The House met at 2 p.m.
Mr. Speaker: Statements by the ministry.
Hon. Mr. Handleman: Mr. Speaker, this afternoon I’ll be introducing a new Credit Unions Act for consideration by the Legislature. This Act will grant important new powers to the credit union movement while also providing for improved security for depositors.
Ontario has enjoyed a remarkably sound record of safety and security for the public’s savings. This record has been achieved while at the same time encouraging rapid growth in the number and scope of provincially-regulated borrowing institutions.
The dual policy of security and service is reflected in the new Act. The most important provision is for deposit insurance of up to $20,000 for each depositor, the same as in banks and loan and trust companies.
The insurance will be provided by a new Ontario Share and Deposit Insurance Corp. under the direction of a nine-man board appointed by the Lieutenant Governor. Six of these directors will come from the two major associations representing credit unions and caisses populaire and three directors will be appointed to represent the public and those credit unions which do not belong to one of the associations.
The Deposit Insurance Corp. will be funded by an initial assessment of one per cent of the total share capital and deposits of every credit union and caisse populaire in Ontario. This amount will be paid either directly or through an association and it will be treated as an investment rather than an expense. A total of approximately $17 million will be raised in this way.
Interest paid on this initial assessment will be more than sufficient to cover all the administrative costs of the corporation. This insurance scheme will not be a burden on the taxpayer or the movement. No additional assessments should be necessary unless the fund sustains serious losses.
My ministry will retain ultimate responsibility for supervision and inspection of credit unions in this province. The Superintendent of Insurance will also examine the Share and Deposit Insurance Corp. in the same way as any other insurance company and it will have to meet the same requirements.
On the basis of deposit insurance, we are prepared to encourage wider powers and faster growth for the credit union movement. Some of these new powers include: The power to invest in guaranteed or insured mortgages; eligibility of business partnerships for credit union membership; the power to act outside Ontario in certain matters; elimination of the requirement that credit union members must make up 51 per cent of the voting shareholders of corporations having a credit union membership; the power to invest in real estate for income purposes; the power to act as an agent on behalf of credit union membership; the power to purchase life insurance for members; the power to establish and support funds, trusts and pensions for employees or former employees and their dependents.
Mr. Speaker, our objective is to increase competition among suppliers of financial services because we believe this is the best possible way to serve the public interest. In our view, a healthy, fast-growing credit union industry is one of the best defences we have against the potential impact of highly concentrated financial resources such as those wielded by the five largest chartered banks. This new legislation will act as the basis for fresh expansion and development of the credit union movement.
This legislation is being introduced for first reading today and will stand on the order paper in order to give everyone affected an opportunity to study it. We look forward to proceeding with the bill in the fall after all comments have been received and evaluated.
I would like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to the select committee on company law whose report on credit unions laid the groundwork for this progressive legislation.
PETROLEUM PRICING REPORT
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to advise the House that Part I of the final report by the Royal Commission on Petroleum Products Pricing has been received by the Lieutenant Governor.
This comprehensive text deals with the refining and marketing of petroleum products in Ontario and is the first of two reports, the latter of which will address the question of security of supply and will provide a general review of the commission’s work. Recent events pertaining to crude oil are cited by the commission as requiring further reflection and thus the need for additional time. It is anticipated that Part II of the final report will be available around the first week of July.
The terms of reference of this royal commission provided for detailed analysis and the commissioner and his staff are to be complimented on their thoroughness in soliciting the facts.
In tabling this report, the government looks for the public’s reaction and comments. Consequently, the public is invited to send to me their comments so that they may be incorporated into the overall review of the commission’s recommendations.
The Ministry of Energy has been assigned responsibility for the review of the recommendations and co-ordination of the public’s comments as well as the co-ordination of those other ministries of the government which have an interest in the commission’s findings.
I would expect to conclude our evaluation and to make known the government’s response to the recommendations within the very near future.
FARM INCOME STABILIZATION PLAN
Hon. W. Newman: Mr. Speaker, later this afternoon I shall introduce the Farm Income Stabilization Act, 1976.
Mr. Haggerty: After two years?
Hon. W. Newman: It will play a vital role in maintaining a strong agricultural base in Ontario, to the benefit of both producer and consumer. At this time I would like to outline the events and policies that have led to this legislation.
Farmers have always been plagued by the problem of cash returns fluctuating wildly from one year to the next. With farm production costs spiralling, there has been intensive discussion in recent years of ways to help offset periods of low market prices and this bring greater stability to the whole agriculture and food complex. The goal is to set support price levels high enough to be meaningful in the lean years, but not so high that they would act as incentives to overproduction. At the same time, it is important that governmental interference should be kept to a minimum, with the farmer’s need to run his own operation in his own way kept intact.
The federal government and the provinces began discussing farm income stabilization three years ago, since agricultural policy is a federal-provincial responsibility. Concern was high at that time over world-wide food shortages and the government of Canada had called for increased food production in Canada. Any sustained and meaningful increase could occur only if farmers were assured that production increases would not be accompanied by the usual sharp drop in prices and incomes.
The provincial governments agreed that income stabilization measures should be national in scope, and thus mainly a federal function, although they would have to be flexible enough to allow for regional variations. We were all aware of the dangers of interprovincial competition -- and even price wars -- if each province brought in its own large-scale programmes of farm income stabilization. That sort of Balkanization would run directly counter to the growing patterns of interdependence among all segments of Canada’s food industry.
On the other hand, all the provincial governments realized that special situations would arise requiring provincial programmes to protect producers of a specific commodity. One example of such action is the Ontario government’s highly successful beef-calf programme, initiated last year when markets were severely depressed.
Apart from these general areas of agreement, however, the negotiators in the protracted federal-provincial talks took many, varying approaches to the income stabilization concept.
This government, for one, was not satisfied when the House of Commons passed Bill C-50 to amend the federal Agricultural Stabilization Act last July. It guaranteed farmers at least 90 per cent of the average market price for the previous five years plus an adjustment to reflect increases in their production costs. This guarantee applied to a list of named commodities -- cattle, sheep, swine, industrial milk and cream, corn, soya beans, and oats and barley not included in the provisions of the Canada Wheat Board Act. Bill C-50 also permitted the federal government to designate other commodities for inclusion from time to time. We felt these measures did not go far enough to meet the needs of agriculture in Ontario.
We pressed Ottawa repeatedly not only to guarantee every Canadian farmer 90 per cent of the average market price for his commodities over the previous five years or, better still, the previous three years, but also to co-operate in a supplementary voluntary programme to guarantee a higher level of support for producers who wanted it. We envisaged a three-way partnership of the federal government, the provincial government and the Ontario farmers who chose to enrol in a plan covering a particular commodity. Each would contribute equally to a stabilization fund that would build up in good years and make compensating payments to contributors in bad years at support levels to be determined jointly by the three partners.
I still feel such a plan has much to commend it, but since I became Minister of Agriculture and Food last October it has become apparent that it is increasingly difficult to reach federal-provincial accord on stabilization. This must be done, however, and our efforts in this regard will be continued through the deputy ministers’ committee established last year at the agriculture ministers’ conference in Newfoundland. In the absence of a comprehensive, meaningful national programme, British Columbia and Quebec had meanwhile legislated their own provincial programmes. Reluctantly, the government of Ontario decided to do likewise.
We considered several alternative ways of operating a provincial income stabilization plan. Some were discarded because we simply cannot afford them, especially during this government’s anti-inflationary programme of restraints on spending. Others might have led to the sort of interprovincial rivalry in farm marketing systems that I mentioned earlier. We have chosen a programme that is tailored to our means as well as our needs. It will dovetail with the federal farm income stabilization plan, and it will guarantee that every serious producer of every commodity in Ontario is protected against disastrously low market prices. At the risk of over-simplifying, these are the key provisions of the Act:
First, it provides for appointment of five or more members to a Farm Income Stabilization Commission of Ontario. This Crown agency and its staff will administer a permanent fund for programmes providing support to all Ontario commodities other than those named or designated under the federal Act and those regulated by marketing boards that both set prices and allot quotas. The latter category consists of dairy products, poultry and eggs. Our beef-calf programme will operate independently until the government’s contracts with producers expire in 1980, at which time it will also come under the commission’s regulations. Our programme is thus designed to embrace all commodities for which no federal support is available, except in those cases where prices established by marketing boards are higher than the stabilization support level. We have no wish to interfere with the collective bargaining process already established between processors and producers of these commodities.
Commodities for which stabilization is made available will be supported at a level equal to 90 per cent of the average market price for the previous five years, adjusted for production cost changes in the current year as compared to the five-year average. This is the same level at which the federal programme operates, so Ontario’s plan should have no undesirable effects on the marketing systems in our sister provinces.
If unusual circumstances made it necessary, the commission could provide extra support for a specific commodity by temporarily increasing the base level above 90 per cent.
All the commissioners will be members of Ontario’s agricultural community and every effort will be made to ensure a broad representation of interests. The commission’s general manager will be its chief administrative officer. Subject to ministerial approval, the commission may also engage outside experts if necessary. It will be empowered to consult and conduct discussions with marketing boards and any other organizations or groups of producers of this province. The commission’s accounts will be audited by the Provincial Auditor and its annual reports will be submitted to this House.
Mr. Sargent: Sounds like a lot of bull.
Hon. W. Newman: I believe members will agree that the Farm Income Stabilization Act will provide the greater degree of income security that Ontario farmers need which, in turn, will strengthen our food production system for the benefit of everyone in Ontario.
TRAVEL INDUSTRY COMPENSATION FUND
Hon. Mr. Handleman: Mr. Speaker, I would like to inform the House that we have filed a regulation to amend regulation 367-75 tinder the Travel Industry Act. Copies of the new regulation will be distributed to all members so that they will have some idea of its contents.
The change in the regulations makes it clear that travel agents who have reimbursed the public or who have provided alternate vacation when a travel wholesaler failed to provide the contracted service may claim against the fund. We felt there was some urgency in making the move at this time because there are many agents’ claims currently outstanding. I have stated many times that agents who dealt at arm’s length from the wholesaler and who have acted in good faith in compensating consumers should have access to the fund. These claims will be dealt with shortly.
Mr. Speaker, I have continually stressed to the industry that if amendments to the Act are required, they would be made. I repeated that commitment during the examination of my ministry’s estimates. I will today introduce legislation which will remove some of the uncertainties which have concerned members of the travel industry, particularly with regard to the specific application of section 13 of the Act. We believe that the new regulation and the proposed amendments to the Act will meet the concerns of the travel industry while emphasizing our Primary responsibility to the travelling public.
Section 3 of the bill which will be introduced today removes any uncertainty as to the validity of regulation 491-76. These measures have been worked out in consultation with the travel industry and its representatives, the Ontario Travel Industry Conference.
POINT OF PRIVILEGE
Hon. Mr. Bernier: Mr. Speaker, I would like to make a statement of privilege arising out of comments contained in a column which appeared in the Globe and Mail on Wednesday, June 2, under the byline of Norman Webster.
Mr. Lewis: You want to make a statement of privilege! I should make the statement.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: In this column, Mr. Speaker, it is stated, with explicit reference to myself that:
“He is playing down the menace of Minamata disease on the Indian reserves. He will, if he can get away with it, put the mercury problem back behind the curtain where we won’t see it or smell it or be critical of those who mishandle it.”
Mr. Deans: What is the privilege of that?
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. Order.
Mr. Martel: What else is new?
Mr. Lewis: That was the only redeeming paragraph.
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: I sure wish the member for Lake Nipigon was in the Chair.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: Mr. Speaker, I resent both the explicit allegation contained in these statements and the innuendo which they imply. I consider them to be clearly and deliberately inflammatory and an attack against my integrity as an elected public servant. It has always been the policy of the government, and my policy as a member of that government, to deal with the needs of the native people of the Grassy Narrows --
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: -- and Whitedog Reserves in a responsible manner. I have consistently held that it is my responsibility, as an elected representative of these people and a member of the government, to ensure that every possible medical and scientific resource which is available to this and other governments is brought to bear on this issue to find out what the possible effects of mercury on the health of the members of these bands may be.
As well, I have also held that the social and economic needs of these people should be handled separately, as they have been by this government, and that our programmes should be fully integrated with those of the federal government.
We have streamlined our efforts through the appointment of an inter-ministry co-ordinator who is based in Kenora. The government is also funding another co-ordinator working specifically for the band councils and who is based on the reserve.
This is the course the government has taken and it is one which is being effective, and I hope it will be maintained.
Mr. Makarchuk: Is this a point of privilege or a ministerial statement?
Hon. Mr. Bernier: I also wish to take exception to another statement in the same column which asserts that I am “up on my high horse and riding it hell for leather.”
Mr. Angus: Some horse. On a moose, I think.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: I interpret this to mean that I am taking satisfaction in the discomfort of other public figures on this issue. I resent this statement and its implication because it is opposite to the views which I do hold, and hold most strongly.
Mr. Warner: This is absurd.
Mr. Martel: There has been no action over the sears.
Mr. MacDonald: Methinks he protesteth too much.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: I do not now, nor have I ever believed, that the health of these people is a fit or proper subject for partisan politics. Far from taking satisfaction from this sorry affair, it is my hope that this incident --
Mr. Breaugh: You don’t know anything about it.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: -- will serve as a lesson to all of us that we have a long way to go in attempting to serve the needs of our native people throughout this province.
Mr. Martel: Six years too long.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: I do not believe that any one political party or any one member of this House, myself included, has any corner on commitment or interest in the welfare of these people.
On Monday, the Leader of the Opposition called for a non-partisan approach to the health needs of these people. I would say to him, at this time, that as far as I am concerned, it is a non-partisan affair and that if he is prepared to accept the responsibility for his suggestion, I will accept it at face value and he will find that it is returned in kind by me and my staff.
Mr. Laughren: You are an embarrassment.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: I would also point out that it is not for us as politicians to jump to conclusions and to take decisions which can only be taken properly by medical and health scientists. When we assume those responsibilities and prerogatives we do a disservice to this House and to the public.
When there is a final determination on this matter, it will then be our responsibility to bring forward policies which will assist these people. In the meantime, let us get on with the job of supporting the joint undertaking of this Legislature and the Parliament of Canada without regard to partisanship or recriminations.
Mr. Lewis: Call a debate tomorrow, call off the dogs of war.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: Quite properly and understandably, people resent attitudes which are condescending or paternalistic. There is no room in this important matter --
An hon. member: People resent you.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: -- for such attitudes. Equally, there is no room for partisanship.
Mr. Lewis: That’s called chutzpah.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
POINT OF PRIVILEGE
Mr. S. Smith: On a point of privilege, in a letter dated Sept. 12, 1975, from L. G. Link, president of Ashland Oil of Canada Ltd., the then Liberal Party in Ontario received a contribution by way of a cheque for $4,000 for its election campaign funds.
Mr. Yakabuski: Oh my gosh! What a waste of money!
Mr. S. Smith: Among the subsidiary companies of Ashland Oil is Towland-Hewitson Construction Ltd. of Thunder Bay. Ashland’s contribution to this party is documented and recorded in accordance with the legislation passed by this House. We welcome the support given freely and openly by Ashland Oil as an example of good corporate citizenship.
Mr. Angus: I would say that was straight self-preservation.
Mr. S. Smith: In the case of the Liberal Party, the support was given --
Mr. Speaker: Order, please, order. The hon. member for Hamilton West.
Mr. S. Smith: Apparently donations from American unions are welcome but not from US companies which operate in this country.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Beautiful.
Mr. S. Smith: In the case of the Liberal Party, the support was given without favours sought and, on our part certainly, no promises or undertakings made.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Mr. Lewis: I feel like a point of personal privilege -- just on principle.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Mr. Lewis: As a matter of privilege, I would like to know why no major multinational corporations ever offer us a donation which we might then refuse?
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. I think we should get on with the question period now.
Mr. Reid: Fix the NDP halo first, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. Let’s get on with the serious business of the House now.
GRASSY NARROWS RESERVE
Mr. Lewis: May I, Mr. Speaker, following the non-partisan wish of the Minister of National Resources, direct my question to the Premier, if he can gather himself together.
May I ask him, through the Speaker, given the information that has now emerged of the Grassy Narrows and Whitedog Indians’ unwillingness to eat the fish in the freezer, and the clear unavailability of alternative food supplies without mercury contamination in the surrounding lakes, is there any conceivable step which the government might now take or is contemplating to provide a response to what is looming as a pretty clear crisis in terms of alternative protein sources?
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I have followed this discussion -- including the Leader of the Opposition’s visit to the site over the weekend and the early part of the week -- and I share the concern of all of us, I think, that a very logical and intelligent solution to this problem, not a total solution, appears perhaps not to be working.
There is no question that the availability of food supply was there and can be there. Quite frankly I find it a little difficult to understand why the people resident in that community don’t avail themselves of it. Whether some alternatives could be found or whether the same reaction might develop I can’t honestly say to the Leader of the Opposition but it is a matter that the government will be pursuing.
I do say to him as unemotionally and in as non-partisan a fashion as I can -- because I really don’t think it is a matter of partisan politics at all -- I still can’t quite understand the reluctance of the people in that community to avail themselves of this very proper source of food supply. It is something that I don’t totally understand. Perhaps the Leader of the Opposition does; I don’t as yet.
However, we continue to recognize this as a problem and the government will be taking whatever steps we can. You can’t force people to eat certain foods; you can’t force them to do things they don’t want to do. The best we can do is to make certain things available. I restate that the policy was developed; the programme made this food supply, a traditional food supply, available for them; the fact it is not being used is still somewhat difficult for me to comprehend.
Mr. Lewis: By way of a supplementary, if I may: Might it be possible to provide a focus for the breakdown in communications, which clearly exists between Grassy Narrows, Whitedog and the government, by one of the alternatives suggested, not just by me but by others, for alternative food supplies, long-term economic development and some effort to prevent a showdown at the road on June 10? Might the Premier consider instituting some alternative measure within the next week?
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, we certainly are looking at it. I am really one of those who does not believe there will be a showdown on June 10. I think that with a reasonable approach and with a degree of understanding by those who are involved, this can be avoided; but certainly we are looking at it right now.
Mr. Lewis: A related question of the Solicitor General or Provincial Secretary for Justice, if I may: Is he still proceeding with his sabotage inquiry at Grassy Narrows?
Hon. Mr. MacBeth: Sir, I didn’t realize there was a sabotage inquiry, but yes, we’ve sent Insp. Doug Civil of the OPP to the reserve to see what he can find out about the situation there and the turning off of the freezer or the failure of the freezer.
PETROLEUM PRICING REPORT
Mr. Lewis: May I ask a question of the Minister of Energy? Since an admittedly cursory reading of the recommendations of the royal commission on petroleum products pricing indicates that it appears to be a most extraordinary endorsement, not to say a whitewash of the oil companies, is it possible for us to have for public review the various financial statements on which these recommendations and conclusions were based?
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: I think the term “whitewash” or whatever is perhaps a little strong after a cursory review; I haven’t even had a chance to finish reading it word for word myself.
Mr. Breaugh: You can prove it by opening the books.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: The material, I believe, is available through the submissions that were made to the inquiry. I’m checking again the question of how any material that was received in camera in phase one of the royal commission’s work is to be dealt with at the conclusion of the inquiry as to the role of the commissioner and/or the archivist and the Attorney General’s office disposition of that material. But I believe the hon. member would have available to him, if he doesn’t have them already, the various briefs that were submitted by the companies, by groups such as the Federation of Independent Business, the Ontario Retail Gasoline Association and so forth. If he doesn’t have those, I would suggest that he have one of his staff phone the secretary of the commission. I’m sure they can be made available.
Mr. Lewis: By way of supplementary, how is it possible for us to measure the commissioner’s opposition to so many positions put forward to him, without knowing or having access to the financial statements tabled in camera? How can this report be given credence without those financial statements?
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Again, if the member will take the time -- this is a very important subject, and I don’t think we should try to solve all the problems or dismiss everything within the next five minutes. If he’ll take the time to read the report, he’ll find that the royal commission did extensive surveying on their own of retail dealers throughout the province, looking at the rental situation, consignment selling, the dealer margins, tankwagon prices and various other aspects of the retail sector.
Mr. Bullbrook: What does that have to do with the question? That’s not even remotely connected to the question.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: The hon. member for Sarnia knows it all, so he’s going to babble on. I’ll talk with the hon. Leader of the Opposition. In fact, they have done a lot of the work themselves and not relied entirely on what they got from either the companies or groups representing the retail and/or independent operators.
Mr. Singer: Why don’t you answer the question?
Mr. Shore: Does that answer your question?
Mr. Stokes: Since the commissioner himself admits to a discrepancy of 19 cents a gallon and he was only able to justify 13.4 cents of it in the price component, one cent of which is for full realization of posted tankwagon prices between north and south, and 5.4 cents for transportation, will the minister and his officials question the components that go to make up the 19-cent differential between north and south?
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: First of all, if the hon. member cares to go with me later this afternoon, we’ll go to a certain gas station at the corner of St. Charles and Bay St., where the price of gasoline today is 89.9 cents a gallon; then we’ll go out to Scarborough, where there is a station at Kingston Rd. and Danforth charging 72.9 cents. There is a 17-cent spread even within Metropolitan Toronto.
Mr. Reid: You can’t find it at that price in northern Ontario.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Again, if the hon. member will read the report and look at the material -- I’ve already got a lot of questions myself and I’m only three-quarters of the way going through it word for word. I have a lot of questions that I want clarified by the commissioner and/or his staff. We want to do a complete review with our sister ministries and to sit down with a number of the groups that appeared before the commission, to get their comments on the report before we make any final determination.
HOSPITAL WORKERS DISPUTE
Mr. Lewis: A question of the Minister of Health, if I may: How are we going to resolve the impasse in the hospital workers negotiations now that the votes are coming in -- I gather just half an hour ago -- ranging in favour of a strike between 76 and 99 per cent in the five hospitals that have so far voted?
Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, I wish I knew that it was going to be resolved. The mechanisms for discussion are there. The employees are employees of the hospitals, not of the province. The province has made its budgetary amounts clearly known to the hospitals. We feel that the bargaining must take place between the unions and the hospitals according to the law and I would do anything I could to encourage those groups to go back to discussion.
I understand discussions haven’t been going on for some time, that the actions and counter-actions I assume are being heard either today or tomorrow by the Labour Relations Board, as a result of the threats of the strike and the threats that bargaining in good faith has not been going on. I just sincerely hope that these groups will get back to the bargaining table and try to proceed.
Mr. Lewis: And if they don’t, pray tell, what then?
Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, if they don’t, if the proper final result is compulsory arbitration, as required by the law, that is the only course of action I could recommend.
INDIAN LAND AND RESOURCE CLAIMS
Mr. Lewis: One last question, if I may, to the Minister of Natural Resources: I gather that the minister has had in his possession for more than a year now, from within the ministry, a quite comprehensive assortment of Indian land and resource claims, identifying no less than 97 potential areas of controversy and conflict around claims in the Province of Ontario. What has happened to this material and where is the minister taking it from here?
Hon. Mr. Bernier: Mr. Speaker, that’s the initial report. I have appointed Ted Wilson, of my staff, to go into further details and to further examine all areas of Indian land claims within the province so that we can put it into one package, including the various problems that are related to those land issues. Then they will be coming forward and within my ministry we will be making a presentation to the federal government, to CCRD first and then to cabinet, to find out and try to resolve them.
Mr. Lewis: Supplementary: It is possible for the minister to share with the Legislature the ongoing work of his ministry, since many of these claims go well beyond land? They deal with matters that are capable of resolution within Ontario.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: Mr. Speaker, I will consider that.
Mr. Renwick: Mr. Speaker, could we have a supplementary question? Is the list of 97 claims to which the Leader of the Opposition referred the ministry’s conception of what the claims are, or have they been arrived at by discussion with the Indian community throughout Ontario?
Hon. Mr. Bernier: Mr. Speaker, they have been pulled together in a number of different ways; some from direct contact with the Indian bands, others are ones that we are aware of, others that we can find within the land files that cause us some concern and raise some question, and they are all put in the same package.
Mr. Renwick: Supplementary question: I can take it then that in no sense is that list an exclusive list?
Hon. Mr. Bernier: No, I don’t think so, Mr. Speaker. This is why Mr. Wilson has been appointed to delve into it solely, and his time is being spent solely on that particular subject.
Mr. Sargent: Supplementary: Is there any reason why cash payments can’t be made to the Indians now, concerning the lands acquired from the Indian reserves by the ministry over the years in the Bruce Peninsula?
Hon. Mr. Bernier: Mr. Speaker, there is some concern and there are some legal problems with regard to the agreement between the Ontario government and the federal government that dates back to 1924. We are trying to resolve that. We’ve had discussions with the various Indian leaders. We think we’re very near that point where we can resolve the issue that the federal government wanted to resolve with us, and further clarify the land issue problems as related to those land problems pre-dating 1924, because I believe there were two court cases that were quite different in their solutions. These are being resolved by agreement with the three parties. Once that is resolved and clarified, then we will be able to make payments to those Indian bands whose funds are being held in trust on their behalf.
Mr. Speaker: I’ll announce this as the final supplementary.
Mr. R. S. Smith: I would like to ask the minister if, included in this list, is the caution of the Bear Island Indian band on the 105 townships in northeastern Ontario? Is Mr. Wilson now dealing with that Indian claim as well?
Hon. Mr. Bernier: Mr. Speaker, I suspect that that would be one of the land issues. It’s one of the larger issues in the province at the present time. Mr. Wilson certainly will be dealing with that particular issue.
FARM INCOME STABILIZATION PLAN
Mr. S. Smith: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Minister of Agriculture and Food. Based on his statement today about the proposed Farm Income Stabilization Act, do I understand correctly that he will be naming a commission and the commissioners will basically be on the government payroll? If I’m correct about that, is this not going directly against what the farmers have asked for, namely, an agency with no government ties which will be able to bargain for farmers with the government? What kind of bargaining will government commissioners be able to do on their behalf?
Hon. W. Newman: Mr. Speaker, the commission I propose to set up could have various representatives from various groups from across this province, as I said. It could also have a civil servant or two on it. This will be the commission which will be dealing with individual groups and organizations which want to come forward to get involved in the programme.
Mr. S. Smith: A supplementary question: Is the minister planning to honour the producers’ request for a programme covering this crop year? Has he been doing the cost of production analyses and the various kinds of homework which will be necessary for anticipating this legislation which, after all, he has promised for so long? Is it going to cover this crop year as requested?
Hon. W. Newman: Mr. Speaker, when the member sees this bill he will have a chance to examine it. We have been monitoring and keeping statistical data for a number of years and we will certainly have the necessary data as stated.
As far as covering this crop year is concerned, it will cover this crop year but the pay out, of course, will come at the end of the crop year.
Mr. MacDonald: A supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Did I understand the minister correctly in his earlier statement, by way of an explanation, that the price would be decided by the government or by this commission and, if so, through negotiations with the appropriate farm organizations?
Hon. W. Newman: This commission will deal with the various commodity groups which want to get involved in this programme. They will come forward to the commission and make their representations. The commission will talk to them about the cost of production factors, sale values and all the pertinent facts which I mentioned in the statement. They will then make recommendations to the minister for implementation.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. May I just point out, first of all, that’s it’s been indicated clearly that the bill will be introduced. I think we’re wasting the time of the House at this time to question in detail the various matters which will be dealt with by the bill. We’re anticipating that it’s going to be dealt with very shortly and it’s in direct contravention to a certain order on our order paper.
BREAK-IN AT BROADCASTER’S APARTMENT
Mr. S. Smith: I have a question of the Solicitor General. This is with regard to the break-in at the apartment of broadcaster Don McNeill in Ottawa. Is there some rational explanation why the Ottawa police allegedly waited until they were told that publicity would be given to this whole matter if they didn’t send out investigators to the apartment? Is it correct that the identification unit was not sent out in this case although that is normally standard procedure? Can the minister clarify the behaviour of the Ottawa police in this matter?
Hon. Mr. MacBeth: Mr. Speaker, I cannot do so. I’ll get that information.
Mr. S. Smith: I have a question of the Minister of Transportation and Communications -- he’s disappeared; there he is. While he’s taking his seat: In view of the minister’s statement that he studied the nine deaths which occurred in moped accidents in Ontario last year and concluded that there was no clear evidence that helmets could have averted those tragedies, can he make the same statement with respect to injuries? Particularly, can he tell us the statistics with respect to head injuries? If the deaths couldn’t have been prevented, how many serious head injuries would have been prevented by the use of helmets?
Hon. Mr. Snow: No. Mr. Speaker, I can’t give that detailed information right now. I don’t know whether our statistics give us enough of that detail to be able to determine how many of the injuries that did occur were head injuries, or might have been prevented by the use of helmets.
I want to make it perfectly clear, Mr. Speaker, that although I am not satisfied we have a satisfactory helmet to regulate at this time, it is certainly my opinion that a helmet is advisable and that I hope some type of helmet is available in the future that could be used in this situation But the heavy motorcycle helmet, as everyone knows and as was debated in this House by my predecessor and the members of the House, I don’t believe is a suitable protective helmet for this particular use.
Mr. Cunningham: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Am I correct in assuming by what I read in one of the Toronto papers that the rationale for the minister’s failure to enact legislation to cover people who drive mopeds was, in fact, the reason that the mopeds go extremely slowly and not as fast as a regular motorcycle and it doesn’t afford the driver the kind of ventilation for his helmet that a regular motorcycle would by virtue of its speed?
Hon. Mr. Snow: That was one comment that I made; and I think I am not concerned about that comment at all. Certainly, I do think that the heavy, padded --
Mr. Sargent: He is pulling your leg.
Hon. Mr. Snow: -- enclosed motorcycle helmet would be a most unreasonable and most uncomfortable thing for a person riding a moped or a bicycle to wear. If the member doesn’t agree with me, well then that’s fine.
Mr. Shore: Talk about the seatbelts then.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Mr. Germa: Whatever happened to the promise of the minister’s predecessor that the ministry would be developing a helmet for moped drivers?
Hon. Mr. Snow: Mr. Speaker, my ministry is not in the business of manufacturing helmets of any type, and we don’t intend to be. But my staff has worked very hard over the past year and investigated many types of helmets to see if there was some type available that would more appropriately meet the needs of this particular situation. To date staff have not felt they have come up with a helmet they could recommend that we regulate, unless we were prepared to go for the full motorcycle helmet. What to me seems more appropriate and may eventually be the conclusion, is a helmet similar to those worn by hockey players, that is much lighter, has ventilation slots in it and I think would supply a degree of protection, although it’s really not made for this particular purpose.
Mr. Speaker: Final supplementary; the member for Wilson Heights.
Mr. Singer: I wonder if the minister would advise us whether or not he thinks it appropriate that he should repeal legislation passed by this House and introduced by his predecessor merely by getting up somewhere and making a speech, instead of bringing a repealing statute before the Legislature and hearing the Legislature’s comments.
Hon. Mr. Snow: Mr. Speaker, first of all I didn’t get up anywhere and make a speech. I have done nothing to repeal any part of the legislation; and the member knows that, perhaps better than most members of the House.
Mr. Singer: Legislation is there and there was a debate about it and there were going to be helmets; and now the minister wipes it out with a stroke of his hand.
Mr. Speaker: Order please. It is developing into a debate right now.
Hon. Mr. Snow: With all due respect, Mr. Speaker, I don’t think the hon. member knows what he is talking about. That legislation was debated --
Mr. Ruston: He said with all due respect.
Mr. Singer: You’ll eat those words someday.
Mr. Shore: Is that with all due respect?
Hon. Mr. Snow: I always have respect for the legal profession but I never -- very seldom anyway -- take their advice.
Mr. Shore: That’s your first mistake.
Mr. S. Smith: Can’t win them all, Roy.
Hon. Mr. Snow: Especially that of my colleague on my right.
Mr. Singer: You get worse as you go on.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. Let’s get on with the question period.
Mr. Ruston: Sit down while you are ahead.
Hon. Mr. Snow: Mr. Speaker, as the hon. member knows, or should know, if he refers to the debate in this House, it was decided and agreed in this House that the clause would be put in the legislation but that it would not be proclaimed until a satisfactory helmet was available.
Mr. Singer: Nonsense, nonsense.
Mr. Speaker: Order please.
Hon. Mr. Snow: A satisfactory helmet is not available, so that clause has not been proclaimed. It is still there and can be proclaimed at any time.
Mr. Singer: Until you had a satisfactory ne, that’s all. You were given the job to apply the statute.
Mr. Shore: I got a good one.
Mr. S. Smith: I have a question of the Minister of Health, which he may wish to share with the recently arrived Attorney General (Mr. McMurtry). The minister has apparently indicated to the House that he has been looking into the Browndale contract; this was on Tuesday and I wasn’t here. Is he prepared to give a full report to the House and make the audit public? Why has it taken since February to finish an audit which was supposed to take one month? Will the minister stop stonewalling on this important issue?
Mr. Cunningham: Time is your strength.
Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, as a result of the audit done by our staff, we asked for details on the professional components charged by Browndale National -- I think that is the name of the company -- to Browndale Ontario. This information, I am told, is going to be given to us and we will be allowed to look at it at that time and come to some conclusions as to the fairness of the charges; whether, in fact, they’ve kept enough people on staff to justify the amounts charged per person per day and so on. I’d like to give them the time to respond, since they said they would do so.
Mr. S. Smith: Supplementary: Is the minister aware that the longer he continues delaying and giving them more and more time to prepare things for him, the greater the harm it is doing the parents and the reputation of other operators and the children? I’m being deluged with letters about this. Does he realize that time is of the essence and that this session is only going on a little while longer?
Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, I think the two things are totally unrelated. Browndale has problems, but they don’t relate to whether or not I’m paying a fair amount or Browndale is paying a fair amount for the psychological or psychiatric services supplied by its central office.
There certainly are problems involving the quality of care, particularly in Haliburton, that have been of real concern to this ministry of late. Those are under active discussion and it would appear that the best solution could well be the same kind of local board that we set up in Peterborough.
I understand some disagreement has been voiced by members of Browndale about that course of action. As yet, as far as I know, I don’t have any authority to insist on it. I can only request it and I’ve been doing that.
Mr. Shore: Supplementary: It was my understanding that the acting Minister of Health (B. Stephenson) said that as soon as the audit was done it would be presented to this House, and I don’t think it is a matter of what’s in the audit, but I would like to ask the minister why he will not present the audit to this House?
Hon. F. S. Miller: I have not said I wouldn’t.
Mr. Shore: Pardon? I didn’t hear the answer.
Mr. Speaker: Would the minister repeat his answer?
Hon. F. S. Miller: I have not said I wouldn’t. I’ll be glad to review what the acting minister said and make that determination.
Hon. W. Newman: Mr. Speaker, I would like to reply to a question raised by the leader of the third party, Monday, May 31, 1976, regarding a virus problem in grapes.
Mr. Lewis: I didn’t like that when you used to do it to us. It wasn’t nice.
Hon. W. Newman: Okay, the leader of the Liberal Party.
Mr. S. Smith: I don’t mind.
Mr. Speaker: Order please.
Hon. W. Newman: The article that was published in Farm and Country on this topic misrepresents the situation as it does not describe the complete facts. Mr. Ron Moyer, chairman of the Ontario Grape Producers Marketing Board, has issued a statement correcting the article, and this appeared in Tuesday night’s edition of the St. Catharines Standard:
“The approval for the importation of vines and grape stock from Europe and the checking of such is an Agriculture Canada responsibility, not Ontario agriculture as a ministry. We are well aware of the total situation. Samples of the vines and root stocks imported this year are under test and will be for at least a couple of years, hence results are not available.
“The 70 percent infected stock referred to in the article relates to the past. It must be realized that only those vines and root stocks which are suspicious from a visual point of view are sent to the Agriculture Canada quarantine station at Sidney, B.C.
“The staff of the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food, located at the Horticultural Research Institute of Ontario at Vineland, are all very well aware of the situation and are working closely with the scientists of the research branch of Agriculture Canada to assist growers in this matter. Agriculture Canada has made a proposal to Landscape Ontario as to how virus-indexed stock could be made available to nurserymen and growers in Ontario.
“It should also be appreciated that the only serious virus problem in grapes at present results from a local virus and not from any that might have been imported. Careful vineyard management is fairly effective in keeping this virus under control.”
AID TO ITALIAN EARTHQUAKE VICTIMS
Mr. di Santo: I have a question of the Premier. On May 11, in answering a question of the leader of my party related to assistance for the victims of the earthquake in Italy, the Premier promised that the government was going to take some action in one week, if I recall correctly. Can he tell us at this time what the government has been doing or what it is going to do immediately if possible?
Hon. Mr. Davis: When I made that statement in the House on that occasion it was after some rather hurried discussion, I believe, with the Italian consulate here and some other interested members of the Italian community. Since that time, it has been suggested to us that the need for some of the specific items mentioned in my statement on that occasion -- basically pharmaceutical supplies -- were not required.
In the past few days, we have been exploring some other form of assistance in a tangible form, perhaps a specific project or assistance on one or two projects. It is possible that one of the ministers of the government may be visiting that part of Italy early next week to find out what specifically might be done.
Mr. Moffatt: Yourself?
Hon. Mr. Davis: No, not myself.
Mr. Moffatt: Send the Treasurer (Mr. McKeough).
Hon. Mr. Davis: If that does take place, then we’ll be able to inform the hon. members just what sort of assistance the people of the Province of Ontario will be providing. But I do point out that our initial response was in the area of pharmaceutical equipment or matters of that kind, and it was brought to our attention by the representatives of the Italian government that they felt that sort of assistance was not necessary and that it might take some other form. That’s what we’re looking at.
DEVELOPMENT OF JUNIOR MINES
Mr. Reid: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Minister of Natural Resources in regard to junior mining stocks -- a continuation of last Thursday’s question. Maybe I could also have the attention of the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations (Mr. Handleman) on this as well.
Would the minister not agree that the policy 302 of the Ontario Securities Commission in regard to junior mining stocks and raising of funds in Ontario is unduly restrictive, particularly the fact that they require that all mining stocks, before they can be promoted and financed, must be passed by a supposed mining expert in the employ of the Ontario Securities Commission?
Hon. Mr. Bernier: Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is correct in that, under regulation 302 of the Ontario Securities Commission, the commission has engaged a mining consultant, to whom they look for advice with respect to new properties being placed on the market for a certain type of venture. One area that has come to my attention since last week, in discussing this with the hon. member, is that there is an appeal route from that particular individual. This is an area I was not fully familiar with, but it opens up a whole new avenue.
As I indicated to the hon. member, my deputy minister, Dr. Reynolds, is chairing a special committee looking into this aspect of regulation 302. He reported to me as late as yesterday that it’s very difficult for him to come to grips with some of the issues, because no properties have been given to the Ontario Securities Commission for furtherance or passing through; he has nothing to get a handle on. I have spoken to other junior mining companies and have encouraged them to come forward to let us give this regulation a certain test which would assist the deputy in his work. He may be asking, I might add Mr. Speaker, for an extension to the time period that was given to him when the committee was established because of the complexities and the delays of dealing with specific issues.
Mr. Reid: One short supplementary: Is the minister aware that there hasn’t been much activity because junior mining companies, or people who would like to form junior mining companies, cannot get any assistance through the Ontario Securities Commission as to who the people are who can help them follow the new regulations?
Further, would the minister not agree that it is going to put the small developer, the small explorer, the small prospector out of work and, in fact, put all of mining into the hands of the large companies in Ontario and that the little man, the individual, is going to be put right out of the picture?
Hon. Mr. Bernier: Mr. Speaker, I am sure that the hon. member is aware that without the risk capital that we have had in the north we wouldn’t have the prospectors or the junior mining companies that we have had in the past. As a government we certainly want to maintain that thrust. However, on the other side of the ledger there is the responsibility to the general public and we have seen what has happened in the past when things do get a little free and a little loose.
I can only say to the hon. member that I have been in touch with some of the junior mining companies. I have encouraged them to come ahead; we want to try and resolve this situation and assist them as much as possible in breaking down the red tape or the various hoops they have to jump through to get the financing on the way. I can assure the hon. member that we are working on it very sincerely.
Mr. Lane: Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask the Minister of Natural Resources if he can make any further report on the forest fire situation in northern Ontario that is of such vital concern to so many people?
Hon. Mr. Bernier: Yes, Mr. Speaker, I suspect the hon. member’s concern is about a fire around White River. We have two fires there that have come together to form about 800 acres. It has jumped Highway 17 and is giving us some concern.
At the present time we have 77 fires burning in the Province of Ontario. There were 24 new ones overnight; 25 were extinguished yesterday; and to date we have 714 fires that have burned or are burning in this particular province.
I might add, as a matter of interest to the hon. members, we had what has been reported as our first fatality. A contract aircraft went down north of Red Lake and the initial reports are that one passenger is dead and three others are hospitalized and I will have further information on that particular accident later today.
We have well over 800 emergency forest fire workers in the field today and the members will be interested to know that at this point in time we have over 66 miles of hose scattered across northern Ontario in our efforts to put out these fires. That includes 109 pumps and about 760 shovels and I might just take this opportunity, Mr. Speaker, to commend the staff -- not only of my ministry, but those we have engaged to assist us in fighting forest fires -- because they have contained many of the forest fires in spite of the adverse weather conditions and the lack of rain. To them, all of whom have given many hours -- some have worked as many as 20 hours a day -- I want to just compliment them and thank them on behalf of the people of the Province of Ontario.
Mr. Deans: I have a question of the Solicitor General. Will the Solicitor General meet with his colleague, the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations (Mr. Handleman), and determine the best way to investigate Kustom Enterprises in Hamilton? This firm apparently owns a number of moving companies and it is alleged that those moving companies are in competition one with the other -- none of them is registered in the Province of Ontario. Could such an investigation also determine what role a Mr. Greathead plays in the operations of the company, to ascertain whether or not he is in fact a shareholder or a paid employee, and whether he does in fact also collect social and family benefits at the same time?
Hon. Mr. MacBeth: Mr. Speaker, the question poses a number of questions and I assume the member is suggesting there is some criminal fault there. I would be --
Mr. Deans: I am.
Hon. Mr. MacBeth: -- be glad to receive from the member any information that he has in regard to such criminality and we can investigate that on our own without the help of my colleague, sir.
Mr. Deans: A supplementary question: Will the minister also address himself to the whole matter of rigged bids with regard to the companies involved when they are competing one against the other and the bids being given to the consumer attempting to find a moving company to move them are padded for the benefit of the parent Kustom Enterprises operation?
Hon. Mr. MacBeth: That can be included.
Mr. McKessock: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Agriculture and Food, to get this farm stabilization off to a good start.
In view of the fact that another 500 dairy farmers turned out in Atwood last night, very disturbed that this government, through IMPIP loans, encouraged them to go into the dairy business and allows them to put their milk on the market with no return -- this is a very weird situation -- would the Minister give the Ontario Milk Marketing Board authority to allot a yearly quota to these new shippers and those which expanded production last year, based on the last three months’ production, to let these farmers know they have a quota and if they are efficient they will be able to stay in business? Will the government buy any surplus milk it creates under this allotted quota, which could be covered with real quota coming in from can shippers and older dairy farmers going out of business? Further, to complement this and speed up the return of the real quota coming to the Ontario Milk Marketing Board, would the government give an extra two cents a pound to the three cents the OMMB is paying to get real quota returned now?
Hon. W. Newman: Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for that ortation. I would be glad to start --
Some hon. members: “Ortation?”
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Mr. S. Smith: “Ortation?” Is that irritation?
Hon. W. Newman: Mr. Speaker, I would be glad to try to answer the question. I would like to tell the member that the Province of Ontario introduced the IMPIP, the industrial milk incentive programme, which ran out last June. There were no more applications received after June. I heard about the meeting last night --
Mr. Breithaupt: So there!
Hon. W. Newman: -- without that programme in place we would not have begun to reach --
Hon. W. Newman: It’s not really funny. You don’t understand the farmer’s problems. Few of these fellows do and therefore --
Mr. MacDonald: The real problem is you.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Hon. W. Newman: Without this programme in place we would have lost a lot of our milk production to other provinces this year. As it was, we increased our production to meet 97 per cent of the objective set by Ottawa for us to reach in the Province of Ontario. As a result of the cutbacks of 18 per cent brought in by Ottawa across the country and because of the efficiency of the producers of our province --
Mr. S. Smith: The Attorney General likes them. He is the only guy around who likes them.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Hon. W. Newman: -- we only had to take a 15 per cent cutback.
Mr. Good: What about the five cents instead of three cents per quota pound?
Hon. W. Newman: I am also concerned about the fact that there was such a large cutback. I sent Mr. Whelan a Telex suggesting that we could have a different situation this fall depending on weather conditions. I suggested to him at that time --
Mr. MacDonald: The answer is as long as the question.
Hon. W. Newman: -- that they should cut back from 18 per cent to a lower percentage so it would not affect the producers that much. I also suggested to him, by Telex at that time that the massive surpluses of powdered milk should go back to the farmers on a pro rata basis so they can use it for feed.
I also set up, in the IMPIP project, a four-month period during which no payments need to be made until Sept. 1, to give the producers a chance to look at their problem and see how they could resolve it Also, because of the cutback at the federal level I allowed the forgivable portion of the loan to be applied against the present quota they have so they would lose nothing there.
I have also talked to the chairman of the Milk Marketing Board. I have talked to the Ontario Milk Commission about this and I realize the seriousness of the problem. The Ontario Milk Marketing Board has many appeals before it at this point in time and many requests for quotas. I understand the forms are out now. Until they have heard some of the appeals at the Ontario Milk Marketing Board and at the Ontario Milk Commission, it will be very difficult to know exactly what we can do. I have arranged a meeting with the Ontario Milk Marketing Board and the Ontario Milk Commission at the earliest date possible for all of us to get together -- a full board meeting and a full commission meeting with me -- to discuss this very serious problem --
Mr. Renwick: You think you are addressing them now?
Mr. Singer: This isn’t turning into a debate, is it, Mr. Speaker? That’s against the rules.
Hon. W. Newman: I’m aware of the problems the milk producers are faced with, those producers who have been in business for two years and the seriousness of the situation.
Mr. Lewis: Tell me about one issue you’ve solved.
Hon. W. Newman: I will be sitting down with them to discuss the problem --
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Hon. W. Newman: -- the mutual problems to try to resolve some of these problems for the dairy farmers of this province who have done a great job.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. No supplementaries, thank you.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. Really, the question period is to ask for information and that was a long rambling statement and proposal which was not a question, quite frankly. It required --
Mr. Singer: It required?
Mr. Speaker: It elicited and perhaps required the same sort of answer.
Order, please. We’ve covered the field on that question and the question period has expired.
Mr. Singer: Why don’t we just cancel the debate on the estimates?
Mr. Lewis: Why do you allow a question if you feel it’s out of order when asked?
Mr. Speaker: There was not just one offender in that question and answer.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. I would ask all members to monitor their own questions. You really should know by now when a question is in order. It’s supposed to be a question kept as brief as possible, not three questions in one, repetitive and so on. Surely, we don’t have to preach every day?
Mr. Lewis: We may have to have a coup d’état around here.
Mr. Speaker: Petitions.
Introduction of bills.
FARM INCOME STABILIZATION ACT
Hon. W. Newman moved first reading of bill intituled, An Act respecting Farm Income Stabilization.
Motion agreed to; first reading of the bill.
CREDIT UNIONS ACT
Hon. Mr. Handleman moved first reading of bill intituled, the Credit Unions Act.
Motion agreed to; first reading of the bill.
TRAVEL INDUSTRY AMENDMENT ACT
Hon. Mr. Handleman moved first reading of Bill intituled, An Act to amend the Travel Industry Act.
Motion agreed to; first reading of the bill.
CORPORATIONS TAX AMENDMENT ACT
Hon. Mr. Meen moved first reading of Bill intituled, An Act to amend the Corporations Tax Act.
Motion agreed to; first reading of the bill.
Hon. Mr. Meen: As already announced by my colleague, the Treasurer (Mr. McKeough), this bill raises from $100,000 to $150,000 the amount on which small businesses that are eligible for the small business deduction, permitted by section 125 of the Income Tax Act (Canada), may compute the three per cent reduction in corporation tax permitted by section 106(a) of the Corporations Tax Act, 1972, as re-enacted this spring to implement part of the Treasurer’s budget, as I mentioned, introduced in April.
ANSWERS TO WRITTEN QUESTIONS
Hon. Mr. Welch: Mr. Speaker, before the orders of the day, I wish to table the answers to questions 44, 68 and 83 standing on the notice paper.
Mr. Speaker: Orders of the day.
Clerk of the House: The 17th order, House in committee of supply.
ESTIMATES, MINISTRY OF CULTURE AND RECREATION (CONCLUDED)
Mr. Chairman: It is understood there is a limited amount of time left for the estimates of the Ministry of Culture and Recreation, and the minister is here. We had passed vote 2804; so remaining to be considered are votes 2805, 2806 and 2807; the latter being Wintario.
Mr. Kerrio: Mr. Chairman, before we start, may I ask a question of procedure on the remaining votes?
Mr. Chairman: It is my understanding there is one hour left, is that right?
Mr. Samis: Ninety minutes.
Mr. Chairman: One hour and a half, and I am in the hands of the committee as to how they want to use it.
Mr. Kerrio: I would just like to make one comment, that the proceedings that have transpired so far have had time usage of something like 34 per cent to the government, 46 per cent to the NDP and some 16 per cent to the Liberals. I am willing to pass that for what it’s worth, but I would like some direction from the Chair that there is going to be a little more meaningful division of the time.
Mr. Chairman: That is up to the committee themselves to discipline themselves in a way there is a proper allocation of time, unless you want me to impose constraints, which is something that the Chair has never done.
Mr. B. Newman: Then are you going to allow one individual to speak for a whole half hour rather than share the time equally between the three parties? I think that should be understood, that each party should have a share of the time, and not all go to one party.
Mr. Chairman: If the members of the committee want the Chair to be arbitrary, you had better set down some guidelines. I think it is up to each individual member to discipline himself or herself for a fair allocation of the time.
Mr. Breithaupt: Mr. Chairman, I suggest the time that is remaining, which will be until 5 o’clock --
Mr. Samis: Until 5 or 4:45?
Mr. Breithaupt: I believe it will be until approximately that time. It could well be divided with a half hour perhaps on the remaining votes and then the agreed-upon balance of the time dealing with the Wintario project. I think the matter should be resolved quite nicely that way.
Mr. Samis: Could I speak to that, Mr. Chairman? The Liberal critic and I spoke about this during question period and we agreed, with your permission and the permission of the minister, that we would allow a maximum of 20 minutes per vote until Wintario; and the remaining time after 40 minutes had passed, regardless of where we are, would be devoted to the Wintario vote.
I would ask the minister if he would agree to that. The Liberal critic has already agreed to that proposal.
Hon. Mr. Welch: I would be glad to refrain from any answers if it would make any difference.
On vote 2805:
Mr. Chairman: The hon. member for Cornwall, and I hope he will allow for a fair allocation of the time between the parties.
Mr. Samis: I always do, Mr. Chairman. May I suggest, in the interest of time, that I will ask a series of questions and ask the minister to respond? I would ask the minister to answer the questions directly rather than lead us about and astray and beyond.
On the first item -- I would like to ask the minister if he is going to listen to what I’m going to ask or not?
Hon. Mr. Welch: Yes.
Mr. Samis: Can the minister, first of all, explain what exactly the role of the Ontario Provincial Library Council is, who they are accountable to and with whom they communicate? Second, can the minister tell us what position you are taking or planning to take on the major recommendations of the Bowron report? Third, what position will you be taking specifically on the recommendations regarding franco-Ontarians in that report? Fourth, can you tell us what action your ministry is taking to ensure that Ontario libraries have an adequate selection, of Canadian books, especially in the fields of literature and history? Five, can the minister tell us if he is still opposed to the capital grants for libraries, even in economically distressed areas of the province? Sixth, could the minister tell us what the status of the special grants for francophone collections in this province is as of today, and whether or not you will be reviving or reinstituting those particular grants?
Hon. Mr. Welch: Mr. Chairman, very quickly, the council to which reference is made is an advisory council to the minister and, indeed, was established some years ago for that particular purpose.
On the Bowron report -- the next two questions, two and three, which of course are about the same report -- I do have that report now. I’ve made is quite clear on a number of public occasions that I want some time to transpire in order to provide the library community and municipal governments and people generally interested in that, an opportunity to respond to those particular recommendations and to share with me their advice with respect to that.
On the capital grants; we don’t have any particular capital grants programme, although we do have some moderate way of helping in the financing of debentures in this particular issue. You will also know, in studying the Wintario programme, that the libraries of the province are qualified under that particular programme for capital assistance.
The Canadian book question that was raised, of course, is part of the Wintario programme as well, whereby we are providing some special grants for the acquisition by our libraries of Canadian material.
Mr. Samis: Could you answer the last question on francophone collections?
Hon. Mr. Welch: The question was with respect to the amount of money which was specifically being provided to our libraries for --
Mr. Samis: It wasn’t the amount -- sorry, Mr. Chairman -- it was the status of those grants. Have they been discontinued, are they to be revived; or what?
Hon. Mr. Welch: If you could just give me a moment, I’ll get back to that question. Could we have the other questions now?
Mr. Samis: Mr. Chairman, I think we’ll do this item by item, if that meets with your approval. Maybe that will guarantee equity for my colleague on the other side.
Mr. Kerrio: Mr. Chairman, in this particular vote, I have one concern I would like to direct to the minister. I have some communication from the municipal liaison committee on financing of library boards and it is my concern that the conditions that are attached to library grants should possibly be discontinued and that these grants he deconditionalized to libraries. I wonder if the minister would advise if that, in fact, is in the offing?
Hon. Mr. Welch: Do I understand the hon. member to be asking me, Mr. Chairman, whether or not there is to be any proposed change with respect to the amount of the grant? No, we don’t --
Mr. Kerrio: Excuse me; the conditioning of the grants -- conditionalizing of the grants.
Hon. Mr. Welch: No, as far as I’m concerned, they leave us as a conditional grant.
To go back to the question with respect to franco-Ontarian material, that particular programme was discontinued two years ago. Last year it was a Canadiana emphasis, and of course this year we’re following the Canadiana emphasis throughout the Wintario programme.
Mr. B. Newman: In an attempt to assist Canadian writers, is the ministry purchasing certain Canadian books and distributing them throughout the libraries of the province?
Hon. Mr. Welch: The ministry itself makes no purchases. The applications for these special programmes would come from the libraries, which would make their own purchases.
Mr. Chairman: Any further comments?
Mr. Samis: Can I ask the minister now if he has the answer to that final question posed.
Hon. Mr. Welch: Sorry, I gave it just a few moments ago but I will repeat it.
Mr. Samis: I’m sorry.
Hon. Mr. Welch: The francophone programme was discontinued about two years ago. Last year we had the Canadiana programme. This year both programmes are now being continued under the Wintario grant.
Mr. Chairman: Shall item 1 carry? Agreed to. Item 2, community information.
Mr. Samis: On item 2 I would like to ask the minister if he can tell us, in view of the overall government policy of restraints and in view of the overall budget of this ministry, why, specifically, was it decided that the cut-backs were to be in OECA and not some other part of this ministry or some other programme. Why was this one singled out?
Hon. Mr. Welch: I suppose, to explain government policy in this sphere, there was a proposal before us with respect to implementing what had been announced insofar as this extension was concerned. We’d had certain representations made to us for curtailment and postponement of some of our programmes. This was a large item and it was decided that for the time being we would postpone this particular expansion as far as the north was concerned,
However, as I indicated -- and I say this quite briefly, but I do draw attention to the fact -- because of negotiations that were carried out subsequent to that decision having been taken, we will have the microwave system in place. Although we will not be on a broadcast operation as far as this part of the province is concerned -- and that’s regrettable, I don’t disagree -- we will have some limited service available because of arrangements we are making with cable.
I would think it’s important to know that, within the framework of what could have been the actual financial costs of the postponement in view of contracts with Bell Telephone, we are able to salvage most -- in fact, all -- of that money by having the microwave system in place. When there is some relaxation with respect to the financial situation, we can then consider following the steps which would have been carried out had we not had to defer.
Mr. Samis: Let me just say again that we on this side feel the amount saved is minuscule in terms of the damage done to the people of the north, especially the young people.
Hon. Mr. Welch: I know the hon. member doesn’t want to be provocative and get into a debate --
Mr. Samis: No, no.
Hon. Mr. Welch: -- but I think it’s important to recognize that we’re talking about the Ontario Educational Communications Authority. As far as the school system is concerned, the school children in this part of the province will have access to programmes in the way that a lot of school systems have, even in the broadcast operation, with the tapes and with the TV system, so it’s not as if --
Mr. Samis: They are still being deprived of something.
Hon. Mr. Welch: I know, but it’s not as if the school children in these areas are going to be deprived of any of the programme material from OECA. It’s unfortunate -- and I underline this -- it’s unfortunate that in the broader community, the non-institutional community and the open sector, there will be some obvious limitations felt by those who won’t have access to some of the programming that would be available had we been on full broadcasts.
Mr. Samis: I think the minister is well aware of the limitations of cable TV in the north. Could I ask, what can the people of the north realistically look forward to in view of the fact that the facilities are there though they are not going to be used? Can you give them any assurance as to a commitment from this government to develop the existing facilities, or is this being put into semi-permanent cold storage? What assurance do they have?
Hon. Mr. Welch: I’d be less than responsible if I attempted to play around with dates, but certainly there is nothing in the government’s announcement as of now and the policy declaration that would indicate to the people in this area -- and other areas in the evolution of the growth of the system that we don’t plan eventually to complete the network. It’s simply a postponement.
Mr. R. S. Smith: The member for Cornwall has covered a number of questions that I was going to ask, but there is the question of the number of people who are going to be reached on cable. You say the school system will be serviced and that’s at a cost to the local school system to some extent. But in fact in the Sudbury area, for example, where there are 150,000 people, under this system perhaps one-fifth of those people will be serviced by cable and, of course, they will have to be paying for it. So the people who may benefit -- and I say may benefit -- most by educational TV are, in fact, being deprived of its use, because in most of those areas cable either does not serve or the people can’t afford to buy it. So the people who do suffer are really the people who need it the most, and those who are more affluent and perhaps do not need what can be provided through ETV are not going to receive it.
I understand the minister’s statement that eventually it will be completed, and I accept that, but why was it that the system in northern Ontario was put in a secondary position to the extension of the system into the London-Chatham-Windsor areas when you obviously had the choice of going ahead with one or going ahead with the other?
Hon. Mr. Welch: I’m glad that question’s been asked. I want to say, as I respond to it briefly, in the first part of the hon. member’s comments there is nothing that I can say, in a factual way, to disagree with the more limited approach which the present system is going to impose. That’s just a matter of fact that those who have access to it will have to be on cable. I suppose it’s the way you look at these things, either from a positive or a negative way, when the decision was taken to defer we were prepared simply to defer.
I think it’s fortunate that we were able to find, in some negotiation subsequent to that decision, that it was in the framework of what the cost of deferment was going to involve us in, that we were able to put a microwave system in, and although the access as far as the open sectors are concerned will be limited by cable and everybody is not going to see it, please don’t lose sight of the fact that we, in fact, will have that system in and we will still hold the licences for the transmitters.
As far as the order by which the expansion was to go, I think it’s generally known that the authority, in its earlier stages, had considered this expansion ahead of the expansion to which the hon. member has just made reference. It became one of the accidents, I understand, with respect to the availability of channels, if that’s the proper word. It became obvious that certain channels in the southwest were up and there were some applications. It is my understanding from the information that I received from the board that because of this new development they had to rearrange their priorities in order to take advantage of openings that were available to the authority in other parts of the province.
I would have assumed that, had that not happened, in fact the area being deferred would have been other than what’s happened, but I do remind the hon. member, as I do members of this committee, that one of the conditions for the province being involved in this activity was that there be a separate authority in order to make these particular decisions, and on the basis of the evidence which members of that independent authority had at that time, these in fact were the priorities as far as the expansion was concerned.
I do know, too, that if we were starting afresh and all things were equal, which, of course, they weren’t at that time with respect to the availability of hardware and other facilities, the whole operation might well have started in the north.
Mr. R. S. Smith: I understand that but could you explain to me what the cost was? You had already entered into contracts, as I understand it, to provide the facility in the northeastern part of the province. Are you indicating to us that the provision of the service as it now will be is equal to the cost of opting out of those contracts and that there is a trade-off here and that there will not be any specific costs to the province insofar as those contracts that had been entered into are concerned?
Hon. Mr. Welch: The actual costs that we provided for and which we thought would be the result of the cancellation, if memory serves me correctly, was about $900,000.
Mr. R. S. Smith: That’s right.
Hon. Mr. Welch: It’s been possible for something less than that, and in our negotiations to at least put in place the system to which I made reference, the agreements -- I don’t have them here -- with some of the private carriers do make some provision as to what might happen if we go on to broadcast as opposed to some other system.
The point I was trying to make is that although it looked at the first stage that it would cost us $900,000 by virtue of cancellation fees, we, for something less than that, have been able to negotiate to utilize the Bell service and to put this particular service in place, notwithstanding the fact that, as the hon. members have so correctly pointed out, it would have some restrictions with respect to viewership because it will be limited to the cable people.
Mr. R. S. Smith: In actual fact, the cost of $900,000 was wiped out and you did then go to the agreement with Bell at a lesser cost than that?
Hon. Mr. Welch: I wouldn’t want to leave that misunderstanding. What I’m saying is that, rather than there being an expenditure of that amount of money for which we would have nothing to show other than a release from an agreement, we were able to spend not quite that much -- and so it’s money which isn’t spent -- in connection with these negotiations and to have the microwave system in place and the arrangements with the private carriers.
Mr. R. S. Smith: What will happen to that microwave system when you pass on in to the regular system which was first promised and which you say will come eventually? Is the microwave system just a rented system that will then go back?
Hon. Mr. Welch: No. That system will then be there as the base to transmit the signal and would go the broadcasting operation; it is something which would have to be in place anyway.
Mr. Kerrio: My colleague has touched on a portion of OECA that I have in my presentation, so I will just pass through that. Of the $12.1 million expenditure for community information, $10.4 million is going to OECA. I would just like to remind the minister of OECA’s mandate. It has the responsibility to provide educational opportunities to all the people of Ontario using the electronic and associated media. It’s a formidable challenge, not only because it implies that there will be universal access to the learning materials developed, but also that these materials will be of such character and quality as to stimulate, provoke and engage individuals who will come from varying backgrounds, experiences and interests.
That portion that I had proposed here to relate in the consideration of those areas in the north have already been the subject of my colleague’s debate. I would then like to bring into focus that it appears that the implementation of the network first in the Toronto area has resulted in programming that has swayed from the original educational content in order to compete for the audience with the many private sector stations in the area. The results have been such movies as “King Kong,” “The Most Dangerous Game,” “Manhunt” and this type of movie, all contributing to violence in the media that everyone is so concerned about today and that the government has set up a mandate to investigate.
Mr. Nixon: It’s all right. They hired Judy LaMarsh right after to comment on that.
Mr. Kerrio: This is an unfortunate turn of events from the educational purpose this network was set up to serve. I would advocate a hard look at its programming with the possibility of a complete revamping of scheduling before any more funds are extended to it; $10 million is just too much money for all the taxpayers of this province to spend on a station that is merely in competition with all the private stations in the southern part of the province. You have no doubt been made aware of the feelings of the residents of northern and eastern Ontario from the briefs that have been submitted, and I don’t have to elaborate on those. And as I said before, I have to skip parts of my presentation because of my colleague’s presentation.
I would just like to bring one more area into focus and that is, the lack of women’s programming. I would like to quote from the green paper on equal opportunities for women done in 1973 by the present minister when he was the Provincial Secretary for Social Development. One of the main proposals contained in this report was for an expanded programme of career counselling for women, including utilization of daytime television for this purpose.
One recommendation stated:
“We recommend that the provinces and territories in co-operation with universities arrange that educational television programmes, including credit as well as non-credit courses at elementary, secondary, general and technical college and university levels, be televised at hours when both housewives and women in the labour force can take advantage of them.”
I won’t continue too far along this vein. I would like to get your reaction on that.
The other particular question that I would ask for, if you have the figure, would be the advertising costs in this particular segment of the ministry, as it relates to educational television or the mandate that we have there in TV Ontario. As I said before, because of the time constraint, I would ask those two major questions if I might have an answer.
Hon. Ms. Welch: With respect to the educational quality of the broadcasting as opposed to merely entertainment, the private sector did lodge some concern with the CRTC in this matter which was referred back to the authority itself. The board of OECA has reviewed its programming and it is my understanding that it has made a considered determination that all the programming of OECA is educational.
I suppose we get into some nice definitions of what is educational but because it happens to be entertaining, it certainly doesn’t make it less educational I suppose. Once again, it certainly is not the desire of the educational authority to be in competition with the private sector. I would have to rely on the judgement of the board that it is discharging its responsibilities as set out in the Act to which the hon. member has made reference.
I appreciate the fact that the hon. member, in the second place, has made reference to the establishment of the advisory council on women. I do know, on the basis of correspondence which I have seen very recently, that the chairman of the board and its member have met with the advisory council. Although I suppose there is always room for improvement -- always room for more and one should never consider this job done nor the importance of keeping this emphasis before government and its agencies ever really less -- at the time being I have reason to believe, on the basis of what I have read, that there is general satisfaction with what the authority has been doing and is doing.
Thirdly, reference has been made to advertising. It’s my information that about $150,000 is allocated for advertising along with support material for adults.
Mr. Nixon: If I may just comment briefly, particularly oil the minister’s last statement, one of the things which has changed in ETV since its inception is that the direction of the whole thing now lies in a ministry other than one directly connected with capital E -- Education. I know the minister is quite prepared, as am I and others, to say that almost all the programming coming from ETV is educational in some sense or another, but it concerns me, particularly when we see the report, which, I suppose, has been pretty largely discredited in this area, of the special programme review, chaired by the Treasurer himself, and the recommendations that he and they have made having to do with these expenditures.
I will just take a moment; I know the member for Cornwall is anxious to proceed with other important matters. We are asked to vote about $11 million here for the administration and the machinery of ETV; and Education will be asked to vote and additional $7.5 million. These are not the same dollars; those are additional dollars -- are they not? -- so it is about $18.5 million that we are directing toward ETV in this year of restraint and constraint.
We have a clear recommendation from the special programme review -- some of those recommendations I can’t support for many reasons but I will tell you some of them do appeal to me very much. One of the warnings sounded by the committee chaired by the Treasurer comes from page 328:
“An added concern is that this form of education is being provided by an agency of the government outside the direct jurisdiction of the ministries that have been assigned responsibility for education.
“Such a situation provides open sector education with its own dynamic and thereby inexorable capacity for increased costs.”
I feel that some of that inexorable pressure is being exerted on the minister and by the minister on us.
I may be accused of being what you call conservative -- God forbid -- in expressing some of these views but I have felt that the only justification for educational television from the first was to assist in the formal aspects of education. I can remember the debates across the floor of this House with the former minister, now the Premier, on the necessity for bringing second and third language education directly into the schoolroom using educational television. At that time, it was the only means whereby French education of any quality at all could be brought into a large proportion of the schools of this province at the lower grades.
We have watched this authority with its continuing excellent administrative leadership in which I personally have a great deal of confidence, and I am glad to see Mr. Ronald Ide here. I use to meet him when we were both more directly associated with classroom teaching. We now see a request and, I suppose, an approval of close to $19 million for what is essentially a new educational but also a programming network. Unfortunately, the strength of your signal doesn’t quite get to South Dumfries; are they now on top of the tower?
Mr. Samis: Yes.
Mr. Kerrio: Yes.
Mr. Nixon: Maybe if I fine-tune, I will be able to pick up the rerun of my good friend, Judy LaMarsh, interviewing my good friend, Joey Smallwood --
Mr. Sands: We’ll have to cut the rest.
Mr. Nixon: -- obviously educational and no doubt to some degree entertaining. But I would say to you, we already have one public broadcasting system in this nation. We’re very proud of it. I’ve got lots of criticisms for the CBC; I wish that it had retained its public nature more directly. But I would sound another warning from, I suppose, the rather conservative philosophical part of the world, if not of the political spectrum, and say that what we are now moving into here is certainly another entertainment albeit educational entertainment, network.
I hope you put it in the north, and I hope you put it in Chatham and all the rest, but I am very much concerned as to the quality and value of what is being presented. “Magic Shadows”? Great! Actually, you can get the ABC Tuesday Night Movie from time to time up our way, you know. We do have access to this sort of thing.
Now in the north it is restricted and I would certainly join with the member for Nipissing and others who have said probably the emphasis ought to be there, rather than to give another channel, which is in many respects becoming commercial, if it is not commercial dollar-wise, right here in the Toronto area.
I regret to some extent that the minister and his advisers haven’t paid more attention to the recommendations from the Hon. Mr. McKeough and Henderson and some of those other people. I think some of their ideas are bad, but in this connection I am telling you that I think their ideas have been rational and that it would have behooved the government to ask us for something considerably less than $18.5 million for this.
An hon. member: Right.
Hon. Mr. Welch: Mr. Chairman, I’m sure it comes as no surprise that I don’t necessarily agree with what the hon. member has said. As far as his reference --
Mr. Nixon: What about the hon. member for Chatham?
Hon. Mr. Welch: No, I don’t agree with that recommendation, particularly.
Mr. Nixon: He’s the chairman of the committee that recommended --
Hon. Mr. Welch: So I’m entitled to respond. I think the government responds.
Mr. Nixon: So what?
Mrs. Campbell: So what?
Hon. Mr. Welch: As far as mushrooming costs go, it’s a six per cent increase over last year. Hardly a very big mushroom.
Mr. Nixon: This is a lot of money.
Hon. Mr. Welch: And the other point that I would mention too, is that the hon. member carries --
Mr. Nixon: It’s growing out of proportion.
Mr. Chairman: Order, please. The hon. member has asked some questions. Do the courtesy of allowing the minister to reply.
Mr. Nixon: Yes.
Hon. Mr. Welch: It’s obvious now that the hon. member, with less pressure, appears to have more time to watch television than he used to --
Mr. R. S. Smith: If you don’t watch out, Darcy will give you more time.
Hon. Mr. Welch: -- and I would point out under the circumstances that he carries with him, obviously as well, a bias for the more institutional approach as far as education is concerned. There are many people outside of the establishment, outside of educational institutions today, who may well want to engage in the learning process. I have figures to indicate, on the basis of some research, that one out of two adults want to participate in learning. I think we have some responsibility --
Mr. Nixon: Well, I would think it would be higher than that. I have never met one yet who didn’t want to participate.
Hon. Mr. Welch: -- to respond to that need and certainly, although there will be some curtailment, I hardly think that the hon. member would want to identify himself with restricting access only to the established institutions.
Certainly, the Ministry of Education, with which I’ve got some experience, is a customer of this authority and advises with respect to school programming, but I do think we have some responsibility to the larger community as well.
Mr. Chairman: Shall item 2 carry? Carried.
Item 3, Youth services.
Mr. B. Newman: I won’t be long on this because of the limit on time.
Mr. Samis: Ten minutes.
Mr. B. Newman: Can I ask the minister how the various programmes that are accepted by your ministry are finally decided on? Does the minister sort of quota each of the municipalities in the system for X amount of dollars and once you reach that total amount then no more programming will be accepted into that area?
Hon. Mr. Welch: The hon. member is making reference, Mr. Chairman, is he, to the programmes that were finally approved under this item?
Mr. B. Newman: Yes.
Hon. Mr. Welch: Of course, we, as a ministry, undertook the co-ordination and the planning responsibilities within our own ministry as to what the programmes would be as far as Experience 76 was concerned. Then, on the basis of these particular programmes, we had our field staff making recommendations to us. In fact, I’m just in the process now of signing a number of letters on the recommendation of staff as to which of these Experience 76 programmes have been approved and in what amount.
Mr. B. Newman: Do you set a limit as to the amount of expenditures from the one given area?
Hon. Mr. Welch: You mean on a regional basis?
Mr. B. Newman: Yes.
Hon. Mr. Welch: I can’t share with you exactly how that breakdown would come out, but there would be some deliberate attempt to make sure there was an equitable distribution of these funds.
Mr. B. Newman: As soon as you accept a programme, could we get the information that the programme has been accepted and the number of job opportunities that are going to be available? I have students contacting me all the time and I know nothing of the programme until after it has been accepted and after everyone has been hired.
Hon. Mr. Welch: I’m wondering if I could share this with you, that as far as these estimates are concerned, in this programme we’re talking in terms of 2,811 jobs. I can give you a breakdown into the general areas; the figures give some indication as to what we do this year on the basis of the type of programming that went on in these areas in previous years.
Mr. B. Newman: The only thing is that I never hear of the programme up until the time it has been accepted; I don’t even know how many people are going to be hired. I’d like to --
Mr. Samis: On a point of order.
Mr. Chairman: What is the point of order?
Mr. Samis: Mr. Chairman, could I point out to my colleague from Windsor that we made an agreement that we would wind all this up within 40 minutes, which leaves less than 10 minutes for the next vote, as he can see, to guarantee us one hour on Wintario? Could I ask him to co-operate in that agreement so that we could get on to that vote?
Mr. B. Newman: Mr. Chairman, I’ve only asked questions. I haven’t gone into a long dissertation.
Mr. Samis: You’ve taken time; that’s what you’ve done.
Mr. B. Newman: So have you taken time.
Mr. Samis: No, not today, my friend.
Mr. Chairman: Order, please. We are dealing with vote 2805, item 3, youth services. Any further comment?
Hon. Mr. Welch: I don’t want to invoke the wrath of the member for Cornwall, but if I have misunderstood the question of the member for Windsor-Walkerville and if he wants to know exactly how many jobs have been provided in his area, I’ll be glad to get that information for him.
Mr. B. Newman: I have that information.
Hon. Mr. Welch: Then if he asked me how many jobs this money creates in these particular programmes --
Mr. B. Newman: Yes.
Hon. Mr. Welch: -- I just told him, 2,811.
Mr. B. Newman: Okay.
Vote 2805 agreed to.
On vote 2806:
Mr. Chairman: There are four items in vote 2806 and they seem to be somewhat related. Shall we take them in total?
Some hon. members: Agreed.
Mr. Angus: Mr. Chairman, it’s ironical that because of the time constraints, we have less than 10 minutes for this particular vote, which has the tie into the transfer payments to municipalities; and municipalities, to my way of thinking -- and I think the minister and his staff would agree with me -- are the key focal points for culture and recreation development in this province. I think it is also ironical that only 1/12th of our provincial tax dollars goes to municipalities to assist them in developing sports, fitness, culture, recreation -- whatever label you want to put on it.
I think a lot of work needs to be done in terms of revamping regulation 200. I realize that some groups have made submissions to you, and I would ask that you give them strong consideration. The amounts presently going to individual communities from the province are very small indeed and in a lot of cases do nothing more than pay for the paperwork that accompanies them. If we are truly to have a municipality-based programme of recreation, we must provide them with the funds; and in these times of constraint, the funds for recreation purposes are I being much more constrained than they are for social services or any of the other aspects of municipal government, particularly for roads and sewers, which always seem to get a higher priority in the minds of municipal councils.
I think too that in dealing with regulation 200, which provides the funding for the municipalities, we must avoid deregulating it at this point in time. We must ensure that specific allotments from the province are directed toward recreation, as opposed to allowing municipalities free access to provincial moneys for any programmes; I think we would just see a continuation of the moneys towards sewer and water projects and what have you.
If I can sort of travel on into the next vote, the Wintario programme has adversely affected the role of the municipality inasmuch as a number of projects are being supported directly by Wintario in terms of capital funding and the municipalities in their wisdom do not have the funds to run or operate those facilities properly for the next five or 10 years. I think we’re creating a very serious situation in that these communities, while they desperately need the kind of facilities that Wintario is able to provide them, and while they do have the private sector assistance from the major industries, particularly if it’s a one-industry town, they don’t have the municipal property tax funds to early on the operation of a swimming pool or a major facility. It is a little different if you have got a small community centre addition, providing an extra room or what have you. I think that should be looked at in terms of the context of the transfer programmes. I think, too, again with the transfer payments, that Wintario should be redesigned to provide operating funds because there are times when municipalities do.
Mr. Chairman: That’s the next vote.
Mr. Angus: I am speaking in context of this item and I just have one more minute. That’s all I will take and I will get out of your hair. I think you could provide it that way, with a basis of partially through the transfer payments so that municipalities can control it, and partially in direct funding because there are some municipalities who would just completely ignore it.
I will elaborate on my remarks at some other time, because I had hoped to spend at least a half an hour. I have met with a number of people throughout the province and I think they deserve to have a hearing through me, and either in the form of a letter or possibly during the budget speech I will elaborate on my remarks. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Chairman: The hon. member for Nipissing.
Mr. Samis: Three minutes.
Mr. R. S. Smith: Two minutes; I just have one question. I would like to find out what happened to the funds that came from the Olympic lottery and how they were divided up across the province. I find that they are still being handed out and they actually don’t show at all in these estimates for either last year or this year. There are many people in the community who don’t even know that these funds exist and there has been no indication to the communities across this province that there are funds available here.
Hon. Mr. Welch: May I make some reference to the hon. member for Fort William? I appreciate the interest which he has with respect to the recreation programmes as they are administered at the community level. I don’t disagree with him with respect to the importance of that community base and, as he knows, being in recreation over the years, there have been efforts made through this particular area of this responsibility to reconsider a more meaningful way to get money to the municipalities than the present system known as regulation 200.
I have been at some discussions in connection with that and hopefully and eventually in consultation with various organizations in this field, we should be able to come up with something that is perhaps more supportive. As to the priorities, naturally I, having this responsibility, would hope that recreation would always demand a priority insofar as municipal service is concerned, and no doubt when we get to the next vote, in talking about Wintario and the possibilities of Wintario, I will share with the committee some of those concerns as well.
The hon. member for Nipissing raises some question about the Olympic lottery account. As you know, this was on the basis of an arrangement made with the Olympic lottery people for this money. Some criteria were developed at that time relating to sports governing bodies, travel, the facilities that were necessary to have programmes to develop excellence in certain fields and also in competitions. We have commitments or anticipated disbursements to date of some $2,239,432 and we still have about $1.5 million of uncommitted funds in this account. I would think, on the basis of this question being raised, there has been no scarcity of information which has gone out to various organizations with respect to the availability of these moneys and the criteria by which they are, in fact, paid out. Both capital and non-capital disbursements have come from this particular account.
Mr. R. S. Smith: You say there is still $1.5 million uncommitted?
Hon. Mr. Welch: Yes, in round figures. In my information, we have an uncommitted balance at the moment of about $1.5 million.
Mr. B. Newman: A short question: Have you made the use of headgear compulsory for amateur boxers?
Hon. Mr. Welch: No, I would have been disappointed had this question not been asked, because at the moment I am still advised, and I have to rely on the advice that I get from others, that there has been no agreement reached with respect to that type of gear and so, therefore, there has been no effort to make the wearing of any headgear compulsory. I suppose we are waiting for some general agreement as to what would be satisfactory before we would give any further thought to moving into the compulsory area.
Mr. B. Newman: Mr. Minister, I certainly hope you don’t delay any longer, because you know yourself that boxing does have a harmful effect on the brain. In fact, a Dr. Nicholas Corcillis says in a short sentence:
“When the boxers’ brains were compared with those of ‘normal’ men and women of similar ages, we found that those of boxers showed a significant pattern of degeneration and loss of nerve cells as well as other damage.”
Let’s protect our youth, our amateur boxer at least, by making the use of headgear compulsory.
Hon. Mr. Welch: Yes, we will continue working with the two organizations that should obviously be very interested in this.
Madam Acting Chairman: Is there any further discussion? Shall vote 2806 carry?
Vote 2806 agreed to.
On vote 2807:
Mr. Samis: Can I ask the minister, first of all, before we get on to the actual operation, can he clarify Wintario’s policy vis-à-vis the draw coming up on June 24? Is it the Ontario Lottery Corp’s policy to print extra tickets or not for this particular draw, since there is an extra $1 million being drawn? Is there a policy, and what is it?
Hon. Mr. Welch: What will happen, as far as I am advised, is that the unclaimed prize money, which was the subject matter of this special bonus, will go out in the regular way. That is, the tickets that are printed for that particular draw will have two numbers on the tickets, one number for the regular draw that is held every other Thursday, and the other number for the special bonus prizes of $10 thousand each, that would be available through unclaimed funds.
Mr. Samis: But are we talking about the same number of tickets?
Hon. Mr. Welch: Oh, well --
Mr. Samis: Six point five approximately --
Hon. Mr. Welch: Oh no, as far as numbers of the series go, I imagine that it all depends on, of course, what the market will demand. But we’re prepared to print extra tickets for that particular draw, naturally.
Mr. Samis: In effect, then, there will be more tickets printed, even though the money has been paid for the tickets that won those particular prizes, is that right?
Hon. Mr. Welch: There will be more tickets printed if the market can absorb more tickets. As far as this draw is concerned, of course, this is in order to release these moneys which haven’t been claimed at the expiration of the year.
Mr. Samis: Let me suggest that if more tickets are being printed, that really is very unfair to the people who purchased the tickets, since those tickets have already been purchased and the prizes have been won according to those purchases. If the individuals haven’t picked up those prizes, then I suggest the Lottery Corp., in fact, is making a killing on this and it is very unfair to the regular purchasers of Wintario tickets.
Hon. Mr. Welch: Mr. Chairman, I just think perhaps the hon. member would want to have the record a bit balanced on this subject. For every series of tickets that is printed, automatically there is a new set of prizes that are set aside for each series. As I recall, there are 90,000 tickets to a series and there are all kinds of prizes --
Mr. Samis: What’s the figure?
Hon. Mr. Welch: I can’t read it, to tell you the truth.
Mr. Samis: Back to the optometrist.
Hon. Mr. Welch: It has now been translated. With every 90,000 tickets, there are automatically 450 prizes worth $28,125. So, the number of series, if I can use the word odds keep the odds the same. What we’re doing now is inviting the public to also have access to this additional money and this --
Mr. R. S. Smith: The odds are better --
Hon. Mr. Welch: -- seemed to be the fair and equitable way to make it available. Anyone who bought tickets during the course of the year, where there were some prizes unclaimed, had the same chances of winning whether or not these particular prizes were claimed. If these prizes had been claimed they wouldn’t have won either. So the fact that they didn’t win had no relationship to the fact that the prizes weren’t claimed.
Mr. Samis: Let me get on to some other matters with the existing operations, before we get on to the impact of the Wintario grants, etc. Can I ask you for clarification on the status of the existing distributorships, especially the 34, I believe it is, which were original with the inception of Wintario and which were essentially based on the Olympic lottery? How many service clubs applied for the existing 39 at the beginning? How many have applied for the vacancies which have been advertised? Can you tell us if it is now lottery corporation policy to advertise publicly and go to tender on all future vacancies in distributorships?
Hon. Mr. Welch: There are at the moment seven vacancies; five in the Metropolitan Toronto area, one in Paris and one in Windsor. As you know, an advertisement has appeared throughout the province inviting people who are interested in distributorships to apply and drawing particular reference to the seven vacancies. It is my understanding that ad produced about 3,000 applications. In those areas where there now are some immediate vacancies, the board is organizing itself to find some method by way of interview to fill finally those particular positions which will bring the distributorships up to full complement.
Mr. Samis: Could I get back to those existing distributorships? Since they were based on the Olympic lottery and since your rationale for giving them out without any tender or competition was that you wanted to use the existing system established by the Olympic Lotto people, what is the status of those distributorships? How long do those people have them for? Is it virtually in perpetuity? Is there any restriction whatsoever? Is there any opportunity for anyone else to bid on those distributorships or what?
Hon. Mr. Welch: The performance of all of our distributors is being reviewed. You are quite correct, that it was government policy, in order to get our own lottery started, to use the distribution system already in place. Of course, what happens after the Olympic lottery itself is over may depend to some extent on what interest some of these distributors might have if there is only the one lottery left, i.e., Wintario. I would assume the board would have to take a look at the distribution system with several alternatives in mind. If it is simply a matter of continuing Wintario itself, would there have to be a larger territory to support some type of --
Mr. Nixon: Yes, worrying about their support; it may not be worthwhile for them to continue.
Hon. Mr. Welch: -- or rather to generate some income; all kinds of matters. I think it is important to know that as far as the activities and performances of distributors are concerned the board has always had this as a very high priority of interest and concern.
Mr. Samis: I appreciate the fact that their performance is monitored, whether it is by the courts or the lottery corporation of the Legislature, sometimes by the press. Could I ask again: What is the length of tenure of those existing distributorships? Is there any limitation on the people who got the original distributorships?
Hon. Mr. Welch: Their contracts don’t specify any definite term. I think it is at the pleasure of the lottery corporation as long as they are performing their responsibilities to the satisfaction of the corporation.
Mr. Samis: If there was a reorganization of any sort then those distributorships could be put out to public tender, if the corporation were to decide to reorient the size of the districts or territories or to change the policy on who is eligible for distributorships. Is that right?
Hon. Mr. Welch: I think the wording of the ad was very careful in that the lottery corporation, faced with the immediate need to fill seven vacancies, thought it would generally advertise the whole question of distributorships. They are quite satisfied now that they have a tremendous number of applications on record in response to that public invitation to apply. I would think that any vacancies in the future would no doubt be looked after simply by going to this particular source which will be in hand now.
Mr. Samis: Could I ask if there is any reconsideration being given to the policy that service clubs and public organizations are not allowed to become distributors? Have you reconsidered to the extent that, from these 3,000 applications, it is possible that service clubs will become distributors?
Hon. Mr. Welch: I know the interest of the hon. member with respect to this and it is my understanding from meetings which the lottery corporation itself has had with some of the service sector, the clubs are not particularly excited about being distributors as such because of the tremendous amount of work required to turn around in a lottery held as frequently as this.
There are two ways in which they are involved at the moment. No. 1 is the special consideration with a special commission at the retail level for clubs which was announced some time ago. There is an increasing number of service and fraternal organizations involved at the retail level at the regular commission rate, and indeed, are finding that a fairly lucrative occupation for their members.
Mr. Samis: I appreciate what the minister says, but I noticed a statement issued by the lottery corporation when they did finally apply for distributorships. The third paragraph said: “Wintario distributors are independent businessmen working on a commission basis.” I get back to the same question: Would a service club that is willing to put up with all the responsibilities of operating a distributorship be eligible for distributorship, if it decides to go ahead, employ full-time staff and meet the ticket retail requirements? Would it be allowed?
Hon. Mr. Welch: The attitude of the lottery corporation to this stage, as I have already mentioned, has been that in discussions, once organizations such as the ones to which the hon. member is making reference were made fully aware of what was involved, they have preferred to be involved in Wintario at the retail level and not as distributors.
Mr. Samis: I don’t want to beg the issue but you still haven’t answered my question. Would they be allowed, even if you give them this talk and tell them all the problems and responsibilities? Would they be eligible if they decided to proceed?
Hon. Mr. Welch: I think that would be a decision which the lottery corporation would have to make with respect to the individual distributorship, taking all the other facts into consideration. There is no directive as far as the lottery corporation is concerned that precludes anyone per se. The lottery corporation more positively lays down certain terms and conditions with respect to financial viability, the number of agents and the amount of advertising.
I suppose it would be fair, in response to the hon. member’s question, to say that the lottery corporation would have to make that determination depending on how satisfactory the organization itself is and whether it can meet that obligation After all, we do have one; Sport Ontario is one of the distributors and it’s a non-profit organization.
Mr. Samis: So it would be fair to say, then, a service club would not be disqualified?
Hon. Mr. Welch: Not just because it was a service club.
Mr. Samis: All right.
Could I ask about some of the operations that were discussed in the press? Is it true that the lottery corporation still regards as one of the conditions of a distributorship that a distributor must sign an agreement saying that he will give no interviews to the media without the prior written consent of the lottery corporation?
Hon. Mr. Welch: That has never been the case. I thought I had sent, and I’m sorry, I’ll send the hon. member a copy of the terms and conditions that involve distributorships. I think it was actually a suggestion by the management of the lottery corporation that when any questions with respect to its management were raised, those questions should quite naturally be referred to the lottery corporation. There is nothing to preclude a distributor from responding to any questions in connection with his own operation.
Mr. Samis: Are you saying, in effect, that the article on March 5 in the Globe and Mail is wrong when it says the very first condition is that a distributor give no interviews without the prior written consent of the corporation? That is wrong?
Hon. Mr. Welch: I would assume, under the circumstances, that would all depend on what question was asked the distributor. Certainly, I don’t want to be placed in the position of commenting on newspaper stories. What I have answered to the hon. member is that it is in fact the case that questions with respect to the operation of the corporation are referred to the corporation. There is nothing to preclude the individual distributor from answering any question he is asked with respect to his own operation. That is his decision.
Mr. Samis: Could I ask what the lottery corporation is doing about two matters that were brought up? One is the policy of certain distributors to hire managers to run their particular distributorships while they are involved in other businesses, sometimes equally lucrative? Secondly, what has been done about the allegations by salesmen in three different areas -- once of which is in my particular riding, one in Dundas and one in Windsor -- about distributors forcing their salesmen to buy tickets in advance and in some cases forcing them to borrow money, cash savings bonds and make other arrangements about their mortgages? What has the lottery corporation done in regard to those allegations?
Hon. Mr. Welch: As far as the specific arrangements are concerned, there are some distributors who require their salesmen to be insured or to be bonded. Others achieve the same type of cash control by prepayment for tickets. I think this is an arrangement which the distributors themselves enter into with their salesmen in order to protect the cash flow situation.
As you know, the transaction between the lottery corporation and the distributors is a cash arrangement. I suppose the distributor is very anxious to protect his financial position as far as dealing with his salesmen is concerned. They vary as between the distributors.
Mr. Samis: Any question about hiring managers and the lottery corporation’s policy on that?
Hon. Mr. Welch: Actually, we have indicated to our distributors that these distributorships should be operated by them. Of course, the revision in the commission scale would ensure that that would more likely be the case in reality.
Mr. Samis: Could I ask if that had anything to do with the suspension of the distributorships to members in -- I think it was the Etobicoke part of Toronto? Was that a fact their being suspended or denied their distributorships?
Hon. Mr. Welch: I am advised that they resigned.
Mr. Samis: Were they given a little incentive to resign?
Hon. Mr. Welch: Well --
Mr. Nixon: Like leaving a revolver on their desk?
Mr. R. S. Smith: Like fired?
Mr. Samis: Could I ask if you could clarify or clear up the whole matter about which I have asked your colleague, the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations (Mr. Handleman), how it was that 23 distributors apparently did not get the official police clearance after they became distributors? What exactly was the foul-up and what have you done to make sure that never happens again?
Hon. Mr. Welch: I think the most direct answer is to indicate to you that the requirement with respect to licensing was the agreement insofar as the Olympic distributors were concerned. How in fact, some of them got into that particular responsibility without having met that requirement I really don’t know. As far as being a Wintario distributor is concerned there is no such requirement to have a licence from the Ministry of Consumer and Commercial Relations.
Mr. Samis: Could you give us an outline of what reforms you have made, in view of the tremendous number of applications for grants now and the amount of delay involved? Can you tell us what reforms you have made to ensure much speedier processing of applications and grants?
Hon. Mr. Welch: Mr. Chairman, I am as concerned as any member of this House is with respect to the amount of time which transpires between the receipt of the application and the actual letter from the ministry as to whether or not the answer is yes or no with respect to that application.
We started off with the best intentions in the world, really trying to do more than the system could do with a very limited staff, in a central way. So we have introduced in the ministry a more decentralized approach where on receipt of the applications they are directly referred to the particular divisions or areas of responsibility in the ministry which has some interest in that application. In addition to this, we have done something in the capital area; we have brought the capital people together in one place so that in fact applications for that type of support could be reviewed in that co-ordinated way as well.
We have been trying to turn these applications over more quickly. A lot of consultation has to be entered into. For instance, on applications for art support, we are anxious to have the input from the Arts Council and other areas. There is the consultation with our field staff. All of these particular steps result in the expiration of time and, of course, in most cases we are using the mail for this purpose and that also adds to our time problems.
So we have been attempting to speed things up. I think there are some improvements yet to be made. I am not particularly satisfied, and I know my staff is not particularly satisfied, and I say to their credit that they have done a tremendous job under very, very trying circumstances when you keep in mind they have other responsibilities as well. I think that they are to be commended because in this whole operation we have only increased the staff by about 12 people to do all this processing.
Mr. Samis: May I ask the minister if he can provide us with the up to date figures as of today on how much money has been committed, how much has actually been sent out, how much is in reserve and could he also tell us on what basis the calculations are made in the estimates that the revenue would be $36 million for this upcoming fiscal year, especially in view of how excessively conservative the estimate was for the previous year?
Hon. Mr. Welch: Using the end of the fiscal year figures, the lottery revenue turned over by the Ontario Lottery Corp. to the consolidated revenue fund to the end of the fiscal year was $42 million. The ministry grant commitments, and I underline commitments, to the end of the fiscal year was $25,651,716. Actually paid out as of the end of the fiscal year was $3,425,089.24. I could give you the breakdown of those payments, if you wanted, to show you how we’ve arrived at it.
A lot of these grant applications that are successful are in the term of conditional commitments. Once the parties have them, they have to meet those conditions, among them being the raising of money in the private sector. The demand for actual cash is usually postponed and could well be drawn over a period of three or four years. That’s why I prefer to use the term “commitments” in order to give you a clearer picture of where we are with respect to this programme.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: Order, please. Before the hon. member continues, perhaps the Chair could make an observation. I don’t like to interrupt the exchange between the hon. member and the minister, but I’ve been advised that there has been an undertaking between the various House leaders and caucuses to divide the time for this assessment of the estimates between the two opposition parties. I would draw to the attention of the hon. member that almost half of the time has expired and none of the members from the Liberal Party has had a chance to question the minister.
Mr. Samis: I’m well aware of the fact that we agreed that 30 minutes would be allotted to each party and I have used 20 minutes of the 30 allotted to this party. I’m very conscious of the number of questions and I’m sure my colleague from Niagara Falls will be getting his full 30 minutes. I have no intention of denying him that.
Mr. Kerrio: That is fair. If he wants to do it that way, he can use half of it.
Mr. Samis: Could I ask again how you calculated that figure of $36 million in view of your previous, as I said, excessively conservative estimate? How did you get the figure of $36 million?
Hon. Mr. Welch: I am sorry, Mr. Chairman. In the estimate, it’s a very arbitrary figure. Last year’s estimate, if memory serves me correctly, was $20 million which was our estimate and we sure were under on that one. We took a look at the next year, and so we put $36 million in, keeping in mind that the estimates are more from the standpoint of cash requirements than necessarily commitments. It will be very difficult for us, from the standpoint of actual cash, unless there was a great spree of building with respect to some of these conditional commitments, really to draw that much money anyway. So we have an arbitrary figure there which represents our best calculations of what the cash requirements might be.
Mr. Samis: Could I go through a series of questions, Mr. Chairman, to wind up my portion? Can you give us some indication if you intend to clarify the criteria or guidelines for all these grants since there seems to be a considerably widespread feeling that they’re very, very vague and people don’t really bow on what basis they’re being refused or accepted? Have you given thought to the idea of allotting a fixed amount of the total Wintario funds to the Arts Council, a fixed percentage or amount for the arts and the professions? Could I ask if you’ve given any consideration to reserving a certain portion of the grants to the municipalities? Could I ask you if Wintario, in effect, is replacing some of these sports equipment grants under existing programmes? Could I ask what you’re doing to improve co-ordination with the Arts Council and municipalities vis-à-vis arts programmes and recreational programmes in the province to avoid duplication and excessive burdens on the municipalities for operational purposes?
Hon. Mr. Welch: As far as the review of criteria is concerned, the answer is yes. We are very much involved in a complete review of the Wintario criteria. As far as the whole question of fixed amounts by way of transfer to the Arts Council and the municipalities, the answer to both those questions at this time would be no.
As far as sports equipment is concerned, I would think that the Wintario programme with respect to equipment will be the equipment programme insofar as the ministry is concerned. It seems to be an easier way to regulate it than to have two programmes related to equipment. As far as co-ordination is concerned, I’m glad you mentioned that because there is a great deal of co-ordination in the arts area, as I mentioned. All of this is done by way of consultation with the Arts Council.
We’ve had a number of meetings with respect to the Ontario municipal recreation associations. As far as the overall relationship there is concerned, it’s one that I would like to dwell on at some length and perhaps we could discuss that at another time. I was impressed by what the hon. member for Fort William (Mr. Angus) mentioned in that regard as well. I think the important thing here, and I say this quite quickly, is that at the moment we are responding to initiatives that are coming to us from the communities of the province. I think in these early stages of Wintario I’d like to preserve that relationship before we overly institutionalize and start talking about block transfers of payments and so on. We are really dealing with real live individuals and very well organized and enthusiastic organizations at the moment, who are dealing with us and bringing their proposals to us, and I’d like to have that type of relationship maintained.
It’s already in Hansard -- so I won’t repeat it and take up time -- there are certain principles which govern us in this programme, six in number, and within the framework of those six principles we are attempting in a very real way to satisfy ourselves that the criteria are not vague, but will encourage people to share in these proceeds. The whole attitude of the ministry is that we’re really trying to find ways to get the money out and not to keep it here.
Mr. Kerrio: Mr. Chairman, at the outset of the debate on the estimates of this ministry I made the comment that it was my feeling, and I think shared by many members on all sides of the House, that Wintario funds should not be used in a frivolous way. I mentioned that the government’s closure of hospitals had caused many of us to reconsider the situation with regard to Wintario funds and that we should get our priorities right and our house in order.
Mr. Minister, I’m absolutely sure that you knew perfectly well what I meant by those remarks. I think you chose to pretend that it was my intention to cast aspersions on the activities of many worthwhile groups and organizations in the province which made application for Wintario funds and I had implied their activities were frivolous, and that if I felt this way I should not support applications from my constituents.
Mr. Chairman, I feel I must protest the minister’s remarks. I am fully aware of the importance of cultural and recreational activities in the province. In fact I’m something of an enthusiast in this connection. I’ve sponsored many sports activities and I’ve participated in many. If I were not fully convinced of the importance of these areas of endeavour I would have declined to accept the position of critic of this particular ministry. At the same time I believe, as do many people, that we must be very careful about our priorities in these days of financial restraint.
It had been originally estimated that Wintario funds would amount to approximately $20 million, and already the amount transferred to the Ministry of Culture and Recreation to be disbursed as grants is some $50 million. To suggest that some of these funds might well be diverted to keeping community hospitals in operation cannot surely be interpreted as an attempt to downgrade the importance of either culture or recreation.
Mr. Minister, I think those comments are valid in view of what was said, and if you choose to make any comment at this time I would then ask some questions in regard to Wintario.
Hon. Mr. Welch: Mr. Chairman, I certainly have always felt that in exchanges in this House no one was personal and I wasn’t attempting in any way to be personal. Any response that I would have made to the introductory remarks of my friend from Niagara Falls would simply be on the basis of what I heard said. There is absolutely no reason why anyone would not do so, if they felt so disposed, who might want to criticize the programme, may well want to question priorities, may well want to question where this money goes.
I heard the hon. member say that he felt, in this particular time of restraint, that we should not be spending the money on frivolous activities. That can only mean -- and I felt that only meant -- that he would have some evidence that we were spending the money frivolously. I thought it might be of some interest to him to know that in the riding of Niagara Falls we had, in fact, done very well by the Niagara Falls YMCA, the Niagara Falls Public Library -- three grants to the Niagara Falls Public Library -- the Niagara Falls Peewee Hockey Tour Association, the Niagara Falls Oldtimers’ Hockey Club, the Niagara Falls Music Theatre Society, the Niagara Falls Minor Hockey Association, the Niagara Falls Girls’ School Hockey Association, the Niagara District Art Association, the Niagara Falls Family Y, the Niagara Falls Art Gallery and Museum, and so on. None of which, as far as I’m concerned, are frivolous activities at all.
Mr. Makarchuk: They did extremely well.
Mr. Bain: We didn’t do that well.
Hon. Mr. Welch: I’m pointing out to the hon. member that if those applications were looked up, no doubt he would want to be identified with this ministry’s support of what I think are very important activities in the city of Niagara Falls, which neighbours my riding. I don’t consider those activities frivolous at all. All the money that has gone into the city of Niagara Falls in Wintario grants would not otherwise have been available to those organizations, all of which I think make a tremendous contribution to the lifestyle of the people who live in Niagara Falls.
If memory serves me correctly, the programme of the Ministry of Health didn’t touch the city of Niagara Falls at all. I can’t recall a hospital bed being closed in Niagara Falls as a result of that particular programme. The Ministry of Culture and Recreation’s total budget represents one per cent of the provincial budget. The Ministry of Health represents perhaps 40 per cent of the provincial budget. If one were to take all of the Wintario money and turn it over to the Ministry of Health, I suppose it might operate it for four or five days.
I also heard the member for Niagara Falls, in his introductory remarks, quoting from a speech delivered in Belleville. I assumed that he identified himself with the fact that the money should go into the consolidated revenue fund in order to go out from the consolidated revenue fund against the established spending priorities of the government. I do not agree with that at all.
There are other points of view.
Mr. Ruston: Some in your own party.
Hon. Mr. Welch: That’s one of the great things that belong to a great party like this.
I stand here saying we should be delighted that in this day and age of financial restraints, when we’re trying to keep the expenditures of tax revenues under some semblance of control, that we would use these moneys, contributed in a voluntary way through the lottery, to make some contribution to a section of our community life, that surely can’t be accused of having excessive amounts of public money directed to it. We’re talking about one per cent of the provincial budget. We should be delighted that we have $20 million, $30 million or $40 million available for these activities in the field of sports, fitness, culture and recreation, which otherwise might not be available and which otherwise might not be able to be developed. There’s $40 million to go out according to some very well understood principles to which reference has already been made.
I tell you, I am for the lottery proceeds being dedicated for these purposes. I don’t consider we’ve spent a five-cent piece frivolously. As far as I’m concerned the people who have benefited have made great contributions. I could go through all the rulings represented in this House and name the organizations in all of our ridings that have been able to do a lot of things in connection with their particular programmes because of these things. That’s what I was talking to; nothing personal at all.
Mr. Kerrio: Thank you for your comments, Mr. Minister; of course, you realize some reply is necessary to what you are suggesting. The list that you drew up in favour of the constituency that I represent, I concur, of course, named very worthwhile things; I made that comment in my remarks. I was strictly replying that, because I disagreed with some of the policies of Wintario, your suggestion was that I should not support that very list that you just mentioned, and I certainly do.
What I was trying to draw to your attention in the way of frivolous activity was that, considering the closing of hospitals, you know very well that some of the oldtimers’ hockey teams which were sent overseas would very well have gone without your help, and the wine-stomping contest would have gone on without your help. There were many areas, and when I compare them, you’re attempting to make me look bad; I refuse to be put in that position.
Mr. R. S. Smith: Your comments are personal.
Mr. Kerrio: Your comments are all taken out of context because when I draw the conclusion that we could be --
Mr. Ruston: I know.
Mr. Kerrio: -- I am comparing the closing of hospitals to some of these activities. In that context it takes on a somewhat more frivolous appearance except when you turn them and use them for your method of telling me what has been done in Niagara Falls.
Let me bring something else into focus: You mentioned that the $40 million we have here wouldn’t keep the hospitals in this province going for any length of time at all. You are right but you have forgotten one very important thing -- the restraints the hospital people are talking about are going to save $40 million. I am not concerned about what it costs to run that whole ministry. They said they might save $40 million to $50 million; you have that much in your ministry. That’s what I am talking about.
I am not talking about this $40 million keeping the hospitals going for any length of time. I am talking about using this in a way which would stop the closing of hospitals and in that way I meant that some of the activities under Wintario are frivolous.
I might say to you that it seems very strange to me --
Hon. Mr. Welch: Name one grant; name one frivolous grant.
Mr. Ruston: I have the list.
Mr. Kerrio: I just reiterated one.
Hon. Mr. Welch: Where did it go?
Mr. Ferrier: Niagara Falls oldtimers.
Hon. Mr. Welch: Niagara Falls oldtimers.
Mr. Kerrio: Yes, I think that is kind of frivolous. I think the oldtimers would have gone to Sweden without your grant.
Mr. Ferrier: Maybe it will help them and help the hospitals, too. Keep them active.
Mr. Kerrio: If you want to use the NDP approach and take my list and use it against me, go ahead.
Anyway, the other point I wanted to make has to do with the priorities in Wintario funding. I suggest to you that there are many arenas across this province which have been up for 20 or 30 years and which could very well be closed down because they badly need repairs to the reeves. We are going to have people suffering in many small communities while you are building $3 million or $4 million edifices in other communities. That’s how well the priorities are working within that ministry.
I don’t have any other comments to make. We agreed on apportioning of our time and there are other members I would defer to in my caucus.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: Perhaps we might -- there were four minutes left for the NDP; perhaps the hon. member for Beaches-Woodbine, if she wishes to, can use it now; then we can devote the rest of the time to the Liberal members, if that’s agreeable.
Mrs. Campbell: Four minutes from now.
Mr. Nixon: The clock is running.
Ms. Bryden: Mr. Chairman, it is unfortunate that we have such a short time to deal with a new project such as Wintario, a project which I think is here to stay since 82 per cent of Ontario households are now buying Wintario tickets. I think it is very important that Ontario citizens should know how the proceeds from that activity are being spent and that’s why I have attempted to find out how the money was disbursed in the first year by making an analysis of the press releases issued by the ministry covering 965 grants and approximately $25 million. After that analysis I have come to the conclusion that there is a need for a drastic overhaul of the whole Wintario grant operation to bring it more under legislative control and to see that the money is used for meeting a broader range of urgent provincial needs in this time of restraint in particular.
I also think the administrative costs for processing grants should be looked at much more carefully and we should have information on what it is costing per grant to administer.
The disbursement of the substantial and growing Wintario proceeds which could amount to $10 million to $80 million this year -- even though the government has conservatively estimated it at $60 million -- is something we should be concerned about in this Legislature. Seldom have such large sums of money been left to the discretionary spending of a single ministry without much clearer guidelines being spelled out in the legislation or in regulations which the Legislature has an opportunity to examine.
We do not know how the grant total is divided between current and capital; or between culture and recreation. Are there any targets? We do not know how many applications have been turned down. We do not know the cost of processing each application. We do not know how much of the staff time of the ministry is being devoted to handling Wintario applications. We do not know to what extent the ministry’s budget is being kept down by substituting Wintario grants for grants formerly made by the ministry.
These are some of the questions that we must have answers to and this is why it must be more accountable to the Legislature.
My study revealed certain other facts. For instance, moneywise, sports and recreation got 37 per cent of the total; cultural activities, 51 per cent; and joint community centres, covering both recreation and culture, 12 per cent. But of the total grants, sports got 61 per cent and cultural activities 37 per cent. Capital grants accounted for over 90 per cent. Multicultural grants of a non-capital nature were negligible -- only seven were given in the last fiscal year.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: I would draw to the hon. member’s attention that there’s less than a minute of time.
Ms. Bryden: Mr. Chairman, if I could just have maybe a minute or two extra. I have come to certain conclusions as a result of this analysis. The conclusions are that there is widespread demand for a change in the uses to which the Wintario profits are put. Proposals should be considered perhaps for putting a ceiling on the amount given in the present kinds of grants and putting the balance of the profits to larger projects -- perhaps to grants to municipalities and things of that sort. We must have more publication -- more disclosure -- of grant guidelines. We must have better legislative control of the grants. We must have information on grants rejected, and I think there should be some right of appeal to some non-ministry body for applicants refused grants.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: Order please. I hate to interrupt again but I have no other direction from the committee. The four minutes have been utilized as was agreed amongst the three caucuses.
Ms. Bryden: Could I have one minute more? I have about three more recommendations.
Mrs. Campbell: No.
Mr. Shore: Take it from one of your colleagues.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: I think that the time was evenly divided.
Mrs. Campbell: The NDP have had 46 per cent of the time today.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: This should have been worked out amongst the individual caucuses. I have no direction. It would be up to the other members if they wish to give up a minute or two of their time.
Mr. R .S. Smith: Let her finish. One more minute.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: All right. One more minute.
Ms. Bryden: I just want to refer to the proportion of cost contributed by Wintario -- how difficult it is for community groups to raise the two-thirds of 50 per cent; their reluctance to cover operating costs; and the one-shot nature of Wintario grants, which result in great inefficiency in starting up and stopping.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: Does the hon. minister wish to reply?
Hon. Mr. Welch: Mr. Chairman, I don’t want to take any time at all except that I want to acknowledge that the hon. member has raised some questions. I think she’s entitled to answers and I’d be glad to see that she gets them.
But, No. 2, I don’t want my silence in providing some more time to be deemed as an agreement with some of the charges that have been made there. I do take some exception with some of the things that were said and the analysis and it may be that at another time we can perhaps straighten the record up with respect to some of those facts.
Mr. R. S. Smith: I have a few comments to make. Like the minister I wouldn’t like to be personal, and I wouldn’t like him to read the list that I’ve already read here of the grants that have gone into my district. They haven’t been too bad, so I won’t comment on that.
Hon. Mr. Welch: I have got a pretty good index here.
Mr. R. S. Smith: Oh, I’m sure you have. And you’re prepared to read it off to anybody who disagrees with you.
Hon. Mr. Welch: I’ve done that!
Mr. R. S. Smith: You’ve done that, so anyway, I’d just like --
Hon. Mr. Welch: I am sure there isn’t a grant there that is frivolous.
Mr. Kerrio: You learned that today in question period.
Mr. R. S. Smith: No, not frivolous, I wouldn’t use that word, no. I wouldn’t use the word “frivolous.” But I would like to go back a bit on the question of the appointment of the distributors. As the minister is aware there was some difficulty in my area that went on for some months and finally the man supposedly resigned. On the day of his resignation he ended up in my office and said to me that he was fired.
Mr. Laughren: Yours too?
Mr. R. S. Smith: He went on to point out why and I said that’s fine. Then he asked me out for dinner and I said I wouldn’t go to Harvey’s with him, but --
Hon. Mr. Welch: What have you got against Harvey’s?
Mr. R. S. Smith: Nothing. It was the person, I don’t have a thing against Harvey’s, but I certainly wouldn’t like to do that to Harvey’s, let’s put it that way.
Anyway the man didn’t resign, he was fired -- there is no question about that in my mind -- and rightfully so, I feel. I agree with that.
In the interim the Wintario commission sent up to my area two of the members of that commission to go on open-line radio shows and say how great a distributor he was. On one of those radio shows they kind of took a few cracks at the member for Nipissing for some of the statements he made. That was on the Sudbury open-line radio show.
Mr. Edighoffer: Surely not.
Mr. R. S. Smith: I take exception to that type of thing. Of course, when they came to North Bay they got on a radio show but they didn’t say the same things because they thought I might hear them. I take exception to commissioners of Wintario making remarks on open-line radio shows in regard to what statements members of this Legislature might or might not make. I think the minister should speak to the commission in that regard so that we can all be above board and know where we stand, particularly when it was proved that I was absolutely correct right through the whole matter and they were wrong -- that is, the members of the Wintario lottery commission.
I would like the minister to ask them to write an apology to me. Further to that I have some other comments because that was some months ago. It’s all over and the poor fellow is gone and is worried about hospitals now -- he has also got into some trouble and whatnot there -- but it did bother me that the commission sent those people up into my area to change things around rather than face the facts as they were.
I would like to ask the minister some specific questions in regard to the criteria set up as you went along. You have had one full year of operation in granting these moneys yet neither we, the members, nor the public fully realize what the criteria are. I wonder if the minister, as criteria are developed, could provide the members and the public the basis on which decisions are specifically made in regard to applications?
General criteria have been developed, I fully realize that, but I don’t know what they are and nobody else does. I think they should be made public. The first pamphlet which came out almost begged people to come and get money -- “It is here; it is free; it is everything else;” I have paraphrased it -- but it indicated there was lots of money here for all these different programmes and all you have to do is come and get it. Then, when they did apply, they didn’t fit the criteria although if what was in the brochure was the criteria, most of those applications certainly would have been accepted; but different criteria were set along the way.
I would ask the minister if he is now prepared to make available to us and the public the criteria in the different categories set up in recreation, sports and culture?
Hon. Mr. Welch: The answer, of course, is certainly yes. The “How To Share” booklet, although it is not overly specific, did set out some general guidelines. I have shared with the hon. members -- I would be prepared now except I don’t want to take your time; it is now in Hansard -- what the six principles are with respect to the Wintario programme.
As I mentioned in response to an earlier question, we are reviewing our criteria and it is our plan to put out separate publications for each division so that it can be more expansive.
Mr. R. S. Smith: That’s what I am asking.
Hon. Mr. Welch: They would be more expansive and they are in the process of being developed.
I think it is important to know, and I appreciate the fact the hon. member has mentioned it, that an applicant who gets a “yes” answer will know, on the basis of the affirmative answer, that his or her application has met the criteria. I must take some responsibility for the holdup but we knew there would be some unsuccessful applicants and they were entitled to know why they were turned down. We spent a great deal of time developing those letters on an application by application basis. You would find, although it is not all in one place, that anyone in your area who has written in for a Wintario grant and been turned down, should have an explanation in the letter as to why the application wasn’t successful.
I know that is only a partial answer but certainly those letters are worded that way so that if there is to be an appeal, they’ll know exactly the basis upon which they then should resubmit or reapply if, in fact, they felt they wanted to.
However, to go back to the other point, we are going to expand. We’re developing it on a division by division basis. Indeed, let me say this quite sincerely, if any member of this House has any suggestions at all with respect to how the programme itself might be improved in keeping with the dedicated principle of section 9 of the Lottery Corporation Act, which sets out that these funds are available for sports and fitness and recreation and culture, I would be very delighted to hear them.
Mr. R. S. Smith: I would just like to comment on that. Perhaps people do get an explanation in the letter why they are being turned down, but they wouldn’t have bothered to spend all their time making out the application in the first place if they knew the criteria. And they don’t know on what to appeal or to apply again if they don’t know what the criteria are, so we really do have to have some kind of definitive criteria that are set down for each area, as you outlined. We do have to have that made public to the people who are interested, so they can see on what basis they have to make their application -- and not find out after they’ve been turned down.
I’ll make one more comment, and then I’ll be finished. I would like to see one area added to that section 9, because I feel it is too restrictive in that it does not look after many volunteer organizations in the social development field and provides no assistance in that area at all. I realize that section 9 is purposely set out not to assist that type of organization, and that’s left to other ministries. But I would like to see section 9 enlarged so that the volunteer organizations could receive seed funds across this province in the area of social development. Because it is not being done by the Ministry of Community and Social Services to any great extent, and it’s not being done, as it should be, through the Ministry of Health, either. I do believe that those services to the public are as important in this community of Ontario as recreation, as sports, as all the things that are covered under section 9. So I would ask the minister to consider enlarging section 9 to consider those organizations, and I would like his comment on that.
Hon. Mr. Welch: Mr. Chairman, we’re really not prepared to introduce any amendment to section 9, other than the general words that are there. And in doing that, this doesn’t preclude the access to that resource by volunteer organizations, but the activities of the volunteer organizations have to be related to these particular fields.
Now, I would disagree that that imposes a narrow interpretation. Culture, recreation, sports and fitness -- that’s a pretty wide area. I also remind you that there are two very important criteria with respect to these principles -- that is the non-substitution of taxes and the non-dependency principle. But we’re very worried; we don’t want to start getting things going with respect to seed money, and then turn them loose elsewhere to find their ongoing expenses. That was one of the great criticisms of other programmes. They got things going, and then didn’t provide for their ongoing operation.
But I would remind the hon. member that I find section 9, as is presently in the statute, a fairly wide area. There are a tremendous number of volunteer organizations, of course, for those particular objects who are benefitting from it. I know what the hon. member means, but once you’re out of this general field, then I would be at a loss to know where you might draw the line. So, I think it is not a case of volunteerism not being supported, it’s a case of where the volunteer activity is being directed. Because most of the recipients are, in fact, made up of hundreds of volunteers who are helping to provide some of these programmes and who are getting this support.
Mr. R. S. Smith: Does the minister then look at the ongoing deficits that will incur from some of the capital construction projects that are being financed by Wintario?
Hon. Mr. Welch: It is quite clearly indicated to these people that they cannot look to Wintario for any ongoing expenses from the capital programme.
Mr. R. S. Smith: You could do the same with the other.
Mrs. Campbell: I would like, first of all, to ask the minister if he is prepared to table in this House the audit which has been done, I’m informed, of the Wintario operation.
Hon. Mr. Welch: I am advised that the audit has not been completed, useless the hon. member has information that I don’t have. I am advised that the audit has not been finished.
Mrs. Campbell: Then could I ask when it is contemplated that that audit will finish?
Hon. Mr. Welch: There would be a brief audit at the end of the last fiscal year covering a short period of time I suppose, but I don’t have such an audit at the moment. I am advised that the Provincial Auditor is presently at the corporation doing his audit, so whenever that is available it will become public information in due course.
Mrs. Campbell: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I would like in the time left to me to make some comments. I am sure the minister is perfectly aware of what I am going to say, because I have had discussions with him on the whole area of Wintario funds as they are made available to the multicultural community, particularly in this area.
Surely there must be an end to this uncertainty in the guidelines in that area. The minister is perfectly well aware -- since, I understand, his staff is -- that the first guidelines were in fact prepared by Foster Advertising and that there are now new guidelines in the process of being prepared. The difficulty is, of course, that while we are waiting the variations in the grants perusals are really creating great problems.
I may say, for example, that I don’t understand, if a community asks for a project grant, where in the world in the guidelines it says they have to produce a five-year lease, for instance, for a one-shot deal. I can’t understand where you get to that. If it were to be a capital grant application I can understand that there should be some security. But if the people have been in the same place for years why they should now suddenly he asked to produce an additional evidence of a lease to get a project grant is beyond me and I find it nowhere in the guidelines.
I also don’t understand why in one community a grant is made and approved, where that community operates almost in identical fashion with another community, and because the second multicultural community doesn’t advertise publicly that it is open to anybody in the area, its grant should be refused, while in the first case the grant was made without such advertising being either required or indeed even investigated. What you have done by having these people in Wintario is to create further dichotomies between the multicultural communities in Metropolitan Toronto.
Surely if you have a multicultural group in your ministry they must have set up some kind of expertise and perhaps it would be useful to use their experience in this very delicate area. When you compare the various grants that are made and the various grants that are turned down, there is absolutely no way that you can come up with what the criteria are, because one gets it, the other doesn’t and there is no real reason except two different people are perusing the applications.
If the minister is dedicated to the multicultural programme may I suggest that we sit down and get guidelines that apply equally to every single multicultural community and not those which can be interpreted differently depending on the viewer. I’m sorry. I can’t go on, Mr. Chairman. I realize my time is up, but I would have hoped that we could have had some reply to that from the minister.
Hon. Mr. Welch: Very quickly, Mr. Chairman, I will give the hon. member the undertaking that we will sit down and talk. I understood that on about May 27 there was such a meeting at which the hon. member had some opportunity to meet with some of our staff and share some of these concerns.
Mrs. Campbell: That’s right and nothing happened.
Hon. Mr. Welch: That was on May 27. I want to make sure that there is no misunderstanding -- Foster Advertising agency is not preparing and has not prepared any book on the multi-cultural criteria. We have had extensive meetings in the ministry in this area and it has been a complicated one because of this whole question of wanting to be helpful and sharing. I know the hon. member has a personal dedication in this field and I want to assure her I share it. I would be glad to sit down and talk to her about it and clear up any misunderstandings.
Vote 2807 agreed to.
Mr. Chairman: This completes the estimates of the Ministry of Culture and Recreation.
ESTIMATES, MINISTRY OF EDUCATION
Mr. Chairman: Does the hon. minister have an opening comment?
Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Chairman, I would like to begin by saying that if ever in the history of Ontario there was a critical need for a better sense of perspective on the school system of the province, a need to stand back and at a distance objectively analyse the realities of the present day, it is now.
There could be no more opportune time for at least a cursory review than this moment as we are here today to examine the proposed expenditures of $1,970,456,000 by the Ministry of Education for the fiscal year 1976-1977.
Almost everywhere across North America education has come under the shadow of negativism over the past four or five years. Every week we seem to hear criticisms from those who claim there are falling standards, shortcomings in teaching the basics, a lack of discipline, not enough compulsory subjects, a lack of tough examinations, too many teacher strikes, inadequate financing, higher education taxes and on and on it goes. In general, less quality for more money, or so the critics say.
It is a small comfort for most of us to open a daily newspaper from virtually any North American city, I would say, and realize that the criticisms we are hearing here in Ontario are practically universal. At least, we can realize that Ontario is not an island and that educators and legislators almost everywhere are pondering the same questions we are.
How much validity is there to the criticism? How can we objectively measure the quality of education better than it is being done at present? How, precisely, do we overcome any shortcomings which do not exist without destroying what is essentially a fine education system?
In short, where do we go from here?
In education today, we face a paradoxical situation and I say we need a sense of perspective to recognize it. The paradox is simply this -- many of the features of our school system; which are being most heavily criticized today are the very things which were achieved in the 1960s when everywhere there was a great push, supported by educators and the public alike, to break away from the rigidities and authoritarianism of the 1950s and earlier.
I believe that in some respects the pendulum of change in education perhaps did swing too far during the 1960s because of the momentum behind it. Today, in 1976, the onus is upon us to keep a rein on the pendulum, letting it return perhaps a little closer to a more balanced position but preventing it from sweeping back too far.
It is incumbent upon legislators, educators and the public not to rush forward into wholesale changes that may in the process destroy the best of what has been achieved over these past 15 years. In almost every respect there has been progress and improvement in education since 1960.
The responsible -- and perhaps, Mr. Chairman, the most difficult -- course for us today is to assess with special care the criticisms and recommendations we are hearing, to pinpoint those with real merit and substance and at the same time resist the temptation to accede to others just for the sake of silencing the criticism.
We must make changes. We must make them soon. Personally I don’t believe that the needed refinements are nearly so substantive as some of the extremist critics would have us believe. The cool hand of reason must prevail, even under the sometimes intense heat of criticism. We must make those refinements that are educationally sound and no others.
What are some of the key areas that deserve our particular attention at this time, Mr. Chairman?
One, most certainly, is money. And this is very definitely one critical area where a better sense of perspective and reality is needed by many people within education itself.
We still hear the occasional claim that more money would somehow automatically lead to improvements in education. I think, Mr. Chairman, we have to realize that this is not so, this is not so. We have to realize that the answer to even better quality in education does not lie in ever-increasing amounts of money.
We have before us today expenditure proposals of over $1.9 billion for the Ministry of Education in 1976-1977. Following the pattern of earlier years, the vast majority of these funds merely pass through our hands on their way to other bodies and other agencies. In fact 96.6 per cent of the money represented by these estimates today, is for transfer payments to school boards, the Teachers’ Superannuation Commission and fund, and to agencies like the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, the Ontario Educational Communications Authority and several others.
The remaining expenditures, under five per cent of our total budget, are composed of three types of costs: The first is for the operations of institutions, representing 1.4 per cent of the total ministry estimates. These include the provincial schools for the blind and deaf; developmental centre schools; our correspondence course programme; and the Ontario Teacher Education College. Second, the regional offices of the ministry, which represent 0.6 per cent of the estimates of this ministry. And third, the -- if I could term them so -- head office costs, of which the regional offices are part but I have separated them for clarity today. The head office costs -- that is the cost of the operation here in the Mowat Block at Queen’s Park -- represents 1.4 per cent of the total estimates of this ministry. These last three items together have decreased slightly during the 1975-1976 fiscal year as a percentage of the total ministry budget, falling now to 3.4 per cent from four per cent last year.
It’s well known that the government is constantly under pressure from various quarters, of course, to pump even more money into education. For reasons that have been expounded many times previously and which are well known to everyone in the Legislature, the proposed increases in transfer payments for next year is the limit which can be afforded within the provincial Treasury.
I spoke earlier of perspective; many members are aware of a study of Canadian education conducted recently by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development -- OECD in short -- which is an international body based in Paris, France. From a draft report arising from this study come some findings that must surely cast a new light on the credibility of those who would have us believe that education in Ontario is under-financed. To quote from that report, there are these words: “In international perspective, Canada’s allocations of resources to education have developed from a clearly generous level to an extraordinarily generous one.”
The report gives figures which indicate that Canada’s spending in education, expressed in terms of percentages of gross national product, is significantly higher than other major countries of the world. The figures quoted in the report indicate that Canada spends 8.3 per cent of the GNP on education. The closest comparative figures are 7.3 per cent for the USSR; 6.3 per cent for the United States; and 5.6 per cent for the United Kingdom. Canada’s 8.3 per cent stands at about twice the level of France, which is at 4.5 per cent, Japan at 4 per cent and West Germany at 3.6 per cent.
It is my perception that people are now coming to grips with the reality of education finance in Ontario. It’s not been easy. While perhaps there will never be enough money available from the public purse to do everything that everyone would like to do in education, or, for that matter, in any other field, I believe that those responsible for setting education budgets at all levels today realize that there are limits. Certainly, the public realizes the limits. Although it is extremely difficult, in many cases, to sort out priorities and make those ultimate decisions on how the available money is to be spent, it is being done with a truly commendable degree of persistence, patience, understanding and success.
I believe that we’re finally arriving at an improved sense of perspective related to the monetary aspects of our school system.
The second major area that requires careful attention at this time -- and I guess it is ultimately more important than the monetary aspects -- is the curriculum in our schools. Being at the very heart of the education system, it is not to be tampered with lightly or without great care and serious thought. Yet because of its very nature it must be modified and refined constantly to ensure that it continues to serve the best interests of pupils and society as a whole.
The paradoxical situation which I described earlier, in which some of the very advances of the 1960s have become the targets of the harshest criticisms of today, certainly presents legislators and educators with a reality that contains a most difficult challenge.
First, let me say that some of the criticisms we have been hearing do have some measure of foundation and we must and will act to make improvements where they are needed. But at the same time I would repeat what I said earlier -- that we must not rush headlong into wholesale changes for the sake of expediency because if we do so we run a risk of destroying much of the good that so many people have worked so hard to achieve in recent years in order to make our school system more relevant and more responsive to most of the young people in this province that it must serve.
At the elementary school level, the introduction of “The Formative Years,” which is the ministry’s official curriculum policy for the primary and junior grades, has exemplified, I believe, the responsible approach to curriculum refinement. In an atmosphere in which many citizens and even some teachers were expressing uneasiness about coverage of the so-called basic subjects there might have been a temptation to retreat to the rigid approaches of a bygone time.
We have not done this. Instead, we have prepared for the schools and school boards in “The Formative Years” a clear outline of curriculum expectations, a blueprint of objectives which leaves no room for doubt as to where the emphasis should be in the elementary school system of this province.
We gave no thought to the idea of returning to a standardized lockstep curriculum even in the basics because such an approach does not make adequate allowance for the individual differences among children and we must make adequate allowance for these differences. We continue to be convinced that individual school boards, schools and teachers need some degree of flexibility in order to best serve all their pupils and while “The Formative Years” is significantly more clear-cut and succinct than its predecessor, the local curriculum flexibility remains.
The co-operative approach to assessing and refining the elementary school curriculum which has followed and, in fact, preceded the introduction of “The Formative Years,” I think, exemplifies a responsible approach to change in curriculum.
All across this province, hundreds of meetings and workshops have been held over the last year, with local educators and ministry officials working together to assess present curriculum in the schools against the objectives stated in “The Formative Years.” Every school board has a plan of action worked out to identify curriculum areas that need change or upgrading and to make appropriate refinements where they’re necessary.
It should be noted that the comparisons that were made between the present curriculum policies of many local school boards and those stated in The Formative Years,” where the basics definitely were emphasized, did not reveal too many disparities. Improvements and new emphasis, yes. Some new content, yes. But really they showed that basics were in the school system.
“The Formative Years” stresses again the basics, and so do the programmes that are being offered across this province today. “The Formative Years” paints a picture of curriculum, however, that goes well beyond the basics -- the reading, writing, arithmetic, grammar and spelling -- which are so necessary. It paints a picture that goes beyond this and presents programmes offered to satisfy other basic objectives, which, of course, must also be the objectives of the elementary school.
While on the topic of curriculum, let me briefly make one or two points about the secondary schools in Ontario and the credit system. To start with, let’s look at the core curriculum in our high schools. We have all heard some pretty emotional rhetoric on this subject; much of it, I must say, bears little relation to what is actually happening in our schools.
There are those who seem determined to perpetuate the myth that there is no core curriculum in our high schools. I can only suggest that they take an honest look at the present practice in virtually all the secondary schools across this province. All of the rhetoric aside, the hard statistics show that, in fact, a basic core curriculum does exist. English and Canadian studies are mandatory for every student. In grades 9 and 10, 100 per cent of the students are taking science, 83 per cent are taking physical education and more than 80 per cent are taking mathematics. In the upper grades, English, maths and science are taken by just about every student.
We have a computerized document of every course being taken by every student in this province, and this document documents what I have said. It’s very interesting reading for anyone who believes that the majority of students in this province are taking Mickey Mouse courses or courses like basket-weaving. In fact, I can’t even find basket-weaving listed as a course of study in any school in this province.
Mr. Nixon: Can you find Canadian family studies?
Hon. Mr. Wells: Is my friend saying that Canadian family studies is not a course of merit and worth discussion?
Mr. Nixon: Of course it has merit, but it certainly doesn’t compare with the ones you have listed. You haven’t even listed French. Don’t you think that French should be a part of the curriculum? Where do you think French should stand?
Hon. Mr. Wells: I’m glad to have my friend say that Canadian family studies doesn’t qualify as a very important course. He links that with basket-weaving and so forth.
Mr. Nixon: No. You link it with basket-weaving.
Mr. Chairman: The hon. member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk will have an opportunity to get into the debate later.
Mr. Nixon: Mr. Chairman, I wonder if the hon. minister will permit a question?
Hon. Mr. Wells: Certainly.
Mr. Bain: No, no. We prefer to hear the minister.
Hon. Mr. Wells: My friend is going to ask about French, and of course, we’ll have a discussion about French later on. He knows that I don’t believe that French should be a mandatory subject.
Mr. Nixon: Where do you place it? Is that important or not? Do you place that with Canadian family studies?
Hon. Mr. Wells: Canadian family studies is a very hard and relevant course for some students in this province.
Mr. Nixon: Of course. And you say it has the same importance as French.
Mr. Chairman: Will the hon. minister just ignore the interjections? We’ll have ample opportunity later to get into these votes in detail.
Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Chairman, most of the impassioned pleas for a more rigid and authoritarian mandatory core curriculum are implying, if not stating very specifically, that the Ministry of Education ought to lay down a specific list of courses that are compulsory for every student and return to the very rigidity that was so soundly and understandably criticized; in the 1960s as being quite insensitive to the individual needs of individual students and the realities of a changing world.
Our policy on core curriculum is quite clear, quite simple and quite realistic, and it is geared to what we believe to be the best interests of the students of this province.
We believe in the core curriculum. We believe that knowledge in certain subjects is fundamental to the education of secondary school students. But we also believe that the high school curriculum should not be prescribed totally from above, from the Ministry of Education. Just as with “The Formative Years” for the elementary schools of the province, we believe there should be flexibility for local school boards and schools so they can respond more individually to the real needs of the students in their jurisdictions.
In curriculum, Mr. Chairman, we are practising local autonomy, the kind of local autonomy that my friend is always talking about and that the Liberal Party is always talking about, local autonomy that allows local people to make decisions.
Mr. Nixon: You just gave up your ceilings about five months ago. You are seeing a bit of light, once you have removed the ceilings.
Hon. Mr. Wells: And we are expecting local responsibility. We establish broad policies and guidelines within which local school boards and educators can bring their own good judgement to bear on specific courses of study. Sometimes I think it would be much easier if we simply reverted to a more centralized and authoritarian system, taking away the flexibility and directing more of everything right here from Queen’s Park -- just as in the “good old days” which we hear so much about. But I think that this would be a cop-out and it would be to the detriment of most of the students of this province.
And we are not going to do this, Mr. Chairman. I stand firmly by our present policy, because I think it is correct and it is responsible. We encourage school boards and schools to recommend to their students a solid core curriculum, plus a good variety of meaningful and challenging options. We put the onus, believing in local autonomy, on locally-elected school trustees and on their employees, the principals of their secondary schools, along with their teachers and administrators, to recommend the specifics of the core programme for their pupils, because this is where the responsibility belongs.
It is only in this way that we can achieve a measure of flexibility at the local level, and that is what is happening. It is the way I would think, Mr. Chairman, from my contacts with educators in the field, the way most of the principals of the secondary schools of this province believe it should be handled.
In saying this, we do not give school boards or principals the ultimate authoritarian power either. It continues to be our policy that a student and his parents, having examined and discussed the recommended package of subjects put forward by the school, can substitute one subject for another in the package if they really wish to do so.
Now, it is this proviso -- which to me makes eminent good sense -- that I think gives rise to such incredulous statements as I read in the recent report, for instance, of the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation, titled “At What Cost?”, where it said: “We now have an education system distinguished by the complete freedom of choice offered to students.”
Such statements are patently ridiculous and inaccurate. If there are schools where such a situation exists, and I do not know of any -- and I emphasize that -- I do not know of any where complete freedom of choice exists -- then I can only suggest that the local trustees, not to mention the principals and teachers themselves, have a closer look at the way they are managing their schools.
But the hard statistical facts, when measured against the rather vague “perceptions” of some people, convince us that in fact we do have a responsible core curriculum for the high school students of Ontario, built upon the premise of local autonomy that leaves key decision-making powers to local people, within the broad parameters specified by the higher authority, the Ministry of Education.
Mr. Nixon: Sounds pretty nearly perfect.
Hon. Mr. Wells: Perhaps there is no more important area of our school system where a sense of perspective and objective analysis of the facts are needed today, to prevent expedient steps being taken to accommodate the criticisms at the expense of students, both present and future.
Mr. Chairman, within the ministry, and within the education community generally, there are at present a number of very important activities and studies under way which, although not yet finalized, will doubtless have a significant influence on developments in Ontario education over the next few years. Not surprisingly, many of these activities bear directly or indirectly on curriculum matters, as part of our firm resolve to obtain objective, factual information in this area before any decisions are made about possible changes for the future.
An example is the work that has been going on to systematically review the curriculum of the intermediate division, grades 7 to 10. Core curriculum has been one of the fundamental issues in this review. Analysis of the opinions put forward by parents, students, educators, trustees and other interested citizens has led to the development of a series of core “expectations” for each of the four grades. A draft document is now being evaluated; it is called “The Intermediate Years,” and is similar in format and intent to “The Formative Years” for the elementary school grades.
Another example of the kind of curriculum analysis that is under way is the large-scale research project jointly commissioned by the Ministries of Education and Colleges and Universities. We are reviewing all of the educational policies of the two ministries that concern the preparation of students for post-secondary education, as well as their admission and reception into college and university programmes.
This major study, which actually comprises three separate research projects expected to be completed late this year, arose out of our concern that there was a notable lack of hard data on these matters and in these fields. We have all been hearing criticisms but these usually amount to vague opinions as to how well students are prepared and how well they are incorporated into colleges and universities.
So we are looking at everything that affects the movement of students between secondary schools and our colleges and universities. The whole thrust of this research is to conduct a hard-nosed, objective evaluation by people who know the system but who are essentially outsiders.
At the same time, Mr. Chairman, we will be giving close scrutiny to the report which has just been received and which was prepared by the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation, entitled “At What Cost?” Despite my earlier references to a particular sentence in that report and particular point made, I would like to say that I am very impressed by the scope and content of this report as a whole, and the various recommendations it presents will be reviewed very carefully in the ministry and with the teachers’ federation.
Mr. Nixon: That’s having it both ways.
Hon. Mr. Wells: Do you even know what the recommendations are? Have you read the report?
Mr. Nixon: I certainly am aware of one on the very matter with which you have been dealing at length. Calling irresponsible those people who were critical of your administration and policy.
Hon. Mr. Wells: I’ll be very interested if you can quote me back what their recommendation is, very interested.
On another front, there has been a great deal of action within the ministry on the broad matters of evaluation, testing and reporting to parents. Members will recall that when we last considered this ministry’s estimates in November of 1975, I indicated our concern that better methods were needed to look at the evaluation and reporting methods presently being used to inform parents of the progress of their children in school. This statement of concern has been a top priority matter for us since then and we expect to be able to put forward some specific proposals later this year, after consultation with teachers, trustees and others who are, of course, most vitally interested and concerned about these matters.
In a similar way, new developments related to the teaching of French as a second language and the very important matter of multiculturalism are coming closer to reality, thanks to many months of planning, and we will have something to say about these matters in a few months.
Mr. Nixon: Be very interested to hear you give the percentage of French at various levels.
Hon. Mr. Wells: These are just a few of the areas to which a great deal of time and effort has been allocated in the last six months. As examples, they serve to illustrate the extent to which we have turned a critical and introspective eye upon present educational policies and practices, end the extent to which we are determined to make any future changes in education based on factual, objective analysis of specific problems.
In closing, Mr. Chairman, I would like to quote from an editorial in the current issue of what I think is a very excellent newspaper published by the Ontario Public School Men Teachers’ Federation. The editor of this paper, Garth McMillan, was writing about the need for teamwork and co-operation in education as a strategy for coping with the inevitable changes which lie ahead in education. I don’t think I could have expressed it any better than he did in his editorial:
“The beauty of it is the solution is so simple. Co-operation not conflict; unity of purpose and attack not antagonism and confusion; trust and confidence in each other not suspicion and self-interest. That’s all. It’s time to stop stepping on the cracks and breaking each other’s backs. It’s time to grow up.”
Before I sit down, in introducing these estimates this year I would like to draw to the attention of the House the fact that there are three gentlemen attending as part of the staff of the ministry for the last time after very long and meritorious service with the Ministry of Education.
Frank Kinlin, whose most recent position was Assistant Deputy Minister, Education Development, retired on May 31 after 43 years in education in Ontario, 31 in the Ministry of Education. Stuart Stephen, who is the present Assistant Deputy Minister, Administrative and Financial Services, will be retiring on July 31 after 31 years of service in the civil service of the Province of Ontario, a large number of those recent years with the Ministry of Education. There is also a man who’s probably been noticed by most of the members around this House -- at least those who have been here for the last few years, perhaps not some of the newer members -- Gordon Chatterton, who’s been the director of our legislation branch. He is retiring on June 30, after 44 years of service to education, 30 of those with the Ministry of Education. Because of the really dedicated work these men have given to education in Ontario, I wanted, at the beginning of these estimates to say publicly thank you on behalf of myself, the ministry, the government and, I’m sure, the Legislature of this province for their services to education in this province.
Mr. Foulds: Mr. Chairman, thank you very much. The applause from our caucus at the conclusion of the minister’s speech wasn’t for the speech in general but for the last comments about the public servants who have served the province so well.
We’ve got an agreement not to say anything nice about each other this year.
Education in Ontario is possibly the most difficult area to come to grips with in 1976. There is a lot of unfocused discontent with our educational system: It finds its expression in a number of ways. Usually, it is expressed as follows -- teacher demands are too high; the schools are too soft; the students graduating from our high schools can’t read or write properly; there is too much administrative bureaucracy in the system; our school buildings are too lavish; our teachers are not properly trained; nobody seems to know what’s going on in the system. What this all boils down to is that the public does see a lot of money being spent on our educational system but does not see an adequate result for the amounts we are spending. The public has not been encouraged to be an active participant in the school system and is now turning against it with some vengeance.
My own view -- and I’ve stated this before -- is that for all its flaws our system is not a bad one. Most of the people in the system, pupils, teachers, trustees, parents and administrators, want to make it work but do not quite know how to do it. It is as if we were all entangled in some gigantic mass of cotton wool and don’t know how to escape. I think this is a direct result of the fact that the system itself lacks leadership from the Premier (Mr. Davis) and the Minister of Education. It’s a pretty good system but for the $1.9 billion and more we spend on it, it should be a heck of a lot better.
Essentially, as the minister indicated in his remarks, we have to restore public confidence in the system. But it is not done simply by saying, don’t criticize. Restoring that public confidence will not happen if we don’t examine it critically. Unlike the Liberals, we in this party do not intend to be destructive about that. Unlike the government, we would not be complacent and try to hide or patch over some of the very real problems facing the educational system.
What is required it seems to me, is a frankness and candour with the public over our school system that this government simply won’t display. It requires a searching look at what is right and what is wrong with our system. It requires being straight with the public about what is right and what is wrong. It requires telling the public what can be done and what cannot be done by the school system in isolation. It must be done without unduly raising the expectations of the public about the educational system, which is what happened in the 1960s and why some of the criticism that the minister talks about was so strongly focused in those years.
It is imperative that we admit that all of society’s ills in Ontario cannot be solved solely by the educational system. It seems to me that requires a commitment from the minister and from the top levels of government to proselytize, if you like, across this province; to take on the hardhats and the reactionaries and the yahooism that is expressed in this day and age -- and not to do it merely by the occasional statement in the Legislature, but to do it right across this province. I think it means being blunt enough to tell parents that they still have some duties; that, in fact, the primary duty of raising children still belongs to the parents; and that a school system is only a surrogate parent for a particular length of time and for a particular skill and social development.
In short, I do not think that the educational system can singlehandedly battle the tide of society about literacy and TV, about yahooism or about subjects such as violence in our society. We cannot expect the educational system in isolation to solve those.
What does this boil down to? What does it come to? It means a massive job of educating the public about what the educational system is about -- about what it can do and what it cannot do. It means, in some way or other, taking the bull by the horns, so to speak, and revitalizing community councils around schools, parent-teacher associations and the old home and school associations. It means involving the public in a very real way with the educational system because, after all, it is their system.
I think it also means rehabilitating the old community education branch that was within the ministry but got transferred to the Ministry of Community and Social Services and now, I think, is in the limbo of the Ministry of Culture and Recreation. One of the major functions of that branch, as I recall it in the 1940s, was to go across the province telling the public what the educational system was about. I think we need to reactivate that facility and that thrust within the ministry.
I think it means, on the part of the minister and on the part of all of those interested in and concerned about the educational system in this Province, recognition that a progressive education system need not be a flabby educational system; that a progressive educational system can be demanding and stimulating in its own right. I don’t think I have seen this better expressed than in a speech given in 1974 by John Ellis, the director of graduate programmes in the faculty of education at Simon Fraser University. He said this:
“I think it is essential and possible for every child, at least once in his schooling, to experience the deep joy and satisfaction that results from seeing a long, difficult and, perhaps, discouraging struggle crowned with an outstanding product.
“I don’t much care whether the struggle is to rebuild and soup-up an automobile engine, or to devise a new and elegant solution to a problem in physics, or to create a piece of jewellery of beauty and lustre, or to write a proposal for correcting a social injustice, or to run a slalom course with grace and courage, or to produce a piece of woven fabric of warmth and delicacy, or to build a working model of a pollution-free engine. I don’t care what it is so long as the pupil has the deep satisfaction of experiencing excellence.
“You see, I believe that we have permitted the illusion of instant success to replace the reality of painstaking effort and, in so doing, we have robbed the young of a sacred experience. We have instant mashed potatoes, instant creativity, even instant personality change, but we have failed to sell our children and we have never allowed them to experience the fact that significant achievement in any area of human endeavour results from effort, energy and imagination, and often calls for the overcoming of disappointments, frustrations and discouragement. No work of art, no social reform, no skilled performance, has ever sprung full-blown into reality from a feeble effort.”
I think that is what we must strive for in a progressive education system in Ontario.
Mr. Chairman, it’s been an unusual experience for me in the last six or seven months since the Sept. 18 election. As I go across the province talking to various people about education in the province, they now spring a question on me that was never asked me in the previous five years, and that is: “Presumably, when the NDP takes power, you might be the Minister of Education, and what will you do?”
Mr. Foulds: There’s nothing like that question to crystalize your thinking. I admit that freely. So I would like to put to you what the NDP government would like to do --
Mr. Villeneuve: Lord have mercy on us.
Mr. Martel: Don’t be too sure, Osie.
Mr. Foulds: -- in reforming and realigning the educational system in this province over the first four years of our term in office.
Mr. Martel: I can remember 78 members over there.
Mr. Foulds: Yes, there are only three members of the Tory party in here to support the minister on his educational policy, and I think that’s a shame.
Mr. Wildman: Only two of them are worthwhile.
Mr. Foulds: I think the thing that would give me, and give our party the greatest sense of achievement, the greatest sense of satisfaction and the greatest sense of joy in our educational system, is to ensure, no matter what difficulties we face, that all children of compulsory school age would have full access to education. That would include all those children that we title and lump in under special education -- the blind, the deaf, the physically handicapped, the mentally retarded -- and that group of children that we label in that grab bag of learning disabilities.
Mr. Martel: Even in northern Ontario.
Mr. Foulds: We would have no greater satisfaction than if we could achieve that one reform, because it’s essential in our society. It is especially true, as my colleague the member for Sudbury East (Mr. Martel) pointed out, even in northern Ontario.
We would say that those children have the same right to the full development of their capabilities as do average, or bright children -- and that they should have that right in Ontario. What we need is an educational Bill of Rights, if you like, for those people and for their parents, so they don’t have to go through some of the anguishing cases that have happened in this province in the last couple of years. For example, having to take the Ministry of Community and Social Services to court, and getting the run-around between Community and Social Services and Education about whose responsibility it is --
Mr. Martel: The kids are in the middle.
Mr. Foulds: Simply to be able to relieve the anxiety and the financial burden for those parents and those kids would seem to me to be a major achievement that we would certainly do everything within our power to implement.
Secondly, I think there is no doubt that there is a great deal of dissatisfaction with teacher education in the province. The dissatisfaction is widespread among teachers themselves, school boards and administrators, and some parents. Surely it is not too much to ask that a ministry of the magnitude of the Ministry of Education could put together 12 or so of the best people concerned with teacher education in this province -- from the faculties of education, the federations, the ministry itself -- and within the next year come up with a concrete and completely redesigned teacher training programme.
The programme would include more emphasis on training of teachers to be able to spot and recognize learning handicaps; more emphasis on the practical aspects of teaching during the training period, possibly internship or apprenticeship programmes. I think that somehow in the teacher training programme we need to provide for a smoother transition to the classroom, possibly giving some kind of weighting factors or extra grants or something to boards of education so that when they hire beginning teachers they can hire them for a particular timetable, not a complete timetable, so that the teacher has the opportunity to work with more experienced teachers in some cases throughout the system.
In other words, we’d have the teacher working in the work situation but we’d phase him into that system over a year or two rather than have what happens now. That is, you kick him into the classroom for 40 periods a week. The beginning teacher is the one who gets overloaded and it’s the experienced teacher who, by and large, gets better timetables.
Mr. Martel: Shut the door so he can’t get out.
Mr. Nixon: How many of them teach 40 periods a week, did you say?
Mr. Foulds: Now -- 32, 35, some 40.
Mr. Nixon: How many?
Mr. Foulds: Have you ever taught in a remote northern Ontario school?
Mr. Nixon: Have you taught in the past five years?
Mr. Foulds: In Sault Ste. Marie? That was remote enough for you. The Liberal leader doesn’t even want to go back to Sault Ste. Marie.
Mr. Martel: Bob, you liked it too well, didn’t you?
Mr. Angus: They don’t like him up there anymore.
Mr. Foulds: Within that particular aspect --
Mr. Nixon: It’s a lot nicer teaching there now than in the old days; we had to work for a living then.
Mr. Chairman: Order, please.
Mr. Foulds: -- of teacher education, we must begin a programme of retraining teachers not just in methodology but in some of their academic subjects so they could recharge their batteries and learn new techniques. These programmes need not be every seven years on the yearly sabbatical basis which is often maligned but on a seminar basis for a week or a month or a weekend. We must develop enough flexibility in the system so that the teacher can get out for that length of time, get that kind of training programme and go back into the system.
Mr. Laughren: How are those for positive suggestions?
Mr. Nixon: A windmill run by water.
Mr. Foulds: That’s so original! I think I’ll let you have that quote.
It’s no secret that the New Democratic Party has had its differences with a large number of trustees and most trustee organizations in the past --
Mr. Nixon: Even a few teachers.
Mr. Foulds: -- especially over collective bargaining for teachers but then so has the minister and his ministry.
Nevertheless, two things came through loud and clear during those very valuable standing committee hearings on the Teacher-Board Negotiations Act, 1974. Two things came through loud and clear.
One was the sense of frustration that trustees have. The other was their deep and abiding concern about the state of education in this province. It is the firm conviction of my party that a necessary step in rehabilitating the school system in Ontario is revitalizing the trustees and the local boards. Within living memory, the provincial Ministry of Education has always treated trustees in a paternal and patronizing way, letting the trustees take the flak when the going gets rough in the educational work and the provincial government itself taking credit when the going gets good.
Mr. Martel: He pulls all the strings in the background.
Hon. Mr. Wells: Who told you that? That is untrue.
Mr. Martel: That is so true. They have taken the flak for you guys for years.
Mr. Foulds: There was a quote by one of them that they are the soldiers in the front lines who the ministry lets the enemy shoot at.
Mr. Martel: You rang a bell there. You got to them.
Mr. Wildman: Cannon fodder, that’s what they are.
Mr. Marcel: They took the flak for the minister.
Mr. Foulds: There are four basic ways that we in the NDP would seek to enhance the role that trustees play in education in the province.
One: We would establish a provincial trustee liaison committee parallel in structure and style to the present provincial-municipal liaison committee for municipal councils. Like the PMLC under TEIGA, the new PTLC under Education would meet monthly to discuss matters of mutual interest having to do with education and related fields. This would allow trustees to exchange firsthand, with the Minister of Education, his officials and other cabinet ministers, on an ongoing basis, a wide range of concerns from school bus safety to curriculum development.
It would give trustees the same feeling of participation that the very successful PMLC has given to municipal councils over the past few years. It would benefit the ministry enormously. Now the ministry’s contacts are largely with the administrators at the board level and through their regional offices. The provincial government would find out firsthand what actually is going on in education out there at the school board level. It would elevate trustees to full partnership in the development of the educational system in Ontario. It would mean that the bitterness surrounding provincial funding of school boards could be eradicated by a frank and full disclosure of the problems facing both sides ahead of time.
Two: We in the NDP would provide through the Ministry of Education training programmes and seminars for trustees, ranging in matters from administration to curriculum development, so that trustees would no longer feel, as they presently do, totally dependent on their own administrative officials and those of the province in order to make decisions.
Hon. Mr. Wells: These are all done.
Mr. Martel: Oh, come on.
Mr. Foulds: It would also provide them with some technical expertise relating to the legislative acts and the functions that they are responsible for.
Mr. Foulds: With this kind of training, trustees would not need to feel any longer that they are largely mere rubber stamps for the decisions of ministry officials or of their own local administrative officials.
Hon. Mr. Wells: They meet regularly. Your research is not accurate.
Mr. Wildman: He says they meet monthly.
Mr. Foulds: They meet monthly, like the PMLC?
Hon. Mr. Wells: Not monthly, but we meet regularly with them.
Mr. Ferris: It appears right here, Jim. I’ll give you the book.
Mr. Foulds: Three: we would strike either a select committee of the Legislature or a ministerial task force to consult with boards and trustees throughout the province to examine the role of the trustees and the autonomy of local school boards. Now that the new, consolidated, county and district school boards have been in existence for some eight years, this seems an appropriate time to evaluate both the benefits and deficiencies of our new school board system. This committee would report within six months, and the government would begin action on its recommendations within a year, in order to define more clearly and satisfactorily the relationship between the ministry and the local school boards.
Four: We would carefully examine the Ontario School Trustees Council Act with a view to ensuring and safeguarding the particular interests and prerogatives of the existing trustees’ organizations, but also making provision for other interest groups, such as the large urban boards, which for various complex reasons are presently outside the existing trustee organizations. We in the New Democratic Party believe that boards and local trustees have a valuable role to play in the development of education in Ontario. We believe that their role is as important in our society as is the role of municipal councils and aldermen. We believe that the above four steps would help to give them that role.
Finally -- no, I don’t think it is finally, I’ve got a few more pages here.
Mr. Nixon: The best 20-minute speech we’ve heard in a long time.
Mr. Foulds: It’s only 25 so far.
Mr. Angus: We’ve got three-quarters to go.
Mr. Chairman: Order, please. If it is so good, let’s hear more of it.
Mr. Foulds: That is the nicest thing a chairman of this House has said to me in a long time.
Mr. Laughren: We are going to quote from the Liberal policy in a minute.
Mr. Angus: It will only take a minute!
Mr. Laughren: Just for laughs. It brings some levity to the debate.
Mr. Foulds: I would like to restate the NDP commitment to early education in this province, and achieving that implementation in a staged way through a progressive series of steps. I think that if we allow for the rate of inflation and for the increase necessary for legitimate increases in teachers’ salaries, especially at the elementary level, the proportion of our provincial budget spent on education is adequate. But we must redistribute the resources we have within the system so that we spend as much time, attention and money on youngsters in pre-school classes and in grades 1, 2 and 3 as we do in youngsters in grades 11, 12 and 13.
Mr. Martel: Long overdue.
Mr. Foulds: The importance of early education cannot be over-estimated. We need to be able to get class sizes down --
Mr. Nixon: They have got their own local in the back two rows there.
Mr. Foulds: Are you supporting this or opposed to it?
We need to get class size down as low as 18 in early grades, so that teachers faced with the monumental task of teaching the traditional three Rs of reading, writing and arithmetic, can actually do it. We must do this so that those children who are having difficulty because of language problems, because of emotional or psychological problems, or because of some physical handicap or learning disability, can receive the individual attention and expert help they need.
If we could actually train a child -- and I believe that we can -- to read, write and do mathematics early in his or her life, a lot of the expense of re-teaching and a lot of the expenses and often futile remedial programmes at high school and university level would become unnecessary. Thus we could save money in the long run. Not only that, but could save a lot of human frustration, bitterness and anguish on the part of the pupils, the teachers and the parents.
Mr. Martel: We have been saying that for years now.
Mr. Foulds: The equality of educational opportunities and equality of access to education are phrases that roll off the tongues of politicians and educators alike. Is it any wonder that a certain amount of scepticism has grown up about the integrity of such phrases? Nevertheless, these concepts are the backbone of the New Democratic Party educational policy. Furthermore, it is my strong belief that the implementation of these concepts is essential if we are to meet the human needs of those in our educational system.
I am convinced that the style and structure of Ontario’s schools in the 1960s (“redbrick factory”) symbolized the supermarket, assembly-line approach that the Ontario educational system took in those years. Thus began the dehumanization of education that has led to the ennui, frustration and alienation that presently surrounds education in Ontario.
If we are to get out of this morass of ennui, frustration and alienation, we must reassert certain basic principles and establish certain priorities.
First, the basic underlying principle: Why does society and, in particular, why does Ontario society consider the education of an individual to be important? Ideally, the education of a child or an adult should benefit the individual himself and, secondly, society as a whole. Unless it does both, education fails. In other words, education should allow the individual to develop to his or her full individual capability, but in return the individual then has a responsibility to use that developed capability not only for his or her own personal benefit but also for the benefit of society as a whole.
I believe that in the last 10 years, by only emphasizing the benefit to the individual of education -- that is, getting ahead, getting a job or developing himself or herself -- we have dehumanized education to a state of anarchy. Ironically, that anarchy has the form of precisely regulated automation; the obvious example is the timetabling in high schools.
Because of our view of society, we feel that the provincial government’s spending priorities must continue to be on services to people. We count education as a primary service to people, as necessary as health and life itself. What, for example, is the use of a person being healthy if he has nothing to be healthy for?
The NDP believes that the key to rehumanizing education is to emphasize once again the importance of the student-teacher relationship. That applies whether the teacher is working with disadvantaged children or with gifted children. As W. L. Morton put it in his perceptive essay, “Student and teacher symbiosis:”
“This is an intensely human relationship, one of giving and regiving. Unless all our support systems, financial and otherwise, are designed to assist the learner-teacher relationship, those support systems are, in fact, unjustifiable.”
To New Democrats, every man, woman and child is indeed entitled to full access to the kind of education that will most fully benefit him or her -- and, in turn, benefit society as a whole.
I don’t suppose anybody in literature has chronicled the scope of humanity better than Geoffrey Chaucer did several centuries ago in the “Canterbury Tales.” It is my job as an NDP legislator to ensure that the needs of this wide scope of humanity in Ontario’s society are met. That means that challenging alternatives must be available within our school system for gifted children and for handicapped children. These alternatives must be available for pre-schoolers and for adult learners. They must be available for our native people of the north as well as to the urban immigrant of Metropolitan Toronto. They must be available to the sons and daughters of miners equally as well as to the sons and daughters of medical practitioners.
Until we achieve this range of alternatives, we cannot say that we have a human and humane system of education in Ontario. Any government or any society that fails to provide these alternatives not only robs its individual citizens, it robs itself of tremendous social and economic benefits.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Chairman: The hon. member for London South is our next speaker.
The House recessed at 6 p.m.