30th Parliament, 3rd Session

L062 - Thu 20 May 1976 / Jeu 20 mai 1976

The House met at 2 p.m.



Mr. S. Smith: On a point of order. With regard to the question period, Mr. Speaker, I have the feeling the purpose of the question period in some ways is being undermined by the length of time we as the leaders have been taking with our leadoff questions. It seems to leave very little time for the other members.

Mr. Yakabuski: Apologize.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Mr. S. Smith: I wanted to make a constructive suggestion that in order to keep within the meaning of the question period and its purpose, the leaders should confine themselves to two leadoff questions each and the rotation should start after that so that if we had further questions we could get in on the rotation in the way other members do. It would open the opportunity for other members of the House to bring up matters of particular interest to their constituencies. Perhaps you would like to consider that.

Mr. Lewis: On the point of order, Mr. Speaker, as you well know, the New Democratic Party suggested that some time ago, before the 1975 election.

Mr. MacDonald: Ten years ago.

Mr. Lewis: It was not possible at that time.

Mr. Nixon: You suggested one question, I think.

Mr. Lewis: No, I don’t think so; but that aside, I gather that’s the recommendation which is flowing from the select committee. Any such recommendations will obviously be acceptable when they come in and we will try to hold to it until then.

Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I want to make our position abundantly clear: We will let the people across the House sort that out.

Mr. Nixon: When are you going to start answering questions?

Mr. Speaker: As far as Mr. Speaker is concerned, I am awaiting the recommendations of the select committee, but I think we can all keep in mind the thoughts the hon. member for Hamilton West just put forward. It bothers me, of course, any time more than 10 minutes is taken up by the two leadoff questioners. At the same time, it is not always their fault, because there are too many supplementaries. This is what the cause of it is, you see, so I think if we all try to exercise a bit of self-discipline we will have a very good question period.

Statements by the ministry.


Hon. Mr. Snow: Mr. Speaker, I have just received a telegram today from the Hon. Otto Lang, Minister of Transport, and I quote:

“In my statement in the House of Commons on Jan. 29 last, I indicated that I would announce, in the near future, plans to improve the railway passenger service in the Quebec City-Windsor corridor.

“For your advance information, an announcement will be made shortly to the effect that, as a first step, the Quebec-Montreal section of the corridor will be developed with approximately $30 million being spent over the next three years. CP Rail will operate the service on this route.

“This money will be spent on items such as acquiring new modern trains, straightening curves, laying heavier rail, improving signals and maintenance facilities, etc.

“I would like you to consider this announcement as the first step toward a gradual improvement throughout the corridor. I hope to be in a position to make a similar announcement about the Toronto-Windsor section in the near future.”

“I would also like to thank your officials who have contributed to the work done so far and I would appreciate your continued co-operation so that our efforts can bear results in the near future.”

This statement today by federal Minister of Transport Otto Lang, indicating Ottawa’s intent to determine the impact of modern high speed rail service between Quebec City and Montreal has left me, to say the least, disappointed.

As recently as Jan. 29 --

Mr. Stokes: You can appreciate how we feel in the north.

Hon. Mr. Snow: -- as Mr. Lang himself noted, he publicly stated that his government had reaffirmed an earlier approved-in-principle reference to former minister Jean Marchand’s major statement on national transportation policy -- that the federal government was prepared to carry out a demonstration project to determine the feasibility and impact of frequent high-speed runs in a Quebec-Windsor corridor.

At that time, Mr. Lang stated emphatically that his ministry had already begun discussions on potential improvements with Ontario and Quebec and the carriers. He added then that he hoped to announce shortly the details of the plan which would see new equipment operating at higher standards by 1979.

These federal initiatives were greeted with considerable enthusiasm by myself and my ministry because we, too, recognized the opportunities that existed, particularly in the Toronto-Windsor segment of the corridor, and we felt that as a result of the proper integration of new passenger transportation modes, we could tie an efficient and economic passenger system serving all the western counties.

In addition, this potential reassessment of passenger transportation would have permitted us to redress the problems created by the discontinuance of rail services in the Grey-Bruce area in 1970.

Now, today, we have been told that the initial efforts will include only the Montreal to Quebec City portion of the corridor.

Mr. Lang’s statement, flying in the teeth of the fact that the Toronto-Windsor segment serves the densest-populated area with the highest economic potential along the entire length of the originally proposed corridor, as I stated earlier, leaves me very disappointed.

In my dealings with Mr. Lang I have found him to be most co-operative. He also appeared to be truly interested in pursuing improvements in this very important section of the corridor. Therefore, I can only interpret his telegram to mean that the same enthusiasm was not shared by his colleagues in the federal cabinet.

Although Mr. Lang refers to his hope for the future improvements in the Toronto-Windsor section, it appears it has been excluded from receiving any special assistance until the completion of the Montreal-Quebec City link.

Until this sudden announcement, we in my ministry had been under the impression that in this particular area we were working hand-in-hand with the Ministry of Transport searching for a common answer to what is a common problem -- the lack of modern, high-speed passenger modes which, by 1979 or even 1980, would be in motion to counteract the potential effects of any energy shortfalls.

We had felt that the original demonstration project, covering the Quebec City to Windsor corridor, was of prime importance to both governments and that ultimately the results could determine the direction government investment in public transportation would take.

For this reason alone, I cannot understand Ottawa’s action at this late moment. In the light of what I have revealed, I can tell this House that it is my intention to ask Mr. Lang for a minister-to-minister meeting as soon as it can possibly be arranged. I shall ask the Minister of Transport to reconsider his decision, and to define what he meant when he said he hoped to make the announcement in the near future on the Toronto-Windsor section. Does the near future mean at the completion of the Quebec City to Montreal project or does it mean within the next few months?

Mr. Speaker: Oral questions.


Mr. Lewis: Yes, Mr. Speaker, in the spirit of phasing things in, I’ll try three questions today en route. May I ask the Premier, first, in regard to oil prices, is this it? Is Ontario now just throwing in the towel? Do we take the clouting administered to us without responding, or is he prepared, in the absence of any information at all to show that the additional money the oil companies will receive will go to exploration and development, to draw the line and say, no further increase until we have their books and costs open to the public?

Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, obviously that would be a matter for the government of Canada.

Mr. Deans: No.

Mr. MacDonald: No.

Mr. Lewis: Why?

Hon. Mr. Davis: I would say to the Leader of the Opposition -- I did notice his comments yesterday -- that Ontario has not agreed to the increase in price. I made this abundantly clear at the meeting of the first ministers --

Mr. Bain: What are you going to do about it?

Hon. Mr. Davis: -- and I made it clear in terms of our reaction when the first minister informed me late Friday afternoon that these were perhaps the figures which were going to be suggested, although they had not been confirmed by the other provinces.

I should point out to the Leader of the Opposition that the price is set by the producing provinces and the government of Canada; the other provinces of Canada obviously have been asked for their points of view. We expressed our point of view and our concern. We did it very vigorously and we were really faced with not a pre-decision on the part of the government of Canada but a very clear indication that the price was going to go up.

I then argued that if this was ultimately going to happen, I thought the maximum which could ever be explained to the public would be within the constraints of the AIB. While I am not at all enthusiastically endorsing the increase in price, we argued strenuously for a number of reasons against it. We suggested a formula which we think would have been more logical and easier to understand -- a much better rationale -- which didn’t receive any support in this House from either party.

While I am not content, the figures which have been arrived at and the staging certainly are more acceptable than those asked for by the producing provinces -- there’s no question about that -- and it is much better than the stated policy of the government of Canada that it would ultimately wish to go to world prices.

I would say that this government has communicated in every way possible its concern as to the potential impact on the consumers and the economy of this province. The government of Canada, in its judgement and in its wisdom, has determined that there will be $1.05 on July 1 and 70 cents on Jan. 1 next. I do want to emphasize this -- because it gave me additional concern -- the Prime Minister of Canada has assured me, and I accept his assurance, that there has been no commitment for a further price increase in the calendar year 1977.

Mr. Lewis: Wait and see.

Hon. Mr. Davis: This does not preclude -- I’m trying to stay within the spirit of being a little more or less non-controversial or what have you, and not to take any more time than necessary.

Mr. Deans: That’s just as well.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Hon. Mr. Davis: I’m pointing out that I think it has some relevance. As I say, I have accepted the Prime Minister’s assurance that there is no commitment but this obviously does not preclude the producing provinces from asking for more, depending on world price.


In terms of the other aspects of it, Mr. Speaker, that have not been overlooked but perhaps have not received the same attention, I guess Ontario, probably apart from Manitoba, one of the prime users of natural gas as an energy source, very forcefully adopts the position that it should not be indexed beyond the existing 85 per cent. This argument, Mr. Speaker, was accepted by the government of Canada. And natural gas, while it is still indexed to whatever the cost of crude is, is still remaining at the 85 per cent figure, which I think is a more realistic approach than that which was being suggested by the producing provinces, and probably by the government of Canada.

Mr. Lewis: Mr. Speaker, by way of supplementary, can the Premier not direct Mr. Isbister, chairman of the Petroleum Products Pricing Commission, to insist that the statistical and financial information given to him in camera by the oil companies be made public? Does the Premier not think the Province of Ontario, held to ransom, has a right at least to know what the costs are which are incurred that lead to the price which is set, particularly in northern Ontario?

Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I have every sympathy for the problem in northern Ontario. And I would only say this --

Mr. Foulds: We need more than sympathy; we need some action.

Mr. Stokes: There is a 19-cent differential.

Hon. Mr. Davis: -- that in northern Ontario, while there is this differential -- we acknowledge it, and Mr. Isbister is going to be directing a part of his overall recommendation, I assume, hopefully to recommendations related to this issue -- it is still within the broad context of the price increase generally for crude oil in the Province of Ontario.

I would be prepared to speak to Mr. Isbister. I would doubt whether he would, on the basis of the information and the way it was provided, be in a position to do this; but I will have a word with him on it.

I should also point out, Mr. Speaker, that there is a tendency to over-simplify this particular issue. One of the points we made, and it really related to the formula -- which, once again I point out, neither party opposite really gave much encouragement to -- was that money provided by the taxpayers and consumers of Ontario would be far easier to understand if, in fact, it were going towards the development of new supplies for the people of Ontario; because, let’s be very honest about it, we want that exploration and development.

I am encouraged by the statement which was made by the Prime Minister during the meeting -- and I think there was some reference to it Tuesday night -- that the government of Canada would be establishing a monitoring system to see that the funds that were made available to the companies went into exploration and development.

Mr. Lewis: Only half of that.

Hon. Mr. Davis: Now I know the Leader of the Opposition will not approach that with the same degree of optimism as expressed by the Prime Minister of Canada, and this may represent a certain philosophical difference -- I am not sure of that some days, but it may -- but I think we can be encouraged by the fact that the federal government with this increase is, in fact, going to monitor the moneys that are going to the companies and what amounts are being allocated for exploration and development.

While I can’t give you the sense of what the other first ministers of this country think, Mr. Speaker, my guess is that if they are not satisfied, or the government of Canada is not satisfied, that the additional funds going to the companies are going into exploration and development, I would be very surprised if the government of Canada didn’t reconsider its position and rather than having it on, shall we say a monitoring or informal basis, whether they are prepared to look at some other alternative. I think we can at least draw some encouragement by this limited initiative by the federal government to see that the companies are, in fact, putting the additional funds into exploration and development.

Mr. Lewis: One could call it a partial victory.

Mr. Shore: Supplementary: Could the Premier tell us to what extent the recent increases have had an effect on the budget of the Province of Ontario, and to what extent these things have been taken into consideration in future planning?

Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I am not making a case for the oil companies, although I do hold the view, and I hold this in a very practical way, that while the Leader of the Opposition may -- and I respect this philosophical difference -- feel that the public sector or government can more effectively get the resources out of the ground or wherever, I would really shudder to think that our dependency on future supply related to the effectiveness of government of getting totally into the business.


Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Mr. Lewis: You haven’t done very well with the private sector, have you?

Hon. Mr. Davis: The other point we were talking about regarding the oil companies, Mr. Speaker, that about 70 per cent of the increase is going by way of tax or royalties to the producing provinces and the government of Canada.

To deal with the question from the member for London North, I talked to the Treasurer (Mr. McKeough) yesterday. We had a discussion as it related to the increase. I think I can quote the Treasurer with some degree of accuracy, although he may be here later to speak to it himself.

We do not envisage any alterations to the budget nor do we feel that in terms of the budget itself it will have any significant impact. I’m talking about the budget, the question of revenues and the question of the economic forecasts, although I do re-emphasize, and I don’t want to minimize this, that we sense the economy is in a form of recovery, there is some sign of improvement.

I made the point very clearly to the Prime Minister of Canada, and in fairness to him I think he sensed this as well, that there is no question the increase in energy cost is going to have something of an inhibiting effect upon the economic recovery presently under way. This was one of the basic reasons for our argument. But I would say to the member for London North, in terms of the budget we don’t believe it will require any alteration, nor does it affect basically the budget position that has been taken.

Mr. Shore: Could I assume, therefore, when planning the budget, the Treasurer assumed there was going to be an increase of $1.75 to $2 in the oil prices?

Hon. Mr. Davis: I don’t know that the Treasurer assumed a particular increase. I think the probability of an increase taking place was obviously there. There is no question that various figures were being suggested. There was no question there was the statement of the government of Canada that it wanted to move to world price and that the $2 figure on July 1 at one point appeared to be a very real possibility.

While I do not want to be construed as being pleased with the results, because we were opposed to this size of an increase, I would have to say that $1.05 on July 1 is a lot better than $2 on July 1; I mean it is 95 cents better. The 70 cents which is being staged to come into effect on Jan. 1 is still better than $2 on July 1. If all of us can prevail on the government of Canada to look at this rationally next year and say to the producing provinces that they have had enough, that the 70 cents is the total increase that can be anticipated in 1977, that too would be somewhat encouraging, although I do not want to be construed as saying I am in agreement with this price increase, because the government is not.


Mr. Lewis: I have a question of the minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations. Given the finding of the divisional court that the rent review officers behaved illegally in the granting of rent increases where insufficient notice had been given, is the minister prepared to instruct rent review officers right across the province that they are not to take hearings where the time of notice is inadequate?

Hon. Mr. Handleman: I have just received the written judgement of the court on that. My very brief reading of it does not indicate there is any such suggestion the rent review officer acted illegally. The suggestion was that he had no jurisdiction under the circumstances prevailing in the case before the court. I think we will have to wait until we have had a chance to study the written judgement of the court and consult with the Attorney General (Mr. McMurtry) as to where we go from here.

Mr. Lewis: By way of supplementary, if therefore they acted legally without jurisdiction -- an interesting piece of behaviour that -- can I ask the minister why he does not simply inform all rent review officers that the terms of the Act require notice, and if the notice is not given they should not hear the case?

Hon. Mr. Handleman: If our review of the judgement indicates that that is the course to follow, we certainly won’t hesitate to follow it, but at the moment we haven’t completed our review of the judgement.

Mr. Cassidy: Supplementary: Can the minister then explain, in view of that reply, why his officials have instructed tenants whose rent review hearings have already taken place, and which may have been illegal in view of this ruling, to go to the courts for redress rather than getting redress from the ministry?

Hon. Mr. Handleman: I’m not aware of that suggestion being made to anyone. When the case was first brought before the court, a question was asked in this House by the Leader of the Opposition and I told him that we would abide by the finding of the court. We are still consulting with the Attorney General on that.


Mr. Lewis: Mr. Speaker, to the acting Minister of Health: Is there any special effort being made, as she reviews the mental health apparatus in Ontario, particularly with regard to psychiatric hospitals, to give the kind of support services in the community which could begin to diminish the re-admission rates in those hospitals, which I gather are running at 50 per cent or better in Whitby; 50 per cent in Hamilton; and 62.5 per cent for the first three months of 1976 at the Queen St. Mental Health Centre?

Hon. B. Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, the hon. Leader of the Opposition knows very well that the Ministry of Health, in its activities in the last several years, has been moving in the direction of releasing patients from incarceration in psychiatric institutions and providing a much greater and stronger focus upon community care of patients with psychiatric or emotional illness. That is certainly the direction of the Ministry of Health and it will continue to be. We are continuing to strengthen and fortify the services provided within the community so that that degree of readmissions may be cut down.

Mr. Lewis: Would the minister accept the observation of a senior medical person at Queen St. who says: “It is my opinion that with proper programming, adequate staffing and financing to run community-based programmes, many of numerous readmissions can be reduced; those admitted can be more adequately and sensibly treated, thus helping to reduce further the need for readmission.” Can she possibly mobilize the ministry around that, given the present trend?

Hon. B. Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, the present trend is specifically in that direction and that simply echoes the view of a number of other experts in the psychiatric field who have been saying the same thing for some time. As a result of that direction the ministry has mobilized itself to move that way, to increase and improve the community care programmes.

Mr. Cassidy: Reality is much different -- it is a rooming house and living on welfare; that is what you do in the community.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. A final supplementary on this.

Mr. Dukszta: Can the minister tell us whether she has changed the nature of financing the care in psychiatric hospitals from being oriented toward the bed and the bed-nurse ratio, toward being oriented to service provided in the community, as one way of moving toward what she just said she intends to do?

Hon. B. Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, the method of funding psychiatric hospitals is as it has always been. However, in many areas the psychiatric hospital is moving out of the old arrangement with the Ministry of Health and moving toward an arrangement with the local community and the district health council which will, I’m sure, provide the impetus for improved financing in that way.


Mr. S. Smith: First question, Mr. Speaker, of the Minister of Correctional Services: Can he confirm that there has been a layoff at Essex Packers in Hamilton of between 200 and 300 people on an indefinite basis? If so, is this not a direct violation of the contract and the agreement which he personally had with the people who took over the Essex Packers operation?

Hon. J. R. Smith: Mr. Speaker, I made inquiries last week. It is my understanding that the plant was closed down for a short period to take inventory; the principals have paid off the bank and receiver and they want a complete inventory before they assume full management.

Mr. Gaunt: Can the minister indicate what time period is involved here? He says a short period of time.

Hon. J. R. Smith: Mr. Speaker, the actual operation of the Essex firm in the city of Hamilton is not within my jurisdiction. The only connection is that the same management is operating the beef station at the Guelph Correctional Centre. Therefore, I have no direct jurisdiction or responsibility for the Hamilton plant.

Mr. Riddell: Considering the suspicious nature of this entire transaction, doesn’t the minister think it’s time we had a public inquiry into the leasing of that plant to the DeJonge brothers?

Hon. J. R. Smith: Mr. Speaker, no.

Mr. S. Smith: As either a final supplementary or a related separate question, Mr. Speaker: Does the minister not recollect that he came before this House and explained that the main reason he signed with the DeJonge Group was in order to preserve the 200 to 300 jobs in Hamilton and he had that assurance? Does this not constitute a breach of contract or a breach of that personal assurance?


Hon. J. R. Smith: I would like to remind the hon. member for Hamilton West that the DeJonge Group was the only firm that came forward with a proposal to the receiver last autumn, which was accepted --

Mr. Shore: No, that’s not true.

Hon. J. R. Smith: -- by the overwhelming number of the creditors, and he’s prejudging at this point whether the firm has actually closed its Hamilton operation. I have no knowledge to that effect and, since he has raised it here this afternoon, I intend to find out exactly what is the nature and position of their operation.

Mr. Gaunt: A supplementary question: Will the minister report back to the House his findings on that matter?

Hon. J. R. Smith: Yes, Mr. Speaker.


Mr. S. Smith: I have a question of the acting Minister of Health. This is in regard to the report that there have been some listening devices used in North Bay hospitals.

I wonder if the minister would be able to confirm that, in fact, certain alleged criminals, or people who have been charged with criminal activities, have had their rooms bugged in the hospitals of Ontario in order to obtain information? Does she have any opinion about whether this breaches the sort of trust that ought to exist between doctors and patients, between patients and their clergymen, and also whether this is a direct violation of the civil rights of all citizens?

Mr. Ruston: Shame.

Hon. B. Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, I cannot confirm that this has happened, because I have no knowledge that it has happened. There is a report in the newspaper, which to my knowledge has not as yet been confirmed. However, I do think that hospital administrators, as all other good citizens, should co-operate with the police when it is necessary to do so; but I do believe as well that they should ensure that a court order has been issued or has been obtained for that kind of activity before any such situation should arise within an institution.

Mr. S. Smith: A supplementary: I appreciate the minister’s sentiments on this, but is she not concerned, as I am, as a physician, that even with a court order we might find a situation that the sorts of conversations that are being bugged might be, for instance, the kind of confession that a patient might make to his minister, or to his psychiatrist -- as has happened, I’m sure the minister is aware -- or to other physicians? Although it’s difficult for some of her colleagues to take this matter seriously, I think it is a very important matter and I would appreciate the minister reporting to the House a little later on whether she thinks this has happened.

Hon. B. Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, as soon as we have factual information about this specific situation we will be pleased to report.

Mr. S. Smith: I have a question of the Minister of Natural Resources. Where is he? He was right here. Oh, there he is.

Mr. Deans: This is the member’s third question.

Mr. S. Smith: At least I’ve had the discretion, I would point out to the hon. member for Wentworth, not to address the Premier (Mr. Davis) or the Minister of Community and Social Services (Mr. Taylor) today, thus ensuring much more rapid answers.

Mr. Cassidy: You propose a rule and you break it five minutes later.

Mr. Speaker: The hon. member for Hamilton West has the floor.


Mr. S. Smith: Has the minister received the results of the study to which he referred in the House on April 29, in answer to my question about the PCB levels in smelt, which at that time he said was going to be known in a couple of days? Well he, in fact, issue warnings in the strongest possible terms to smelt fishermen, who as he knows at this very time are stocking their freezers with fish?

Hon. Mr. Bernier: Mr. Speaker, I have a verbal confirmation from the Ministry of the Environment, following the latest test on smelt in Lake Ontario, that the levels in those fish are much below the danger levels and that there is no danger at this point in time. I would point out to the hon. member that the harvest for smelt is past us now, but we will continue, of course, later in the year, to make sure that next year’s harvest does not jeopardize those who are harvesting.

Mr. Peterson: Don’t worry, Leo, they are very small.

Hon. Mr. Davis: Come smelting in Georgian Bay, there is no problem there.

Mr. S. Smith: I just have a brief supplementary on this question, Mr. Speaker. Could the minister tell us exactly what steps are being taken, as referred to in the newspaper, to close fishing for eels and channel catfish in Lake Ontario because of the high PCB levels? Can he explain why those fish happen to have high levels and the smelt in the same lake have managed to escape having those high levels of PCBs?

Hon. Mr. Bernier: Mr. Speaker, I am certainly not fully qualified to explain why one species has a high level of PCBs and the other hasn’t.

Mr. Shore: That shouldn’t stop the minister from answering.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: I have to take the advice of those people who are qualified, and they assure me that there is a danger in these particular species; that’s the cohoe and the chinook salmon, along with catfish and eel.

We have applied to the federal government for a change in the regulations that would allow us to ban commercial fishing in Lake Ontario for these two species. As soon as it is received, those commercial fishermen will be properly notified.

Mr. Godfrey: Supplementary: Further to those questions, would the minister comment on the levels of PCBs in trout in West Duffin Creek?

Hon. Mr. Bernier: I didn’t hear the question.

Mr. Godfrey: The ministry has issued a statement to the effect that PCBs have now been found in brook trout in the West Duffin Creek. Would the minister comment on that and say what measures will be taken in order to protect the public who fish in that region?

Hon. Mr. Bernier: Our indications are that there were a number of rainbow trout in that particular river that had high PCBs. We of course notified the general public. There is no commercial fishing for rainbow trout but we wanted to notify the public that they should be eating only a limited amount of those fish caught in that particular area and women who may become pregnant and children should not be eating that species at all.


Mr. Speaker: Final supplementary, the member for Essex South.

Mr. Mancini: In view of the fact that the minister is making plans to come into my riding to meet the commercial fishermen there, would he please have some information on PCBs to give to them when he comes down?

Hon. Mr. Bernier: Yes.

Mr. Speaker: Any further questions from the member for Hamilton West?

Mr. S. Smith: No; thank you, Mr. Speaker.


Mr. Williams: A question of the Minister of Transportation and Communications: It has been reported in the press today that the driving privileges of the federal Minister of the Environment, Jean Marchand, have been reinstated five and a half months before the expiry of the one-year suspension period. Since this is a matter that would appear to come under the jurisdiction of this ministry, I wonder whether this matter has been brought before this ministry at all?

Mr. Foulds: He lost his driver.

Hon. Mr. Snow: I believe when Mr. Marchand had his unfortunate accident it was in the city of Ottawa, within Ontario, although Mr. Marchand certainly did not at that time, or does not now, hold an Ontario driver’s licence. It is my understanding his driving privileges were suspended by the court for a period of one year under the Criminal Code, not under the Highway Traffic Act. I believe Mr. Marchand must have applied to the National Parole Board for the suspension of the court order prohibiting him from driving for a one-year period.

Mr. S. Smith: As any citizen can do.

Hon. Mr. Snow: Although we did not suspend Mr. Marchand’s licence, because it is not an Ontario licence, we of course recorded the suspension as the offence took place in Ontario and the court’s ruling was within Ontario. On March 8, I believe, the Parole Board made a ruling suspending the order of the court, and on March 8 the registrar of motor vehicles got a telegram advising him of this suspension. On the following day a letter was forwarded from the office of the Solicitor General, confirming the order of the Parole Board.

Mr. MacDonald: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker. Is it customary to appeal to the National Parole Board for a release from a court decision in a case like this? If so, can the minister indicate when and if it has ever taken place before?

Hon. Mr. Snow: I am not aware of that. I can find out if we have any information on that. I believe -- and I won’t give the hon. member any legal opinions because I’ve not got my QC yet --

Mr. Foulds: Speak to the man to your right.

Hon. Mr. Snow: -- it would be the privilege of any person convicted under the Criminal Code to make such an application. I have not heard of it happening. Our automatic suspension under the Highway Traffic Act would be for a period of six months in this particular offence, as I understand it. The one-year suspension was, at the judge’s discretion, beyond the mandatory suspension. It was after the end of our mandatory suspension that the Parole Board granted the appeal. This is my understanding.

Mr. MacDonald: Can the minister report to the House on whether there are any precedents?

Hon. Mr. Snow: I will inquire of the registrar of motor vehicles whether we have had any other orders like this from the Parole Board suspending the court order.


Mr. Deans: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Minister of Colleges and Universities. It was reported in the press on Tuesday last that the minister had indicated he had personal knowledge of cases where universities had passed students in dentistry because they simply claimed that they had invested too much money in the student to fail them. Can the minister indicate, first of all, where tins personal knowledge comes from and where these students are practising today? Has he reported this to the Minister of Health in order that some appropriate action might be taken to get them out of the field before they do some harm?

Hon. Mr. Parrott: I think the member might be also interested to know that was when I was on staff and that we, the staff, gave them a good deal of extra information and counselling, and when they passed they were qualified. Because the member read that in the press, he didn’t hear the whole statement.

Mr. Shore: Which classification was the minister in?

Hon. Mr. Parrott: I said that we had given them additional training and, in the opinion of the staff of the faculty on which I served at that time, they were considered more than acceptable for practice.

Mr. Deans: A supplementary question in two parts: What, then, did the minister mean when he said that the decision was that the college or university had invested too much money in them to fail them? Secondly, is he satisfied that that practice no longer is carried on in the Province of Ontario and that in fact people who emerge from universities are qualified to conduct the business of dentistry?

Hon. Mr. Parrott: I think surely the member recognizes that I was speaking on that occasion as a former member of the staff --

Mr. Deans: You were speaking as a minister of the Crown.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Hon. Mr. Parrott: I was speaking as one who was a member of the staff of a faculty some seven or eight years ago. That was the reference very clearly.

Secondly, I said the faculty had, at that time, put far too much effort into them to fail them; and I believe that to be correct, because by additional training we were able to save seven or eight years of post-secondary education. A little extra work on the part of staff and faculty more than prepared them adequately, and I think that investment of the time of staff is always a warranted extra effort for them to make.


Mr. Kerrio: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Minister of Transportation and Communications. Does the minister recall my query on April 8, and my statement in this House that on that section of the Queen Elizabeth Way known as the Sand Plant Hill there were some 95 accidents in six years, five of them fatalities? Does he now have correspondence from the city of Niagara Falls indicating their concern about this most serious matter? Does the minister realize that on May 6 there was an accident there involving five vehicles, one of them a transport truck, resulting in some $50,000 in damage to these vehicles? Is the minister concerned about this most serious problem?

Mr. Eakins: Tell him you are.

Hon. Mr. Snow: Yes, I’m sure the hon. member knows I am concerned. He raised this question in the House --

Mrs. Campbell: How would he know that?

Hon. Mr. Snow: -- and back at that time I responded to the hon. member and told him what action I was taking. I forget at this moment whether I replied in the House, I believe I did; if I didn’t, I replied to the member directly by letter.

Mr. Good: Nothing has happened.

Hon. Mr. Snow: The actions I suggested we were taking at that time are being carried out; there were so many questions involved. I wasn’t aware of that particular truck accident; it hadn’t been brought to my attention.

I have not received, to my knowledge, the resolution the member referred to from the city of St. Catharines, although I did read in the press a small article stating the city of St. Catharines was sending such a resolution. It not only involves my ministry, but also the railway which has the overpass.


Mr. Speaker: We’ll allow a supplementary.

Mr. Kerrio: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The reason the minister didn’t hear about the accident on April 6 was that it was subsequent to my question. This now poses the question of whether he is willing to get involved in investigating this serious matter somewhat sooner than he had anticipated doing it, that is this fall. I’m most anxious to hear that he would get on with it now.

Hon. Mr. Snow: Mr. Speaker, I think that remark is uncalled for. The matter has already been investigated. I’m very much aware of the situation and I told the hon. member what actions were going to be taken.


Mr. Bounsall: Mr. Speaker, a question of the Minister of Labour: What action is the minister taking to ensure that meaningful and good-faith bargaining is effected by CCH Canadian Ltd. so that a fair collective agreement is reached between that company and the Toronto Typographical Union, Local 91, particularly inasmuch as the government of Ontario is supplying CCH with reports and statistical data which is a basis of its ongoing commercial operations?

Hon. B. Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, part of the problem in the dispute between the union and this company is before the Labour Relations Board today. I think it would be inappropriate for me to make any remark about the negotiations until a decision of the Labour Relations Board has been released.

Mr. Bullbrook: No, that’s silly.

Mr. Bounsall: A supplementary: Inasmuch as the Province of Ontario gives the company the data which allows it to continue as a commercial operation, will the minister make it clear to this company that unless it acts as a decent employer and stops draining public funds by appearances before the Ontario Labour Relations Board and stops contravening the Employment Standards Act -- it was paying the women journeymen 80 cents an hour less than the men; when this was pointed out to them, the company responded by dropping the men’s pay by 80 cents an hour -- will the minister make it very clear that unless this sort of action stops the government of Ontario will no longer supply the company with the data it must have to continue operations?

Hon. B. Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, I shall most certainly consider seriously the statements made by the hon. member today.

Mr. Speaker: Final supplementary, the member for Sarnia.

Mr. Bullbrook: Would the Minister of Labour be supportive of me in my request of the federal Minister of Labour to do exactly the same thing and to refuse to provide statistical information from the government of Canada to CCH Canadian Ltd. until it begins bargaining in good faith?

Mr. MacDonald: We have unanimity.

Mr. Lewis: That’s right; you can take action.

Mr. Bullbrook: I wonder if I might have an answer. Would the minister be supportive of that? Would she communicate with the federal Minister of Labour to stop the inequity?

Hon. B. Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, since I communicate with the federal Minister of Labour rather regularly, I shall be pleased to consider doing so on this occasion.


Mr. Mancini: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the acting Minister of Health. In view of the fact that a letter from the ambulance branch of her ministry recommends a central dispatch system for the Windsor and Essex county area, and in view of the fact that the Amherstburg, Anderdon and Malden volunteer ambulance service has stated it cannot work under such a system because of its volunteer nature, and in view of the fact that the three municipalities involved have passed resolutions giving support to this volunteer service, could the minister please tell me if she is going to assure us that she will not let this takeover continue and that she will stop it right now?

Hon. B. Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, the ambulance service in the area of Windsor and Essex is being discussed with the people involved in the service, as it has been in other areas. However, since there is now an active district health council in that area, I would think it would be most appropriate if the problem of ambulance and emergency services were raised with the district health council for discussion at that level and then for discussion between that group and the ministry.

Mr. Mancini: A short supplementary, Mr. Speaker: the Essex county hospital council had passed a resolution stating that this particular service should be left alone and then the letter came from her ministry objecting; would she have a comment on that?

Hon. B. Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, I would reiterate that in the presence of a district health council the Ministry of Health feels that decisions and recommendations which are to be made regarding any aspect of a health service should be established at that level and then directed towards the ministry.

Mr. Mancini: Just one more supplementary.

Mr. Speaker: A final supplementary. The member for Windsor-Sandwich.

Mr. Bounsall: A supplementary on this matter, Mr. Speaker: I would be interested in having the minister’s opinion on this; does the minister feel that a total of $14,000 for an expenditure on a basically volunteer ambulance service, now threatened to be replaced at Amherstburg, Anderdon and Malden, makes more sense than it having to be taken over by another ambulance group and funds expended to the possible tune of well over $100,000, if that is the choice that is involved?

Hon. B. Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, that is only one aspect of the choice that is involved. There are a number of other factors which must be considered as well. The availability of the service and the quality of the service must, of course, be considered seriously, as well as its integration into the emergency service of the whole district of Windsor and Essex.


Mr. Speaker: I announced that was a final supplementary; time is just about over.


Hon. J. R. Smith: Mr. Speaker, in response to the earlier question this afternoon by the hon. member for Hamilton West (Mr. S. Smith), the arrangements for the refinancing of Essex Packers Ltd. have been completed. Better Beef Ltd. of Toronto has advanced sufficient funds to Peat Marwick Ltd., the trustee under the Essex Packers Ltd. proposal, to pay the dividends to preferred creditors and unsecured creditors with claims under $500. As called for with the Essex proposal, the cheques for these dividends went out last week.

Better Beef Ltd. has also provided funds to enable Essex to repay its debenture debts to the Bank of Nova Scotia. As a result, the receiver turned Essex’s plants in Hamilton back to Essex Packers on Friday, May 14.

Peat Marwick Ltd. and Essex Packers Ltd. have agreed to lease both the Hamilton plants to Better Beef Ltd., while Essex negotiates long-term arrangements for the operation of the plants. In order to adjust the takeover from the receiver, operations in the plants were to be curtailed for a week from May 14. Better Beef Ltd. will then start to moderate operations in both plants the week of May 24 to preserve the viability of the production lines of Essex and provide employment opportunities.

Mr. S. Smith: Mr. Speaker, would the minister define exactly what is meant by moderate? And can he assure this House that over 90 per cent of the 200 to 300 jobs that he promised would be retained by Better Beef having taken over Essex Packers, will provide in fact active employment as of the week of May 24, as he suggested?

Hon. J. R. Smith: Mr. Speaker, I can give no guarantee. But it is reasonable to expect that to start up a production line you just can’t begin it immediately; it has to be a gradual buildup. We have every indication that with the new management and with their skills in business, it looks very promising for the future, that they can make a go of the operations in Hamilton. I have no immediate knowledge as to the exact number of immediate job opportunities or what their final capacity is going to be.


Mr. Philip: A question of the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations: Now that the minister has publicly acknowledged that the Travel Industry Act is not operating in a successful manner, when will he introduce corrective legislation? And will such corrective legislation call for a re-examination of the decisions made to date by the present board of trustees to the travel industry compensation fund?

Hon. Mr. Handleman: Mr. Speaker, first, I haven’t made any suggestions that the Travel Industry Act is not operating properly; it is operating properly. There have been some decisions of the board of trustees of the compensation fund, which really has nothing to do with the administration of the Act. We had disagreed with some of those decisions and we are studying them how to see whether corrective action can be taken.

Mr. Philip: Are the dates reported in Tuesday’s paper regarding the demise of Blue Vista Tours accurate; in particular that the Travel Industry Act registrar, Douglas Cavan, knew on Dec. 17, 1975, that Blue Vista was going bankrupt? If so, why did the ministry not stop Blue Vista from accepting cheques as late as Dec. 27, 1975, for tours which would never take place? Is the minister willing to accept that by his ministry not acting at this time in fact he was an accessory to a fraud which was perpetrated?

Hon. Mr. Handleman: Mr. Speaker, the question is completely out of order and I would ask for a retraction of that question immediately.

Mr. Cassidy: What do you mean it is out of order?

Hon. Mr. Handleman: Mr. Speaker, I have been accused of being an accessory to a fraud and I would ask the hon. member to please withdraw it.

Mr. Speaker: That part of it is out of order. Would the hon. member retract that?

Mr. Lewis: It may be retracted. It is not out of order.

Mr. Speaker: That is clearly imputing motive. I would ask the hon. member for Etobicoke to retract that part of the question. The hon. member for Etobicoke.

Mr. Lewis: He asked whether the ministry was an accomplice.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Mr. Philip: I will rephrase the question, Mr. Speaker --

Some hon. members: No.


Mr. Speaker: Order, please. I think there’s a direct imputation there which I think the hon. member should retract. The other part of the question is in order.

Mr. Philip: I will retract the question, Mr. Speaker, if I may rephrase the question.

Mr. Speaker: Does the hon. minister have an answer to the first part?

Hon. Mr. Handleman: Mr. Speaker, we were aware on Nov. 30 that there were some financial difficulties in Blue Vista, and the registrar and my parliamentary assistant were following it up as vigorously as they could. What we did find was that the Canadian Transport Commission in Ottawa had not enforced its own regulations to ensure that there was money paid out front before the flights took place; if there had been, there wouldn’t have been any problems and we would have been able to control it. We have no way of stopping anybody from paying money to a tour operator or a travel agent. All we can do is compensate those who suffer from the losses incurred by its collapse.

Mr. Lewis: You can revoke a licence if it is not legitimate.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. We have an opportunity for a very brief question from the member for Grey-Bruce.


Mr. Speaker: Order, please. The time is fleeting. The member for Grey-Bruce with a short question.

Mr. Sargent: Mr. Speaker, before I ask my question, I want to say how much we are all going to miss Bill Prager of the Windsor Star in this House.


Mr. Sargent: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Premier, and I will be interested in hearing how he is going to double-talk himself out of this one.

Mr. Yakabuski: You’ll help him.

Mr. Sargent: Further to the Premier’s statement at the clambake about 10 days ago, at his party’s convention, when he said that the government files --

Mr. Yakabuski: Question!

Mr. Sargent: What’s the trouble, Paul?

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Mr. Sargent: If, as the Premier said, government files would be open to the public, why are the files of the OHC not available to us? Or is this window dressing? If they are available to us now, will he provide for the House the files for the years 1966, 1967 and 1968 relative to land acquisition payoffs?

Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I will try to restrain myself from commenting on that latter part of the question

Mr. Lewis: The time has expired.

Hon. Mr. Davis: Has the time expired? Well, the answer very simply is I made no such statement.

Mr. Speaker: The oral question period has expired.

Mr. Sargent: What kind of kangaroo court is this?


Mr. Speaker: Order, please. The hon. member will take his seat.


Presenting reports.

Mr. Lawlor from the standing private bills committee presented the committee’s report which was read as follows and adopted:

Your committee begs to report the following bills with certain amendments:

Bill Pr16, An Act respecting the City of Windsor.

Bill Pr24, An Act respecting the Township of West Carleton.

Bill Pr25, An Act respecting the Township of Bosanquet.

Hon. B. Stephenson presented the 1975 annual report of the Ontario Cancer Treatment and Research Foundation.

Mr. Speaker: Motions.

Introduction of bills.



Mr. G. E. Smith moved first reading of bill intituled, An Act to amend the Mental Health Act.

Motion agreed to; first reading of the bill.

Mr. G. E. Smith: Mr. Speaker, the purpose of this bill is to amend the Mental Health Act to provide a system of structured programming under security conditions for mental retardation residents who have a history of psychosociopathic behaviour.


Hon. Mr. Welch: Mr. Speaker, before the orders of the day, I wish to table the answers to questions 5 and 9 standing on the notice paper.

Mr. Speaker: Orders of the day.


Mr. Norton, on behalf of Hon. Mr. McKeough, moved third reading of Bill 9, An Act to amend the Niagara Escarpment Planning and Amendment Act.

Mr. Swart: Mr. Speaker, I’d just like to make a short statement on third reading on this bill, if I may.

Our party opposed this bill on second reading because we believed that it would weaken control over the natural environment of the Escarpment. Since that time, our feelings have been confirmed by a series of events; firstly, tabling of the so-called provincial plans which, in fact, downgrade planning generally in this province; and since that time a letter has gone out to the clerk of the Niagara region, and I assume other clerks along the Escarpment, which gives permission for wayside pits, which had previously been prevented, now being opened up on the Escarpment. We think the transfer of authority over the Escarpment from TEIGA to the Provincial Secretary for Resources Development, as proposed in Bill 9, will further weaken this, and therefore our party is opposed to Bill 9.

Mr. Speaker: Those in favour of Bill 9 being read the third time will please say “aye.”

Those opposed will please say “nay.”

In my opinion, the “ayes” have it.

Motion agreed to; third reading of the bill.


Hon. Mr. Handleman moved third reading of Bill 60, An Act to amend the Residential Premises Rent Review Act, 1975.

Mr. Cassidy: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I want to make two or three comments in a synoptic way, to quote the member for Riverdale (Mr. Renwick). The bill provided that rent increases would remain in force for a year and outlawed short leases unless there was an appeal to the rent review officer. This was a proposal which we made to the government back in January when the problem of short leases first came to light. The government refused to go along with our proposals at that time and I’m glad to say it has now accepted them, and I think it should be put on the record that the minister has stated this change in the bill is retroactive. It means, for example, that if the rent was increased by a certain figure, by eight per cent or less, at the beginning of this year, the landlord cannot again increase the rent by any amount prior to January of 1977, or a 12-month period must elapse unless he goes to rent review, and that is an important protection for tenants, which we welcome.

I wish I could say that we welcome the rest of the bill; unfortunately, we do not and that is why we opposed the bill on second reading and oppose it again on third reading. The bill has not been improved during the course of its committee passage.

The second major part of the bill exempts rental premises which are owned by religious organizations, by hospitals and by educational institutions. We had not seen any compelling reason why these particular exemptions should be put into the Act, in view of the lack of representations made to us and the experience we could see happening out in the communities.

I must say we are particularly puzzled and rather confused at the amendment which the minister has inserted with the insistence of the member for Kitchener-Wilmot (Mr. Sweeney). This is the one that says educational premises like student residences are exempt from rent review provided that the university can show to the rent review officer that it had some form of consultation with the students’ council. It is a kind of rent review without rent review, I suppose, and it doesn’t seem to us reasonable that a process that was working effectively and bringing the landlords, in this case the universities, and the students, as tenants, together in order to discuss the situation, making students familiar with the facts and in certain cases achieving a rollback in these rates, should be taken out of rent review. Much better to preserve the integrity of the Act.

The third major part of the bill is the exemption of rental income housing owned by the municipalities and of limited dividend accommodation owned by the municipalities. We proposed -- and we welcome the fact that the ministry has accepted -- that private limited dividend housing simply had too many problems and there were too many avenues for abuse under the federal legislation for those buildings not to be subject to Ontario’s rent review plan. We welcome the fact that the original proposal of the ministry to exclude those limited dividend projects in private hands, has been rescinded. However, we cannot go along with what the ministry has done, with the support of the Liberal Party.

To talk about the municipal limited dividend housing in the first place, since no effect was made by the city of Toronto in particular to do any phasing in of a very sharp increase in rents on its limited dividend housing, we thought it was desirable that there be review in those particular cases. The city of Toronto, Metro, did not behave in the spirit of the rent review legislation. The increase that has been brought in in one year was far greater than the complete overall increase in incomes for senior citizens receiving GAINS and the guaranteed income supplement.

As far as the rent-geared-to-income housing is concerned, we felt and still feel that the question of bringing OHC under rent review was very intimately linked with the questions that have been raised by OHC tenants and by this party over the past year or two concerning the need for revision of the rent scale, the desirability of having tenants involved with management and the need to open OHC books.

I am glad to put on the record the fact that the Ministry of Housing is starting to move. The books are open as they have never been open before, and yesterday the Minister of Housing indicated that he is much more open than his predecessors to involving tenants in management, and to seeing tenants appointed to the boards of local housing authorities. He has also indicated a willingness to begin discussions with members of the Legislature about the rent scale.

That kind of commitment or promise is not enough, however, to enable us to go along with what the government has proposed in this particular bill. The rent scale has not been revised, no representations have been made to Ottawa, there has been no position struck on the part of the Ontario government, and there have been no meaningful negotiations with the tenants.

Likewise on the question of tenant management, we are beginning to get promises now from the government that something will happen, but those promises will have to be measured by the results, because they certainly cannot be measured by the goodwill or by the effectiveness of what the government has done in the field of tenant management in the past, with the single exception of Regent Park. With that lone exception, the government and the housing authorities and the OHC have not been effectively involving tenants: they are only making promises right now. We can’t prove it, but I would like to suggest that it is only because of the position taken by the NDP, the New Democratic Party, in this Legislature on the question of OHC tenants and rent review, and the position taken by the tenants themselves, that the movement we are beginning to see from the Ministry of Housing is taking place.

I would also like to suggest -- and I see that the leader of the third party is still here -- that it is no good for the Liberal leader to write letters to Ottawa to suggest that Ottawa renegotiate the rent scale for public housing tenants, when his party is unwilling or unable to act in this Legislature where they have power to put pressure on the government to go forward with those changes in the rent scale. It is no good telling your cousins up in Ottawa what to do, when you are not willing to carry the responsibility down here in this Legislature.

Mr. Ruston: You’ve only got 16 cousins in Ottawa.

Mr. Cassidy: I want to say that we are very disappointed in the fact that, after listening quite carefully I believe to the tenants and the representations they made to the Liberal caucus, and after responding positively with promises, the Liberal caucus was unwilling or unable to respond with action in this Legislature in the form of a vote to keep OHC under rent review until such a time that the rent scale would be renegotiated.

Finally, during the course of the committee stage a number of serious problems in rent review administration were ventilated in the house. I’m sorry, but the other two parties were not prepared to consider seriously the anti-tenant bias which unfortunately has emerged in the administration of rent review.

Among other things, I proposed that natural justice be served by permitting the tenants to photocopy the material submitted by landlords, by requiring that landlords give a copy of their four-page cost-revenue statement to tenants when it is filed with the rent review officers, and by allowing proxies to tenant organizations which cannot appear at rent review hearings except through their individual members.

I regret that none of those amendments were accepted. I regret the fact that the third party, which could in fact have taken constructive steps in helping ensure the tenants were dealt with fairly under rent review, did not choose to do so. I have to say, Mr. Speaker, that I regret the consistent anti-tenant bias and the consistent attempts to undermine rent review which have been made by the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations, who’s responsible for the programme in this House, during the course of this debate, in his estimates and across the province in the speeches he is making. It is absolutely unthinkable that the minister responsible for this programme, the minister responsible for the protection of tenants, should go up and around the province saying, he wants Ontario to get out of rent review.

Mr. Speaker: Those in favour of Bill 60 being read the third time will please say aye.

Those opposed will please say “nay.”

In my opinion, the “ayes” have it.

Motion agreed to; third reading of the bill.


Mr. Good: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. I would ask that you look into the procedure followed in the reporting of Bill 9 from committee. It is my opinion after reading Hansard that this bill was never reported by committee as having been completed. The member for Riverdale (Mr. Renwick) was speaking on section 4 of the bill and he said, “If that is acceptable -- and I understand it may well be that the committee will rise and report before this bill is reported ... ” And after his remarks on that, the House leader of the government, Mr. Welch, moved that the committee rise and report. I specifically felt that there were still discussions taking place on the latter sections of that bill before the committee rose and reported. I grant that on Tuesday we had the stacked vote on a previous section of that bill, but I’m wondering, Mr. Speaker, if you would ascertain whether the correct procedure had been followed in the reporting of that bill to the Legislature from the committee of the whole House.

Mr. Speaker: It is my understanding that the question was put, “Shall the bill be reported?” but I will check into it and make sure that that is correct.

Clerk of the House: The 20th order, House in committee of supply.


Mr. Chairman: It is my understanding and my recollection that we were on vote 1006, item 2, urban and regional planning. The hon. member for Welland-Thorold.

On vote 1006:

Mr. Swart: Mr. Chairman, I suppose this is the vote on which we normally make our comments on provincial land use and development planning -- or perhaps more appropriately, the lack of it -- but I’m not going to that new because, first of all, there is somewhat of a shortage of time remaining in the estimates of TEIGA. Second, because it was covered rather well by my colleague from Brantford (Mr. Makarchuk) and because the “Ontario’s Future: Trends and Options” debate will provide some opportunities to talk about what my party and I consider to be the dismal failure of the Treasurer (Mr. McKeough) to provide any leadership in preserving our agricultural land and assuring that growth in this province takes place in a location and a manner most beneficial to its citizens.


Over and over again the Treasurer has been asked to provide such a plan. The Mayors and Reeves Association at least eight years ago made the issue of a comprehensive provincial plan a top priority in its planning documents. The Association of Municipalities’ statement which was given to the Planning Act review committee in fact made those points over again and said this:

“The province should redirect its planning involvement from a detailed supervision of day-to-day planning matters, except where absolutely necessary, to a concentration on providing a context for that day-to-day planning in partnership with municipal governments.”

In spite of the desire of municipalities, and I think perhaps everyone else, you have done nothing, in spite of the promises which your government had made over the years to bring in a provincial plan. Harold Greer points this out very clearly in his column of a couple of weeks ago, special to the St. Catharines Standard, when he says:

“For the most part planning in Ontario under the Conservatives has been a massive con game in which the printing of ever more plans has been substituted for real planning.”

You may think that producing another set of documents with little meaning and doing nothing to implement anything at a provincial level is good politics. I say to you that you are mistaken. You mislead the public. They are not opposed to planning. What they are opposed to is the layer upon layer of planning bureaucracy which this government has built up to give a facade of planning and to insulate itself from the public.

Local planning controls, regional planning controls, provincial planning controls and Escarpment controls, plus others, combine to provide a procedural and a time barrier which is infuriating and almost impossible to penetrate. All you really need is two levels, a development plan for the province and a local municipal plan to fit within the framework of the provincial plan. Such a procedure could give us meaningful planning and would certainly eliminate much of the bureaucratic frustration to the public.

In the time frame available to me I want to make some comments about regional government. My first comment is that regional government is not the success which the ministers claims it to be, and I suggest he knows it.

Mr. Godfrey: No; shocking, shocking.

Mr. Swart: It’s the reason “Regional Government in Perspective” was produced. The Treasurer will allow that regional government is a political liability to his party and the perspective paper is therefore a very political document. I can just hear your instructions to your staff. “We were hurt politically in the last election by regional government. Produce a document to prove that it is working well.”

The whole thrust of that document is to argue that greatly increased costs to municipal taxpayers in regional government municipalities are due to rapid growth, to new services or an increased level of services. According to the Treasurer, regions are working well. It just isn’t so. The high costs of regional government are far outstripping any benefits Table 7, page 17 is the true perspective in that document. It shows that in Metro Toronto from 1970 to 1975 total local government expenditures per household have gone up from $836 to $1450 or 73 per cent. It showed that in the rest of the province they’ve gone up from 8628 to $884 or 41 per cent. In the regional municipalities in those five years, as you are well aware, spending per household of local governments has gone up from $656 to $1,344 or 105 per cent in a five-year period.

Mr. Haggerty: That trip to Sweden paid off.

Mr. Swart: That is the real perspective, I suggest, of regional government costs. There’s no argument, I think even by you, that the increases in expenditures in regional government municipalities between 1970 and 1975 have been 2½ times greater than the rest of the province. Is this due to so much faster growth and better services in regional areas? If so why didn’t you use examples of growing and high service municipalities outside the regions to show that these factors have the same effect on taxes everywhere?

Comparisons of comparable communities in and out of regional government are omitted from that document. You didn’t do those comparisons for such comparisons would show little validity in the Treasurer’s argument. The simple facts are that two full tiers of local government simply add tremendous costs without comparable benefits.

I want to provide the comparisons which the Treasurer has omitted to prove this point. Cities within regional governments are compared with other cities with similar population and growth rates but located outside regional governments. Statistics which I will give are taken from the government’s own municipal financial information. This table shows the regional cities of Hamilton, Sudbury, Cambridge, Niagara Falls, Welland and Waterloo, representative municipalities within regions, compared to the non-regional cities, separated cities, of London, Thunder Bay, Brantford, Kingston, Peterborough and Sarnia; the total municipal expenditures for households in the regional municipalities were $1,170 in 1974 compared to $908 in the non-regional cities.

I reiterate that these cities are representative. They’re not selective. I haven’t picked a regional city where the household expenditures are the highest such as they are in Ottawa-Carleton and even in Durham. The table gives a reasonably accurate indication of municipal cost in a full, two-tier system versus the one-tier. The regional cities are 29 per cent higher.

The Treasurer may try to say that the services in these cities aren’t comparable but are services in London not really comparable to Hamilton’s? Yet London’s expenditures per household were $816 compared to Hamilton’s $1,069. Are the services not really comparable between Thunder Bay and Sudbury? The expenditures in Sudbury were $1,274 compared to $1,051 in Thunder Bay. Are the services not comparable between Brantford and Welland? Yet household costs or expenditures by the city of Welland were $1,098 compared to $999 in Brantford.

Let not the minister, nor anyone else, argue either that the separated city costs are less because they are exempted from county rates and thus they are not paying their full share. Costs of services to separated cities, such as suburban roads, don’t show up as added costs to surrounding county communities. A representative examination of expenditures per household of 25 towns in counties compared to a similar number in regions showed the regional towns to be higher by more than 10 per cent. I invite the minister to make this comparison himself.

The differences in costs between regional and separated municipalities, of course, are fudged by the provincial grant system whereby the regional governments get assistance far in excess of any other type of municipal government. But even with this blurring, tax rates are admittedly, substantially and consciously higher within urban regions generally than in the other comparable communities without regional systems.

By the Treasurer’s own statistics, municipalities in regions spent 52 per cent more per household in 1975 than the municipalities outside regions. Yet these same municipalities which now spend 52 per cent more -- I would hope you would note this -- spent only 4.5 per cent more per household in 1970, just five years ago, when they were not in regions or just getting into regions than did the other municipalities which are still outside the regions. Admittedly, the municipalities in regional areas are growing somewhat faster on the average than those without the regions but they were in 1970 as well -- those same municipalities were growing much faster.

That doesn’t explain the 52 per cent average hike over non-regional municipalities now; nor do the increases in the so-called catch-up in service volume or level. My comparison of household expenditures between regional cities and non-regional cities with comparable service, I think, debunks that theory. Much of the tremendous increase in expenditures of regional municipalities is due solely to the full two-tier system which we have in the regions which you created. It’s not due to anything else but that.

My figure of 29 per cent probably represents the true waste and duplication. The difference between the 29 per cent and the 52 per cent can be conceded to be the increased cost due to growth, service and service level. Even if I round out my 29 per cent figure to 25 per cent so they are only 25 per cent higher because of structured regional government, the unnecessary cost to a municipal government caused by the introduction of regional government is more than $200 million annually or $70 per household spread all across Ontario. What a restraint programme you have initiated.

In addition to the financial debacle of regional government, many of the projected benefits have not materialized. Regional planning has not been successful. The regional overview has largely deteriorated to a parochial back-scratching exercise. The benefits of projected equality in services and costs have been counteracted by uneconomic extensions and loss of taxing accountability to the municipalities served. Capital financing has been increasingly moved to a greater debt basis even in this time of excessive interest rates.

Let me give you examples from the Niagara region, which are not untypical of regional governments generally. Regional government was going to do great things for the Peninsula. It was the stated basic objective in the policy plan that it would preserve the good agricultural land and it would prevent the growing together of the urban communities in the Niagara Peninsula. Mayo’s report, on which regional government was based, said the main purpose for regional government in the Niagara Peninsula was to preserve the good agricultural land. Those were the objectives.

Mr. Good: Where was the NDP when the bill was passed?

Mr. Swart: Where were the Liberals when the bill was passed?

Mr. Good: We voted against it.

An hon. member: You would vote against anything.

Mr. Good: We knew what you were getting into.

Mr. Haggerty: Tell us about central government --

Mr. Swart: What has been the degree of success since regional government was formed on Jan. 1, 1970? Let me read to you the report of our planner, dated March 3; 1976, in which he gives an overview of where growth has taken place in the Niagara Region since that time. He states:

“The overall population increase in the north communities from 1941 to 1971 was about 98,000 persons compared to about 89,000 in the south. This is a ratio of about 50/50 or actually 50/48.”

I want to point out when he mentions the north communities he is talking about only those below the Escarpment. The prime agricultural land and the grape land in fact extends generally for two or three miles above the Escarpment.


He goes on to say:

“The total population increase over the period 1971 to 1975 [when we had regional government] was 19,653 persons. The larger proportion of this increase was in the northern municipalities 14,376 persons, or 73 per cent of the total increase since regional government was formed took place in the northern municipalities in the Niagara region.”

Can we expect some real changes now that urban boundaries in that area are being reconsidered? Boundaries which previously provided for all the growth in the prime land. It appears the change will be minor, but even if drawn back nothing will happen for a long time, if ever.

The region attempted to get advice from the province on what sort of steps should be taken with regard to switching the growth in the Niagara Peninsula to above the Escarpment The Ministry of Housing wrote back on March 16 and said: “We support the approach that would permit a reasonable rate of growth for several years of normal development in all urban areas.” As the minister said in his letter, “Even if normal rates of growth are permitted for 10 years or so, and consideration is given to rounding out of existing development and to the servicing situation, substantial cutbacks can be made.”

For seven years the situation has got worse and the province now is encouraging the region to make no change for another 10 years. So for at least 17 years after regional government is formed, nothing is done with regard to the preservation of the good agricultural land. That’s an amazing success of regional government in the Niagara Peninsula. One and a half million dollars has been spent on planning in the Niagara region, and there is exactly the same situation as if regional government never existed. I guess that’s not really true. It’s not the same; it’s worse. It’s worse because they’ve got regional government. They’ve got the questionable advantage of uniform sewer and water rates. Pushed by the Ministry of the Environment, they went into the system in 1973 and thereafter signed an agreement with the Ministry of the Environment for timing and funding of sewer and water capital works in the amount of $95 million over the next 20 years, of which $65 million was to be spent in the first five years.

In spite of the implications of the regional plan, which at least verbally states we’re going to preserve the good agricultural land and the prime fruit land, more than half of the money was to be spent to provide for tremendous expansion in the prime fruit land. In Virgil, for instance, it’s proposed to spend $2.25 million for a sophisticated sewer system that could accommodate a population of 7,500 in that area, compared with the 1,000 people who live there now. In the Grimsby-Vineland-Beamsville area, it provides for eight linear miles of sewer area, combined with water, at the cost of $18.5 million. In St. Catharines-Thorold-Vineland -- all good agricultural land -- an expenditure of $17 million is proposed. Isn’t it great? Water or sewer, or both, all the way from Niagara-on-the-Lake to Grimsby, courtesy of regional government. Through the total length and breadth of the Niagara Peninsula in the prime fruit land we’re going to have water or sewers, and in most places we’re going to have both.

Let me say that on the cutbacks priority has been given to the area below the Escarpment. It’s all promoted by a 40-year repayment on a deficit financing basis, where you pay even less than the interest at the beginning of the repayments for the capital expenditure and pick it up at the end. For instance, the regional expenditure of about $884,000 on the Virgil sewer will turn out to be a repayment of $3.4 million.

The cost and the effectiveness of regional governments, as the Treasurer has constructed them, are open to serious question and that’s perhaps an understatement. The principles on which they are based, I suggest, must be re-examined. We simply cannot afford two full-fledged levels of local government. The huge size of regional governments makes them unresponsive and unaccountable to the public, and prevents regional councillors from having an intimate knowledge of the services which they are providing and the people who are administering them. With the two levels, there is duplication, overlapping and excessive and unnecessary bureaucracy.

Let me say, with some degree of immodesty, that the Treasurer would have been wise, some nine or 10 years ago, to have taken the advice of some people like myself. When the Niagara region was being considered, and I believe he will remember this, I pointed out in a lengthy brief that it was too large an area for one region, and I urged that it be two regions. My brief also called for provision of services at the lower tier wherever possible and wherever there was any doubt as to which tier should be used, the service should revert to the lower tier.

Admittedly, local government in many areas of this province cannot be wholly a one-tier system, but in municipalities of moderate size a single tier works the best. In other areas, consideration must be given to relinquishing several of the functions of regional government back to the local municipality. The present ad hoc studies of certain regional governments are not what’s needed. The politically motivated conclusion of “Regional Government in Perspective: A Financial Review,” is an even less valuable contribution to the problem. After recording the devastating increase in expenditures by regional municipalities, which I pointed out, the report says, on pages 38 and 39, and I quote:

“The main conclusion that must be derived from the facts presented in this review is that reorganized municipalities have performed well.

“This review has outlined the municipal organization and fiscal changes without evaluating their effectiveness. In terms of financial performance, it seems that the changes were appropriate.”

I just wonder how wrong conclusions can be?

On behalf of my party, I call on the Treasurer to initiate a fundamental re-examination of regional government structures, preferably through a select committee of the House. Nothing less will be adequate to meet the concerns of the people of this province. I say very sincerely, why doesn’t the Treasurer agree to such a committee and use the talents of all sides of this House in dealing with this problem, which, I suggest, by nature, can be largely non-political? I ask him to give serious consideration to that proposal.

Hon. Mr. McKeough: I will just make a couple of comments. First of all, of course, the document was not politically inspired. That’s a lot of nonsense. We went last spring to various regions, as I explained, to all the restructured governments when we tabled this document. I went to each of the regions and presented figures as we saw them and indicated that we would try and consolidate them all in one place, and that’s exactly what we’ve done. There was nothing political about it. Far from it.

The member has drawn certain conclusions from the report. I draw the conclusion, and I said this in the statement which I gave when I tabled the report, I don’t disagree with the staff’s conclusion. The regions, reflecting the fastest growing areas of the province, have bad the biggest increase in expenses, and probably can look forward to bigger increases in expenses. If the province has to make a priority then it is those fast-growing areas which are going to need priority help.

With respect to regional government, I must say I can’t accept the fact, as the member seems to put it, that a duly elected regional council in Niagara is not capable of producing an official plan. I don’t think you can have it both ways. The member talked in some of his remarks about paternalism at Queen’s Park. The regional council apparently is not producing an official plan that the member likes. So be it; he should perhaps go back and run for the regional council again. That is its responsibility, commensurate with provincial policy, and I can’t comment on the details of that plan because I haven’t seen it. The Minister of Housing (Mr. Rhodes), of course, on behalf of the government will ultimately approve it, modify it and refer it.

But you just can’t have it both ways. To talk about Queen’s Park having too heavy a hand and then disagree with a plan that essentially has been prepared and is being prepared by local people strikes me as being just a little bit ridiculous.

The other point I would make is that the member is aware there are three royal commissioners sitting at the moment in various parts of the province -- Toronto, Niagara and Ottawa. We look forward to their comments on how well, or otherwise, various restructured governments have done and what changes are recommended. They will be fully debated here. I think undoubtedly some of the changes they recommend in their particular areas may be applicable to other areas as well. But we will wait and see that when we have the report. I am not contemplating a select committee.

Mr. B. Newman: Mr. Chairman, I wanted to ask the minister a few questions concerning the restructuring of government in the Windsor and Essex county area. Would the minister kindly inform me as to the total cost of the restructuring to date, if at all possible, and what type of a timetable he has set for Prof. Silcox to submit his final report to him?

Hon. Mr. McKeough: I don’t think this falls under the second item. I think it probably falls under item 4, local government services.

Mr. B. Newman: We are discussing regional planning, so I would have assumed, Mr. Chairman, that regional --

Hon. Mr. McKeough: You are talking about restructuring in Essex county and that does not fall under item 2. I would assume it falls under item 4 of this vote.

Mr. B. Newman: Will the minister see that his officials get the answer for him when we get to the fourth vote?

Hon. Mr. McKeough: Yes.

Mr. Nixon: Mr. Chairman, I have a couple of questions pertaining to the subject that is before us on regional government. Coming from an area which --

Hon. Mr. McKeough: I don’t want to --

Mr. Nixon: I don’t either, but we have been spending a lot of time on it.

Hon. Mr. McKeough: Well, he started on land use and then kept on going into a whole lot of other subjects. With respect Mr. Chairman, I think we’d better try and sort some of this out.

Mr. Chairman: Item 2 covers regional planning, provincial development strategy reports, local government organization, regional government reviews, county restructuring studies, municipal legislation and the Northern Communities Act

Mr. Nixon: Then with your permission, Mr. Chairman --

Mr. Chairman: That is what you gave me in your summary from the ministry.

Hon. Mr. McKeough: Okay, I am sorry.

Mr. Chairman: So it is pretty far-reaching.

Mr. Nixon: Well, you almost figure you are wasting your time on this actually, but I know the minister is very anxious to convey some information.

There are two matters that concern me coming from an area which is not regionalized. A good deal of work has been done as far as the review of the local government is concerned. There has been the appointment of a review committee. The report has been made available, it has been discussed and it has pretty much sunk like a stone. Nobody talks about it anymore. The representatives of the municipalities have met and discussed it among themselves, as have some of the employees of the county and city, and they have come up with a very interesting series of alternatives. One of them was a modified two-tier system, I think.


There has been no acceptance of anything in this regard other than that Brantford and its spokesmen say: “If it is not one-tier, we are not going to play any games at all,” while the people from the rural area say: “If it is not two-tier, we are not going to even discuss it and, even if it is two-tier, we don’t like it.” So we are a long way from accomplishing anything there. As a matter of fact our business seems to be very well looked after in the area, with the possible exception of the coordination of long-range planning involving the city of Brantford and the county.

I was quite interested in a response from some of the staff in the Treasury to a question about the so-called modified two-tier alternative. One of the things which is tending to steer municipal councillors and others interested in this towards regional government is the indication that their grants are going to be increased if they go into regional government. I remember the former Minister of Housing, the present Provincial Secretary for Resources Development (Mr. Irvine), making it absolutely abundantly, blatantly clear at a meeting in Brantford that if the people were prepared to go into regional government, they would get additional grants and additional considerations for the needs of the community but, if they weren’t, then they were not going to get anything but the short end of the financial stick.

I was quite interested that the experts from TEIGA or the people who talk about these things in an official capacity have indicated that the modified two-tier system would not be acceptable to TEIGA as far as additional transitional grants and so on are concerned. They are not prepared to accept that as a so-called regional government. I wonder if the minister would comment on this and give some indication of the official policy in this regard.

The second thing, I want to get back to the feeling I have that those areas which have not, let’s say, succumbed to the former blandishments of the ministry to go into regional government are not being treated in a fair and judicious way by the grant system. It is a matter of concern. For example, there was a programme to install a sewerage system in Brantford township in the county of Brant which had been approved, or the closest thing to it, and it was stopped because the government didn’t feel it had enough money to go forward. The local medical officer of health has brought to everyone’s attention his very far-reaching concern about the matter. The member for Brantford (Mr. Makarchuk) has made some statements about this from time to time as well.

One of the statements that caught my eye was a comment attributed to an official in the Ministry of the Environment that this is not a regional government here. He said it is not ministry policy to go forward with these programmes, particularly where they are in a township rather than a city with all of the planning that is associated with it, and that’s one of the reasons why this was cut off. I felt it was an offensive approach to a situation. The government has clearly said it is removing the pressure to regionalize. It has been clearly said by the Treasurer that there will be no further actions unless the initiative comes from the local level.

I feel there is still this sword hanging over everyone that, unless we do what we think the minister wants or what the minister thought he wanted last year or the year before, we are going to be penalized. I am sure the minister can give me his assurances. I want them so that I can show them to people who have expressed their concern to me.

Hon. Mr. McKeough: I am sorry, I am just not familiar with either of the matters raised by the member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk. I am not aware that the staff has indicated anything to Brant or Brantford as to what would be acceptable or not acceptable. I am sure what they have said is that the guidelines are there and are in place as to what constitutes a restructured county which would be eligible for assistance, such as Oxford, which met those guidelines. We haven’t given any thought to changing them nor do I think we have been asked specifically to change them.

Let me put it this way, I have not heard from Brant or from Brantford. I am not aware, as I gathered the member said, that there’s any activity in that particular area; it has not come to my attention. I will be glad to see if I can find out what member of the staff said what and understand it and get back to the member.

Secondly, I am just not familiar with the sewer problem the hon. member was referring to and, again, I don’t know what Environment may or may not have said. I can’t comment on it.

I would make this point: The member implied that the regions are receiving much more money from the province than other municipalities and that’s true, because they are gradually assuming and have, in many instances assumed provincial functions. They are doing part of the job which the province is doing, by and large, in other parts of the province. Where we have been paying the regional police grant, for example, gradually the Ontario Provincial Police has been reducing its role.

Although the member for Welland doesn’t agree, the fact is that a regional plan on the scale of Niagara is being prepared by the region and not by the province. For all those things which they are doing and which we formerly did, they are being compensated.

I think the conclusion you might well come to, in reading the financial review perspective, is that they may not be compensated enough.

Mr. Haggerty: We agree with that.

Hon. Mr. McKeough: If anything, there probably should be a greater spread between what the fast-growing regions are receiving and what other municipalities get but that’s a debate for another day.

Mr. Godfrey: I wish to speak to this vote because it affects particularly the riding and the region I come from. The main thrust of what I am going to say concerns principally the documents which have been put out under the Ontario Options and Trends publications which are obviously the programme of an old out-worn government which is anxious to hide its nakedness and is clutching at every possible thing to cover its nakedness, such as the MTARTS study, the COLUC study and the Toronto-centred region plan.

The document itself is a very handsome publication, as all of them are. It bespeaks many hours of patient writing on the part of the authors and a careful fitting together of facts in which they pounded square truths into round holes in order to present some appearance of a smooth, united whole.

The shocking part of the documents is that their priorities do not seem to have changed since 1967 as far as planning is concerned. At that time a transportation study was carried out and from this transportation study economic regions were formed. This was based on the Toronto-centred region and these programmes were based on forecasts of population which were essentially extrapolations of previous densities from the 1950s and the early 1960s. It was assumed that social and economic goals would continue.

However, the basis of this plan was decentralization beyond the commuter shed and to discourage growth in the west by promoting growth to the east. This simply won’t work. What is the point of subsidizing growth in the east unless you do something to stop it in the west? To encourage it in the east does not stop it in the west. I am from the east, from Pickering which, incidentally, has taken quite a battering from government planning in the past.

We have been blessed with an airport and garlanded with a garbage dump; suffocated with the North Pickering project and anointed by your sewer. We feel at times that we seem to be the target of excessive planning.

When I speak that way I am not speaking in an anti-progress way; I am for progress. However, I am against uncontrolled growth which is what is conceived in these documents. In the same way that I am against cancer, which is an uncontrolled growth of cells, I find the sub-Durham regional plan is a cancer report which counsels that uncontrolled growth. If we look at the actual plan itself and some of the language in it, I was concerned to see that the Treasurer referred several times to the postponed airport. As a matter of fact, he does it in six places and laments the loss of work opportunities attendant upon the postponed airport.

However, I would point out to him he should possibly speak to his neighbour on the right when he is in the House because in numerous letters the Premier of the province has referred to it as the cancelled airport. I wonder what these two have between them and what is going on. Are they deliberately ignorant of semantics or are they simply lollygagging about with linguistics?

The linchpin to the sub-Durham report is the North Pickering development, a plan against which all municipalities have expressed deep concern. This is despite the brave words of the Treasurer to the Federation of Northern Municipalities on April 30, 1976, at which time he said:

“The role of government, therefore, is not to impose any plan upon the people, but to reinforce their chosen lifestyle, including the making of individual choices without the arbitrary or dictatorial intervention of government.”

In spite of those remarks, it does seem that the plan is being foisted upon us.

There is some token appreciation of this on page four of the report. It mentions that during the study a number of meetings were held with the technical staff of the regional municipality. And without committing themselves, they concurred with our general findings. They sort of nod politely as to what was going on. Indeed, I’m concerned as to why the consultation was held with the technical staff, rather than the elected representatives of the people, who I feel would have been in a better position to say whether the plan should go ahead or not.

As I mentioned, the North Pickering project is the keystone of the sub-Durham report. I would remind the House that the North Pickering project so far has cost us $200 million of tax money spent to buy property, and $2.1 million spent so far in planning -- and the planning is by no means complete. The planning continues; but we have already put $2.1 million into this plan, which was conceived by the airport and delivered by the Minister of Housing. It now represents the keystone of this Durham report, and may well be the tombstone of the last of the big time spenders.

In order to justify this plan, figures have been twisted and misrepresented. For example, the population figures which appear in the report are not in line with any known population projections which are held in Durham. Indeed, the Durham region has no resemblance to these population figures. There are other errors, other major problems with the report, which is put forward for our consideration as an example of Treasury planning for the future. There are severe and serious mistakes in the calculations.

On page 15, it points out that Whitby appears to have only two parcels of serviced land available -- one of two acres and another of 10 acres. I had the pleasure of officiating at an opening yesterday of a 200-acre-plus industrial park. And I can assure the minister that if he is holding off referring industry to our area, under the delusion we do not have serviced land, that he need not hold off any longer. We would welcome any industry which he could send along to us.

Similar miscalculations are in other areas of the plan. Indeed, not only miscalculations but almost insulting-type language. On page 17: “The area lacks good parks, hotel accommodation, art galleries and other cultural amenities.” I hasten to point out to the minister who is responsible for this report, that we do not lack in cultural amenities. Indeed, when one of our constituents read this, she wrote a poem. I dedicate it to the House and to the minister:

“I, too, mistrust the age, would clang

“through to clarity but given

“this sense still catch myself

“admiring conspiracies of efficiency;

“see the parade of self-important men

“as necessary; ... ”

Indeed, the area has many other cultural attractions which go with it. They have so many cultural attractions, they even sent the McLaughlin Planetarium to Toronto, because we simply didn’t have enough room for it in our area.

But one of the more severe types of lapses of ability to realize what is going on in the area, is the statement on page 14, with regard to employment opportunities and lay-offs in the regions. It is pointed out that in Pickering, 55 workers were laid off indefinitely by K. K. Coulter Ltd. You add they were taken back in October.

Mr. Chairman, I can find no record of a firm by the name of K. K. Coulter in Pickering, and I wonder whether this type of fact-finding is what goes into other TEIGA-type estimations.

Indeed, speaking of regional government and the necessity to constrain dollars, I look at page 51b, where this report suggests the setting up of an industrial promotion board -- another one. We already have two industrial promotion boards, both regional and the municipal, and now you’re proposing to add another one to it.


I note at the bottom of the same page that 70 per cent of the government financial assistance in promoting industrial lands will be given to Oshawa, 20 per cent in South Pickering and five per cent to Ajax and Bowmanville. I bring you a message: What is the matter with Whitby? Are we not entitled to the same type of government assistance that our sister communities are getting?

I also note other types of duplication. On page 54 you are proposing a near-urban park in Chalk Lake. Are you not aware of the fact that the North Pickering plan already includes a massive recreational complex just five miles away from that?

Mr. Bullbrook: This is devastating, you know. Absolutely devastating.

Mr. Godfrey: Indeed, this type of compounding of errors seems to me to be almost a labour-making activity within your department, because we are concerned about labour in that region and you have taken good cognizance of that. You’ve pointed out, on page 22, about 72 per cent of our employment growth in this region will be concerned with the service sector. I think that sounds like a very good idea, but unfortunately on page 27 you’ve also pointed out that North Pickering will give a special emphasis to the development of the service sector: “Highest order of services” in North Pickering.

Indeed, I wonder what is meant by the minister when he refers to the service industry. I put the question to the Minister of Housing (Mr. Rhodes) when we were discussing the North Pickering project and asked him what the Treasurer had meant when he spoke of high-level services. He did not know. I hope you will pass it on to him, because before we can possibly consider further housing in that area, we simply must have more industrial opportunity.

I don’t know where you are going to get all that industrial opportunity. Because looking at the companion document which went around with the Durham sub-region one, I note in the Renfrew county development strategy, you’re promising them that by stimulating the resource industry and particularly the manufacturing industry, we’ll be able to get more people into the region and be able to get more housing into the region. And looking at the Simcoe-Georgian area, the same litany of promise of more industry is apparent.

I wonder, Mr. Chairman, where all of these industries are going to come from, because at present in our region we have 8,000 unemployed. We have serviced industrial land which is waiting for industry to appear. Indeed, I sometimes wonder whether these documents are quite worth the paper they’re written on. When I read them they smack so much of a typical laxative ad which, according to page 29, emphasizes “reliability, comfort, speed and regularity.” Thank you.

Mr. Haggerty: I want to make a few comments on vote 1006, item 2, urban and regional planning.

I was most interested in the remarks from the member for Welland-Thorold (Mr. Swart) and the response from the minister concerning those remarks. Perhaps the minister summed it up when he said: “If you’re not happy here go back and get elected to regional council.”

I will tell the member for Welland-Thorold that that reminds me of when the original Niagara bill was passed through the Legislature back in 1969. That was about the response that was received from the minister then, when he said, “If you’re not happy with it that’s just too bad.”

We had very little time to discuss the Niagara region bill. It was pushed through here -- rammed through perhaps -- in one day. It was presented to the members of the House, I think, at about 2 o’clock in the afternoon, then we went into full debate, and debated until sometime early in the morning.

As Liberals we did not support the bill at that particular time and there were good reasons for it. One of the reasons was that and I can well recall the then member for Niagara Falls, Mr. Bukator, and myself said it -- the Niagara region bill included too large a community -- it extended from Lake Erie to Lake Ontario -- and in combining the two counties it wasn’t going to solve the problem of the immediate areas. We thought that the region boundaries should have remained as the existing school boundaries are at the present time -- as the boundaries of the Niagara South Board of Education, which took in the boundaries of the former county of Welland. We said that this was a large enough unit for regional government, that the county was a regional form of government at that time, and that you should extend a little more power to them so they can go out and provide additional services to the urbanized areas outside the cities. Our response wasn’t too well received by the Legislature at that time and now we’re stuck with the regional bill.

Mr. Shore: Did the NDP support that?

Mr. Haggerty: Yes, the NDP supported that most heartily. They’re all for regional government. I’ve noticed a change in the thinking of the member for Welland-Thorold at the present time. I can recall, when I sat on county council and he was a member there too, he went to Europe and attended one of the studies on a regional form of government in Sweden. Then he came back and sold the idea to the county council as a great one and sold regional government to the minister at that particular time as well.

So there are some changes of views of persons who are interested in regional government and I’m glad to see that there are some changes. He brings out a valid point in his suggestion that there should be a committee of the Legislature.

I attended one of the sessions with the commissioner appointed to review the Niagara regional government, Mr. William Archer, and I suggested then that we should go back to the former county boundaries as a regional government. We should have a regional government to the north and a regional government to the south. As the member for Welland-Thorold outlined, one of the purposes of the Mayo report was to preserve the farmland. That has not taken place. In fact, I have a recent communication, a summary report from the regional Niagara planning committee. It deals with urban area boundaries. It goes on to say, and I’d like to quote some of it:


“The Niagara regional council has adopted a policy plan which includes an ‘Urban Area Boundaries’ map showing outer limits for urban development around the communities in the Niagara region. The Province of Ontario has stated its objections to these proposed urban boundaries, noting the use of large amounts of prime agricultural land and requesting a substantial reduction of the proposed boundaries. [I can accept that particular comment, that the government of Ontario is finally moving in and telling them to preserve the farm land. It goes on to say:]

“Existing policy: The regional Niagara policy plan was adopted at the end of 1973 and was forwarded to the Province of Ontario for approval. The policy plan included these objectives:

“‘To encourage urban development south of the Escarpment as a positive aid in reducing urban pressures on unique agricultural lands.

“‘To keep agricultural lands for agricultural uses, with special emphasis on unique agricultural lands suitable for tender fruits, grapes and market gardening.

“‘To maintain a viable agricultural industry.

“During 1974, the Niagara regional planning and development committee and the Niagara regional council considered and then adopted ‘urban area boundaries’ which are precise lines to define the outer limits of urban development and to prevent urban development on the agricultural and rural lands beyond the boundaries.

“Provincial response to the regional policy plan: In September and October, 1975, letters were received from the Minister of Housing and Minister of Agriculture and Food requesting a review of the ‘Urban Areas Boundaries’ map and substantial reductions in the amount of prime agricultural land proposed for urban development. The letter from the Minister of Agriculture and Food includes a statement of factors to be considered in the review of the urban boundaries, such as:

“‘…the underlying principle must be that the best food land should be retained.’

“‘…the requirement of agriculture for the maintenance of large blocks of farm land to ensure economic viability and community identification.

“‘…the effect of the shape of the urban area.’”

When I continued to look into this brief that I have before me, I noticed in the urban boundary proposed changes it affects all the municipalities lying north of the Escarpment. That would take in the city of St. Catharines, the town of Niagara, the town of Grimsby and the township of Lincoln. I noticed in the outline they have some proposals to change the area boundaries which, no doubt, is going to take good, viable farm land. When I look at Niagara-on-the-Lake I can see the boundaries extending out there and around the little community of Virgil, I guess it would be, where they’re going to extend the boundaries there; this is certainly going to take good farm land out of production.

I think the member for Welland-Thorold was right on when he said there is the urban development. You can see it when you are going from Stoney Creek down to Niagara Falls, Ont. You can see the urban development in a particular area. You can see that orchards are being bulldozed over. You can see the development along the Queen Elizabeth Way, the showcase for light industry. All the good farmlands are disappearing. One of the problems when the regional government was established in the region was to preserve the farmlands.

I find from the different items I have come across in the region’s newspapers concerning regional government that when they set up a programme in the urbanized areas to provide services, sewers and pollution control abatement programmes, plants and facilities, all the major construction is being taken north of the Escarpment. Their establishment perhaps by the regional government is taken I on a priority basis but I can cite a couple of instances in the Niagara south area where municipalities have been waiting for expansion in municipal sewer services and pollution plants but construction has been delayed because on a priority basis it is all being spent around the St. Catharines area.

I feel, as long as regional government is going to move in that direction, we are going to see more good farmland disappear. Hopefully, from the comments that I have brought to the attention of the minister, the government is deeply concerned about it. They know it shouldn’t take place below the Escarpment. I hope they stick to their guns and there is a change in the thinking of regional government. If there is going to be any development, it should take place on less valuable farmland.

I can cite areas around Fort Erie and the city of Port Colborne that are not suitable for the best farmlands. This is where the development should take place. The only way it is going to take place in that particular area for housing is with more provincial aid from the different ministries to provide the capital to provide the sewers, treatment plants and all the other necessary services that are required. I think that is the only way that you are going to save the land there.

I remember a statement I made in the House back in 1969 concerning regional government. I said then that regional government for the Niagara Peninsula would be too costly, and it is costly. Take the cost of planning alone across the region. This is where the minister should come in and provide additional funding for the planning committee or the planning area of the regional municipality of Niagara. There’s no doubt about it that you have put more responsibilities upon them at this level where there is more input by local representation, but again it has put an additional cost on them. I think perhaps the only way the regional government is going to function and operate in the region of Niagara is if you continue with additional grants for that type of government. If not, it is not going to produce what it is supposed to and it is going to be a complete failure.

When the Archer report comes in from the commissioner there, I hope he says it goes back to the two former counties. The problem wasn’t in the former county of Welland; the problem was in Lincoln county and the problem is still there today. I say that people from the southern part of the peninsula are paying much of that cost to develop that area, which should never be. I hope that the minister will take this into consideration and perhaps go along with what the member for Welland-Thorold was saying, that there should be a select committee.

I was interested in the conclusions in “Regional Government in Perspective: A Financial Review.” On page 39, conclusions, it says:

“The review has outlined the municipal organization and fiscal changes without evaluating their effectiveness. In terms of financial performance, it seems that changes were appropriate. However, the effectiveness of municipal reform should be examined periodically. Such studies are now under way in Niagara, Ottawa-Carleton and Metro Toronto. The findings and recommendations of these studies will be useful when changes in other recognized municipalities have to be considered.”


The point I want to bring to the minister is that from the comments in that particular part all you are interested in is that you are going to go on and continue with regional government throughout the Province of Ontario through some form of reorganized municipalities and you are going to find out from the mistakes which have taken place in the other regional municipalities which have been established now. You are not going to provide any ways or means to improve regional government in these particular areas and all you are looking forward to is how you are going to reorganize other regional governments in the Province of Ontario. Hopefully when the recommendations do come forward from the commissioner, you will not sit on them and you will move on them. Hopefully, they are going to be to the benefit of all those people in the Niagara region.

Mr. Stokes: I want to speak for a few moments with the minister on regional planning as it relates to regional economic development, particularly in northwestern Ontario.

As you are well aware, the hon. minister travelled to Thunder Bay to lend credence and give support to and to make the announcement that the Design for Development strategy for northwestern Ontario, as envisaged by that report, had been accepted as government policy. Everybody in northwestern Ontario who was looking for either social, economic or cultural improvement in that area looked to Design for Development as the vehicle whereby a good many of their needs and aspirations might be attained. It’s become quite evident to both the people in the region and the people within the ministry now that since most of the conventional wisdoms were based on data compiled in the late 1960s there was a need for an upgrading of the Design for Development strategy for northwestern Ontario

It is also becoming quite clear to MAC committees and those people who are responsible for articulating the needs and the aspirations of people in the north that they must have an overall development strategy provincially with which to relate. It makes very little difference what we try to attain or aspire to in northwestern Ontario in anything which involves the provincial government or the federal government unless we have an overall national development strategy or at least a provincial development strategy with which to relate.

It’s for these reasons that I would like to ask the minister what initiatives have been taken. I’m talking really about new initiatives because the Design for Development for northwestern Ontario was the first one accepted as a development strategy anywhere in the province. Of course it was brought in at almost the same time as the Toronto-centred region Design for Development. Any time we’re looking for development strategy anywhere in the province we should be looking to see what is being done in other areas of the province so that we can relate to it.

We realize that if we’re going to aspire to any form of financial assistance from the province we must keep in mind that it’s all the one economic pie and it can only be cut so many ways. If we’re aspiring to something in northwestern Ontario which seems to be unrealistic or unattainable because it isn’t high on the list of priorities of this government, obviously we have to take that into consideration.

In the Toronto-centred region plan one of the things was they were adopting this plan as government policy so that this megalopolis -- they called it the St. Lawrence-Great Lakes megalopolis -- would be in a better way to handle all of the resources coming from the north for processing here in the south to satisfy the markets down here and in the mid-western United States. Now that we do have a sense of direction, we’ve tried on the Design for Development for northwestern Ontario for size for the last three or four years. We realize what its deficiencies are and I think we in the north realize what must be done to bring it up to date so that we can integrate it with the social and economic scene as we see it in northwestern Ontario today. Obviously we’re going to have to have the assistance of this ministry.

To be a little bit more specific, we had a conference in Quetico Centre just over a year ago wherein we assigned ourselves the task of indicating what our manpower needs were at present and what they likely were going to be in that sector of the province over the next five to 10 years, based on the kind of development that was on the drawing board and already in progress.

In our quest for answers and solutions to the problem of attracting and retaining manpower in northwestern Ontario, we said, how do we attract professional, skilled and semiskilled people to that area? What kind of lifestyle will we have to provide them so that we can attract and hold the kinds of people that are necessary to keep our resource-based economy going? This included professional people in the resource-based industries, mining and forestry; it revolved around the needs and, I might even say, the demands of people for medical and health services, water and sewer services -- all the infrastructure that people demand before they will pick up their belongings and move into a different kind of economy and a different kind of lifestyle in the north.

While it doesn’t come under this item -- it comes under the next item -- the DREE -- Ontario general and sub-agreements obviously are going to have to be called on to the greatest extent possible to satisfy the social and the economic needs required to attract the kind of manpower we’re talking about. It’s quite evident now that we could employ another 5,000 people in northwestern Ontario if we had the services and were able to attract professional, skilled and semi-skilled people to that area. We can’t do so at the present time because we don’t have the infrastructure services, we don’t have the kind of economic base with which to provide them, and we’re never going to get it without some kind of joint assistance from the federal and provincial governments.

I think it’s absolutely essential that the minister and this government pay attention to the kind of problems that are somewhat unique to northwestern Ontario. We don’t have an employment problem except in very rare instances in the extreme north, where it’s very difficult to get the native people involved in economic development because of the great distances, because of a lack of transportation and communications, because of the lack of education of those in the far north and because of their inability to integrate into what is happening, economically at least, in the north.

We need a manpower strategy, a development strategy, which we cats relate to down here. More than anything else, I think we need somebody in northwestern Ontario to co-ordinate all of the government programmes. As the minister well knows, the person responsible for co-ordinating the development policies of this government is located in the Frost Building over here. It’s extremely difficult for somebody who’s making decisions at the local level, and I even assume it’s extremely difficult for people within the various ministries -- Treasury, Economics and Intergovernmental Affairs; Housing; Environment; Natural Resources -- to co-ordinate all of these activities that refer to regional economic and social development if they have to liaise on a regular basis with somebody who may be on the seventh floor of the Frost Building.

I think the government could decentralize its activities to the extent of liaising with somebody on the scene, somebody who lives there, somebody who understands and can engage in an ongoing dialogue, and if the minister would give them some of the decision-making powers that you reserve to yourself, who better to make those decisions than somebody up there? I realize you can’t give them a blank cheque but I think there are a good many of the day-to-day things which can be resolved at the local level if you had those people on the scene given the opportunity to make those kinds of decisions, in keeping with an overall development strategy for the region and the Province of Ontario. I don’t want to take up too much time of the committee but I wish the minister would respond to those few remarks.

Mr. Chairman: I am wondering if the minister would like to respond to some of the remarks of a few of the previous speakers before we go on.

Hon. Mr. McKeough: Mr. Chairman, I certainly will reply to those last remarks of my friend from Lake Nipigon. The northwestern Ontario report is being upgraded. We are working with two groups really.

There is the public service advisory board, made up of civil servants in northwestern Ontario. I don’t know how many ministries are represented on that group; I met with them a couple of times. I would think there are a dozen -- more than half a dozen -- probably a dozen ministries. All the ministries represented on it or practically all of them are represented in Thunder Bay. They are attempting to co-ordinate the input of the provincial ministries into an updating of the northwestern Ontario plan.

The other group, which is equally important -- perhaps more important -- is the municipal advisory committee which has the municipal input. Hopefully, the citizen input comes either directly or through the municipal advisory committee. They are meeting together and meeting with our people.

The timetable there is that probably we will have a new strategy -- not a plan I would think but a strategy -- late this fall which we would then publish and put forward as a new target -- one hesitates to use the words a new five-year plan but I will succumb to using them -- for northwestern Ontario. We’ll put it out for discussion purposes and comment and then after that produce the final document again.

The first plan has served its purpose. The targets were mainly met and there is no question it’s in need of upgrading and that is going on.

Manpower studies are part, I understand, of that. That was a specific question.

I don’t disagree with what my friend has said about the necessity of federal-provincial help particularly through the regional priority budget or through DREE. I detected in what the member said -- I don’t want to put words in his month -- but I would agree there is no question that one of the ways we will attract snore people to the north -- or for that matter to the east or for that matter to zone 3 of the Toronto-centred region -- is a concentration of resources.

That doesn’t sit well but it is probably a fact of life that you need a reasonably large centre or a growth centre and it is going to have the greatest number of attractions. If it were not so, more people would live in small towns and hamlets and villages as opposed to living in cities. The fact is the larger the community, up to a point, the greater the magnet and the attraction becomes.

Thunder Bay, to some extent, is achieving that purpose in northwestern Ontario. I suppose it achieves some of it at the expense of some other community, regretfully, but one hopes and expects -- there is no way of ever proving all this, I suppose, statistically -- the concentration of resources is going to encourage a greater growth and indirectly make life more amenable in the surrounding area in the region itself.

That’s been the philosophy and it is the philosophy. Of course, a great gob of money has gone into the city of Thunder Bay from both the federal government and us in terms of sewers and water which, hopefully, is assisting in opening up more land for development, both industrial and residential, and has kept taxes down. Taxes were actually reduced in the city of Thunder Bay this year, so I am told, on the municipal side. I don’t know about the school board side. I think they have spent some reserves but it doesn’t matter. At any rate, they didn’t go up as they have gone up in some other places.


All those things should make it more attractive and more desirable. I can’t help, though, but agree with the fact that within our priorities we have got to try and find more, particularly for some of the areas with growth potential; or which are in fact growing, like Timmins, like Thunder Bay; like the municipalities which the member is particularly familiar with, the Kimberly-Clark municipalities; and there are others.

Finally, there is nobody over on the seventh floor who has anything to do with project administration. They are all there to support the minister, and he does nothing to ever implement a project. We still have a small project implementation team, who now are chiefly concerned with the parkway belt; Wasaga Beach we still have. And some of the things --

Mr. Stokes: What does our friend Andy do?

Hon. Mr. McKeough: He is part of that. The emerging things in the north, if I can put it that way, are identified. Having identified them and hopefully found the answers, then we move to -- I was going to say dump them, but one wouldn’t want to say that we dump things in the north. We have made the conscious decision to try and move them out to the operating ministers.

We have adopted in the last six months, I guess, something called “the lead ministry project,” which is really under the wing and auspices of the Provincial Secretary for Resources Development. You may want to talk to him about it during his estimates.

But we have identified problems, and others have identified problems. They come to the resources field. Sometimes they go to ACRD first, to the deputy ministers, and then to the resources field. Either before they get there, or at that meeting, somebody identifies who would be best able to take on the co-ordinating role for that particular problem.

Now, examples of this would be Hornpayne, which I think is the Ministry of Housing. We have another one coming next week, which will probably be Housing. I think the Environment will have a role in several places, and certainly Natural Resources will. But there are some where we will be continuing to play the lead role concept.

In some cases, it’s a person in the north. In other cases, it is somebody here. It varies from situation to situation. But we try and establish one ministry as the lead minister, which really means having a civil servant who is chairman of the group and who should be the single point of contact.

Of course, there is no sense building a school or a hospital if we haven’t got the water lines and the sewer system ready to go into it. Hornpayne is a microcosm, and the member is aware of that particular one, where it is going to be necessary -- and I have lost track of it. I have heard nothing about it now for two or three months, which is probably a good thing.

The involvement of half a dozen ministries is necessary if the thing is to be done in a co-ordinated way and is going to work -- and so that’s how it’s proceeding.

I have just been handed a note as to what we still have at the moment. The resource communities and particularly -- Moosonee, of course, is still very much ours. Then there is the servicing in Matachewan as a new important district; Pickle Lake servicing; and there may be some others.

But as soon as we can, we really do attempt to move these out into operating ministries, and particularly ministries which have offices in the field. Natural Resources is the best example of this, where they have people all over the north and they can take on this role, rather than having somebody from down here do it.

Mr. Chairman: The hon. member for London North.

Mr. Shore: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Hon. Mr. McKeough: Just before I sit down, the member for Windsor asked about the Essex restructuring study which is under this item, and I apologize for thinking it was further on. Like the others, it is a cost of $100,000. It may be more than that, but then that is the problem of Windsor and Essex. As far as we know it is $100,000, which will be split 50-50 between the province and the county. We pay to a maximum of $50,000. The cost to date has been $86,000. It is due this summer.

Mr. Shore: I suppose much has been stated on this regional government concept and its economies and probably much more will be over the years. I would just like to comment for a moment on the recent study by Treasury and Economics called “Ontario Tax Studies No. 11. Regional Government in Perspective, A Financial Review.” I have had an opportunity of reviewing this generally and, if I can suggest anything, it should be essential reading for all the ministers and their senior officials, in my opinion, along with all the members of this Legislature and particularly all municipalities.

In its preface it says:

“This study examines the performance of the regional governments created in Ontario since 1969. It focuses on the financial dimensions and shows the impact of reorganization on local spending and taxing. It is hoped that this evaluation of past performance will assist the local government sector in the ongoing process of structure and fiscal reform.”

I think that is a very positive statement to make. I would certainly hope, before any municipalities or governments take any serious steps as to a move towards regional government, they spend some time in analyzing this document I certainly hope, for example, the city of London would do that and probably all municipalities. That is not to say there isn’t a place for regional government, but it is one of the few times that there is some specific information that relates to the economics of it. I would just like to summarize a few comments that I have in my quick review of this document that was released in May.

For the information of the committee, it is interesting to note between 1970 and 1975 regional governments increased their spending by 159 per cent; Metro Toronto increased by 102 per cent; and the rest of Ontario by approximately 65 per cent. Since one of the prime reasons for the reorganizing of local governments was the expected growth in designated areas, a fair way to measure this increase in spending, apparently according to this document, was on a per-household basis, which may or may not be true, I am not certain. The statistics that come out of that are interesting. The increase in spending then becomes, if you relate it to that, that regional governments between this period of time increased approximately 105 per cent; Metro Toronto 73 per cent; and the rest of Ontario 41 per cent. Then in both methods of criteria you have got substantial increases in the regional governments. Even after utilizing my figures, in my opinion to justify the increased spending levels, the reorganized governments still dramatically outpaced the rest of the province and municipalities.

“Regional Government in Perspective: A Financial Review,” illustrates both these points. But the Ontario government, to a great extent blames inflation, amongst other things, but mostly inflation, on the increase in spending. I would like to cite one example of its contribution to that cause, that is, the equalizing of salaries with the imposition of regional government. It is known that invariably when two or more local governments were merged to form a region, in most or many instances, all the salaries and benefits were almost immediately increased to the highest level so that there would be no difference in pay for two employees supposedly performing the same job. This merely exacerbates inflationary tendencies and certainly was an underlying factor in unnecessarily increased costs of government in Ontario.

I don’t want to keep repeating and harping on this point, but I think it is well worth anyone interested in the whole concept of regional government spending some time reading this document and understanding it. In one sense, I congratulate the ministry and the minister for putting forward this document because I think it can be helpful in this review, to these municipalities to make their own decision and judgement as to which way the) want to go and, at the same time, not penalize them if they want to continue on the normal municipal basis.

Mr. Bain: Mr. Chairman, I would like to discuss with the Minister of Treasury, Economics and Intergovernmental Affairs an aspect of urban and regional planning that has special significance for the north. I know that regional planning has come in for a lot of criticism in terms of regional government, but when you are talking about regional planning for a wider region such as northeastern or northwestern Ontario, you are talking about the possibility of being able to redress many of the problems and many of the grievances that have existed in the north for a considerable length of time. In northeastern Ontario we are endowed with a considerable amount of natural resources and this has always been the mainstay of our economy. We also have some problems which I feel must be overcome. The government must be aware of these problems because they have undertaken a number of studies. In 1966, a study entitled “Northeastern Ontario Region Economic Survey” was done by the old Department of Economics and Development. Then we saw another study that was released in 1971 called “Design for Development: Northeastern Ontario, Phase 1;” and finally, we’ve received the latest study which the minister tabled in the House. This study unfortunately doesn’t really say anything that the other two didn’t say, and one of the problems that we are faced with is what sort of concrete action will come out of these studies? Do we just get studies for the sake of studies, or are they a prerequisite of a policy that is to redress severe grievances?

The most recent study that was released, on northeastern Ontario development and strategy, has in it a very laudable goal which the minister reiterated when he was in Sault Ste. Marie to speak to the Federation of Northern Municipalities. The goal as stated in the study is to promote economic development in a way that ensures that the benefits will accrue primarily to the people of northeastern Ontario, that makes best use of the region’s potentials and that respects the environment and cultural attitudes of the region.

I don’t see how anyone could find fault with this goal. And you go on to say in that same speech that the four basic areas would be greater stability of production, employment and earnings; increased diversity of jobs; improved productivity and earnings; more jobs and a larger population.

As I said, I’m sure that everyone in northern Ontario and northeastern Ontario applauds you for this kind of statement. What we are waiting to see is what concrete steps will be taken to achieve this goal.

In my own area, in Timiskaming, we have been faced with the problems of the north in a microcosm. We have been faced with a diminishing population and if you look at the population statistics, you will see the population hasn’t changed since 1941. In fact, the most recent statistics, for 1971, are beneath the original projection and actually our population is beginning to decline slightly. Since 1941, the population in Timiskaming has remained at about 50,000. This indicates that there are people that are leaving the area. Young people are growing up in the area; they want to stay in the area; they want a job, but they are forced to move south.

The only way that I can think of this is in very human terms. Yesterday, I had a group of students from grades 7 and 8 in the English Catholic Central School in New Liskeard, down to visit the Parliament Buildings. Like most members do, I talked with them before the tour and all I could think about as they were asking questions was how many of these young people will be forced to come south to seek jobs.


The Treasurer mentioned in an earlier statement this afternoon that people go to the bigger centres for various amenities; they go to the bigger centres because there are more attractions there. The people who leave the small villages, who leave their rural communities in northern Ontario, go to the bigger centres not for all these amenities, not for all the cultural facilities. They go to the larger centres for one reason only and that’s for jobs.

In northeastern Ontario we are not getting a fair share of the economic and industrial development accruing to the rest of this province. The most recent study done in northeastern Ontario simply restates the things we already know: That the economy is basically a natural resource economy and our prosperity is based on the mines, the forests and the farms. We already know that.

The study goes on to say that there are problems of transportation and I would say that that is an understatement. One of our biggest problems is transportation and the fact that it costs more to ship something into the north than it does to ship the same item out. Basically, the ONR seems to operate as a railway designed to move our resources from the north in a cheap fashion so that they can be processed in the south. But the ONR doesn’t operate to encourage any sort of development in northeastern Ontario.

Another item in this study disturbs me and the minister alluded to this in his Sault Ste. Marie speech. He said the study recommends that priority for additional economic development should go initially to four cities. These are the subregional cities of North Bay, Sudbury, Timmins and Sault Ste. Marie.

This is not going to redress any of the existing problems. Because of the structure of the economy in general any growth which takes place in the north and in the northeast in particular tends to go to these larger centres. If you are going to encourage more development in these larger centres you’re just going to be encouraging the status quo.

What we need is development all across northern Ontario in the smaller communities. We need development in area service centres and in local service centres. The area service centres, such communities as Kapuskasing, Kirkland Lake, Moosonee and tri-town, which consists of Cobalt, Haileybury and New Liskeard, are the areas in which the government should make the initial expenditures of money to encourage development.

We’re already going to get development in Timmins, Sudbury and North Bay anyway. That development is going to take place so if you hope to redress any of the imbalance that exists, you have to assist growth in some of the other communities such as Kirkland Lake and the tri-town area, as well as some of the other communities which you designate as local service areas.

The people in the north aren’t asking for anything they shouldn’t receive. They are simply asking for reasonable development; they’re asking for jobs and they’re asking that their children should not all have to leave the area to come south to the Toronto-centred region to find a job.

How are we going to achieve this? How are we going to achieve the redirection of growth? Certainly the study you tabled in the House on April 8, Northeastern Ontario Development Strategy, doesn’t suggest how this is going to be done. There are going to have to be some concrete actions taken.

I would suggest two specific things which can be done. There should be an investment fund set up. This investment fund could be established by taking 50 per cent of the revenue the government secures through the mining profits tax. After all, this mining resource is part of the basis of prosperity in all Ontario so it makes sense to take some of the profit from that resource exploitation with the view in mind that it would be ploughed into the north. We could also put money into the investment fund by taking some of the money you secure from corporation income tax.

This investment fund, quite simply, would operate on the basis that any company which paid into the fund would be given as much as 30 per cent back in the form of grant if they would establish an industry or a plant in northern Ontario. That would be 30 per cent of the cost of establishing that development in northern Ontario. This could be one concrete way of redirecting growth.

Another way which I think is possibly the most important and possibly the only realistic way is an overall plan tied in with a development permit system. This development permit system would function in much the same way as a building permit does. Today, anyone who wants to build a home has to get a building permit. Anyone who wanted to build an industry or establish a plant would also have to get a building permit.

As an example, a company which wanted to locate in Ontario would apply, for the sake of a better name, to the Agency of Industrial Development, or AID for short, for a permit to build a new factory. In this case, the company wants to locate in Metropolitan Toronto. In consultation with the company the agency would determine that Metro Toronto is becoming congested with industrial development and, on the basis of an overall provincial strategy for development, which is absolutely crucial, the company would not be given a permit to locate in Metro Toronto but would be given a permit to locate in a designated area where this kind of growth is needed. This could be in northern Ontario or it could be in eastern Ontario where they suffer from many of the same problems we have in the north. With all due respect to my colleague from Cornwall, I think our problem is a little more severe in the north so I would be inclined to suggest that they go to the north. If the company really would be jeopardized, in a competitive sense, by locating in the north this agency could sit down with the company and work out a form of assistance.

This assistance may be a 15 to 35 per cent transportation grant. It might be money they could draw from the investment fund which I have previously discussed. It might be some sort of assistance from the Northern Ontario Development Corp. or some kind of assistance which the provincial government could work out in concert with the federal government through the DREE grants.

This agency would be an overall agency which would implement an overall provincial development plan. The crux of this development plan would be to redirect growth to parts of the province which are starved for such growth. It wouldn’t mean that there would be no growth in Toronto. It would simply mean that not all future growth would take place in the Toronto-centred region; some of it would take place in other parts of the province.

Unless we do something like that we’re not really going to redress the imbalance. If you look at the statistics, the proportion of the overall provincial population in northeastern Ontario is actually less than it was 15 years ago. We haven’t been able to redress any imbalance and there needs to be some concrete policy to accomplish this.

Personally, I’m pleased in one respect by the most recent study released by the minister. It seems to be getting away from the idea that everything has to be in regional centres. There are a number of references in this study which indicate that facilities and development have to be spread over a wider area and not all concentrated in specific regional centres.

I would be very pleased to know what concrete courses of action the minister is going to propose to cabinet and to the House in order to redirect some of the growth of the province. I have mentioned some of the items you could pursue such as an industrial development agency which would redirect growth; also an investment fund, and a revamping of Northern Ontario Development Corp.

In short, we look forward -- we hope we look forward -- to increased development in northern Ontario which will come about because of policies the government will embark upon after the policies, as enunciated in the most recent northeastern development study have been implemented. We hope we look forward to more growth and more development in northern Ontario. We hope we will not see in the next 10 years no appreciable change. We hope the next 10 years will not simply yield three or four more studies that will only result in nothing being done and the severity of the problem increasing in Timiskaming and in all of northern Ontario. What specific courses of action do you contemplate in the next short while to redress the problems that exist in northeastern Ontario.

Hon. Mr. McKeough: That was rather wide-ranging. I am not about to advance new ideas in these estimates as to how we propose to encourage more growth in northeastern Ontario. That’s what the report is all about and that’s what it says. First of all, I think we had better find out from the people of northeastern Ontario, and we will be doing that through the municipal advisory committee, the Northeastern Ontario Municipal Association, and directly, whether it makes sense and whether it is capable of implementation, and whether it is ambitious enough or perhaps too ambitious. In the meantime, we are spending moneys in northeastern Ontario and will continue to do so. There is the industrial park in Sudbury and the industrial park in Parry Sound. We hope to sign an agreement reasonably soon with DREE with respect to Timmins and also with respect to Elliot Lake and the north shore generally. The total of those four or five items, probably to be spent this year, comes to something like $6 million in northeastern Ontario alone.

Some of what the member had to say should be more properly discussed with the Minister of Industry and Tourism in terms of the Northern Ontario Development Corp. We have no plans to set up a separate investment fund. Finally, I would just at the moment say we are not in favour of and do not subscribe to some sort of a permit system.

Mr. Cunningham: The Treasurer knows my views on regional government in general. While I appreciate the needs to reorganize and restructure many of the municipalities within our province, and I guess history would record that maybe this is long overdue in many areas, you know my feelings as it relates to the area I represent. Early last year when I was hardly here very long I spoke on the need for a review of regional government.

The basis of my concern was the tremendous imposition upon the constituents that reside in the regional municipality of Hamilton-Wentworth as far as it would relate to the increased taxes they face. As you are well aware, the imposition of additional services has cost a lot of money. If history would record it, I am sure you remember the very arduous task that our good friend, the member for York East (Mr. Meen) had when he was deemed to be the individual to go out to Hamilton area and sell this idea. You are probably aware as well that the citizens of that area weren’t particularly in favour of the idea of regional governments. You offered them the choice of a one-tier system or a two-tier system. Never on any occasion did we entertain any discussions to whether or not we should have a regional form of government or what area I spoke on the need for a review of regional we should take in. I am sure history will record the error in this government in omitting the city of Burlington from it and ignoring the Steele Commission and, I am sure, creating the kind of imbalance between an urban area and a rural area that exists at the present time.

You will understand, as one who is very well versed in financial matter and certainly much more capable than I am in that particular area, the problems that face the taxpayers in the area. We currently have two school boards. We are the only county where the school boards, both public and secondary, have not settled. Part of the reason for that is that we are facing an election year this year and the individuals on the school boards are very reluctant to raise municipal taxes in any way as it would possibly jeopardize the chance of their being re-elected.


At the same time, we probably have one of the poorest pay scale levels in the Province of Ontario. As a result of that, we’re losing good teachers on a regular basis. Consummate with that, as we reduce the amount of money available to the regions through the transitional assistance that you provide, the tax burden goes up. I think you would have us believe -- and I read this in the book that you so kindly provided us with -- that this cost refers directly to a demand for services by people in the area, and I’m sure some people do require sidewalks and things of that nature.

But the cost that is being borne on us, especially the rural citizens in my community, does not relate in any way to an increase in services. In fact, I think it would be exactly the opposite -- a decrease in services.

One of the reasons we’re having an increase in costs is a duplication in services. I challenge you to spend some time in that region. You would find that there is apoplexy at the centre and anemia at the fringes.

Mr. Samis: You wouldn’t use those words when you were talking, would you?

Mr. Cunningham: I use them in Wentworth North all the time, and they understand them.

Very clearly you indicate in this book here -- and, again, I do appreciate it -- the sources of revenue that we have for the municipalities -- property taxation and provincial assistance, which is declining. I think the irregular basis upon which we fund these areas causes a great deal of ad hockery in the local governments. I think in my particular area they’ve tried to adjust themselves to it very well. I think it’s a credit to those municipalities.

Another source is borrowing; and they’re borrowing much more heavily than they ever have in the past. And then you relate to other revenues, licences, etc.

Two further complications that affect my region adversely are the parkway belt and the Niagara Escarpment Commission. The delays in planning and in subdivision approvals, even in the approval of an individual lot, Mr. Minister, is really beyond comprehension. Some people have to go for over 3% years to get a separation for a son or a daughter for their farm.

Just last week I attended an Ontario Municipal Board hearing. The province wasn’t represented at it, but the council for the region were objecting to a severance for a farm lot so a son could live on the farm -- in fact, participate with his father on that farm. The council for the region would have us think that we should have all the development occur within the city of Hamilton. Clearly, Mr. Minister, I don’t think that was the intent of regional government. At the same time his family, to effect a separation, had to hire a legal counsel and were really put through a great deal of aggravation.

The land use dilemma here is a serious one. In many areas, because of the planning confusion, we have developments going in on good farm land -- class 1 and 2. When somebody comes in with land that is literally of no use for anything else but a housing development we see a very difficult time in getting approval. I would submit the delay is so very expensive that it almost makes the purchase of a house prohibitory -- especially for younger people.

Very briefly, I’d like to leave with you my concern about the reduction of services that is continuing to occur in this particular region. On May 28, bus transportation will end within the town of Ancaster. Prior to regional government we had a good system and a system that people participated in. Now, as a result of the reluctance by the region to continue to provide services to that area, bus service to the town of Ancaster will be discontinued. This means that it’s going to be extremely difficult for the many people without their own transportation resources to participate in using the facilities in the city of Hamilton, as they have in the past.

The services have declined in many other areas. Roads in west Flamborough particularly are in a serious state of disrepair. Just last week it was of interest to me to pick up the Globe and Mail and to read its report on the conclusion of your convention and about the demands of your party for political consultation and a more open type of government.

Mr. Minister, I think the time has come -- and this is the third time now I have asked -- for a regional review of Hamilton-Wentworth. You currently are undertaking reviews in Niagara, Ottawa-Carleton and Metro.

I’m saying that I think the unique situation in this particular area requires us to have a review in Hamilton-Wentworth so that we can stop, as soon as possible and possibly before the final plan is effected, the duplication of services and the general inconvenience that affects the people in the region, such as the numbering of the roads.

I don’t know if the minister has been up Highway 6 lately, but it’s amazing. You go from regional road 5 to regional road 43. The logic there just absolutely and totally escapes me. I really can’t fathom that. Before it was the fourth concession and the fifth concession and the sixth concession which was something that even I myself understood. Now people are getting lost. They have a very difficult time as a result of something as simple as numbering the roads.

I won’t bore the minister with this anymore, but I think he understands the particular ramifications very specifically as the result of a lack of consultation. He knows, as a result of the activity on behalf of the citizens of Hamilton when the Chedoke Hospital facility was threatened, how ready they are to participate in this process. I think the time has come where we recognize that this particular system is not functioning as well as it could. With an effective study, I think we might effect some meaningful change that would not only save the people, especially in the rural areas, some tax dollars, but as well provide the kind of services I think we were talking about when we tabled our design for development for the area west of Toronto.

Mr. Chairman: Does the hon. minister have any response? The hon. member for St. George is the only member who has indicated she wants to speak on this item.

Mrs. Campbell: Yes, I do. I must, first of all, express a regret that other duties have kept me in other committees. I trust I shan’t be repeating any of the discussion that went on before here.

I just want to draw the attention of this committee to the programme description which is indicated as that which covers this particular vote. In part, we read that the programme:

“...institutes planning and organizational guidelines for more effective, responsive and responsible local government and assists in the achievement of a community environment that will satisfy local needs and aspirations, [albeit] consistent with provincial goals and objectives.”

Mr. Shore: That’s the hook.

Mrs. Campbell: It is to that particular portion of this rather pompous statement I am addressing myself. I am expressing the concerns, I believe, of the people of Toronto at the fact that really there is no way that a local government can usefully proceed to plan on any long-range planning proposal. We, at this point in time, do not know what the goals and objectives of this ministry may be or what input it is having in the developing dichotomy between the two planning areas, the local planning boards and function and Metro.

Because this government has found it so difficult to plan and to continue to meet its commitments to the people of this area particularly, there is grave concern that it will probably wake up someday soon and that again there will be some planning in advance of the Robarts Commission report which may indicate indeed that Metro will be planning the whole core of the city of Toronto, possibly from Bloor St. south. It is unfortunate that people have this unease, but I have to say that it is the lack of any kind of consistent policy that makes these people very concerned.

Let me, if I may, give an example. I read with interest in the newspaper the column of Mr. Hoy in which he was delineating the positions of the various leaders with reference to the Spadina Expressway.

It is interesting that Mr. Hoy, when the Leader of the Opposition discussed the possibility of a crosstown expressway, rather mocked the politician for raising this spectre which has been withdrawn by politicians over many years. Of course, what he didn’t explain is that the commissioner of traffic and roads for Metro has never at any time withdrawn the crosstown. He always explains this sort of position by saying “Well, that was that council.” One sees the thrust of the bureaucrat at Metro and the terrible dangers of the bureaucratic procedures at the provincial government which may well affect the whole future of this area without any kind of ability of a local government to be either responsible or responsive because its powers have been eroded consistently since Metropolitan Toronto came into being.

I have queried the Ministry of Housing as to what input it is having in this whole planning process. The answer, of course, is it is co-operating with Metro.

I would ask this minister to make it abundantly clear that at least at this point in time we shall await the report of the Robarts commission and that as far as he is concerned he is prepared to allow local initiative to have a full voice without his influence being superimposed once more upon it. Of course, we know that once the Premier of this province defaulted on his commitment to the people and raised again the Spadina issue that key issue brought into being 400; it brought into being the Scarborough extension and will probably, if Metro has any control at all, bring the crosstown as well.

This, of course, will have a great deal of bearing on the planning of the central core of this city. At the same time one wonders at the input into the discussions as to the STOL airport and who is looking at the effect of that from the point of view of the local government? Are we again to find that this government has moved to a decision and to a place without any real consultation with the people who will be most affected by these decisions?


In closing on this portion, if I may, the minister has really, I think, sincerely been trying to bring in a restraint programme. He has seen the necessity of it, notwithstanding and quite apart from what Ottawa has done. Would the minister not believe that at this point in time, both with reference to this item and to the next, that this might be the useful time to once more bring together that group of people who so successfully put together the prototype, at least for the purposes of developing for the province the service selector indicator programme, which might have a great bearing on the planning and the economic planning of services to communities across this province? It is important, I think, that we still have with us in the ministry Mr. Fleming who did such a fine job in the earlier programme and who I am sure could again bring forward the expertise to develop that particular programme.

Mr. Chairman: Has the hon. minister any reply?

Hon. Mr. McKeough: I just make this comment. Mr. Chairman, with respect to the member for St. George who, I think, is trying to -- oh, how can I put this? -- is making the case perhaps all of us are paying too much attention to Metropolitan Toronto as opposed to the city of Toronto. And, of course, that’s her right as a member representing part of the city of Toronto to make that case. As one who is not either from the city of Toronto or any part of Metropolitan Toronto, I would have to make this point: That in my view the strength, vitality, and economic well-being which we have here in Metropolitan Toronto has in large part come about by the fact that Metropolitan Toronto was created and is in existence and does the job that it does. I doubt very much that we would have had the success -- and the continued success -- in Metropolitan Toronto and the well-being which we have today if it were still in 13 fragmented parts, or if we just listened to that part of the community which represented A, or B, or C, or D. It may be that Metro doesn’t pay as much attention to the city of Toronto as the member would like, but we are --

Mrs. Campbell: They pay too much attention, Mr. Chairman; that is what I am complaining about. They just want to take it over.

Mr. Samis: It is a Liberal caucus.

Hon. Mr. McKeough: It may be that Metro council doesn’t reflect all the views of the city of Toronto. We do happen to live in a democracy and Metro council makes decisions from time to time which may reflect the views of the total metropolitan community of 2.2 million and which may not reflect the views of Etobicoke, or may not reflect the views of Scarborough, or may not reflect the views of the city of Toronto.

I can only say that from my observation what we have had has worked well and I wouldn’t want to enshrine in some sort of statement some sort of special status for the core area of Metropolitan Toronto or for the city of Toronto, with -- well, I would not want to do so; I leave it at that.

Obviously the whole question of how this area is planned by local people, not by the province, is under discussion as part of the Robarts review. There have been extensive suggestions put forward by nearly everybody except, as I understand it, the city of Toronto , so we will wait and see what Mr. Robarts has to say.

Mrs. Campbell: Could I have an answer on the service selector indicator programme?

Hon. Mr. McKeough: It is in the next vote. I will have a note for you in a minute.

Mr. Samis: I would just like to bring a couple of regional factors to the Treasurer’s concern that bother us in the far eastern triangle of the province. When one looks at eastern Ontario one usually thinks it is reasonably homogeneous but I would like to point out that the city of Ottawa, in the whole regional planning concept, first of all, has its own regional planning. Secondly it has a second tier of government with the National Capital Commission; thirdly, its whole economic structure as it affects planning is very different from the communities along the St. Lawrence River.

It has tremendous capital input from the federal government. The term unemployment, I would suggest, is virtually unknown in the city of Ottawa It is almost totally dependent for its economic development on the federal government. In this sense it is a very different factor compared to communities along the St. Lawrence River.

If we look at another major community in eastern Ontario, Kingston, may I suggest again that there is a very strong federal input in that particular community which affects the whole social and economic planning of eastern Ontario. If you look at the fact that the penitentiary system and the military college are two of the largest employers in that area -- and very traditional employers in that area -- again, the city of Kingston, although it does have industry and does depend on other factors, does have that built-in cushion which other communities in our particular part of the province do not have.

If one looks at the remaining substantial communities -- I refer to Belleville, Cornwall, Hawkesbury, Renfrew, Arnprior and Pembroke -- we are essentially dependent on the economic factors of the province, the economic trends of development and governmental involvement.

One particular problem along the Ottawa Valley and the Quebec border which I would ask the Treasurer to consider along with his colleague, the Minister of Industry and Tourism (Mr. Bennett) is that we are in constant competition with the Province of Quebec for economic development. Initially, to some people, it seems very favourable to be located so close to the Ottawa and Montreal markets but, as you are aware, because of the very different system of grants, incentives, loans and subsidies being offered by the government of --

Hon. Mr. McKeough: Purchasing policies.

Mr. Samis: Purchasing policies is right; we agree on that 100 per cent. These policies being followed by the Province of Quebec and obviously the political clout they seem to have with the federal government -- more DREE grants and regional grants of other sorts -- do put our particular part of the province in a very difficult competitive situation vis-à-vis attracting private industry through the Ministry of Industry and Tourism.

All I would ask in your overall planning is that you take special consideration of that fact. My colleague from Timiskaming has pointed out the geographic problems of his area based on distance and possibly some sense of isolation. Our particular area may not be geographically isolated but, in concrete political terms, we are isolated from Queen’s Park and next to a bureaucratic, political Liberal monolith which puts us in a very difficult situation.

I would ask that in your planning process you give due consideration to the communities along the St. Lawrence River, east of Kingston, and those along the Ottawa Valley which face similar problems all along the valley.

Hon. Mr. McKeough: May I just comment on that? My colleague, the Provincial Secretary for Resources Development (Mr. Irvine), and I had a lengthy discussion about some of the eastern Ontario problems. We don’t lose track of them; he would not let me lose track of some of those problems. I make one point: Some of the things you have raised I think are very difficult to do anything about, and I would regret our doing something about them, vis-à-vis the Province of Quebec.

Sometimes they play a game a certain way and I don’t think we should get into that game. Unfortunately, at times, that has had some repercussions which often hurt some of our industries, large and small, but I would regret very much if we started to get into some sort of retaliatory position or attempted to keep up with it.

Mr. Samis: I didn’t suggest that.

Hon. Mr. McKeough: I know you didn’t but I point that out. I don’t know what the answer is. We draw it to their attention every now and then. It must be particularly galling -- is that the right word? -- that close to the border.

Mr. Chairman: Shall item 2 carry?

Items 2, 3, 4 and 5 carried.

Vote 1006 agreed to.

On vote 1007:

Mr. Swart: I would like to deal with three items under this vote under the heading of tax reform. The first item I want to mention and to document is the regressivity of the property tax. The Treasurer constantly alleges that the property tax no longer hurts those on lower incomes. In this year’s budget, he goes as far as to say: “With the introduction of the property tax credit system, which virtually eliminated the regressive features of the tax, the revenue-raising capacity of property taxation has been greatly enhanced.” I want to say that that statement is totally incorrect. It’s an anachronism that we even have an item in the budget called tax reform this year. It should be called tax degeneration.

In my budget speech statement two weeks ago, I documented the severe regressivity that still exists with the property tax. A person with a taxable income of $10,000 pays only 27 per cent more in property taxes on a home assessed at $5,000 than a person with a taxable income of $5,000 would pay on the same house. He has twice the taxable income but pays only 27 per cent more in taxes. That’s not very progressive. In fact, the $10,000-income earner would have to own a house worth 60 per cent more before the regressivity would be eliminated at all.

I also pointed out that this year’s large tax increase provided a tremendous escalation in the regressivity. The Treasurer did not reply to me at that time; so I raise it and document it here again and call for him to admit it and to provide alleviation by announcing an upward adjustment in the property tax credit to apply against this year’s taxes.

Let me again give examples in some further detail of the hike in regressivity. I would like to send one of these over to the Treasurer for his perusal while I’m dealing with it. The example which I use here is of a house owner paying $500 taxes last year or a tenant paying $2,500 in annual rent. If they have no taxable income, the net tax of last year would have been $270 -- you can get this from the income tax form if you want to go that far. A 15 per cent increase in taxes this year would mean he would have to pay, if you’ll compute the property tax credit, $337.50, or he would have a 25 per cent increase in his net property tax. A person with a $3,000-income would go up from $330 to $397.50, which is a 20 per cent increase. The $6,000-income person would have a 17 per cent increase and by the time you got to a $9,000 taxable income, it would be down to the 15 per cent.

The drastic increase in property taxes this year adds to the regressivity. We can take this a step further, and we should take this a step further, because a person this year will probably have a 10 per cent increase in income over and above what it was last year. Therefore, when they come to fill out their income tax forms next year, they will have a greater deduction or they will have less property tax credits. If we assume a 10 per cent increase in income this year and we arbitrarily say they will have a $4,000 personal exemption, we find this situation exists. A person with a taxable income of $3,000 last year would have an increase to $3,700 this year. He paid $330 last year. He will have a 15 per cent increase in his tax levy and will pay $411.50 this year. That will be a 25 per cent increase he will have in his net property taxes this year.


A person who had a $6,000 taxable income and gets a $1,000 raise for a total income of $10,000 will have a 22 per cent increase in his net property tax. The person with $9,000 taxable income, up to $10,300 this year will have a 21 per cent increase in his net property tax. And when you get up to $12,000, then again it is down to 15 per cent.

I suggest to you that this is evidence that it is extremely regressive. I think these figures are representative of what will happen in this province and I challenge the Treasurer to point out to me where I am wrong in this table.

There is no doubt that the average net tax increase will be something like 20 per cent this year, even though the average mill rate may be up by only 14 per cent. Of course, it’s kind of hidden, and you may get away with it, but the regressiveness is there and it is greatly amplified this year by the tax system. I say to you, Mr. Treasurer, that you ought to give a commitment now that you will improve the property tax credit so that the severe regressiveness of the increase this year does not take place.

The second point that I want to make is a point that I’ve made before, too. It is related to the extreme unfairness of the property tax in the exemption that it gives to speculators. This too has been documented by me on two previous occasions.

It is such a flagrant violation of tax justice that I want to put at least one more case into the record today. This one is in the Waterloo area -- the area doesn’t matter a great deal; it’s the same all over the province -- where Major Holdings and Development Ltd. hold a tremendous amount of land. It is prime farm land, and considerable controversy surrounding the issue of whether or not it should be included in the urban development area of the regional and local plans took place. As expected, the developer won out and this food land is slated to disappear.

Many examples of tax rip-offs by Major Holdings could be given, but let me place at least one on the record.

A sale registered on August 2, 1974, shows 164.07 acres of land transferred from Alene Jewitt to Major Holdings for $875,000. It was assessed at $14,375 or 1.6 per cent of its real value. Taxes were levied and amounted to approximately $1,528, or equal to the amount levied against two moderate homes. I’ll give further examples and discus this Waterloo situation further at a later date.

I ask the Treasurer why he doesn’t take some action to levy taxes against developers and speculators on the same basis as anyone else. His excuse that they have powers of recovery through the farm tax reduction Act and under the tax reform programme are, to put it mildly, I suggest, inadequate answers. Will he please tell me, and I hope he has the answer, the total I collected under the farm tax reduction plan up to date?

I understand that it’s nil. I hope that he will be able to say.

Do you realize what the situation will be under the proposed reform programme even if you go through with it as tabled in the budget papers? First, you propose to postpone the tax payment by developers for 10 years, if they want it. Second, the province is going to pay the tax for them and I hopefully recover it at some time in the future, if you don’t change the tentative policy before then.

Why should the province pay taxes for the developers? Why are they a special class? You’ll sell a private individual’s home if he doesn’t pay his taxes for three or four or five years but you’ll pay taxes for a developer for 10 years and undoubtedly, should your government still be in power -- which is becoming more and more doubtful -- you’ll probably write off most of the recovery like you have in the speculation tax, where you reduced it. I invite the Treasurer to change the legislation in this session -- and it would be simple to do so -- to make developers pay their taxes now, the same as everyone else.

The third item I want to deal with is the budget paper tabled on property tax reform. I think we recognize that all in all this year the local government estimates in the budget provide a rather bleak future for local government politicians who have an election this year. Sharp increases in taxes aren’t really the best criteria for re-election. Of course, they can rightfully point their collective fingers at the Ontario government and say, “Blame them.”

But they know and this government knows that the complexity of financing doesn’t always permit the blame to filter up to where it belongs. Thus the Tory government recognizes that it’s going to have a lot of alienated local politicians, many of them its normally staunch supporters and advocates. It becomes urgent, therefore, to search around for some new scheme to placate them as well as recovering the votes from the section of the property tax-paying public which knows where the blame for the tax increases really rests.

To this government, the answer is provided by the reform of property taxation in Ontario budget papers. What a brilliant idea. What an alluring carrot to hold in front of the people in the next election. First of all, it again postpones taxation on a market value assessment until 1978. That has to be after the next election so that will be a controversial issue it bypasses.

Then it tells the voters that property taxes levied on residents of Ontario will be substantially reduced. Taxes on farmlands will be abolished altogether and all the governments, including school boards and universities will pay full taxes on their properties. It has the political advantage, too, of leaving everything somewhat fluid by appointing a study commission to examine it further. If parts of the programme do not prove too popular, the government can always say it’s not firm yet and the study commission is examining it. What a beautiful political package.

The Globe and Mail of May 15 said: “The main objective of governments’ budget presentations at all levels, is political public relations.” This is the acme of political public relations. That’s what it is in essence, a political package.

It may not ever be implemented but for now and the period before the next election it’s to serve a useful political purpose for the Tories. Simply because it will be one of the government’s display items, I want to deal with some of its proposals.

Mr. Shore: Save me some time.

Mr. Swami: Yes. At least one of the statements of fact in the document is totally incorrect. I ask you to examine it. In proposing an elimination of many tax exemptions it states that: “All non-profit and charitable organizations are presently exempt from property taxes except where the occupied property has a tenant.” Currently that isn’t the case at all. Non-profit organizations per se aren’t exempt from property taxes. Even the YMCA and YWCA pay property taxes. We had a private bill in here just recently to give them exemption from property taxes. They’re non-profit organizations. They have to pay taxes on their properties.

There are certain private bills to exempt some charitable or non-profit organizations and others receive exemption for taxes levied by local municipalities but most of them pay partial or total property taxes. I say the minister and his staff ought to know this. If he checks with the municipalities he’ll find out they do.

This glaring error certainly brings into question the depth of the study and the validity of the whole document. I examined the Act. We checked this out. Legions, clubs, associations and other non-profit and charitable organizations which own property are going to be clobbered by the proposed reform. To tax them at 100 per cent of market value compared to only 50 per cent of market value for residences is unfair and will place on them a financial burden which may cause many of them to fold.

This government ought to recognize that these organizations make a community. They give meaning and life to municipalities or sections of municipalities. They’re not commercial enterprises. They serve the citizens and at the very most should be assessed no higher than the 50 per cent assessment on residences. Residential taxpayers should beware of the projected decrease in their share of the property tax too. It is unlikely ever to take place. Market value assessment on escalating house prices will wipe out any projected gains by the 1978 implementation period.

Let’s look at what the situation will be by 1978 if the new system is implemented by then. The minister uses the Niagara region as an example so I’ll do the same. His table 5 indicates that total taxes on residences will drop from $41.9 million to $31.7 million. That’s based on the 1974 tax levy and apparently a 1975 assessment -- that’s a strange combination. The taxes won’t be levied on the new basis until at least 1978. What shifts in assessments will take place by then?

The St. Catharines-Niagara Real Estate Board reports that average sale prices of all classes of housing have increased from 518,800 in 1971 to $37,618 in the first four months of this year, an increase of 100 per cent or 20 per cent per year. Commercial and industrial properties have risen at a much slower rate, 13 to 14 per cent annually. Thus, year by year, market assessment will shift more taxes on the residential properties. So, by using the tax table of the Treasurer, residences will pay $35 million, not the $31.7 million which he predicts in his table. Add to this the additional money which members will have to pay out of their pockets for taxes on their clubs’, their legions’, their corps’ and their associations’ buildings and they will not be any better off than they are now.

There are other corrections in the proposed system which must be made and will adversely affect the residential property taxpayer. The proposed taxation on the non-chain retail store is so excessive as to be unacceptable. The regressiveness of the property tax is fully applied in their case and the additional taxes can just drive a small store operator out of business. It amounts to a further 21 per cent hike over and above the normal tax increases. On the other hand, industry will get a 30 per cent reduction, wholesalers a 24 per cent reduction, and distillers a whopping 33 per cent reduction.

The reform of property taxation is, in fact, regressive. The tax break to industry is much greater than to the homeowner. Moreover it is phooey unless you are prepared, Mr. Treasurer, to give a commitment that grant assistance to local governments will not be decreased when the system is implemented -- I want you to mark that one down, please -- and this you have not done to date.

You see, using the Niagara example, residences and commercial and industrial are now paying 91 per cent of total property taxes. Under your new proposal they will pay only 77 per cent and you know where that extra money is mostly coming frons -- the province. Most of that extra money is coming from the province by your own document. In fact, the province will be required to pay some $200 million more in taxes to municipalities, or five times as much as it is now paying in taxes to local governments. However, it has been the policy of your government in the past to class such tax payments as part of your contribution to local government.

Hon. Mr. McKeough: It is not part of the commitment.

Mr. Swart: If you then cut back in your grant assistance to allow for the extra $200 million in tax payments, the local taxpayer will, in fact, get no benefit --

Hon. Mr. McKeough: It is not part of the Edmonton commitment.

Mr. Swart: I am surprised you brought up the Edmonton commitment because it seems not to have much validity --

Hon. Mr. McKeough: It is not a part; that is the answer to your question.

Mr. Swart: -- but will you then give a commitment that the tremendous increase in taxes will not affect the assistance to local government -- will not affect the Edmonton commitment, if you are planning to carry on with that? Will you give that commitment that the $200 million additional you are going to pay in taxes to local government will not affect your subsidy and grants programme? I’ll finish in just a moment and then you can answer.

In fact, the escalating market value of houses will cause the homeowner to absorb a greater share than he or she is now paying unless that commitment is given. So I ask, will you give that commitment now in this estimate that grant assistance will not be affected by the substantial increase in tax payments from your government? If not, then that tax reform budget paper is the most inequitable and phoney document that you could have tabled.


Mr. Shore: I was hoping that we would come closer to honouring the time element, but I will hold my remarks to just a few questions. We’ve talked on this subject of tax reform and the concept of the programme relating to the tax burden on property owners in Ontario for many months now, and probably for many months to come.

I would just like to ask the minister if he will acknowledge that across the province, the grants that have been allocated this year to the municipalities and the boards of education, even if they were holding their expenditures to the seven or eight per cent increases -- and in many instances they have; in many instances they haven’t, either through the fact that they can’t control them, or haven’t been able to, or haven’t wanted to. At any rate, would the minister not acknowledge now that even if they had, there would be a substantial tax burden on the property tax base?

Secondly, if he does recognize this, I’d appreciate if he would comment on how he plans to deal with this type of thing. And does he recognize, therefore, or is he changing his opinion on the facts of the property tax base?

We have statistics, and I’m sure he has, to show that in many instances where municipalities have increased their expenditures seven, eight or nine per cent, and boards of education maybe 10, 11 or 12 per cent, it has meant to the municipalities upwards of a 20 per cent increase in the mill rates.

I would just like to hear how he would answer that, whether he has any feelings on this matter, and what he sees down the road in relation to this matter for municipalities. I really believe this is a very significant question. I would hope that he would try to approach it in an intelligent, serious manner for an answers. That’s all I’d like to hear.

Mr. Chairman: Does the hon. minister have a response to the previous two speakers?

Hon. Mr. McKeough: Just two or three comments, Mr. Chairman. I want to examine a little more carefully charts on regressivity given to me by my colleague, my friend from Welland. He’s conveniently left out of the chart those people with low taxable income, which distorts it somewhat.

Mr. Swart: What is $3,000 taxable income?

Hon. Mr. McKeough: At $3,000 taxable income you’re starting to move up into something above the average income in the province, remember that.

Mr. Swart: With due respect, your own documents which you have tabled show that the average per household income, within that range --

Hon. Mr. McKeough: You are not using per household income, you are using taxable income. I don’t think you can just switch back and forth as neatly as that between taxable and household. We’ll have a look at those figures.

There’s no question that the tax credit system is not yet perfected, nor do I suppose it ever will be in a state of perfection, but it does rely on the income tax system.

We have made this commitment, I think as the 15th proposal, that undoubtedly the tax credit system needs revision. But simply to stand and say that the property tax can’t be used because it’s a regressive tax, as many have done, is a lot of nonsense. In fact, we’re putting something like $500 million into the system to take the regressivity out.

Mr. Swart: I am not saying that. What I am saying is that unless you increase the property tax credit the same percentage that you increase the taxes in any year, it has added to regressivity.

Hon. Mr. McKeough: But we are not increasing the taxes on any year. We’ve listened to some of the members’ ideas as to what taxes are increasing this year. Our guess would still be that they’re increasing on the average across the province, when it’s all in, something in the neighbourhood of 11 or 12 per cent. And when you look at a 10 per cent inflation rate last year, it is not all that much.

One can pick out extreme examples -- and I say this as well to my friend from London North. Assessment increased in some places. Grants have increased, and are something in the neighbourhood of 50 per cent of local revenue. And still, when you look at property taxes over the last five years, 1976 excluded -- and I would suspect even when we include 1976 -- you will still find that the property taxes as a percentage of household expenditure have continued to go down over the five year period. We’ve gone through these alarms, if I can put it that way, every spring, though more so this year. The municipalities have had a tough time this year. But if you look around the province, you do hear of places which have not raised their taxes or have raised them very little. My own city was something like four per cent. London was three or four per cent.

Mr. Warner: You took money away from us.

Hon. Mr. McKeough: North York was even.

Mr. B. Newman: How about Windsor?

Hon. Mr. McKeough: Scarborough, for all its talking, with respect, was something less than 10 per cent, as I recall.

Mr. Warner: We got less money, though, than last year.

Hon. Mr. McKeough: The increase in taxes was something less than 10 per cent municipally in Scarborough. The municipalities have responded, I would say, very, very well.

Ms. Bryden: They had to cut their services.

Hon. Mr. McKeough: Oh, name a service that’s been cut. What nonsense!

Ms. Bryden: The police.

Mr. Warner: Public transit.

Mr. Good: They’ve used their reserves.

Hon. Mr. McKeough: That’s what reserves are for, for a rainy day.

Mr. Warner: They use them all the time.

Hon. Mr. McKeough: Oh, no.

Mr. Good: There have been cuts to the municipalities and you know it.

Hon. Mr. McKeough: Your problem over there is you start to believe yourselves and you should never do that. You listen to yourselves too much.

Mr. Warner: It’s better than believing you.


Hon. Mr. McKeough: Do they want answers to these questions?

Mrs. Campbell: We’d like answers, but we don’t want the minister’s dodgings.

Mr. Chairman: Although the Chair isn’t privy to any outside arrangements, I understand there is an arrangement that this will be completed. In the interest of dividing up the time left -- .

Mrs. Campbell: Provided we can have the time.

Mr. Chairman: -- in all the fairness, the member for London North should be allowed a question.

Mr. Shore: Would the minister allow me to interject a question? If you take a five-year period or six-year period, I agree with the minister’s observation that the property tax rates have averaged out at not too high a figure. But would the minister not agree -- and I’d like to hear his comments -- that that isn’t the way you plan your property tax base because your circumstances are different each year and also the taxpayers are different each year?

I cannot believe he sincerely means to make any heavy marks on the statement that over a five or six-year period it has averaged out. I’ll acknowledge it has, but you’re dealing with different circumstances and different people. To hang his hat on that argument, in my opinion, weakens what he’s trying to say.

Hon. Mr. McKeough: I’m not hanging my hat on that argument. The fact is that property taxes up until last year had risen something like three per cent a year. I would suspect if you add in this year you’re not going to find that much of a dramatic change. There are very few things in this present inflationary period that have risen less than, if I can put it that way, property taxes. I’m not satisfied with the system and wouldn’t suggest for one minute I am.

The fact is that provincial transfers have risen enormously during this period of time, another $225 million this year. The fact is that nearly 30 per cent of all the money we take in as a province is going out the door to the municipalities. If the member wants more money for the municipalities, then I think he’d better face up to the fact that he has a couple of options. What out of our spending would he cut down or where would he raise taxes to do it?

Mrs. Campbell: Your superministries.

Hon. Mr. McKeough: Oh, get off of it, for $200,000 or $300,000.

Mr. Shore: I’ll buy that.

Mr. Good: Let’s start there.

Hon. Mr. McKeough: Let’s hear some positive suggestions from over there as to where you would reduce spending.

Mr. Shore: Give us the opportunity of coming up with some positive suggestions, but not in 30 seconds; that’s no good.

Hon. Mr. McKeough: You’ve got the opportunity. You’ve been making speeches for eight hours that we’re not giving the municipalities enough.

Mr. Conway: What’s $1 million?

Hon. Mr. McKeough: I don’t say this is something to be settled between now and 6 o’clock, but at some point or another, if you want the municipalities and school boards to have a lot more from provincial funds, then you’d better make up your mind --

Mr. Shore: No, I don’t have to make up my mind.

Hon. Mr. McKeough: -- are you talking about raising provincial taxes or what provincial services are you going to cut back on?

Mr. Shore: Would the minister agree that this is an important enough subject it should at least be given the opportunity of being discussed amongst the Legislature and the municipalities? He’s said no several times.

Hon. Mr. McKeough: I have said no, that we’re not about to transfer our taxes. We are not about to agree to transfer more than 30 per cent of our revenue at this moment in time.

There was one other question. The figure on the farm tax rebate which we recover has been running about $100,000 a year. The commitment re grants in lieu -- no, I can’t give that commitment at this moment. I don’t know where you are getting your $200 million figure from. We don’t know what the figure is going to be and until we do --

Mr. Swart: If you have the figures from the Niagara region -- if you have the examples you can compute it.

Hon. Mr. McKeough: There is no reason to assume that the Niagara region is necessarily typical or that for provincial payments in lieu you can simply multiply by 10. I don’t know -- I told the municipal liaison committee a month ago that I would not give that commitment until I knew what the bill was.

Mr. Swart: If it’s fair for you to use the Niagara region as an example, I can use it as an example too.

Hon. Mr. McKeough: The Niagara region? Yes, certainly, and it is a good example but I have no idea whether $200 million is right. Until we know what that figure is I don’t think we want to give that kind of a commitment.

Mr. Swart: You are hedging.

Hon. Mr. McKeough: No, we don’t know what the figure is.

Mr. B. Newman: How about sharing the time left, Mr. Chairman?

Mr. Chairman: Order, please. The hon. member for High Park-Swansea.

Mr. Ziemba: I have a very brief question for the Treasurer, through you, Mr. Chairman. Why is it that the hospital-owned laundries of this province are asked to pay municipal property taxes when the hospitals, being charitable institutions, do not have to pay tax? These hospital-owned laundries are operated in the interest of hospitals. Eleven of them have been set up all over this province and they are providing a very economical service to the hospitals. They are exempted from sales tax by the Minister of Revenue (Mr. Meen) with regard to their purchases, why is it that you --

Hon. Mr. McKeough: I don’t want to interrupt --

Mr. Ziemba: -- charge them -- I haven’t finished.

Hon. Mr. McKeough: It is not me. The Minister of Revenue decides if they are taxable or not under the Assessment Act, not any Act of mine.

Mr. Ziemba: Are you providing a bonanza for the lawyers so they can fight these issues out?

Mr. Chairman: Order, please, it comes under another ministry, the Ministry of Revenue. Briefly the hon. member for Waterloo North.

Mr. Shore: He has changed his mind.

Mr. B. Newman: If you would share the time we could talk.

Ms. Bryden: Mr. Chairman, I have one question. Has the provincial Treasurer considered some assistance to municipalities and school boards for the extra costs of the OHIP premiums which were estimated in their own estimates at $22 million? I doubt if this has been provided for in very many budgets.

Hon. Mr. McKeough: No.

Mr. Chairman: Does vote 1007 carry?

Vote 1007 agreed to.

On vote 1008:

Mrs. Campbell: Mr. Chairman, excuse me, the minister undertook to answer my question.

Hon. Mr. McKeough: Mr. Chairman, we have no intention of proceeding with that at the moment.

Mr. Chairman: Shall vote 1008 carry?

Votes 1008 and 1009 agreed to.

Mr. Chairman: This completes the estimates of the Ministry of Treasury, Economics and Intergovernmental Affairs.

The House recessed at 6 p.m.