The House met at 2 p.m.
Mr. Speaker: Oral questions.
GRASSY NARROWS RESERVE
Mr. Lewis: Perhaps I could begin by asking the Minister of Natural Resources, Mr. Speaker, whether he is now prepared to withdraw his public allegation (a) describing the freezer problem at Grassy Narrows as apparently deliberate sabotage and (b) suggesting that there might have been political motivations involved in the breakdown of the freezer?
Hon. Mr. Bernier: Mr. Speaker, I’m particularly pleased that the Ontario Provincial Police inspector’s report exonerates totally the members of my staff. As you know, there were indications that we were negligent, that we were not doing our job on behalf of the Grassy Narrows Indians. I’m particularly pleased that it has been clarified.
With regard to my comments, I indicated yesterday that I was looking into this matter further and I have no further comment to make at this time.
Mr. McClellan: Shame!
Mr. Deans: Are you serious?
Mr. Lewis: By way of supplementary: what further matters does the minister have to examine, now that he has a conclusive report in front of him, which it doesn’t appear will he much elaborated upon? Wouldn’t it serve relationships between his ministry and the very difficult problems on those reserves in the northwest much better were he to stand and simply say. “This is clearly not deliberate sabotage; and I’m sorry I implied it in the first instance”?
Hon. Mr. Bernier: Mr. Speaker, as I said just a moment ago, I have no intention of continuing this discussion; it’s not in the interests of those people.
Mr. MacDonald: Is that right?
An hon. member: You mean it’s not in your interests.
An hon. member: You’re not for real.
Mr. Deans: Have you ever heard the words, “I’m sorry”?
Mr. Lewis: By way of supplementary, and only because the ministry is so central to the lives of those reserves, does the minister think he serves the interests of the people of Grassy Narrows by the continued, gratuitous slander of the band that remains unresolved by his refusal to withdraw it? Does he think that serves relationships between government and the band?
Hon. Mr. Bernier: Mr. Speaker, there is no continuous slander or accusations against the band at all. My efforts are solely directed to improving the conditions on that reserve and other reserves in this province. They have been in the past, and they will continue to be just that
Mr. Nixon: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Whether or not the minister is prepared to withdraw from the position that he took when this matter first came before the Legislature, is he not going to undertake to give a full explanation to the House of the circumstances which led to the report from the Solicitor General (Mr. MacBeth) yesterday, indicating that the fish was already declared inedible on May 18?
Hon. Mr. Bernier: Mr. Speaker. I don’t have any information on that. No information was directed to me as to the particular dates that were revealed in that particular report. I’ve asked my assistant deputy minister, Art Herridge, who was the member of that committee that met with those federal people and with the chief and the band councillors on May 20, to give me his impression -- and I’m waiting for that report.
Mr. Lewis: Supplementary: If the minister intends to improve relations, as he does, might he find time to return the phone call to Chief Isaac Mandamin, who’s been trying to get the minister all morning about a serious problem on the Whitedog reserve?
Hon. Mr. Bernier: Mr. Speaker, that is the crux of the whole problem right there.
Mr. MacDonald: What is the crux? Are you now smearing the chief?
Hon. Mr. Bernier: I tried to get hold of Chief Isaac Mandamin last week when he was in this city. I believe the Leader of the Opposition is very much aware of that; I don’t know if he saw him or not.
Mr. Lewis: I didn’t.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: But I left a message at the Westbury Hotel in the hope that he would contact me, because I did want to talk to him about the issues that relate to his particular area. Fifteen minutes before coming into the Legislature I was notified of a call coming into my office. I tried to reach the chief at that particular time, but I was unable to, and I will return the call right after question period.
Mr. Lewis: Good. I’m just trying to help communications.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: The member certainly is not!
Mr. Speaker: Final supplementary; the member for Wilson Heights.
Mr. Singer: Mr. Speaker, the minister has stated that he did not know that the fish were spoiled on May 18. Is he able to state with any positiveness that no member of his ministry had any awareness of the fact that the federal people had said the fish were no good as early as May 18?
Hon. Mr. Bernier: Yes, Mr. Speaker, I’m able to confirm that from my earlier discussions with my assistant deputy minister.
TRI-PARTY APPROACH ON INDIAN PROBLEMS
Mr. Lewis: I’d like to go, maybe with futility, to the Premier and ask him, in view of the latest breakdown in communications between the northwestern bands and officials of the federal and provincial ministries, might he now reconsider and set up some avenue, some focus, through this Legislature, either from within his own caucus or among all three caucuses, to expedite very specific and practical solutions to a number of problems which could be implemented if someone would only take hold of them?
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, the Leader of the Opposition, I think, a few days ago asked our House leader to inquire of me whether or not we would consider, say, three members of this House -- one from each of the three parties.
I must say that while I’m always open to suggestions -- and I’m not being critical of that suggestion; I don’t want to be misunderstood -- really I think, in dealing with this difficult and sensitive problem, that might not provide a solution and might be more confusing in the minds of the people we’re really anxious to help.
Mr. Lewis: On what point?
Hon. Mr. Davis: I can only say to the Leader of the Opposition that those ministries which have responsibility and are concerned are making every effort to resolve these problems. While we have been disappointed in some aspects, I am assuring members of this House that this will continue to be the policy of the government and we’ll continue to pursue this. I don’t guarantee that any answer is going to be without its difficulties or that there is a total solution to the problem.
I’ve listened with interest to some of the discussions here in the House. I’ve read a great deal of comment and all of it relates to the problem. There have not been too many -- and I don’t say this critically, because we’ve been working at this now for many months -- I haven’t really seen emanating from these articles and discussions here, any solutions to these problems which we haven’t already looked at. If the Leader of the Opposition or any member has a suggestion he would seriously like to present to us, other than, say, establishing another committee or expediting --
Mr. Lewis: A member from each caucus to look after it.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I say with respect, that I don’t see that as a solution. All the member is doing is talking about having different people involved. What I’m looking for are answers to specific programmes by way of government policy. If the Leader of the Opposition has a constructive idea as to what might be done further, I’m quite prepared to listen to it. I’ve never rejected any worthwhile suggestion from across the House. I may make fun on occasion but if there has been something worthwhile -- the members may be amazed -- we do take a look at them very seriously and if there is one, we would be prepared to take a look at it and consider it quite seriously.
Mr. Nixon: A supplementary, if I may, Mr. Speaker: How can the Premier take that stand -- essentially that he has good people now looking after it and there is no sense in changing the personnel -- when one of the most serious criticisms seems to be that the good people, often heading ministries, are prepared to go up there and talk to the Indian bands, as they did at the meeting on Hallowe’en night which we’ve been reading about recently, and then make commitments which are not followed up? How can the Premier indicate that his people are dealing in good faith when the commitments they make are not followed up in the way the Indians expected them to be followed up?
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I think that sometimes these matters are ones of interpretation or, shall we say, the impressions given or left. I say to the member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk that as it relates to the ministers who have responsibility -- and I know the Minister of Natural Resources has been undergoing some criticism -- I would only say to the Leader of the Opposition and to the members of this House that I happen to know that hon. gentleman very well. There are very few people who know more about the problem or who have spent more time trying to resolve it than the Minister of Natural Resources. I would say, with respect, he probably knows more about it than most members of this House and in spite of some of the things I have read which have been written about him, he is very sensitive toward this issue and is making a conscientious effort to resolve it. Anything that is suggested to the contrary --
Mr. Warner: The situation hasn’t been resolved.
Hon. Mr. Davis: All right. So it hasn’t been resolved. But please don’t question his motivation or the sensitivity he demonstrates toward this issue because he is --
Mr. Cassidy: That’s your comment too.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Mr. Lewis: Of course the minister knows more. He told us he knew them all by their first names. Obviously he knows more.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Mr. Lewis: May I ask the Premier, since there are a number of clear outstanding problems like the wild rice crop, like the sawmill, like the daycare centre on Whitedog, like long-term economic development -- all of them delineated and focused -- can he not provide someone within this Legislature to get the blessed job done rather than giving us these apologias which flow year after year and then nothing follows?
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I would say to the Leader of the Opposition, it is great to become an instant expert on all of these problems --
Mr. Lewis: It has been six years.
Hon. Mr. Davis: -- but we have been dealing with it and we’ve been making some progress. We’ve been disappointed on some problems, yes, I acknowledge it, but it is not totally the fault or responsibility of this government and there is no one coming in here insulting us.
Mr. Warner: Whose fault is it?
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Hon. Mr. Davis: We are attempting to deal with it and I think as effectively as we can, given the circumstances with which we’re faced.
Mr. Lewis: A question of the Minister of Health: Did the minister see the report on the plutonium workers in the United States in today’s Globe and Mail, I believe, and can we ask him, does the jurisdiction of Ontario have any control over the exposures to which workers in Chalk River are subjected, however few in number they may he, and has he any plans for pretty tough containment of the hazard when plutonium is used in Ontario as is now under discussion?
Hon. F. S. Miller: While I didn’t read the article myself, I’ve been made aware of it and I’m told that this is one of the most toxic radiation hazards that we have. In fact, as far as we know, Chalk River’s laboratory is the one place it is being used in Canada and it is under very strict control there. Apart from that, we don’t have any further detailed information on the hazards in Canada or any results to workers.
I’m told that in the United States some 18,000 people have been exposed to it over the period of their life, but even there the records aren’t good enough to tell us any more than that it is an intensive hazard. I’ll be finding out more about it from my staff as soon as I can get more information.
Mr. Lewis: A question of the Minister of Community and Social Services, if I may: Has the minister been informed of the report, which I believe appeared in the Ottawa Citizen today, dealing with the statements he made yesterday about the reduction in the number of welfare recipients as they apply to the region of Ottawa-Carleton, and is he aware that in fact the number of employable welfare recipients jumped by 67 per cent this year over last in the Ottawa-Carleton area? Is the minister further aware that the alleged percentage decline which he described may well be attributed to the number of unemployable welfare recipients who have been transferred to family benefits programmes and may have little, if anything, to do with his ministry’s earlier initiatives?
Hon. Mr. Taylor: I haven’t read the report to the Ottawa Journal; however, I do not accept the conclusions that the Leader of the Opposition makes. First of all, my figures are province-wide; they do not apply to any one municipality. But if there is one municipality that would have a decided impact on them it would be Metropolitan Toronto, and I would ask the hon. member to look at those. In fact, in Metropolitan Toronto there was a further drop this past month, the commissioner told me yesterday in Owen Sound. I think it’s fair, indeed, to look at what has happened, and the hon. member will find that the rather extreme or substantial drop in case loads is due to the tightening up of eligibility and the manpower linkups that we have made. I am convinced the programme is working and working very well.
Mr. Lewis: By way of supplementary, has the minister looked at the figures for the transfer from general welfare assistance to family benefits and calculated that into the figures he used?
Hon. Mr. Taylor: First of all, when we’re talking about the tightening up of eligibility, the change in the regulations applied only to the general welfare assistance. Of course there is a different type of caseload when you are dealing with general welfare assistance than when you are dealing with family benefits. If you look at family benefits you’ll find that about a half of the caseload are those who are permanently unemployable and permanently disabled --
Mr. Lewis: Right.
Hon. Mr. Taylor: -- and the other half probably would be mothers with children. So the permanent caseload, which we fund 100 per cent, is a different type of caseload altogether. General welfare assistance is the area we have tackled initially, I think with success, because it’s the short-term unemployed and, of course, there are many more employables on that caseload.
Mr. Roy: As a supplementary, did the minister, prior to making his comments on a province-wide basis, have the Ottawa figures? Secondly, if he did, how can he make that type of statement generally across the province when the figures in Ottawa seem to be clearly out of line with his estimates? In other words, while he talks about a decrease of 10.6 per cent, there is an increase of 67 per cent in Ottawa. Thirdly, does the minister agree with the social service commissioner, Stuart Godfrey, who said that the problem in Ottawa basically is one of job opportunities and not a question of a rip-off?
Hon. Mr. Taylor: We’re not talking about a rip-off.
Mr. Cassidy: The minister was.
Hon. Mr. Taylor: First of all, let me answer the member’s question.
Mr. Roy: The minister was suggesting it.
Hon. Mr. Taylor: Surely all of the statistics from the various agencies were considered in determining what the Ontario average was and what our experience is in Ontario. That’s No. 1.
Also if the member had read my remarks, he would have found reference to the fact that naturally there will be some differences in terms of experience depending where one is in Ontario because we’re talking about averages.
Mr. Roy: Why did the minister mention Ottawa?
Hon. Mr. Taylor: What I’ve said is completely accurate and correct.
Mr. Lewis: I wouldn’t bet on it.
Mr. Cassidy: Supplementary: Since economic conditions have always been the major reason that employables have gone on to welfare, has the minister the figures or will he table on Thursday the figures of employables on welfare in the province all the municipal level and how that compares with the same period last year?
Mr. Lewis: That’s a good question. That will tell the truth.
Hon. Mr. Taylor: I don’t think what the member stated is a conclusion. He’s asked for some figures. Certainly I’d be happy to provide the member with those figures. As a matter of fact, I’d be surprised if he didn’t want those figures when my estimates are dealt with in the House on Thursday.
Mr. Speaker: This will be the final supplementary.
Mr. Roy: Can the minister advise whether there are any other areas of the province which seem to be out of line with his figures, as Ottawa-Carleton is? Are there any other areas where there’s a special type of problem, apart from Ottawa-Carleton?
Mr. Lewis: The minister’s figures are going to collapse around him.
Mr. Yakabuski: They are not. He has only dented the fenders.
Hon. Mr. Taylor: I don’t have the breakdown of the individual ingredients. What I’m dealing with is in terms of totals. I talked to him in terms of the average for Ontario, our working experience for Ontario, which I think my ministry was concerned about.
FARM INCOME STABILIZATION PLAN
Mr. S. Smith: I have a question of the Minister of Agriculture and Food. In view of the opinions of many interested parties, particularly the Ontario Federation of Agriculture, would he be willing to undertake, if, later today or whenever it comes up, Bill 96 passes on second reading, that it would go to a standing committee so that the various groups in the community which have been in contact with him, I’m sure, and with myself would have a chance to bring their opinions before the members of the Legislature?
Hon. W. Newman: I’ll make that decision tomorrow.
Mr. S. Smith: It is not going to be debated today?
Hon. W. Newman: The bill will be debated today, on second reading in principle.
Mr. S. Smith: We won’t pass it.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Mr. MacDonald: Supplementary: Why does the minister have to delay in making the decision since no farm organization has had any opportunity for input into this bill and it’s in striking contrast to what the OFA has been asking?
Hon. Mr. McKeough: Nonsense.
Hon. Mr. Snow: Nonsense.
Hon. W. Newman: Quite obviously the member hasn’t been in touch. I was talking to the president of the OFA about 1:30 this afternoon. I understand he will be in the gallery later on today. He has some concerns about the bill.
Mr. Breithaupt: That’s real input.
An hon. member: That’s democracy.
Hon. W. Newman: It’s quite obvious where you stand.
Mr. Lewis: Yes, but we are going to oppose the bill.
Hon. W. Newman: Let me make it very clear to the hon. members that, as far as the federation is concerned, I told the president of the federation I would take time to meet with him before we got into it clause by clause.
Mr. Lewis: Oh, that’s nice of the minister.
Mr. Nixon: Very good of him.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. This is the sort of -- I was going to use the word “ruction” but I can’t think of the right word -- that occurs. I understand this bill will be debated later on today at some time. Therefore I think the decisions on the questions which have been asked will be settled at that time. We should not waste the time of the question period the way it has been in the last two or three minutes.
Mr. S. Smith: Thank you, Mr. Speaker, for your ruling. I have a question of the Minister of Housing. Can the minister confirm a report we’ve had that a group of outside consultants has been asked to look into OHC to consider its method of operation and to consider the possibility of bringing those functions back from the Crown corporation into the ministry itself?
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: I believe the hon. member is referring to a study that is going on as to the reorganization of the ministry in its entirety, which would include the operation of the Ontario Housing Corp., but no consulting firm was employed specifically to deal with bringing the Ontario Housing Corp. back into the ministry.
Mr. S. Smith: By way of supplementary: Could we request of the minister that he tell us the names of the consultants making this study, the terms of reference of the study and particularly those terms of reference which apply to the OHC?
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: Mr. Speaker, I will bring the information as to the names of the consultants to the hon. member.
Mr. S. Smith: And the terms of reference.
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: Yes, we’ll bring that.
Mr. Cassidy: And the cost.
Mr. Lewis: And the report and the decision and the design.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
GRASSY NARROWS RESERVE
Mr. S. Smith: A question of the Minister of Health: Is the minister aware of recent testing for tunnel vision which, as he knows, is the hallmark of mercury poisoning?
Mr. Roy: It is all on that side.
Hon. B. Stephenson: It is all on that side.
Mr. S. Smith: I wish it were that amusing but unfortunately this is a serious matter among the Grassy Narrows Indians. This testing has been under the auspices of the federal government. Is the minister aware that this testing has now revealed a very substantial percentage of persons affected in this way and the testing has included children 12 years of age and up?
Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, I think last week questions of that general nature were asked about neurological signs and symptoms which were abnormal and that was one of the ones shown I believe. Certainly I am aware of them. I think some of these tests were done by a doctor from the Sick Children’s Hospital, a Dr. Stobo Prichard, I believe, and I am sure others have done the same field of vision tests.
I think if the member would do the same as I have, and I am sure he will, that is, check with some of the experts, he will find that while that is a symptom which may be related to mercury poisoning it needs to have other symptoms with it to ensure that it is related to the problem. Therefore, they have been very cautious to say these people may exhibit signs of mercury poisoning without being affected by mercury but that they deserve further study.
Mr. S. Smith: By way of supplementary: Is the minister not in possession of information indicating that tunnel vision is rarely found in children under any other circumstance than mercury poisoning and that alcoholism, malnutrition and so on, do not cause tunnel vision in such large numbers as has been discovered in this particular federal testing? If he will agree that this is mercury poisoning, could he tell us the next step that the Ministry of Health will take on this matter?
Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, I know that there are going to be recommendations given to this government when the final report from the group that went to Japan and to Iraq is given to us. It may well have been finalized on Friday. I was trying to find out, as a matter of fact, during the course of the morning, if the editor has finalized it.
At that time, we will need, I think, to move carefully to ensure that we don’t simply say we would like to carry out certain procedures involving the Indians without having consultation with them. I am very sensitive to their desire to be consulted perhaps before any public announcement is made. If this House would bear with me, I think we will achieve that goal if we work carefully with the Indians.
Mr. S. Smith: A final question on another topic for the Minister of Health. Is the minister aware that a well-organized campaign in defence of Browndale by so-called Browndale parents is actually directed from Browndale offices, uses an old Browndale post office box as the return address and involves an employee of a Browndale organization who is now with Brown Camps’ residential and day school?
Hon. F. S. Miller: No, Mr. Speaker, but as a minister of the Crown I have often wondered if letters to the editor weren’t sometimes organized the same way.
Mr. Yakabuski: That’s awful -- that’s terrible.
Mr. S. Smith: A supplementary question: Given the surrealistic level to which the minister has allowed this entire matter to degenerate and considering the great damage being done as a direct result of his inability to answer our questions and clear the air, can we expect his full report and a copy of the famous audit before the House rises for the summer?
Hon. F. S. Miller: Not necessarily, Mr. Speaker. I have tried to check to see whether an undertaking to give an audit to this House was ever made. I find it might be a very difficult thing to promise that an audit be revealed, for this or for any other group to which we have access.
Mr. Shore: Supplementary: It is interesting; I asked the other day if the minister would put that audit before this House, as I was led to believe that promise was made to this House. Could I hear his comment again? He said he’s trying to find out whether that was promised to this House?
Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, as I recall the member’s comments the other day, he accused me of not making the promise. Would he go back to Hansard and read it again?
Mr. Shore: I am not accusing the minister of anything.
On a point of privilege, Mr. Speaker. With the greatest respect, Mr. Speaker, I have not had an answer to the question today or the question that I put the other day, that the minister promised to give. I haven’t had that answer.
Mr. Speaker: I can’t help that.
Mr. Yakabuski: Mr. Speaker, supplementary to the Minister of Health on the audit that we hear so much about with regard to Browndale: I’m wondering, how far back will that audit go? Will it cover the period from the founding of the Browndale organization? Will it name the directors over that period? Will it tell of the salaries paid? Will it go into all that kind of detail?
Mr. Samis: General, you haven’t changed a bit.
An hon. member: They’re going to get you, Stephen.
Hon. F. S. Miller: Perhaps, Mr. Speaker, some of the members opposite could help me answer those questions.
Mrs. Campbell: Not this caucus.
Mr. Roy: Paul, I want to help you for the next time. You are in big trouble there; 1,000 people at the meeting. You are in trouble.
Mr. Lewis: You won’t be here to ask that question next time around, Paul.
BREAK-IN AT BROADCASTER’S APARTMENT
Hon. Mr. MacBeth: Mr. Speaker, last Thursday the member for Hamilton West raised a question regarding the conduct of the Ottawa police department following a break-in at the apartment of broadcaster Don McNeill. As I understood the question, there was a concern about a delay in the response by the police, as it was stated that the identification unit was not sent to the McNeill residence at all. The information provided to me differs with both these points.
I am informed that it is standard police procedure not to check for fingerprints until the occupant of the premises returns, as it is a messy procedure and people are often annoyed if it is done without their consent. The Ottawa police, therefore, secured the apartment when they were notified of the break-in and left a message for Mr. McNeill to contact the department upon his return.
Mr. Breithaupt: And they told him not to touch anything.
Hon. Mr. MacBeth: When Mr. McNeill did call, he spoke to the detective on the information desk, but unfortunately the detective responsible for the investigation was not immediately available. The detective went to the apartment some two hours later.
Mr. McNeil has since expressed his appreciation to the police for leaving his apartment in the same condition as when the break-in was discovered by the doorman.
Mr. Bullbrook: You don’t really believe that do you?
Hon. Mr. MacBeth: Because of his concern that the fingerprinting process would cause damage, he requested the police not to fingerprint several of his books. The officers complied with his wishes.
The information I have, therefore, indicates that the Ottawa police force conducted this investigation in an appropriate manner.
TENANTS’ SECURITY SYSTEM
Mr. Philip: A question of the Minister of Housing: Can the minister tell the House why representatives of the Ottawa Tenants’ Council and the Federation of Ontario Tenants’ Associations have been denied access to a study of security done by Mr. Dean Owens, with the support and co-operation of the tenants, and will the minister make that study public?
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: Mr. Speaker, I’m not familiar with the study that the hon. member is referring to and I can’t make a decision at this stage whether or not it will be made public. I don’t know anything about it.
Mr. Philip: Supplementary: Is the minister aware that the board of directors of the Ottawa Housing Authority has recommended serious consideration of the Ottawa Tenants’ Council proposal that the tenants run their own security systems but that Mr. Fred Peters, who is the branch manager for eastern Ontario, has turned it down on the grounds that the Ottawa Tenants’ Council “aren’t ready yet for that kind of thing”? I’m wondering if the minister can tell us if there are criteria that have been used to judge the readiness of a group to handle their own security programme and if he can tell us what these criteria are.
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: Mr. Speaker, I think the hon. member knows very well that I’m not familiar with that particular study. I don’t know whether or not such statements have been made and I certainly haven’t developed any criteria but if I do get some I’ll pass them along to him.
Mr. O’Neil: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Culture and Recreation.
An hon. member: Oh, he’s here.
Mr. O’Neil: Taking into consideration the non-political nature of Wintario funds --
Mr. Nixon: Amen, brother.
Mr. O’Neil: -- and the fact that approval letters and cheques for Wintario grants are delivered to Conservative members at their Queen’s Park offices for presentation by the member concerned in his constituency --
Mr. Roy: Did you do that, Rob?
Hon. B. Stephenson: Never.
Hon. J. R. Smith: Never here.
Mr. O’Neil: -- can the minister please tell me if it would be possible to extend this courtesy to all members of the Legislature, rather than having his ministry mail out Wintario grant approval and cheques --
Hon. B. Stephenson: Never had them.
Mr. O’Neil: -- to the recipients in ridings not held by his party, as has been the custom in the past?
Mr. Yakabuski: A full apology is required.
Hon. Mr. Welch: I’m delighted to know that at least one member of that particular group is enthusiastic about the purpose for which Wintario funds are being expended, and no doubt he’ll have a word with the member for Niagara Falls (Mr. Kerrio), but I would point --
Mr. Peterson: You sound like the Premier. Answer the question.
Hon. Mr. Welch: I am. I am answering.
Mr. Warner: That’s an insult.
Hon. Mr. Welch: I have no reason to believe that there is any distinction made between any member of this Legislature with respect to this particular matter.
Mr. Roy: Well, I’ll tell you there are members here who are not getting those cheques.
Mr. O’Neil: May I ask, therefore, if Wintario grants for my riding can be sent to me for my personal delivery and could the minister ask possibly --
Some hon. members: No way.
Mr. O’Neil: -- in the Legislature today which other members of the opposition parties would like the same courtesy extended to them?
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Mr. Martel: The board members won’t have a job left.
Hon. Mr. Welch: Mr. Speaker, I can only repeat that all members are treated alike with respect to this information. If the hon. member has a specific concern, I share it.
An hon. member: Yes.
Mr. Speaker: This is the final supplementary on this.
Mr. O’Neil: Is the minister aware that in some cases this is being done, and if it is being done I think this should be extended to the members of the opposition.
Mr. Speaker: I believe that was the original question.
Mr. MacDonald: Which cases?
Mr. O’Neil: I’ll send this over to the minister.
Mr. Nixon: Lorne is out delivering them right now.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. The hon. Minister without Portfolio from Cochrane North has the answer to a question.
COMMERCIAL FISHING LICENCES
Hon. Mr. Brunelle: Mr. Speaker, this is a question that the hon. Leader of the Opposition asked last Friday concerning commercial fishing licences and the Whitefish Bay Indian band.
The Whitefish Bay Indian band holds a band licence on Caviar Lake and Dogpaw Lake. The licence is issued in the chief’s name for recording purposes, but all members of the band are allowed to fish under its authority. The fishery is for whitefish, pike and pickerel, except for the pike in Dogpaw Lake which are high in mercury content. The licence permits fishing at any time of the year.
The band also held a fall and winter licence on Regina Bay and Long Bay of Lake of the Woods, but have not renewed this licence since 1971. On June 4, 1976, they made application for renewal and were assured that the licence would be issued.
At the same time, they were told that their previous licence on Lobstick Bay of Lake of the Woods could be renewed if they wished to apply. This licence has not been issued since 1972.
I wish to add that no new licences have been issued on Lake of the Woods to anyone for the past 10 years but several transfers have been approved.
Mr. Lewis: Supplementary: I think I asked the minister, but could he indicate how many licences have been issued to non-Indians in that area? What are the comparative numbers between Indians and whites?
Hon. Mr. Brunelle: As I have just indicated, Mr. Speaker, there’s been no new licence issued in the last 10 years. There’s been some transfers, and I understand that when transfers are applied for by the native people they are given high priority. As to the exact number of licences that are held by Indians and non-Indians, I would be pleased to get that information for the member.
Mr. Renwick: Mr. Speaker, I have a two-part question for the Attorney General: Does the Attorney General believe that discretion is the better part of valour, and if he does, would it not be discreet for him to introduce legislation into this assembly to see whether or not he could validate the agreement between the government of Ontario and the government of Canada before we recess?
Mr. Laughren: Let’s stir the old pot.
Mr. Nixon: That would be a good idea.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Mr. Speaker, as the hon. member for Riverdale and I think all members of the House are aware, this matter is presently before and is being considered by the Supreme Court of Canada, and I think it would be most presumptuous of this government --
Mr. Nixon: Risky too.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: -- and indeed disrespectful of that court, to introduce any legislation until we have the benefit of their wisdom.
Mr. Renwick: Leaving aside the questions of presumption and disrespect, does the Attorney General intend to interrupt our summer vacation?
Mr. Speaker: That’s hardly of urgent public importance.
GRAND RIVER DAM PROJECT
Mr. Worton: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Minister of the Environment. In view of the fact that there is renewed activity by the Grand River Conservation Authority to construct the West Montrose dam in Pilkington township, and in view of the fact that there have been objections raised by a number of townships in Wellington county, as well as by a number of concerned citizens, will the minister give consideration to having the proposed project reviewed by the Environmental Assessment Board in order to prove that it is necessary?
Hon. Mr. Kerr: Yes, Mr. Speaker, if there is the amount of objection that the hon. member indicates, there’s no problem in having a hearing.
Mr. Speaker: The hon. member for Renfrew South.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Mr. Yakabuski: I have a question of the Minister of Transportation and Communications. I am wondering if the minister might advise whether the highway carriers of this province are subject to the rules and regulations of the Anti-Inflation Board. And if not, whether he intends to bring in legislation or whatever, to make that group more responsible, so that rather than just filing rate increases with the Ontario Highway Transport Board, they be required to justify any increases they might wish to make in their carrier rates.
Hon. Mr. Snow: Mr. Speaker, it would be my understanding that all companies operating within Canada are subject to the terms of the Anti-Inflation Board, if those companies fall within the guidelines as established by the AIB. I don’t think highway transport companies would be different to any other firms. That’s about all the answer I can give the hon. member at this time.
Mr. Yakabuski: A supplementary: Does the minister not think that we might make this group that I speak of, the highway carriers, more efficient and perhaps more responsible insofar as rates are concerned if they were required to justify any rate increases they request?
Hon. Ms. Snow: I don’t necessarily think that’s the case, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Wildman: A supplementary: Does that mean that the minister is opposed to rate control in the trucking industry in Ontario? And if that is the case, then it doesn’t really matter if they are subject to the Anti-Inflation Board if the court decision goes against the government.
Hon. Mr. Snow: I would say yes to the first part of the question; and I don’t think that second part needs an answer.
PUBLIC HEALTH NURSES’ NEGOTIATIONS
Mr. Samis: A question to the Minister of Labour: Could the minister report to us on the labour dispute between the 37 employees of the Leeds-Grenville-Lanark district health unit and the unit?
Hon. B. Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, this dispute reflects the situation in many other areas in the province at the present time, in that the nurses have had a meeting this past weekend and have decided that they will withdraw services, but they have not set a date for that as yet. At the present time we are still working in an attempt to get both parties back to the bargaining table in the hope that we will be able to provide a solution to the problem.
Mr. Samis: Supplementary: In view of the fact that the last offer from the unit was on Jan. 28 and in view of the fact that this particular district is the lowest-paying of 43 CUPE bargaining districts in Ontario, would the minister consider that the unit is operating in good faith?
Hon. B. Stephenson: If the offer which was made by the unit in January in fact is similar to that which was made by the other units, then I suppose I would have no real question about whether they were operating in good faith or not. Unfortunately, as the hon. member well knows, certain of the public health boards last year did not take advantage of the offer of the Ministry of Health to reopen the contracts of the public health nurses; as a result, those boards are left paying nurses all a much lower rate than are many other boards in the Province of Ontario, and therein lies a part of this difficult problem.
ELGIN COUNTY RESTRUCTURING
Mr. Spence: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Treasurer. It has been pointed out to me by some of the residents of Elgin county that the debate on restructured government is being allowed to proceed as usual when a survey, conducted by MacLaren’s Ltd. and commissioned by the province, clearly reveals that 66 per cent of the residents of Elgin county are opposed to restructured government. Can the Treasurer assure me, and through me the residents, that the results of the report are being given full consideration in the debate on restructuring of the government there?
Hon. Mr. McKeough: Mr. Speaker, I haven’t seen the report in question. I will be glad to have a look at it and get back to my friend from Kent-Elgin. I would point out to him, of course, that I know he and his party would also subscribe to the view that we should also listen to the elected representatives of the people, and not just to some sort of a public opinion poll.
Mr. Roy: Have you been doing that?
Hon. Mr. McKeough: At least we would hold that view on this side of the House. Whether the members over there would, I don’t know.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. The member for Kent-Elgin, I believe, wished a supplementary, did he not?
Mr. Spence: Mr. Speaker, I would like to say to the Treasurer that he must listen to the voters too.
Mr. Nixon: A supplementary: Is the Treasurer aware that this paper, which he dismisses as a public opinion poll, was commissioned and paid for in large part by funds over which he has control? And if he is going to look into this, will he also examine why the paper itself was ready last summer and its being made public was postponed until after the election? Can he explain why that was delayed?
Hon. Mr. McKeough: Mr. Speaker, the commissioners report to a local committee of the county council and, I assume, a committee of the city of St. Thomas. I don’t have control over those funds.
Mr. Shore: Yes, you do.
Hon. Mr. McKeough: That’s the kind of centralist Grit attitude --
Hon. Mr. McKeough: We say to the municipalities of this province, “If you want to have a study, we will match you up to half of $100,000.” We don’t nitpick over every penny of it. We don’t look at every dollar and say, “Spend it here, and don’t spend it there” --
Mr. Nixon: You pay for it, and then you dismiss it as meaningless.
Hon. Mr. McKeough: You Grits are so centralist, you are worse than your friends in Ottawa.
Mr. Nixon: You will lose out.
Mr. Shore: You are embarrassing your leader, Darcy.
Mr. Cassidy: That’s a difficult act to follow.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. We have time for the answer from the Minister of Education to a question asked previously.
SECONDARY SCHOOL STUDENT SURVEY
Hon. Mr. Wells: This is a rather lengthy answer to a question asked by the leader of the Liberal Party yesterday concerning the interface study.
Mr. Speaker: The question period has just about expired. In fact, it has expired, but we will allow the question and answer if the hon. members wish, because there is no time being taken from the rest of the question period.
Hon. Mr. Wells: It concerns the interface study between the secondary school system and the universities of this province. The study in question is known as project II of the interface study. It’s “The Nature of Students” and involves the testing of secondary students in English in grades 12 and 13; mathematics in grades 12 and 13; physics in grade 13; French in grade 13; and français in grades 12 and 13.
The principal investigator is Dr. Ross Traub of the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education. Dr. Howard Russell of the same institute is in charge of field co-ordination.
A randomly selected sample of about 67 secondary schools participated. Most of those initially selected agreed to take part. Some schools opted out because of scheduling problems or because they’d been heavily researched in the recent past or because of concerns over loss of instruction time. As many as possible of these schools were replaced by statistically equivalent schools.
The testing sessions in the participating schools were scheduled to take part on a regular school day. In most schools it took place on Wednesday, May 26.
The amount of absenteeism from these sessions varied from school to school. A certain amount of absenteeism was expected. Enough additional information is available about both the students who wrote and those who were absent to check on whether the sample writing was representative and, if it was not, to make statistical corrections.
The researchers have tabulated this information for a few schools and it appears to them that despite the absentees the sample writing was quite representative.
The full picture will not be known for several weeks but on the evidence to date the absenteeism is not expected to affect the general conclusions which can be drawn.
Mr. Speaker: The oral question period has expired.
POINT OF ORDER
Mr. Burr: On a point of order, on Friday I asked the Premier a question and he indicated he would try to get me an answer for today, before the 10:30 deadline tonight. He has not done so. Does this mean that he intends to be with me at 10:30 tonight?
An hon. member: You set him up beautifully.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I can say that of all the members opposite there are very few whose company I would appreciate more than the hon. member’s at 10:30 tonight, but I don’t expect to be sharing that with him.
I have had a very brief discussion with the Minister of Agriculture and Food who, in turn, is discussing the same question with the Minister of the Environment. I regret that the answer isn’t available this afternoon; it will be on Thursday. We will be here, Mr. Speaker, next Tuesday evening. If the hon. member isn’t content, if he would ask me the question again so that technically he could raise it Tuesday evening next at 10:30, I might even be here to join him in whatever discussion takes place.
POINT OF PRIVILEGE
Mr. S. Smith: On a point of privilege, Mr. Speaker -- and I ask your guidance on this particular matter, which I think is a serious one -- it is my understanding that earlier today the Minister of Health tried to deny that a commitment had been given earlier by a cabinet minister to this House to produce an audit of how public funds are being used and have been used in this province with regard to Browndale.
On April 22, 1976, in answer to a supplementary question from the Leader of the Opposition, the Attorney General had the following exchange:
“Mr. Lewis: In order to clear the air, to clarify matters as soon as possible, can an undertaking be given that the results of the audit and whatever it shows be tabled in the House and a statement be made to the Legislature as soon as possible?”
This was about two months ago.
“Hon. Mr. McMurtry: I see no reason why that cannot be done, Mr. Speaker.”
That was the end of that exchange.
I would ask you to rule, Mr. Speaker, that we are being stonewalled here and that the government is going back on a commitment given to this House --
Hon. Mr. Davis: You are not being stonewalled.
Mr. Nixon: By the Attorney General.
Mr. S. Smith: -- by the Attorney General.
Hon. F. S. Miller: First, the hon. leader of the Liberal Party did not hear me say today that a commitment had not been made. He heard me say I was not sure that a commitment had been made.
Mr. S. Smith: Now you are sure.
Hon. F. S. Miller: All right. I think the member needs to read that again carefully to see whether it says the audit would be given or the results of the audit.
Mr. Speaker: I don’t think there is anything further to add to that.
Mr. Conway: Are you afraid of it?
Mr. S. Smith: What is the cover-up for?
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Hon. Mr. Welch moved that when the House adjourns on Thursday, June 10, it will stand adjourned until Monday June 14; further, notwithstanding any previous order, that the House will sit on Wednesday, June 16.
An hon. member: Long live the NDP.
Motion agreed to.
POINT OF PRIVILEGE
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Mr. Speaker, I rise on a matter of personal privilege in reference to a statement just made by the leader of the Liberal Party suggesting some cover-up. The question that was put to me by the Leader of the Opposition was in reference to the results of the audit. That was with his question and I indicated at that time that I would see no reason why the results of the audit would not be tabled, as opposed to the audit itself. I find it most offensive for the leader of the Liberal Party to suggest there is some form of cover-up.
Mr. Nixon: We have been waiting months for this report.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: All right, just hear me out.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: I was going to give an answer to the leader of the Liberal Party today, and that request was given late to the Speaker, to indicate the dimension of the problem.
The Browndale organization involves some 25 related companies carrying on business in eight different areas and regions in this province and some 90 properties in all are owned or rented. In order to pursue the investigation as suggested by the leader of the Liberal Party, a very arduous and meticulous task is required. I’m advised by my counsel that the investigation is ongoing but, in view of the scope that is required, the investigation will take some further time. I can give no assurance that any investigation will be completed before this House rises. But, Mr. Speaker, I think it is most improper to suggest that in the circumstances anybody on this side of the House is engaging in any form of cover-up.
Mr. S. Smith: Mr. Speaker, I will gladly reply to this.
Mr. Speaker: Very, very briefly, please.
Mr. S. Smith: Yes, I will be very brief. I certainly will gladly withdraw the cover-up comment. But I hope that the cabinet will appreciate that patience runs thin after four and five months of asking for the same report and the same information about public funds being spent in this province.
Hon. Mr. McKeough: You are persecuting that poor man over there.
Mr. Lewis: Oh, the Treasurer has had a bad day. Just forget it.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. Let’s get on with the business. Were there any further motions?
Hon. Mr. Welch: Yes.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. We have a motion before the House.
Hon. Mr. Welch: I have a motion.
Mr. Lewis: Hold on. We are discussing the Treasurer’s leadership.
Hon. Mr. McKeough: I am worried about your credibility. They keep tormenting you every day.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Is the Leader of the Opposition subject to recall?
Mr. Breithaupt: Total recall.
Hon. Mr. Welch: Mr. Speaker, may I presume to move --
Mr. Lewis: Sit down until the exchange is over.
Hon. Mr. Welch moved that Mr. Maeck be substituted for Mr. McNeil on the select committee considering the fourth and fifth reports of the Ontario Commission on the Legislature and that Mr. McNeil be substituted for Mr. Maeck on the select committee on highway safety.
Motion agreed to.
POINT OF ORDER
Mr. Bullbrook: On a point of order relevant to the actual orders of the day and the proceedings of the House, may I inquire when the motion passed before the administration of justice committee yesterday relating to the estimates of the Ombudsman will be available to this House for debate?
Mr. Speaker: I have no information on that, I can tell the hon. member --
Mr. Bullbrook: Would you entertain the possibility, through your good offices, of asking the House leader when that might come about, or asking the chairman of the committee when that might come about?
Mr. Makarchuk: Ask your own House leader.
Mr. Speaker: These things are presented in the normal way to Mr. Speaker, and I think that’s my duty.
Introduction of bills.
I believe the hon. Treasurer has a bill to introduce.
DISTRICT MUNICIPALITY OF MUSKOKA AMENDMENT ACT
Hon. Mr. McKeough moved first reading of bill intituled, An Act to amend the District Municipality of Muskoka Act, 1976.
Motion agreed to; first reading of the bill.
Hon. Mr. McKeough: Mr. Speaker, briefly, this bill reflects in most respects the Regional Municipalities Amendment Act, which received second reading a week ago, in that the district municipality of Muskoka is to have its granting powers broadened and its borrowing powers brought into line with Municipal Act. Many of the provisions are the same, but there are four provisions in this Act which pertain specifically to the district of Muskoka.
The first concerns the frequency of meetings of the police liaison committee and the Ontario Provincial Police. At the request of the district council, it is now proposed these meetings take place at least once every three months, rather than once every month as formerly stipulated.
Second, it removes from the area municipalities the authority to set up urban service areas for water and sewer purposes, thus clarifying these to be the responsibility of the district municipality.
Third, money in the pollution control fund must be used only for pollution control measures, and for services which concern sewage works.
Lastly, a section of the original Act now obsolete is repealed. That is the provision authorizing contributions from the provincial consolidated revenue fund in the years 1971-1975.
MUNICIPAL SUBSIDIES ADJUSTMENT REPEAL ACT
Hon. Mr. McKeough moved first reading of bill intituled, An Act to repeal the Municipal Subsidies Adjustment Act.
Motion agreed to; first reading of the bill.
Hon. Mr. McKeough: Mr. Speaker, it has been the principle of Treasury to adjust municipal unconditional per capita grants for certain municipalities in which annexations have occurred. The Minister of Transportation and Communications similarly adjusts the road subsidies where restructuring has occurred.
In view of the substantial increases in unconditional transfers from $54 million in 1970 to $345 million in 1975, these adjustment subsidies are no longer necessary.
Furthermore, in recent years there have been two vehicles, this Act and the transitional assistance under the Ontario Unconditional Grants Act, 1975, for phasing-in additional road responsibilities due to boundary changes. Consolidation of this process into the Ontario Unconditional Grants Act will provide a more efficient mechanism for this type of assistance.
The per capita grant adjustments for currently eligible clientele are very small -- $17,000 over five years for eight municipalities, ranging from $23 per annum to one municipality to $1,253 per annum to another. In fact, it probably costs more to administer these payments than the value of the subsidies themselves.
Accordingly, it is proposed to make payments to eligible recipients in one lump sum. Current clientele for road subsidy adjustments will continue to receive payments in accordance with the provisions of section 1 of the Act.
POWER OF COMMITTEES
Mr. Bullbrook: I wanted to go in deeply, with the Speaker’s indulgence, to what I understand are background -- I’ll use the word machinations, in connection with what happened with respect to the Ombudsman’s estimates. While not being a member of the committee, I appreciate the indulgence of my colleagues in this respect. As I understand what happened -- I was there yesterday -- it was felt that in view of standing order 86 it wasn’t properly constituted in the view of the majority of the members of the committee there yesterday for them to proceed with the estimates.
At that time, a motion was passed by the majority, not unanimously -- may I say it was of a fairly tri-partisan flavour; this isn’t a partisan equation. It’s one that concerns me as to how we’re handling matters in the House. In effect, the motion said that the question of the propriety of increasing the estimates of the Ombudsman, or otherwise, should be dealt with through the law officers of the Crown and directions be sought from this Legislature.
It would be my feeling, notwithstanding the great and abundant knowledge of the rules of this House, that when a motion of that nature is made it’s the obligation of the Chairman, at the first possible opportunity, to report that motion to the House, not to pursue the motion. This is extremely important. I want to know, for example, if the chairman has written to the law officers of the Crown because, of course, he has no function in doing so. The government House leader nods in the affirmative.
I want to say that the chairman has no function to do that because that motion has not been debated by this House. I’m going to suggest, frankly, that the proper way of handling it is to report forthwith to this House, under reports. I waited under motions; I waited in both instances. I waited for a point of personal privilege because I’m very concerned. A committee should report to this House. The House has the tight to debate the motion put to it by the committee and the chairman or whoever we appoint can undertake the specific and substantive aspects of the motion.
I think it’s an extremely important matter. I want to say this if I may -- and I don’t mean to be unduly offensive -- I am just sick and tired of agreements made by the House leaders. I realize that we have to have some regimen; we have to have some order of business but the fact is I don’t think parliamentary tradition or the normal orders of business should be circumvented by agreements or otherwise.
Mr. Deans: Mr. Speaker, on this point of order, first of all I want to make it clear, having been in the committee at the time this matter was discussed, that my colleague, the chairman of the justice committee, had written to the chief law officer of the Crown prior to the motion being put. The letter had been sent to the chief law officer of the Crown before the committee dealt with the motion put forward by the member for Scarborough Centre (Mr. Drea). Therefore, to say that he acted improperly is totally wrong and it should be withdrawn by the member who suggested it.
Mr. Singer: Mr. Speaker, can I add a word or two about this point of order? I am very concerned --
Mr. Speaker: May I suggest this? I think this matter should be settled in the committee. The Speaker knows the situation.
Mr. Singer: No, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. I wait for the reports to come to the House.
Mr. Lewis: You’re going to open up a terrific debate if you allow it to go on.
Mr. Speaker: I think the hon. member should take his seat. It has not come to my knowledge that a report has been withheld or delayed or whatever you might wish to call it.
Mr. Lewis: It is not being circumvented?
Mr. Speaker: The committees operate their own operation and I await any reports when they are ready to be brought forward. Therefore, I think this debate should be carried on in the committee actually. Does the hon. member for Wilson Heights have another point?
Mr. Singer: Yes, Mr. Speaker. This is not a debate. These are points of order, very important points of order. Adding to what my colleague from Sarnia said, I know -- and I have seen it -- there is circulating in this House at this moment a draft resolution which emerged from the NDP caucus and which apparently has been approved by the government House leader --
Mr. Deans: Where?
Mr. Lewis: What are you talking about?
Mr. Singer: -- which is supposedly intended to dispose of the whole matter. This is in advance of the House having received the report of the chairman of the committee. I say that the privileges of the members of his Legislature are being played with in a fast, loose and improper fashion. Mr. Speaker, you should insist that when a committee has passed a resolution that resolution be brought before this House at the first possible opportunity. That’s what the point is about.
Mr. Nixon: That’s the point of order and you should rule on that.
Mr. Deans: On a point of order and a point of privilege.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Mr. Deans: I rise on a point of order.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. I think I should take this under advisement. Order, please, just one moment please. I’m not privy to what the hon. member is saying. I’ll have to check into the matter that has been raised and report back.
Mr. Deans: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker, the member for Wilson Heights, like his colleague from Sarnia, is wrong. There is no draft resolution from the NDP; there never was and there is not going to be one.
Mr. Singer: Oh, come on!
Mr. Deans: For someone to stand in this House and to say such a thing without having any evidence -- you must ask him, Mr. Speaker, to withdraw that inference. It is wrong.
Mr. Speaker: I am not going to ask him to withdraw anything. The assistant pointed out that the chairman of that committee has not been here; I’m not sure if he has been here this afternoon. Perhaps he didn’t have the opportunity to report. But I shall check into it anyway and, if there is anything irregular, I shall report back to the House.
Mr. Bullbrook: Let’s not deal with the extraneous matters. Is there an obligation or is there not an obligation on the part of a chairman to report a motion of a committee requesting directions from the House forthwith at the first possible opportunity so to do? That is the essence of this matter.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. I say again it is in the hands of the committee. The chairman is not here, and he can’t very well report.
Any further bills? The hon. member for Windsor-Sandwich has a bill.
EMPLOYMENT STANDARDS AMENDMENT ACT
Mr. Bounsall moved first reading of bill intituled, An Act to amend the Employment Standards Act, 1974.
Motion agreed to; first reading of the bill.
Mr. Bounsall: The purpose of this bill is to reduce from 48 to 40 hours per week the point beyond which working becomes the voluntary choice of the worker.
In addition, overtime pay will commence at 40 hours rather than the present 44. The bill also ensures that persons employed in the growing of flowers for the retail and wholesale trade and persons performing home work -- and by that is meant those who are commonly referred to as domestics who are shamefully exploited and are mainly immigrant women -- that both these groups of workers be included under the overtime pay and overtime hours provisions from which they are currently excluded.
PROVINCIAL PARKS AMENDMENT ACT
Hon. Mr. Bernier moved first reading of bill intituled, An Act to amend the Provincial Parks Act.
Motion agreed to; first reading of the bill.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: There are three minor amendments to the bill. The first section is to replace the present definition section of the Act with a more comprehensive definition section. The second section authorizes the Minister of Natural Resources to prepare a master plan for provincial parks and proposed provincial parks and to review and to amend such plans. The third section is to redefine the class of persons that have the power and the authority of the Ontario Provincial Police under the Act and regulations.
Mr. Speaker: Before the orders of the day, I beg to inform the House that as directed by the Board of Internal Economy I have tabled the statement of the members’ expenses for the fiscal year 1975-1976.
ANSWERS TO WRITTEN QUESTIONS
Hon. Mr. Welch: Mr. Speaker, before the orders of the day I wish to table the answers to questions 27, 63, 82 and 98 standing on the notice paper.
Mr. Speaker: Orders of the day.
Clerk of the House: The second order, House in committee of the whole.
HOUSING DEVELOPMENT AMENDMENT ACT
House in committee on Bill 64, An Act to amend the Housing Development Act.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: Are there any comments, questions or amendments to any section of the bill?
Bill 64 reported.
MUNICIPALITY OF METROPOLITAN TORONTO AMENDMENT ACT
House in committee on Bill 54, An Act to amend the Municipality of Metropolitan Toronto Act.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: When the committee rose last evening we were debating and dealing with the amendment to section 8, as moved by the member from St. George (Mrs. Campbell).
On section 8:
Mr. Swart: Mr. Chairman, this section was of course the most controversial section of the Act when it was tabled. There was opposition to it by many local municipalities within the regions, as well as opposition from our side of the House and, as a result, the member for Kingston and the Islands (Mr. Norton) had moved that it be withdrawn.
The amendment proposed by the member for St. George makes the section somewhat more acceptable. However, it still requires that there would be agreements between the two levels of government, the regional municipality and the local municipality. I would question at this time whether in fact any consultation has taken place with the municipalities on this particular amendment.
It seems to me that perhaps we should follow the suggestion made by the member for St. George herself in earlier debates, that items of such importance as this should wait for the Robarts commission report. Therefore, we think it should be withdrawn from the bill that is before us. There is the similar clause, of course, for each of the regional governments in Bill 55, and to deal with all of those this time, before the report comes in on Niagara, before the Robarts commission reports or before the review commission reports on the other regional governments, seems to prejudge what they might say on this important matter. Therefore, we in our party think that the clause should be withdrawn.
Mr. Good: Mr. Chairman, I want briefly to give an explanation of the amendment so that there is no misunderstanding. The action of the government amendment would withdraw the amendment as it appears in Bill 55, but would leave the section in the original Metropolitan Toronto bill as it always has been, in that Metro Toronto will have control of 150 ft of roadway lying on either side of any Metro road to the extent of the powers under section 35 of the Planning Act. The original intention was to enlarge those powers to include the powers of sections 35a and 35b, which were explained the other day on second reading of the regional municipalities bill.
The government has now very graciously said it would withdraw that amendment so that only the powers under section 35 of the Planning Act would be left for Metro to use along its Metro roads, but we are saying simply this: That those powers used unilaterally by Metro would be much better done in co-operation and with an agreement made between Metro and the boroughs, so that in fact both levels of government would have a say in the extent to which the powers under section 35 would be used by Metro.
As the bill now stands, Metro has complete power to use anything under section 35. In many instances, perhaps the top level of government uses the power under section 35 of the Planning Act for only such things as road-widening and curb cuts for access. That may be all right, there may be a verbal agreement to do that, but let us not forget that they do have powers far in excess of that under section 35 of the Planning Act. What we are saying is, it’s fine to delete 35a and 35b from the bill, but let’s make the powers of the top level of government under section 35 a little more acceptable to both the top level and the lower level; in this case Metro and the boroughs. That is the basis of our amendment.
I hope the hon. member for Welland-Thorold and his party thoroughly understand what we are driving at, to make Metro government and regional government have a more co-operative basis between the two levels, rather than giving unilateral authority to the top level of government to be used in those areas in the lower level of government which could, in fact, destroy the local autonomy of the area government.
Mr. Stong: Mr. Chairman, I concur with my colleague from Waterloo North. The purpose of this amendment to the proposed amendment by the parliamentary assistant is chiefly that in an effort to maintain local autonomy, some autonomy in the local municipal governments, we do not take their power away from them. Section 35 of the Planning Act and its powers have been conferred upon the regional governments by Bill 55 and by Bill 54, and they have been completely taken away from the local municipal governments involved. On second reading of this bill, my colleague from Welland, and several of the speakers in the party indicated that they believed in local autonomy and that they would strive to protect it.
The power under section 35 of the Planning Act has been taken away from the local municipalities completely. It has been done before. After an effort to extend those powers of 35a and 35b of the Planning Act, which have now been withdrawn, there is still power left under section 35 in the regional council -- away from the local municipality. It is very important, if we are going to preserve local autonomy, if we are going to have our locally elected officials have some say in their own destiny and if we are going to strive to get away from a single-tier regional government and the regional system of government, that the two tiers co-operate.
That is the essence, that is the pith and substance of this amendment, that they be allowed and be required to work in concert and that one tier of government not be overlooked to the advantage of the other. We are not proposing a dismantling or doing away with regional government. We are proposing a preservation of autonomy for the local municipal governments and that they have some say by co-operation with the regional council. It is my urgent request and hope that the members of the opposition will accede to that situation and preserve that autonomy which they spoke of the other day; preserve that autonomy at the local level, and that’s what this amendment is designed to do.
Mr. Renwick: Mr. Chairman, I just want to follow along on the proposed amendment by the member for St. George, to which my colleague has just spoken.
When this bill first came before us, on behalf of our caucus I wrote to the chairman of the Metropolitan council and to the mayors of the city of Toronto and each of the boroughs comprising the Metropolitan area. While I received very strong reaction to section 8, which led, at least in part, to the parliamentary assistant withdrawing the section, I did not, during the course of that correspondence and some conversations in connection with it, receive any request that there be any amendment to the existing section as it stood, insofar as it related to the powers of the Metropolitan council with respect to section 35 of the Planning Act.
I want to ask the parliamentary assistant specifically if he received any request that the existing power of the Metropolitan council be amended. Or were they content to let the section as it presently reads remain as is, pending, in the case of Metropolitan Toronto the results of the Robarts commission and, presumably, with respect to the regional municipalities, the review under the Planning Act? Could the parliamentary assistant specifically answer that question?
Mr. Norton: Mr. Chairman, I would be happy to answer that question. I met with the chairman of Metropolitan council. I met with the mayor of each of the boroughs in Metropolitan Toronto or his representative -- in one case the representative was sent instead -- and we discussed, among other things, this specific amendment which I have proposed. At no time was there any suggestion that they would like to see the existing provisions with respect to section 35 removed from the Metropolitan Toronto Act.
If I might add, I think the amendment proposed by the member for St. George is most ill-conceived at this time. Among other things, I think it makes a mockery of all that has been said by members of her caucus with respect to consultation.
There has been consultation -- there has been extensive consultation -- on this and other sections of this bill. In spite of what those members have been saying out of one side of their mouths, apparently they are now prepared to come to the House and without any apparent consultation and without much forethought introduce an amendment which is not going to deprive municipalities of local autonomy but all it is going to do, by the removal of this section 8, is continue the existing status quo with respect to the powers in the Metropolitan Toronto Act which have been there since the inception of Metropolitan Toronto. I can’t understand what the hon. member for York Centre means when he talks about the amendment restoring local autonomy. My amendment has the effect of preserving the status quo and the local autonomy as it existed prior to this.
There is a further inconsistency in this debate which I think ought to be pointed out. That is the member for St. George prefaced her opening remarks by saying, “How can the government, while the Robarts commission is sitting on such matters, dare to interfere with the status quo? You should keep your hands off and let the commission come in with its recommendations.”
Mr. Good: How did you?
Mr. Norton: Then she proposes to turn around and remove from the Metropolitan Toronto Act powers which have existed in that Act from its very inception. If that isn’t inconsistency, I don’t know what is.
Mr. Swart: Perhaps I would be permitted to say a few more words on this issue by way of clarification of my views. I am not at all convinced that when the government brings back a section which has been taken out and it returns it at some date to this House, it will be strengthening autonomy at least at the local level. I hope that will be the case.
My concern about the proposal before us is that it is just going to confuse the issue. I am tired of the bureaucracy that exists in the planning field, where you have the local municipality, the regional municipality, the government and in some areas the Escarpment Commission, but nothing really happens. The public get so tied up in this bureaucracy, they don’t know which way to turn and nothing really takes place.
Now we have amendments before us which mean that both the regional municipality and the local municipality are going to have to deal with this agreement. If there is one thing that’s needed for the public, I think it is some clear-cut decision on where authority rests; this would only further confuse it. Therefore, I would like to see the Robarts commission take a good look at this whole issue, bring in its report and we will debate it at that time. May I add, Mr. Chairman, that when it is debated at that time, I am certainly going to be in full support of returning these authorities, where at all practical, to the local level.
Mr. Mancini: When did you start that?
Mr. Deputy Chairman: Are you ready for the question? There are two questions to be decided. First, we have the amendment proposed by the member for St. George and, secondly, the suggestion by the member for Kingston and the Islands that section 8 be struck out.
The hon. member for St. George moved an amendment to section 8 which would have section 90 of the Act repealed and her amendment substituted. We will vote first on the amendment proposed by the member for St. George. Do you wish the Chair to re-read it or will you take it as read last evening?
Some hon. members: Take it as read.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: All those in favour of the amendment proposed by Mrs. Campbell will please say “aye.”
All those opposed will please say “nay.”
In my opinion the “nays” have it.
I declare the amendment lost.
The next question to be decided is, shall section 8 stand as part of the bill?
All those agreed will say “aye.”
All those opposed will please say “nay.”
Mr. Nixon: There is a point of order.
Mr. Norton: Mr. Chairman, on a point of order, I wonder if there is some confusion with respect to the amendment which I proposed and is before the committee.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: I will be glad to read the hon. member’s amendment again.
Mr. Norton: It would propose the striking out of section 8 of the bill, and I think there may have been some confusion in the way the question was put to the committee.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: I think the Chair put the question correctly. We had to deal with Mrs. Campbell’s amendment first, and then we would deal with the parliamentary assistant’s amendment that section 8 of the bill be struck out; that’s what we are voting on now.
All those in favour of Mr. Norton’s motion will please say “aye.”
All those opposed will please say “nay.”
In my opinion the “ayes” have it.
Motion agreed to.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: Section 8 is struck from the bill and the remaining sections of the bill will be renumbered accordingly.
Are there any further comments, questions or amendments prior to section 10?
Section 9 agreed to.
On section 10:
Mr. Deputy Chairman: Mr. Norton moves that section 10 of the bill be struck out and that the remaining sections of the bill be renumbered accordingly.
Is it agreed that section 10 of the bill be struck out?
Motion agreed to.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: Perhaps we can still refer to the sections by the old numbering. The Chairman hasn’t renumbered his bill accordingly. Are there any other comments before on section 15?
Mr. Renwick: Mr. Chairman, sections 11, 12, 13 and 14 are part of the group of sections that I referred to last night and on which we have no comment. I have no comment also on subsection 1 of section 15. I do have a request for an explanation of subsection 2 of section 15, but I defer to my colleague from Waterloo North.
Sections 11 to 14, inclusive, agreed to.
On section 15:
Mr. Good: Mr. Chairman, mine is a request for an explanation as well, in that when Metro Council took over the senior citizen homes including Lambert Lodge, under the Metro Act, there was provision that in the event that Lambert Lodge was deemed to be unnecessary and not needed any longer, the property would revert to the city of Toronto if it was net needed. This provision is being withdrawn from the bill. At present I understand Lambert Lodge is being rebuilt.
I’m wondering if the parliamentary assistant could give us the background as to why this protection for the city of Toronto, on the reversion of the property to the city from Metro, is now being repealed, so that if Lambert Lodge property ever is considered superfluous and not needed, I suppose it would no longer return to the city of Toronto but would be retained as a Metro asset. Could the parliamentary assistant tell us why this protective section is being repealed?
Mr. Norton: Yes, Mr. Chairman. As I presume the hon. member knows, the provision that does exist in the legislation provided for the reversion at no cost. In the interim there has been an agreement reached between Metropolitan Toronto and the city of Toronto with respect to the use of the premises. In order to permit them to pursue the execution of this agreement, which calls for a certain sharing of the premises by Metro and the city of Toronto, in October of last year, I believe, the Hon. Mr. Brunelle, at that time the Minister of Community and Social Services, was approached by them and asked if it would be possible to have this amended. He agreed at that time. I also have on record a request from the governments involved that this amendment be proposed at this time. So it’s in pursuance of a request from the Metropolitan Toronto council and in order to permit them to carry out an agreement they have reached with the city of Toronto.
Mr. Good: The city of Toronto concurs with this?
Mr. Norton: Yes.
Section 15 agreed to.
Mr. Renwick: Mr. Chairman, we have no comment on sections 16 and 17. We are satisfied with the rewording in section 18 of clarification and extension of the powers of the metropolitan council to invest moneys not immediately required in investments of a temporary nature. I understand from what you say that the next amendment is with respect to section 19.
Sections 16 to 18, inclusive, agreed to.
On section 19:
Mr. Deputy Chairman: Mr. Norton moves that section 19 of the bill be struck out and that the remaining sections of the bill be renumbered accordingly.
Mr. Swart: I rise not to oppose the striking out of this section of the bill but I have two questions with regard to it.
I’d like to say first, in a preliminary way, that the principle involved here seems to me to be a good one and it is the sort of thing, perhaps not in these amounts, that has been requested and I think is being requested by many treasurers across this province and probably would receive the support of the majority of municipalities and municipal associations in the province. The ability to pre-levy sufficient money to carry them through until the returns start coming in on the tax bills makes sense, so that they don’t have to borrow such large sums of money as most municipalities do.
The first question I want to ask is this: Will the parliamentary assistant or the minister be bringing in another amendment, perhaps dealing with this same principle, perhaps in different amounts, at a later date? May I ask has this been discussed and can he give some such guarantee, because if not perhaps we might like to amend this rather than have it deleted? Secondly, might I ask him why this section was introduced to give the power to the regional municipality to levy 75 per cent against the local municipalities, but apparently did not provide that local municipalities could pre-levy against the taxpayers, which is at variance with Bill 55?
Mr. Norton: If I could deal with the latter question first: The inconsistency you see in fact would not have been there had the Municipal Act been presented to the House at the same time as this particular piece of legislation. It was intended there be a companion amendment to the Municipal Act that would enable the lower tier municipalities to levy at the same rate. Because the decision to withdraw this provision at this time had been made prior to the introduction of the Municipal Act, rather than go through the procedure of amending it on the floor it was decided not to include that in the draft that was presented for first reading.
I can certainly concur with the hon. member that there is a great divergence of opinion with respect to the need for this kind of flexibility in municipal financing. It was obviously with that type of thing in mind that the original provision was included in legislation of the regional Acts and also it was intended that it be included in the Municipal Act.
Initially, the concern was expressed mainly by the lower tier municipalities; not because they didn’t have the authority, because we assured them that they would be getting it if this provision were enacted, but rather the concern that it might place a great deal of control on their budgeting procedures in the hands of the upper tier. If the upper tier decided to proceed with a 75 per cent levy, the lower tier clearly would have no alternative but to co-operate or else to borrow substantial sums of money in order to meet their commitments.
With respect to your question as to whether another amendment will be brought back at some time? I would say at this point, I am not speaking in terms of a specific policy, but I personally think that it would be desirable that this kind of flexibility be available to municipalities, if there is some way that we could work out with them a procedure whereby the reservations they had about this particular provision were no longer there.
That would apply to regions where there are two tiers, but there are also some concerns expressed by single-tier municipalities where the practice had been that they refrained from interim levies at all. I think it is unfortunate that kind of concern is expressed, because I think it reflects a lack of confidence, in some cases, in the responsiveness of the people who are closest to them in the government structures. I would have hoped that kind of concern would not have been real or expressed. However, until a more acceptable method can be arrived at, it is our decision to withdraw this provision.
Mr. Good: Mr. Chairman, we are certainly glad to see this section withdrawn. I would like to go on record that we in this party would in no way countenance any increase from 50 per cent of interim levy, for the simple reason that municipalities I contacted in the last few months have told me -- one, for instance, that levies only 38½ per cent at the present time, has in the millions of dollars now out drawing interest.
My own municipality, which does levy the 50 per cent, has something like $4.5 million, if I’m not mistaken, out drawing interest at the present time. And remember, any acceleration of tax would do two things. It would make councils procrastinate on the setting of mill rates. And it would make for poor budgeting practices.
The acceleration of tax at the top levels would be passed all the way down to the bottom, and you would find that it would be the ordinary taxpayers who would have to pay the increased amount of interim levy, not knowing what the final mill rate would be.
So we would be very much opposed to any enlarging of the 50 per cent interim levy that would be allowed, either by the top level of government on the local government, or the local level of government on the assessment and on the taxpayers.
Mr. Renwick: I don’t know whether this kind of discussion lends itself to that black and white kind of statement. I was particularly impressed, dealing with the correlative section of the Regional Municipalities Amendment Act related to the regional municipality of York, when the treasurer of the township of Richmond Hill indicated that what appears to be the reason which had some appeal to the treasurer of that particular area municipality, was that the limitation as it presently existed resulted in a net overall cost to the regional government simply because the regional government had to borrow temporarily because of the limitation, which was too restrictive.
I note in the treasurer of Richmond Hill’s comments that he thinks that 75 per cent may be too high, but that there is some area where, by negotiation and the exercise of judgement, a figure could be set. The one suggested in this particular instance is 60 per cent, not from the point of view of the strictures of the problem, but by the realities of the finances where the regional government must borrow simply because it cannot levy. Therefore, borrowing even on a temporary basis these days is expensive and adds to the ultimate cost of the levy which is finally made.
Mr. Shore: Mr. Chairman, I rise on the same matter. During the various visits and discussions we’ve had with some of the municipalities, and particularly having talked to some of the officials of my city, the city of London, they have advised me -- and I think quite accurately -- that there are two major reasons why they feel, and I felt the same, that they couldn’t be supportive of greater than 50 per cent.
First of all, it would have a tendency to not attend to the matters of the levies as quickly as possible. Second, it’s pretty clear and apparent that even if some borrowing is required, at least it spreads the tax load over the total community, as opposed to just one area of the community. I support their advice and comments to me that it would be ill-advised to extend that.
Mr. Swart: Perhaps I can pursue a further question as a result of the reply from the parliamentary assistant. It is simply this: Will he take the initiative with the government to seek the opinions of the municipal associations to see what they would like to have in this regard? It is my understanding that the associations, and perhaps the majority of municipalities, do want permissive legislation over and above the 50 per cent.
I remember when I was in local government, Mr. Chairman, that the same argument was being put forward by some members of council against giving any permission for pre-levies, as the argument now being put forward to go from 50 to 75 per cent. I happen to have enough faith in local councils that I think they will deal wisely with just this, and that they won’t delay the setting of budgets just because they have permission to go up to something higher than the 50 per cent. I think maybe the 60 per cent may be a nice compromise, but I don’t want to see this drop at this time. I would ask the parliamentary assistant if he would seek out views of the municipal associations on this matter.
Mr. Norton: Mr. Chairman, I have no hesitation whatsoever in giving that undertaking to the hon. member. We shall, as we have always done, seek to consult with the municipalities. I think there is one obvious area on which I might improve and that might be in the timing of the consultation. However, I certainly intend to pursue --
An hon. member: Like you did on Bills 54 and 55.
Mr. Norton: -- that course in any matters that affect municipalities. Just as a final comment on my part with respect to the views expressed by the hon. member for Waterloo North, I fail to understand precisely his concern about the collection of moneys on interim levies -- I don’t want to get into a lengthy debate on this -- and the investment of those moneys. Surely any moneys earned through such investments would ultimately go to a reduction of the tax levied upon the residents of those municipalities. Of course, this is intended to be permissive.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: The hon. member for London North has a question on a point of clarification.
Mr. Shore: Did you say London North or Waterloo North?
Mr. Norton: Sorry, I intended to say Waterloo North. I might have --
Mr. Shore: I think I heard London North. I’d just like the record clear.
Mr. Norton: I intended to say Waterloo North in any event. Thank you.
Mr. Ferrier: The member is very sensitive.
Mr. Shore: No, I just want to make sure the right person gets the credit for the --
Mr. Norton: I’m sure the record is now straight.
I think the concern which he has expressed is one that, if you look at the record in terms of the numbers of municipalities which are in fact using a 50 per cent interim levy, there are many who are not and there are many who are not so inclined even though the authority now exists to do that. This is intended to be permissive and hopefully only used under situations of necessity to avoid an excessive burden on municipalities in paying interest rates for interim financing which they might otherwise have to get from financial institutions.
Again, I see that kind of concern as not being totally consistent with the thrust of the arguments that we hear with regard to local autonomy. If, on the one hand, we wish to speak for local autonomy on that kind of principle, because we fear there might be an investment of some of these moneys or a delay perhaps in getting the tax bills out, I don’t think we ought then to pull back when we feel that we know better than the local municipality in that particular situation. I think if we believe in local autonomy then we have to believe in it and express confidence in the locally elected members to exercise that very autonomy that we talked about.
Mr. Shore: Why did you put it out then?
Mr. Good: Because the opposition was so great you had to pull it out.
Mr. Haggerty: I want to support the member for Waterloo North in his comments concerning this particular section of the bill and to concur with the minister’s withdrawing this particular section, section 19 of the Metropolitan Toronto Act. I understand it will also be withdrawn from the other regional bills that are coming forward perhaps after this special debate on this bill.
I was interested in some of the comments, particularly as they related to intermittent levies applied by the municipalities throughout the different regions of Niagara. I can recall at one time the county of Welland which had an exceptionally good county council in those days, used to have a special prepayment of taxes, and a municipality that would pay its levy to the county earlier would get a certain refund back to the municipality. This was well accepted in the community and it encouraged other municipalities to bring in a pre-payment of tax levy in certain localities in the region, and it worked out so successfully that some of the municipalities never had to go to the bank and borrow any money at all. It was to educate the taxpayer at that time that there was a benefit for him. I think if you paid your taxes early in January you would probably get about 2½ per cent savings, and if it went down to March you may end up with one per cent.
The problem is now, since regional government has come into the Niagara region, it’s caused some difficulties in local municipalities in preparing their tax structure, their tax levy for that year. I can recall some instances when it went into August, and apparently we have some municipalities now that may be striking their present mill rate of this present budget levy for the taxpayers of the municipality. I can recall at one time that municipalities had to have it completed by March 31 or April 15, and the tax bills were sent out and some of them would indicate that the first payment was due in June and perhaps the last one in October some time, and there was very little difficulty there.
Maybe we should be looking at new ideas and new programmes to expedite eventual subsidies to the municipalities. That is where one of the difficulties is. Sometimes they run almost to the end of the year before they get the subsidy from the province in transitional grants and have to carry quite a load in borrowing money from the bank. Perhaps we should be looking at the Bank Act itself, which is federal.
It is too bad we couldn’t put it out to the municipalities that they should be able to tender when they go out and borrow money; maybe there could be a saving there on interest rates alone. Maybe it would be a half per cent or five-eighths per cent, but it means money and savings to the municipalities. Perhaps we should be looking at the federal anti-combines legislation in this particular field -- that there is a combine with the banks under the present Bank Act.
I think we should be looking at something like that to give the benefit to the municipalities when they are out borrowing money. In some smaller municipalities they could go to the credit union and borrow money at a far lower rate than they could from a bank on a short-term basis. There could be benefits given there to the municipalities and to the taxpayers.
I support the member for Waterloo North. I think 75 per cent is too high while 50 per cent was within reason. We’ve been able to live with it for these number of years and I see no reason for a change at the present time.
Mr. Shore: On a point of clarification, the parliamentary assistant spoke very strongly a moment ago on the concept of permissiveness and the concept of local authority and so on, and he then makes the decision to withdraw it. Could he clarify why he has withdrawn this section, if he feels that strongly on it?
Mr. Norton: I have no problem at all in clarifying that. I should hope it is clear to the member that the decision was made after extensive consultation with municipalities which expressed concern about the operation of these provisions, though not necessarily the principle. In discussing the matter, it was my understanding that the hon. member for Waterloo North was dealing with the principle of allowing more than 50 per cent as opposed to the question of the specific enactment that was before us.
I still think there are times when municipalities would find it very helpful because of circumstances which may cause a delay. Those who were involved in private bills committee heard of at least one example this year. I think there are circumstances under which it may be very helpful. On the one hand, I was discussing with the member the principle, I though while, on the other hand, the decision to withdraw this specific provision was as a result of consultation with municipalities and the receipt of an expression of opinion during the period provided for that from the time that it appeared on the order paper and the time it obtained second reading.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: Mr. Norton has moved that section 19 of the bill be struck out and that the remaining sections of the bill be renumbered accordingly.
I am going to draw to the attention of the committee that this is a negation of the question usually put by the Chair. We usually say: “Shall this section stand as part of the bill?” I am going to put the question in that wording this time. If you wish to support the amendment you should say “nay.”
Shall section 19 stand as part of the bill?
Mr. Good: On a point of order, Mr. Chairman, are we not voting on the minister’s amendment that section 19 be struck out?
Mr. Deputy Chairman: Yes, I would draw the hon. member’s attention to the fact that on a technicality the wording had to be that way because of the amendment that Mrs. Campbell moved in the previous section. I just draw to the attention of the committee that for an amendment such as this it is easier for the Chair to put the question, “Shall this section stand as part of the bill”?
Mr. Good: We are not voting on that, Mr. Chairman, with all respect. We are voting on the parliamentary assistant’s amendment, are we not? That is what is before the House.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: The parliamentary assistant has moved that this section be struck out and not be part of the bill.
Mr. Good: He didn’t say that. He just said “and be stuck out” period. Why do we not vote on his amendment?
Mr. Deputy Chairman: I explained my reasoning. Is it agreed that section 19 be struck out of the bill?
Mr. Good: With all respect, Mrs. Campbell’s amendment to a former section has nothing to do with this section.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: Perhaps I could go back. Do you wish me to go back and reread the previous two and explain why I did it? I don’t want to get into a technicality right now but this was the Chair’s decision and this is the way the question in that case is usually put. I am not going to debate or argue a procedural matter but I would ask the committee to consider my feelings in this matter.
Shall this section stand as part of the bill?
All those in favour will say “aye.”
All those against will please say “nay.”
The section is struck.
Any further comments or questions or criticisms on any other section of the bill?
Mr. Good: Mr. Chairman, on a point of order. The way you have decided that section 19 will not be part of the bill, you are saying that the minister’s amendment was out of order and if he didn’t want section 19 to be part of the bill he should have voted against that being part of the bill. Is that what you are saying?
Mr. Deputy Chairman: I believe that the wording of the minister’s amendment was out of order.
Mr. Good: Then why didn’t you declare it out of order and tell him to vote against it?
Mr. Deputy Chairman: I think I did when we discussed Mrs. Campbell’s motion and the ministerial motion at that time.
Sections 20 and 21 agreed to.
On section 22:
Mr. Swart: The purpose of section 22, of course, is to make it easier for a municipality to spend money on industrial promotion and selling the municipality generally. I won’t really oppose that that gives them a free hand -- but I would like to point out that there’s less and less need from a tax point of view for a municipality to encourage industrial promotion or industries to settle within the municipality.
Part of our planning problem in this province is that the myth still exists in many municipalities that, somehow or other, if they grow very rapidly or if they acquire a lot of industrial assessment their taxes are going to be reduced to their citizens. I want to repeat that that is a myth.
This may encourage them in greater promotion, industrial promotion and other types of promotion. Within that context I have some misgivings about it but I am in favour of the principle that municipalities should have the power to make this decision themselves.
Sections 22 and 23 agreed to.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: Shall the bill be reported as amended?
On section 24:
Mr. Swart: I rise on a point of order. I am sorry. It would seem to me that in section 24 there should be a consequential amendment in view of the fact that we deleted section 19. I wonder if the parliamentary assistant wants to move such an amendment?
Mr. Renwick: He doesn’t have to do that.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: Mr. Renwick moved that in subsection 1 of section 24 the reference to section 19 be deleted and that subsection 2 be deleted so that the clause will read “This Act comes into force from the day it receives royal assent.”
Mr. Norton: Thank you, that’s precisely the consensus I have.
Motion agreed to.
Mr. Renwick: I just want you to know we’re alive and well over here.
REGIONAL MUNICIPALITIES AMENDMENT ACT
House in committee on Bill 55, An Act to amend the Regional Municipalities Act.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: Are there any comments, questions or amendments prior to section 6?
Mr. Renwick: Mr. Chairman, if I may, just as a procedural matter in an effort to expedite the passage of this bill through the committee; There are a large number of the sections which are identical and applicable to each of the regional municipalities. I would suggest that as we deal with the sections of the bill we consider, for example when we’re dealing with section 1 that we’re dealing also with sections 16(2), 32(1), 45, 59, 71, 85, 98(1), 112 and 125, because they are substantially similar matters. Therefore, as we work our way through the amendments dealing with the regional municipality of Ottawa-Carleton, we will, in substance, have dealt with a number of the provisions which I hope would not need to be repeated.
Perhaps when my colleague moves the amendment we’ve proposed on section 1 the method which I’m speaking about may be clear.
Mr. Swart: Mr. Chairman, I’m wondering, too, if I might make a preliminary remark on this with regard to procedure and ask the parliamentary assistant if he is aware that the MLC will be discussing this bill at some length, I understand, on Friday of this week? Is he aware of this; and in view of it does he feel the bill should be stood down until after Friday?
Mr. Norton: I am aware, Mr. Chairman, of the fact that the MLC is proposing to discuss this bill, or certain provisions of it. In spite of the fact there has been that communication, no request for any delay in dealing with this bill in the Legislature has been received by me, or to my knowledge by anyone on our staff.
Mr. Swart: Mr. Chairman, if I may then, if we’re going into clause by clause discussion, move an amendment to section 1 of the bill.
On section 1:
Mr. Deputy Chairman: Mr. Swart moves that the proposed section 7(a) to the Regional Municipality of Ottawa-Carleton Act, as set out in section 1 of Bill 55, being the Regional Municipalities Amendment Act 1976, be amended by adding after “thereof” in the third line of the proposed section 7(a), the words, “or upon the petition of electors in accordance with the provision of section 13 of the Municipal Act.”
Mr. Swart farther moves that if the foregoing motion is carried, amending section 1 of Bill 55, section 16 Niagara, section 32 York, section 45 Waterloo, section 59 Sudbury, section 71 Peel, section 85 Halton, section 98 Hamilton-Wentworth, section 112 Durham and section 125 Haldimand-Norfolk be amended accordingly.
Mr. Swart: Mr. Chairman, I don’t know whether the other members have copies of that or not. I am sure members of the House will know the purpose of this amendment. I would like to think, although I have some doubts, that the fact that it is not in the bill was an omission -- an unconscious omission -- on the part of the parliamentary assistant or the Treasurer.
Of course, what is being done in the regional Bill 55 is to prevent ratepayers within regional municipalities from having the same rights that ratepayers in local municipalities outside regions have with regard to appealing decisions of council relative to dividing or redividing the municipality into wards.
The section still remains in the Municipal Act whereby a petition by 75 ratepayers within a municipality of 5,000 population or less, or 150 in a municipality of 5,000 or more, may make petition to the local council for division or redivision of the municipality into wards. If they do not act on that, or if they act and turn the request down, then they have the right of appeal to the Ontario Municipal Board and the Ontario Municipal Board shall make the decision.
It seems to me that is a right that should be enshrined in these amendments. I’m not one of those who think we should take away local autonomy from the local municipalities, but this pertains to the structure of municipalities which is the responsibility of the provincial government.
What is more important? In almost every council, when discussion takes place or decisions are being made with regard to dividing that municipality into wards or redividing it, there is a vested interest on the part of the members of council. It is very likely going to affect re-election of those members, or it may well affect it; it will have a bearing on their re-election. Therefore, the decision that may be made may not be based entirely on what is best for the ratepayers of that municipality or those municipalities, but may be based on how it affects the members. Therefore, I think the ratepayers of the municipality should have the right of appeal in regional government.
In fact, it concerns me that Bill 55, as originally tabled, did shift some authority and some jurisdiction from the area of government to the regional government. By this section, you are shifting some authority or some power or some rights which the ratepayers had, away from them to the local council and, in fact, taking it away from them entirely.
So I would hope that the parliamentary assistant might be willing to rise and say that he would agree with this amendment as providing some degree of small -- it’s not small to people involved and those of us who have been in municipal life know this to be the case, believe me -- it will provide some greater degree of democracy and accountability to the ratepayers of this province.
Certainly there is a feeling among voters and among ratepayers that governments are getting bigger and bigger and they have less control. This is one way by which we can assure them they at least will have their case heard by some other level of government than that which has a vested interest in the matter of division of the municipality into wards.
Mr. Stong: I can say that the members of this party will support that motion to amend this Act. Mr. Chairman, you are probably aware that by virtue of the fact we speak third in this House that amendment was usurped from us. However, we will support that amendment although it goes hand in glove with an amendment I will be proposing with respect to section 30, that it be removed from this Act when that section will be discussed. I agree with my friend from Welland that it was probably an oversight -- to give the benefit of the doubt -- that this was left out; and I question that as well.
Likewise, this amendment may not be needed in the Act with respect to the municipality of York because that right was left with the regional municipality of York. The government, by virtue of section 31, has attempted to remove that right of electors to make a petition and then appeal. I question very strongly the motivation of the government in that respect. I believe it has consciously -- a very conscious effort -- tried to take away that tight of the electorate.
The situation arose in the town of Markham when a petition was made and the power bloc in the council at that time, some four years ago, rendered this situation unavoidable. It must be protected and that right preserved in this Act. This party will be supporting that amendment and it will save us moving the same amendment at this time.
Mr. Norton: Mr. Chairman, I certainly have no strong objections to the amendment proposed. I think, as has been pointed out, it is something which was already embodied in the Municipal Act for other municipalities not covered by regional legislation.
I would point out, though, at this stage in the discussion that there are some other matters which perhaps do bear on this and ought to be considered. One of them, of course, is that the local government electoral process, I think, ought not to be completely ignored in matters such as this.
I would hope that where a body of opinion existed within a municipality in support of re-examination of the electoral boundaries, if that matter became an issue during the municipal election and if there were sufficient number of people to justify such a change, they could effect that through the electoral process which is as much a part of democracy as the petition.
I’m certainly not saying that we want to deny that right or that opportunity to groups of citizens within regional government. I do think that as we look at such proposals as this over a longer period of time we have to be careful that we don’t entirely denude local government and the electoral process at the local level, as a valid and vital expression of the option of the electorate. Petitions are not the only way to express one’s opinion and one’s concern. One can organize the time of a municipal election much more easily than, say, a provincial or a national election and create local issues by which one can accomplish the same thing, rather than going by way of petition to an administrative board such as the Ontario Municipal Board, which in effect takes it out of the realm of the political process at the local level.
I appreciate the concern with respect to vested interests, but as I say, I also am concerned that, by such amendments, we not end up, over a long period of time, downgrading the electoral process at the local level as an important and vital expression of the opinion in local municipalities.
Mr. Renwick: I just want to make a comment. The amendment in no way downgrades the electoral process. One of the aspects of democracy, as well as the election proper, is the definition of the boundaries within which that election will take place. This is not a direct challenge by the electors to the Ontario Municipal Board. It is a request by a specified number of electors to the council to ask the council to carry out the division -- not necessarily to carry out the division, but to hold the proceedings by which a question can be decided about a division -- and if the council doesn’t hold it, then the question is that it should go before the Ontario Municipal Board, and that is really the provision of subsection 3 of section 13.
I just didn’t want to let go unanswered the comment of the parliamentary assistant that the continued maintenance in regional government of a right that’s been existent in the Municipal Act of the Province of Ontario for many years -- when it’s continued in municipal government, as it will be if this amendment is passed -- in some way is a downgrading of the electoral process. In our view, it is just the opposite. It maintains the kind of municipal political process that we have become accustomed to and which we value.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: All those in favour of Mr. Swart’s amendment will please say aye.
All those opposed will please say “nay.”
In my opinion, the “ayes” have it.
Mr. Renwick: I wasn’t smart enough.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: Shall this be stacked?
Mr. Renwick: It is such an interesting matter, maybe we shouldn’t stack it.
Mr. Swart: Why would you go against your parliamentary assistant?
Mr. Deans: Why divide yourselves?
On sections 2 to 5 inclusive:
Mr. Swart: I won’t dwell on section 2. We support that as a reasonable proposal, the extension of the time. At the present time, in fact, the option of a local municipality to elect a person to fill a vacancy is negated because of the shortness of the time. This will permit that option to the local municipalities and we support that.
I do want once again to register some opposition, although not to the point of dividing, on section 3, etc., where they permit a person who has been employed by or who worked for a municipality to do the auditing for that municipality in a subsequent year. I am conscious of the other side of this matter. Because I spoke on it last evening, I will not dwell on it at any greater length.
Sections 2 to 5, inclusive, agreed to.
On section 6:
Mr. Deputy Chairman: Mr. Norton moves that section 6, 20, 36, 50, 75, 89, 102, 116 and 129 will be struck out.
Is it the wish of the committee that we deal collectively with these amendments to these sections?
Mr. Stong: I had this arranged in a little different manner, because I didn’t expect that we would be dealing with them all at once. However, I do have an amendment to each one of these sections that the parliamentary assistant is moving.
First, I move that section 6 not be struck out -- and this applies, Mr. Chairman, to each of the others; although I have them individually numbered.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: Mr. Stong moves that section 6 not be struck out, but be amended to read as follows:
“That section 61 of the said Act is repealed and the following substituted therefor:
“‘Section 61(1) The regional council has with respect to all land lying within a distance of 150 ft from any limit of a regional road, all the powers conferred on the council of a local municipality by sections 35 of the Planning Act. But prior to exercising any or all of the powers provided by this section affecting land within the regional municipality, the regional council shall give notice of the proposed exercise of such powers to the council of the local municipality wherein the lands affected, that it may therefore exercise such powers with respect to the land in the area by agreement of the council of the local municipality and not otherwise.
“(2) No power under section 35 of the Planning Act conferred on the regional council by any section of this Act shall be exercised by that regional council until notice of the proposed exercise of those powers is given to the council of the local municipality wherein the lands affected, and in any event such powers shall be exercised by agreement with the council of the local municipality and not otherwise.”
Mr. Stong: Mr. Chairman, this amendment is basically the same as the one in Bill 54, with the addition of a subsection 2. As I have indicated earlier, the support of section 6 and the other sections of a similar vein as proposed in Bill 55, was to remove from the local municipal councils their powers under 35a and 35b of the Planning Act.
Section 35 of the Planning Act had already been removed and placed in the regional council’s bailiwick. With the removal, on the amendment of the parliamentary assistant, of these sections from Bill 55, the power under section 35 of the Planning Act remains in the regional council and away from the local municipality.
In my respectful submission to this House, Mr. Chairman, if we believe in local autonomy, as my friend across the floor and my friends to the right have reiterated on many occasions, if we believe in local autonomy, locally elected officials, then they must not talk out of the other side of their mouth. They must preserve some power and some jurisdiction in the local councils. As for Bill 54, the parliamentary assistant indicated that he had not, to his knowledge, received any information from any of the local councils with respect to their wishes, other than deleting sections 35a and 35b, and he directed those remarks to me specifically.
Obviously the parliamentary assistant is unaware of the resolution passed by the town of Vaughan on May 17 which adopts almost word for word my amendment and seeks to preserve the power that it had lost under section 35 and regain that power so that it has some input into planning in the area. That council, at any rate, wants to preserve its power and regain that power so that it has some jurisdiction over its own planning and over the way that planning will take in the region of York. That is the town of Vaughan in the riding of York North, represented by one of the members of the party in government. The parliamentary assistant was apparently not aware of that pursuant to his remarks earlier.
Mr. Hodgson: You look after Markham and I’ll look after Vaughan.
Mr. Stong: Obviously the parliamentary assistant likewise is not aware of the resolution passed by the town of Richmond Hill, which questions the very essence of this proposed amendment in Bill 55. The town of Richmond Hill in its preamble to the resolution indicates that throughout Ontario for many decades local municipalities have existed as creatures of the province. They request that the province indicate to the local municipalities whether it intends to obliterate those municipalities as jurisdictional functions.
This same resolution of the town of Richmond Hill, which passed on May 17 at the same time as the one of the town of Vaughan, also asks the government to recognize the expertise, the sophistication in administration, in fiscal responsibilities, in planning and legislative functions in which the local municipalities have already achieved a high level of competency. The municipalities are requesting that the government recognize those attributes. By virtue of Bill 55, that is the last step in the abolition, in the rendering redundant of the locally elected officials by taking away the last bit of jurisdiction, the last bit of planning and power to zone that has been in their bailiwick.
This same resolution of the town of Richmond Hill, passed on May 17, asks that the government and the Province of Ontario indicate whether Ontario intends to move to a single-tier government and abolish the local government. It asks that there be some direction and that the government make some commitment.
The parliamentary assistant may well not be aware of these resolutions. The parliamentary assistant may well not be aware of the resolution passed by the town of Vaughan, but that’s not to say they weren’t done. They were passed on May 17. The municipalities are concerned about the loss of jurisdiction, they are concerned over their own destiny and, most of all, they are concerned about being rendered redundant by the usurping of all their power by Bill 55, the last straw, sections 35a and 35b.
In order to preserve local autonomy, in order to keep some semblance of power and control over their own destiny, it is important that the locally elected officials are recognized by this government. They must be in charge of their own destiny, as it says in this resolution. They have achieved a high level of competence in planning; they’ve been at it for years, for many more years than regional government. They know the area. They know the people. They know what’s needed. They know what’s not needed. All they are asking is that they have some legitimate input, some authority.
My amendment to the amendment being moved by the parliamentary assistant is simply that the regional government exercise its powers under section 35 of the Planning Act but not to eliminate the municipal government; that they act in concert, by agreement.
There are such agreements in effect. There is an agreement in effect between the regional municipality of York and the municipality of Metropolitan Toronto. It’s already an agreement. These two bodies have come to one mind in this agreement with respect to powers over the boundaries along Steeles Ave. If those two functioning legislative bodies can come to one mind and one agreement, there is absolutely no reason that regional governments and the local governments cannot do the same. They already have a precedent set and it has been in existence since April 8, 1974.
All my amendment does is require two responsible bodies to co-operate and be of one mind in planning and not give all the power to one body to the detriment and the prejudice of the other, particularly that body which knows the area better and can function better in that area. I ask my friends on the right who have indicated their support of local autonomy -- they stood in this House on Tuesday last when we were discussing this bill for the first time and they indicated their support of local autonomy. That is all this amendment does -- it recognizes the preservation of that local autonomy.
Subsection 2 of my amendment also covers the waterfront, so to speak. There are sections in each of these regional municipal Acts which, by inference, confer power under section 35 of the Planning Act and, by inference, the region has that power. This section indicates that no power under section 35 of the Planning Act can be exercised by the region without co-operation from an agreement with the local municipally-elected officials.
That is the essence of this amendment. It’s to preserve the autonomy which you indicate you want to preserve, which you stand up and say you represent. That’s exactly what this amendment does. If your heart is where your words are, you’ll accept this amendment.
Mr. Norton: Mr. Chairman, I find this particular amendment and the arguments placed before us in support of it just as incredible as the arguments in support of the similar amendment proposed by the member for St. George (Mrs. Campbell) during the debate on the Metropolitan Toronto Act.
The hon. member has indicated that he had several resolutions all of which, I believe, I have seen and I have most of them before me. In one of those and only one of those, to my knowledge -- I have one from Vaughan -- in the one from Richmond Hill there is some specific reference to section 35. To lump them all together and to imply that you have a series of resolutions -- unless you have different resolutions from the ones I have received from these municipalities -- I think verges upon misleading the House. I’m not suggesting that was your intent --
Mr. Nixon: That’s good because you wouldn’t be permitted to.
Mr. Norton: -- but those resolutions don’t all say the same thing unless you have different ones from the ones I’ve received.
Mr. Stong: I should hope not. Mr. Chairman, on a point of order. If the member had listened to what I said, I indicated I had a resolution from the town of Vaughan passed on May 17 and a resolution from the town of Richmond Hill passed on May 17. I referred to those resolutions and only those two resolutions. I’m not trying to mislead this House. I’m trying to convince this House that this amendment is necessary and that’s all.
You indicated in Bill 54 that you were not aware of anyone recommending that these two bodies operate by agreement. That is misleading the House particularly in view of the reference you have made now.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: Order, please. I would ask the hon. member to withdraw his implication that the parliamentary assistant was misleading the House.
Mr. Stong: All right, Mr. Chairman. I’ll say that there seems to be contradictory verbiage emanating from the parliamentary assistant with respect to this.
Mr. Hodgson: You are switching horses -- two of them -- in midstream.
Mr. Nixon: Very well put.
Mr. Norton: I would like to point out to the hon. member that Bill 54 deals with Metropolitan Toronto. I’m not sure whether the hon. member is aware of that.
Mr. Shore: He is.
Mr. Norton: Bill 55 deals with the regional municipalities throughout the province. In my comments on Bill 54 I said specifically that I had met with the chairman of Metropolitan Toronto and the mayors of the boroughs or their representatives and that at no time had that been raised. That is the truth as I said it and it still is the truth. Don’t try to twist my words.
Mr. Shore: Put up your right hand.
Mr. Norton: We’re talking about another bill now. With respect to the proposed amendment, I think again it makes mockery of what has been said by the hon. member and his caucus with respect to consultation. We have consulted with the municipalities; we have seen their resolutions and we have talked with them. I have talked with them on the telephone, I have met with representatives personally and we are responding to their input.
Here at the eleventh hour, after shouting about consultation, to stand up and decide on the basis of one or maybe two resolutions --
Mr. Good: I’ll give you six more.
Mr. Norton: -- that you are going to change the legislation governing regional municipalities across the whole of this province without any more consultation than that, without any more forethought than that, I think verges on being irresponsible.
Mr. Nixon: That’s right.
Mr. Drea: You would do that kind of thing.
Mr. Chairman: Order, please.
Mr. Norton: At least we consulted for six weeks.
Mr. Good: We’ve been consulting for four years.
Mr. Norton: I would like to see the evidence of your consultation.
Mr. Ruston: You haven’t been around very long, I can see that.
Mr. Norton: We are responding to what was produced by consultation. I think this particular amendment is lacking in foresight in that I think that you ought at least --
Mr. Shore: All new boys around here.
Mr. Norton: -- to have consulted all of the other regional municipalities across the province that you propose to affect by the amendment that you propose. It may be true of the town of Richmond Hill and perhaps even Vaughan, although the indication I have from my information here is that Vaughan didn’t specifically require it.
I’m just now advised from the copy the staff have that Vaughan did, so I correct that. So it’s Vaughan and Richmond Hill.
Mr. Nixon: I am glad there is somebody down there behind you. Have you got the Treasurer down there behind you?
Mr. Ruston: I don’t see anybody. Where is he, under your, desk?
Mr. Deputy Chairman: Order, please. The parliamentary assistant has the floor.
Mr. Norton: I’ll introduce you to my Charlie McCarthy one of these days if you keep that up.
Mr. Shore: Is the Treasurer (Mr. McKeough) back there?
Mr. Nixon: Introduce us to your Edgar Bergen.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: Order, please, will the hon. parliamentary assistant return to sensible discussion?
Mr. Norton: My Charlie McCarthy is very charming.
Mr. Deans: Trouble is you are the Charlie McCarthy.
Mr. Nixon: To let them have a vote.
Mr. Hodgson: You would let them have a lot of votes.
Mr. Norton: Mr. Chairman, without further comment at this point, I would simply say I think that this is an ill-conceived amendment to be proposed at this time without further consultation with the municipalities affected.
Mr. Swart: I expressed the views of my party on the principle of this bill when we were discussing the Metropolitan Toronto bill and I don’t intend to repeat all of that.
I just want to say that although this amendment is I believe, an improvement on what was originally in the bill, I don’t think that it goes far enough. In fact, what it does is complicate the situation whereby you have two levels of government dealing with the same issue. As I said before, if there was one thing that we need in this province, it is clear lines of authority where people will know which level of government to approach and that level of government does have decision-making powers. Therefore, we will not be supporting the amendment.
The prime reason for not supporting the amendment and not supporting the clauses in the bill is that discussion did not take place on either one of them. I am rather amused, as a matter of fact, by the discussion in this House in which there is an argument going on between the Conservative parliamentary assistant and the spokesman for the Liberal Party. The Liberal Party says it did consult with two or three municipalities and the parliamentary assistant says the government did discuss it also with municipalities. Of course, the government discusses it with municipalities after it developed the bill. It didn’t have discussion ahead of time and I think that perhaps points out the difference -- they would discuss it with a few, you don’t discuss it with any. This party believes we should discuss it with the municipal associations before we make our decision.
Mr. Nixon: That is it; are you going to support the amendment?
Mr. Swart: No, we are not going to support the amendment because you haven’t consulted with the municipal associations on your amendment either.
Mr. Nixon: You are not in favour of autonomy, that is clear.
Mr. Swart: If this is withdrawn at the present time, the PMLC is meeting on Friday night and can discuss this bill. I think that is an indication of the way the government proceeds -- we have a bill here on Tuesday and the municipal committee is going to discuss it on Friday after we have dealt with it. It’s an indication of the type of consultation the government has had with the municipalities.
Mr. Ruston: That’s called consultation after the fact.
Mr. Swart: At least if these important sections are withdrawn, it will enable the government and perhaps the opposition parties to find out from the municipal associations and the PMLC, which represents all the municipal associations in this province, what they really want. Personally, I favour some legislation which perhaps more assuredly would give the authority to the local level of government.
For those reasons -- because I believe there should be consultation ahead of the fact and not after the fact -- my party and I are going to support the withdrawal of this section.
Mr. Good: It is certainly evident who is in favour of one-tier regional government and one-tier regional planning and who would have no intention of trying to resolve the problems which now exist in the two-tier planning systems which now exist in many of our regional governments. Ninety per cent of the problems in regional governments today are because of differences of opinion between the regional government and the local area municipalities.
Mr. Swart: They are overlapping.
Mr. Good: In no area is it more evident than in the planning process.
Mr. Good: I will say this, with all credit to the minister, I am sure if he were to consult any regional chairman, any regional head planner or any regional subordinate planner, they would all agree with the original amendment which is now being withdrawn because of other opposition. It would have been a planners’ field day, it would have been a regional chairmen’s field day, to take over all regional governments in a one-tiered proposition. Even though on paper it still would have remained a two-tiered structure, it would have ended up as nothing more than a one-tier proposition. As it is now, the area governments are fighting for their lives, not to be overwhelmed by the onslaughts of the regional governments.
All right, you say we haven’t consulted them. I’ve consulted every area government which sent us letters on the bill -- the other sections dealing with 35a and 35b. I find that the mayor of Oshawa, Mr. Potticary, is very much enamoured of our proposed amendment. He said “That would be great. It would give the area government a little say again about what is going on in the regional governments.”
Mr. Nixon: That is Oshawa. Where is the member?
Mr. Ruston: Where is the member?
Mr. Good: I spoke to the mayor of Waterloo. I spoke to the treasurer of Waterloo and the clerk of the city of Waterloo. They told me, “If the government has brought this section before the Legislature to add to the regional powers but is now going to take away the regional powers and give us a vehicle to establish a little autonomy in the area government level -- by bringing these before the Legislature -- by all means try for that amendment.” It will bring some results back to the regional government where there will be some co-operation and some agreement between the area government and the regional government.
In all fairness, I must say that the regional government in my own area is working on a verbal agreement with the area government that they will show interest along their road right of way under section 35, as it pertains to road widening and curb cuts for access and getting out and into a property. That is a verbal agreement. But there is nothing to prevent the regional government in future from taking over site development, building approvals and everything else that they want to along their streets. And you know what happens with 150 ft on each side for regional roads, it cuts the guts right out of the downtown areas of most of your area governments. So, in fact, the planning in those area governments is left entirely to the region -- and right in the downtown; in the most important parts of those municipalities.
In the city of Kitchener, where two regional roads flank the main street, the properties along those two regional roads project 150 ft and they take in the back of the properties that are on the central part of King St. In fact, the whole mall section that’s being designed by the city of Kitchener will come under regional government authority by the powers given under this section in our regional bill.
I spoke to the administrative officials in three of the Hamilton regional government areas, and they did admit: “We have no problems here at the moment, but certainly it would be great to include some protection for the future wherein the area government would have a say in the agreement that is drawn up between the region and the area government.”
In Grimsby, in the Niagara regional government, I spoke to one official who again thought it would be an excellent idea to give the area governments a little say in what is going on at the regional level. We all know that unless we retain some powers in the area government level, we’re going to end up with a one-tier system. The area governments won’t even be hewers of wood and drawers of water, they’ll be just fillers of potholes and builders of curbs. That’s about all there is going to be left for them to do.
Now, I would ask the members of the NDP to reconsider their proposition. This is no idle shot in the dark. We’ve talked to people. Those of you who live in regions know that most of the problems that occur in the regional governments are differences of opinion between the region and the area government. The area governments feel that they are being downtrodden by the region. There is nothing left for them to do. Their planning has been taken over, even though there is two-tier planning in most of them, because of sections such as this.
I sincerely believe that this could be a step in a new direction to get regional government back on the track and to diminish the unilateral powers held by the regions over the people in the area governments.
People will admit without reservation that they feel much closer to their area government level than they do to their regional government level. It is at the area government where the people have confidence in that government. I feel that you’re going to have to take a real hard look somewhere down the line. This party is prepared to take action right now to strip some of the powers that have been causing most of the problems in our regional governments.
Mr. Stong: I will restrict my remarks. The parliamentary assistant called my recommended amendment irresponsible. I ask him how responsible the government was in imposing regional government on many areas. Where does the responsibility lie in that Act? Why, over the last four years, have the local municipalities been responding to suggestions for changes? My friend, the member for Waterloo North, has indicated to this House and to the parliamentary assistant that there has been action and consultation taken. I have relied on two written resolutions and have brought them forward. With respect to my friends on the right, they say one thing -- but they are acting like political ostriches, with their head in the sand on this one. I ask that they reconsider their position and vote for this amendment.
Mr. Norton: Mr. Chairman, I have very little to add to my earlier comments except perhaps just a very brief response to the hon. member for York Centre. I would ask that he recall, if he can recall that far back, the times when the county of York requested that the government restructuring that has taken place there take place. That was done in response to a request from the local level.
In talking about imposition and whether it is responsible or not, I think all he has to do is look at the experiences of some of the municipalities of comparable size to those in Ontario that are part now of restructured governments -- look to the south; look to the American jurisdictions and see what is happening, and the problems that some of those municipalities are facing.
Mr. Good: Why didn’t you push regional government in Kingston?
Mr. Norton: Look at the fact that in the Province of Ontario, comparable municipalities have not yet faced those problems. Look at the fact that in those cities to the south, most of them would have avoided the problems they are facing had they undergone, at the appropriate time, local government restructuring as we have done in the Province of Ontario.
Mr. Good: Why aren’t you pushing regional government in Kingston?
Mr. Nixon: What are you doing in Kingston?
Mr. Norton: Let’s not talk about the irresponsibility of the introduction of restructuring of local government.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: Order, please.
Mr. Nixon: You haven’t had it in Chatham. You shove it down other people’s throats.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: Order, please. Perhaps we can have the debate returned to the section that we’re discussing rather than the principles of regional government.
Mr. Shore: Mr. Chairman, I don’t think the parliamentary assistant should be allowed to get away with the concept that there isn’t some good in regional government, nor should he be able to make a generalized statement that it’s the greatest thing. What we’re saying here in this concept and in this amendment is very clear -- that is, to allow the local authorities to have some say in it. That’s the issue, and he shouldn’t be allowed to get away with a concluding statement that the regional government concept is no good or is good.
Mr. Norton: You’re speaking with the same voice as the hon. member for York Centre.
Mr. Shore: The specific situation here is clear -- to allow the local authorities to have input into the decision-making and not be treated like some child. That’s the issue and he should not be left to forget about it.
Mr. Bullbrook: Resign. Resign.
Mr. Renwick: Mr. Chairman, I’m delighted to hear my colleagues in the Liberal Party try to scramble back on with some interest in this particular piece of legislation.
Mr. Shore: No scrambling here.
Mr. Nixon: It will be interesting to hear how you save an untenable position.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: Order, please.
Mr. Renwick: Once the New Democratic Party had taken upon itself to get in touch with all of the regional governments, we then began to hear that the Liberals were also catching on and that they were getting in touch with the regional governments. That’s right.
Mr. Nixon: You voted in favour of regional government bills until you changed your mind.
Mr. Renwick: When the whole principle of whether or not the government had consulted or not consulted was put to the assembly, of course the Liberal Party stood with the Tory party. Some time the Liberal Party’s going to learn it’s not who you stand with, it’s what you stand for that counts.
Mr. Shore: The member has to be a historian now.
Mr. Renwick: Now, under the clause through which we in this caucus played a significant part, along with the deliberations of the parliamentary assistant, to force the withdrawal of this section, my friends in the Liberal Party want, in their own good grace, after having touched peripherally upon certain of the municipalities --
Mr. Roy: You don’t really mean that, do you?
Mr. Renwick: -- they now want to amend it throughout the whole of regional government without any participation by anybody but themselves in the process. We don’t share that view. We have a very simple view and that is government, to make regional government work in this province, must consult. This government knows it didn’t consult; that’s why it’s withdrawn these clauses.
But to suggest now that some marginal amendment will allow the Liberal Party to scramble back into an interest in this particular field is more than we can stomach.
Mr. Shore: No, no. You can regurgitate your words now.
Mr. Renwick: On that particular ground, we will not, despite the great respect we have for the member for Waterloo North when he speaks knowledgeably, on occasion but not on this occasion, about municipal matters. We would support it, but we can’t support it knowing the background of the cabal that’s gone on within the Liberal Party --
Mr. Shore: You can’t support him because you are sucking and blowing at the same time.
Mr. Renwick: -- to come up with some kind of a position on regional government. Mr. Chairman, with the greatest respect, the Liberal Party never has had a position on regional government. They don’t really believe in it.
Mr. Shore: Where’s your Masters and Johnson?
Mr. Renwick: They never at any time during the course of the debates believed in it. Their consultation doesn’t mean creative consultation. It’s always destructive. This amendment is a destructive amendment of the process of consultation to which we are committed.
Mr. Drea: You are right.
Mr. Good: There goes your member for Cambridge (Mr. Davidson) down the drain.
Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order, please.
Mr. Renwick: Mr. Chairman, forgive me for having digressed from this particular section. I just wanted to say that we are unalterably opposed to the Liberal amendment and we are in favour of the motion, because we created the situation which led to the government withdrawing this particular section.
Mr. Nixon: I want to support the amendment that has been put forward by my colleague, particularly since the member for Riverdale is taking such a strange position in this regard. He has often been called upon to save his party from an untenable position but never has he reached so far as he has this afternoon in his failing effort so to do.
Mr. Shore: Look at him. He’s laughing about it.
Mr. Nixon: Mr. Chairman, you have been in the House for many years and you know that we have consistently opposed the government’s position which would impose regional government in the various areas of the province. Without returning to the principle of those many bills now that have been before the Legislature, our position in each case, consistently and without fail, was that the power should remain with the smaller units rather than centralize, either here at Queen’s Park or with the monolithic regional government operated by a chairman appointed by the Conservative government.
Actually we were successful in convincing the NDP of the error in their ways. Half-way through the regionalization process in this province, they changed their position so that they would oppose regional government in general. I’ll tell you, Mr. Chairman, that one of the basic concerns that we have is that the policies of the Conservative Party have not just been to regionalize but to centralize the power in one-tier government. That is why this amendment is so important because it strikes directly against the principle of centralizing power in one-tier government which has shown to be expensive and in many respects undemocratic since the leader of that one-tier government in most instances is appointed here from Queen’s Park.
The amendment put forward by my colleague emphasizes and, as a matter of fact, demands that some of these powers at least be shared iii a real and extensive way with the lower tier. The fact that the NDP now finds it impossible to shift away from its hereditary support of the Conservative position in regional government is simply a further indication of its weakness in this field.
Mr. Moffatt: It won’t work.
Mr. Nixon: Here is a real opportunity for the opposition parties to join together in a rational, well-considered amendment which would change the whole concept of regional government, putting power back where it should be with the people who pay the taxes and who must be served in local governments.
Mr. Nixon: The NDP, with their haloes shining around their heads talk about consultations.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: Order, please.
Mr. Nixon: This has been a matter of consistent principle with our party ever since the regional business was introduced by the present Treasurer.
Mr. Moffatt: What’s the principle?
Mr. Nixon: There’s no way we’re going to be able to convince the stubborn NDP to back down from this particular position that they’ve got into, but I would hope that there would be some reconsideration. This amendment should pass. It is for the benefit of the people.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: Order, please. Could we have a little less noise in the committee? We’ll recognize the hon. parliamentary assistant.
Mr. Norton: I won’t engage in the debate that has taken place across the House on the merits of regional government. I would like the opportunity to do so with the hon. member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk. I have not had that privilege. In view of some of his comments about the concentration of powers in a one-tier government, I think that a little debate on that subject might be very enlightening at some future date.
Mr. Nixon: When you introduce regional government for Kingston and the Islands, then we will debate it.
Mr. Norton: With respect to the comments of the hon. member for Riverdale that the decision to withdraw the section was not arrived at as a result of consultation, I would point out to him that I acknowledge that his party engaged in consultation --
Mr. Nixon: You knew it; that’s why you withdrew it.
Mr. Norton: -- following the presentation of the bill in the House for last reading. I accept his word that shortly thereafter the Liberals began to pursue him around the province in making an effort to emulate the efforts of the official opposition. I would also point out that prior to the introduction of that bill to this House for first reading, I met with the PMLC and discussed with its members the principles involved in this legislation. I said that when the legislation was introduced, we would withhold further action on it until we had heard from them. As a result of that, there was a six-week period during which there was very extensive consultation on our part, without great fanfare.
Mr. Davidson: Rather strange none of them knew about it.
Mr. Moffatt: With whom did you consult?
Mr. Norton: As a consequence, we did not have -- we weren’t chasing anybody around the Province of Ontario but we were listening --
Mr. Deputy Chairman: Order, please.
Mr. Norton: -- with sensitive and responsive ears to the people at the municipal level throughout the Province of Ontario. As a result, we arrived at the conclusion --
Mr. Swart: You found out you made a mistake.
Mr. Norton: -- that certain amendments which we are now proposing were desirable to this legislation.
Mr. Moffatt: They told you to get lost.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: There are two questions before the House at the present time. There’s a motion by Mr. Stong that section 6 not be struck out but be amended to read as follows -- I hope I have the support of the House not to read the amendment? Is it your wish that we take it as previously read? Then we have the amendment moved by Mr. Norton that various sections be struck out.
Is it the pleasure of the committee that we deal with Mr. Stong’s motions collectively?
Mr. Deans: Dispense collectively.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: Mr. Stong moves that sections 6, 20, 36, 50, 75, 89, 102, 116 and 129 not be struck out but be amended as follows -- I shall not read the amendment in its entirety.
All those in favour of Mr. Stong’s amendment will please say “aye.”
All those opposed will please say “nay.”
In my opinion, the “nays” have it.
Shall this vote be stacked?
It is stacked then.
I can’t deal with the second amendment or the other questions concerning these sections until the first one is dealt with.
Are there any further discussions on any other sections of the bill prior to section 9? The ministry has an amendment to section 9.
Mr. Bullbrook: Are you stacking the votes automatically?
Mr. Deputy Chairman: Yes, it was agreed on a previous division. Any further discussion prior to section 9? The hon. parliamentary assistant has an amendment to section 9.
Sections 7 and 8 agreed to.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: Mr. Norton moves that sections 9, 23, 37, 51, 63, 76, 90, 103, 117 and 130 of the bill be struck out.
Mr. Swart: I won’t take the time of the House to repeat the arguments put forth on the Metro Toronto bill dealing with fundamentally the same thing but for purposes of the record I want to ask the parliamentary assistant if he will seek out the advice of the municipal associations and if they recommend to him that some form of this section be reintroduced, he will do so.
Mr. Norton: Mr. Chairman, as I did earlier, I will certainly undertake that we will examine this question further and will consult with municipalities as to a formula which might be acceptable to them which could be included at some subsequent date in further amendments to this legislation.
Mr. Good: In reply to that cross-conversation, I would like to say I hope the parliamentary assistant will consult with the taxpayers whose tax would be accelerated beyond what it is now by any change in the 50 per cent interim levy required. Surely he must agree that half a year’s taxes is really to the end of June; they can be levied now and that is ample time for a municipality to set its mill rate. We in this party couldn’t imagine any conceivable reason why you would want to extend that anywhere beyond 50 per cent.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: Shall sections 9, 23, 37, 51, 63, 76, 90, 103, 117 and 130 stand as part of the bill?
All those in favour will please say “aye.”
All those opposed will please say “nay.”
I declare that the “nays” have it. The sections will be struck out.
Any other comments, criticisms or amendments prior to section 108? The hon. member from York Centre.
Mr. Stong: Mr. Chairman, I have with respect to section 31.
On section 31:
Mr. Deputy Chairman: Mr. Stong moves that section 31 of Bill 55 be struck out.
Mr. Stong: The power under section 31 has been alluded to by the member for Welland-Thorold with respect to his proposed amendment to an earlier section.
The regional municipality of York was the only region which retained the power under section 13 of the Municipal Act which granted to 75 petitioners the right to petition a council for a ward or a boundary change in the event that the council did not act. Markham is an example of where a petition was necessary. Despite what the parliamentary assistant indicated earlier, the normal channel of the electorate did not work in that situation and the petitioners acted under section 13 of the Municipal Act.
With respect to this particular section, I have moved that section 31 be struck out to retain under subsection 3 of section 3 of the Regional Municipality of York Act the right in the electorate to make that petition, first, to the council, and then to the Municipal Board by way of appeal in the event that the council does not do anything on that petition.
Without going any further into it, the member for Welland-Thorold covered quite adequately the rights in the electorate to make this petition under section 13 of the Municipal Act. The government by section 31 of Bill 55 has intended to eliminate that statutory right under that section. That is why I have made the amendment that I did and the motion that I did on this section.
Mr. Swart: I am obviously in total agreement with what the member for York Centre says, although I come perhaps to a different conclusion.
It seems to me that by the original amendment which was supported by your party and by this party we have inserted that clause in section 32, so you have that provision or will have it when the vote is taken in section 32. It would be a duplication; you will have it in the Act twice. I humbly suggest that we can take this out and you will still have the provisions of section 13 in the Act because it already has been approved for section 32, and it will be certainly a lot cleaner and less complicated.
Mr. Stong: I had considered that position and I agree that the amendment made to section 32 makes it clear. But section 31 refers to subsection 3 of section 3 of the Regional Municipality of York Act as amended by section 2 of chapter 78 of the Statutes of Ontario, 1972. Section 2 of an Act to amend the Regional Municipality of York Act, chapter 78 of 1972, refers to the years 1973 and 1974. The government has moved to delete this verbiage from that section and just so that there is no confusion in that particular amendment of 1972, it may be advisable to leave it in and delete section 31 from the Act, which could be construed as a repetition. On the other hand there is no problem at all with chapter 78, 1972, and that’s why I have moved my amendment.
Mr. Norton: Mr. Chairman, I have no difficulty whatsoever in accepting the principle involved, although it looks to me as if we might end up with two sections in the Act saying the same thing with respect to the region of York. I don’t know if that’s likely to create any difficulty. I am prepared to accept that amendment.
Mr. Shore: The NDP may not like it.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: Shall section 31 stand as part of the bill?
All those in favour will please say “aye.”
All those opposed will please say “nay.”
Mr. Good: I think there was some misunderstanding.
Mr. Stong: There is some misunderstanding, I believe, arising out of your question.
Mr. Norton: I am sorry, Mr. Chairman. Would the chairman put the question again? There is an amendment before us and I didn’t hear the question correctly perhaps.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: I will place the question again. Mr. Stong moves an amendment to section 31, that section 31 be struck.
All those in favour of section 31 standing as part of the bill will please say “aye.”
All those opposed will please say “nay.”
In my opinion the “nays” have it.
Section 31 is struck from the bill.
Mr. Deans: You should ask your colleagues to give you a hand over there.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: Is there any further discussion to any other section prior to 108?
On section 108:
Mr. Deputy Chairman: Mr. Norton moves that subsection 1 of section 115 of the Regional Municipality of Hamilton-Wentworth Act, 1973, as set out in section 108 of the bill, be amended by inserting after “nine” in the fourth line, “10, 11 and 12.”
Mr. Norton: It might be of some assistance at the outset to indicate that that is a result of a typographical error, It’s not even a housekeeping amendment, I guess; it is an attempt to correct an omission made prior to this time.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: Is there any further discussion on Mr. Norton’s amendment? Shall the amendment carry?
Motion agreed to.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: Are there any further discussions, questions or amendments to any other section of the bill?
Mr. Good: Mr. Chairman, what was the section that was just amended? I will have to get my point at one of the later sections of the bill. What was the section we just completed?
Mr. Deputy Chairman: The section we just completed was 108.
Mr. Good: Could you hold on just for a minute? I think I can deal with this matter under section 109, Mr. Chairman. No, I am sorry, I can’t.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: Which section did the hon. member wish to speak to -- 109?
Mr. Good: It was a prior section, Mr. Chairman, and I am trying to relate it to one of the later sections which would be comparable. I would like to speak to the section regarding the additional granting powers which are extended to the regional municipalities. I think that could be under 122, 123, 124 -- any of the later sections. I have a question that has to do, Mr. Chairman, with the granting of the powers of section 248(a) of the Municipal Act to the regional municipalities.
As I interpret the section, granting powers conferred on local municipalities will now be given to the regional corporations. I want to ask the parliamentary assistant something that relates to some of the later sections we haven’t covered. As he may know, in certain regional governments the acquisition and collection of industrial land is not a regional power. In the region of Waterloo, for instance, the bill was so designed that the acquisition of industrial land is an area government authority, and there’s no power to buy or assemble industrial land in the region.
Now, my understanding is that the region is interpreting this section, whereby they have the power to make loans and to act as the guarantor for loans, as being power to give loans to area governments to assemble industrial land on behalf of the region. In other words, if the region wants to get into the assembly of industrial land, they can do it by giving the money to the area governments in the form of a grant to assemble industrial land on their behalf.
Now, this is the way it is being construed in some regions, as giving the regions power to assemble and buy industrial land which they do not have in the bill. Could the parliamentary assistant discuss this matter with some of his officials and give me an answer whether, indeed, that is an interpretation of this section which would give the regions that particular power?
Mr. Norton: Mr. Chairman, I see nothing in the Act that would preclude the region from making a grant or exercising any of the powers set out with respect to an area municipality for that purpose, or perhaps any other legitimate purpose. However, I do not see how the regional municipality could hold land for that purpose if it does not have the power to do so. Unless the property were to be assembled by the area municipality and the power to develop for the purposes of industrial development were exercised by the area municipality, I don’t see how it could effect its goals -- if I understood you correctly when you said that the regional municipality could have it done for its purposes.
I don’t think that the regional municipality would end up holding, administering and exercising control over the land if it doesn’t have the authority to do that. But it could well make a grant or loan or guarantee a loan for that purpose to an area municipality, I think. That certainly would be my interpretation, and that’s confirmed by the advice of our counsel.
Mr. Good: Mr. Chairman, that partly answers the question. I think there is some apprehension on the part of area governments, not only with the assembling of industrial land but also the assembling of parks and recreational land for which in many bills there is no authority for the regions to do. It is the lower tiers’ authority.
By this provision I understand regions are now saying, “Although we have no authority to get into the industrial land area or into parks and recreation, we are going to have the authority to make grants.” And so they can really direct planning and the whole matter of industrial land within the regions, and also the whole matter of parks and recreation can be taken over by the regions through the granting powers which are established.
I personally don’t think that is the intention of this section, but I have already heard rumblings where regions are interpreting it in that manner so that they can indeed get into these extra functions which, by the very nature of the original bill, are local-level functions. Once again we see the regions trying to muscle their way into all the authority within the region.
Mr. Norton: Mr. Chairman, I see nothing to preclude the region from granting or lending or guaranteeing a loan of money for any purpose that it believes or deems to be in the interests of the people of the region. If, after this comes into effect, there is some indication of abuse of this particular section of this authority, then it would be something that may well bear close watching on the part of the area municipalities that are not benefiting directly from the loan, and also from the point of view of the province. But at the same time I don’t think that if the regional government wishes to make a grant in a way that it believes is in the best interests of all the people in the region, there is anything here to preclude it from doing so.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: Mr. Swart moves that subsection 3 of section 138 be deleted.
Mr. Swart: It’s no longer applicable. Speaking to that motion, those sections were withdrawn from the bill.
Mr. Norton: Yes, I certainly accept that.
Motion agreed to.
The committee divided on Mr. Swart’s amendment, which was approved on the following vote:
Clerk of the House: Mr. Chairman, the “ayes” are 95, the “nays” are zero.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: I declare the amendment carried.
The committee divided on Mr. Stong’s amendment, which was negatived on the following vote:
Clerk of the House: Mr. Chairman, the “ayes” are 33, the “nays” are 63.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: I declare the motion lost.
The next question before the committee is a motion by Mr. Norton that sections 6, 20, 36, 50, 75, 89, 102, 116 and 129 of the bill be struck out.
Shall these sections form a part of the bill?
All those in favour will please say “aye.”
All those opposed will please say “nay.”
The “nays” have it.
The sections will be struck from the bill.
Shall the bill be reported as amended?
Bill 55, as amended, reported.
Hon. Mr. McKeough moved the committee rise and report.
Motion agreed to.
The House resumed: Mr. Speaker in the chair.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: Mr. Speaker, the committee of the whole House begs to report one bill without amendment and two bills with certain amendments and asks for leave to sit again.
Report agreed to.
JUDICIAL REVIEW PROCEDURE AMENDMENT ACT
Hon. Mr. McMurtry moved second reading of Bill 84, An Act to amend the Judicial Review Procedure Act.
Motion agreed to; second reading of the bill.
The following bill was given third reading upon motion: Bill 84, An Act to amend the Judicial Review Procedure Act.
The House recessed at 6:05 p.m.