The House met at 2 p.m.
Mr. Speaker: Just before we call for ministerial statements, I will recognize the member for Renfrew North.
Mr. Conway: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. It is with a great deal of personal sadness that I rise today to report to this House that during the most recent part of the summer recess my predecessor, Mr. Maurice Hamilton, died very tragically in Round Lake, Ontario. I think that all members of this House will want to join with me today in extending to the Hamilton family our very deep and heartfelt sympathy on this irreparable loss of a man who served his country, his Parliament and his constituency through simplicity and fidelity with a great deal of honour over a long and distinguished career.
Mr. Speaker: Statements by the ministry.
Mr. Lewis: I have a question of the Premier. Was it his intention to accede to the requests which have been made to the government by telegram and hand-delivered letters in the last 24 hours to have the provincial anti-inflation legislation go before a standing committee of the Legislature so that the various groups as yet unconsulted in these last nine or 10 months can be heard?
Hon. Mr. Davis: It was the thought of the government that when second reading is approved, and I assume from the opposition leader’s question that it will get to the committee stage and that he has decided to support it on second reading, which I find to be extremely encouraging --
Hon. Mr. Davis: -- because it’s an indication of a degree of responsibility by that party that I really hadn’t expected.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Hon. Mr. Davis: While we’re very interested in the views of those groups that are obviously affected, it is also relevant to point out to the Leader of the Opposition that these same groups during the fall months made their points of view known to members of this House, certainly to the government, and some of them to myself. I really don’t see any useful purpose in having these views restated before a standing committee. I think they all know about and clearly understand though they do not agree with the existing federal legislation. They know what function the AIB has and has discharged so that really the issue that this House has to determine is the agreement being ratified in the manner that the government is suggesting. A debate as to the effect on the public sector is something that has been understood by people in the public sector, including the teaching profession, They’ve made representations to the federal government as members of local boards or employees of local boards,
I see no purpose in having it go to the standing committee. It would be better discussed here in committee of the whole House. I would say if there are any present here in the gallery, if they have any new points of view that they wish the government to consider between now and, say, 2 o’clock tomorrow, if there is something new that hadn’t already been discussed -- and it was discussed here at some length during the fall, if memory serves me correctly -- then I would personally be delighted to receive them. I think it’s fair to assume that their point of view is that they would like a provincial board.
I have read the OSSTF memorandum, or bulletin or what have you. This is a point of view that they held last fall which was debated here and which was discussed with them. While we would like to have any additional input and any new thoughts they might have, I think the intent of the government certainly at this moment is to have it go to committee of the whole House because we have discussed those issues at some length and this knowledge has been available to members of the public sector for at least six or seven months.
OMBUDSMAN’S REPORT ON PICKERING
Mr. Lewis: I have a further question of the Premier, if I may. What does he intend to do about, how does he intend to respond to, or how quickly would he reveal his views to the Legislature on the Ombudsman’s Pickering report?
Hon. Mr. Davis: As is suggested under the legislation, I received a copy of a report from the Ombudsman in the latter part of last week. I must confess to the members of the House that I was enjoying -- I don’t know whether that’s the right terminology -- I was taking a few days’ holiday. While the report itself is not that lengthy --
Mr. Lewis: Most of us were holidaying until the Premier pulled this House into session.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I understand the Leader of the Opposition was enjoying a holiday, and I’m delighted to see him here looking so refreshed.
Mr. Reid: I trust the Premier has given his lawyers a few holidays, permanently.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Hon. Mr. Davis: It is not just the report itself, I think there are some very basic policy considerations inherent in that report. It’s something I cannot assess, nor will I assess, lightly. I am meeting with the Ombudsman tomorrow morning, as a matter of fact, as a preliminary to having some discussion with him, because I think the implications are beyond, shall we say, the Pickering situation. It’s the kind of thing that I just cannot assess in a matter of 24 hours, or say read it in 15 minutes and say it’s an excellent report after that very close perusal. I am one of those, I must confess, Mr. Speaker, who has to think this through very carefully, and it is with that thought in mind that I am meeting the Ombudsman tomorrow morning.
Mr. Lewis: Supplementary: Since it would surely be unthinkable that that excellent document of the Ombudsman -- which some of us have read line by line and thought quite devastating in its critique -- should not be dealt with while this House is in session now on an emergency basis, can we have an undertaking from the Premier that his decision will be known before we recess, or sufficiently in advance of this next recess so that we may raise it through other avenues if need be?
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I can’t give any undertaking to members of the House until I have had a discussion with the Ombudsman tomorrow morning. I think it would be presumptuous of me to give any sort of commitment before that meeting takes place.
Mr. Singer: Supplementary: Would it not be reasonable to put the report on the order paper for debate so that within the next two or three days we could debate it even without the Premier having to come to any conclusions on it, bearing in mind that if we don’t debate it now it is unlikely that this Legislature is going to be able to debate it for perhaps two or three months, and it is a matter, to my mind at least, of the utmost public importance?
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I understand The member for Wilson Heights’ interest in this report. We share a similar interest in the report. Maybe our assessment or point of view may not be exactly the same, but I think all members of the House are interested in it. I am interested in some of the broader implications inherent in the report. I am interested that it not be treated in any partisan fashion, because this government believes in the integrity of the Ombudsman’s office. That, to me, is very basic, very fundamental, and I think it would be unfortunate if it were to become part of what would emerge as being a partisan consideration. That, to me, really undermines the concept and the position of the Ombudsman and I for one would like to find resolutions to this problem without that situation developing.
I would say with respect to the member for Wilson Heights, having listened to and read some of the observations already made, that the possibility of that happening is there. I think it is important if we are concerned and genuinely concerned about the position of the Ombudsman -- I’m staying away from personalities -- if we are interested in his office functioning in the interests of the people of this province, then we have to act responsibly.
I say with respect, Mr. Speaker, that I think this matter -- the implications of that report, how it is handled, how it is treated -- is one that is of great importance. So I would say to the member for Wilson Heights that I cannot at this time undertake that it will be on the order paper for a debate of the members of this House. I think that once again, it would be presumptuous of me to do this before my discussions with the Ombudsman tomorrow.
Mr. Roy: Supplementary: Knowing all of our concerns about not getting involved in partisan aspects dealing with the Ombudsman’s office, would the Premier not think it wise that maybe he should have talked to the Minister of Housing (Mr. Rhodes) and maybe curtailed some of his comments in relation to the report if the Premier wants to stay away from any partisan approach to that?
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I have read what my colleague, the Minister of Housing, has said. I have read parts of the Ombudsman’s press conference, the part that has disappointed me somewhat, and I don’t say this in a critical sense, because I understand how the public and the media can react to situations. In many respects the areas of agreement between the ministry and the Ombudsman are greater than the areas that some people have described as differences.
As I recall what the Minister of Housing has said, the ministry has accepted certain parts of that report. The discussion really is as to how and what vehicle is used to see that equity is done, equity in terms of the 44 individuals who are named in the report, equity in terms of the public and our responsibility to the general public and to find a vehicle that accommodates both those objectives.
As I say, I’m a little disappointed that when there are some areas of agreement, and there were, that really what I had read, listened to and had seen really concentrated on what might be described as variations or areas where there was not an acceptance. I am saying that perhaps we’re really discussing a vehicle rather than a principle, although I can’t identify that at this point until I have had my discussions with the Ombudsman himself.
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: Ask me.
Mr. Cassidy: He took on the Ombudsman head on.
Hon. Mr. Davis: No, he didn’t.
Mr. Roy: Your vehicles are irrelevant now, John.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. The Leader of the Opposition.
Mr. Lewis: How did the Premier start with vehicles and end with principles? That was an amazing feat, even for his circumlocution; extraordinary. The last 24 hours have trained him well.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Certainly it was a principle vehicle. You have used principle vehicles all your life -- or unprincipled vehicles.
Mr. Lewis: May I ask the Minister of Housing: In his dispassionate and objective critique of the Ombudsman’s report on Pickering he indicated that he had same alternative evidence to show that his position was in fact one-sided and lacking in overall perspective; when is he going to table that evidence before the Legislature, or when is he going to give us the material from the Ministry of Housing which disputes the Ombudsman’s evidence?
Mr. Shore: Don’t answer that, Mr. Rhodes.
Mr. Ruston: Don’t ask the Attorney General.
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: Mr. Speaker, I think I indicated at the time the press asked that question that this material would be presented at the inquiry that I propose to deal with those 44 particular cases.
Mr. Cassidy: That’s not good enough.
Mr. Lewis: By way of supplementary, since the minister puts it so specifically assertively now, do I take it that he still insists the inquiry will be the route and the Premier is meeting with the Ombudsman tomorrow morning to deliver the directive?
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: Mr. Speaker, I have indicated, I think very clearly, both in my statement and since, that it is my intention as I have said to make that proposal to my colleagues as a route to handle the situation as reflected in the Ombudsman’s report.
I’ve also indicated that my proposal has not necessarily been accepted by the Premier or my colleagues. That has not been discussed, and at the present time the matter is to be discussed between the Ombudsman and the Premier as is provided for within the Ombudsman’s Act.
Mr. Nixon: Two ministers to be fired.
Mr. Singer: Does the minister’s report to the Premier imply any new or different system that the province might use in acquiring land in places like Pickering, or South Milton, or Ottawa, or anywhere else?
Mr. Lewis: Haldimand-Norfolk?
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: Mr. Speaker, I have not indicated any alternative. I did say at the press conference that I held concerning the report that I felt that perhaps in the areas where we are acquiring large tracts of land, such as the North Pickering project, it would be better to go directly to expropriation. That, of course, would not necessarily find great favour in the eyes of certain members of the opposition -- not the least of whom is the member for Wilson Heights.
Mr. Singer: Mr. Speaker, on a point of privilege, the gratuitous insult that just emanated from the minister indicates his ignorance, and if he’d read the debates on South Milton he would see what was very strongly advocated in that regard and resisted by his colleague, the former Minister of Housing.
Mr. Speaker: That is not a point of privilege.
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: Mr. Speaker, on that particular point, I wish to assure the hon. member I would never insult him gratuitously.
An hon. member: He’s going to need a good lawyer.
Mr. Cassidy: Supplementary: Since the minister is so emphatic about the existence of this alternative and mysterious evidence which contradicts what the Ombudsman has brought forward, can he explain why he declined repeated offers from the Ombudsman to submit that evidence and to have it published without change in the Ombudsman’s report on Pickering?
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: First of all, Mr. Speaker, the Ombudsman at no time made repeated offers. The Ombudsman did suggest very early in the preparation of his material that should the ministry wish to offer any rebuttal or any particular information that the ministry could provide, it would be attached to his report in the form of an addendum. We waited until we had draft material presented to us by the Ombudsman’s office and discussions that were held as provided for in the Act.
At that time it became evident that the situation was such that anything that we would say or prepare would not in any way alter the direction in which the report was going. I couldn’t see it as being equitable to the people of the ministry, who were being rather severely attacked, to put an addendum to the report when none of the material would have been used in any way to qualify the position that the Ombudsman was taking. So, at my direction, the staff was directed not to prepare the material to be included in his report.
We would not have had adequate time, I suggest. The initial amount of time given to me was about 10 days.
Mr. Cassidy: You were offered more time.
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: I was offered 10 days originally, in the original material presented to me; 10 days to answer that sort of material which was prepared over a period of six to eight months, and I didn’t attempt to do it.
Mr. Sargent: It would take 10 days to cover up.
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: To cover up what --
Mr. Sargent: To cover up the whole mess.
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: -- your shopping plaza?
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
PROPOSED NATIONAL PARK AT GRASSY NARROWS
Mr. Lewis: I have one last question, if I may. Can the Provincial Secretary for Resources Development report on the ministerial conference that was held about Grassy Narrows and Whitedog and specifically about the proposal for the national park and what implications it may have for the closing of the river system?
Hon. Mr. Irvine: I would be pleased to report on the meeting we had on Friday with the ministers of the federal government, who were the hon. Judd Buchanan, the hon. Marc Lalonde and the hon. Mr. LeBlanc, Minister of the Environment. With me I had my colleagues, the Chairman of Cabinet (Mr. Brunelle), the Minister of Health (Mr. F. S. Miller), the Minister of the Environment (Mr. Kerr), the Minister of Natural Resources (Mr. Bernier) and the Attorney General (Mr. McMurtry). Besides that we had representatives --
Mr. Ruston: Don’t take advice from him.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Mr. Speaker: The hon. minister.
Mr. Singer: Who advises you?
Mr. Reid: From the Supreme Court to Kenora.
Hon. Mr. Irvine: It just shows that the Attorney General is very sensitive to everyone’s needs, that’s all.
Hon. Mr. Irvine: To go on, I would like to say that besides that we had representation from the various native bands in the area, plus the Indian brotherhood and some of their associates. We had representatives from two of the tourist associations. We had a meeting which went for one hour at which all were present that I have named. We discussed the various problems as related to the native bands, to the private enterprise organizations, to the federal government’s responsibilities and to the provincial government’s responsibilities.
After that, we had a meeting between the federal government representatives and ourselves. At that time, following about one hour or one hour and a half’s discussion, we decided that the appropriate umbrella to use to handle this particular problem was for us to recommend to each cabinet that the proposal which had been previously suggested by Mr. Buchanan be accepted in principle, and we as ministers are going to propose this to our cabinet tomorrow. I have had the undertaking from Mr. Buchanan that he also will proceed as quickly as possible to have his cabinet consider the proposal. The deadline set was for the end of July, so that the native people would not be kept waiting. I was quite encouraged at the time as everyone seemed to be willing to co-operate to resolve a long outstanding situation.
As to the second portion of the question, I am not at this time able to give specifics because there are very many areas to be discussed at length and discussed immediately after a decision has been made. If the federal government will proceed as they have indicated they wish to, if we accept their proposal, then I will be delighted to report to the House as to what happens in the meetings after that.
Mr. Stokes: Supplementary: Is the minister aware that there have been ongoing negotiations for the last four years between the federal and the provincial governments with regard to the establishment of Pukaskwa National Park with no agreement signed yet? Does he anticipate the same kind of delays in establishing a park in treaty No. 3 area, and what kind of economic spill-off is going to satisfy the social and the economic needs of 700 native people in the area?
Hon. Mr. Irvine: I am certainly aware of the proposal as my colleague, the Minister of Natural Resources, is also. It’s a much different proposal than what we are considering at the present time. I think what we have to recognize is that there is an interprovincial jurisdictional matter which we must consider very carefully, but I don’t want at this time, until it is accepted by both governments, to get into any specifics. I would be delighted to bring them out in the open once we have agreed in principle.
Mr. S. Smith: I have a question for the Premier. In view of the fact that since the Legislature adjourned last month there have been events which have tended to give extremists an opportunity to express opinions regarding Canada’s official language policy -- opinions which do not in fact reflect the opinions of the majority of responsible people in the country -- and in view of the central position of Ontario in Confederation, would the Premier consider reinstituting the Confederation of Tomorrow Conference, as conceived by his predecessor, which I think did a lot when it was convened to give new leadership to cultural principles embraced in this country?
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I’m not contemplating convening a Confederation of Tomorrow Conference. This province is prepared to consider what I think is fairly basic to the future of this country, and that is the question of patriation of the Constitution. I think I made it clear to members of this House as to the position of this government with respect to that matter, and I anticipate that this will be discussed by the other Premiers at the annual Premiers’ conference in Alberta in August.
I think that to go beyond that at this stage would not serve any useful purpose. I think there is some hope -- and I qualify it by saying “some hope” -- that certain progress will be made at that conference and that, in turn, there will be further discussions with the Prime Minister of Canada and his colleagues with respect to constitutional matters. But I could not say to the hon. member at this point that I contemplate convening a Confederation of Tomorrow Conference.
I think that was excellent at the time. I think a lot has happened since that time and I’m not going to comment on it one way or the other in terms of what has happened and the situation that we face today, but I really question as to whether any useful purpose would be served, particularly when the Prime Minister has made it, I think, quite clear as to the policy of the government of Canada and also his own personal views, and I assume he speaks for the government with respect to patriation and reform of our Constitution.
Mr. S. Smith: By way of supplementary, Mr. Speaker, would the Premier not agree that repatriation of the Constitution aside, just the question of the language policy of this country has recently dome in for the kind of commentary which can only be described as extremist, and intolerance seems to have become more legitimate than it should be, and would the Premier not agree that as Premier of a great province such as Ontario, he could show leadership which would be encouraging to our own francophone population in this province and to the anglophone minority in Quebec by showing that men of goodwill, decent people, are basically moderate and that it is time to rethink how we’re going to accomplish the bilingualism that I’m sure he shares the desire for in this particular country?
Mr. Samis: He doesn’t designate the province.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I think that we have provided within the province that kind of leadership and a programme that, by and large, has been acceptable.
Mr. Cassidy: The mayor of Hull doesn’t think so. He went to jail because of it.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I think, Mr. Speaker, to presume once again to assume the responsibilities of the government of Canada would not serve any useful purpose. I like to think that all men in public life -- and women, excuse me -- are people of moderation and goodwill. We will find that out in the next two or three days as to whether or not my assessment is accurate or not, but I would like to believe that.
Mr. Roy: If I may ask the Premier a supplementary: Given his position today in response to my leader’s question about the problem of the pivotal role played by Ontario and the fact he feels that such a conference, at least on his initiative, could not be called at this time, does he not feel it important in the light of his latest comment’s about the leadership that should be given in this field by Ontario, that at least Ontario continue to give leadership in this field, and that given some of the events of late, not dealing with the air controllers’ strike, it will be hard to convince certain people of the leadership that he says he is providing in this field, especially for instance the mayor of Hull who had to go to jail because he could not get a bilingual summons in the national capital?
Hon. Mr. Handleman: It came from the RCMP.
Mr. Cassidy: From the Ontario courts, it came.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I find certain isolated situations that are regrettable, but I’m saying that on balance we adopted a policy -- I can recall the implications of it in the field of education in particular because I was very directly involved -- that has by and large been acceptable, that has been moderate, that has been done without a great deal of public fanfare, and I think there has been a degree of acceptance here internally that is encouraging.
I recognize the particular point being raised by the hon. member. I think it is unfortunate that he would raise what I believe is an isolated situation which would, in his view perhaps, attack the overall programme and the objectives of the government which I think have gone relatively well.
Mr. Cassidy: Not universal in Ottawa.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. Could we keep the question short instead of a long dissertation? Thank you.
Mr. Roy: Yes, I will. Just in response to the Premier, when he says “an isolated situation,” I know they want to inflame the situation but the fact is that there are 22 people who have gone to jail.
Mr. Speaker: Your supplementary question?
Mr. Roy: Will you comment on that situation?
Hon. Mr. Davis: I am informed by the Attorney General (Mr. McMurtry) that that situation is in the process of resolution.
RADIOACTIVITY AT PORT HOPE
Mr. S. Smith: A question for the Minister of the Environment: In view of the decision of the Atomic Energy Control Board last week ordering Eldorado to seek an alternative permanent dumping site for radioactive waste, and ordering an end to dumping at Port Granby by January, what steps is the minister taking to assist in the location of another site, and what steps in particular are being taken to protect the interests of Ontario residents? Is the minister involving himself in the studies ordered by the AECB to establish whether radioactive material is being leached into Lake Ontario?
Hon. Mr. Kerr: Mr. Speaker, we are continuously monitoring any leaching from the Port Granby site. My information is that there is no danger from that site as far as the quality of the water is concerned in Lake Ontario at that location. As far as the decision of the AECB is concerned we are, of course, happy with that decision and also the conditions that were attached to the decision.
The intergovernmental committee that has been set up now for about three months, chaired by my deputy minister, will be working in an attempt to find an alternate site -- which, of course, is the prime responsibility of the company, but there is no reason why that committee will not continue to attempt to find an alternate site. However, at the present time its prime responsibility and priority is to find a site to dispose of the nuclear waste that is in Port Hope, and which I understand is being stored on the company property in a warehouse at the present time. That is the prime responsibility -- to find a site for that waste -- and then, of course, we will deal with the matter referred to by the hon. member.
Mr. S. Smith: By way of supplementary, regarding the waste that the minister refers to from Port Hope, can he confirm that the estimate of the total waste in that area that’s radioactive has climbed to close to a quarter of a million cubic yards? If, in fact, he can confirm that, can he explain how that material got spread around the town? Is he sticking to his original story that it was removed by residents without authorization?
Hon. Mr. Kerr: That was one of the situations -- one or two of the situations. I think the main reason it was spread around the town is that there wasn’t the knowledge that we have today as to the degree of radioactivity.
I am sorry, I forgot the first part of the hon. member’s supplementary.
Mr. S. Smith: The amount.
Hon. Mr. Kerr: The amount has been estimated in various amounts. They are strictly guesstimates. There are about 100 sites -- 100 homes in the area, 100 locations in the area -- that are found to have high readings of radioactivity and which will be involved in removal and are being involved in removal at this time.
Mr. Moffatt: Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask the minister if he, or his ministry rather, has submitted a list of alternative sites to the commission and to the Atomic Energy Control Board for the disposal of that material?
Hon. Mr. Kerr: No, the committee that I referred to -- which membership includes the company and the Atomic Energy Control Board, as well as at least two federal ministries and two provincial ministries -- has decided on about four or five sites. They are properties owned by the federal government and it is my understanding that they are outside the immediate area, so one of those sites will be chosen.
Mr. Peterson: Is the minister prepared to tell the House quite specifically what standards he is using for radon gas levels -- how many picocuries per litre in a school situation or a house situation? To the best of my information, he has never filed those numbers specifically and no one knows yet what standards he feels are appropriate.
Mr. Speaker: The question has been asked on this.
Hon. Mr. Kerr: As far as drinking water is concerned, it’s three picocuries per litre. The Atomic Energy Control Board really has been studying the standards and those standards are acceptable to us. I would have to get those for the hon. member. It would take me another 10 minutes to read the various degrees and standards that our ministry is following for earth, for example, as well as water -- emissions and things like that. I would be happy to give that to the hon. member.
CABINET DECISION ON BURLINGTON DEVELOPMENT
Mr. S. Smith: Could the Premier explain why the cabinet, after sitting on this matter for four years, has recently decided to give the go-ahead to a development in East Burlington, 6.7 acres of lakeshore property, when a provincially-funded study indicates that Burlington already has limited only 11 per cent of its shoreline for public access and recommends a much higher percentage for the public? Does the Premier place any importance at all on the allegation that the developer in question has recently made a maximum donation, even while the matter was under appeal to the cabinet, to the campaign of the member for Burlington South, the hon. Minister of the Environment?
Hon. Mr. Davis: I regret the last part of that question and I would hope the hon. member --
Mr. Good: Deny it.
Mrs. Campbell: Deny it.
Hon. Mr. Davis: -- for Hamilton West would very carefully consider that part of his question.
Mr. Cassidy: Do you deny it?
Hon. Mr. Davis: I would say that cabinet deals with appeals. If the hon. member wishes to ask the chairman of that committee, the Minister of Revenue (Mr. Meen), as to the rationale for cabinet decisions, that’s fine. I would ask the member for Hamilton West to very carefully consider the latter part of his question.
Mr. S. Smith: By way of supplementary, could the Premier elaborate on what he means by carefully consider? Does he, for instance, consider it appropriate that while a matter of development is on appeal at the cabinet it is an appropriate measure to offer a cabinet minister a political donation?
Hon. Mr. Kerr: Why didn’t you ask me the question?
Hon. Mr. McKeough: Get out of the gutter.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I don’t want to prolong this, but if the member for Hamilton West is suggesting that a contribution was made to the Minister of the Environment while a matter was under consideration by cabinet with the anticipation that would influence the Minister of the Environment, then I say he should have the intestinal fortitude to get up and make that accusation because that’s the only interpretation --
Mr. S. Smith: I didn’t say that.
Hon. Mr. Davis: -- one can gain from that question.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Mr. S. Smith: On a point of privilege, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. I might point out to all members that it’s improper to impute motives, either directly or indirectly, in this chamber, and if such motives --
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. Does the hon. member for Hamilton West have further questions?
Mr. Bullbrook: On a point of order, there was no imputation of motive and you know it.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. I think if you will read the Hansard --
Mr. Bullbrook: A motive was imputed by the Premier.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. I suggested if there was a motive imputed, either direct or indirect, it is improper. I am not saying that there was one but I just point that out as a warning. Does the hon. member for Hamilton West have any further questions?
Mr. S. Smith: No, I have no further questions.
STRIKE AT WINDSOR K-MART
Mr. Bounsall: Before I place my question to the Minister of Labour, I wish to compliment her on her very attractive summer attire. Having said that, will the minister involve herself directly to help resolve the strike between members of Local 705, Canadian Food and Allied Workers, and two large K-Mart department stores in Windsor, which has now gone on for six weeks, particularly inasmuch as 95 per cent of the 300 employees are women and the main issue is the very basic one of job security only?
Hon. B. Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, I shall most certainly investigate this particular dispute with the anticipation that we will be able, within the ministry, to find some reasonable avenue to assist in finding a solution for it. I have become involved rather personally in several disputes recently and it is a possibility that I may do so in this one, but I cannot commit myself at this time.
Mr. Bounsall: Supplementary: Mindful of the fact that this group of employees is seeking its first contract, and that it is the first store of K-Mart in Ontario in which employees have attempted to be organized, will the minister now very seriously consider introducing legislation providing for the imposition of first contracts in these situations, which of course would include, automatically, job security clauses and would materially aid in ending the exploitation of women in our work force?
Hon. B. Stephenson: I am sure the amendments to the Labour Relations Act of last year went a good distance toward removing some of the inequities which did occur in the establishment of a first contract. This matter is under review by the ministry at the moment. I am hoping that in the fall session of the Legislature we shall have some remarks to make about it or some actions to bring before the House.
I really would like to say that I believe the exploitation of women workers in this province has, in fact, decreased considerably in the last several years. It is not entirely removed as yet, and I believe that it’s primarily a social problem rather than an employer’s problem. If the attitudes of some of the males in this province, and across this country, would change dramatically, we would have much less exploitation. And that attitude, I would like you to know, is not limited to any specific party. It happens to be universal; particularly in that party, that party and occasionally even in this one.
Mr. Martel: You have to really change the law.
PUBLIC HEALTH NURSES’ NEGOTIATIONS
Mr. O’Neil: Mr. Speaker, I hope because I’m asking another question of the Minister of Labour I won’t be looked down upon because I’m male.
I wonder if the minister could tell us what her ministry is doing in regard to the repeated requests by the Ontario public health nurses that they be granted the right to compulsory arbitration? Could she also report to the Legislature on what is being done to settle the many lockouts that exist between certain boards and nurses throughout the province?
Hon. B. Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, at the moment there are not many lockouts existing that have been established by the boards in the province. I believe there are five altogether out of 27 present disputes.
Mr. Good: Not many agreements.
Hon. B. Stephenson: However, at the moment we are still discussing, with both the Ontario Nurses’ Association and the association of the boards of health, the possibility of reaching negotiated settlements. We have established five mediation processes, which are either in action at the moment or will be within the next few days. There will be some discussions, even among the groups which are presently locked out and their employers, within the next couple of weeks as well. We are very hopeful that, in fact, the boards and the nurses together will find a solution to this present set of negotiations. They have both promised they are willing to sit down with us, after this set of negotiations is completed, to examine their problems in order to try to find a better route for solution to this recurring dispute between boards of health and public health nurses.
Mr. Good: Is it correct, then, to assume the minister has completely ruled out legislation that would require compulsory arbitration?
Hon. B. Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, it would be entirely erroneous to say that we’ve ruled not anything at all at the moment. We are trying to find avenues which are equitable for both patties; and that may in fact be legislation at some point in the future, it is not ruled out.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please; order.
DUNDAS PUC INQUIRY
Mr. Deans: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Minister of Energy. What advice, counselling or direction did he give to the town council of Dundas with regard to the recent investigation which he carried out into the PUC?
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: As the hon. member well knows, I have written to the administrative clerk of the town of Dundas answering council’s resolution. It is now up to council to release that letter and deal with the course of action that I suggested to them.
Mr. Deans: A supplementary question: Since the council have made it apparent to everyone that they are unable to proceed themselves due to personal relationships among the council members, can the minister tell us whether he did recommend any course of action to be followed? Why is he reluctant to release publicly that which he was asked to look into?
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, there is no reluctance for the information to be made public. I understand the council is meeting on either July 17 or 19. According to the press reports which I have seen from the Hamilton and Dundas areas, the letter will be tabled before council at that time and council will work on it. I have seen no indication that council will be unable to deal with the matter, although the hon. member has suggested that some personal relationships will prevent this.
Mr. Deans: The minister makes it very difficult.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Undoubtedly it’s always difficult, whether a member of the council, the Legislature or the federal Parliament deal with problem areas, but they have the capacity.
Mr. Cunningham: Given the confusion that relates to this whole problem with the Dundas PUC, does the minister not think it would be appropriate to establish an interim public utilities commission, or a board there, to serve between now and the next election so that some sort of leadership might take place in this particular area, given that the current members are so deeply involved in this?
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: First of all, the hon. member seems to have already tried and convicted certain people without any process of law at all.
Mr. Cunningham: They have only admitted it.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: I understand that the two sergeants of the regional police force investigating the matter have completed that study. They have turned the material over to the Crown attorney for the region. It is now, therefore, in his hands and it is his prerogative to decide whether, in fact, charges will be laid and, if so, against whom and for what. Put that aside; it is in good hands.
As far as the commission is concerned, first of all the member will know that there is a restructuring study under way -- or he should know if he reads the local press -- for the region of Hamilton-Wentworth. As soon as that study is completed, and they have made the decisions at the local level as to whether it will be a series of local utilities or a regional utility, they will then file that report with Ontario Hydro, which will then make recommendations to me. I have told them that as soon as that is completed -- and in their interests, obviously, the sooner the better -- then I will bring a bill to this House.
Mr. Sargent: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Minister of Health. Since he has proven conclusively that his hospital closing programme was all political --
Mr. Ruston: And illegal.
Mr. Sargent: -- and since that has been acknowledged by some of his colleagues, and now that he has had another addition to a hospital in his area, plus a new hospital in his riding, and we have chaos and cutbacks all over the province in hospitals, and now that the courts have ruled against the government, what is the position of these hospitals that the province has tried to close? Where do we stand now?
Mr. Ruston: What did he do with his own area hospital?
Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, I think that part of the question, at least, was incorrect. I was at the opening of a revised section of a hospital on Saturday in my riding. There was not even a single new wall. Some space that was previously a corridor was used, without any money from my ministry, either for capital or for operating.
Mr. Ruston: He will probably close them next year.
Mr. Cassidy: Do it yourself, eh?
Mr. Eakins: Where did the minister get the money?
Hon. Mr. Davis: Wintario funds.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Hon. F. S. Miller: It was one of those rare cases where I was glad to attend something and take no credit at all.
Mr. Lewis: But did they offer you anything?
Hon. F. S. Miller: They asked me to give money, as a matter of fact, as an individual. The member knows that the issue is before the courts. He also knows that the hospitals are being permitted to operate, and he knows that they have been given budgets roughly comparable to last year’s budgets until such time as the courts have ruled -- so they are all functioning.
Mr. Sargent: A supplementary.
Mr. Speaker: The question period has expired.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell tabled the annual report of the Ontario Energy Corp. for the period ended Dec. 31, 1975.
Mr. Speaker: Motions.
Introduction of bills.
POINT OF PRIVILEGE
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, before the introduction of the bill that this House has been called to discuss, I would like to rise on a point of personal privilege with respect to an undertaking which exists between myself and the member for Riverdale (Mr. Renwick), which has become publicly understood, I guess.
Mr. Breithaupt: Have the Attorney General (Mr. McMurtry) bring it over.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I want to make clear that this is a government that keeps its commitments, and I have in my hand here a plain brown envelope, which will be familiar to the member for Riverdale, as he deals with them rather regularly.
Mr. Cassidy: You should make it nine bucks for nine judges.
Hon. Mr. Davis: In it will be an amount not less than $1, nor will it be more than $1.10, under the Anti-Inflation Board guidelines. While members are exempt from the guidelines I guess, nonetheless I feel bound to stay within them.
I think it is also important, Mr. Speaker, to reaffirm that in my commitment to the member for Riverdale it is an indication of the commitment that we have as a government to the people of this province, which will be demonstrated conclusively by the Attorney General very shortly. I might also add that I asked no contribution to help in this from any of the law officers of the Crown, either provincially or federally.
I might further point out that I have made a very slight wager on a certain case involving the Philadelphia Flyers. I will not disclose to the House on whose side I am or what odds I have taken. Mr. Speaker, I want to deliver this to the member for Riverdale.
Mr. Renwick: Mr. Speaker, I willingly accept this most gracious donation. I did hope that we might meet in the centre of the House and that some photographer would take a picture of us for my campaign literature. In any event, in this time of restraint I can assure you that this money will be well and truly spent.
Mr. Lewis: Is it not possible for you to lose even a split decision?
Hon. Mr. Davis: All or nothing.
ANTI-INFLATION AGREEMENT ACT
Hon. Mr. McMurtry moved first reading of bill intituled, An Act to ratify the entering the entering into of an Agreement under the Anti-Inflation Act (Canada).
The House divided on the motion, which was approved on the following vote:
Johnston (St. Catharines)
Reid (Rainy River)
Smith (Hamilton Mountain)
Smith (Hamilton West)
Yakabuski -- 75.
Davison (Hamilton Centre)
Ziemba -- 34.
Clerk of the House: Mr. Speaker, the “ayes” are 75, the “nays” 34.
Motion agreed to; first reading of the bill.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Mr. Speaker, I think some of the members, at least, of this House are aware that the Supreme Court of Canada has held that the agreement between the government of Ontario and the government of Canada providing that the federal Anti-Inflation Act and the national guidelines shall apply to the provincial public sector is not effective without the authorization of the Legislature.
Mr. Moffatt: That’s a good lesson to learn.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: The Anti-Inflation Act and guidelines have been considered to apply to the provincial public sector and many actions and decisions have been taken under them. It continues to be the government’s policy to support the federal anti-inflation programme in its application to the provincial public sector. This bill is, therefore, necessary to preserve the uninterrupted operation of the programme and the actions and decisions taken in carrying it out.
Mr. Speaker: Orders of the day.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Hon. Mr. Welch: Mr. Speaker, with the consent of the House I’d like to make a motion.
Mr. Speaker: Agreed.
Hon. Mr. Welch moved that notwithstanding any previous order the House will meet tomorrow at 2 p.m.
Motion agreed to.
Mr. Reid: Why not 10?
Hon. Mr. Welch: Just before moving the adjournment of the House, I know that some of the members of the House will want an opportunity, now, to consider the legislation introduced by the Attorney General. We will commence second reading of that particular bill tomorrow afternoon after question period.
Mr. S. Smith: I have a point of order. Could the House leader please explain why we can’t meet tomorrow at 10 o’clock? Since we have all come back for this particular session, can we not get on with this business?
Mr. Lewis: Why don’t we start at midnight?
Mr. S. Smith: Didn’t the Leader of the Opposition agree to this?
Hon. Mr. Welch: Mr. Speaker, we did have meetings yesterday with the other House leaders and it was clearly understood that the official opposition wanted some opportunity to caucus on this legislation tomorrow morning.
Hon. Mr. Welch moved the adjournment of the House.
Motion agreed to.
The House adjourned at 3:30 p.m.