The House met at 2 p.m.
Mr. Speaker: Statements by the ministry.
FEDERAL-PROVINCIAL MEETING ON RAIL POLICY
Hon. Mr. Snow: Mr. Speaker, as members of this House may or may not be aware, I am scheduled to meet with the federal Minister of Transport, Canada, the Hon. Otto Lang, on June 29. Among the several items on our agenda will be my ministry’s concerns in the area of rail transportation in this province.
Specifically, I am determined to obtain a clear understanding of the federal government’s position vis-à-vis the future of the Windsor to Toronto corridor.
At the same time, I shall advise the minister of the importance Ontario places on rail passenger service as well as the position my officials will be taking at the Canadian Transport Commission’s hearings in Ottawa commencing at the end of this month. The latter, of course, focuses on the rationalization of the CN-CP transcontinental rail passenger services.
I also intend to make Mr. Lang fully aware of the concerns which I’m sure all of the members of this House share regarding rail service to Ontario’s north and northeast where, of course, we are directly involved through the Ontario Northland Transportation Commission.
I don’t believe I have to elaborate on the question of Ontario’s stance in the matter of the Windsor-to-Toronto corridor.
Last May 20 in this House, I responded to Mr. Lang’s telegram in which he outlined that the first phase of plans to improve the Quebec City to Windsor rail corridor would, initially at least, include only the Quebec City to Montreal segment. At that time I pointed out that the federal government’s decision to leave the Toronto to Windsor corridor until -- and I quote from Mr. Lang’s telegram -- “the near future” ignored the basic fact that the Toronto-Windsor segment serves the most densely populated area in Canada. It was, I reminded him, also the area with the highest economic potential.
I concluded by saying that I was most disappointed and that I would ask for a minister-to-minister meeting at the earliest possible moment. That meeting, Mr. Speaker, as I noted earlier, is scheduled for June 29.
In the matter of the CTC’s economic rationalization hearing on the CN and CP transcontinental passenger rail services, I shall inform Mr. Lang that Ontario supports, in theory, the principle of such rationalization. This is on the assumption, however, that rationalization does not involve the transfer of financial responsibility for replacement services to the Province of Ontario. Nor will our support imply acceptance should there be a discontinuance of portions of the transcontinental which currently provide an essential service to our northern communities.
I shall insist that, should the CTC rule in favour of discontinuance in such areas, these services must be replaced by local rail or acceptable alternative services, tailored to fit the affected communities’ needs.
Decisions arising from the transcontinental rationalization hearings could possibly have an effect on the operations of the ONR as well. I shall again make the Minister of Transport, Canada, aware of such possibilities. For example, should there be a reconfiguration of the transcontinental rail route through Ontario, it could include the Toronto to North Bay link which ONR operates with CN on a pooled equipment basis. Thus, should this kind of reconfiguration result, I would insist that ONR and CN equipment be compatible.
I shall therefore ask Mr. Lang to make me fully aware of the federal position in this area as soon as possible. I shall stress the fact that the Ontario government reaffirms its previously stated position to improve rail passenger service into the north and northeast areas of the province.
Such services can only be considered in their totality -- from Toronto to Cochrane and beyond; the branch lines to Moosonee, Noranda and Timmins. Yet, and I shall point this out --
Mr. Sargent: You’re always forgetting the Grey-Bruce area.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Hon. Mr. Snow: -- emphatically to Mr. Lang, the Toronto to North Bay corridor, as well as other corridors, is the responsibility of the CN and its attendant federal funding. Thus, regardless of our resolution, any action taken to upgrade the ONR’s services must be co-ordinated with the federal government and the CNR.
Addressing this problem has not been easy. Therefore, I shall ask the Minister of Transport, Canada, to state his position clearly on the points I have raised in previous correspondence with him.
First will be the matter of mandatory discontinuance hearings. In this area it would be rather foolish of the province to make large capital investments for new equipment while the federal discontinuance hearing exists. Hence, I shall ask for either a five-year deferral of the passenger service discontinuance hearing on CN corridors to enable us to move ahead or the holding of the necessary hearings immediately.
Second, I will ask for assurances that federal funding be continued on the Toronto-North Bay passenger run.
Third, I shall request that the CTC approve federal subsidies for ONR passenger service deficits on the same basis as those provided the CN portions.
On this subject, Mr. Speaker, while the ONR does not operate under a federal charter there is plenty of room for considering a request for subsidies. The ONR does serve many remote northern Ontario communities and, if I may quote Mr. Lang himself in a directive dated Jan. 29, 1976, “Rail passenger service should not be abandoned in any case where no other commercial service exists.”
That, I shall argue, offers justification for federal funding for the ONR.
As for our commitments to provide the north and northeast with upgraded and improved services. I shall make it abundantly clear that the uncertainties concerning funding, discontinuance hearings, transcontinental rationalization and equipment needs are seriously impairing this government’s ability to reach any real and meaningful decisions in rail transportation to the north and northeastern areas of this province.
Therefore, the time has come for action -- if we are to respond to the genuine desires and needs of people resident in the north and northeast. To this end, it is the firm intention of the government of Ontario to adopt a new equipment schedule which will allow us to order three late model trains any time before the end of this year.
To accomplish this we shall continue negotiations with Amtrak, requesting that our options to acquire three turbos be extended until the end of 1976. At the same time, we shall follow with more than considerable interest, the kind of new equipment scheduled for delivery for the Quebec City-Montreal project I referred to earlier. Tenders for this new equipment will, I’m told, be opened sometime in December this year.
At the same time, I have instructed the general manager of the Ontario Northland Transportation Commission, Mr. F. S. Clifford, to begin immediately, short-term improvements to our existing services -- such as improving the quality of service by any means necessary and possible; by reassessing schedules and operational requirements; and upgrading equipment. Mr. Clifford will also meet with CNR officials to discuss actively the rationalization of the operational requirements to meet this objective.
Hon. Mr. Taylor: Mr. Speaker, on June 10 I tabled for the information of the House, details of the general welfare assistance caseload. During the dinner recess, my staff discovered arithmetic errors in that portion of my statement dealing with the caseloads of Metropolitan Toronto.
Mr. Lewis: It was pointed out to you?
Hon. Mr. Taylor: Unfortunately, the wrong column of figures was read from the Metropolitan Toronto statistical fact sheet. The correct figures show a more marked decrease in employables.
Mr. Yakabuski: They don’t like that.
Hon. Mr. Taylor: Although the total caseload is up slightly from last year at the same time, it is down by 464 cases or about 7.5 per cent from the previous month of April, 1976.
Although I took the first opportunity to correct the figures during the evening session of the committee of supply, I would like the House to be aware of the correct figures:
With regard to the Metropolitan Toronto general welfare caseload, it was one per cent higher in May, 1976, than it was in May, 1975; that is, 19,531 in May, 1976, compared with 19,365 in May, 1975. However, I would like to point out to the House that the Metro Toronto caseload has been declining over the past five months after peaking in January. In January, the figure was 22,414. By May, it had declined by 12.9 per cent to 19,531.
While the total Metro Toronto caseload was one per cent higher in May this year than in May a year ago, the caseload of employables was lower; that is from 6,196 in May, 1975, compared with 5,740 in May, 1976, or approximately a seven per cent drop.
The misreading of the figures in my earlier statement applied only to the Metropolitan Toronto caseload. All other figures remain the same. I should point out that the figures I provided on June 10 were certainly not intended to mislead the members of the House as the correct figures I have provided today make the case even more emphatically.
Mr. Singer: If that ever came from the Liberal Party we would hear about it for the next six months. Imagine a mistake like that.
Mr. Yakabuski: Oh, you don’t like that.
Hon. Mr. Taylor: The decline in the employables category in Metropolitan Toronto is even more startling.
Mr. Singer: Great research!
Hon. Mr. Taylor: Since January of this year there has been a 30.1 per cent decline from 8,211 cases to 5,740. This significant decline in employables caseloads is evidence of the value of my ministry’s efforts to assist and encourage job-ready individuals to re-enter the labour force.
Mr. Singer: Is that within the right column or the wrong column?
Hon. Mr. Bernier: I am delighted to be able to report to the House at this time that the forest fire situation has abated substantially in northern Ontario over the weekend. All of the major fires that had been causing difficulties, and at times some anxiety, are now in check and no serious threat faces any community in northern Ontario. The three large fires in the Ignace district, one of which was more than 50,000 acres, are reported under control today.
There is some further activity in the northern region and the eastern portion of the northeastern region where about 40 new fires broke out over the weekend. The long, hot, dry weather situation which prevailed through much of the north for more than five weeks has moderated and some rain has fallen, bringing lower temperatures and higher humidities.
I would like to take this opportunity to express publicly the appreciation of the government of Ontario to the government of Alberta for the 254 fully-equipped firefighters they made available to us last week. Some of those men will be returning home today and all will have left by Friday. Alberta also kindly released two Canso water bombers which were most helpful to us during the peak of the fires in the northwest. They returned to Alberta last week. Our thanks also go to the United States Forestry Service for providing us with 70,000 lb of equipment and food as well as the use of an airborne infrared scanner which has been most useful to our men in detecting fires.
The ban on open fires in northwestern, north central and northern regions expires tomorrow at midnight. I am optimistic that we will not find it necessary to extend the ban. A decision, however, will depend on the weather and any new serious outbreaks which may have occurred. Members may be interested to know that our conservation officers have diligently been enforcing the Forest Fires Prevention Act and have laid some 48 charges of setting open fires in the restricted regions.
I would like to commend the woods operators in the forest fire areas for their excellent co-operation in eliminating or reducing unnecessary travel in the woods last week. Their response was tremendous as was that of the tourist operators and the tourists themselves. We expect operations to return to normal very soon.
Since the fire season began on April 1, we have had almost 1,200 fires which have burned through nearly 600,000 acres of northern Ontario’s forest land.
Mr. Speaker: Oral questions.
Mr. Lewis: May I ask a question first of the Minister of the Environment? How does the Minister of the Environment respond to the condemnation by the Toronto Board of Health and medical experts of the report of the Environmental Hearing Board on the lead problems in the area of the lead smelters in downtown Toronto and their clear endorsement of the task force report in its place? Is the minister ever going to take any specific initiative to implement recommendations of that task force report?
Hon. Mr. Kerr: The newspaper report dealing with the board of health meeting seems to indicate that one or two members of the board of health are taking issue with some of the levels that were recommended in the final report of the hearing board in that there was some difference from the finding of the earlier task force report.
This is something that I would leave to the experts as to whether or not the levels should be 30 micrograms per 100 millilitres or 40 or 50. I understand the hearing board reduced the acceptable level in blood from 40 to 30 and, as I say, certain of these people who are reported in the newspaper article feel that even 30 is too high.
We received a letter from, I think it was Anne Johnston, an alderman in the city, requesting a meeting with the Ministers of Health, Environment and Labour. Premier Davis, in replying to that, indicated we couldn’t assure that such a meeting would take place before the House rises, or before the meeting that was held over the weekend. But there is no reason such a meeting couldn’t take place between the members of our policy field and the members of the board of health.
I would frankly like to see members of the hearing board --
Mr. Sargent: Tell us about Dow Chemical.
Hon. Mr. Kerr: -- meet with the people who were on the data analysis task force. As you will recall, Mr. Speaker, I tabled those two reports at the same time, and therefore the hearing board report didn’t refer to the information in the task force report. I think that those two groups should get together now and decide whether there should be any addendum to the hearing board report, dealing with blood levels particularly.
To answer the second part of the hon. member’s question, we have now received information on what it would cost to remove the soil from about 125 homes around at least three of those lead plants; and we have some idea of how we should go about it. Apparently the recommendation is that the soil should be removed rather than just covered over. We have an idea of what it is going to cost. I have written to the mayor of Toronto and also to the president of the three or four plants involved asking for a meeting to decide how this is going to be undertaken and how it is going to be paid for.
Mr. Lewis: A quick supplementary, if I may, in two parts. Does it not strike the minister as strange that the Environmental Hearing Board, having had the task force report in its hands for several months, did not see the need to incorporate its scientific findings in their report? Does it not seem to the minister that this substantiates much of the criticism of the Environmental Hearing Board? How much will it cost to replace the soil, and why has the minister not made a specific suggestion as to the timing and the financing?
Hon. Mr. Kerr: Mr. Speaker, first of all my information is that the hearing board didn’t have the information from the data analysis task force before their report went to print. My information is they didn’t have that information until it was too late to include it in their report.
Mr. Mancini: I will take a copy.
Hon. Mr. Kerr: I can check that further. Secondly, the cost is about $300,000, and really I can’t make any commitments for that amount until I find out how much of that sum, if any, we have to pay and I have talked to my colleague on my left here and his colleagues.
Mr. Lewis: Supplementary: What is the minister saying -- that for the sake of $300,000 given to help -- particularly the children in the area -- he is now going to engage in a lengthy squabble? Has he suggested any method of apportioning the cost? Surely we should assume some of it, since we allowed the smelters to pollute?
Hon. Mr. Kerr: To go further on that, Mr. Speaker, you might say the city of Toronto allowed the smelters to be established in that area and a lot of homes to be built near it. So, there is certainly some shared responsibility here. As far as I’m concerned, the question or the debate or the discussion regarding cost will not delay the implementation of the removal of that soil.
OPP AT WHITEDOG INDIAN RESERVE
Mr. Lewis: A question of the Solicitor General, if I may. Can he report to the House the progress on the urgent request from the band council of the Whitedog Indian reserve, for Ontario Provincial Police policing on the reserve, about which I believe there was a meeting last week?
Hon. Mr. MacBeth: No, Mr. Speaker, I have no further information at this time, except I believe that meeting was held and I will try to have some information by tomorrow.
Mr. Lewis: By way of supplementary: Can the minister in the process find out from the OPP why a confusion developed about how the police would get on the reserve -- why the OPP believe they should be based at Minaki, and the band felt that, as in the case of other reserves, they would be on the reserve? Can the minister take into account the band’s brief, which I’ll send across to him, that says there are lives at stake in the decision, that the chiefs and council will have to resign shortly for personal safety as a result of threats of physical violence and that the situation is deteriorating? Can the minister do that?
Hon. Mr. MacBeth: To whom was that brief addressed, may I ask?
Mr. Lewis: It was addressed to R. J. MacGarva, Staff Superintendent, Indian Policing Services, OPP.
Hon. Mr. MacBeth: I will take all that into consideration, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. S. Smith: A supplementary: Is the Solicitor General aware that a young man brandishing a rifle entered the band office during daylight hours and threatened to kill the chief and councillors and that the OPP arrived 1½ hours after the incident? This is one of the reasons given for having OPP members on the reserve itself.
Hon. Mr. MacBeth: Mr. Speaker, that will be included in my report.
OMBUDSMAN’S REPORT ON PICKERING
Mr. Lewis: A question, if I may, to the Minister of Housing: Can he give us his understanding of exactly the status of the Ombudsman’s report on Pickering? Has he received it? Is he about to make comment on it? Is it true that all the properties or many of the properties will have to fall under the Expropriations Act retroactively? What is the status?
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: Mr. Speaker, my knowledge of the status of that is, according to the press release put out by the Ombudsman today, that he will be presenting the report to me one week from today.
Mr. Lewis: So the minister has no knowledge of the contents of the report at all?
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: Mr. Speaker, I have had a number of discussions with the Ombudsman as provided for in the legislation and in his Act. I don’t feel I should discuss those conversations; they were in private. I have not received his final report and recommendations and I understand I’ll get them a week from today.
CCH CANADIAN LTD.
Mr. Lewis: A question to the Minister of Labour: What is the status of the CCH dispute?
Hon. B. Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, the CCH dispute has become almost as complicated as an Erle Stanley Gardner novel, as a matter of fact. There are so many plots and sub-plots at the moment. There are court cases, hearings before the Labour Relations Board and counter-hearings before the Labour Relations Board.
At the moment I have appointed a disputes advisory committee. We have two excellent gentlemen making up that committee -- Mr. Terry Meagher and Mr. Lloyd Hemsworth -- and they begin moving today to try to find a solution to this problem.
Mr. Lewis: Am I right that the memorandum of agreement was dated for June 15 and runs out, therefore, tomorrow unless CCH is somehow persuaded to come to its senses, whether in fictional form or not? Does the minister think that will happen within 24 hours?
Hon. B. Stephenson: They have a little longer than 24 hours. They actually have 36 hours at this point to try to resolve the disability.
Mr. Lewis: I am pleased to hear that.
Hon. B. Stephenson: It is quite possible that the memorandum will run out but with the presence of a disputes advisory committee I think that perhaps both parties are a little more directed toward maintaining a reasonable attitude until we get a report from the disputes advisory committee.
PUBLIC HEALTH NURSES’ NEGOTIATIONS
Mr. S. Smith: A question for the Minister of Labour, Mr. Speaker: Why does the government permit the continuance of the kind of coercion which is going on in the dispute with the public health nurses? I have in mind particularly a letter from the Halton regional board to the bargaining committee for the Ontario Nurses’ Association in which Mr. Camm, director of personnel, says: “I am instructed by the board to advise you that those members who stop working on June 14, 1976 [as the minister knows, there is a one-week protest strike being proposed] will not have work available to them until a new collective agreement is reached.”
Does the minister not agree that this is in contravention of sections 58(a), 58(c) and 61 of the Ontario Labour Relations Act inasmuch as selective lockouts are being proposed depending on whether the nurses go on strike at this particular time?
Hon. B. Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, I have not seen a copy of that letter. When I do see it, I shall most certainly talk to the members of staff because there is, I think, a very strong possibility that it may be in contravention of the Act.
Mr. S. Smith: By way of supplementary: May I ask the minister what she intends to do about the deplorable state to which affairs have come, in which the nurses are quite willing to go to compulsory binding arbitration yet the health units across the province, with the tacit agreements of the government, are bringing to bear such very strong measures against them and refusing to budge in this regard?
Hon. B. Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, there has been no tacit agreement on the part of the government. As a matter of fact, the government has been attempting to persuade the health units to move to voluntary arbitration because this would most certainly provide a solution to the problem. There isn’t any doubt in my mind that eventually we will find a resolution to this problem, but it has been extremely difficult because of the peculiar situation in which the public health nurses find themselves vis-à-vis other nurses and vis-à-vis other employees of the health units. It is not a straightforward and simple problem to solve, and we are still doing our best to try to solve it. We will be meeting again with the Ontario Nurses’ Association executive this week and attempting again to talk to the Association of Boards of Health.
Mr. Deans: A supplementary question: Exactly what does the minister mean by “attempting to talk with the Association of Boards of Health”? Is she going to talk to them or is she not going to talk to them? She can’t be attempting to talk to them. She’s the Minister of Health; if she wants to talk to them, they have to talk to her.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. The question has been asked.
Hon. B. Stephenson: Correction, Mr. Speaker. I am not the Minister of Health.
Mr. Deans: The Minister of Labour; I beg your pardon.
Hon. B. Stephenson: It was just as difficult when I was acting Minister of Health to try to persuade the boards of health. We will be attempting to persuade them when we talk to them that there has to be a solution found to this problem, short of the kind of legislation which we think probably should be introduced but which we think probably should not be introduced under the present emergency situation.
If the boards of health had done what the Ministry of Health suggested last year, most of them would not be in the difficulties that they are in right at the moment in terms of matching or establishing a reasonable parity with hospital nurses; but the boards of health did not take it upon themselves to open their agreements, as suggested by the Ministry of Health last year, and as a result they are in a very difficult position, given this year’s restraint programme.
LLBO AND LCBO EMPLOYEES’ WAGE NEGOTIATIONS
Mr. S. Smith: Another question to the Minister of Labour on a different topic: Could the minister explain why the government appears to be pushing the LCBO and LLBO workers to an illegal strike by refusing to deal with them? Could the minister explain why the government is refusing to give these workers the 10 per cent award for the second year of their contract which was agreed to by the AIB? Why is this form of coercion being used against these workers?
Hon. B. Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, this problem is not within my ministry and I think it would be much more appropriately directed to the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations.
Mr. Nixon: We can’t see him very well.
Hon. B. Stephenson: He is there.
Mr. S. Smith: The Minister from Lambton without Portfolio (Mr. Henderson) blocked my view of the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations.
Mr. Breithaupt: And of three others.
Mr. S. Smith: Would the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations kindly accept that question as redirected to him?
Hon. Mr. Handleman: Mr. Speaker, I heard the word “coercion” being used in connection with the government and its workers, and, of course, I don’t accept that at all. There is no coercion being used whatsoever. Perhaps if the hon. member would expand on his question, I would understand what he is talking about.
Mr. S. Smith: By way of supplementary --
Mr. Speaker: I think the hon. member should repeat his question.
Mr. Nixon: The minister doesn’t even know what you are talking about.
Mr. S. Smith: Would the minister not agree that the refusal on the part of the government to give these workers the 10 per cent wage increase that has already been agreed to by the AIB, and the government’s insistence that the workers give up their right to appeal before they get any of this money, would be a form of coercion in his mind?
Mr. Nixon: Certainly.
Hon. Mr. Handleman: First of all, 10 per cent of what, if I may put a rhetorical question? It is 10 per cent of the amount that was agreed upon for last year, and until that amount is agreed upon there is no way of implementing the second phase of the wage increase. If we can reach agreement on the first year, then we know what the 10.1 per cent applies to; until then we don’t.
Mr. Mancini: A supplementary: Isn’t it a fact that the LCBO and LLBO employees did not take all the increase that they were awarded last year, and if their 10 per cent is cut down if and when the AIB rules on their appeal, there is already enough money in the fund so the government doesn’t have to take the money back from the employees? Isn’t that true?
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. The question has been asked. There’s no need to debate.
Hon. Mr. Handleman: No, it is not true. First of all, there has been no appeal to the AIB. I was in touch with the officials of the association as recently as last Friday to ask them if they had in fact appealed to the AIB, and they have not. They have filed action in the Supreme Court of Ontario and obviously while that action is pending, there is no way we can discuss the matter.
Mr. Nixon: Your record in the courts is not very good.
Hon. Mr. Handleman: We are quite prepared to deal with it when they file an appeal with the AIB, but in reply to the hon. member’s, “Is it true?” no, it is not.
Mr. Mancini: That’s why I said “if and when.”
Mr. S. Smith: A question for the Minister of Natural Resources with regard to some of the events around the forest fires: Could the minister give some explanation to the House as to the actions of a helicopter pilot who is alleged to have refused requests to fly injured men to hospital? Does he have some information about this and could he expand on what happened?
Hon. Mr. Bernier: Mr. Speaker, I believe the reference is to the Savant Lake or the Allan Water area. I am told the helicopter pilot did pick up the two injured men and bring them to Savant Lake -- I believe that was the point -- and they were placed on suitable transportation to be taken to Sioux Lookout General Hospital. The report that they actually refused to pick up the men is not correct. As I will repeat, they were picked up from the accident and put on proper transportation which brought them to the Sioux Lookout General Hospital.
PROTECTION FOR RAPE VICTIMS
Mr. S. Smith: One final question, if I might, to the Minister of Labour regarding rape victims, Mr. Speaker. Is the minister planning to introduce any changes to the Employment Standards Act, or to any other code which might apply, to give some protection to rape victims so that their employers would give them reasonable time off after such an event and not harass them unduly?
Hon. B. Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, this specific problem has arisen only within the past week as a result of the information provided by a victim at the trial which was being held. It is certainly a problem which I think will have to be looked at very carefully.
Mr. S. Smith: A supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Would the minister not agree that, in line with other matters such as sick benefits and various allowances of this kind, attention should be paid to rape victims so that they do have a certain protection when they return to work?
Hon. B. Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, I am not sure what the hon. member means by protection. They most certainly do have the same type of time off as any other individual who has either an illness or has very severe emotional problems. There are many instances in which there are not only maternity leaves and paternity leaves but adoption leaves as well. In most instances I think there would be most definitely some consideration given to an individual who has suffered this kind of attack but we shall look at it very carefully.
OLYMPICS DUTIES OF OPP
Mr. G. E. Smith: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Solicitor General: Could the minister advise the House how many Ontario Provincial Police officers and personnel will be temporarily transferred to the Kingston area to police the sailing events of the Olympics to be held there this summer? Will any motorized equipment be transferred, such as police cruisers --
Mr. Eakins: What areas will go without?
Mr. G. E. Smith: -- and OPP patrol boats, and will they be transferred from existing detachments to that area?
Mr. Sargent: It is the same number he told you an hour ago.
Hon. Mr. MacBeth: Mr. Speaker, I don’t have all of those figures. I know that for the most part, policing in the Kingston area, some in Toronto where the soccer games are being held, and some in Ottawa as well, is being done by combined municipal forces, the OPP and the RCMP with some help from the armed services as well.
As far as our own organization, the OPP, is concerned, there will be considerable overtime in connection with it. There will be a gathering of OPP forces in the Kingston area particularly from other detachments across the southern part of Ontario. The exact numbers I can’t give you but I can get those figures.
As far as motor equipment is concerned, likewise there will be a transfer from other places in the province of certain motor launches for the two or three weeks involved in the sailing competitions at Kingston. Again, I can’t give you the exact number of motor launches. I know that the OPP does have 68 boats altogether which are put in service in the summertime but I don’t know how many of those will be involved in Kingston. I will get the information.
The rest of the province will be suffering somewhat from lack of that equipment and lack of that personnel during the period of the Olympics.
Mr. G. E. Smith: A supplementary, Mr. Speaker: In view of the fact that, I believe, there are only one or two boats in the Midland-Georgian Bay-Trent/Severn system, including Lake Simcoe, could the minister check with the Ontario Provincial Police to see that there will be at least a minimal amount of water patrol during the summer months? Perhaps the minister might also give us some indication as to how much this whole effort is going to cost the taxpayers of Ontario.
Mr. Reid: Let’s swear you in.
Hon. Mr. MacBeth: There will be motor launches available, probably not to do basic patrols but for any emergency work that is required they will be available. As to the cost, there are funds in the Solicitor General’s budget; some of the money is coming from Wintario as well. At this time I might tell the member for Simcoe East that a lot of it has to remain as an estimate, but I will do my best to get the information that he’s asked for on all of the questions.
Mr. Deans: I have a question for the Provincial Secretary for Social Development. Is it true that the fees which have been imposed by the Ministry of Health on all hospital capital expenditures will, out of necessity, mean that the $25-million redevelopment of the Hamilton General Hospital will be delayed; that the St. Joseph’s Hospital $10-million redevelopment will be delayed; and that the health care facility in the east end of the city of Hamilton promised to meet the expanding areas to the eastern portion of the city will also be delayed?
Hon. Mrs. Birch: I am sure the member is aware that I wouldn’t have that information at my fingertips, but I will make sure that he is given the information when the minister returns.
Mr. Deans: One supplementary question: Is this not a policy matter?
Hon. Mrs. Birch: A policy matter? I think the member is speaking of specific hospitals, and that is within the jurisdiction of the minister himself.
Mr. Deans: One final supplementary question: If it turns out that it is true, as I suspect it is, can the minister explain to me then what function the health council serves -- having been told that they were given the responsibility for the expenditures of certain sums of money and to plan the future development of the health needs for the area -- if the government is going to intervene in this way and destroy the credibility of the whole operation?
Hon. Mrs. Birch: With all due respect, I would suggest that these are questions that might more rightfully be put to the Minister of Health.
Mr. Mancini: What does the provincial secretary do?
Mr. Deans: What does she do over there?
TRAFFIC PROBLEM AT HYDRO SITE
Mr. Sargent: I have a question for the Minister of Energy. I’ve always had a suspicion that Hydro has its fair share of idiots in top spots but having been to Douglas Point last week --
Mr. Speaker: Will you get to the question, please?
Mr. Sargent: The question is, in view of the fact --
Mr. Speaker: Make sure it is a question.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: The Liberal Party has its fair share of idiots.
Mr. Sargent: -- that we have, in Douglas Point, the world’s largest nuclear project, we have also the world’s largest traffic jam. Every day we have chaos there with --
Mr. Yakabuski: Don’t you like prosperity?
Mr. Sargent: -- 3,000 or 5,000 cars converging from --
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. Now it’s time for the question.
Mr. Sargent: In view of the fact that we have 3,000 to 5,000 cars converging on a single point and we have five accidents a day, will the minister investigate to see why Hydro refuses to co-operate? Further, why did they cancel construction by Lummus of two roads to solve the problem? Will the minister investigate this?
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: I’m aware that last week the hon. member, with his very large car and a contingent of press, arrived at the Lummus site, I believe it was on Tuesday, to take part in a demonstration for the benefit of the press.
Mr. Sargent: Sure, and I got there driving by myself, not by the chauffeur the minister has.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: I’m also aware, it’s an unfortunate thing, that one aspect of the British parliamentary system, namely immunity for members, is so often abused by that member when he makes remarks such as he did about the senior people of Ontario Hydro. There are no finer people working for the people of this province than the senior people of Ontario Hydro.
Mr. Kerrio: Answer the question. We’re not here for a lesson.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: With regard to the member’s specific question, if he’d bothered to check into this situation he would have found out that in November there was a meeting between representatives of Ontario Hydro, the unions on the site and Lummus. At that time, it was agreed by the union that the situation was tolerable, that it would be impossible to come up with a situation that would be perfect.
Mr. Sargent: The shop steward said that is not true.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: The hon. member should withdraw that remark. I have never misled this House.
Mr. Sargent: I will not; the shop stewards say that’s not true!
Mr. Speaker: I’m afraid the Speaker did not hear the interjection. I’m not sure if it’s out of order or not. Did the hon. member accuse the minister of telling an untruth? Is that true?
Mr. Singer: No.
Mr. Reid: He didn’t call him a liar or anything like that.
Mr. S. Smith: Let the minister withdraw.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please; could we have less noise. That is not helping.
Mr. Nixon: Send the minister back to Italy.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
An hon. member: Is he just back from Europe?
Mr. Speaker: We are wasting valuable time.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, as I said before, one gets used to the fact that particular member takes such liberties with his rights and privileges as a member of this House.
Mr. Breithaupt: Order, order.
Mr. Nixon: Withdraw.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: The fact of the matter is that the meeting was held; it was held in November; and the union, Lummus and Hydro were at the meeting. It was agreed by the union that the situation was tolerable; that it would be impossible to redesign the situation in such a way as to make sure that everybody got on to the highway at the same time. I understand that the traffic jam, if we can call it that, usually means that it takes about 15 minutes for people to get on to the highway and that the member’s figure of five accidents per day, I am told, is not correct.
Mr. Sargent: The minister doesn’t know what he is talking about. Why doesn’t he go up and see it?
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, I have been at Bruce several times. I don’t usually arrive with a contingent of reporters and cameras and so forth to try to make a big show on the site, as the hon. member does frequently.
Mr. Breithaupt: That is a change.
Mr. Speaker: The hon. Minister of the Environment has the answer to a question asked previously.
Mr. Sargent: A supplementary --
Mr. Speaker: No; order please. This is getting to be a debate. The hon. Minister of the Environment. Will the member take his seat?
Mr. Sargent: No supplementary?
Mr. Speaker: Not on this one. The hon. Minister of the Environment.
Mr. Sargent: No wonder. The Globe and Mail was right -- all the time.
Mr. Speaker: If the hon. member wishes to remain in the House he will remain quiet as well.
Mr. Sargent: There he goes.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. The hon. Minister of the Environment has the answer to a question.
Hon. Mr. Kerr: Mr. Speaker, the leader of the Liberal Party asked me a question on June 7 last regarding concentrations of chloroform in treated drinking water in certain Ontario municipalities. My information is that there is no evidence to suggest that the trace levels found in 1975, and confirmed in subsequent monitoring, presented a human health hazard.
The recent reports carried in the Washington Star, linking chloroform to cancer and birth defects in rodents, are purported to be the results of research studies carried out by federal agencies in the US. No new information has been provided on potential carcinogenic effects. Studies are continuing in the US and the results referred to were based upon massive doses of chloroform which were applied to rats and mice over an extended period of time. The Ministry of Health has previously indicated that “there is no evidence that the trace levels of chloroform detected in some of Ontario’s water supplies present any human health hazard.”
The newspaper referring to the article from the US has mistakenly concluded that studies at the National Institute of Environmental Health Services at Durham, North Carolina, have linked chloroform to birth defects in mice. The study did report that female mice given city tap water from Durham showed a reduction in the rate of reproduction. Birth defects were not identified.
The institute has not been able to determine the cause of the reduced reproductive rate, and although chloroform levels seven times higher than Ontario’s highest recorded levels were present in the water at the time the research was carried out, duplicate studies at similar levels have not verified the earlier findings.
Both the Ministry of the Environment and the Ministry of Health are maintaining close liaison with our counterparts in the US and independent research is being carried out in Ontario on the sources and causes of chloroform production in water supplies and treatment options for reducing chloroform levels.
We intend, Mr. Speaker, to continue our research, and monitor studies going on in the US, and are prepared to act expeditiously should evidence suggest that there is a potential health hazard. However, we must at the same time be careful not to bring unnecessary and unjustified anxiety to bear on the public by overstatement or overreaction in response to unsubstantiated reporting.
KIRKLAND LAKE HOSPITAL
Mr. Bain: I have a question of the Minister of Government Services. Is the minister aware that the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Community and Social Services have undertaken a joint study of the chronic care facilities in the Kirkland Lake area to determine whether or not the old Kirkland Lake hospital should be used for such a purpose? If the minister is aware of this, why then is her ministry undertaking to sell the same hospital before this study has even been completed?
Hon. Mrs. Scrivener: Mr. Speaker, I am not aware of it.
Mr. Bain: Would the minister please look into it and co-ordinate the efforts of her ministry and the ministries of Health and Community and Social Services? It doesn’t make much sense, does it --
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. The question has been asked; no editorial comment is necessary.
Mr. Bain: Okay. I’ll ask a simple straightforward question.
Mr. Speaker: You may ask a supplementary.
Mr. Bain: Does it seem appropriate to sell a hospital which is possibly going to be vital to the provision of chronic care facilities once this study determines exactly what the needs are of that community? Will the minister undertake to stop the sale of the hospital until that study is concluded?
Hon. Mrs. Scrivener: Mr. Speaker, I will examine this matter and take appropriate action.
PITS AND QUARRIES LICENCES
Mr. Gaunt: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Minister of Natural Resources: In view of the fact that under the Pits and Quarries Control Act the minister can refuse to issue a permit for extractive purposes on the basis of seven factors, I believe, such as traffic density, possible effect on the water table and so on, how many of these factors have to pose a threat before a licence is not issued?
Hon. Mr. Bernier: Mr. Speaker, I believe the hon. member is referring to section 6 of the Pits and Quarries Control Act. We go over them very carefully. I would have to say that if there is an OMB hearing we look at the OMB recommendations also. The six or seven items to which the member refers are gone over very carefully.
Mr. Gaunt: I take it any one of the seven factors may be used to refuse a licence under these circumstances? In view of that, why has the minister issued conditional licences to TCG and Premier Gravel to operate pits near Erin, in view of the obvious problems they will create?
Hon. Mr. Bernier: Mr. Speaker, as the hon. member I’m sure is aware, there was an OMB hearing on these two applications -- to date, the most intensive and lengthy OMB hearing ever held in this province -- at which both sides were able to give their views. The OMB recommended in the strongest terms, with certain conditions, that both licences be issued.
At that same hearing, it also made recommendations that the municipal zoning be changed to allow these pits to move ahead. I understand that the zoning is being questioned by a group in that particular area. They have appealed to cabinet for a reversal of the OMB recommendation. I have indicated to the companies that we will issue the licences subject to the approval of that zoning recommendation.
Mr. Cunningham: Doesn’t the Minister of Natural Resources think, notwithstanding the decision of the Ontario Municipal Board --
Mr. Speaker: A supplementary question to the original question please.
Mr. Cunningham: Yes. Doesn’t he think that is one of the poorest decisions ever made?
Hon. Mr. Bernier: Mr. Speaker, I looked at the report of the OMB and I found it to be one of the most intense hearings ever held under the Pits and Quarries Control Act in this province. I felt that both sides had had ample opportunity to express their views.
Mr. Speaker: The supplementary was not really asking for information.
The Minister of Transportation and Communications has the answer to a question asked previously.
CONTROL OF TRAIL BIKES
Hon. Mr. Snow: Mr. Speaker, I would like to give the answer to a question raised on June 1 by the hon. member for Downsview. On that date he asked the following question:
“On the control of trail bikes in urban areas, and on the current controversy in North York over trail bike use around areas between Queens Drive and Lawrence Ave. and Don Mills and Leslie ... what kind of action [is the minister] going to take in order to reassure the citizens who have been complaining that the use of trail bikes in these areas has disrupted the peace of their neighbourhoods, and also [will he] consider allowing the municipalities to pass restricting legislation on trail bikes?”
Mr. Speaker, I have been made aware of the problem which exists in the area mentioned by the hon. member through a petition received from members of that community. The problem seems to be two-fold: The immediate problem within the particular community and the long-range one concerning provincial control over the operation of trail bikes in all off-highway settings.
In terms of the former, I am advised that the borough of North York, through its park trespass bylaw No. 10377, amendment 25699 and the noise bylaw No. 24654, can effectively prohibit the use of motorbikes, or trail bikes, in the area mentioned. Further, it is also my understanding that Metropolitan Toronto, which also owns lands in this section of the city, has regulations regarding the operation of off-road recreational vehicles. Mr. Speaker, it would appear to me that adequate control can be brought to bear at the municipal level to deal with the problem.
In response to the hon. member’s request that consideration be given to allowing municipalities to pass restricting legislation on trail bikes, it is appropriate to note that section 352, paragraph 58, of the Municipal Act presently provides the authority to prohibit vehicles of any particular kind from various areas within a municipality; including parks, boulevards, sidewalks, etc.
Vehicles such as trail bikes, when operated on a public road, are required to be licensed; as well, the driver must be licensed and their operation is subject to police enforcement like any other motor vehicle.
AID TO NORTHERN ONTARIO FARMERS
Mr. Angus: I have a question of the Minister of Agriculture and Food. Now that his ministry staff has met with 60-odd representatives of the farm community in Thunder Bay to discuss the severity of the drought situation effects upon the community, could he advise this House how severe the problem is and what steps the ministry will take to support the farmers?
Hon. W. Newman: Mr. Speaker, there was a meeting the other night. I have a report, which I just received today, from my staff in the various areas of Rainy River, Kenora and in those areas of the province where the problem exists. We have had some rain, apparently, in the last few days but a lot of the hay is heading out before it should be heading out and it’s running behind at this point in time.
We’ve looked into the availability of where hay may be purchased. There is some, apparently, in Manitoba that could be purchased for approximately $25 a ton in the field. The transportation costs are fairly high. It has been recommended to me that we should see exactly what happens in the harvest and what we do get before we make a true appraisal of the overall situation.
Mr. Angus: By way of a supplementary, inasmuch as there are some major droughts in the United States and the possibility exists that what hay is available in Manitoba now, may not be available by the time the crop is harvested in Thunder Bay, could the minister not undertake to bring in enough hay at this point to see the group through the summer feeding months and, hopefully, be able to pick up some more hay in the second crop out west?
Hon. W. Newman: Mr. Speaker, there is a good possibility some of the hay could have been cut by now and arrangements might be made to obtain a second cut of hay from some other source. It’s very hard to estimate the total damage until we see what the weather is like from this point in time onwards.
POLICE BRUTALITY REPORT
Mr. Singer: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Solicitor General. Could he advise us whether or not he has received from Mr. Justice Morand the report of his investigation into alleged police brutality in Metropolitan Toronto? If not, how is it that the press seems to be able to comment, somewhat intelligently, on what the report contains? Can the report, or the essence of it, be made available to the justice committee so that it can be discussed as the Solicitor General’s estimates go on and not have to wait until after the House is over, when the opportunity for discussion will have passed by?
Hon. Mr. MacBeth: Mr. Speaker, I have not yet received a copy of Mr. Justice Morand’s report. I understood from talking to my deputy this morning that he expected it would be in our hands by July 1. I thought that was a very convenient time to receive it.
Mr. Singer: Yes, oh yes.
Hon. Mr. MacBeth: However, if some of it has become public I don’t know how. I will make some inquiries and if it is available I will be pleased to supply it to the justice committee.
Mr. Lane: Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask the Minister of Natural Resources a question. Could he tell me why American military equipment was used to fight fires in northern Ontario as opposed to Canadian equipment, or was that the case?
Hon. Mr. Bernier: Mr. Speaker, there has been a question raised by a number of people as to why we went to the United States for this type of equipment. I would have to admit to the hon. member that on Monday last, a week ago today, my staff did contact the federal authorities with regard to certain types of equipment we required in the peak of our emergency, and we were told on that day that the equipment we required was busy transporting personnel to and from the Olympic site.
I would have to say further that on Thursday last, three days later, the military did contact us and offer us equipment but at that time we had already made arrangements. Through the excellent co-operation of the Department of External Affairs in Ottawa, we were able to get the co-operation of the American Forestry Service, and that is why the equipment came in from Boise, Idaho.
Mr. Foulds: Could the minister give us any kind of an estimate of the cost of the firefighting this year in comparison to last year at this stage?
Hon. Mr. Bernier: I can get the exact figures for the hon. member. During the height of last week’s emergency we were paying about $100,000 a day for helicopters alone, and the overall cost was about $425,000 per day. But I can get the total figure once the information is all clarified and available.
Mr. Speaker: A final supplementary, the member for Grey-Bruce.
Mr. Sargent: Would the minister tell me if the co-ordinates for the water bombing are set here in Toronto or --
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. That is not supplementary to this question.
Mr. Sargent: I’m talking about firefighting.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. Will the hon. member take his seat?
Mr. Sargent: We are talking about firefighting up north.
Mr. Speaker: No, we are not. We are talking about another question completely.
The member for York South has a question.
Mr. MacDonald: Mr. Speaker, I don’t know what you can do about ministers who escape before the question period is over, but I would draw it to your attention. I will turn my time over to the hon. member for Durham East (Mr. Moffatt).
ACCESS TO OSHAWA MARSH
Mr. Moffatt: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Minister of Natural Resources. I would like to know if the minister met last week with other ministries and with representatives from the city of Oshawa to discuss the future of the Oshawa Second Marsh and the expansion of Darlington Provincial Park?
Hon. Mr. Bernier: Yes, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Moffatt: A supplementary: At that time, did the minister undertake to assure the city of Oshawa that the Beaton farm, instead of being used for expansion of the Darlington Provincial Park, would be zoned so that the Monsanto chemical company could establish a chemical industrial park in that area?
Hon. Mr. Bernier: The discussions were along those lines.
CLOSURE OF ARENAS
Mr. McKessock: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Minister of Labour. In view of the fact that the Harriston arena and others appear to be in exceptional condition, even though the engineering firm did not confirm this, does her ministry have any thought of amending the procedure in dealing with these problems and would the ministry reconsider the closing of the Harriston arena?
Hon. B. Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, although the Harriston arena may look to be in excellent condition, if the engineer says it isn’t and it doesn’t meet the National Building Code, we have no option --
Mr. Mancini: Who approved it in the first place?
Hon. B. Stephenson: -- unless the local municipality wishes to take the entire responsibility for the safety of the individuals who use that arena. If they wish to do that, I suppose they might find some legal method of doing so --
Mr. Sargent: Give them the option.
Hon. B. Stephenson: -- but at the present time it is our responsibility to ensure the safety of the people who use that arena. We have stated very specifically that where the counselling engineer believes that the arena roof can withstand the wind stresses of the summer months, it may remain open until Oct. 15. Those arenas which are repaired or restructured during that period of time, of course, will be able to operate again next winter as long as they come up to the National Building Code.
Mr. Speaker: The oral question period has expired.
POINT OF PRIVILEGE
Mr. McClellan: Mr. Speaker, I want to raise a point of privilege with respect to the statement by the Minister of Community and Social Services to the Legislature this afternoon. There are two points. First of all, he was caught red-handed with respect to the arithmetic errors, as the Hansard record will verify --
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. That is not a point of privilege. What is the other point?
Mr. McClellan: Secondly, he continues to provide us with phoney statistical information --
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. That is not a point of privilege. The member’s privileges have not been transgressed in any respect whatsoever.
Mr. Lewis: The figures are wrong.
Mr. Speaker: I can’t help that.
Mr. Singer: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order, you may recall that some time ago I was complaining to you about the effectiveness of the PA system in this chamber. It has improved, but it still is terrible. Down at this end of the House we can hardly hear what’s going on. We miss the colloquy that goes on between the Leader of the Opposition and his favourite cabinet ministers. I’m sure it must be worth hearing, but we can’t hear it under this present PA system that we have.
Mr. Lewis: It is. It is a pity.
Mr. Speaker: I agree, but I might say that the matter of the effectiveness of the PA system is not completed yet.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell presented the annual report of the Ontario Energy Board for the year ending March 31, 1976.
Mr. Johnson from the standing resources development committee reported the following resolution:
Resolved: That supply in the following amounts and to defray the expenses of the Ministry of Transportation and Communications be granted to Her Majesty for the fiscal year ending March 31, 1977:
Ministry of Transportation
Planning, research and develop-
ment programme ..14,711,000
Safety and regulation
Provincial roads programme 407,358,000
Provincial transit programme ..37,853,000
Air programme ....3,550,000
Municipal roads programme 296,060,000
Municipal transit programme 168,117,000
Communications programme ....3,777,000
Mr. Speaker: Motions.
Introduction of bills.
Orders of the day.
Hon. Mr. Welch: Just so there is no confusion in connection with the order in which legislation will be called today, may I at this point indicate that the order would be as follows, and I’m now referring to orders: 14, 15, 16, 18, 9, 12 and 17. That is the general order in which we hope to proceed today.
MUNICIPAL CONFLICT OF INTEREST AMENDMENT ACT
Hon. Mr. McMurtry moved second reading of Bill 100, An Act to amend the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act, 1972.
Mr. Renwick: We have examined the bill and we are not going to oppose the bill on second reading. I do wish the bill would go into committee of the whole House because there is some concern which I have about one of the provisions of the bill and the extent of the amendment which is being made. I refer specifically to the amendment to subsection 4 of section 1. I do believe the explanation and the discussion of it would best be carried on in committee and therefore we will not oppose second reading of the bill.
Mr. Stong: We do not oppose the second reading of this bill as well. We agree in principle with what it intends to accomplish.
Mr. Speaker: Does the hon. Attorney General have any response?
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: I have no response.
Motion agreed to; second reading of the bill.
Mr. Speaker: I understand the bill has been ordered for committee of the whole House.
DISTRICT MUNICIPALITY OF MUSKOKA AMENDMENT ACT
Mr. Norton, on behalf of Hon. Mr. McKeough, moved second reading of Bill 101, An Act to amend the District Municipality of Muskoka Act.
Mr. Swart: I am wondering if the parliamentary assistant would consider adding to this bill -- and if not we’ll move an amendment in the clause-by-clause discussion -- the same clause which was added to the other regional government bills. This provided that the municipalities within those regional governments -- in this case the district of Muskoka -- would have the authority to amend by bylaw the ward system within the municipalities and whereby the ratepayers of those municipalities would have the right of appeal. It would seem to me that would be a reasonable thing to do in view of the fact that last week even the members of the government party, after calling a division on this, had decided to support it and did vote in favour of it.
This bill, too, should go to the committee of the whole House. It seems to me we are generally in favour of it with the understanding that that section would be added to this bill. Perhaps the parliamentary assistant would like to move such a section when we go into committee of the whole House.
However, there are other sections on which we would like to pose some questions and make some comments.
Mr. Good: Mr. Speaker, the amendments in this bill are almost the same and are comparable to the amendments to the Municipal Act in Bill 89, which I don’t believe we have dealt with up to now.
There are, however, a few exceptions which relate only to the district of Muskoka. The usual things, such as the broadening of borrowing powers and the broadening of debenture authority and investment powers, are similar to those amendments contained in Bill 89. The granting and lending powers of the district will be broadened and will be similar to those granted other municipalities which are now enjoyed under section 248(a). Replacement of an area councillor can now be done in 60 days rather than 30 days.
There are a few things which I think are worth mentioning. One is the district police liaison committee is now required to meet only every three months instead of every month. I wonder if this is an indication that the liaison committee is finding that it has very little, if any, power or authority to influence the police commission?
Perhaps we should use this as another opportunity to look at the whole matter of whether or not police commissions should be made up of the personnel they now have. At present on the police commissions across the province there are very few elected representatives. They do include members of the judiciary. We, in this party, have felt there has been a long-standing need for a change in the composition of police commissions.
This district police liaison committee is now going to be required to meet only every three months. One wonders whether they have had any particular input into the operation of the district police.
Another interesting point is that the district, I believe, took over the collection of garbage and sewage disposal some time last year. This is a district function now, as of 1975. I understand that in some of the regions where the collection of garbage and the collection of sewage as well as the treatment of sewage has been taken over by the region, there has been some dissatisfaction. I believe some of the area governments in the region of Durham would like to have those powers returned from the region to the area municipalities. Maybe the parliamentary assistant could comment on how this is working out in Muskoka.
It is interesting to again see the reference made to the pollution control fund. When this bill was set up in the municipalities, I believe the district could levy a quarter of a mill on all the assessment in the district to raise a control fund to be used by that district. This is now clarified in the bill. And the provincial grant section of the original bill -- which I believe allotted $150,000 a year for five years to Muskoka for general environmental development purposes, and $50,000 for administration costs -- has now come to an end, and the district must now make it on its own. The deletion of that section negates those proposals in the bill.
However, we are reminded in the deletion of this section of the actions of the government in 1971 when they divided $2 million from the consolidated revenue of the province on top of all the statutory requirements of this and other bills, and the $2 million was subsequently divided among the various new regional governments, in which there was a great deal of discontent at that time. I think Niagara region got $1 million of that; York got about three-quarters; and I think Muskoka got about $250,000, or one-quarter of $1 million.
So, although we have the reference to the deletion of these statutory requirements in the bill, there are still the powers under other legislation whereby the province can make specific grants in those areas where it deems it practical and necessary.
But, generally speaking, I suppose the bill brings up to date much of the legislation and is parallel to those amendments effected in Bill 89 of the Municipal Act, so we will support it, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Deputy Speaker: Does any other member have any comments? The hon. member for Riverdale.
Mr. Renwick: Mr. Speaker, I just wanted to emphasize what my colleague, the member for Welland-Thorold (Mr. Swart) has said. We consider that we gave a thorough consideration to the substantial provisions of this bill at the time when we dealt with Bill 55, and to an extent when we dealt with the bill amending the regional municipalities Acts, and also Bill 54 dealing with the bill amending the Municipality of Metropolitan Toronto Act.
It does appear to us that, while there are two or three sections to which the member for Waterloo North (Mr. Good) referred special to the district municipality of Muskoka, nevertheless any such comment would be best made in committee of the whole House. I do hope that the parliamentary assistant to the minister will be certain to be clear about his intentions with respect to incorporating in this bill an amendment similar to the one which my colleague, the member for Welland-Thorold, introduced when we dealt with Bill 55. When the government so graciously agreed to support the amendment made by my colleague when the vote was being counted on second reading, it would be somewhat ungracious if the government did not now accede to my colleague’s request to have a similar amendment incorporated in this bill.
Mr. Deputy Speaker: Any other comments from any other member? If not, the member for Kingston and the Islands.
Mr. Norton: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Perhaps I first could address some remarks to the proposal of the hon. member for Welland-Thorold. Clearly I have, and I am sure the members of the other caucuses have no difficulty accepting the principle which he is advocating and which was incorporated in the other legislation. But, I would draw to his attention that the district of Muskoka differs from the other municipalities in that at the present time, as I understand it, it is unique in that the boundaries of the wards are defined in the Act as opposed to the manner in which they have been dealt with in the other municipalities. For that reason, members might note that we have not included in this proposed legislation the provision with respect to the OMB appeal from the municipality. That was done for a specific reason, because we want to initiate discussions with the municipalities in the district of Muskoka with respect to that very point to ensure that whatever formula may be developed is one which is acceptable to them.
Recognizing the unique nature of their municipal setup at the moment and the unique description of their ward boundaries, I would urge the member not to introduce such an amendment at this time, although I can assure him that once we have a formula worked out with those municipalities, the principle which he advocates is clearly one which ought to be included. The municipalities themselves at the moment would have to come to the Legislature in order to have their ward boundaries redefined, so it is a different situation from the other. I would ask that he allow us an opportunity to complete our consultation with those municipalities before any such action is considered. I realize it is unfortunate that they will be the only municipality that does not have that provision at the present time, but that unfortunately is a consequence of the unique way in which their ward boundaries were set out in the original legislation.
I do, Mr. Speaker, have an amendment which I propose to introduce, and I believe the members opposite now have copies of it, an amendment relating to section 6 specifically expanding upon the powers of the district municipalities with respect to the expenditure of moneys from the pollution control fund. I will introduce that in committee of the whole House, assuming that is where this bill will go following second reading.
Motion agreed to; second reading of the bill.
Mr. Deputy Speaker: Do you wish this bill to go to committee of the whole House?
Mr. Norton: Yes, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Deputy Speaker: So ordered.
MUNICIPAL SUBSIDIES ADJUSTMENT REPEAL ACT
Mr. Norton, on behalf of Hon. Mr. McKeough, moves second reading of Bill 102, an Act to repeal the Municipal Subsidies Adjustment Act.
Mr. Swart: Mr. Speaker, we have some reservations about the repeal of the Municipal Subsidies Adjustment Act. It is true that the minister, in tabling the Act, stated that there is a very small amount of funds involved at the present time -- and I believe I’m correct in stating that he said it was less than $30,000 -- and that it does provide for some continuance of the payment of the funds even though the Act is repealed.
However, it seems to me that it has broader implications than that and, subject to the answer given by the minister or his parliamentary assistant, we may be forced to oppose this Act. The question is just simply this: What takes place with regard to assistance to municipalities or the sections of municipalities which are left in the case of future annexations or amalgamations? There are always additional costs involved to the sections left, or perhaps to the sections and the municipality which does the amalgamating or the annexing, but if we repeal this Act there will be no provision other than the present formulas to assist that section of the municipality that is left.
Under this Act they can get some special assistance from MTC for a period of time. They can get some special assistance with regard to unconditional grants but if this is repealed there will be no form of assistance that I know of, at least, which will be available to these municipalities or sections of municipalities.
We are aware, of course, that very few amalgamations and annexations have taken place in recent times. That does not mean that with the end of the formation of regional governments -- or at least a pause in the formations or a change -- annexations and amalgamations will not again appear. If this Act is repealed, the assistance given to those under these special circumstances will not be available. Therefore, I’d like to hear the explanation of the parliamentary assistant as to what the intent of this is and what provision is available in lieu of this section of the Act if annexations or amalgamations take place.
Mr. Good: Mr. Speaker, six or eight years ago I’m sure we would have had to oppose the repeal of this Municipal Subsidies Adjustment Act. I checked carefully and this is a very important piece of legislation in areas such as Waterloo township, for instance, which saw its best roads and its best assessments being taken over by annexation to the cities of Kitchener and Waterloo. I’m sure this occurred in many areas.
The argument put forth here, I presume, is that so much of the province is now under regional government and the division of grants in the merged areas is covered by special legislation dealing with that region, that this particular legislation is no longer needed. The smaller townships and rural communities which saw their land, their best roads, their best buildings and their best assessments being taken over by a municipality had some redress in payment over five years at a standard amount and then five years at a diminishing amount. They benefitted for 10 years under the provisions of this Act.
One wonders what the implications will be with the repeal of this Act in areas such as Sarnia, London and Windsor which are major communities not covered by regional government legislation but where there could be a considerable amount of annexation still going on or about to go on in the future.
The explanation that unconditional grants are now at such a level that this is no longer needed is not all that convincing. When the police grant went up $5 per capita two years ago and police costs went up $8 per capita, that’s not convincing that the provincial grant is all that great. We find that police costs continue to rise but the provincial grant remains static. We’re not all that convinced that the reason given is that substantial.
The number of municipalities affected is perhaps a convincing argument. I’m sure most of the major annexations and amalgamations did take place in areas which are covered by regional government. There are subsidies under the Ministry of Treasury, Economics and Intergovernmental Affairs amounting to only $17,000 and I believe they cover very few municipalities -- eight municipalities. There are 24 municipalities getting these subsidy adjustments under the Ministry of Transportation and Communications and the proposal here is to continue the payment to those which now qualify or have the option to pay them off in a lump sum.
I think the whole matter must resolve itself to how many annexations are about to be had, how many are contemplating it, how many are before the OMB now and how many have been completed. We have the figures here on how many have been completed and would be eligible for this subsidy.
I am sure the bill served a very useful purpose at the time. Are we, in fact, being given to understand that annexation is a dying art and that it is no longer going to be necessary? I wish he would refer specifically to some of our larger communities in southern Ontario that are not covered by regional governments where this legislation might still be of considerable relevance.
Mr. Deputy Speaker: Does any other member wish to comment on this bill? If not, the hon. member for Kingston and the Islands.
Mr. Norton: The statements in the material which the members opposite have received with respect to unconditional grants are not intended to be taken, as they seemed to be interpreted by, I think, the hon. member for Welland-Thorold, that the standard formula grants would be all that would be applied in this situation in the future. What is contemplated is that where payments would normally be made and would be made in the future in cases of annexations or amalgamations, those would now be dealt with under the provisions of section 8 of the Municipal Unconditional Grants Act in providing for special payments for periods of up to five years in order to provide the same kind of assistance, but under the Municipal Unconditional Grants Act, as has been done with regional municipalities.
As has been indicated as well and I think you are aware, since 1974 of the some eight municipalities that were eligible under the provisions of the Municipal Subsidies Adjustment Act, none had applied for the assistance, partly I suppose because of the very small quantity involved. I think that is why the reference was included in the material to the fact that the increase in unconditional grants over the last few years appears to be a factor in that these municipalities have not bothered to even make application.
I have a list here of what some municipalities would have been eligible for in 1976; one grant is for $27 and another for $29. The largest is $1,755. The amounts are less significant to municipalities compared with the increase in unconditional grants. But I don’t want you to confuse that statement with the implication that that is all that would be available in terms of assistance under these circumstances of amalgamation and annexation in the future. It is contemplated there would be continuing assistance where necessary, but under the provisions of the Municipal Unconditional Grants Act.
Motion agreed to; second reading of the bill.
The following bill was given third reading on motion:
Bill 102, An Act to repeal the Municipal Subsidies Adjustment Act.
TOWNSHIP OF NORTH PLANTAGENET ACT
Mr. Norton, on behalf of Hon. Mr. McKeough, moved second reading of Bill 105, An Act respecting the Township of North Plantagenet.
Mr. Renwick: I assume that had this bill come forward in the ordinary course as a private bill to the private bills’ committee, it would have been given the same kind of consideration and dealt with in the same way as we have dealt with many bills of this kind over the years. In this particular session we have dealt with, amongst others, Bill Pr25, respecting the township of Bosanquet. This bill is identical with that bill, and therefore we would vote in favour of second reading of the bill. We see no reason why the bill need go through a committee.
Mr. Deputy Speaker: Any other comment on this bill?
Motion agreed to; second reading of the bill.
The following bill was given third reading upon motion:
Bill 105, An Act respecting the Township of North Plantagenet.
ONTARIO NEW HOME WARRANTIES PLAN ACT
Hon. Mr. Handleman moved second reading of Bill 94, An Act to provide certain Protections for Purchasers of New Homes.
Hon. Mr. Handleman: I felt perhaps we could save some time if I elaborated a little bit on the statement I made on the introduction for first reading.
I would like to explain to hon. members how the warranty and compensation plan will be administered and the reasons why we have chosen this alternative. When I introduced the legislation at the end of May, I said that under the Act we would designate a non-profit corporation responsible for administering the plan and enforcing its requirements. I would just like to elaborate briefly on that.
A non-profit corporation has been set up in this province under the aegis of HUDAC -- the Housing and Urban Development Association of Canada, Ontario Council. And we worked very closely with the council in the development of the plan to protect purchasers of new homes in Ontario.
I should point out that the corporation’s bylaws provide that, in addition to the HUDAC members there will be representation from -- and I list them in this order -- any association of consumers; any association of home manufacturers; any mortgage lender or any association of mortgage lenders, including an association of loan and trust companies; any mortgage insurance company, or any association of mortgage insurance companies; the Ontario government; municipal government in the form of any association of mayors or reeves; and any other association or group of persons as may be determined by the board.
HUDAC has indicated and demonstrated to our satisfaction that it has the confidence and ability to run a home warranty programme. In Alberta, for example, judging by the experience gathered over a period of more than a year, a home warranty programme administered by HUDAC seems to be working relatively well without any supporting legislation.
In Ontario, HUDAC has indicated by and large that its members are aware of consumer interest. The fact is that in our ministry the majority of complaints against home builders are against non-HUDAC builders.
There is one other major benefit from choosing this alternative. Because HUDAC provides the expertise based on experience, there is no need to set up any government machinery to administer the programme. As a result, buyers of new homes receive significant protection without the input of any public funds. To repeat briefly how the programme works, Mr. Speaker, so all hon. members have it fresh in their minds, I would just like to outline very briefly the coverage:
The unsatisfied home purchaser will be able to call upon the services of the designated corporation for conciliation. All builders, whether they are members of HUDAC or not will be required to meet certain standards and to register with the corporation in order to operate in Ontario. Builders failing to meet the standards which are set out in the Act will be deregistered.
The warranty package will be funded by participating builders at a fixed rate for each new house which is placed on the market. During the first year, the builder is liable for any repairs resulting from defects in workmanship or material. During the next four years, the corporation will repair major structural defects. If the builder defaults, the corporation will assume responsibility for repairs at its own expense. The controls are built into the legislation. A builder who is refused registration by the corporation has the right to appeal to the Commercial Registration Appeal Tribunal. Similarly, if a dispute arises between the corporation and the new homeowner CRAT will mediate.
No other province in Canada, including those immediately to the west of us, has come out with a plan which is as uniform in application and as comprehensive in the protection and coverage provided. We feel that if we expect industry to behave responsibly and with maturity we in government must give them the opportunity to do so. In this case, we have every confidence that we will not be disappointed in the self-regulation provided for in this Act.
Mr. Moffatt: Mr. Speaker, we in this party intend to support the bill which is before the House and hope it will go to committee for substantial amendments. Despite the minister’s closing comment that this legislation is beyond parallel and leads the rest of Canada -- particularly provinces to the west -- I really don’t understand that particular comment. I don’t understand why the minister continually insists on using comparisons with other jurisdictions as a rationalization for bad legislation, no matter what form it takes, in this particular province.
There are some eminently good points to this bill. We congratulate the minister for bringing it in but we do not intend, by our congratulatory remarks, to tell the minister that everything in the bill is correct. I hope that during the next few minutes I will be able to point out some of the areas where we would like to see substantial changes made. I hope the minister will comply with those requests.
First of all, I think one of the things which should be pointed out is that the undue haste with which we probably will deal with this bill is a disservice to us.
We have waited five years or more for this particular bill. It was promised last session and in this session and then we find it introduced as the session is drawing to a close. That will obviously lead to some hasty and -- I hope not, but it’s quite likely -- badly considered legislation. We are going to attempt to scrutinize it as carefully as possible. I hope the minister will accept the scrutiny in the tone and spirit in which it is intended. I do suggest that the minister and his ministry should be criticized for bringing it in at such a late date and trying to proceed with such undue haste on such an important problem.
The reason the bill is before us, I might point out, is because of the number of complaints which have surfaced over the past six months. Over the past six or 10 years or so there have been significant difficulties in the purchase of new homes. People have been faced with a raft of problems not of their own making but in most cases as a result of shoddy workmanship, poor craftsmanship and lack of attention.
The unfortunate thing that happens, as always happens in this kind of situation, is that a number of reputable and craftsman-like builders and contractors are lumped into the tank with the rest of the people and they have mud splattered on them along with the ones who deserve to have the mud splattering.
It has not been a general trend. It has been a specific number of complaints from a variety of communities because builders have become very mobile. In seeking work they moved from community to community and a few have spoiled the reputation of an entire industry. That’s extremely unfortunate and the minister should have acted earlier in order to prevent a further erosion of public confidence in the construction industry.
The point which I think also needs to be made is that part of the problem we are facing now, with so many emergency situations in subdivisions from one end of the province to another, is of the government’s own making. Last year it was deemed advisable to elect or re-elect the Davis government as quickly as possible and one of the ways that could be achieved, apparently most efficiently, was to give away money to people who would sign on the dotted line and agree to purchase new homes. Of course, the more people you give money to the more people you would have voting for the present government.
That is one of the major contributing factors to the crisis in this province as far as new home buyers are concerned right now. They were forced to get occupancy of those units last year before the bill ran out. They moved in when the houses were not properly completed. Had they not been trying to compete for this handout from the government, they would have had far fewer problems because they would not have accepted those houses, unless the gun of having the home buyer grant withdrawn had been held at their heads. A lot of people moved into houses that under normal circumstances they would not have accepted.
I hope we are finished with that whole business and that we will not get into those short-term, short-sighted programmes in the future. I think this will perhaps prevent that kind of thing from happening because, as soon as we attempt to use housing as a gimmick to reject a certain government, HUDAC hopefully will be able to say that is inadvisable and it will not honour those particular commitments. I think that kind of political short-sightedness will come to an end. I certainly hope so.
I said there were problems in dealing with the bill. I hope one of the things that will happen is that we will be able to put a sensible period of warranty on the particular houses under consideration. This bill attempts to deal in a one-year fashion with the warranty situation. The only other place where there is this kind of programme where that has been done is in the State of Victoria in Australia. They have a one-year programme there. In Great Britain the programme is much longer and in other jurisdictions the programme is much longer.
This legislation is a result of consultation with and recommendations by the Ontario Law Reform Commission, the National Home Builders Registration Council in Great Britain and the Victoria, Australia programme. A great deal of input has come from the Housing and Urban Development Association of Canada, Ontario Council. We are in agreement with using that particular group as the carrier.
We would like the minister to be very cognizant of the fact that at some point such an organization must become in some way answerable to his ministry and through his ministry to this particular Legislature. It is not enough to create another institution, another quasi-judicial body, though I understand that’s a contradiction in terms -- it’s either judicial or not judicial -- that functions somewhere outside of government and deals with the public. Eventually such organizations have to be responsible to this Legislature. I would urge the minister to consider that sort of alteration at this point.
The recommendation of the Law Reform Commission was that the programme continue so that a house would be under warranty for six years. In this bill it’s one year. In Great Britain it is longer than that. I believe it is two years. What we would recommend, and hope to move amendments to, is that the registration will take place and then under the home warranty protection the house will go through a period of thaw and freeze and thaw again, because through that cycle of events in this province that is the most appropriate time to look for major structural defects which may show up. I’d just like to read the Law Reform Commission recommendations:
“In the light of the fact that evidence of many important defects in construction may not appear for several years after the house is first occupied and in order that rights given under the statute will not be out of line with similar rights which may arise out of a contract, the limitation period applicable to the cause of action based on a breach of the duty set out in the statute should be six years. This period should run from the date on which the initial purchaser takes possession of the house.”
That’s obviously going to be an important point as far as we are concerned.
The insurance against major structural defects then is only for four more years, giving a total warranty period of five years. I really urge the minister to consider amending this himself. It would be much easier if we were to go for a 10-year period on that. If the house will not stand up to a warranty programme which runs for 10 years, then surely there is something wrong. There obviously needs to be that kind of assurance to people that that length of warranty will be in keeping with the kind of money we’re expecting people to spend on houses.
I am concerned with the inspection procedure in this particular legislation. Recently in my riding a number of people have had grave difficulties with a builder and came to me for assistance. We went to the local building inspector. We arranged an inspection of all the agencies concerned -- plumbing, electrical, gas and so on. When we got to the site and all those people were there at the same time, the building inspector from the city of Oshawa pointed out to me that the builder was building to the absolute minimum. He was using the Ontario Building Code as though it were a set of blueprints and he would go only to those limits that he absolutely had to.
The result was that in these particular houses that I visited, the people were grossly dissatisfied with the action. They blamed everybody. They blamed the building inspector. They assumed he had not inspected. The building inspector had inspected, but he had only two people on his staff in the city of Oshawa due to budget constraints. With the amount of building in that area, they could not keep up and make the kind of inspections which were necessary.
I am really concerned that in this case we will not have adequate inspection in order to protect people from these particular defects that will be of two kinds -- the structural defects and what are referred to as cosmetic defects. If paint is splattered on a window and the window has to be replaced, that’s a cosmetic defect. That sort of thing isn’t covered in the building code.
An interior door in a home may not be made of wood. I have in my car, a sample of a part of a door from a new house constructed in Oshawa. Do you know what it’s made of, Mr. Speaker? It’s made of one-eighth-inch Masonite on each side, and the core of it is a strip -- not even solid, but a strip -- of corrugated cardboard. I can show you that, Mr. Speaker, if you would like to see it some time. That, I think, is an incredible thing, because it is not covered in the building code. Nobody really cares about what the interior of the house is like. As long as the building code specifies certain things, then we are not going to worry about some very important items in the house.
It seems to me that one of the things that needs to happen is that there are amendments necessary in the building code. Maybe the HUDAC people will be able to inform the minister of some of those amendments or regulations which should be amended -- changes that really need to come into being. If they get faced with the problems of enforcing all of this legislation, it may well be that there won’t be just two or three members of the Legislature writing to the minister every day asking him to do something. It may well be that an even more powerful group of people will begin to impress upon him the need for some amendments to those particular regulations.
Mr. Warner: Who are they?
Mr. Moffatt: I am not sure who they are but we will draw our own conclusions from that. In Great Britain the National Home Builders Registration Council has a 12-step inspection programme. No house is complete until it has had those 12 inspections. That’s not because the inspections are necessary. It is simply because over a period of time they have found that to be a very important part of such a programme. There has to be some kind of minimal inspection tied into this particular bill and I ask the minister to consider that very carefully.
In regard to section 23 of this particular bill, I gather that when the bill was first printed and brought out, the people at HUDAC were entirely amazed that they had been given all the powers to regulate and to run the entire programme. They had expected to be the carriers, but I don’t think, with respect, that they really thought they would have as much power as has been given in this particular bill. I am assured that the person who is right now running the registration procedure is an extremely able person at HUDAC, but I gather, too, that he’s close to retirement and we may not always have such an able person. I think that maybe that particular section of the bill, when we get to committee, will be tightened up to some extent.
As I said before, this particular party intends to support the bill because we know it has been long overdue, but we have substantial amendments which we trust the minister will accept as we go through debate clause by clause.
Mr. Cunningham: Mr. Speaker, the Liberal Party intends to support this legislation. We welcome it. It is long overdue, in our view. It has been part of our policy for a number of years to recommend such a warranty programme and as well, we have noted with interest that the Ontario Law Reform Commission, and I think the hon. member for --
Mr. Moffatt: Durham East.
Mr. Cunningham: -- Durham East, pointed out correctly too, that it was the intention of the Ontario Law Reform Commission to have such a warranty programme, some time ago I would add. I think it was 1966 that their original recommendation came through and, just as an aside, I hope it doesn’t take us this long in the future to take into consideration some of the recommendations that are made, quite appropriately, by that body, because I think that they do tend to serve the interests of Ontario very well.
I too would look forward to some definition as to what you mean by wear and tear, and possibly we might look at a more clear and distinct definition of wear and tear here in this legislation. While I am supportive personally, and I know my party is, of this legislation, I am not sure if we would adhere to the idea that we should have it for a period of 10 years. My fear, at least on a personal basis, would be the consumer ultimately is going to pay for this, and I think that the builders, especially in these first few years of the warranty programme, will attempt to build in to the cost of housing the cost of maintaining a home for 10 years.
We all know that homes deteriorate; certainly it could relate to a faulty run of raw material or occasionally to some shoddy workmanship, and often a combination of both. But to some degree, I would hope that we continue to have some emphasis on the old doctrine of caveat emptor and that the consumers, most of whom are over 21, will go in and they will look at things like the member for Durham East mentioned, faulty doors. I am sure the doors were there when they bought the house --
Mr. Deans: The house wasn’t there, that is the trouble.
Mr. Cunningham: I’m sorry?
Mr. Deans: That is where you are wrong, they are not there. That is what everybody assumes. That is the problem with it.
Mr. Cunningham: That may be an area that we will have to look at as far as an amendment goes. I think with most houses that are built, the consumers go in and they take a look and they spend a great deal of time looking over their home.
Mr. McClellan: Especially when they are not built.
Mr. Cunningham: As far as complaints are concerned, I think the minister would probably agree, and I am sure some of my friends to the right of me would, that on so many occasions the people who are at fault are the people who get into this business on an overnight basis and, as a result of their shoddy workmanship, are usually out of business on an overnight basis. To this end, I would suggest that these people are not usually members of HUDAC but are people who are just as shoddy in their approach to business as some people who go door to door, or some auto mechanics that we have. It is just a very simple and fundamental fact of life that some people will try to take advantage of the situation as it comes up simply for profit.
I am not familiar with the plan in Great Britain, although I have had some criticism addressed to me; one of my constituents wrote me a note dated June 4 and he said:
“I am sure that you do not have to be made aware of the fact that a programme of this nature is just going to cost the poor old consumer more money and was, of course, the result of what I describe as a deplorable tendency to convince the Canadian consumer that he is hard done by. As far as housing is concerned, Canadians are the best housed people in the world and the contractor who did not look after his deficiencies soon ceases to remain in business.”
Notwithstanding the warranty programme I think this kind of situation is going to continue to exist. I hope we are setting a minimum type of situation by this legislation, and that the general demand by the people of Ontario will continue to be a demand for excellence, a demand for the better, and to that end I hope the competitive process that exists in Canada -- and I hope it continues to exist in this province in the future -- will remain and that the people of Ontario will have that option to go out through their communities and seek out the best form of housing available to them, to query the builders and to examine the various subdivisions that exist and to make their individual choice.
I think that is very fundamental and integral to the thought within our party. To this end, I would commend the government for bringing in this programme. I don’t think any of us are of the view that this time of the year has any adverse effect on us as far as our ability to decide whether it’s a good programme or a bad programme. The harsh facts of reality are it’s a programme that is long overdue and one that we in the Liberal Party will support.
Mr. Drea: Mr. Speaker, I have probably been with this longer than anybody else in terms of trying to get a programme. First of all, let’s talk about the concept of long overdue. The “long overdue” rests upon the shoulders of a gentleman by the name of Basford and then a gentleman by the name of Danson.
Mr. Cunningham: Here we go.
Mr. Drea: No, here we don’t go, my friend, because this time we can look, I had to go to those things --
Mr. Cunningham: Pass the buck every time.
Mr. Edighoffer: Keep going, Sid; keep going.
Mr. Drea: I’m not going to be provocative, but I’m not going to take that kind of insult from some twerp.
Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order, please. Will the hon. member for Scarborough Centre address the Chair and ignore the interjections?
Mr. Drea: Mr. Speaker, I want to go back to 1974, when a gentleman by the name of --
Mr. Swart: Back is a natural direction for you people.
Mr. Drea: That is when we began the housing warranty programme in Ontario. That’s when the first discussions took place.
Mr. Good: What do you mean “we”?
Mr. Swart: When?
Mr. Drea: In the summer of 1974.
Mr. Deans: I have been involved in this since 1967.
Mr. Drea: I’m sure you have --
Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order, please. The hon. member for Wentworth doesn’t have the floor, the hon. member for Scarborough Centre does, and I’ll hope he’ll address his remarks to the Chair.
Mr. Drea: Mr. Speaker, in the summer of 1974 there was a concerted effort by the house-building industry across this country -- not only in this province -- to take advantage of what was a promise, a commitment and a very solemn pledge by the then federal housing minister, Mr. Basford, that what was needed in the area of new home construction concerning warranties was a national plan. There was the gravest of reservations that a number of provincial plans would merely impede the orderly development of new housing construction in Canada.
Mr. Deputy Speaker: There is no reference to a national programme or plan in this bill.
Mr. Drea: Mr. Speaker, with all due respect, it evolved out of an interprovincial bill where every one of the provinces would have the exact same warranty bill. I just want to go into the “long overdue” business, and I think that’s germane. I’m not going to go into it for very long, and I’m not going to blame more than two people.
Mr. Good: Long overdue.
Mr. Kerrio: Sidney Handleman. Who else?
Mr. Drea: Mr. Speaker, this government committed itself to a housing warranty programme, almost identical to what is being debated today, very late in the summer of 1974. We held back for two reasons. First of all, the federal government -- and by that time the minister was Mr. Danson -- asked us to hold back on a provincial warranty programme because they hoped to get a national programme or, if they could not do that, at least an interprovincial warranty programme under the general auspices of the Central Mortgage and Housing Corp. We held back at that time.
Mr. Shore: You are not divulging any secret information, are you?
Mr. Drea: No, I’ve said this before.
Mr. Shore: I thought this was some government information.
Mr. Drea: Mr. Speaker, I would suggest that if you want me to speak to you --
An hon. member: Contain yourself.
Mr. Drea: -- Mr. Speaker, following that there were a number of meetings in conjunction with either the federal government or on an interprovincial basis, dealing with the entire programme of housing warranties. They continued until the early summer of 1975. At that time it became apparent that the federal government, despite its commitments, despite its pledges and despite its press releases, really had no intention of carrying on with a national home warranty programme. At that particular time --
Mr. Deputy Speaker: I really must interrupt the hon. member. If he’ll read the bill, it is entitled, “An Act to provide certain Protection for Purchasers of New Homes,” and it says, “The bill establishes the Ontario new home warranties plan.” There’s no federal reference at all, and I think he should confine his remarks to the principle of this bill.
Mr. Drea: Thank you, Mr. Speaker, I will.
At that time it became apparent that the province would have to do it on its own. I brought in the background, Mr. Speaker, because there was a question about it being long overdue. First of all, there is no type of warranty that is more needed than a new home warranty in this province. It probably has been needed for 25 years. It has been the most extremely difficult type of warranty to produce.
Mr. Breithaupt: You have been in power since 1935.
Mr. Drea: The reason is it is not a combination of a single manufacturer or a distributor or a retailer. It is a product which has evolved to the point where it is subcontracted almost from beginning to end with the exception of the first piece of machinery which comes upon the scene.
The difficulty is that each and every one of the workmen in the various trade levels -- whether it is building the foundations; putting in a solid floor; laying the concrete block; or putting the drain in the cellar -- is a tradesman or should be a tradesman, in his own right. Secondly, they use materials which have differing qualities, usually dependent upon price.
Until very recently, it was extremely difficult even to measure the quality of those materials in Canada because the quality of the materials was determined in another jurisdiction and the climate was not the same as ours.
There have been the gravest of difficulties, Mr. Speaker, begging your indulgence to go back a number of years. The most tumultuous labour scenes in this province were in the house building field, not in commercial construction. I think the difference is very germane to the bill we have here today because the people were not being paid by the hour; they were paid on piece rates. In other words, a tradesman had a certain amount of money to put in five rooms. It didn’t matter whether it rained or snowed or the material wasn’t there or it took him 25 days when theoretically it should have taken three, he still received the same price.
On the one hand, the argument has always been that the consumer received the best of the bargain compared to commercial or industrial construction where -- and I suppose it’s a legitimate argument of sorts for those who really like the free enterprise system -- the customer had to pay for the difference.
Over the years, it has become abundantly apparent that the main inspection force -- which was supposed to protect the home buyer -- and which is Central Mortgage and Housing or the NHA inspector -- really wasn’t working on behalf of the home buyer. The inspector’s prime responsibility was to ensure that the mortgage lending corporation had received enough value and it really had a viable entity in case anything went wrong. Of course, that was very important to him as a federal government employee because if there was not a viable entity and anything went wrong, the dweller would move out, the mortgage company would have difficulty selling and the Central Mortgage and Housing Corp. would have to pick up the guarantee on the mortgage. That didn’t work out very well for the consumer.
Secondly, a number of municipalities entered the field and they would really start looking at the building permits, the building materials, the quality of workmanship and so forth. This broke down in several ways.
First of all, the municipalities simply did not have the stuff to check the quality of the work going into a residential unit. On the other hand they were charged with the responsibilities for high-rise apartments, industrial complexes, commercial work and that kind of thing. Again, in fairness to the municipalities -- I don’t want to pass the buck -- when you’re talking about looking into the actual construction of a high-rise apartment which will take care of 200 to 300 families, the priorities obviously are there vis-à-vis the residential home.
Over the years a very intriguing situation has developed. More and more consumer protection has been coming along the line in every other area than the purchase of the biggest single consumer item a family enters into -- that of a dwelling. It’s not only the biggest single one, but the most permanent. After all, if the car is a lemon, it’s a lemon for two, three, four or maybe five years. If a house is a lemon, it is a lemon for a lifetime.
Again, the bankruptcy laws of Canada -- not of this province -- facilitated easy entree to and easy exit from the industry. I don’t think there is anyone who has purchased a home in the last 20 years who hasn’t had the experience of trying to find the builder -- and where do you find the builder?
If you bought the dwelling early on in the subdivision, he is still around. If you bought it rather late, he is long gone, and you try to find him. At that moment in history comes the very great dispute and here begins all the hassles.
The builder says, “Okay I will send someone.” And if you shout loud enough and long enough he will. And I don’t think that that really is the responsibility of the buyer in view of the price that has been paid for the house. I have always found this a very difficult area. If you didn’t have every dollar right on the barrelhead on the day that you were supposed to take possession, Mr. Speaker, I suggest that you didn’t take possession. But, somehow there is a double standard out there for the builder; it is always raining, or he has to work on something else, etc.
There is also the second problem. When people are buying a house it’s their largest single investment, and they tend to want to save a little bit of money at the end. I know we have had some references in here today to comparison shopping, and the hint that maybe those who look for a cheaper price deserve what they get. I don’t believe that at all. When a person goes out and puts a down payment on a house, it is often clearly explained to them that if they are dealing with the builder, and not with a real estate firm, that they can save a bit of money because the commission is not involved. Mr. Speaker, that is the kind of thing that industry and big business and all kinds of people do every day of the week. And I say that is how they make their money; they eliminate the middleman.
All right, but the ordinary man goes in there and he puts down his money, and the house isn’t completed. Then he finds out to his utter dismay that he really is cornered. His deposit is gone. It was not protected under the legislation of this province, because it was not done through a real estate broker. It has not gone into a trust fund; rather it has gone into the general revenues of the contracting company. And what the buyer finds out is that he virtually has to start all over again. I suggest to you, Mr. Speaker, that it is very difficult for the ordinary young man and woman, or middle-aged man and woman, to duplicate a down payment simply because somebody has defaulted.
The worst thing is that the ABC Building Co., that has just defaulted on its obligations, has moved across the street into a neighbouring subdivision as the CBA Co., with the same guy in charge. He says, “Sorry, but the feds cracked down on me and I went into bankruptcy court. I would like to help you, but I can’t. See my lawyer.” Mr. Speaker, I suggest to you it is very difficult to explain to ordinary people, and I am one of them, that there --
Mr. Cunningham: Sure you are; extremely ordinary.
Mr. Drea: -- isn’t something terribly, terribly wrong and the time has really come to do something about it.
In terms of this legislation, we are going to meet a great number of problems -- and let me go through them.
First of all, there is the problem of the builder’s retention of the deposits and his forfeiture or his default of the business. If he does go out of business before the house is completed and before you take possession, then a bonding company or someone else will make sure that the house is completed. That’s step No. 1.
Secondly, in terms of the builder there is the quality of work. Not being an engineer, I am somewhat limited in this field, but the word I am going to use is cosmetic. I don’t want to say that the defects that are found in new houses are simply a matter of putting a sander across some floor or adding a bit of paint. What I want to say is that these are not substantial faults -- they are not enough to cave the house in or to have it condemned.
One of the gravest of difficulties for new home buyers is when they walk into the dwelling and they find out it is not exactly their dream palace. There are cracks here, there are cracks there, the windows won’t open. Okay, all of these are relatively minor things, but why, Mr. Speaker, do we see so many items in the press and view so many items on TV about the misfortunes of new home owners? All of these things are relatively little items. It is the simple fact that people have been burned for so long and for so often in this province that if the slightest thing is the matter with a new dwelling they immediately cry “wolf,” because in their previous experience, or that of their friends, this is the only way they received any action.
Under this legislation that type of thing will be remedied. If the builder departs and cannot be found, it will still be remedied. No longer will there be the hue and cry or the great apprehension that you have saved your money, you have finally bought it, you have done this and now you have to put a lasso around the builder’s neck to make sure he will be there to fix even something as small as a window that doesn’t open. That’s taken care of.
This hasn’t been the case too often in this province, although it has been elsewhere, but it is still there. What happens if something inadvertently was put in wrong? What happens if the I-beam was put in wrong or the drains were put in upside down or something turns up three or four years later which really means an extensive renovation job that is beyond the means of the people who are in the house? They are left with the position of having a home that is going to be condemned by the municipality as unfit to live in, and rightfully so. On the other hand, the cost of bringing it up to a standard of safety is beyond their ability, and once again the builder is long gone or any type of warranty outside of legislation is gone. Again, in this bill that is going to be taken care of.
On the other side, no longer are the two or three per cent of the building industry, the very ones who had such ease in getting NHA approvals and that kind of thing, going to be able to scoff at the public; no longer are they going to be able to go into convenient bankruptcies; no longer are they going to be able to say they’d love to fix it but they don’t work in that municipality any more, to say, “See us next year.” On each and every one of the dwellings they are going to build in the future, they are going to have to go out and purchase warranty and insurance protection. If their track record is bad, then I suggest they simply will not get that kind of protection, which means that they will not be able to build a dwelling in Ontario.
I hate to think of anybody going out of business, but I can think of no people who deserve it more. I will tell you, Mr. Speaker, to the first one of them who complains to the Legislature I would just love to go out and say “Buddy, you deserve it. Here is what you really did over the years. Let me give out your home address so they can all knock on your door and give you a little bit of congratulation.” That’s what this bill is going to do.
I realize there is some concern that the government should be more actively involved in the actual pursuit of these people. I suggest, notwithstanding all of the remarks that I have made, that the house-building industry in this province is something that we can in general be very proud of. Better than 95 per cent, and maybe even as high as 98 per cent or 99 per cent of the builders, are people, Mr. Speaker, that you and I would like to do business with. A house is not only the biggest consumer investment, it is also a business investment. It requires a lot of skills and a lot of trades and a lot of work and a lot of co-ordination. You have weather problems, the whole bit.
By and large, they have more than met the standards that the public expect and over the years there has been no more long-suffering body, because they have received black eye after black eye from the people who have left town or the people who have conveniently gone bankrupt or the people who scooped the deposit or from people who used the cheapest of materials and then would do nothing about it. This has happened to everyone. They have received a tremendous amount of adverse publicity.
Notwithstanding that, in the two years that I have worked in this field, Mr. Speaker, I can tell you there is no more responsible industry than the building industry. I say that on two grounds: They recognize all of the problems, because they are out there; they recognize all of the bandits, because those bandits and their reputation have been inflicted upon them.
This legislation meets the needs of the house-buying public. There was a suggestion that perhaps they shouldn’t have to pay. Well, to pay less than $100 on a $60,000 house for the type of protection you’re getting, I find it impossible to believe you could duplicate it anywhere.
There is the question as to whether an industry can really compel the type of inspection that is needed to keep the insurance and warranty system viable in terms of the cost to the consumer. It seems to me that we don’t need any more inspections; we just need some co-ordination of inspections. We have all kinds of inspectors out there now. We have the mortgage company inspector if it’s a conventional mortgage; we have the NHA inspector if it is a CMHC-approved mortgage; we have the local building inspector -- we have a tremendous number of inspectors out there.
What is really needed for the first time is not to protect the mortgage holder, be it a trust company, a bank or the federal government; not to protect the municipality; not merely to protect the workmen in terms of the safety operation -- but a concerted type of inspection that will take into account not only all of those factors, which are very necessary, but also the final product.
There is no other province that has brought in legislation in this field. It is quite true, there is a voluntary plan working elsewhere, but this is the first province that has brought it in. On the other hand, the consumer is being protected; on the other hand, the disreputable builder, the unfit builder, the one who really shouldn’t be there, is going to be gone. I suggest to you, Mr. Speaker, that if this was being done by private industry, it would be unacceptable because who would the consumer or the builder appeal to if they both felt they had not been dealt with fairly? In this legislation they can appeal to an impartial body; they can appeal to a body that can handle the case expeditiously and at the lowest possible cost, with the least amount of bureaucracy.
It seems to me that in this bill we have achieved what the consumers want; we have achieved what the reputable building industry wants; we have achieved, in effect, what the people who work on these houses -- the tradesmen -- want. We have achieved a fair deal at the lowest possible cost, with the least amount of bureaucratic interference and with the most benefits to all concerned.
Mr. Deans: Mr. Speaker, I know of no single matter that has caused me more aggravation than the shoddy workmanship of a number of builders in the Province of Ontario. I doubt if I’ve spoken more frequently to the Ministry of Housing and the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations (Mr. Handleman) about any other matter than matters of inadequate buildings, inadequate builders and substandard housing.
I’m not happy with this bill, because I don’t consider it to be adequate. I have inspected houses in the mornings, in the afternoons, in the dead of night, in pouring rain, in snow up to my thighs at least -- in every conceivable kind of situation. I’ve trudged through mud up over the tops of my boots; I’ve gone in the company of the Minister of Housing (Mr. Rhodes); I’ve gone in the company of other people, inspectors from Ontario Housing Corp. in particular, and I’ve looked at what I consider to be the single largest problem confronting purchasers of anything in the Province of Ontario. It’s more acceptable to be bilked, if that’s the right word, by someone if you’re purchasing an iron or a toaster. But when you’re spending perhaps all of your life’s savings, maybe investing $150,000 over a lifetime in the purchase of a home, you expect it will be built to a reasonable standard.
This bill leaves far too much to the industry itself and doesn’t spell out nearly clearly enough the way in which the government is going to protect the people over whom it has jurisdiction. The key to any home warranty programme is the inspection. The one single area where this bill is deficient is in the area of the description of and the acceptance of the responsibility by this government for an adequate inspection programme. I’m not yet clear whether the Minister of Housing intends to carry on with his proposal to eliminate inspection from the home ownership programme. I suspect he must be going to do it. He hasn’t said any more about it. Even if he eliminated it, the inspection programme itself has taken so long to develop and to get a sufficient number of inspectors into the field that it hasn’t been able to provide the kind of in-depth and adequate inspection necessary to ensure the standard of quality of the product.
I think we’ve got to begin by pointing this out. I say to my colleague from Wentworth North (Mr. Cunningham) that the majority of people are not buying homes already built where they can walk in and can take a look at the product to see whether or not it’s adequate to their means. What’s happening for a great number of people, is that they’re buying a lot and they’re looking at a plan and they’re determining whether or not that plan reasonably well suits their living standard and their capacity to pay. They don’t have either the expertise or the time then to follow through every single step of the way to ensure that the basement is dug out to the depth that it’s supposed to be dug out to, that the footings are put in to the proper depths and levels, that the walls of the basement are adequately and properly constructed, that the sub-flooring levels are done in a way that will stand up over the years, that the insulation is put in as it is intended to be put in, and that the finish, the roof and the remainder, are done in accordance with the plan that they chose. They’re not able to do that because, in order to be able to buy the house in the first place, they have to be out working every day while the work’s being done, and they can’t go and get anyone else to do it for them.
First of all, the mortgage company’s interest is not as much in determining whether or not the home’s being built to a reasonable standard and making sure that it’s being built in a way that will ensure its longevity. What the mortgage company’s interested in is making sure that they don’t advance their payments in advance of the house being completed to a particular level of completion. By that, I mean that they make their advance initially and then, when it gets to the sub-floor level, they may get another advance and when it gets to the roof, they may get another advance. They hold back so much until the home is completed.
We wouldn’t need a warranty if the home building group, the people who are in the business of providing homes, which includes HUDAC, had had among their numbers people who were vitally concerned about ensuring the quality. Unless there are inspectors that are completely free from any attachment of any kind to the home-building business, then those inspectors will be under considerable pressure. We’re going to have so many more of them in order to ensure that the product is built adequately and to the standards that we’ve set up.
As I look back over the last period of time, the almost nine years since I became involved in this, I don’t think I’m unnecessarily disillusioned. But even some of the biggest builders, the ones building the largest numbers of homes in the Province of Ontario, cut every single corner that they can.
The builders themselves, even those people who are the corporate builder, because of the nature of their work are not on site on many of the locations where the building is taking place. They get out and they hire subtrades And on the subtrades, they don’t care -- whether they are in fact carpenters, plumbers, bricklayers or whatever -- they don’t care, just as long as they’ll do it cheaply enough and as long as it will last long enough so that nobody will notice there are defects in the home in the early going, in that period when things are needing to be done.
Let me tell you, you have an inspection programme, under home ownership for example, and I went not very long ago to look at some HOME homes. I discovered that in spite of the inspection programme that is already in effect, which is infinitely better than the one that was there three years ago, the workmanship is disgusting. I looked at a situation where they had boxed in the water pipes and they put the insulation on the interior wall rather than the exterior wall and the pipes froze. Of course the people then had to dig a hole through the wall to get at the pipes, only to discover that where there was insulation, which wasn’t in every case, the insulation was on the inside wall rather than the outside wall protecting the pipes.
That’s just an indication of inferior workmanship. Unless you have inspectors on the site all of the time watching every single phase of the operation, you are going to find that you are going to get exactly the same kind of inferior workmanship, even under this. They are going to take the chance that the people involved won’t find out that there is something wrong with the house; that’s the basis on which they have been operating for years.
They use green wood; they don’t set it up plumb nor square; they don’t care whether the basements leak -- people are just told, well that’s a hazard of owning a home these days, basements leak; I mean what are you going to do about it?
That’s the reaction that you get. They don’t have any sense of responsibility with regard to it. They don’t care, and you can’t tell me this programme is going to make it any different. This programme is not going to make it any more difficult; there is already a one-year guarantee on most of the homes, but you try and get them to do the repair work. It is almost impossible.
The developer turns around and says that it is not his responsibility, it is the responsibility of the builder. You go to the builder, the builder says wait a minute, it is the responsibility of the subtrade. You go to the subtrade; the subtrade can’t be found, it doesn’t exist as a subtrade; it’s a group of people who got together to build something.
I am, quite frankly, just not at all persuaded that to now hand this whole thing over to the building industry and say to them: “Okay, you go ahead and police yourselves,” is going to work. It is not going to work.
It isn’t going to work because they don’t have any sense of responsibility to the purchaser, and there is no one who is going to be standing over them saying “produce or else.” There is nothing to guarantee that they will even be a part of this programme, there is nothing to guarantee it. That’s why I say to you that this isn’t the way to do it; this isn’t the way to do it, you should never have adopted this model.
If we are going to have a warranty programme, you establish the warranty for whatever period of time -- five or 10 years, I don’t care, five years will be fine -- establish the warranty, but then you must have a totally independent investigation take place as far as inspection is concerned. That must be done by this government or its agency. It must be done through the Ontario Housing Corp. or the Ministry of Housing in order to guarantee that the people who are involved will in fact not be subjected unnecessarily to pressures with regard to their jobs, because the very people who make up the umbrella organization are the very people who are building the homes. I don’t see how anyone can be independent if that is the way it is going to be, and that’s the way you set it up.
I think that you are going to have to rethink the thing. You may pass it now, but I am going to tell you that you are going to have to rethink the method of inspection to determine that those people who are in the field are sufficient in number and are freed from all pressure so that when they do make a decision -- and let me tell you about some of the decisions -- when they do make a decision that decision is reinforced by their impartiality and the weight of the ministry. Even now, with the inspectors that were in place, there is no doubt in my mind at all, though I have difficulty putting my finger on the culprit, that many of the builders exercised a great deal of pressure in trying to avoid the direction of the inspectors in many of the home ownership programmes. Whether they were successful or not is left up to everyone to decide for themselves. I think I know -- and I put it that way to you -- that there was a great deal of pressure put on those people in charge of the inspection programme under the home ownership programme to have the very legitimate complaints and directions of many of the inspectors in the field avoided.
The reason I think I know it is that I came into contact with so many of them over the last number of years. They showed me the way in which they inspected, how they wrote out the defects, how they sent them in to have them fixed and how, subsequent to their inspection, someone else was sent out to do yet another inspection and it was found during that inspection that on occasion what had been previously noted as being defective no longer was to be noted as being defective.
That worries me, and if it worries me in regard to a government agency, it worries me a damn sight more if the very people who stand to gain are going to be the ones who are going to have control over the inspectors, because it doesn’t leave any recourse to the individual purchaser. The individual purchaser doesn’t know whether the house is built to standard or not. They don’t know whether the house is built to standard and they have no way of knowing and no way of finding out, unless they can get the actual inspection reports right from the moment that that hole was first dug in the ground to the time when the final inspection is made. Who knows what is behind the interior walls, unless you tear them out and take a look at it? The only time you ever find out is long after the problem has become apparent. Then the answer given by the builder is he could fix this.
The example I give you is that I went in and looked at ceilings that had not been properly attached to the beams. I’m talking about Masonite, Gyproc ceilings that hadn’t been properly attached to the beams, where you could stand on a chair and push them up a minimum of four inches. When it was brought to the builder’s attention that this had happened, that these ceilings were not done properly, the builder then went to the individual purchaser and said he could fix this. He said: “It’s going to be a really messy job and you will have to move out for a few days. And it may not turn out to be really good after we have done it because we will then have to patch.”
When the people said: “If you are going to have to do this, surely you are going to have to re-do the whole ceiling,” they said:
“Oh, no, all we’ve got to do is just fix the part where the problem is and we’ll patch it up for you. You’ll have to paint it over and it may turn out okay.” In other words, what they were trying to do was to dissuade those people from following through with what obviously was required to be done.
A great number of young people moving in for the first time are not able to make those kinds of decisions. They would like to get it fixed but they don’t want the mess. They don’t want to run the risk of further damage to their home, and so nothing happens. There is the builder who builds a wall that is evidently out of plumb by three or four inches, if you look at it and measure it. But when you sit down and ask him what he is going to do with it, the alternative over and against the problem you’ve got is far worse. The problem you will have after he is finished with it is far greater than the problem you have to begin with, and so people tend to opt for not getting it done through no fault of theirs.
What I’m saying to the minister is that one can’t change the nature of the industry. The industry is slipshod. The industry is totally inadequate. The sense of many of the builders -- and they’re in the HOME programme as much as out in private development -- is “I will do as little as I possibly can. I will not respond to the legitimate requests of the people who require me to fix things. I will attempt over the course of time to allow them to get fed up and quit.”
Mr. Kerrio: Not all of them.
Mr. Deans: I said the majority. If the hon. member doesn’t believe it’s the majority, let him come with me and take a look. The majority of them are exactly in that position; they get the same subtrades to do the work and the workmanship is terrible. Just by passing this bill isn’t going to make it any better. Unless the government is prepared to follow up with in-depth continuous inspection, then this programme simply will be an added cost which will yield no benefit. I want to suggest that it should go further.
We should not only inspect individual homes to determine whether the house is built to standard or whether the finish is appropriate and adequate, but we must inspect the overall project. I have had numerous instances where, in spite of the providing of what I believe is called a land survey, showing the way in which water flows and whatever else it does -- I can’t remember the exact term for it -- there are far too many builders who pay absolutely no attention to it after it is finished, and we end up with tremendous flooding problems for people. That should be part of the overall inspection.
There is no point in building a house reasonably well, only to have the water lapping up against the back and running in the windows. That’s exactly what’s happening in a number of areas. Mr. Speaker, I can show you areas where, within 15 ft of the back wall of a house that was built under the HOME programme, there is a 10-ft rise in the lay of the land; the water, out of necessity, must flow down there and in the back window. I can show you houses where the basement windows are below grade level and the water simply pours right in. When you go to Ontario Housing and say, “Surely someone is responsible for this,” you can never find out who it is.
I can take you out right now, Mr. Speaker, and show you subdivisions built under the home ownership programme where the people can’t even find the steel pegs that mark their land. They can’t find them, even though by law they must be there. When they went to Ontario Housing Corp. and said, “We want to build fences now, and we’d like to be able to locate the corner of our land,” they were told, “Go get a land surveyor. That’s not our responsibility.” But that is an overall responsibility.
If the right to develop a subdivision is to be granted to a developer, the developer surely must comply with everything that plan of subdivision contains, including the overall drainage pattern and the actual locations of the properties being sold to determine that there is no overlapping, as well as the workmanship of the home. That’s the kind of things a home warranty programme must have within it, otherwise it will fail. It’s doomed to fail; it can’t do anything else but fail.
I suggest to the minister that if this is what the government had in mind back in 1969 and 1970 when I was talking about a home warranty programme, then I think they have misled me. I thought they honestly intended, by way of legislation, to take care of many of the shoddy operations that were going on across this province and that they were going to put the full weight of the government behind it. I thought they were going to make sure that people who make this major investment, many of whom undertake it without having the benefit of all of the expertise they might like to have in determining whether the property and the home are done properly, were finally going to be protected by some form of legislation in this province.
I’m going to tell the minister something: What he has done is he has turned this over to the very people who have been bilking them and taking advantage of them all along. He’s turned around and given the right to inspect themselves to those people who weren’t providing adequate workmanship and adequate care; he has given them the right to decide whether or not they are living up to whatever standards it is that we might decide are adequate. The recourse for most people through litigation is far too costly; for great numbers of people these days, by the time they move into a house they haven’t got enough money left, even if they find they have to go to court, in order to enforce the orders that were given with regard to the property itself. And by far the majority of people haven’t got a sufficient amount of money left for anything after they have gone through the process of scrimping together and saving the down payment and making the payments for homes that are tremendously overpriced in the first place. By the time they get around to doing that, they couldn’t afford to go to court even if they wanted to. I think that’s where much of the problem lies.
I just don’t like this programme at all. I don’t think it is going to work. I don’t think it can work. I don’t think it has even a hope of working. I don’t think it is going to work simply because it was started at the wrong end, If we can’t even convince the minister to provide adequate inspection for the homes over which he has jurisdiction, I don’t know how in the heaven’s name it is expected to be able to convince the industry to take on that responsibility. I don’t know how the minister can expect to be able to do that.
I could read you any number of complaints, Mr. Speaker, but I’m not going to do it. I could read you pages and pages of complaints from people -- all of them valid. Many of them are complaints about structural defects with regard to work by builders in the Province of Ontario, and the way in which they were treated by the builders in the Province of Ontario.
If, as the member for Niagara Falls said, we’re only talking about a small number of builders, then that would have to be shown to me. They may be small in number in terms of the total number of builders, but they are large in terms of the total number of units being built -- many of them build in vast quantities.
Mr. Kerrio: It may be the various areas. It might change from place to place.
Mr. Deans: Yes, I know that; I deal with many of the builders in the Niagara Peninsula, and I’ve had no end of difficulty with them. As I read through this legislation, I don’t frankly see where this is going to benefit any of those home buyers one whit.
Let me just say one other thing to you about it. We’ve had four or five years of deteriorating workmanship. It’s been going on over the last four or five years -- maybe even longer. I can tell you that when I purchased the home that I live in, while I wasn’t entirely satisfied with every aspect of it, I was reasonably well satisfied that it was structurally sound and that things were done according to the best business practices of that day. Since that time, I’ve watched as the home industry has deteriorated in terms of its obligation to its clients.
This government has procrastinated for the last three years in regard to the introduction of this bill, inadequate though it may be. There has to be some way to ensure that many of the people who have purchased homes in that period are given some protection against what is without question workmanship and material quality that is far below standard.
I think that if the government of Ontario is going to use the building code, it should take a look at some aspects of that building code to see whether or not they are really satisfactory.
Some of the aspects of the building code are quite unsatisfactory. For example, there is a trend towards pressed plywood for flooring. It is not standing up because of the amount of resilience or give, I suppose, in the wood itself. The actual floors are cracking and tiles are lifting. There are so many things that to begin to deal with them all here would take more time than the House probably has.
Mr. B. Newman: Are you going to vote against it?
Mr. Deans: I am just not satisfied with what has been done. In fact, I am quite dissatisfied. I am very disappointed, in fact, in what has been done in this bill. I expected better, and I think that at some point we will change the whole thing.
Mr. Sweeney: Mr. Speaker, I had not originally intended to speak to this bill, but after what has just been said I feel I must rise.
It has certainly not been my experience with the house building industry in the community from which I come that the situation described in the remarks that were just made were by any means the norm, or even in the majority. I believe we all know, Mr. Speaker, very clearly, that there are some cases -- in fact there may be too many cases -- of poor workmanship in this province as far as home building is concerned. If there were not, we wouldn’t have this bill at all. If there were not the house building industry itself would not have seen necessary to bring in its own warranty programme, regardless of what we think about that particular programme.
There are problems, we know that; but to make the kind of all-encompassing, condemnatory kinds of statements we just heard for the last little while, I would say is irresponsible, totally irresponsible, to many honest, decent, home builders in this province. And more than that, Mr. Speaker, not just the home builders themselves, what about the men who do the job?
Mr. Kerrio: The workmen.
Mr. Sweeney: What about the carpenters and the electricians and the plumbers and the plasterers, who have a pride in their work, a pride in their workmanship. What we have just heard has taken every one of those people, or even to use the member’s own terminology, the majority of those people --
Mr. Deans: And I stand by it.
Mr. Sweeney: -- the majority of those people and said to them what you have done is no good, what you have done is wrong, what you have done has taken the people of this province and cheated them.
Mr. Deans: It has.
Mr. Sweeney: I don’t agree with that. I do agree that there are some things that need to be done. That’s why this bill, or a bill very much like it, needs to be brought before this Legislature.
I do agree, Mr. Speaker, with one comment that was made, that the level of inspection is an important matter; but once again, Mr. Speaker, if we follow the suggestion that has just been made, we are going to have to have a single inspector in every single building during all the hours when it is under construction.
Mr. Deans: Doesn’t that say something about the quality of the workmanship?
Mr. Sweeney: At all times; that’s physically impossible.
Not only that, we are going to have to have an inspector who is equally qualified in all the building trades present at all times when any construction is going on. It is a physical and financial impossibility. Something better than what is being done right now needs to be done, but let’s not try to build into this legislation, or into any such legislation, something that simply can’t be done. Let’s try to be reasonable and practical. Let’s try to come part way. That’s all that we are asking for.
Mr. Bullbrook: Well said.
Mr. Acting Speaker: Do any other hon. members wish to speak to this bill before the minister replies? The member for Windsor-Walkerville.
Mr. B. Newman: Mr. Speaker, I wanted to make a few comments concerning Bill 94, especially from the fact that we have had problems in the past in my own community with some builders but not the majority of the builders by any stretch of the imagination.
I can recall years ago articles in the press concerning the construction at Elizabeth Gardens, an Ontario Housing project, and bringing it to the attention of the ministry. I can recall the press going into an in-depth study concerning the structural deficiencies in that project; but, Mr. Speaker, I would assume that unless inspection is by far more stringent than what is carried on today, we are always going to be confronted with some type of workmanship that may not be up to our expectations; but not in the majority of the cases, Mr. Speaker.
For example, many of the Italians in my own community build their own homes, and when they have built their own home they put it on the market after a while. Surely you wouldn’t condemn that individual’s workmanship by any stretch of the imagination; in fact the many that I have seen that are fairly close to where I live are examples of expert and skilled craftsmanship, on the part of not only the carpenter, but the bricklayer and every other skilled construction trade that you could possibly mention.
There are problems and if there were not problems in the construction industry I doubt very much that this legislation would have been introduced. I know the communities throughout the province have been asking for some type of warranty programme so that at least the purchaser would know that on the purchase of the home he is getting what he had expected and what he is paying for.
Mr. Speaker, as I said earlier my own community has passed resolution after resolution suggesting that there be legislation that would protect the purchaser of a new home. This legislation before us is not perfect; we know it isn’t perfect, but at least it is a step in the right direction. We hope that the member who spoke just prior to myself will actually follow up on his comments by voting against the bill then, if he thinks it is so poor a bill.
Mr. Acting Speaker: Do any other hon. members wish to address themselves to this bill? The hon. member for Riverdale.
Mr. Renwick: I would like to fill up the time until 5 o’clock, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Drea: Why?
Mr. Renwick: Because the minister seems so anxious to get on.
Hon. Mr. Handleman: It is okay.
Mr. Breithaupt: Let’s call it 5 o’clock then.
Mr. Renwick: We always have this problem about this kind of a bill: Is it worthwhile taking the first step with an inadequate bill or should we take the first step and accept it in the hope and anticipation that the government will do something about it in the future? In this particular situation, we believe we have to have something. We have waited so long that we have to have something. It distinguishes perhaps the occasions when we have opposed from other occasions.
We anticipate in the committee of the whole House that we will do our very best to amend the bill to conform with what we expect and want as a protection for first-time buyers of newly constructed homes, because one of these days the government is going to have to extend the principle of this bill to other homes.
Let me comment about my experience in the assembly. Whenever we come in touch with the real estate business in any of its areas, we are never ever able to make applicable to that industry in all its branches the standards of behaviour at acceptable costs which we are finally beginning to get in other branches of the business community. This is the single most powerful vested interest group in the province with perhaps one exception which might want to vie with the real estate industry for a powerful vested interest, and that’s the insurance industry. Between the two of them, they are the top ones. As soon as we try to move to do anything about either of those industries, we find that the government’s only response is late, is generally done in conjunction with the very industry for which it is trying to raise the standards and the result is the kind of a bill which puts a party such as ours into immense quandaries about what to do with the bill on second reading.
We are going to support the bill on second reading, but we are going to amend it and we intend to spend some time in committee -- and I think the minister should know this -- trying as very best we can to repair the inadequacies of the bill. If I have to stack up the experience of my colleague, the member for Wentworth (Mr. Deans), and the conclusions which he draws from that experience of his over a number of years, commented upon in caucus, commented upon out in the public, commented upon time after time in this assembly -- and the conclusion he draws with the conclusion any other member of the assembly can draw from his individual experience -- I will accept the conclusion of the member for Wentworth every time. I have been too long around to find every time that we introduce a bill dealing with standards of behaviour, and adequacy of performance at reasonable cost in the business community, we are always told by the Conservative government. echoed by the Liberal Party, that all we are dealing with are a few scoundrels in each of the industries.
Mr. Acting Speaker: Order please, does the hon. member have further remarks to make?
Mr. Renwick: Yes, Mr. Speaker, but perhaps I can make them at some later time.
Mr. Renwick moved the adjournment of the debate.
Motion agreed to.
PRIVATE MEMBERS’ HOUR:
SIMCOE DAY ACT
Mr. G. E. Smith moved second reading of Bill 73, An Act respecting Simcoe Day.
Mr. G. E. Smith: Each year we celebrate in this province the first Monday in August as a public holiday. We’ve always called this public holiday Civic Day or Civic Holiday. The name, if it means anything at all, conjures up visions of a day when civil servants don’t report for work. Most people, I dare say, don’t have a name for it at all and refer to it simply as the August holiday or the first long holiday weekend in August.
This bill proposes that henceforward that day will be celebrated and named as Simcoe Day. Its establishment will recognize the contribution of Lieutenant Governor John Graves Simcoe as the earliest architect of what is now the Province of Ontario. By establishing this day, we are not only honouring Col. Simcoe but all of those early Loyalists who built the foundation upon which this solid edifice is constructed. His and their accomplishments deserve our recognition and acknowledgement.
It has been said that if a nation doesn’t value its freedom, it will very likely lose that freedom. Any nation that remains conscious of its heritage and is aware of its history is less likely to fall prey to that proposition. For this reason, I would like to take a few moments to review some of the highlights of Col. Simcoe’s career and make some observations on his contribution and those of his contemporaries in our early history.
In 1790, the British Parliament enacted a bill dividing the former Province of Quebec into Upper and Lower Canada. A year later, in 1791, Col. John Graves Simcoe became the first Governor of Upper Canada. Prior to that time, Col. Simcoe had been a line officer during the American Revolution, after which he had returned to England. In 1790, he was elected a member of the British Parliament where he took part in the debate on the bill that created what is now Ontario. During that period, no doubt, he acquired an intimate knowledge of what had been intended by that bill and was, therefore, eminently qualified to be selected as its first governor. The bill provided for an executive council to be appointed to advise the new Lieutenant Governor and for an elected assembly.
Col. Simcoe arrived in Canada to take up his new duties in 1792 and was sworn in at a ceremony in Kingston on July 8 of that year. The newly appointed executive council met immediately in the city of Kingston. The first meeting of the legislative assembly took place in the fall of that same year. In order to gain some insight into the problems which faced these men at that time, it would be helpful to consider briefly the physical reality of the province.
While a few Loyalists had begun to arrive and settle in what was after the war to become British North America in the late 1760s and early 1770s, the main influx of United Empire Loyalists arrived in the period shortly following the American Revolution. Many of these Loyalists settled in that portion of the province along the north shore of the St. Lawrence River. By 1790, except for small settlements at Niagara and Detroit, there was very little west of what is now Kingston except bush. There was no Toronto, no Hamilton, no London or no Cobourg. The only travel which occurred throughout most of the area resulted from the carrying on of the fur trade, which by that time had entered a serious decline.
Col. Simcoe’s mandate, as he saw it and no doubt as his superiors in Westminster saw it, was to establish a British colonial government along what had by then become fairly traditional lines. The first step was to organize the civil government of the colony to accommodate the growth he expected to encourage through emigration from the United States. Hence the establishment of the executive council and the elected legislative assembly. In order to facilitate these various objectives, he reorganized the old districts of Upper Canada into 19 counties, many of which exist to this day, albeit in some cases with their boundaries somewhat changed. Because it was far more central than the existing population centres, he selected what was then called Newark and is now Niagara-on-the-Lake as the first capital. He met there, as I indicated earlier, with the first Legislature, in September of 1792.
One should not lose sight of the fact that one of the principal preoccupations of the people of this new land was a fear of its neighbours to the south. Defence of the territorial integrity of the new province was therefore of the utmost importance. The new governor undertook an ambitious programme of road building with its main purpose consideration for defence. In this regard, he blazed a road from the head of Lake Ontario to the Thames River where he founded the city of London. These roads, built internally, were thus protected from attack.
The new governor was an energetic and inexhaustible traveller. He toured the southwestern portion of the province, as far as Detroit, and visited Lake Huron by way of Lake Simcoe, which he named in honour of his father.
The existing tensions between the United States and British North America convinced him that he would be prudent to move his capital to a location less vulnerable to attack and he moved the new government’s operations to that centre. That these apprehensions were justified is all too clear in view of the subsequent events in the war of 1812 to 1814.
On the legislative side, those early sessions of our Legislature enacted laws to legalize marriages, which had hitherto been performed under conditions which did not permit regular solemnization. Determined to eliminate the practice of slavery, the new government under Simcoe’s urging took the first vital and important steps to do away with this obnoxious practice. Perhaps the most important of all Governor Simcoe’s programmes was the establishment of a comprehensive judicial system for a province which had up to then made do with a few magistrates with no previous instruction in the law or its application.
It is a measure of John Graves Simcoe’s ability and competence that he guided the colony safely through its critical early years, surrounded as it was by dangers on every hand. He established a solid political and social framework from which our present society has evolved.
In most countries of this world historical figures are remembered and revered for their contributions to the nation by reserving a public holiday in their name. We in Ontario have no such tradition and in my view it is time that we did.
During the course of the debate on a bill similar to the one at hand, approximately four years ago, the hon. member for York South (Mr. MacDonald) proclaimed the virtues of another one of our early citizens and suggested that if a holiday was to be named for anyone we might better consider the contribution of the Hon. Richard Cartwright. May I say at this point that I too am aware of the contribution that Richard Cartwright made. The hon. member advised this House that in 1939 he had prepared a thesis for his master’s degree in history on the life and times of Mr. Cartwright, and suggested that I would find it of interest to read it; as I say I found it interesting and did follow up that suggestion and obtained a copy of the thesis from the library. The member is quite correct. I did find his essay most interesting and after reading what he had to say I am happy to say to this House that I am more impressed than ever with the accomplishments of Col. Simcoe.
Subsequent to the second reading of the bill, Mr. Speaker, after I had read the thesis by the hon. member, I interviewed 100 grade 7 and grade 8 students during the fall and early winter months of 1972-1973. I asked the students these two questions. Who was John Graves Simcoe? And the second question: Who was Richard Cartwright? Of the 100 students interviewed, 88 identified John Graves Simcoe as either the first Lieutenant Governor of Ontario or the first premier, or the first political head of the government of our province; 13 identified him as the leader of a military regiment and a road builder; and nine did not know who he was. As to the second question, who was Richard Cartwright; 37 did not know and the other 63 identified him as the star of the TV show Bonanza.
Mr. Breithaupt: That’s fame of a sort.
Mr. G. E. Smith: I also asked 73 students and adults alike a question on the meaning of the Civic Holiday, why it was so named and by whom? Not one person could really give me an adequate answer. They vaguely responded that it was a municipal holiday, but that it did not have any real significance to them. This is all the more reason why we should take the necessary action today to change the name from Civic Holiday to Simcoe Day.
I am happy to advise you, Mr. Speaker, that many municipalities, organizations, associations and individuals, as well as the media, are again supporting this bill. I have received letters or resolutions of support from a number of people in municipalities and I am going to read them into the record. I might say that I received around eight more letters today from municipalities and interested people. The letters and resolutions have come from the Simcoe County Historical Association, the borough of East York, the township of East Gwillimbury, the regional municipality of Peel, the city of Cambridge, the town of Oakville, the township of Sandwich West, the township of Mersea, the village of Frankford, the town of Ajax, the township of West Lincoln, the town of Ancaster, the city of Nanticoke, the regional municipality of Haldimand-Norfolk, the town of Gore Bay, the Niagara Historical Society, the town of Tillsonburg, town of Trenton, town of Grimsby, town of Simcoe, township of Gosfield North, city of Chatham, the township of Goulbourn, the town of Goderich, the city of Waterloo and the Glengarry Historical Society.
In addition, many of the members of the Legislature from both sides of the House have written to me indicating their support of the bill. I am advised that some of the municipalities which previously supported me in 1972 have been unable to take action because second reading of this bill was called rather hastily and the municipalities have not been able to deal with it officially. However, for the record I would like to inform you and the members of this House, Mr. Speaker, that in 1972 I received the support of many municipalities and organizations and this support was not withdrawn.
Again, I would like to mention some of the names very quickly. The city of Barrie, the town of Collingwood, the city of Cornwall, the town of Dunnville, the town of Midland, the town of Milton, city of Mississauga, city of Orillia, city of Oshawa, the town of Port Credit, the town of Richmond Hill, the town of Thorold, and the city of Toronto. Incidentally, the city of Toronto is one of the few municipalities that really take advantage of the permissive legislation under the Municipal Act allowing them to proclaim that day as Simcoe Day. I understand this year that they are planning even greater celebrations than they have previously.
Other municipalities that gave support are the town of Whitby, the town of Dundas, the city of Brantford, the town of Renfrew, the county of Simcoe, the borough of North York, the regional municipality of Niagara, the city of Hamilton -- and, incidentally, they are observing it and proclaiming it for the first time this year as Simcoe Day -- the town of Brampton, Port Colborne, Smiths Falls, Stratford, Penetanguishene, Etobicoke, the United Empire Loyalists Association of Canada, the Toronto branch and St. Catharines and district, Trent University, the Niagara Historical Society, the Federated Women’s Institutes of Ontario, the Ancaster Township Historical Society, the St. Catharines and Lincoln Historical Society, Burlington Historical Society, the Head of the Lakes Historical Society, the Kingston Historical Society, Lundy’s Lane Historical Society, London and Middlesex Historical Society, the Oshawa and District Historical Society, the Women’s Canadian Historical Society of Toronto and the Brant Historical Society.
In addition, Norfolk county, Welland county, Peterborough county, Halton county, Peel county and the Association of Counties and Regions of Ontario as well as the Orillia Council of Women and other individual people have taken time to write me in support.
The matter was discussed by the Provincial Municipal Liaison Committee last year. However, they could not support it as they did not have the unanimous support of the municipalities. I would like to say that perhaps the strongest objection last year with the PMLC came from the then mayor of Kingston, George N. Speal, who wrote the committee saying:
“I want to express my objection to the proposal to change the statutory holiday from Civic Holiday to Simcoe Day. John Graves Simcoe is commemorated by a statue at Queen’s Park and by the name Lake Simcoe. Except for Christmas, our holidays normally celebrate an event rather than a person. If we start naming holidays after persons, then why not Macdonald Day, Baldwin Day and Durham Day, which would be more significant?”
I hope you will give consideration to these remarks.
I might say right here that it is time that we do start naming our holidays after people who have some historic significance to either our Dominion of Canada or our provinces. I would suggest that there certainly should be a Macdonald Day, and this should be done at the federal level; I would hope that the federal government would enact a public holiday in recognition of Sir John A. Macdonald.
It is interesting to note that the Association of Counties and Regions of Ontario unanimously supported the change to Simcoe Day and so advised the hon. Treasurer (Mr. McKeough) by letter on July 3, 1975. Mr. Speaker, I am sure you will understand, from the support that I have received from the municipalities I have just mentioned, that there is general support for this bill by many municipalities. Needless to say, I have the support of the John Graves Simcoe Memorial Foundation, and I would like to quote again from a letter that I have received from Mr. Norman Long, the chairman of the foundation. He says:
“It is our opinion that such provincial recognition is more than deserved in commemoration of a man who embodied the highest principle of public service, whose health suffered badly as a result of his unceasing activities in a fledgling colony and in whose debt we must always remain.”
I also received support in 1972 from Mr. Bruce West, and I would like to quote one paragraph from his comments, which were published in the Globe and Mail. Mr. West said:
“After all, the term ‘Civic Holiday’ doesn’t really mean much to me. Simcoe Day would, because it would help to bring a better focus on our past, and any move of that kind is surely a step in the right direction. It is not that Col. John. Graves Simcoe performed any superhuman deeds to get what is now Ontario under way. If we try to glamorize him in that manner, we may defeat what would be the main purpose of Simcoe Day -- to draw attention to the manner in which the sturdy pioneers of those early times literally carved what was to become Canada’s most prosperous province out of the virgin forest. It might not do us any harm to look back on these times at least once a year, and Simcoe Day might be just as good an anniversary as any upon which to do so.”
The Barrie Examiner, in an editorial within the past two weeks, said:
“If for no other reason, the Ontario Legislature should proclaim the annual Civic Holiday Monday in August as Simcoe Day because the name has more meaning. John Graves Simcoe was the first Lieutenant Governor of Ontario and was one of the most able administrators of his era. Simcoe was responsible for the first Parliament held in Upper Canada.”
They go on to say some other things, including this:
“In the United States, school children are taught the oath of allegiance, respect for the flag and the history of great men. Canada has men equally as important to this nation as a Washington or a Lincoln, yet little is known about them. Perhaps a civic holiday is a day worth mentioning.”
In other countries, as has been mentioned, historical figures are remembered for the contributions to their nation by naming a public holiday for them, Washington, Lincoln, Columbus and several others in the United States are examples. In Ontario alone, we have historical figures just as outstanding. We had Maj.-Gen. Isaac Brock, William Lyon Mackenzie, Rev. John Strachan, to mention only a few who would be known and recognized for their sacrifices and contributions to the establishment of our system of law and order, freedom and justice.
It has been said that a nation that does not value its freedom will lose that freedom, and Canadians who carelessly take their great heritage for granted should give consideration to this position today.
For these reasons, I advocate changing the name of one of our holidays, the first Monday in August, from Civic Holiday -- which is really a meaningless term anyway -- to Simcoe Day in honour of the founder of the province, the Hon. John Graves Simcoe. I urge all members of this Legislature to support the bill.
Mr. Foulds: Mr. Speaker, with all due respect to the member for Simcoe East and with all due respect for Col. John Graves Simcoe, I am afraid I cannot support the bill.
I do not underestimate the contribution of John Graves Simcoe to this province, and the member has outlined that, I think, more than adequately. However, Col. Simcoe has been honoured by the naming of one county, two provincial ridings, one lake and a downtown Toronto hotel, which elevated him to the peerage. What more can a man ask in this life?
There are so many others, as the hon. member has mentioned, who have contributed to our society and to our province, who I believe have an equal claim. The member has mentioned a few, I would like to mention a few.
I am sure the hon. member for Muskoka, the Minister of Health (Mr. F. S. Miller) will want to nominate that great medical practitioner, pioneer and humanitarian who was born in his riding in the town of Gravenhurst, Dr. Norman Bethune; but as China has recognized him so glowingly and so well, perhaps we don’t need an Ontario holiday named after him.
Mr. Conway: Pretty red; pretty red, Jimmy.
Mr. Foulds: No. 2; we could call the day MacDonald day, after the clan that has contributed so much to Ontario, from Sir John A. and John Sandfield Macdonald to the Hon. Ross Macdonald and the NDP’s own Donald C. MacDonald.
Mr. Breithaupt: We have a Donald S. Macdonald too.
Mr. Foulds: Or we could name the day after several great, but past, Liberal statesmen of the province, such as Edward Blake or if you wanted to be more radical William Lyon Mackenzie or George Brown; or perhaps my favourite, Robert Baldwin. After all it was during the ministries of Sir Robert Baldwin in Upper Canada, in 1842-1843 and 1847-1848, that the principle of responsible government was finally and indisputably established.
Mr. Conway: Have you read his will?
Mr. Foulds: As a matter of fact, here we have a typical Liberal position, one Liberal attacking another; the tradition carries on.
We could name it, quite legitimately I believe, after Joseph Brant, although he does have a county named after him he doesn’t have all the other things that Col. Simcoe has named after him.
We could name it after some of the great builders of this province. Sir Adam Beck in terms of Hydro; or in the social field, Egerton Ryerson.
Mr. Foulds: Yes, poor old Ryerson only has a polytechnical institute named after him.
So I have come to the conclusion -- or I did at one point in my thinking on this matter -- that perhaps what we should do is find some equivalent title to the churches grab-bag title of all souls’ or all saints’ day, and then we could name the Civic Holiday something like all heroes’ day or all contributors’ day. But I frankly found that a bit cumbersome, even for my mind, and decided that there is one figure in Ontario’s history who really deserves a day named after her; the first woman elected to the House of Commons and the first woman elected to the Ontario Legislature, Agnes Macphail.
Agnes Macphail was born in Grey county, Ont. She is a native of the province and made her contributions to the province and died in Ontario in February, 1954. She was, as I said, the first woman in Canada to be elected as a member of parliament. In 1921, as a candidate for the United Farmers of Ontario, she was elected in what was then called Southeast Grey riding. She sat federally for 19 years, serving from 1921 to 1940; in the last five years she sat for the new riding of Grey-Bruce, from 1935 to 1940. She was, unfortunately, defeated in 1940, but bounced back to be elected a member of this Legislature in 1943 and retired in 1951.
She was elected in 1943, sat until 1945; defeated in 1945, re-elected in 1948; sat from 1948 to 1951. Agnes Macphail was renowned for her platform wit and for her compelling demand for social reform in this country and for peace abroad.
Mr. Conway: And her wardrobe.
Mr. Foulds: I think it’s fair to say that both at the federal level and in this House, she had strong views on the importance of education and never lost her interest in it, starting with her career as a teacher. She was a leader in women’s rights. When she first walked down the traditional length of corridor to attend the opening in the Senate chamber, she was conscious of leading the way for other women, so much so that she wrote: “I could almost hear them coming.” She was a strong speaker and a strong advocate of democracy in its best sense. She was uncompromising in her views.
And she was often irritated by the discussion in the federal House on immigration policy when the term “common labourers” was tossed about. She said:
“We do not sufficiently respect those who toil with their hands. I am truly amazed at the sentiments that are expressed by some of our well-groomed, luxuriously-living friends. They have evidently not had their brow wet with sweat for some time.”
She protested a proposal to bring in “servant girls as though they were a class apart.” She said:
“If that girl’s character and her brains are as good, is she not the equal in every way of the woman of the house who hires a servant simply because her husband is in a financial position to enable her to do so?”
She spoke out fervently in defence of the miners of Cape Breton, so much so that her name has found its way into folk music. A little ballad was sung in the late 20s with these opening lines: “God, give us more women like Agnes Macphail, when the miners were hungry she never did fail.”
She spoke out throughout her career on behalf of farmers, both in the federal House and once again in the provincial House. To some extent she damaged her career by speaking out in favour of prison reform. At the federal level she demanded a royal commission inquiry on one occasion. And here in the Ontario Legislature she spoke out for the reform of the Mercer institution.
She was instrumental and played a leading role in the organization of the Elizabeth Fry Society. She spoke out on behalf of pensioners and on behalf of reforms in pensions and in health.
I just want to conclude with a quotation from the last public speech that she made when George Drew brought in some amendments that were agreed to by the various provinces and the federal government to provide old age pensions without a means test for everyone 70 years and over and with an eligibility test for those 65 to 69. She said:
“Of all the social legislation I have watched during the last 30 years, almost all of it has come down because a party was seeking power and made definite promises which they kept in this case, or which they were shoved into that position by desire to stay in power.
“From now on we will go on improving the legislation little by little, but, again, we will get the improvements only at the time it suits the government, because of pressure or because of a desire to attain power or stay in power to give it.
“We in the CCF are going to vote for this bill as it represents an important step towards the goal of social justice for which some of us have been talking and fighting for the last 30 years. Of course we will vote for it.”
Finally, she said:
“I want to see complete health service; medical care paid for at a decent rate -- hospital care, dental care and whatever else they need.”
It is not, I assure the hon. member for Simcoe East (Mr. G. E. Smith), that I do not respect his nominee; but I respect my nominee more. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Conway: It is a pleasure for me to follow such distinguished predecessors in this most interesting debate; and I shan’t wax historical for very long. I shall try and confine my remarks to the bill at hand and not perhaps wade through the very impressive list of personalities that were introduced in however an oblique fashion by my hon. friend from Port Arthur (Mr. Foulds).
Very simply, I support the concept for many of the reasons that were so eloquently outlined by my friend from Simcoe East. But central to my support of this concept is the fact that I think we should honour John Graves Simcoe, above and beyond all else, because he was the quintessential Tory -- and there aren’t too many of those left in this august assembly. I know that if Col. Simcoe were to look from my position here this afternoon and see what is left of his great party --
Mr. Hodgson: He’d be proud of it.
Mr. Conway: -- perhaps he would be a little more concerned than some of the people who lay claim to the party today.
One famous historian has said about our first Lieutenant Governor -- and I quote:
“Here was a man who, in his reactionary conviction, his overwrought profession of loyalty, his love of monarchy, aristocracy and the Church of England, his contempt for everything democratic and republican, was Tory to the very tips of his fingers.”
I’m sure my hon. friend from Kingston and the Islands can appreciate this sentiment, for I know the hon. member for York South has spoken in previous debates of the context in which John Graves Simcoe found himself, of the Keefers, the Cartwrights, the Simcoes and the Strachans -- those refugees from the American Revolution who knew what kind of a society they wanted. They did not want a society of gradation or of any democratic representativeness. They wanted a society in which each and every man knew his place and in which there would be a clear connection between the state and the church. Lo, the wary Methodist found his way into that particular environment. Ryerson was indeed not to be any friend of our first Lieutenant Governor. Neither were those Americans from which he and his loyal Queen’s Rangers fled in defeat in the last decade of the 18th century.
John Graves Simcoe brought to the Conservative tradition in Upper Canada a strain of 18th-century Toryism that was an important contribution to the subsequent political development, indeed the mainstream, of Conservatism in the 19th century. Sadly, that is long gone from the progeny we see before us today.
Simcoe’s view of Upper Canada was not to be an egalitarian situation, as the member for York North (Mr. Hodgson) might like us to believe, but one where the English parish and all the peace, order and good government found therein would be brought to the colonial circumstance of Upper Canada. It was John Graves Simcoe, perhaps very wisely -- and I suppose the hon. member for Niagara Falls (Mr. Kerrio) would have difficulty in supporting this particular part of the Simcoe tradition -- who took the provincial capital from Niagara-on-the-Lake or Newark, as it was then called, and moved it to the town of York in 1797. For that we must be very thankful, because clearly Toronto owes a great deal, in addition to the peerage that a local hotel has given the hon. gentleman about whom we are speaking; there was indeed a very important contribution to the life and times of this fair town in which we find ourselves today.
Simcoe took a particularly dim view of the Americans, and wisely so. They were the democratic rabble who were to be held in the full view of all the rest of the world as all that was wrong with the democratic enterprise; there would be none of that here. I think the expression he used to describe his efforts was, “We shall make Upper Canada in the image and transcription of the British constitution.” Well, he didn’t quite succeed. One of his first moves was to appoint lord lieutenants in the various counties designated in the new Province of Upper Canada, but the Provincial Secretary -- the Duke of Portland, I believe -- quickly vetoed this rather presumptuous suggestion.
I think one of the things that’s interesting about our friend Simcoe is that he left Upper Canada and went off to Santo Domingo and I would not wish such a fate to any one of our august Tory friends in this 30th Parliament of Ontario.
In his address to the first session of the Parliament of Upper Canada in 1792, in October of that year, he said something which I think is worth quoting. With your indulgence, Mr. Speaker, I shall take a few moments to cite his concluding remarks to the assembly gathered in Newark on that day. He said:
“I cannot dismiss you without earnestly desiring you to promote by precept and example among your respective counties the regular habits of piety and morality, the surest foundations of all private and public felicity. And at this juncture, I particularly recommend to you, honourable gentlemen here gathered, to explain that this province is singularly blessed, not with a mutilated constitution but with a constitution which has stood the tests of experience -- [He certainly forgot the recent dissolution of the first British Empire.] and which is the very image and transcript of that of Great Britain by which she has long established and secured to her subjects as much freedom and happiness as is possible to be enjoyed under the subordination necessary to a civilized society.”
Here was a Loyalist speaking and what he was saying, in essence, was that which we address ourselves to, I suppose, in our provincial motto, “loyal in the beginning, let us remain.” There is a Loyalist tradition, long forgotten certainly by the Progressive Conservative Party, save and except, the antiquarian interests of the member for York North.
Mr. Hodgson: I see that you graduated recently.
Mr. Conway: We shall keep the ad hominems out of this academic dissertation.
Mr. Moffatt: When does the academic dissertation start?
Mr. Conway: There is a Loyalist tradition which we in this province have tried to pay some attention to and I very happily support the idea, as I say, for many of the reasons that the hon. member for Simcoe East outlined in the beginning. More than anything else, we should honour John Graves Simcoe because he was perhaps the most significant Tory of this province’s pre-Confederation history. I know the hon. member for Simcoe East will want to appreciate that in the fullness of its extent. I stand here as one who can be very sympathetic with the Loyalist and Tory tradition and support the particular resolution or bill or whatever wholeheartedly.
Mr. Warner: You’d support anything.
Mr. Speaker: Does any other hon. member wish to speak to this? The member for Kingston and the Islands.
Mr. Hodgson: Give them the word.
Mr. Sweeney: It has already been given.
Mr. Norton: I rise to speak on this particular bill as one who not only knows but appreciates his place, however humble and simple it may be. I also speak as a member representing perhaps the most historic settlement and certainly the longest permanently settled area of the province, a community that lives comfortably with its history, a community that is appreciative of its history and a community whose sons have walked the halls of government at all levels in this country, at the federal level and at the provincial level, and have left their mark in the history of this country and of this province.
The history of our community by the way, also as has been pointed out, is associated, however briefly, with the history of the gentleman in whose honour this bill proposes that we rename the present Civic Holiday. It’s significant for us that it was in Kingston that he was first sworn in as Lieutenant Governor of Upper Canada, and held the first meeting of his newly-appointed executive council.
During the course of the debate on a bill similar to this one approximately four years ago, the hon. member for York South (Mr. MacDonald) proclaimed the virtues of another early citizen. He suggested that if a holiday was to be named for anyone we might consider the contribution of the Hon. Richard Cartwright, another historic figure with associations with the city of Kingston.
Mr. Conway: Which one?
Mr. Norton: Having become somewhat familiar with the life and times of Mr. Cartwright and of Col. Simcoe, I’m happy to say that --
Mr. Conway: Which one, Keith?
Mr. Norton: I am pleased to speak in support of this bill at this particular time.
Mr. Conway: Which Cartwright?
Mr. Norton: Col. Simcoe has been derided, Mr. Speaker, for having what might be considered as a great vision for this province. It is exemplary, perhaps, that given the responsibility that he had for creating a colony out of an inhospitable wilderness, that a man would have a vision -- an extensive vision -- as to how this awesome task could be accomplished.
There is no need for sarcasm concerning Col. Simcoe’s dream of creating in the Ontario wilderness a shining example of the benefits of the British tradition. I would indeed be surprised if the British government of that day had delegated this authority to anyone who would not think in those terms.
I think that when we view the figures in our history, it is very important that we see them in the context of the time which they served and in which they lead. Their vision has to be seen in the context of the time and the values which were prevalent and which lead to their holding the offices which they held.
One cannot entertain that these dreams were not without any consideration of the realities of pioneer life. Col. Simcoe planned to establish his capital at what is now London, not quite a settlement at that time. It cannot be considered as folly. His reasoning was undoubtedly based on the need, as he saw it, to encourage expansion in the southwestern portion of the province. It would appear that Simcoe and Cartwright were more often in agreement than not. One major disagreement centred on Simcoe’s plan --
Mr. Moffatt: Just like Liberals and Tories today.
Mr. Conway: Throw Strachan in and let’s get the pot boiling.
Mr. Norton: -- to establish the British system of jurisprudence in the province. Cartwright was opposed to this move, being of the opinion that the existing system of magistrates was quite adequate.
This is understandable when we realize that Cartwright, though he had no legal training, was one of those very magistrates. Cartwright believed that --
Mr. Conway: It was called the Family Compact.
Mr. Norton: -- lawyers were not needed. A sentiment that we often hear expressed in this august chamber these days. So, although he may --
Mr. Foulds: Tell that to the Minister of Education (Mr. Wells).
Mr. Norton: -- not have had support on some of his other ideas or the other dreams that he had, but the elimination of the need for lawyers, I’m sure, could generate some support on the other side of the House, at any rate.
It might be noted that Cartwright’s experience consisted --
Mr. Foulds: Tell the Minister of Education.
Mr. Norton: -- almost entirely of six years as a magistrate, together with a merchant’s history of looking to the courts for redress, something which he did very seldom. It is likely that this Kingston merchant was made a magistrate because he was one of few educated men in a community where very few had formal education.
Mr. Conway: It was called the Family Compact -- another rather elegant tradition.
Mr. Norton: Fortunately for the Ontario legal system, Mr. Cartwright’s reasoning did not prevail.
Hon Mr. Timbrell: What is it called in the Privy Council office in Ottawa today?
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Mr. Norton: In spite of the occasional disagreement --
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: The member for Renfrew North (Mr. Conway) is the only member who can strut sitting down, it is amazing.
Mr. Norton: In spite of occasional disagreements, Lieutenant Governor Simcoe ungrudgingly acknowledged Cartwright’s value, not only to his district but to his province. Consequently he appointed Cartwright --
Mr. Conway: What about his grandson?
Mr. Norton: -- to an important post as Upper Canada’s commissioner, to meet with the representative of Lower Canada. Both Cartwright and Simcoe worked in harmony for better than the last year and a half of Col. Simcoe’s tenure as Lieutenant Governor. Simcoe emerged as a man of idealism and energy and a man of progressive ideas. In contrast to Simcoe, Cartwright has been accused of being reactionary, at times illiberal and at times parochial in his philosophy and outlook. Most times he was a dedicated defender of the status quo.
Col. Simcoe was not without his faults, as has been pointed out by some of the hon. members across the House. The same has been said of virtually every historic figure, but the fact is that in the few short years that he was Lieutenant Governor, he established the foundations for our province and had an impact upon its development that has lasted to this day.
He had a grand design and I would ask that we honour him for it. Much of that vision has been realized within the framework which he devised and implemented. Undoubtedly other contemporaries of his had their contributions to make as well. By honouring Simcoe and his unquestionable leadership abilities, we honour them as well. Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to support this legislation.
Mr. Hodgson: The member for Renfrew North (Mr. Conway) says he was a great Tory.
Mr. Moffatt: Mr. Speaker, I would simply like to say, in answer to all of the speculation to my left here by the third group, that I don’t have another candidate to put forward. I rise to take part in this debate to say that I want to give clear and unequivocal support to the sponsor of the bill in making this particular motion at this time.
But I would like, Mr. Speaker, to deal with my reasons for so doing at some length. Now I have had the request that I not be too wordy, so I will cut it to a minimum so that certain other members can take part.
Mr. Norton: I don’t know how you can talk at all after last weekend.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please, let’s get on with the debate.
Mr. Moffatt: My reasons, Mr. Speaker, have to do with some of the decisions that other people have made in order to take part in this debate. I listened with great interest to the member for Renfrew North; it was difficult, but I listened. I also listened to the member for Kingston and the Islands (Mr. Norton). I must really say that at this point in time, when this particular government is coming to an end and this is the last of a Tory reign, it is very important to us that something be done to make sure that Simcoe, who began it all, is properly honoured. I really think that this is important.
The member for Kingston and the Islands referred to the connection between Simcoe and Kingston. I would like to extend that connection, because as you are aware Mr. Speaker, just this past weekend this party had a very successful convention at Kingston, and I think it is only appropriate that at this time in history we take advantage of the very gracious offer by the member for Simcoe East (Mr. G. E. Smith) to commemorate Simcoe with the end of a Tory administration, that we are ready for and that this province will never have a chance again.
If we don’t do it now we will never get another chance to honour Col. Simcoe.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: You had better have that framed because in a year’s time you are really going to believe it.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please; we have a limited time. The member for Kitchener.
Mr. Breithaupt: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to support this bill, which the member for Simcoe East has brought before us. I realize we are dealing now with a holiday in early August, and not the one on April 1 to which I presume the events of last weekend’s convention referred to by the member for Durham East (Mr. Moffatt) would apply.
Mr. Foulds: No, no, the events of last week by your party in the Legislature.
Mr. Breithaupt: This marks the third time this particular bill has been brought forward by the member for Simcoe East; it certainly shows his belief in the value of the subject but also says something about the recognition which can be given, certainly, in the name of John Graves Simcoe, to the pioneers who were involved in the history and development of Ontario.
When John Graves Simcoe arrived at Kingston it consisted, as he writes and I quote, “of some 50 buildings, only one of which was built of stone.” Well I understand it has grown somewhat since then.
He then moved on, not only through Newark and York, but he began to initiate certain roads, heading north from Toronto, and the east and west highway which he called Dundas St. Indeed, Col. Simcoe travelled so extensively in this province, one would have thought he was a member of a select committee --
Mr. Moffatt: Either that or the member for Scarborough Centre (Mr. Drea).
Mr. Breithaupt: -- however, such was not the case in those early and somewhat simple days of government within our province.
In his desire to develop Upper Canada, Simcoe did recognize the importance of immigration. Even before he had reached Canada, he had written to the Secretary of State that he wanted “to promote the cultivation of the land, to give power and energy to civilization, efficacy to just government and to combine a force whose appearance may prevent the very mediation of hostility.”
The riding I represent was settled in the latter part of that century; indeed, in 1799, some several years after John Graves Simcoe had left Ontario. It was settled by the people called the Pennsylvania Dutch; and this represented an extension and encouragement of Simcoe’s policy of developing immigration by Loyalist persons from the United States.
Certainly the forebears of the people who have settled in the Kitchener area made their way from Pennsylvania in search of peace. As good farmers and artisans they preferred the guarantees of British protection as well as the right to be exempt from military service and the bearing of arms as their religious background wished. These people wrested from the forest some of the very best agricultural land in Ontario, and I think the development of those early years is an important reminder of the kind of framework of government which was established during the five sessions of Simcoe’s Parliament.
As has been referred to, one of the first anti-slavery Acts came from that Parliament, as did a major reform of the Judicature Act. While the Legislative Assembly and Council was composed in a much different fashion than it is today, many of the problems were the same. Indeed, Marcus Van Steen wrote as follows: “Simcoe expressed himself as well satisfied with the first Parliament. He found the members zealous, at times overzealous, especially when it came to spending money.”
Mr. Conway: Listen to this, Bill.
Mr. Breithaupt: This government certainly has not changed in that attitude as we remember the works of the earliest of the Tories and deal now with the latter-day ones.
Mr. Conway: What do you think of that, Bill?
Mr. Breithaupt: By recognizing this August holiday as Simcoe Day, I think we would be recognizing as well the contributions of all of those early settlers and administrators. It was their hard work and perseverance that began to carve Ontario from the forest; settlements were established and farm lands cleared against great odds and with great hardships. Roads were built where none existed and outposts were set up in what was, even though somewhat more peaceful than many other parts of North America, in effect a wilderness. The basis for commerce and for the government which we have today, was built from that beginning.
Simcoe Day, I believe, would help to pay tribute not only to John Graves Simcoe but also particularly to his many contemporaries -- not necessarily of English, Irish or Scottish background, but indeed many of whom were immigrants from Europe and immigrants with a Loyalist tradition from the United States. These are the pioneers who require recognition, and we can certainly do it by placing on the name of this day the name of the man who was given the first responsibilities of being governor of this newly developing colony as it then was.
As our neighbours to the south salute their 200th birthday, they are often very anxious to recognize many of their historic figures, and indeed many of those figures have much less claim to recognition from time to time than do the persons who we overlook over the years. Certainly this is an opportune time to recognize the pioneers of Ontario, and I would urge the House to approve, and for the government to consider the recognition of our first Monday holiday in August to be named in honour of the first governor of the province, and indeed in memory of the earliest pioneers, as Simcoe Day.
Mr. Conway: God save the Queen.
Mr. Speaker: Just before the hon. member for Dufferin-Simcoe starts, the hon. member for Haldimand-Norfolk indicated he had about a 30-second or one-minute contribution to make, so perhaps we might split it. However, the hon. member for Dufferin-Simcoe first.
Mr. McCague: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I would just like to rise in support of the continuing efforts of the member for Simcoe East (Mr. G. E. Smith) to have the name of Civic Holiday changed to Simcoe Day. I am sure the members on this side, and those opposite, recognize the importance of Simcoe county to this province, and they have already spoken of his contribution to the province as a whole. I just would like to remind the member for Port Arthur (Mr. Foulds) that even though the politics of John Graves Simcoe might not have suited him I think it might have been well if we were to --
Mr. Foulds: I never mentioned that.
Mr. McCague: -- honour someone whose politics are still very much alive.
Mr. Speaker: The hon. member for Haldimand-Norfolk.
Mr. Foulds: That was a very short speech.
Mr. Conway: He doesn’t know where they are alive?
Mr. G. I. Miller: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. It is a privilege for me to rise to take part in the debate this afternoon. I would like to make it known that I did send the bill back to my riding for a feedback, to my six area municipalities and the regional municipality of Haldimand-Norfolk. The following resolution came back from the region:
“Moved by: Lorna J. D. Miller, town of Haldimand; and seconded by Vern Partridge, township of Delhi:
“That the council of the regional municipality of Haldimand-Norfolk support the bill introduced in the Ontario Legislature which proclaims ‘Simcoe Day’ in place of the old name Civic Holiday.”
I might add that a PS at the bottom says: “I trust that when this bill is presented before the House, it will be favourably received.”
Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Speaker: Do any other hon. members wish to speak to this bill?
Mr. Foulds: On a point of personal privilege, Mr. Speaker: The member for Dufferin-Simcoe said that I attacked the politics of the colonel. I don’t recall doing so at any point in my remarks.
Mr. Norton: Cheap point of order.
Mr. Foulds: The other thing I would like to correct, there are three provincial ridings honouring Col. Simcoe.
Mr. Speaker: This order of business is discharged. It being now 6 o’clock I shall leave the chair and resume at 8 o’clock.
The House recessed at 6 p.m.