says “students or staff”; wherever we have the term “students” would he accept “or staff” as well?
I would ask the minister to consider that, because I think the previous speaker has a valid point.
An hon. member: “And staff.”
Mr. Sweeney: “And/or” is perhaps the proper wording.
Hon. Mr. Handleman: Mr. Chairman, if I may, it has been customary on this kind of thing, rather than having the minister sitting drafting legislation at his desk, that he make a commitment and turn it over to the legislative draftsmen who will incorporate the principle in the final wording of the draft, whatever it may be. This has happened in the past. I certainly accept the suggestions of both the member for Windsor-Sandwich and the member for Kitchener-Wilmot concerning the inclusion of staff. I had already, in my own copy, changed “recognized students’ council” to “recognized council of students.” Assuming that the legislative draftsmen will incorporate the same protection for staff as is provided for the councils of students, I would ask the amendment be accepted, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Chairman: Is it understandable and agreed upon by the committee?
Mr. Nixon: Mr. Chairman, on a point of order; the minister indicated it’s customary in this House that an intent be accepted by the House which would then be incorporated by the legislative draftsmen.
This may have happened in the past, but I don’t believe it is customary. Frankly, sir, I would hope it would not become customary for us to leave it with the draftsmen and the minister to incorporate the thoughts expressed. This is certainly the last thing we should do. If the minister is not prepared to offer an amendment for our consideration, then I would think that we should stand it down until he is so prepared.
Hon. Mr. Handleman: If I said it was customary, I want to apologize. It has happened. There have been cases where the intent of the amendment was made quite clear.
I am now committing the government to incorporating protection for staff and student councils in the way that has been suggested. Other than that, I would certainly be prepared right now to accept an amendment of that nature from anyone who wants to sit down and draft it at this time. I think it would take some time to do that drafting job.
Mr. Sweeney: Mr. Chairman, I would suggest to the minister he has already accepted the wording “council of students” instead of “student councils”, is that correct?
Hon. Mr. Handleman: Yes.
Mr. Sweeney: The only other wording I am suggesting to correspond with the previous speaker’s concern, with which I agree, is that wherever the word “student” appears we change it to “students and/or staff.”
Mr. Good: “Council of students and staff.”
Mr. Sweeney: “Council of students and staff” -- I’m sorry. If the minister is prepared to accept it in principle, it’s just a case of adding the words “and staff” wherever the word “student” appears.
Mr. Chairman: The Chair hasn’t been apprised of any ironclad commitment, and it’s very difficult for the Chair to put a motion unless it has something in writing.
If the committee wants to take a moment to draft amendments that would incorporate those thoughts we would be prepared to accept one.
Hon. Mr. Handleman: I wonder if we could move the wording as is, with the exception of changing “recognized student council” to “council of students.” And at the end of the clause to say, “and where the tenant is a member of the faculty, that similar provisions shall apply with regard to faculty organizations.”
I can put that in twice if you want, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Breithaupt: We would be prepared to accept that commitment of the minister, because the bill would then be reprinted for third reading with those amendments. We could then proceed to vote on the bill at this time, if the section is completed; and deal with the matter to make sure it is in order by third reading.
Mr. Foulds: There is no provision for clause-by-clause study at the third reading stage.
Mr. Chairman: If the Chair might offer a suggestion: We could complete what we have before us. When we call in the members, there will be the opportunity given to the Chair to read the amendments. Perhaps at that time the legislative draftsmen and the minister will have the amended version that might meet with concurrence from the committee.
Is that agreed? All right.
Mr. Breithaupt: Agreed.
Mr. Foulds: Then we can have the debate at that time.
Mr. Bounsall: Just one comment to the minister on this. One should not just have it reading “faculty.” Mutatis mutandis, use “faculty and staff”, or continue to use just the word “staff” which you used originally in the bill.
Mr. Roy: Are you going to vote for it if he votes for it?
Mr. Bounsall: I might.
Mr. Nixon: The member for Riverdale hasn’t decided what they are going to do on this.
Mr. Chairman: Order, please. Any further amendments?
Mr. Renwick: We decided this morning.
Mr. Chairman: Order. First of all we have an amendment by Mr. Renwick that the words “and the recognized student council” --
Mr. Chairman: I asked if there was any further discussion on the amendments. Hearing none, I’ve called the vote.
Mr. Chairman: Does the hon. member for Riverdale have something to say?
Mr. Renwick: Yes, I do. Thank you.
Mr. Reid: He wants to apologize.
Mr. Renwick: I want to turn from the substance of the educational institutions for a moment and talk about a couple of other matters related to the same clause, (aa), that we’re dealing with. I now understand it and it’s very difficult to understand what has taken place.
I understand there is no Liberal involvement in these amendments or subamendments of any kind at the moment. I understand the minister has moved an amendment which is the clause which was handwritten in the document which was given to us. I understand that I moved a subamendment or an amendment to the minister’s amendment. I also understand there’s some tacit agreement that the word “student” will be enlarged to include “or a member of the faculty”; and “a recognized student council” will also be enlarged to include “a recognized faculty council” at some point in the future.
In that confused position, let me point out to you --
Mr. Shore: If you’re that confused, why don’t you sit down?
Mr. Renwick: -- that this party is going to vote against the section whether or not it has been amended.
Mr. Reid: And whether or not the rest of the party likes it.
Mr. Renwick: We take the trouble to discuss the legislation in the caucus --
Mr. Reid: Then you decide what to do when you get to the House.
Mr. Renwick: -- and we are voting against the exclusion of these institutions from the rent review process. If I could set aside all the extraneous matter related to this exception which was introduced --
Mr. Sweeney: Students are extraneous?
Mr. Renwick: -- by the member for Kitchener-Wilmot and start to talk about the substance of the three kinds of --
Mr. Breithaupt: We are back on the principle of the bill.
Mr. Renwick: -- institutions which are involved, the minister has introduced for the first time as an exclusion a hospital approved under the Public Hospitals Act as a public hospital. That is introduced for the first time today.
Mr. Makarchuk: Those are the ones you can’t close, remember?
Mr. Renwick: Let me understand that we’re talking about residential accommodation provided by these institutions. I know the government finds it difficult, obviously, because Tories are naturally paternalistic; the Liberals find it difficult because they don’t understand it --
Mr. Sweeney: We don’t understand you; we understand the legislation.
Mr. Renwick: -- but the fundamental principle of socialism is very simple.
Mr. Reid: Here it comes. I’ve been waiting for years to hear this. The bible according to Renwick. Could we have quiet, Mr. Chairman? This is a great event, an historic occasion.
Mr. Chairman: The member for Rainy River is one of the worst offenders.
Mr. Renwick: We happen to believe that government, through its agencies of different kinds, has an obligation to institute certain programmes such as the public hospitals --
Mr. Reid: That’s the fundamental of socialism?
Mr. Renwick: -- in the Province of Ontario.
Mr. Reid: That’s not what Karl Marx said.
Mr. Renwick: We don’t happen to believe that because the government institutes those programmes the persons who are subject to them are therefore automatically deprived of their rights.
Let me repeat that.
Mr. Shore: You don’t have to repeat it.
Mr. Renwick: We believe that government has a role to play with respect to the protection of the citizens in the province, but we do not believe for a moment that because a citizen is involved in one of those institutions he’s deprived of any rights.
We also happen to believe that where there are expenditures of public moneys involved we want to be satisfied that the public moneys are expended for the purposes for which they are intended and that the tenants in the residences provided by any of these institutions bear no more than their fair share of what the cost of that institution may be. We do not want to have any public moneys diverted for the purpose of subsidizing residential accommodation.
The way in which you solve this problem for tenants in residential accommodation provided by hospitals under the Public Hospitals Act; provided by religious institutions for charitable use on a non-profit basis; and by non-profit educational institutions is to permit those persons who are the tenants to have the benefit of the rent review process.
It’s just that simple. We have fought and fought against the exclusion of persons in public institutions from the protection of this Act. We have been sidetracked, or there have been endeavours to have us sidetracked because of the rent-geared-to-income principle, but the principle we adhere to is that persons in residential accommodation provided by public institutions of all sorts are entitled to continue to have the protection of rent review.
Starting from that principle, I can find no reason that would permit our caucus to support the exclusion of residential accommodation provided through the public hospitals. We can find no reason to support the exclusion of residential accommodation provided by religious institutions, even though it is for a charitable use on a non-profit basis.
I may say that I’ve noticed a change in wording, since the time the bill was introduced, in this particular amendment. Simply because a person resides in an institution provided by a religious institution for charitable purposes is no reason in the Province of Ontario in the 1970s to deprive that person of the protection of the rent review legislation; there just is no such reason.
When we come to the educational institutions, the same principle applies. Public money supports, to a large extent, the educational institutions in this province. Those educational institutions, to the extent they provide residential accommodation for students or faculty members, have no reason to believe that they, as landlords, should be exempted from the provisions of rent review, when their obligation is to justify publicly to their tenants, through the rent review process, the extent and degree to which the costs of that residential accommodation have increased or not increased.
I can think of no better way, on the grounds simply of economic efficiency, to ensure that those buildings which are residential accommodation in public institutions are efficiently run than to have them subject to the process of rent review, because they have public funds at their disposal.
Mr. Shore: Rent review doesn’t ensure any type of efficiency.
Mr. Renwick: Before the member for Kitchener-Wilmot intervened and before the introduction of the amendment today, we were opposed to the exclusion of the religious institutions on the original wording. We are opposed to the exclusion of the religious institutions providing residential accommodation on the amended wording; we are opposed to the public hospitals being excluded to the extent they provide residential accommodations; and we are opposed to the non-profit educational institutions being excluded.
We start from that proposition, so that if and when that issue comes before the assembly the NDP will vote against it. Then we had this diversionary tactic introduced so far as the non-profit educational institutions are concerned by the member for Kitchener-Wilmot, who wanted to confuse it and say so long as there had been consultation. Consultation in my vocabulary means two sides meet together to discuss and consult about it without any resolution of the problem. There is no obligation to resolve if the obligation is only to consult. I think everybody agrees with that.
Mr. Chairman: I must remind the hon. member for Riverdale that he can’t speak about an amendment that has already been withdrawn.
Mr. Renwick: No, I am not talking about that. The member for Kitchener-Wilmot withdrew his amendment because the amendment introduced by the minister was the identical conception. So we are talking about the minister’s amendment following upon the amendment introduced and withdrawn by the member for Kitchener-Wilmot, which said that rent review would be excluded in non-profit educational institutions if there was consultation.
Our position is quite clear; that’s why I moved the amendment to the amendment, to say that the consultation must be shown to have taken place by both sides, and that both sides must certify to the consultation having taken place.
Mr. Roy: Have you not withdrawn that amendment?
Mr. Renwick: Now we are quite clear about this and it is going to be quite simple, you see. The caucus of the New Democratic Party will support the amendment to the amendment, because we know from what the members of the Liberal Party have said that they will not support it. They can’t support it because they don’t want to support the proposition that recognized student councils, or a council of recognized students, or a recognized students’ council, or a recognized council, whatever the variations --
Mr. Roy: Go over that one more time.
Mr. Renwick: Whatever the variation is, the members of the Liberal Party will not support that they should have any part to play in certifying as to whether the consultation has taken place. So we will stand to be divided on the amendment which I propose; the Liberal Party will oppose that amendment, as will the government; and then when the amendment of the minister is put, the Liberal Party will stand to support it, the government will stand to support it, and we will oppose it.
Mr. Nixon: You are going to lose them both, aren’t you?
Mr. Renwick: Yes, that’s right.
Mr. Breithaupt: Virtue may be its own reward.
Mr. Renwick: But, in a strange way, we will have protected the right of tenants in public institutions to the protection of rent review, and we will have protected the right of the students to have a say if there is a consultation to take place in the certification of it; and the Liberals and the Conservatives will be in the exact position which we want them to be so far as the public is concerned.
Mr. Chairman, that’s our position.
Mr. Breithaupt: Let’s have a vote and see in fact if that is what happens.
Mr. Roy: Just on a point of order, I understood the member for Riverdale to say, in response to the minister’s comment, that he was going to withdraw his amendment. That’s what you said originally.
Mr. Renwick: No.
Mr. Roy: No? So that the amendment is still there?
Mr. Renwick: Of course it is.
Mr. Roy: Well, I thought you said that. Why don’t you make up your mind?
Mr. Sweeney: Mr. Chairman, I would like to point out to the member for Riverdale that the member for Scarborough-Ellesmere (Mr. Warner) and I are perhaps much more aware of the fact that the position of consultation with the various student bodies in this province is such that it will not just be consultation. We know from personal experience that when a student council, or any representative body of students, gets involved in an issue like this, they are going to be able to carry their own weight. We have a great deal of confidence in the various representations that the students of the post-secondary institutions of this province are able to carry in their own name.
Mr. Warner: I don’t wish to prolong this debate. However, being lassoed into another corral is not my game.
Mr. Bullbrook: This isn’t the Bundestag, it’s a parliament.
Mr. Warner: Despite the sensitive comments made by the member for Kitchener-Wilmot, both he and the minister should know that the process of “consultation” -- and I put that in quotation marks -- which is taking place at Carleton University --
Mr. Warner: -- is under the following conditions: Where the 15 per cent increase that has been asked for --
An hon. member: A little order here, Mr.
Mr. Chairman: Will the member for Sarnia (Mr. Bullbrook) and the government house leader conduct their private conversation elsewhere?
Mr. Warner: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. At the university a 15 per cent increase has been requested, and the decision is still pending. The reason it is pending is the fact that the administration have protested having to go to the rent review board, and the students were contending that charges were improperly made to the residence for maintenance. The residence, which had been attached to the university building, was under the same maintenance department as that which was servicing other buildings in the university complex. So it was the students’ contention that they were getting pass-through costs which were for more than the residences. The university administration claimed otherwise.
That consultation process, as the minister and others from the Liberal Party have put it, has placed that whole business into a state in which it is not resolved and the rent review officer is having to make a decision. If we go by the kind of agreement the Liberal Party wants or that the government wants with its amendment, we would deny those students at Carleton University the opportunity to have an impartial decision rendered.
In my view the government would be making a very serious error by changing its ways. I say, once and for all, for the last time, the students are getting protection now under rent review; the process is working. Don’t foul up the students’ lives by taking them out from under rent review.
Mr. Sweeney: Since one specific example has been mentioned, another should be entered into the record.
In the 1974-1975 school year, the students at the University of Western Ontario faced a similar situation and through their own pressure tactics -- I use that in the best sense of the words -- were able to get the administration of that institution to reverse the decision to increase rents in the middle of the year. I repeat: I have more confidence in and more respect for the ability of the student associations of our various post-secondary institutions to carry their own weight if they have a fair chance to see the books and know what the facts are.
Hon. Mr. Handleman: Having been treated to that lengthy dissertation on the essentials of socialism, I’m tempted to respond in kind and at equal length. However, I will restrain myself and save myself for the late, late show. Anybody who wants to wait around at 10:30 can hear my five-minute reply to that.
For the benefit of the committee I would like to move the wording we now propose so there won’t be any question about it.
Hon. Mr. Handleman moves that clause (aa) of section 5 be amended by adding after the words “for educational purposes”:
“except that where the tenant is a student or a member of the staff at the institution and the students or staff have a recognized council or association, this exemption does not apply unless the institution files with the rent review officer, before the notice of a rent increase is given, a statement certifying that there have been consultations with the council or association as the case may be respecting the increase.”
Mr. Chairman: All right. We can now put Mr. Renwick’s amendment. Shall I dispense with the reading of Mr. Renwick’s amendment?
Mr. Renwick: Mr. Chairman, on a point of order. First of all we are now being asked to approve in place of the minister’s first amendment this amendment as revised to include the staff and their association. We have no objection to that. I want it understood that the amendment which I move must have a parallel amendment made to it in order to make sense in the context of the revised amendment.
Mr. Chairman: Do we have an undertaking from the member for Riverdale that he will provide the Chair with a copy of those amendments while the bells are ringing?
Mr. Nixon: Sounds like a very good way to handle it.
Mr. Renwick: No, I’m not -- not while the bells are ringing.
Mr. Chairman: It gives the Chair some difficulty. If we don’t have a substitute amendment it has to be as we have it.
Mr. Renwick: The members of the other parties have been rather frivolous all evening about this matter.
Mr. Breithaupt: We will allow the amendment to be defeated mutatis mutandi, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Renwick: After the word “institution” I had moved the insertion of the words “and the recognized student council”; that should now read “unless the institution and the council or association as the case may be, certifies.” I would ask that that be the amendment as put.
Mr. Reid: Could we have that in writing, Mr. Chairman?
Hon. Mr. Welch: Agreed.
Mr. Roy: We understand, let’s vote on it.
Mr. Chairman: Mr. Renwick’s amendment now reads: “and the recognized student council, and the council or association as the case may be”.
Mr. Renwick: Mr. Chairman, may I give you my version of that amendment?
Mr. Chairman: I wish you would.
Mr. Renwick: My amendment would now read that after the word “institution”, insert the words “and the council or association, as the case may be”. Those are the words, Mr. Chairman; at the bottom of the page after the word “institution”.
Mr. Chairman: Mr. Renwick’s amendment to the amendment now reads: “and the council or association, as the case may be”. All those in favor of Mr. Renwick’s amendment will please say “aye.”
All those opposed will please say “nay.”
In my opinion the “nays” have it. Shall we stack that?
Are you ready now for the minister’s amendment? All those in favour of Mr. Handleman’s amendment will please say “aye.”
All those opposed will please say “nay.”
In my opinion the “ayes” have it. Stack it?
Anything further on any other section of the bill? If not, I want to remind the committee that when we come back to vote on the stacked votes, we have another vote on Bill 9, An Act to amend the Niagara Escarpment Planning and Development Act, 1973, that has been stacked.
Mr. Nixon: Oh, yes, now I remember.
Mr. Chairman: We have four amendments moved by Mr. Cassidy to section 2 and section 5 of the bill. Shall we dispense with the reading of them?
Some hon. members: No.
Mr. Chairman: Mr. Cassidy moves that section 2 of the Residential Premises Rent Review Amendment Act be amended by adding the following:
“(6) Subsection 6 of section 5 is amended by adding the words at the end:
“‘And where a landlord files a cost-revenue statement with the rent review officer he shall forthwith give to the tenants a copy of said cost-revenue statement.’”
Mr. Cassidy further moves that section 2 of the Residential Premises Rent Review Amendment Act be amended --
Mr. Cassidy: On a point of order, Mr. Chairman, I believe that it is customary to vote on each amendment successively.
Mr. Chairman: If that is the wish of the committee.
The committee divided on Mr. Cassidy’s amendment which was negatived on the following vote:
Clerk of the House: Mr. Chairman, the “ayes” are 23, the “nays” are 62.
Mr. Chairman: I declare the amendment lost.
Mr. Cassidy moves that section 5 of the Act as amended by section 2 of this Act is further amended by adding thereto the following subsection:
“(15) The rent review officer in his discretion or upon application of a tenant may require a landlord to have all or any part of the cost-revenue statement or other financial information filed by the landlord audited by an independent accountant.”
The committee divided on Mr. Cassidy’s amendment which was negatived on the same count as the first vote.
Mr. Chairman: I declare the amendment lost.
Mr. Cassidy moves that subsection (d) of section 5 of the bill be amended as follows:
“(d) That is, a mobile home or a mobile home site situated in a mobile home park, no part which was occupied as residential premises before the first day of January, 1976.”
The committee divided on Mr. Cassidy’s amendment which was negatived on the same count as the first vote.
Mr. Chairman: I declare the amendment lost.
Mr. Chairman: Order, please.
Mr. Cassidy moves that section 2 of the Residential Premises Rent Review Amendment Act be amended by adding the following subsection:
“(7) Section 5 of the bill is amended by adding the following subsection 9(a):
“‘When applications have been received in respect of more than one tenant in a building or project in which rents are geared to income and the rent review officer wishes to fix a common date for the hearing of all such applications the rent review officer may, in his discretion, restrict access to the rent data for each individual unit in order to preserve the confidentiality of the tenant’s income provided that all other material filed in accordance with this Act is disclosed in accordance with this section.’”
The committee divided on Mr. Cassidy’s amendment which was negatived on the same count as the first vote.
Mr. Chairman: I declare the amendment lost.
Mr. Chairman: Order, please.
Mr. Handleman moves that clause (ab) of subsection 1 of section 5 of the bill be deleted and the following substituted therefor:
“(ab) Situate in a building or project owned, operated or administered by or on behalf of the government of Canada or Ontario or a municipality including a regional district or metropolitan municipality or any agency thereof.”
The committee divided on Hon. Mr. Handleman’s amendment which was approved on the same count as the first vote, reversed.
Motion agreed to.
Mr. Chairman: Mr. Handleman moves the following amendment to section 5, subsection 1(aa):
“situate in a building or project owned and operated by,
“(i) a hospital approved under the Public Hospitals Act as a public hospital.
“(ii) a religious institution for a charitable use on a non-profit basis
“(iii) a non-profit educational institution for the purpose of providing accommodation for its students or staff for educational purposes, except that where the tenant is a student or a member of staff at the institution and the students or staff have a recognized council or association this exemption does not apply unless the institution files with the rent review officer before the notice of a rent increase is given a statement certifying that there has been consultation with that council or association, as the case may be, respecting the increase.”
Mr. Renwick moves a subamendment to Mr. Handleman’s amendment which adds “and the council or association, as the case may be,” after the word “institution.”
The committee divided on Mr. Renwick’s subamendment, which was negatived on the same count as the first vote.
Mr. Chairman: I declare the amendment to the amendment lost.
The committee divided on Hon. Mr. Handleman’s amendment, which was approved on the same count as the first vote, reversed.
Motion agreed to.
Bill 60, as amended, reported.
NIAGARA ESCARPMENT PLANNING AND DEVELOPMENT AMENDMENT ACT (CONCLUDED)
Mr. Chairman: We have a stacked amendment to Bill 9, An Act to amend the Niagara Escarpment Planning and Development Act, 1973.
Mr. Norton moves that section 2 of the bill be amended by adding thereto the following subsection:
“(1) Subsection 5 of section 5 of the said Act is amended by adding at the end thereof, ‘and may designate the chairman as an employee and the commission as an employer for the purposes of the Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System Act and that the present section 2 of the bill be renumbered as subsection 2 of section 2.’”
The committee divided on Mr. Norton’s amendment which was approved on the following vote:
Clerk of the House: Mr. Chairman, the “ayes” are 58, the “nays” are 27.
Motion agreed to.
Bill 9, as amended, reported.
Mr. Reid: Mr. Chairman, could you tell me if all the votes equal the number of people who are in the chamber in their seats?
Mr. Chairman: The Clerk advises me that he didn’t see anyone abstain.
Mr. Reid: I draw to the Chairman’s attention, I thought the member for Carleton East (Ms. Gigantes) was sitting in her seat. Maybe she refound her principles on that vote while the rest of the party didn’t.
Hon. Mr. Welch moved that the committee rise and report.
Motion agreed to.
The House resumed, Mr. Speaker in the chair.
Mr. Chairman: Mr. Speaker, the committee of the whole House begs to report two bills with amendments and asks for leave to sit again.
Report agreed to.
Clerk of the House: The first order, resuming the adjourned debate on the amendment to the motion that this House approve in general the budgetary policy of the government.
BUDGET DEBATE (CONTINUED)
Mr. Speaker: The hon. member for Ottawa
Mr. Renwick: Is he still speaking?
Mr. Roy: Yes, it is our turn.
Mr. Speaker: The last speaker, as I recall it, was the member for Oshawa (Mr. Breaugh) and it is the turn of the Liberal Party next. The hon. member for Ottawa East then has the floor.
Mr. Nixon: One of those endless ones, as I recall.
Mr. Roy: That’s what I thought.
Mr. Bounsall: Look at the people leaving the gallery, Albert; everybody is leaving.
Mr. Moffatt: They are going away in droves Albert.
Mr. Breithaupt: Give him a chance, it will be a great speech.
Mr. Moffatt: It’s like the Liberal convention.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Mr. Roy: Mr. Speaker, I suspect that most of these people are leaving because they are disgusted with the NDP.
Mr. Moffatt: It’s like the Liberal convention.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. Could we have a little order in the House? You are even driving the spectators out. Order, please.
Mr. Roy: Mr. Speaker, I suspect these people are leaving because they are disgusted with the NDP.
Mr. Nixon: Principles of socialism.
Mr. Roy: It’s kind of hard to take sitting here listening to the member for Riverdale talking earlier about the principles of socialism and what is good for the community, and to see that posture in relation to that last vote. It is surprising.
Mr. Makarchuk: At least we have some principles to talk about. That’s more than you can say.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Mr. Roy: Mr. Speaker, when the leader of our party comes back, those people are going to get a tongue-lashing.
Mr. Roy: Mr. Speaker, I would like to take this opportunity, not having had one for a while, to congratulate you on your position and on the job that you are doing in this House. I think I said before --
Mr. Makarchuk: You probably did.
Mr. Roy: -- that it is a difficult role, but we seem to be getting on and getting by. I think you will agree, Mr. Speaker, that you are receiving a lot of co-operation from members on both sides of the House, and it is extremely helpful. I would say as well that the Deputy Speaker deserves full credit for also being very able. In a very short period of time, I think he has earned the respect of all members of the House. I think we can’t say this often enough, because he is impartial and he is fair. He has earned respect for his decisions.
Mr. Nixon: A little tough on the NDP at times.
Mr. Sweeney: Especially the member for Ottawa Centre (Mr. Cassidy).
Mr. Roy: Mr. Speaker, I think the words in relation to the Deputy Speaker can be said with sincerity and with meaning.
I think I should take this opportunity as well to thank the voters of Ottawa East. I suppose as members we take for granted the fact that we come back here occasionally after certain elections and not often enough do we thank the voters and remind ourselves that we are here through their goodwill. I would like to take this opportunity and say to them that more and more the voters of Ottawa East, if I may say this, are showing an extreme amount of good sense. I say it modestly, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Nixon: That majority is getting to be indecent.
Mr. Roy: I say it with a certain amount of pride because the riding is a reflection really of what this country is all about. The percentage ethnically is about 50 per cent French; I have the good fortune to represent a strong English community, Jewish community, Italian community and Portuguese community in my riding.
I have great pride when I look over the results and see that in all areas of the riding, in all polls, I think I lost 13 in the last election. I will have to fix that. One of the polls -- I say it with a certain amount of discomfort -- which I regularly I lose is Pestalozzi College, but slowly and surely we are getting the radicals and the socialists out of that building and I hope to get better results in the next election.
I might say, with interest as well, that there is a senior citizens home on Porter Island where the former member of the Legislature, Jules Morin --
Mr. Nixon: I remember him well.
Mr. Roy: -- is on the board of directors. It takes a while to get across in that particular home but gradually and slowly we are reducing the Conservative majority in that home. I might say that I am very grateful to the voters of Ottawa East.
Besides having the ethnic balance I have in my riding, I have the good fortune as well of representing people from all walks of life, from the Prime Minister --
Mr. Samis: Where is he by the way?
Mr. Roy: -- to the Governor General, to the Justices of the Supreme Court of Canada, right down to the people who are working on Parliament Hill.
Mr. Shore: You mean right up.
Mr. Roy: Yes, right up to the charladies who are working on Parliament Hill. I have a fair cross-section and I take an awful lot of pride in having received that kind of majority.
I would say as well, taking this opportunity, that I am extremely grateful to all members on all sides of the House for their kind words and congratulations following the leadership campaign. I received tremendous response. I thought the response and the reception I got right across the province was just great; it was an exciting experience and I think it is an experience that all of us should try sometime.
Mr. Roy: Yes, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was natural that we were disappointed by the results but I do want to say that it was extremely gratifying for me to receive very kind and favourable comments from all members here. I think there are no comments which make you feel quite as good as those you receive from your peers on all sides of the House. For this, I do want to thank the members publicly.
I do want to say as well that during the leadership campaign I had advised the media people and the public that I was quite prepared to disclose what spending was involved in my campaign. I suppose this is as good a time as any to talk just briefly about what one of these endeavours -- or what some people call a frolic of my own -- has cost.
The campaign, by and large, on the latest figures I have, cost somewhere --
Hon. Mr. Bernier: Confession.
Mr. Sweeney: This is a budget speech.
Mr. Roy: Yes there’s always some sort of a budget. It cost around $49,900 --
Mr. Shore: Will you draw supplementary estimates?
Hon. Mr. Bernier: Forty-nine thousand dollars?
Mr. Sweeney: No supplementary estimates.
Mr. Roy: I get a smile from the members across the way. I can say to them that these figures are far more accurate than the figures reflected by the Treasurer (Mr. McKeough) in his last budget.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: Prove it.
Mr. Bullbrook: And not nearly as big a deficit.
Mr. Roy: Yes, that’s right. My deficit is much more restrained. I had better not say that quickly so we can discuss the deficit here.
Mr. Bullhrook: He is going to ask us for money.
Mr. Roy: Mr. Speaker, the costs, as I said, were in the area of about $49,900. A brief breakdown is something like this: Salaries cost $4,800, receptions $4,000, and travelling around the province $6,000. I should be looking in the Provincial Auditor’s report to see how much money the minister spent last year travelling across the province.
Mr. Sweeney: And that was public money.
Mr. Roy: And that was public money.
Mr. Nixon: Milking it right out of the taxpayers.
Mr. Roy: Advertising and promotion cost $20,400; meals, accommodation and transportation, $9,500; communications, $650 and convention entertainment, $1,200.
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: How much was that per vote?
Mr. Roy: That’s not bad. I would like to compare that with Brian Mulroney some time. Miscellaneous was somewhere around $3,350. The revenues were somewhat more modest.
Mr. Samis: Let’s hear this.
Mr. Roy: The latest calculations that we have are revenues in the area of $42,700, involving some 250 different contributions from right across the province. So we are facing a deficit but nothing that we can’t take care of. I am extremely grateful to my association which has been most supportive in all of this. I am sure that over a period of time this deficit will be taken care of. I just felt that I should make these figures public, having said publicly that I would. This is basically what we have.
If I may move on, I would like to speak briefly about the administration of justice and not repeat some of the things that I hope to say in the estimates about the backlog in the courts and so on. I should mention an incident that took place in this House recently with the member for Scarborough Centre (Mr. Drea). It is about the fact that he was thanking his minister for having built a courthouse in his riding and saying how fortunate he was to have a courthouse and that this was a massive building, 10 storeys high. When I said to him at the time: “You are very fortunate. We are having courts in the Holiday Inn in Ottawa,” the expression was given by that member that maybe people in Ottawa did not have the good sense to vote on the right side. Basically, what he was trying to say is that he was able to get a courthouse because he was a Tory representing that particular riding.
I would hope this is not the principle upon which this government goes around the province granting necessities of building courthouses. But I do want to say that this was the exchange and the exchange is right there on the record. I see the minister shaking his head but the exchange by the parliamentary assistant in this area clearly said he was given favourable treatment because he happened to be a Conservative and there was a Conservative administration.
Mr. Nixon: He was boasting about it.
Mr. Roy: Sure, in fact, he was boasting about it. I do want to say I have had occasion since talking about the Holiday Inn in Ottawa personally to attend courts in that building. The courthouse, the Holiday Inn, happens to be on Dalhousie St. in my riding. I thought I should look over and see how the procedure worked down there. So I went down there on one case and I was advised that at the Holiday Inn there was a room set aside for the court, a room set aside for the judge and a room set aside for defence counsel. There was a room for keeping the accused.
I thought they used the Holiday Inn for cases involving individuals who were not in custody, but here was a case of armed robbery. Individuals were brought in in custody in handcuffs. In the meanwhile, the guests were walking around the Holiday Inn, walking out of their rooms and fellows were walking down the hall with handcuffs on. I just thought that we are asking for trouble.
First of all, some of the criminal courts in Ottawa are in one office building on 1 Nicholas St. where everybody uses the elevator, including people who are in custody. And now we have the Holiday Inn where there are accused who are in custody in the hallway. People are being hauled in and out and I’m sure that the Ottawa police had strong reservations about guaranteeing any security around that place, and you can hardly blame them, Mr. Speaker. It seems to me odd, following this type of exchange when I hear there’s a contract for a new courthouse to be built in Scarborough Centre, when I see the situation in the Holiday Inn.
I was told about another incident that happened in the Holiday Inn, when the presiding judge first sat in the Holiday Inn and felt that there should be a flag in the courtroom. They had to satisfy themselves with the Holiday Inn flag; that is what they brought in.
Mr. Shore: Did he have his bathing suit with him?
Mr. Roy: I’m not against holding courts in available accommodation, because I know the accommodations in many areas of the province are far from being adequate. But I just want to ask, for the record, what are we waiting for in this province before we start looking at this situation? Are we waiting for the type of incident which may well happen, whether it’s the Holiday Inn at Ottawa or whether it’s another place across the province? And, surely, it reaches the point where the facilities available border on the ridiculous.
The courts and the judges in Ottawa have been crying about this situation for many years, so I think it important to put this contrast on the record.
I should just talk about a situation -- considering the time involved I’m going to have to move on into it -- and put on the record a situation that has happened as well in Ottawa, involving the administration of justice. I think all members are aware of this particular case; it received sufficient coverage across all the papers in the country, including papers outside of this province. It involved the so-called homosexual ring that was going on across Ottawa. This was described in various forms, not only in the local press but in papers right across the country.
For instance, I’m looking at a headline from the Toronto Sun, March 5, 1975, where they say: “Young Boy in Ottawa’s Most Sordid Crime”. They go on to say in many of the headlines: “Another Charge in White Slavery Ring”, and so on. “Homosexuals Charged”, and, “Homosexual Ring”, and on and on. These were the headlines that were being seen right across the country, and subsequent to all the headlines some 18 people were charged.
Basically, the evidence upon which these 18 people were charged involved, really, one young individual. In other words, they had one young complainant, a 15-year-old complainant who was going to be the main witness in all of these charges. The community basically was led to believe that there was sort of a conspiracy involved with talk about the “most sordid crime” and that this was a widespread practice right across the city of Ottawa,
Some of the members may recall some of the accused involved -- one was an RCMP officer, some were senior civil servants, and other people involved were in other very important positions across the city. You can well imagine, Mr. Speaker, these people were getting their names in headlines, their addresses, and so on. And so the original complaint was that their names appeared in the press and I defended that practice.
I felt that we are working in an open administration of justice and that it’s important that the public know, if we’re going to have an open administration, who is charged, so that the public has access to following it through. Once a case receives such widespread attention that it has really outweighed the gravity of the charge, it is the role of the administration of justice to see to it that any misadventure or any miscarriage of justice that takes place is righted by the administration of justice.
I’m saying that this did not take place in Ottawa and that the administration of justice in fact broke right down in the processing of these cases.
First of all, one has to look at the role of the police in all of this and ask oneself, first of all, were the police proceeding on all these charges -- basically, some 18 charges -- on the evidence of one complainant or one or two complainants? Because you can well appreciate, Mr. Speaker, if you are basing your case on that evidence and that evidence alone, the type of pressure for that individual in appearing in case after case. All members are aware, for instance, of the traumatic experience that the complainant in a rape case has to go through, just for one case. Just multiply that some 18 times -- and this was basically what was involved here.
Secondly, when the Ottawa police, as they were entitled to, released the names and the addresses, were they commenting on the evidence? Was it editorial comment about the nature of the evidence?
The danger of this, Mr. Speaker, is that an individual is entitled to be found guilty or acquitted on the evidence heard at the trial. But, if there are headlines all over the place telling what type of crime it is, or what type of evidence is involved, there is a possibility that the jury would be judging the individual, not on the evidence heard in the court, but on evidence read in the press.
We must guard against this. And so, is it the police or is it the press that started talking about the evidence? There seems to be a conflict on this. Police officers are denying having used expressions like “sordid crime” and “white slavery.”
It seems to me, Mr. Speaker, that the police have a right to release the name and the address of the accused, but anything about the charges should be obtained from the courts. No evidence should be discussed prior to the trial -- and it happened in this case. So, was it the press or was it the police?
Once the charges started proceeding through, it would appear that the complainant could not stand this kind of pressure -- which is normal -- and soon was under psychiatric treatment at the Ottawa General Hospital. The Ottawa General Hospital apparently did not advise the police for about a period of a year while this individual was under psychiatric treatment. It would appear there was a conflict between the Crown and the police, and for some time one of these two agencies knew that the complainant was under that type of treatment, and yet the charges proceeded. Now, that has to be looked at.
But more disturbing, Mr. Speaker -- and these are allegations by the complainant himself in evidence that he gave under oath -- it would appear that his statement was coached by the police. In fact, this witness was given names to insert in his statement; dates and places were given to him by the police.
One must remember. Mr. Speaker, that these allegations are made by a complainant whose evidence was subsequently found to be somewhat unreliable. But, these statements have not been refuted and have been given under oath by a Crown witness. I have the transcript here where he clearly admits -- and I don’t have time, Mr. Speaker, to really go into it. But, one has to be alarmed because you see he is relying on his statement prior to going into court in giving evidence against the accused. Yet, he has given it under oath. In cross-examination, for instance, he is asked:
“Now, insofar as your statement, the statement that you gave, has certain facts which are yours, but certain facts which are not yours, but were given to you by the police?”
He replied, “Yes.” He was then asked: “Not only with regard to dates, but with regard to names?” He replied, “Some names.”
There is another aspect of the case that must be looked at. Was this witness, who the police relied on for the majority of these charges, identifying individuals, saying that these individuals were involved in these cases when, in fact, it was not his evidence but evidence given to him by the police? Was he giving evidence under oath about dates that he did not remember, but dates given to him by the police -- and finally places? You can imagine, Mr. Speaker, that in a criminal charge the charge must specify names, places and dates. A criminal charge must be specific and relate to one occurrence.
Of course, in many of these sex cases involving young children that can be very difficult, because they take place over quite a period of time. But, this youth was going into court and giving this type of evidence.
In the case here, Mr. Speaker, after giving his evidence under oath, the charges against the accused were withdrawn. But his name has been published all over the place. The charges were withdrawn, but he suffered for about a period of a year.
There are other allegations made by the police and made against the police. There are allegations, for instance, as far as the courts. The police would say to this young individual, “You are going to have to identify a couple of individuals,” and he’d say, “Well, I don’t think I can identify these individuals. You say: “Sure you can identify these individuals involved; you will see them sitting in the front row of the courtroom and they are wearing a suit this colour and glasses and they are this tall. Now you identify them.”
These are allegations made not just by people who have something against the police, but by responsible defence counsel, and rightly so, the defence bar in Ottawa are concerned about this practice. That’s the role of the police. You have to look, for instance, at the role of the Ottawa General Hospital and ask yourself, first of all, “Was this main witness treated for a year by a psychiatrist even before the police knew and the Crown attorney knew?” Yet these people were proceeding with the charges without knowing in fact the capacity or the veracity of the evidence given by this witness.
Once the Ottawa police knew and the Crown attorney’s office knew, what did they do about it? Did they continue with the charges? It would appear that they did in fact continue with some of these charges. But more disturbing, psychiatrists subsequently came into court and gave evidence that the evidence of this youth was unreliable. He had suicidal tendencies. In fact, the witness in this case was charged with a criminal offence and charges were withdrawn against him because it was thought he did not have the mental capacity to understand the charge. Psychiatrists came into court and gave evidence that his evidence for all intents and purposes was unreliable, but at the same time they were giving evidence about a Crown witness -- this young man -- and they were treating somebody he accused.
Can you imagine the awful conflict when these psychiatrists would be coming into court giving evidence as to the fitness or the veracity and the weight to be given to the evidence of this young man when, at the same time, they were treating somebody accused? Surely there is a conflict there that should not be allowed to happen in these cases. It would appear as well -- and these are allegations made not only by the police but by some of the counsel representing the police -- that in this case, it seemed the psychiatrists who were treating the youth and treating some of the accused were exchanging transcripts with some of the defence counsel. So you could see the awful can of worms that was involved in this case where the transcripts were being exchanged.
Finally there is the role of the Crown attorney in this case. Did the Crown attorney acquiesce to the fact that they were proceeding with all these charges, involving so many people, with just one complainant? They should have realized that at some time this complainant could not bear the burden and could not take the pressure of going through all these preliminary hearings and trials and in fact in many of these cases, this is what is happening. Not only was there a trial but there was a preliminary hearing, so the process was double.
One has to ask the question about the role of the Crown attorney. Why were there four Crown attorneys involved in this? How can you have any continuity to charges when you’ve got four different Crown attorneys negotiating with different defence counsel? You end up getting different results. Finally, what was the role of the Crown attorney with the police in all of this? It is frightening to think of some of the results that happened in this case.
For instance, on the evidence of this youth, which has been deemed to be unreliable or for which charges have been withdrawn against some of the accused, some of the accused have been convicted. As one of my colleagues has raised here in the House when we asked the minister about it, they were convicted -- and when you want to look at conflicts -- convicted by a judge who was the chairman of the Ottawa Police Commission. Another conflict situation.
So finally when pressure started building on this, the Attorney General or the Solicitor General caused the OPP to have an investigation on it. The OPP officer was one Casey Catwall and he investigated especially the allegation made by Mr. Duthie, who was one of the accused and a former press person involved in the press gallery in Ottawa. Subsequent to the investigation, two police officers in Ottawa were charged with assault causing bodily harm against Mr. Duthie. I don’t want to talk about that case because that’s presently before the courts and that’s just one aspect of the case.
I do say that the problem with the OPP investigation is that it seems to have focused just on the conduct of the Ottawa police and it seems to me we should have looked at the whole activity in this case -- we should have looked at the role of the press, we should have looked at the role of the Crown attorney and the Ottawa General Hospital. Not only was it focused but it was not public. When I asked the minister to release the report of the OPP he refused to do so.
The only way to deal with this type of problem, the only way the administration of justice can satisfy the public of this province that there has not been a serious breach of justice against some of these individuals, a miscarriage of justice, is to have a public inquiry. It should be an inquiry which will let the community of Ottawa know, first of all, what brought on the charges, and once the charges were brought and considering the publicity that was received, what happened, where did the breakdown take place and what went wrong? I think this public inquiry should look at all aspects of this and not only the role of the police, which was just one aspect of this case.
I intend to raise the matter again with the Attorney General (Mr. McMurtry). I’m not very satisfied with the response that I’ve received so far from the Attorney General and from the Solicitor General (Mr. MacBeth) in this case. He keeps talking about the fact that the two police officers have been charged, and I say to him that’s just one narrow aspect of this ease. There are other aspects of the case. The ironic part is that the Ottawa police and the defence counsel association of Ottawa would welcome a public investigation in this case. I don’t see why the public of Ottawa is not entitled to know exactly what happened here and where the breakdown took place.
I will turn to another problem. I could deal with many involving Ottawa, but I guess I won’t have time in view of the fact that I had planned to start at 8 o’clock and deal with other aspects of the administration of justice. For instance, there is the role of the justices of the peace. Just very briefly, I want to talk about the role of government, all governments across this country, and to talk basically about the attitude we must have as Canadians. If I may be presumptuous enough to talk about some of the problems that concern me about where we’re going in this country and how to keep this country together, one of the things that saddens me about some of the things that are going on, not only in this province, but right across the country, is what has happened to the spirit that was established in 1967. Where has the spirit of 1967 gone, the spirit of co-operation by all citizens in this province?
I think it’s important that we, as elected officials, understand that the web and the bond that keep this country together sometimes can only stand so much strain. I think it’s important that this province accept the role it must play in assisting and assuring that we keep this country together. What I’m trying to say basically is that it seems to me that the leadership given in this field by former Premier John Robarts is not being carried through by the present administration. One of the areas that concerns and saddens me sometimes is that we have programmes for minorities in the provinces that work but are not given an opportunity to function.
One of these is the French immersion programme that was so successful in Ottawa but where we seemed to have created some difficulty and some delay in its functioning and in assuring its existence not only in Ottawa, but right across the province. I make these comments, just briefly while the Minister of Education is here. I’d like to say to the minister that surely the time for surveys and the time for more studies about this type of programme, French immersion, is long past.
I think there is very little question that the experiment in Ottawa was a resounding success. The reports on the English-speaking students in Ottawa who were given an opportunity to have French immersion were unquestionably beyond the wildest expectation of those who first involved themselves in this experiment. Everybody is unanimous in saying that the programme was a success. Yet I see very little evidence at this time that the programme will be expanded in other areas of this province and I really think it’s unfortunate.
It’s great for Ottawa but surely in this province there are other people, other students, other English-speaking students, who should be given an opportunity of learning French and learning it in that fashion? The experiment should not be limited to Ottawa. What saddens me is to see how long it takes to get the wheels grinding, to get some action by government, because, after all, education is a provincial responsibility.
I read the report of the ministerial commission on French-language secondary education back in 1971 by Tom Symons. I think he said it better than anyone in the latter part of his report when he suggested we have a commission in early 1972 to look at this question. We’re still looking at it. We’re still studying it and according to the minister, we have to make further cost studies to see how this programme will work across the province. It’s a reflection that back in 1971 Tom Symons was saying that this was a pressing problem. He was surprised, with the way French had been taught across this country, that we were still talking to each other. They were teaching French in those days as though it was a dead language; it was taught by teachers who didn’t really understand the history of the language and very often hardly spoke the language.
I want to say that we have an experiment in Ottawa which has proven to be a tremendous success and I would hope that this government would quit stalling on this. I say, with respect, to the minister that he seems to understand the problem, he seems to want to do something about it yet there seems to be endless delay.
Keith Spicer could shout all day in Ottawa about the $9,000 per civil servant we’re wasting when we try to get them to learn French at a certain age. The fact is that education is still a provincial responsibility and this is the key province. We must accept our responsibility here and we have a wonderful opportunity to do so. We have an experiment in Ottawa which has been accepted by everyone as being a resounding success and I would like to see this programme extended across the province.
Having said this, I should make a few comments about some of the things the elected members say and why sometimes people in the Conservative Party -- especially federally -- have difficulty getting support in Quebec. The reason I raise this is some recent headlines in newspapers here in Ontario about some of the things that go on have come to my attention. I get back to my point about how Confederation requires understanding; it requires a bond on all people. It’s a fragile bond.
It’s important that as elected representatives we keep things in perspective. To give an idea of that, when things get carried away politically surely we have other things to fight about than to start trying to find some differences on the basis of language or ethnic background or religion or whatever. We should try to stay away from that.
I was saddened in 1975, in the provincial election, that in a couple of ridings -- and I see my colleague from Carleton (Mr. Handleman) is here; and I say to him and to his colleague from Ottawa West (Mr. Morrow) that some of the things said in the 1975 campaign should not do them proud, really. I was concerned about some of the things which were said. There was misinformation given, especially by his colleague from Ottawa West. Some of the headlines and some of the ads he had in the local press are surely not the type of campaign that any party or any individual of this province should run. We should not try to play on these types of issues, these differences, for political purposes.
To give some idea of what goes on in other areas of the province, for instance, I look at this headline here. This is a headline from the Lindsay Daily Post, Wednesday, May 12, 1976. It talks about a bloodless takeover by the French and says “MP’s Office Forwards Revealing Material.”
Mr. Lawlor: It’s the same thing you said about the socialists.
Mr. Roy: Yes. I have to wonder when I see something like this and say, “What’s going on? Is somebody invading the place?” What they’re talking about is that the federal MP for that area, William C. Scott, is apparently bringing out information that they’re moving federal civil servants to Hull. They have projects to move a certain percentage of civil servants over to the Hull side of the river in the national capital area. Somehow he sees this as some insidious plot for Quebec to take over, little realizing that this is exactly the type of action that will undermine the separatist movement in Quebec. If you want evidence of this just look at all the nationalists in Hull that were crying that this shouldn’t happen.
I see headlines -- “Bloodless Takeover by French” -- and basically, all he’s saying, or printing, is something that’s been in all the press across the country; that some 60,000 federal government employees will soon be working in the Hull area. Meantime, you’ve got a couple of hundred thousand on the Ottawa side.
This is exactly the type of federal programme that keeps Confederation together. How could you live in Hull, for instance, 10 or 15 years ago, and look on the Ottawa side of the river and look at all the nice buildings and on the Hull side all you had was shanties and slums and all of this and none of the federal projects were going on the Hull side? Was that fair treatment? But when the federal government starts moving in to try to correct the situation, then it happens to be a “bloodless takeover by the French,” and it concerns me when I see members using just that type of evidence to see some insidious plot.
I’m not directly addressing this to members of this House, because hopefully we try to stay away from this, but I can see Joe Clark’s dilemma. When he goes into Quebec City and says something like, “French-speaking Liberals who suggest that Conservatives have an anti-Quebec bias are ‘unscrupulous opportunists,’” I can see where he’d have problems denying what the Liberals say when some of his members are going across the country trying to get headlines out of something that is so innocuous or so fair as what is happening in the Ottawa-Hull area.
I bring it to the members’ attention and say that politics are fine -- and I think members of all parties are quite prepared to get involved in an issue -- but surely there are sufficient issues in this province -- and in fact I suppose there are enough differences between parties that we can get involved in the election -- that we can involve ourselves in issue discussions without having to try to split the country. I think it’s incumbent on people who are leaders of the community, as we are, to stay above this type of thing.
I must say I’m favourably impressed by all members of the House; that by and large, we do. But occasionally when you see a headline such as this, I think it’s important that the point be made that we certainly don’t try to encourage people to see differences in people or try to get votes out of something as innocuous as what is going on in Ottawa-Hull and try to get that type of headline. Surely we have better things to do, and I think there are more things that keep us together than separate us.
Hon. Mr. Kerr: You need a new sewage plant in that area.
Mr. Roy: That’s right and we’ve said it.
Mr. Nixon: They needed that since you were minister the last time.
Mr. Speaker: Does the hon. member have further remarks to make? Order. Order, please. Does the hon. member --
Mr. Roy: I can close on this; as you know, I try to keep my speeches flexible depending on the time that’s involved.
Mr. Cassidy: Just like your principles, eh?
Mr. Roy: Well I’ve got some, and that’s more than we can say about you.
Mr. Cassidy: I have often been accused of having too many, not too few.
Mr. Roy: I suppose my colleague from Ottawa Centre can talk on ad infinitum, but God knows, tonight he can’t because he’s got five minutes. Is that what he’s got? He’s going to have problems there.
In closing, I do want to thank the members for the opportunity of expressing some comments and I hope that I’ll have opportunities during the estimates of raising some of these matters involving justice in this province.
Hon. Mr. Wells moved the adjournment of the debate.
Motion agreed to.
Mr. Speaker: As announced earlier this afternoon, we have two matters to deal with at the close tonight at 10:30. Under section 27(g), I’ve received notice from the member for Ottawa Centre and the member for Durham East of their dissatisfaction with certain answers given during the question periods. I now deem, under section 28(a), that a motion to adjourn has been made. I’ll call on the member for Ottawa Centre who has five minutes to explain his position.
RENT REVIEW PROGRAMME
Mr. Cassidy: I will try to be very direct. In the rent review bill which was passed last December, we had a bill the NDP thought was strong, progressive and fair. But there is now an increasing number of reports coming to us, as the number of review hearings increase, that indicates that the bill is not being administered in the spirit in which it was passed.
When I raised this matter in the House last Thursday, and I believe this was the first time we had raised the question of the fairness of rent review, I asked the minister whether he thought that the procedure was biased against tenants and he said no. When I asked some specific questions, the minister’s reply, which I am not satisfied with, was as follows:
He said with regard to the cost revenue statement that it is available to all the tenants to examine and they can take whatever information they want from it. However, section 7 of the bill specifically says that the parties to the hearing shall have an adequate opportunity of knowing the issues in the proceedings and presenting material and making representations on their behalf.
The parliamentary assistant to the minister has suggested he sees nothing wrong in making tenants go the old quill-pen route of the 19th century and copying everything down by hand when we have modern technology that allows this kind of information to be made available to tenants with ease through photocopying process. At a nickel or a dime a sheet, there is no objection on their part to paying. It seems to me that the refusal to allow that indicates a paranoia about confidentiality on the part of the ministry and also indicates a complete disregard for the will of the Legislature.
The House directed openness. The Conservative convention seems to want openness now as well. The will of the Legislature, if not of the Conservative Party, should not be ignored by regulations; yet we have information bulletin I(6) which specifically prohibits any photocopying to be allowed by rent review personnel for other than their own use. The consequence is that the rent review officer and landlord are guaranteed the right to have this material in the hearing and the tenants are not. They may have it if it is copied out by hand, if they could get in and had the time and so on, but they are not guaranteed that they can get it with relative ease.
Secondly, the minister said he doesn’t accept the allegation that tenants are being harassed and denied the right to speak at hearings and he would like to have specific examples. I don’t want the minister to get up and say those are isolated examples. I have a number of specific examples. There is Mr. McKeown in York. I will quote from the mother of a tenant who was involved in a rent review hearing. She says Mr. McKeown “treated the tenants in a very patronizing way; told them to sit down; to stop talking or he would put them out; to shut up; that this was the worst meeting and the worst bunch of people so far.” Yet the same rent review officer was able to identify the landlord’s agent by name.
Here is a case at 10 St. Dennis Dr. Bill Finch was the rent review officer. The quote we had from the tenant was: “This rent review officer was so anti-tenant and so rude that people walked out part way through. One tenant asked several questions about snow removal processes and so on. The rent review officer said: ‘One more question from you and I will throw you out.’”
This is a rent review hearing on the Oakburn Place complex, 1135 Leslie. It was held Tuesday, May 11. The tenant said the apartments were small and on Highway 401 and therefore rents had been traditionally low. The rent review officer said he didn’t care if he lived in a tent right on the 401. It doesn’t seem like an impartial hearing to me.
Next, this was a hearing in Mississauga. The landlord arrived with his material in hand. The rent review officer asked why it hadn’t been filed. The landlord said the stuff must have got lost in the mail. The hearing proceeded. The landlord’s explanation was accepted. The physical setup was certainly not fair to tenant and landlord. The land- lord was at the front facing the tenants and alongside the rent review officer and the tenants were facing these people. That does not suggest impartiality on the part of the rent review officer.
In a case in Richmond Hill, the landlord’s material was not filed in advance of the hearing. The rent review officer overruled the tenant’s objection because the landlord had brought material to the hearing with him. The hearing spent an hour listening to the landlord attack the tenant. The tenant had to ask before he was allowed time. He had only 15 minutes during which he had constant interruptions from landlord and no control from the rent review officer at all.
There are many many other cases I could give. The point I am making is that the experience we are having is that rent review officers, whose background is mainly from private business, are acting in a way which is biased against tenants and that has got to stop if the government is going to make rent review credible.
Mr. Speaker: Thank you. The hon. minister has five minutes.
Hon. Mr. Handleman: Mr. Speaker, I don’t think I can cram into five minutes the number of words that the hon. member has managed to do. I don’t have a written reply prepared to read into the record. But I do want to protest the kind of rhetoric that the hon. member has been using in trying to stir up a kind of class warfare reminiscent of the coal mine strikes in Wales in 1925. This is 1975; this is not an adversary system. I knew the member was on the late show, but I didn’t know we were into repeats that quickly -- because we just heard the same argument less than a couple of hours ago.
The hon. member can bring out all of the horror stories -- and I think he and his party have made a career of gathering horror stories, and making them appear to be the rule rather than the exception. I would like to read just a few headlines, not horror stories. From the Toronto Star: “Landlord Told To Roll Back Tenant Rents.” Another one from the Toronto Star: “Tenants Protest Rental Hikes Of 50 Per Cent In Scarborough” -- with the rent review officer telling the landlord that he is completely off-base in making any such claim. Another: “Landlords Make Most Appeals Against Rent Review Boards.”
If the tenants are so very unhappy, where are they when it comes to appeals? They are happy with the decisions on rent review, and they know it is working for them.
Another headline: “Landlord Told To Lower Rent In Etobicoke.” The rent review officer told him in no uncertain terms that he had to lower the rent. In many cases landlords have been told to shut up and sit down. That’s the kind of decorum I think the member for Ottawa East has suggested for the courtroom whenever there is disorderly conduct. That is what is happening in many cases.
The activists in the tenant movement are being instigated by the hon. member. They are being encouraged to take confrontation tactics, rather than negotiate for the clear, calm compromise that can be achieved.
Mr. Cassidy: That is not true, Mr. Speaker. There are unsolicited things coming in.
Hon. Mr. Handleman: I would like to say, Mr. Speaker, that we have been told by the Federation of Metro Tenants’ Associations that they have been discriminated against in appointments to the rent review board. I want to deny that right now, and say that many of their nominees have been named. Unfortunately, some of the people in the movement have failed to forward application forms on to the very people they nominated. We have nominated a number of people from tenants’ associations, and will continue to do so, provided they have all the qualifications.
When the hon. member says they are people from business, I don’t know where on earth you get people with accounting skills, property management skills, except from the business sector. Twenty per cent of our rent review officers are tenants themselves. They live in apartments, they know the experiences, and they are certainly not biased against tenants.
Mr. Speaker, if you think the tenants are discriminated against, I would just like to read a few sentences from a communication received from a gentleman who represents a number of small apartment owners. He says:
“I refer to the NDP housing critic, who when talking about rents claimed that rents were too high for the average family in Ontario. Now that he himself is asking for a raise, he is claiming that the average family income for Ontario is over $375 or $19,500 per year. That average income would enable the average family in our region to pay more than double the average rent being asked in our region. It is obvious the NDP has two sets of facts; one they use when they try to keep down rents, and the other when they ask for more money for themselves. I think that should be explained to the tenants.”
RADIOACTIVITY AT PORT HOPE
Mr. Moffatt: This afternoon I asked the Minister of the Environment what involvement his ministry had had with regard to the establishment and control of the waste material dump at Port Granby in the municipality of Newcastle. The minister responded that there was a committee which involved the federal Atomic Energy Control Board, his ministry, and various other agencies.
The reason I object to the answer, Mr. Speaker, is because yesterday in the Globe and Mail --
Hon. W. Newman: You wanted to make a speech; that’s the only reason.
Mr. Moffatt: Yesterday in the Globe and Mail a story was printed in which the Port Hope representative of the Atomic Energy Control Board stated that in this particular issue at Port Granby they are bystanders. They have no involvement at all.
With the impending removal of 100,000 cubic yards of material in the Port Hope area, and the fact that the Port Granby dump is now almost filled to capacity, and the fact that approximately 550 acres of additional land has been optioned by Eldorado in the Port Granby area, with the supposed purpose of establishing a larger and more efficient dump, seems to me that the Ministry of the Environment in this province, under the minister, should really be doing a heck of a lot more than just trusting the AECB. It seems to me that we got into trouble in Port Hope 30 years ago and again in the last 10 years through that kind of misplaced trust in the Atomic Energy Control Board.
Frankly, I trust those people not at all. The people in the Ministry of Health, I think, have come to the same conclusion that that particular agency of the federal government does nothing at all. When it has rules it allows them to be broken and when it doesn’t allow them to be broken it simply ignores the rules and wipes them aside. I don’t think that in this province and in the municipality of the town of Newcastle we can at any point tolerate the kind of spread of that sort of dumping practice which has been carried on by Eldorado under the supposed supervision of the Atomic Energy Control Board.
Since the Hope township council has passed a resolution expressly asking that no more dumps be established in its particular municipality -- in your own riding, Mr. Speaker -- and the town council of the municipality of Newcastle has tried to get an injunction against Eldorado to prevent it from dumping this material, it seems to me that the Ministry of the Environment should have a far better answer than that. Given the minister’s past performance, I think he himself would like to have a better answer than that.
I have come to hold the minister in some regard for some of the activities he has involved himself in and the way he has interjected his ministry into the activities of some people. It seems to me that if there ever was a case in which this kind of activity by the Ministry of the Environment was needed, it is in this particular instance.
Hon. Mr. Kerr: Mr. Speaker, I don’t want to give the impression that I am belittling or not taking seriously the concerns of the hon. member. We certainly also recognize the concerns of the citizens of Port Hope over this whole problem.
The article to which the hon. member refers is one that I have had noted as well. All I want to say is that if the words of Mr. Blackburn are reported correctly, what he has said is just nonsense. It is not up to Eldorado to decide where the radioactive material will be dumped; the choice of a site will not be that of the company alone or the federal agency alone.
As I mentioned in my answer as a result of the whole problem surrounding the removal of the contaminated material, because of the necessity of having a proper site and because of the very nature of that material, it is going to get worse before it gets better. I am sure the hon. member knows that. My deputy minister wrote to the president of the Atomic Energy Control Board and pointed out that it is the responsibility of AECB and Eldorado to find a proper acceptable site.
However, we offered our services. My deputy minister offered to act as chairman of a working group which, as I said this afternoon, is made up of representatives from AECB, Environment Canada, Health and Welfare Canada, as well as the company, the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of the Environment of the Province of Ontario.
That working group has held one meeting already. It holds another meeting this week and hopefully the whole question of a site can be resolved.
I am disturbed about some of the things I have read not only in the newspapers but in the minutes of these meetings. There seems to be almost tunnel vision as far as an appropriate site is concerned. Why should it be necessarily on the shores of Lake Ontario? Why should it be around Port Hope? Why shouldn’t it be at some abandoned army site or air force installation? It can be anywhere in Canada.
I might say this is a federal problem from the point of view that it is a federal agency which has created the problem. As the hon. member has said, there hasn’t been too much supervision during the past few years, but hopefully with the timetable and the schedule and the urgency involved, that working group will assist Eldorado and the AECB to find a suitable site.
Dealing with the hon. member’s remarks, it is not just up to the company or to AECB where that site will be. Unfortunately, because of the powers of the federal agency, and of the federal government through its powers of expropriation, we can’t require them to hold a hearing as far as the selection of the site is concerned. But it has been indicated by the company that it wants to have public participation, that it is prepared to have public hearings, and that it wants the approval of municipal authorities as well as provincial authorities. The company has said that.
I hope the AECB feels the same way, because in my opinion there is no municipality in the Province of Ontario that wants this stuff. It’s just as simple as that, and we have pointed that out to Dr. Prince and to AECB. Even Newcastle, as the hon. member knows, has changed its mind; refinery or no refinery, it just doesn’t want the stuff, so that of course is obviously going to be the feeling all over this province, and all over Canada, I’m sure. I mean, who wants Ontario’s waste?
It is going to be a problem. The present site is scheduled to close the end of June. We’ve got to find something by the first of July. It may take longer than that. The removal process from Port Hope is going to take two or three years. We have some problems ahead of us, but all I want to say to the hon. member is that our ministry will be involved and the province will be involved, as well as the other ministries that I’ve mentioned.
Mr. Speaker: I deem the motion to adjourn to have been carried.
The House adjourned at 10:50 p.m.