The House met at 10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker: Orders of the day.
Clerk of the House: The 10th order, resuming the adjourned debate on the motion for second reading of Bill 127, An Act to ratify the entering into of an Agreement under the Anti-Inflation Act (Canada).
ANTI-INFLATION AGREEMENT ACT (CONCLUDED)
Mr. Haggerty: I rise to enter the debate on second reading of Bill 127, An Act to ratify the entering into of an Agreement under the Anti-Inflation Act (Canada). The bill before the Legislature would not be necessary at this time if the Conservative government had listened instead of having a Treasurer (Mr. McKeough) who is so arrogant that he is always right and never wrong. No doubt the Premier (Mr. Davis) is obviously embarrassed by having to face the court decisions that have reversed cabinet decisions or orders in council on two occasions -- one on the closing of a number of hospitals, nine I believe -- the latest having been slapped down by the Supreme Court of Canada.
The Ontario government was wrong to impose federal wage and price controls provincially without the consent of the Legislature. Nine Supreme Court judges unanimously ruled against the provincial government. But the most important matter is that the court upheld the federal government’s anti-inflation programme on income guidelines and price guidelines for the next three years.
Both opposition leaders questioned the government’s motives last fall. The then leader of the Liberal Party, Robert Nixon, directed a question on Oct. 30, 1975. He asked why the government is not prepared to do in the Province of Ontario, beyond the marginal qualifications the Treasurer stated, what has been done in the Province of British Columbia in order to protect wage earners from excessive price increases. Most important, he advised the government that it was their responsibility to bring forth legislation by introduction of an Act to be debated and voted on by the Legislature which is totally responsible for administering the province’s affairs by an Act of this Parliament.
Also he said that we as Liberals support the measures of the federal government to control inflation and he tried to encourage the Conservative government to move in this direction of provincial responsibility similarly to British Columbia and Quebec.
The Liberal leader yesterday expressed the views that as provincial Liberals we are deeply concerned about the human social problems that are created by the high inflation that has been present, and more so in the last five years. He said we are concerned about the people who are on fixed incomes, the pensioners, the disabled, the unemployed, those who do not belong to unions, and those whose incomes have been seriously affected and who have less buying power.
I’m deeply concerned about the position taken by the NDP. It is a charade and shows shallowness in opposing the anti-inflation programme which we in Canada have already benefited by, perhaps not in too large a degree as yet, but noticeably in the consumer price index of just recently. If this continues, the controls will be removed that much sooner. In the United States the consumer price index has steadily increased almost to a point where the government will be looking for new measures to control inflation.
The NDP have shown an about-face in coming to grips with the problem of the anti-inflation programme. The leader of the NDP in his Throne speech of Nov. 3, 1975, is worth quoting. He said: “There isn’t a political party in this House that doesn’t want to face inflation frontally. I’m perfectly willing to admit that even our sister New Democratic provinces in western Canada are at sixes and sevens about the extent to which they should encourage the guidelines or respond to the guidelines. It’s entirely possible that British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, while expressing more profound reservations than Ontario will ever express, will not resist the federal application of the federal law in a frontal fashion because they understand the political realities as well. I concede that. The political reality that everyone in this country wants some response to the question of inflation.”
The then Liberal leader at that time introduced an amendment that this House regrets the failure of the government to accept its responsibilities to provide for the direct administration of the federal wage and price controls, which was not supported. by the NDP, but backed the government.
It’s interesting to continue with the quotes from Hansard. The House leader of the NDP spoke on Dec. 18, 1975. I’m sure the member for Ottawa East (Mr. Roy) touched on it yesterday but it is worthwhile repeating. The member for Wentworth (Mr. Deans) goes on to say: “I want to say I think that the people of Ontario are being better served now by this Legislature than they have been in modern history -- and I think there’s a lot yet to be done. I think the Legislature deserves the opportunity to do the kinds of things that will benefit so many people right across the province.
“What we have been able to do, over the last five or six weeks, is only an indication of what can be done by people who are committed, who understand the problems and who are not afraid to take positions and to fight for what they believe is right. This isn’t the time for posturing. This isn’t a time for petty political games. This isn’t the time for one-upmanship. [I don’t know what that means but it’s there.] This is a time for common sense.
“We are dealing with a Legislature that not only can but does produce legislation that is worthwhile. We like to think that we can participate in that. We like to think that over the course of the next few months we will be able to take part in the electoral process of the Province of Ontario, but only after every single avenue has been exhausted in terms of trying to find the solution to the many problems that confront the people that I represent -- that confront the people that most members here represent.
“So, it is for that reason that we cannot support the Liberal amendment. It is not because the Liberal amendment in itself is wrong. It is not because what they are asking for is wrong. It is not because of that at all. It is because we have to understand that this Legislature has a lot of work yet to be done.”
Listening to the debates yesterday, and particularly to the NDP, I would suggest that that is political posturing, which they are continuing with at the present time. There is no doubt about it -- union leaders are opposed to the wage and price controls. I can readily see why. In their position as the bargaining leaders or representing people at the bargaining table, if you are going to have controls set at eight per cent, 12 per cent, or 14 per cent, well then, who needs a union? I would be concerned about my job too.
I am not quite satisfied about the Treasurer’s statement where he said that if there are large profits to be made, then we will apply a surtax on to that. Well, that’s not fair taxation either, because what he is saying is let the industries or the businesses go out and gouge the consumer, and we will put another tax on; they won’t feather their nests again. Of course, we know what is happening in Ontario -- the leadership of the present Treasurer has brought many of the problems of inflation to the people of the province of Ontario.
There are a number of inequities in the measures to control inflation. I would like to quote some of the comments that I made some two years ago concerning the matter of inflation, when I was critical of the profit that the oil companies were making in Canada and perhaps throughout the United States. I said it was manufactured by a consortium of oil companies, the multinational corporations. I was quoting from a Royal Bank of Canada Newsletter. Too often I don’t agree with the Prime Minister of Canada, but in this particular instance where he has brought in controls to fight inflation, I have to agree with him.
I want to quote what I said then concerning the vice-president of the Royal Bank of Canada. He said: “Applying to business this principle of the basic need to survive, the deputy chairman and the executive vice-president of this bank said to the Canada-United Kingdom Chamber of Commerce in London in May, ‘Profit is an essential condition for the survival and growth of an enterprise. Profit is also, of course, the required incentive and reward to the providers of capital. Profit is also the most effective measure of an enterprise operation.’ Then he went on to speak of the second obligation: ‘If corporations are not seen to act, as they do not in fact act, in a socially responsible manner, then long-term survival can be threatened.’”
I think the Prime Minister of Canada has made a similar statement to that, that there are difficulties in Canada in the economic field, and if we perhaps don’t mend our ways our country is heading into difficulty.
Then the bank vice-president goes on to say in another paragraph: “We are fast reaching the point where the social and political climate almost everywhere in the world will make it increasingly necessary for businesses to justify their existence on grounds other than purely economic success expressed in terms of profit.”
I think that’s a comment that needs quite a bit of discussion. I think what he is indicating there is that where you have companies or corporations that are making a large profit, they must justify that profit.
There are a number of inequities in the anti-inflation programme, and you can go back and relate to the oil industry and to oil prices in Canada, where the companies have been given certain tax concessions over the years but they have also reaped a huge profit. You can relate it today to the problem that while the profit is just as great now, perhaps higher than it was two or three years ago, the industry is not putting it back into exploration.
We should learn our example from the United States. They pulled the same stunt or the same trick before the government of the United States took action some 10 years ago. We seem to follow in that sequence, that they are going to reap a huge profit here in Canada at the expense of the consumers. When I look at the profits that the consortium of oil companies is making today, I would suggest that the government should move in a direction to see that they can justify their profits.
I’m not against the corporation making a reasonable profit but it would seem that they can go out and gouge the public and I can sense this with the oil industry. I think government must move in some direction, perhaps with stronger terms, to see that they can justify their profits.
For this reason, Mr. Speaker, I support the bill before us today with the retroactive legislation. Without it, there would be chaos; a breakdown in our society; confrontation on the streets; a disaster; a loss of integrity; and respect for authority will be lost in Canada and in Ontario.
Mr. Shore: Mr. Speaker, I rise to discuss this subject and put forward a few comments to the House. I speak with some reservation because there is not a clear black and white situation in this matter. On the one hand, I have reservations, personally, on the whole concept of any type of control. I really do. On the other hand, I think I do not want to spend a great deal of time discussing history at this time. Many of the members from all parties have discussed that and I think we would be best served and better served if we just used history, particularly recent history, as a lesson and guideline for the future.
I believe it would be interesting, before I get into some of my specific comments, to say I hope that the government has learned a good lesson through this process. Probably more important even than wage and price controls is the concept of bringing back confidence in this Legislature. I truly believe that if that is failing, any benefits which may accrue from wage and price controls are secondary to what the purpose of this Legislature is.
I would also like to say that the hon. Attorney General (Mr. McMurtry) has been criticized substantially for getting wrong and bad legal advice, both from his advisers and, sometimes, even from himself. I’m sorry to see the Treasurer (Mr. McKeough) leave because I wish to reconfirm what I believe -- that the legal advice the Attorney General received was not from any lawyers but probably from the Treasurer of Ontario.
Mr. Ruston: Probably right there, too.
Mr. Shore: Maybe there is even some argument that the Treasurer is more capable of giving legal advice than financial advice; I don’t know.
Mr. Ruston: The way his deficits are, he should start giving legal advice.
Mr. Shore: At any rate, one gets what one pays for, as the old saying goes.
Mr. Sweeney: They didn’t get much.
Mr. Shore: Quite seriously, I believe we should be moving forward from today, recognizing the things we should have learned, not only the economic lessons but the political lessons and I have confidence that maybe we will. I think the future really is the test and I am going to be listening with great pride and great interest to what the leader of the official opposition is going to have to say on this subject, if he is going to show up to speak. I was also hoping that I could listen with great interest to what the 15 to 18 teachers in the NDP party may have to say on this subject but apparently in drawing the lots they lost them all, assuming their names went into the ring.
At any rate, it will be nice to hear the side effects of their talking.
Mr. Renwick: Are you speaking for the Chamber of Commerce?
Mr. Shore: I’m speaking, as you are, for the people of Ontario. The only difference is I have not got the wisdom that you have to know what’s going to happen in the future. You’re much greater than I am, Jimmy, and I respect that.
Mr. Ruston: I think I would differ with that.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. Would the hon. member -- please!
Mr. Shore: I don’t wish, Mr. Speaker, today -- sorry.
Mr. Speaker: May I just point out that you do not refer to a member by his name? If you could stick to the principle of the bill, I think the proceedings would go along much more smoothly. Thank you very much.
Mr. Shore: Thank you, Mr. Speaker, I appreciate those comments. The hon. member for Riverdale (Mr. Renwick) represents so many people that he can’t keep the figure in mind.
An hon. member: He doesn’t give me anything.
Mr. Shore: However, I think the issue is not whether the case was won 7 to 2 or 9 to 0 or anything like that. The issue should be, have we learned anything by it; can we do anything about it?
Mr. Renwick: That’s a good question to put to your party.
Mr. Shore: Did I wake you up a little bit there?
Mr. Moffatt: There’s nothing like a ludicrous statement to wake us up.
Mr. Shore: Right. I believe that, equally as much as it is important to reconfirm what has been done to date for the benefit of Ontario and the benefit of Canada, I think it is also important that we do something -- not just the Province of Ontario but this Legislature and this government, do something to try to plan intelligently the move toward when there will be no controls, because I am convinced totally that controls, albeit as necessary as they may have been and albeit maybe a freeze of some kind would have been better, in the long run for the people of this province and the people of this country, controls of any kind are not the answer. Solving problems is the answer.
I would suggest if the Treasurer really wants to use his talents, and the ministry and the government, and I believe they should and would, then their thrust should be in that direction. It reminds me of when I asked the question back in October, November and December: “What are we going to do about it? Do we know what we are getting into?” and the answer of the Treasurer was: “I will not buy a pig in a poke.” Well, to this day he may have bought a pig in a poke. That was the time to negotiate. It is not too late, but that was the time to negotiate what he truly believed was the right way for Canada to go. I have confidence that the government of Canada, or if not them then certainly the government of Ontario, had enough thrust and enough guts and enough power that they could have put before the government of Canada some of the direction that this machinery should take. You don’t put your thrust in after you have signed the piece of paper, you do it before you have signed it. Your negotiating powers have ceased to a great extent.
At the same time we are there and I think it is the right decision, but let’s not quit. This is the time for the Treasurer and all his colleagues and all his resource people and all the resources of this Legislature to try to convince and work with the government of Canada to come up with a plan to show the long-run effect for these people are not good and therefore to come up with a plan to show for the labour people, for the working people, for the industry, that it is not the best avenue, and let’s try to correct it.
Just putting it on and forgetting about it is not the answer, because we are going to wake up the same as on rent controls on Aug. 1, 1977, and what have we got? -- $13 million for rent controls. The Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations (Mr. Handleman) is proud to state that we saved $2 million. I don’t even know where he got that figure, but what I do know is that we will have spent $13 million.
I would like to continue. To me, the issue is the future. I believe there are two lines of thinking. If labour, government and everybody else is unhappy, some people will then think that something is working. I believe that the way we really know whether something is working and productive is when people are satisfied with it. I would like to wake up, I would like Ontario to wake up, I would like Canada to wake up. Where is our backbone, in my opinion? Why were we successful over many years with individual initiative and hard work and sacrifice? Why were we proud to say we did it on our own? Why were we proud to say that we helped those who need help? Why were we proud to say that we turned a profit? In the eyes of many people today -- the socialist people over there I can understand, but in many other people’s eyes -- you have to go in the bathroom to use the word “profit.” Why?
Mr. Germa: That’s a dirty word.
Mr. Shore: I ask you why? Why should we be afraid to take a risk and be successful? Why should we not have the fruits of that risk? There is something wrong. We have controls in now, Mr. Speaker, and we have seven per cent unemployment, we have double digit inflation. The controls are not going to solve the problem. Let’s get away from that area. Why have we the deficits that we have? I say to you, Mr. Speaker, let’s get back to what we really believe in. Let’s get back to where we discourage work -- or not discourage work, rather. Excuse me; I knew you would find that hilarious.
Mr. Eakins: You were speaking to the boys over there.
Mr. Shore: Let’s get back to where we encourage work, not discourage it. Let’s get back to where we encourage investment in talents and resources. Let’s get back to where we encourage profit, not discourage it. Let’s get back to where we encourage efficiency and not inefficiency.
Mr. Germa: Who wrote that?
Mr. Shore: We can do that. I say to you, Mr. Speaker, that if we don’t then we will have a serious problem. One doesn’t have to be brilliant to recognize many industries are in trouble; and I am not talking just thousands and thousands. I was at a rent review hearing the other day as a spectator -- and I would be glad to go for any other reason, too, incidentally; I am not going to stand here and be ashamed to be an owner, never. I was there as a spectator and do you know what I saw, Mr. Speaker? I saw a man who belongs to a labour union, God bless him, and who owns 10 rental units. I sat there and I couldn’t believe what I was seeing in Ontario. This man had saved up $15,000 or $20,000 and invested it in housing and was begging for the rent that he was asking for the units. I say to you, Mr. Speaker, there’s something wrong.
I was at a meeting last week in London, Ontario, with some owners, some landlords, some investors -- 85 to 100 people. They weren’t the Cadillac-size developers. Of the 100 people who were there, 15 of them were people who either own a duplex or a 10-, 20- or 50-unit building. They were people who had worked and saved. They were there because they had legitimate complaints. When are we going to wake up? I tell you, Mr. Speaker, you don’t have to be a genius, you don’t have to be the Treasurer of Ontario, you don’t have to be the Premier of Ontario to know people are leaving Ontario today by the hundreds. People in business say: “I have got to get out of here.” They are going to other parts of Canada.
Mr. Mackenzie: Malarkey.
Ms. Gigantes: Saskatchewan? Manitoba?
Mr. Shore: Worse than that -- Are you having a good time?
Mr. Mackenzie: Malarkey.
Mr. Shore: Worse than that, it is not just who is leaving, it is who is not coming. Let’s get them back. We have got the greatest province there is. We have got the greatest country there is, Mr. Speaker, let’s not lose it.
Mr. Mackenzie: How about Manitoba and Saskatchewan?
Hon. Mr. Bernier: Good government.
Mr. Shore: It’s this body sitting here today that can make that decision. Let’s not get carried away with just emotions. Let’s make decisions on intelligent assessment. Thank you very much.
Mr. Nixon: I always enjoy listening to the debates in the House at any time, but I particularly enjoy hearing my colleague, the member for London South (Mr. Shore). He adds a certain something to the tenor of the debate which is valuable --
Ms. Gigantes: Vacuousness.
Mr. Nixon: -- and very clear-minded.
Mr. Moffatt: Tone.
Mr. Nixon: But, Mr. Speaker, his comments have prompted me to begin my remarks, if I may, with a very strong personal view that I hold. I have heard many people, not so much in this debate, but in the recent session of the Legislature, talk about the very serious problems we face in this province and in this nation. It is true that they are serious and there are many of them, but I am sure that if we are prepared to examine our life in this province and in this nation, we must realize we have never ever lived in better times, that we do not have the emergencies and the pressures on us, as individuals or as legislators, which have been very much a part of the work of this chamber in years gone by. We don’t even know what a real depression is like -- most of us my age and younger and that includes just about everybody. We really don’t know what it is to have to go away to war and face the family disruptions and commitments of that type.
When I think of the work which has gone on before, we are really living in a land of milk and honey such as has never been seen. When the greatest problem is whether the athletes from Taiwan are going to march under the flag of Nationalist China or the United Nations, we must realize that while the political problems we face are knotty and difficult still our people, including all of us, have never lived better. It is not by way of a political phrase -- have you ever had it so good -- it is something better than that and we must surely realize and appreciate that very thing. The credit goes to no politicians, no governments. The credit goes really to the work which has been done by the pioneers, the political pioneers, and others before us. Here we are in what I call the land of milk and honey, picking the fruit from the trees and having not just the time of our lives but probably the time of many lives.
If you don’t appreciate that, Mr. Speaker, there’s nothing I can do to help you. I am not really talking as a senior statesman or anything like that but it is a view I hold very strongly and surely, it’s something we should all realize.
I want to cast members’ minds back briefly to the circumstances 10 months ago when we were faced in the Legislature with Ontario’s response to the anti-inflation initiative taken by the government of Canada. I was struck once again by the Treasurer’s (Mr. McKeough) vehement defence of the position taken then -- that Ontario had no role whatsoever to play other than to turn belly up and give all of our responsibilities to the federal government of this nation. I objected to it then and I believed it was a mistake. I wish very sincerely that an alternative could be found now whereby Ontario, the banner province of Confederation, could assume its undoubted provincial responsibilities under the constitution to apply wage and price guidelines in this province in a parallel but independent fashion.
The Treasurer’s defence in this connection is that this is simply an attempt to hand out some extraordinarily large wage increases to the people he calls our political friends. I won’t particularly comment on that because, of course, we have political friends everywhere as everyone knows. Certainly the concept of the administration of wage and price controls at the provincial level is a valid one and a healthy one.
At the time this was being debated in the Legislature about eight months ago, Mr. Speaker, I put forward, on behalf of my party, an amendment to the Throne speech which was critical of the government and which, the government said, if it carried would have thrown the province into an election. For that reason, which may be valid in the eyes of the member for Riverdale (Mr. Renwick), the NDP supported the government in that context. I suppose in his mind the justification for that position, in hindsight, is ample.
I would like to recall to you, sir, the circumstances which found 74 members recently elected to this Legislature all of one mind and that was calling for provincial implementation of wage and price controls and certainly the reference to this Legislature of any agreement the government might contemplate with the government of Canada. There were 51 Conservatives at least and while they didn’t say much about it the Treasurer, their leader at that time in this particular field of endeavour, brought forward those trumpets which he blasted back and forth across the province, saying “If you’re fighting a war, you don’t divide yourself up into provincial armies” and so on.
In a most vituperative way, he defended a position which was crassly political. After the election, it was clear that the civil servants of this province were going to demand tremendous wage increases and we had a mechanism for compulsory arbitration which, in our experience, would have granted them substantial increases which no doubt they would merit. The teachers were extremely militant, as we found from our experience in the subsequent weeks and months of a lengthy and vituperative strike, a costly strike in Metropolitan Toronto. The doctors were fulminating against the Minister of Health (Mr. F. S. Miller); they finally calmed down to await their turn as far as increases in their rates were concerned, although they have found ways to increase their net revenues without affecting the rates in any way.
The government, in a minority situation, was faced with these tremendous demands from large segments of the public sector, or those areas controlled publicly in the Province of Ontario. The Treasurer was quick to leap to the conclusion that all of this should be, and must be, a federal responsibility. For him to attempt to justify that on any other basis is ludicrous and I can imagine the discussions taking place in cabinet in which, in his usual argumentative manner, he carried the day.
There was a time when the Treasurer sat somewhere over here in the rump of a very large Conservative majority and he would call out, in loud voice, what the policy should be and nobody listened to him very much. But believe me, the people in the councils of government listen to him now, and for us to blame the present Attorney General (Mr. McMurtry) for the position taken and the weak legal basis which was offered to the government from the law officers of the Crown, that too is a bit ludicrous. He was a new boy. Certainly, he had the ear of the Premier (Mr. Davis), as in fact he has the ear of everyone here.
Mr. Reid: He’s just got terrible friends, that’s all.
Mr. Nixon: He’s a very, very popular politician and, next to the Minister of Labour (B. Stephenson), he may be the most popular. I’m not sure who I’m going to be supporting in that leadership convention when it comes along.
Mr. Reid: I know he’s not supporting the Attorney General. He wouldn’t support the Attorney General.
Mr. Nixon: But here’s the Attorney General, with the background that he has -- talk about, what is it, the vertical mosaic or sitting on top of the pyramid -- boy, there he is, basking in the sunshine of Lake Muskoka, shaking hands and wearing the special ties that identify him with the very best crème de la crème in this province as far as education is concerned, still rankling from a very serious political defeat, when all of the ammunition of the great Conservative Party had come to naught before the onslaught of the hon. member for St. George (Mrs. Campbell) who had carried the day then and will carry it again. She doesn’t happen to be in her seat at the present moment.
There he was. Finally he had made it. He was the Attorney General. For all of his education, for all of his interest in politics and for all his ambition, Mr. Speaker, I don’t believe he has any iota of understanding of the responsibility of being the chief law officer of the Crown.
You can bet that Arthur Wishart would have stopped him. Arthur Wishart would have said: “Look, this may be the political approach that you people are going to demand but I, as Attorney General, cannot give you the piece of paper that will legitimize it,” but this Attorney General did.
One of the things that concerns me is there was a little comment from the Attorney General in the press a couple of days ago. He says: “I certainly don’t like the way people are criticizing Mr. Callaghan because Mr. Callaghan is such a marvellous lawyer”; which he no doubt is. “He is such a great public servant”; which he no doubt is.
I don’t know who was criticizing Callaghan. The people were criticizing the Attorney General. It’s sort of a measure of what we could expect from the Attorney General in the future. He may not be around very long -- but something tells me that, on the other hand, he may, in that he would be prepared to say: “My God, isn’t it terrible the way they’re criticizing Frank?”
Honestly, in any of the governments of this province for 100 years past, this Attorney General would have been out on his bottom by now. He would have been out, out, out! We’ve joked about the Supreme Court scores and so forth, but the thing that concerns me is that the Attorney General doesn’t realize, that unlike other members of the cabinet -- well, perhaps the Treasurer has a part of this special responsibility --
Mr. Shore: Oh, he’s terrific.
Mr. Nixon: -- he gathers around himself a real independence, and if he believes that the government is acting improperly, or illegally, he must tell them. If he didn’t believe that then really he shouldn’t be in that job, because it was obvious, even to a farmer from South Dumfries, let alone a constitutional mogul from Wilson Heights.
Anyway, I feel very strongly about this, Mr. Speaker. I don’t think that many lessons are being learned but I have a feeling the Attorney General is not going to be such a patsy again.
Mr. Shore: Never again.
Mr. Nixon: I can’t blame him too much because there was that aura of “Oh, boy; look at me in the front row. I have finally made it. I have overcome that little embarrassment of a few days ago in this progress up the vertical mosaic” -- he started pretty well at the top of it anyway -- which is so much a part of his commitment to public life.
Mr. Reid: So much easier.
Mr. Nixon: I am telling the House there is very great concern that the cabinet, with the leadership of the Treasurer I would predict, said, “What a heaven-sent opportunity for us to get rid of the responsibilities which are simply unbearable in a minority situation. We will do this -- ”
Mr. Nixon: “ -- We will shove it off on to those people in Ottawa and we will criticize them while we are doing it. We will get it every way.” I’ll bet nobody even thought about the legality of it --
Mr. Shore: Oh, yes.
Mr. Nixon: -- until the Minister of Labour, who as we know is an excellent politician, began surreptitiously to nose around the corners of this building and found that the majority opinion was that it had to be referred to the Legislature and the clear public position of 74 of the newly-elected members was that there should be provincial implementation. If we believe in provincial rights, if we believe in supporting the government of Canada’s initiatives, there should have been provincial implementation. Anything less than that was simply a complete injustice to the public servants, the teachers and others in this province.
We say the government has learned a lesson but I think the lesson the government has learned is that with the position it holds it can circumvent the will of this House; it can circumvent the democratic prerogatives of this House and that is what it is doing. Far from sitting over there in any embarrassment, the Premier, as somebody has written, has a bland smile of contentment on his face and a loosey-goosey -- I think that is the phrase used -- approach to public pronouncement. That came from the Sun so I put that before the House for whatever it is worth.
In other words, there is no lesson being learned. I am telling you, Mr. Speaker, that if there is one man in this House who must learn a lesson from this it is the Attorney General. I don’t know him personally but I like him personally. I think his political career, if it is not cut short within the next few weeks, which really could happen, is going to be an interesting one to follow. If he is going to continue as the Attorney General he has to have a lot more spine than he has shown, I’ll tell the members that.
Mr. Nixon: Don’t give me any public references to Frank Callaghan.
Mr. Nixon: He is well paid. He is well respected and he will be there after the minister has gone. The responsibility must be borne by the Attorney General.
Mr. Shore: What did you have to pay --
Mr. Nixon: We had the vote before Christmas and it may well have been that we should have had an election then, but the NDP felt there were many important things to be done. I think there were fund-raising, finding candidates, repairing their platform and having a nice long holiday in the Caribbean sun.
Now they feel the time has changed and they are ready for an election. I’ll tell members we are ready for an election, too. Once again, if I might make an independent prediction, I would think this fellow who is just blowing the last smoke ring before he comes into the House is probably very much preparing for one too. I hope it is going to be this fall but it should not be right now because on this issue, if this bill does not carry, the economic chaos would be such that it would be irresponsible even to contemplate it. Those who vote against the bill do so for the crassest political motives. Mind you, they don’t have many alternatives since they are in the hip pocket of the Canadian Labour Congress and that’s a fact. Joe Morris --
Mr. Nixon: The member from the steel workers union in Hamilton is laughing and he, more than anyone else --
Mr. Shore: I hear he can’t move without calling him.
Mr. Nixon: -- should know that what I say is precisely correct.
Mr. Nixon: I’ll tell the House that when Joe Morris sneezes the NDP get pneumonia.
Mr. Bain: Whose hip pocket are you in?
Mr. Nixon: Mr. Speaker, I have a moment or two and when we look at what may happen in the next few weeks, Joe Morris, who is not as seasoned a labour leader as perhaps we have had for a while -- he’s been around a long time but he is no David Archer -- Joe Morris is leading himself down a garden path which is going to be destructive of organized labour, which I regret, and destructive of the NDP, which I welcome.
Mr. Nixon: I would say that with all his talk of a general strike there is no way. Being the strong, energetic leader that he is and a very, very able man, he has lots of brains, if he came into the Legislature it might improve the NDP; but he is leading himself down the garden path. The more he talks about it, the harder it will be to retract from that general strike position.
The teachers -- I don’t even know whether they are here today; they have probably listened to enough of this debate --
Mr. Nixon: -- are going to be in the same position. Are we going to close the schools for a few days to show how terrible the Anti-Inflation Board is? Surely not. But there are going to be pressures on them. But what are the NDP going to do here and in the Parliament of Canada?
Hon. Mr. Davis: You would have encouraged them at one point in time.
Mr. Nixon: They may not even come to the Legislature that day. But they are all in the box and the people of this province don’t like it. They are not prepared to continue any more allowing the NDP, being simply the spokesmen for the upper echelons of organized labour, to dictate what the circumstances are.
Speaking politically there are those who smile benignly and say “My, aren’t the Liberals in a mess in this?” I’ll tell you we are not. We had taken a legitimate and responsible position in the fall and certainly that position carried over now can be described in precisely the same way. The NDP have been brought into this position where Joe Morris is calling the shot, they are going to --
Hon. Mr. Davis: I have never said you are in a mess on this issue. In a mess, yes, but not on this issue.
Mr. Nixon: They are going to be supporting a general strike in the fall and, gosh, if we have an election about that time it may be very difficult for them, because the people in this province don’t want that kind of an approach and believe me they want the anti-inflation concept and the decisions of the Anti-Inflation Board to work.
Hon. Mr. Davis: You have come a fair piece.
Mr. Nixon: Mr. Speaker, I know my comments have been helpful to you, sir, in making up your mind on how to vote when the bill is put before us for second reading a few hours from now. I have no qualms at all in voting for the continuation of the powers of the Anti-Inflation Board in this province.
Mr. Deputy Speaker: Does any other member wish to participate in this debate?
Mr. Good: Mr. Speaker --
Mr. Shore: Take as long as you want, Ed.
Mr. Good: -- I want to make a few remarks as to why I’m supporting this legislation and why we as a party are supporting this legislation. When the announcement was made last fall, I think that it was generally agreed that some measure had to be taken by the federal government to do something about the double-digit inflation which was persistent at the time.
Of course, the hardest hit were those people on fixed incomes. The wage demands were large, interest rates while high were not even keeping up with inflation, return on investment was not even allowing enough to keep up with inflation and the erosion of the dollar was something which everyone was very much concerned about.
I believe most people did feel that something had to be done. The government of Ontario proclaimed its support for the anti-inflation programme and we in the Liberal Party proclaimed our support for the federal AI programme, but felt we should exercise our option as a province to deal with our own employees.
Much has been said about the manner in which the Ontario government entered the programme, and although the Treasurer (Mr. McKeough) was warned by members in opposition, both the Liberal and the NDP members, the government proceeded to enter the programme by order in council. I feel that while this was one instance, I think it is a typical action, because I have felt that more and more there’s been a tendency to do by order in council what should have been done by legislation. This is evident in much of the legislation we’ve passed in the last few years and it’s certainly evident in cabinet board orders which have been replacing supplementary estimates, and it has been evident by our hospital closings. In my estimation, in the time I have been here I have felt there has been more and more a feeling of government contempt for this Legislature, and a desire to use it as little as possible and do as much as possible by order in council.
But when we clear away all of the legalities, all of the incompetence of the legal opinions on the government side, and all of the differences of opinion as to how Ontario has entered the programme, we find that what we are really debating is who supports an anti-inflation programme and who supports runaway inflation. That’s about what the crux of the matter is.
Make no mistake, Mr. Speaker, today we will know who is in favour of bringing our economy back under control so that we can compete in the world export markets, and who is in favour of excessive wage demands, who is in favour of excessive profits, and who is not happy with the fact that in the last 12 months the consumer price rise has been the smallest in over three years.
Of course, the NDP opposes any interference with excessive demands of strong union leaders. The CLC has told Uncle Ed Broadbent and his handful of federal NDP that they must oppose the AIB. The jobs of the union leaders appear somewhat in jeopardy and even redundant, if their purpose of stirring up confrontation between management and employers is somewhat reduced.
It’s interesting to note the practice and the pattern of the NDP in recent months. The NDP, after giving nominal support to the independent haulers, buckled under after pressure, presumably from the Teamsters Union, and supported Bill 4. Fortunately the government has seen fit to review that whole procedure. The NDP again buckled under the demands of union leaders and scuttled a programme that would have got rid of nonreturnable soft-drink containers, with the co-operation of the government.
Once again we see the NDP in opposition to this bill. The heavy hand of the CLC is certainly evident as it inserts itself into the provincial Legislature. I predict the NDP support for the CLC’s general opposition and general strike will all but wipe them out in the next election in the province of Ontario. It is a great concern, as mentioned by the previous speaker. I have spoken to many school teachers in my own area, as recently as this morning, and they are very much concerned at the trap they are being drawn into on this particular issue and on this particular bill.
It’s been argued that the anti-inflation programme is affecting only wages. This is certainly not correct, and that’s the only concrete reason given by the NDP for opposing the anti-inflation legislation. I admit it’s easier to control wages than prices or profits, but certainly statistics have shown that wages have risen faster than profits. It’s interesting to note that we are now having a reaction from the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, which is questioning its support for the anti-inflation programme, so we have a great paradox here.
Mr. Mackenzie: Now you are starting to listen.
Mr. Good: Some say that it’s affecting only wages and now the Canadian Chamber of Commerce is looking at it with a jaundiced eye because it says it’s cutting into profits of business. You can’t have it both ways.
Mr. Young: Prices are going sky-high.
Mr. Mackenzie: You should change your position.
Mr. Good: The objection by the chamber, in my view, proves that the programme is working.
Mr. Spence: That must be right.
Mr. Good: Why, Mr. Speaker, is there objection now on the part of business? Simply because recent pronouncements by the AIB have reduced allowable profit from 95 per cent to 85 per cent of the previous year. Of course, prices are controlled by profits. Anyone with any degree of business competence can understand that prices will be controlled by profits. To further that argument, recent applications before the AIB for price increases have been turned down on numerous occasions. So it’s artificial, it’s a straw man, as the NDP usually sets up when it wants to build itself into a frenzy to oppose a certain type of legislation. The AIB programme is successful.
Mr. Laughren: You don’t need a caucus to vote on this one.
Mr. Good: It is successful, it is affecting the consumer price index. As I said before, the AIB programme is working. The 7.8 per cent rise in consumer prices for the last 12 months is ample proof. It is the smallest consumer price rise in the past three years. While I have no problem in supporting the AIB programme, the incompetence, the bungling and the contempt for the Legislature demonstrated by the government of Ontario in entering the plan will not be soon forgotten by either this party or the people of Ontario.
Mr. Mackenzie: Mr. Speaker, I rise with concern and a real desire to speak on this issue. I guess a desire may not be the right word. It is really a concern that I have to get up and speak on a bill that I think is as important as this bill for all the wrong reasons.
I sometimes wonder when listening to my colleagues on the left here -- by that I don’t mean left politically; that’s pretty obvious -- if they have issued all their memberships in the John Birch Society after I listened to them today. I wonder if we have a mess in this country or in this province. I think the one kernel of truth in the remarks of the ex-leader of the Liberal Party is that we don’t have that bad a situation in the country. If we have problems for which we have to bring in this kind of legislation to deal with, where did we get them? It certainly wasn’t from these terrible socialists they’re talking about. Unless my grasp of history is wrong, we’ve had Liberal and Conservative governments federally and in this province for an awful lot of years.
Mr. Kerrio: Thank God!
Mr. Mackenzie: We’ve had them for an awful lot of years and we’ve got such a mess that we’ve got to bring in this kind of legislation. It really makes me wonder. In the interest of Canadian labour, I think it is important and vital --
Mr. Singer: What did Marcus Aurelius say about that?
Mr. Laughren: Leave Mark alone.
Mr. Mackenzie: -- that we at least have some understanding and that we at least have some people that know a little bit about the trade union movement. I was going to offer to the new leader of the Liberal Party -- thank God, he’s their leader -- a brief course, a crash course, if you like. I’m sorry to say that I think I have to add the ex-leader to that list. I’m perfectly willing to conduct a short course in what trade unions are all about, what collective bargaining is, what a local union is, how they affiliate to a federation or a congress and how they and the members decide what they’re going after because it is obvious in the Liberal Party that they don’t know a damned thing about the trade union movement.
Mr. Kerrio: Just how to work.
Mr. Mackenzie: I was upset, I’ll tell you very frankly, about the obviously biased and anti-labour tirade we got from the leader of the Liberal Party yesterday. I really wonder, and not just on that issue, why he works so hard to make himself the political joke of the province. I just don’t think we can stand in this House and ignore such a bias against working people -- the people who really muck in the mines and work in the mills and built this province of ours. And the farmers too are working people, as far as I’m concerned.
I also want to tell him how well informed he is in terms of his research department, when it comes to the trade union movement. I listened with interest to his comment when my colleague from Wentworth was speaking that the CLC programme, the programme it did have, and which he obviously doesn’t agree with, came about only after Mr. Trudeau’s famous Thanksgiving speech. He should do a little bit of research if he has a research department. I have in front of me here a short document which is background material prepared by the executive council of the CLC for a meeting of ranking officers of all Canadian Labour Congress affiliates for a meeting held on May 7, 1975. I will put it down on record so he has some information. Let me give you the final paragraph in this letter: “To date, there have been two official meetings [and there are minutes to these meetings] between the executive committee of the Canadian Labour Congress and the ministers of Finance, Labour, Manpower and Immigration. The first meeting took place Jan. 22, and the second April 3. Those meetings dealt with the possibility of a wage control programme or alternatives. They also dealt with some of the suggestions of the congress dealing with negative income tax credits, dealing with housing, dealing with handling problems of working people and the redistribution of wealth and income in this province. There was this comment, and this went to the government and was part of the discussion federally: ‘The Canadian Labour Congress position is that no programme can be considered acceptable unless it includes the following positive measures and is based on the principles contained in the minister’s statement.’”
I am not going to read them in detail, but they included major steps to supply housing, regulation of rents to curb gouging, an active programme to curb land speculation, regulation of oil and gas prices, a negative income tax and full employment policies.
And that last point is one of the things I am afraid is going by the board in this debate. We have a smokescreen that covers the rather serious unemployment problem. The CLC also asked for positive evidence that professional fees would be controlled, an increase in pensions, and a definite guarantee that any tax concessions made to corporations be used for investment purposes to create jobs and not to end up as payment of higher dividends or higher profits.
I am not going to read the 10-point CLC programme into the record, although I had intended to. There is only one of the points missing, and that listing compares very closely with the programme that finally came out and was presented to all of the unions. It went to the government of Canada in January and again in April, and to the entire executive committee and the heads of affiliated unions of the congress on May 7. A little bit of research could have told this government that they were working on it well before the statement of the Premier (Mr. Davis) of this province.
Hon. Mr. Davis: We don’t know who your contact was.
Mr. Mackenzie: This government obviously doesn’t know anything about the trade union movement. One other point that is constantly made by my friends and colleagues on the left, and that is how we could change our position. You know, our position hasn’t changed from day one. They constantly refer to their amendment to set up a provincial board -- when was it, in December?
I have to ask them: If we opposed the federal programme in total -- which we did; and that was not opposition to a fight on inflation but to the absolutely anti-way it was being done, the hurt-the-people way, the bad legislation way -- why should we accept a provincial Liberal version when we won’t accept the federal Liberal version? Quite frankly, if I am going to get shafted, I would probably sooner be shafted by the federal Liberals than the provincial liberals. It took Trudeau about three months to change his mind, the provincial Liberals change theirs three times a day.
Mr. Nixon: You are going to get it anyway.
Mr. Mackenzie: Workers can tell you, and they can tell you very clearly what is wrong, Mr. Speaker. There is not a majority of trade unionists or workers in this party; or on its executive, at any level. We sure as blazes are not in Joe Morris’ pocket. I wish we had a little closer affiliation and liaison than we do. But they can tell you what is wrong. They can tell you a number of things that are wrong.
Mr. Nixon: You are the spokesman in the caucus. It is your fault.
Mr. Mackenzie: Let me tell you two or three of the problems we have had. Let me deal first with the paperworkers. I have got very little time, so I am going to have to cut it short.
During the 1973-1975 period, the newsprint manufacturers successfully increased prices. I am not sure that you follow labour matters, but we know what happened to the negotiations with the paperworkers. Prices were increased 52 per cent per ton of newsprint, and bleached kraft pulp in that same two-year period was increased 118 per cent.
What happened in the negotiations? From a negotiated wage increase at the end of a two-year contract, which covered that period, 23.8 per cent was won through free collective bargaining, and the AIB rolled it back to 14 per cent.
Now most of that product also was exported, and as many of you know there are no controls on the profits on that. Why in the devil could the workers not get their fair share when the companies walk off with that kind of excess profits?
Mr. Conway: Sounds like the Treasurer.
Mr. Makarchuk: They have the Liberals helping them, that’s why.
Mr. Conway: Shout Darcy!
Mr. Mackenzie: Denison and Rio Algom, two of the mines at Elliot Lake where we also had strikes and loss of productivity over a real con job or a real cheap shot on the workers by the AIB, showed pretty fantastic prices. I know in the case of Denison, their profit in 1974 was about $12.5 million net. It was something like $28 million net in 1975. Most of their products, as are Inco’s -- if you want to go outside of the province for a moment to Thompson, Man. -- most of their products are exported and there are no controls on the profits; and on exported goods the companies are making a mint. The workers are being denied any fair share, any return on that at all, through the mechanism of the AIB.
The AIB is a bad legislation. It hurts workers. It hurts wages. It hurts people right down the line. It does not affect the major companies. It does not stop the profiteering in food or prices in many of these areas.
You try and deal with the federal AIB board as a worker. Most of them now have a car and they call about their insurance, which has gone up anywhere -- say the people who have called me -- from 26 to 77 per cent. I have written about five to 10 letters to the federal AIB and they won’t answer in writing. They will call -- I think it’s a Miss Polowin or something who works for a chap, Mr. Nuttall, who handles the auto insurance cases for Mr. Pepin -- and they will say, “Look, we are not dealing with any individual auto insurance claim case whatsoever, but at the end of the year we will look at the profits of that particular company.” They won’t say what they will do with the people involved, of course.
And then do you know what they are doing? They will also say that they won’t give you that in writing. If you write on behalf of one of your constituents, they will tell you: “We will phone the constituent that you wrote on behalf of and we will phone you.” That’s two long distance calls from Ottawa. I know they have probably got trunk lines, but that’s the kind of bureaucracy the federal Liberals have set up and you can’t even get the answer back in writing; you get no response to it.
Mr. Shore: It’s cheaper to make a phone call. Haven’t you heard that? Don’t you read the newspapers?
Hon. B. Stephenson: No, he doesn’t.
Mr. Mackenzie: Let me also give you one other example of some of the unfairness that exists.
Mr. Conway: Who wrote this? Schreyer?
Mr. Mackenzie: We just finished a strike in Hamilton a few months back. A bunch of people at a firm in the city of Hamilton were out on strike from June 1, 1975, until they settled on Dec. 4, better than six months. They took the loss. They had the guts. They felt their case was just, to walk the picket line. Their proposals had been put in since the beginning of the year. They argued also for a relationship and they were told they could on a benchmark basis on individual jobs and they negotiated an increase. It is not an excessive one. They were at the end of a three-year contract, trying to catch up, of 16, 10.7 and 8.4 per cent and they were rolled back to 13, to 11 -- they gained a little on the second -- and to eight per cent on the third, after being out for six months and a week on the picket line. During the course of that time they phoned, on an open line show, the Hon. John Munro and said, “What is our position going to be if we finally do settle on this? Will we have a chance of winning even this minimum wage increase?” And his argument was, “Yes, there’s obviously a relationship. You should have no problem with it. Also, your negotiations started well before the legislation.” It didn’t mean a damn thing when it came to the legislation. Let me tell you one other final thing that’s also happening.
Mr. Shore: Who writes your stuff -- Davidson?
Mr. Mackenzie: This is another thing that’s happening as a result of the AIB. The scenario goes like this: The Canadian manager of a branch plant company says to his boss in the United States, “We have a wage-price freeze, so we can’t increase profits.” The boss replies, “That’s okay, we will increase the price of the parts and materials we send you and make the profit here.” In that way you can pass the increased costs along, which you are allowed to do, you know. In simple terms we are going to see some outside firms and US companies with increased profits and increased business at the expense of our people because of this AIB.
Mr. Shore: Yes, they will pay more money back to your organization. The unions will be more powerful. They will bail you out.
Mr. Mackenzie: You have asked what alternatives have we got.
Mr. Mackenzie: We have set out, and I am proud that we set them out in some of Ed Broadbent’s statements, some pretty positive alternatives dealing with what might better have been called a crisis of profits in this country, an exploitation, rather than wages or wage increases of workers. We can deal with that. We can deal with selective review. We can deal with profits. Let’s start hitting the prices that are affecting people and help all of the people first, rather than zeroing in and shafting the workers and the low income and the fixed income people.
Mr. Conway: How much more?
Mr. Mackenzie: There are a number of things I wanted to cover and a number of statements that were apropos to this debate, but we just simply don’t have time today. As for holding up a socialist bogy, I’m proud to wear that label, if it means my kind of planning, the kind of fair shake for people as against bending over every doggone time one of the big business communities says to the government don’t put these kind of controls on us. That’s the route I’m going to take. I’m not in the pocket of any trade union when I stand up here. I happen to believe and our party happens to come down on the same side of most issues because they also happen to be fighting for working people.
The tragedy of this legislation and the way it’s being done is that it is not tackling inflation, it’s tackling little people. The government should recognize that as well. This is one of the lousiest bills that I’ve seen brought into this House. This is a poor bill; this is a bill that hurts people. It doesn’t solve the problems of inflation. It’s a bill that seems to be the reaction of the two Trojans, if you like, of the private enterprise system in this country. When you’ve got a problem that you can’t deal with, you revert to some sort of economic dictatorship. Don’t talk about freedom; don’t talk about a lack of bureaucracy to us. You’re the people that put us into this problem. Your answer to it is to do something that’s really going to hurt people in this country and not solve the problem. You should be ashamed of yourselves and the government should be ashamed of the legislation.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: I am naturally very pleased to have the opportunity to respond at least to some of the remarks of my distinguished colleagues on both sides of the Legislature. At the outset, I would like to make it clear that it is only my innate and very natural modesty, my upbringing and my education which prevents me from expressing my true appreciation for all of the accolades that have been forthcoming from all sides of the House.
Mr. Nixon: The member for Scarborough Centre (Mr. Drea) was the only one who praised you.
Mr. Lewis: That’s because you really are at the top of the mosaic. You know what genteel means.
Mr. Germa: You can only go down.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: In particular, I was very interested, as I always am, in the remarks of our distinguished colleague, the member for Riverdale (Mr. Renwick), who, I sincerely state, articulates matters of law and of policy as well as anyone I’ve ever heard.
Mr. Ruston: Yesterday was not one of his better days, though.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: I am truly indebted to him for his very kind and generous remarks directed towards the law officers of the Crown of Ontario who assisted me, the Attorney General, with respect to the matters that were before the Supreme Court of Canada. He quite properly and fairly recognized them to be not only dedicated public servants, but individuals enjoying a very high professional standard. And, clearly, I think we all recognize their dedication and their interest in serving not just this government but all of the citizens of Ontario.
Unlike some of his friends to the left in the Liberal Party, the member for Riverdale does not attempt to cloak himself with some claims of infallibility.
Mr. Nixon: With his record, how could he?
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Even he admits, unlike the member for Ottawa East (Mr. Roy), that he can be mistaken when offering an opinion in the very complex area of constitutional law.
Mr. Shore: Three to zero is a lot of mistakes.
Mr. Roy: If I ever make a mistake, I’ll admit it.
Hon. B. Stephenson: Modesty is not one of the things you suffer from.
Mr. Shore: We don’t think you made a mistake.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: The correspondence between myself and the member for Riverdale has been referred to. On Oct. 30, 1975, he did deliver to me a very thoughtful opinion with respect to the position of Ontario in relation to the federal legislation and his views in relation to the constitutionality of the federal legislation.
Mr. Kerrio: Bullbrook changed his mind.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: And at that time he did state, and I quote: “Whatever may have been thought in the past, it is now agreed that there is no emergency power in the Parliament of Canada.”
Mr. Singer: Did he say that?
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: And he went on to state: “The power of the Parliament of Canada to make laws for the peace, order and good government of Canada is subject to the absolute qualification that it cannot, in the exercise of that power, make laws in relation to matters coming within the classes of subjects assigned by section 92 of the Legislature of Ontario.”
Mr. Singer: No wonder he talks so kindly about Mr. Justice Beetz.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: The majority of the Supreme Court of Canada, in its wisdom, has ruled that the Parliament of Canada does have the power through the peace, order and good government provision to encroach on sections which are generally exclusively within the jurisdiction of the provinces and at least part of the majority in the Supreme Court of Canada did invoke the emergency doctrine.
I don’t quote his opinion to quarrel with him over it because it was a view that was expressed by many people learned in the law. It was a view which was expressed by the majority of counsel in the Supreme Court of Canada. But it was a view that was rejected --
Mr. Singer: It even found its way into your brief.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: -- by the Supreme Court of Canada. But, at the same time, and in the absence of the company of the member for Lakeshore (Mr. Lawlor), I would in the interest of this young, inexperienced Attorney General, urge the member for Lakeshore and the member for Riverdale (Mr. Renwick) to try to establish some common constitutional ground for my guidance.
Mr. Singer: They never agreed before so why should they start now?
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: After hearing their contributions to this debate yesterday, I am really very puzzled as to just what the constitutional position of the official opposition party is.
Mr. Singer: There isn’t one. It depends on what Renwick says today and what Marcus Aurelius tells him.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: For example, the member for Riverdale did dwell, to some extent, as did the member for Wilson Heights -- I still think of him as the member for Downsview -- on the dissenting opinion of Mr. Justice Beetz. I think the member for Riverdale did attempt to some extent to enshrine that opinion in that sort of special hall of legal martyrs that lawyers like to provide for their favourite dissenting judges.
Mr. Shore: You’ve got to watch those lawyers, Roy.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: On the other hand, the member for Lakeshore simply dismissed that learned judge as a throwback, and I quote, taking the opposite view to the member for Riverdale with respect to the constitutionality of the legislation, of course hailing the wisdom of his former teacher and, in fact, leading us to believe that the decision was precisely what he would have expected. I just ask the members, if I’m going to enjoy their guidance, as I sincerely hope that I will, in the future, that those two people get together --
Mr. Singer: They are going to meet with Beetz together and he will tell them.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: -- and attempt to establish a common front in advising the Attorney General for Ontario -- advice which I think I can honestly say has always been well received at least in the nine months that I have occupied this responsibility. It has not always been accepted but is always well received because it has always been well intended.
Mr. Renwick: Mr. Justice Beetz is the Justice Holmes of the Supreme Court of Canada.
Mr. Lewis: Mr. Justice Wendell Beetz.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: But you know, in the interests of continuing the very useful dialogue that I do have with the legally-trained members of the official opposition, I would like again to refer them very briefly to that NDP bastion of integrity in Manitoba which also entered an agreement with the federal government for the implementation of the federal anti-inflation programme in the Province of Manitoba.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: The Province of Manitoba did have an Act and I want to refer to the Act, because I want to indicate my desire to receive an opinion, not today but shortly, from the member for Riverdale.
Mr. Renwick: You won’t get our consent to that kind of legislation.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: The 1970 legislation in Manitoba is referred to as the Executive Government Organization Act and it stated: “The Lieutenant Governor in Council may authorize a minister for and on behalf of the government or an agency of the government to enter into an agreement with the government of Canada or a minister or agency of the government of Canada for the benefit or purposes of the residents of Manitoba or any part thereof.”
It was on the strength of that enactment, according to Premier Schreyer, that they were able to enter into the similar agreement as was entered into by the Province of Ontario. While I am waiting for a reply from the hon. member for Riverdale I ask for his views on the worth of the Chief Justice of Canada which were as follows: “Rather what is at issue is the right of the Crown, although duly protected by an order in council or duly protected by legislation of that nature, to bind its subjects in the province to laws not enacted by the Legislature.”
It seems to me, notwithstanding the legislation of 1970, that the Province of Manitoba -- again that bastion of NDP integrity -- did bind its citizens to legislation or to an effect which was not enacted by the Legislature. What I want to know is whether the member, in criticizing this government for its illegal activity, and if we were to introduce a similar bill as was introduced in the Legislature of Manitoba in 1970, would be prepared to support such legislation.
Ms. Renwick: Mr. Speaker, since I have been asked a question my categorical, unequivocal answer is no.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: I hope the member will communicate that opinion to the distinguished Premier of Manitoba.
Mr. Renwick: And to my colleague, the member for Lakeshore.
Mr. Lewis: I think in fact we did and he paid no attention.
Mr. Singer: Why don’t you write a book, Renwick? Maybe you would get an MA.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: It was the answer I hoped for and expected, knowing the consistency of the member for Riverdale.
Mr. Conway: It is a flexible party.
Mr. Lawlor: On a point of privilege, Mr. Speaker, I would agree with my colleague on this one occasion.
Mr. Conway: A flexible party.
Mr. Bullbrook: Is this the argument the Attorney General put forward before the Supreme Court of Canada?
Mr. Singer: He should have taken Renwick and Lawlor with him.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: I must say, Mr. Speaker, that I do regret that I am not going to have the opportunity to respond to the contribution of the member for Sarnia because I know he will have some very flattering things to say about the Attorney General for which I would like to thank him in advance.
Mr. Ruston: Don’t count on it.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Of course, I would like to have the opportunity to respond to him generally but this must be the happy fate of the leader of my government. However, because of some of the views which have been expressed by the official opposition, I cannot depart without commenting at least very briefly on what I view, in all seriousness, to be the utter hypocrisy of their alleged concern for the so-called lower echelons of the economic echelons of society, for, as already has been pointed out, the purpose of the anti-inflation programme is to protect the principal victims of inflation, the elderly, the sick, the disabled, those on fixed or very little income and in the opposition’s desire to serve --
Mr. Lawlor: That is not true, it is the upper echelons.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: -- the special-interest groups which they continuously cater to, they are prepared to deny them economic justice. I think those people opposite have to face up to the fact that they are denying them economic justice by opposing this legislation.
Mr. Makarchuk: It is a lot of crap.
Mr. Lawlor: It is your well-to-do friends.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: I suggest to those members that this so-called concern for the lower economic echelons of society is a most hollow concern.
Mr. Makarchuk: What have you done about last year?
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: I think it is about time those people just admitted that.
Mr. Wildman: The purpose of the whole programme is to protect profits.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Mr. Speaker, at the same time I must state that, notwithstanding the considerable pain that is afforded by making the admission that I’m going to make, I must say that the Liberal Party is the only opposition party adopting a responsible position with respect to the vote on this very important legislation.
Mr. Shore: Shouldn’t hurt you, Roy. It only hurts for a minute.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: The official opposition are simply prepared to throw the economy of this province into utter chaos in their continued desire to cater to the big, well-organized, special interest groups that they continue to cater to on a daily basis.
Mr. Bounsall: What would happen? You’ve got most of them under arbitration now.
Mr. Bain: Tell us about the chaos.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: I will tell the member about the chaos. There are some 140 decisions that have been given by the Anti-Inflation Board affecting the public sector in the Province of Ontario.
Mr. Bullbrook: That is the only reason we support you; that is the only reason.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: There are many more agreements that have been arrived at in the context of the anti-inflation programme. So if you say to these people 140 agreements would automatically be rolled back, even though the leader of the NDP states it would mean too high settlements for some, and yet those who have arrived at agreements in good faith in the context of the anti-inflation programme believing they were subject to the federal Anti-Inflation Board they’d simply throw them to the wolves, that’s their position.
Mr. Bounsall: What about the positions of your arbitrators? You set up arbitration hearings and arbitrators.
Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order, please.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: But at the same time I should say that the enthusiasm to lust after the affections of special-interest groups is not confined to the official opposition.
Mr. Singer: Tories do that too, don’t they?
Mr. Reid: You are too deep into that pornography.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Certainly, I say it was a motivating desire for the Liberal support of the concept for a separate board for the public sector as opposed to the private sector -- in other words, two boards. Two people living beside each other: You go to the federal board, I go to the provincial board.
Mr. Shore: You are starting to lose now. Darcy got to you.
Mr. Singer: That is a good theory.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: I suggest to the member for Ottawa East, who is unfortunately out of the House, that it is almost analogous as setting up two court systems, one for the public sector and one for the private sector --
Mr. Shore: Some are more equal than others.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: -- and I suggest that anyone with any sense of fair play whatsoever could not reasonably endorse any such approach.
Mr. Singer: No, they just bulldoze it through against the law, eh? That is what the government will do.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: However, Mr. Speaker, as is often the case, unprincipled stands usually must meet their own special Waterloo. We met that in a very dramatic fashion yesterday.
Mr. Singer: Nine to nothing. What could be more unprincipled than that?
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Yesterday we witnessed a classic confrontation between the spurned lover and the object of his affections.
Mr. Bullbrook: You wrote that yourself, didn’t you?
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Of course, I am talking about the Liberal Party and the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation.
Mr. Conway: It’s pornographic.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: It’s quite clear to every member of the Legislature that the Liberal Party was prepared to cater to the teachers’ votes, not in the public interest, but in the party’s interests.
Mr. Singer: Drea probably wrote that.
Mr. Cunningham: That’s a lie. They gave us the option.
Mr. Singer: Tell us why the Attorney General wasn’t within the law.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: At the same time I should say I don’t criticize the OSSTF for wanting provincial boards. It was their right to support such a stand and I respect their rights.
Mr. Singer: Shouldn’t you act within the law, don’t you think?
Mr. Ruston: When are you going to resign?
Mr. Shore: Do you actually like your job?
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: What I don’t respect is your total lack of principle in advocating such a stand.
Mr. Cunningham: You were wrong.
Mr. Bullbrook: Do we have to take this?
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: In any event, the Waterloo arrived yesterday and it was witnessed by members of the OSSTF who were sitting in on the deliberations of this Legislature. They witnessed the most intemperate attack of the leader of the Liberal Party on this very distinguished group of people and I trust that the OSSTF will not forget the intemperance of that attack.
Mr. Breithaupt: On the press release, not on the teachers.
Mr. Singer: Why do you sulk so much?
Mr. Shore: You should hear what they say about you.
Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order, please.
Mr. Singer: Bail him out.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: I trust that the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation will not forget that yesterday the leader of the Liberal Party described their document as a despicable document, full of utter lies.
Mr. Breithaupt: I hope they won’t because he was right.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: As I said yesterday, hell hath no fury like a spurned Liberal leader.
Mr. Shore: What did you think of it?
Mr. Kerrio: What’s your opinion of it? Do you think your document was correct?
Mr. Singer: Do you compare your bill to Bill 99? Is your bill the same as 99?
Mr. Kerrio: You should resign.
Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order, please. Most members of this chamber have had an opportunity to speak and if you don’t want to maintain some semblance of order, we can always adjourn the House until you are satisfied that you want to listen.
Mr. Singer: Good idea.
Mr. Roy: He is being very provocative.
Mr. Deputy Speaker: I think most speakers have been very provocative in this debate and I think it’s only common courtesy to hear out the Attorney General.
Mr. Singer: As wrong as he is.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Mr. Speaker, my concluding remarks will be very brief because I have been deprived of responding to the learned remarks of the member for Sarnia (Mr. Bullbrook) who I know will adopt a very precise, simplistic approach.
Mr. Conway: The spurned lover.
Mr. Peterson: He is going to get you and you know it.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: In the interests of not so much pursuing the discussion in this chamber but the fact that I look forward to breaking bread on other occasions not only with all members of the Legislature but certainly my legal colleagues on all sides of the House, I want them to read the decision of the Supreme Court of Canada very carefully.
Mr. Roy: I feel out of place. I am the only one who is not a QC.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: I want to say to the former leader of the Liberal Party that I accept total responsibility for the position placed before the Supreme Court of Canada.
Mr. Mancini: You should.
Mr. Singer: You should be ashamed.
Mr. Nixon: If you accept it, you should resign.
Mr. Conway: Resign.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: I say I don’t expect that it is the first time a provincial government has lost a case --
Mr. Singer: You should be ashamed.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: -- or half a case before the Supreme Court of Canada. I doubt that it will be the last.
Mr. Peterson: Resign.
Mr. Breithaupt: You never lost it so well.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: I want members to tell me the last time a Liberal Attorney General appeared in the Supreme Court of Canada.
Mr. Breithaupt: The last one who resigned was Roberts.
Mr. Roy: You set the precedent.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: They prefer generally to hide behind the opinions of their legal advisers.
Mr. Roy: You should give up your seat
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: In my case, I accept the opinion of the legal advisers of this government, because I happen to believe, Mr. Speaker, that I have the best legal advisers that are available to any government in any jurisdiction.
Mr. Peterson: Fire them all; and if that is necessary you should be ashamed of yourself. You have no judgement.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: I was called on that occasion --
Mr. Peterson: We have got better lawyers over here than you have got in your whole department.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: -- to espouse them and I would be proud again.
Mr. Shore: What about Darcy’s advice?
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: But you know, when you’re reflecting --
Mr. Peterson: Sit down. You are embarrassing everybody.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Is that all the answer that you have to somebody who advocates something you don’t like? You just tell him to sit down? That’s not very nice. That is really not very polite.
Mr. Peterson: You are not talking any sense at all and you know it.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: I know about your upbringing and I know where you are on the vertical mosaic. You consult with the former leader of the Liberal Party and I’m sure he’ll tell you that is just being very impolite --
Mr. Peterson: Go ahead, tell me how I am doing.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: -- and unworthy of a gentleman of your background.
Mr. Peterson: It is a very poor background, I want you to know that.
Mr. Lewis: People like me are allowed to say things like that from the bottom of the pyramid.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: I want to say this, which I think is an interesting legal observation -- that the interpretation that was placed by the Supreme Court of Canada, which is a judgement that I would not quarrel with, on section 4(3) of the Act, was not --
Mr. Roy: Frank Drea is against it.
Mr. Conway: Ask Frank Drea.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: -- advanced by any counsel at the hearing before the Supreme Court of Canada, and it certainly was not the interpretation placed on section 4(3) by the law officers of the federal Crown who drafted the legislation.
Mr. Shore: Are you still defending that situation?
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: So when you are prepared --
Mr. Roy: Don’t blame him.
Mr. Shore: Get on to the next case.
An hon. member: Do you agree with Drea?
Mr. Singer: Fire the whole bunch of them.
Mr. Bullbrook: Do you want to elect the judges of Canada?
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: -- to criticize our legal advice -- and I’m sure that my good friend, the member for Sarnia will be very vocal on this issue -- I just hope that you will be prepared to assist the federal officers of the Crown in the drafting of their legislation from this point on.
Mr. Peterson: He is going to get you.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: I say that sincerely, because obviously they were wrong and we were wrong.
Mr. Bullbrook: Nobody is going to dwell on that.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: In conclusion, Mr. Speaker, we supported the federal anti-inflation programme and we still support the federal anti-inflation programme. We were the only province to support the programme and the legislation without qualification before the Supreme Court of Canada. We did so in the interests of all of the citizens of Canada; not just in the interests of certain citizens but in everybody’s interest.
Mr. Shore: Why didn’t you bring it before the House?
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: So I state in conclusion that in introducing this very important legislation, we do so because we believe very strongly that it is obviously in the interests of all the citizens of Ontario.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. There is a technical point which I feel obliged to bring up at this time for the sake of not only now but any possible similar event in the future. That is, if you refer to order 13(b) on page four of the standing orders: “A reply is allowed to a member who has made a substantive motion, and to a minister of the Crown, who has moved the order of the day for second or third reading of a bill, and the Speaker shall inform the House that a reply of the mover [which in this case was the Attorney General] in each case closes the debate.”
Mr. Bullbrook: I think we can get unanimous consent. I sure hope we can.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. I was just going to ask whether we could get unanimous consent to set aside this particular order for today so that the pre-arranged schedule may go forward.
Do we have that unanimous consent?
Mr. Bullbrook: There is something almost Freudian in what you just did. The AG bungled it again. He bungled it again.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: You bungled it. Mr. Speaker, on a point of personal privilege. You were invited to make a contribution earlier. You didn’t. I was the last speaker. No one else wanted to speak, and because of my willingness to set aside this rule --
Mr. Sweeney: You said the Premier (Mr. Davis) was the last speaker.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: I think the hon. member should really withdraw that remark.
Mr. Bullbrook: I completely withdraw that.
Mr. Speaker: Can we get on with the rest of the debate? The hon. member for Sarnia.
Mr. Bullbrook: A highly insulting remark, as a matter of fact.
Mr. Lewis: Are you humble, are you humble?
Mr. Renwick: We are extending the same courtesy to you.
Mr. Bullbrook: You know, my colleague from Riverdale referred to the fact that yesterday was Bastille Day. This is Bastille Day plus one and heads are starting to roll around here. A lot of people are losing their heads.
But, I want to say this to you, it is not going to be my intention, in whatever contribution I make to this debate, to dwell upon the opinions of the courts because that would truly be rubbing salt in the wound and that has never been my style. But I say this to you --
Mr. Bullbrook: -- I recognize fully that the legal profession deals in not absolute judgements but in opinions. But I want to say this to you also: Fortunately for me it is axiomatic that with respect to legal advice you only get what you pay for and when the Attorney General took his own case one wondered about it. But when I hear him talking about the lusting for justice, if that was the type of dialogue he had with Chief Justice Laskin I can understand how he led the foray 9 to zip, as Norman Webster referred to it.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: I thought you wrote that column.
Mr. Bullbrook: As a matter of fact I did. It is interesting, if I may digress for a moment about the question of Bastille Day -- I don’t want to at all be unduly serious because in the context of fratricide in Lebanon and that glorious raid by the Israeli guerrillas one has to wonder about the significance of what goes on here as far as the world is concerned. To analogize this debate to what took place on Bastille Day is, I hope, tongue in cheek. But as I said before, when I do look at the New Democratic Party I often think to myself, do I really hear the clicking of knitting needles over there and the cackling of Madame Defarge? I don’t know, but I know there is no more axe. But they have a converted Cavalier Robespierre. We all know who he is. He is the philosopher of their party. I intend to refer to some of his comments subsequently.
I want to say to the Attorney General in great seriousness that it is not my purpose to deal with the substance of the opinion. It is however my purpose, as respectfully as I can say it, to record for myself as one person who regards himself as a provincial rightist that I look with some degree of concern about the seventh day judgement that was delivered by the Supreme Court of Canada with respect to the constitutionality of Bill C-73.
I said in response to the press that I was surprised at the decision somewhat, but was very pleased with it. I subscribe to what the editorial writers said in Tuesday morning’s Globe, that that particular decision was absolutely necessary in the context of the economic and social condition in this country. I am pleased frankly that our most supreme court decide not their decisions in a legalistic vacuum but again in the context of a realistic approach to what is going on in our great nation.
But I want the Attorney General and the Premier of the province to recognize the power that has now been vested in the federal government under that particular decision, because I have always regarded the British North America Act as having been written in a residue of understanding that provincial power is significant and should be retained. That is why, on Oct. 29 last year, I began the discussion in the House of where we were going from the point of view of the constitutionality of what we are doing and from the point of view of the best interests of the people of Ontario.
We have heard that, beginning on Oct. 30, the hon. member for Riverdale decided to enter into a “Dear Abby” relationship with the Attorney General and that he felt that the best way of handling matters of this nature is internal correspondence. Well, maybe that is right, it is a strange anomaly that what we have here is a government that will not bring legislation to this House for debate and an official opposition that seems to think the best way of handling that type of discussion is through internal correspondence. That’s the right of every member.
I happen to think it is better to involve ourselves in a dialogue here. One of the reasons being, of course, that when one expresses an opinion in an internal letter, if one is wrong one doesn’t have to disclose it. But when he stands in his place in this House and decides to invite a debate to give an opinion, then one has to either relish the approbation of his position or suffer the consequences of the ill advice that he gave at that time. In any event, the fact of the matter is the most significant aspect of what we are dealing with here today is section 3 and the principle of section 3.
It was no idle motivation that gave us the opportunity in December of putting forward a confidence motion with respect to the establishment of a provincial board. I am going to tell you right now out of the mouth of the Attorney General came the response as to why that can’t be done. It is because there are over 100 decisions in place since that time. There is no doubt that it should have been done at that time.
Let me read something for just a moment if I may. The Treasurer (Mr. McKeough) is the villain of the piece in my respectful opinion. It is not the Attorney General of this province; it is the Treasurer of the province. The Treasurer decided it back on Oct. 30 of this year. In talking about this matter, he said, and I quote from Hansard, “Nor do we agree with the idea that special provincial relationship with some group, such as teachers and civil servants, requires that we establish a separate review board. In one way or another the government has a special relationship with virtually every member of the work force in this province.”
May I say that that was totally repeated yesterday by the Treasurer. He still doesn’t understand that the people in the public sector of this province have no special relationship with the government. They have a statutory right for the government to do things for them. I want to say without fear of contradiction that the law of the Province of Ontario at this very moment with respect to the public sector is contained in the Crown Employees Collective Bargaining Act. I want to say without fear of contradiction that what the government is doing right now because of the fact that it wouldn’t bring this to the House is that it is breaking the law. But the situation has become so entrenched and the government permitted it to become so entrenched that nothing now can be done about it. We must leave it to the federal government. We must superimpose our responsibility with an agreement with the federal government now to give over that public sector. The problem that we have faced throughout here is that we understood from the very beginning that the New Democratic Party subscribed to the attitude that we should have a provincial board. Somewhere along the line -- well, they shake their heads. Perhaps I can’t read English.
Mr. Lewis: Oh, there were times, sure.
Mr. Bullbrook: They shake their heads. I want to read from Dec. 1, 1975.
Mr. Lewis: That was in the teachers’ debate.
Mr. Bullbrook: It was the emergency debate. This was said: “My colleague from Wentworth has been making the argument to me rather strongly, and others have done the same, that an anti-inflation board in Ontario might well have to deal with the private sector as well as the public sector on the basis that even though you have national guidelines, it is legitimate to argue for their enforcement in Ontario by Ontario.”
It is not just related to teachers.
Mr. Lewis: I agree. I said that myself.
Mr. Bullbrook: Well, I just wonder. His colleagues shake their heads when I say that we are somewhat mystified.
Mr. Shore: Nervous twitch.
Mr. Bullbrook: Then he said: “That is just what we are doing with rents by the way; just what we are doing with the Farm Products Marketing Board by the way and there is no reason why we shouldn’t do it at least for the public sector, and maybe even the private sector, or there will be serious and inequitable dislocations. It will all result in the guidelines, whatever legitimacy they may have, collapsing.”
Mr. Roy: Who was saying that?
Mr. Bullbrook: And then he went on to say: “Mr. Speaker, I urge the government to consider an anti-inflation board for this province for that purpose.”
Mr. Roy: Who said that?
Mr. Lewis: I said that in the teachers’ debate.
Mr. Roy: Oh, the leader said that.
Mr. Bullbrook: During the course of the same debate, on page 1140, the hon. member for Riverdale (Mr. Renwick) said: “In the next three weeks, it is possible for the government to introduce into this assembly a bill authorizing -- if it chooses not to have its own anti-inflation board in the province -- the delegation to the federal Anti-Inflation Board of the authorities which the government is prepared to grant them. I set aside the argument about whether it is or isn’t a delegation. The proper way for this government to have dealt with this was co-operatively -- [Gosh, that word has a strange hollow sound today when we talk about co-operative federalism] -- co-operative federalism not an authoritarian state is what we are about -- to have dealt with it by an Act of the Legislature seeing out the terms and conditions of the participation of the government of Ontario in the anti-inflation programme.”
Then that very month, the Liberal Party decided it was a significant matter in the context of the responsibilities of individual school boards, in the context of the responsibilities of police commissions and in the context of the responsibilities of members of municipal councils. We decided, with the assistance of the official opposition and based on those words that we had heard and read, that it would be in the best interest of the public sector at least and perhaps, certainly worthy of debate, the private sector, that we establish, as Quebec did, our own board. We said it was a matter of confidence to us. And what happens? It’s history as to what happened. It was decided by some circumlocution of logic that it wasn’t in the best interests of the public sector.
I want to say to you this, the one reservation this party has today continues to be the fact that we give over the public sector. On April 29 of this year I availed myself of the first opportunity to enter into the debate during the estimates of the Chairman of Management Board (Mr. Auld) with respect to finally an agreement involving the government of Ontario, the LCBO-LLBO agreement.
It’s significant to note that no member of the New Democratic Party at that time decided that it was worthy of their intrusion into the debate. Because finally we had not a school board, not a municipal council, not a police commission, but we had the government of Ontario, subject to final and binding arbitration and refusing to be bound by that. You see, the problem that has arisen has to be laid at the doorstep of the New Democratic Party and the government in combination.
Put aside the legalities of it. The legal niceties, as the Treasurer calls them, are not important. That isn’t what it’s all about. That’s what I meant on the last day of the prior session where I asked a supplementary to a question asked by my former leader. It was a question to the Premier of Ontario, and I said this: “Why is it the policy of this government to seek out judicial review rather than legislative approval?” Because we, as Liberals, believe totally that if a minority government’s going to work, it has to work in legislative fashion.
I for one say this to you, Mr. Speaker, what integrity of purpose does the Premier have when he says, “We want minority government to work” but then he says, “With respect to this legislation, any amendment will be regarded as a matter of confidence”? In other words, if I don’t get my way then let there be an election.
Mr. Davidson: You’re going along with it.
Mr. Bullbrook: Certainly we’re going along with it! With great justification. It doesn’t take too much intelligence or common sense to recognize that the NDP has left us in the lurch.
Mr. Bullbrook: Think of the consequences.
Mr. Reid: Embarrassing, isn’t it?
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Mr. Bullbrook: What we could have done, we could have looked at the teachers and all the public servants. We might have entertained the private sector. We could have had a debate at that time. We could have made it a matter of confidence, if you had wished, at that time.
Mr. Reid: But you chickened out
Mr. Bullbrook: But between Dec. 1 and Dec. 19 there was a change of heart.
Mr. Lewis: That’s right
Mr. Bullbrook: I don’t know how it came about, since there wasn’t a unilateral marriage between the heads of the trade union movement and the New Democratic Party. But it now is consummated.
Mr. Lewis: Your own leader talked of it. It was called hospital closings.
Mr. Bullbrook: The union is consummated right now, today. I want to tell the NDP the union between their party and the heads of the trade union movement -- I hate to read the editorial page of the Globe and Mail, because most of the time I find it very bilious, but there are times when they do render a service. I want to read this morning’s: “If the Supreme Court of Canada had to take account of practicality in assuming that a national emergency existed and the Anti-Inflation Act should stand, so did the Ontario Liberals. Dr. Stuart Smith and his caucus, if they were to be responsible, had to consider what would happen if they joined the New Democrats to defeat the government on a bill to put Ontario public workers under the federal Anti-Inflation Board. The result would have been chaos.”
That’s what it would be. I want to say this, if I may, we began this in the House. This party began an understanding that the rights of the Province of Ontario, its workers and all its citizens, were being fettered by the government of Ontario without consideration for legislative approval. We thought we had the support of the New Democratic Party in the thrust of that argument. It seems we didn’t and, as a result, some 140 decisions in the public sector have intervened.
It is practically impossible for us to establish a board at this time. I voiced on April 29 in that debate, my personal opinion that even at that late stage it was impossible to establish such a board. We are forced, as the result of a marriage that took place between the other two parties of this House in December, to now recognize that we have given over that total provincial responsibility to Jean-Luc Pepin. We’re not pleased with that at all.
I want to say this in closing, we as a party have always regarded the important feature of this not to be a question of whether the opinions of the law officers of the Crown were right, or the opinions of those people who expressed such in the Legislature were right. The important ingredient here is that the government of this province would take it upon itself to execute an agreement in the face of the Legislature. As has been said by my colleagues, and the members of the New Democratic caucus many times, all we ever asked of this government was the right to debate the issue.
Mr. Foulds: Is that all?
Mr. Bullbrook: At this stage of the game, that right is given to us, but the practical consequences are fettered so much that, as the Premier enters the House, he should say to himself, “I wonder who truly is governing this province? Is it Jean-Luc Pepin or is it William Grenville Davis and his colleagues?” I’m inclined to think at this time that we’ve certainly given up too much to the federal government. But I want to say this --
Hon. Mr. Davis: Or is it Pierre Elliott Trudeau?
Mr. Bullbrook: When the Premier of Ontario talks to me about Pierre, I want to say this as a provincial Liberal, those are two of a kind. Those are two of Her Majesty’s first ministers who look upon the parliamentary system with essential disdain, the Premier of this province and the Prime Minister of Canada, both of them in my opinion, because I’m elected here as a member of the Ontario Legislature and I don’t give a pip for what Pierre Elliott Trudeau does. I’m beholden to no one in Ottawa except as a citizen. Were I Premier of this province, I could assure you this, as I sit down, --
Hon. Mr. Davis: Do you agree with that, Stuart? You are smiling.
Mr. Bullbrook: -- there would have been full, open, unfettered, unrestricted debate and in the context of a minority government platitudinously saying, “We want to make it work,” I would have said, “Yes, let’s the three of us make it work.”
Mr. Lewis: Mr. Speaker, the member for Sarnia, as always, is a divided pleasure in this House -- if he will forgive me -- if not a joy forever. I have learned, in many years in the Legislature, not to cross him directly because I value my presence here for some time in the future.
But what the member for Sarnia did in the contribution to this debate, I think, reinforced much of what was important about this debate, and that is that with one lamentable lapse last night of excruciating proportions, this debate has been characterized on all sides by very useful presentations.
Mr. Breithaupt: It’s been a real debate.
Mr. Lewis: It has, in fact, been a real debate and that in itself is one of those extraordinary realities.
Mr. Shore: We should have had it last December.
Mr. Lewis: I listened to the member for Sarnia and I couldn’t quite understand why so many of his colleagues have for ever been coming to his defence in the last day or two, trying to reclaim for him his reputation lest the laurel of roses rests on the brow of the member for Riverdale. So many of his lawyer colleagues have interjected of how James Bullbrook raised this issue before the Legislature on Oct. 29 rather than Jim Renwick on Oct. 30.
Mr. Bullbrook: It’s of no importance.
Mr. Lewis: I won’t bother with it. But what I realized last night while the member for London Centre (Mr. Peterson) was speaking is that there are seven lawyers on the Liberal front bench -- seven of them. It is positively unimaginable and it might --
Mr. Breithaupt: You’ve got all of yours on your front bench, too.
Mr. Lewis: Well, as a matter of fact, yes, and it must stick in the collective craw that Patrick Lawlor from Lakeshore and Jim Renwick from Riverdale are such superlative artisans of legal clairvoyance --
Mr. Roy: Are they lawyers?
Mr. Lewis: -- the two of them standing alone against the infidels on both sides of this Legislature. Thank God they are here. There is no 7-to-2 decision in this House, Mr. Speaker.
Let me say something, though, just as an aside, if I may. I have been in the Legislature going on for 13 years now --
Mr. Hall: Too long.
Mr. Lewis: -- and although I haven’t always understood much of the legalism which has transpired, and I admit that, I have learned, if I may say, that the members of the profession from the opposite side of the House, Liberals and New Democrats alike, on a whole range of issues frequently make compelling and important legal arguments. I remember, I think in the days of Arthur Wishart, when somehow all of that was immensely respected in this Legislature and that the application of the legal view on all parties, on all sides, was taken seriously, and amended if you will or altered if you will, but there was a sense that when opposition legal critics spoke, they spoke from knowledge and with feeling and with a great deal of rationality.
I worry a little at the way in which the government in its minority position has regarded the legal arguments on this side of the House with something varying between indifference and contempt. They are offered from knowledgeable legislators and the legal views should be taken into account. Had the legal views been taken into account, this government would not be in these circumstances, this unhappy mess, today. It’s as simple as that.
Mr. Reid: They knew what they were doing. Don’t be so naive. They knew what they were doing.
Mr. Lewis: I am not so sure they --
Hon. Mr. Davis: We could have had an election and you could have made that possible.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: They wanted an election. We could have given it to them.
Mr. Lewis: You want an election, so Darcy McKeough said yesterday; we want an election almost any day, and the former leader of the Liberal Party this morning -- I heard him in my office -- said that maybe we should have an election. So since it is unanimous in the Legislature, why the devil don’t we have an election?
Hon. Mr. Davis: He said he was ready.
An hon. member: He is the only one over there who is.
Mr. Martel: Since you are so sure of yourself, Bill, call it.
Mr. Reid: That is the least enthusiastic clapping I’ve ever heard.
Mr. Bounsall: Call it tomorrow.
Mr. Grossman: You’re whistling past the graveyard, Elie.
Mr. Bounsall: Your graveyard.
Mr. Martel: Call it tomorrow; don’t even wait till tomorrow, call it today.
Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order, please.
Mr. Lewis: The debate so far in some small measure has involved the exorcism of the Attorney General and I don’t intend to participate in that. It’s reassuring to know, with the delicious comment by the former leader of the Liberal Party, that those right at the pinnacle of the vertical mosaic are in fact also frail and subject to imperfection, and can lose with some regularity --
Mr. Breithaupt: It is sharp up there, too.
Mr. Lewis: -- and I guess no more need be said than that those of us who huddle at the bottom, from minority groupings of various kinds, are pleased to know that there may be room at the top.
About one week ago, almost exactly at this time, I shared a platform with Jean-Luc Pepin before several hundred industrial accountants to whom he put the position of the Anti-Inflation Board on the anti-inflation policy. I must say I’d never heard Jean-Luc Pepin in person and I want to say it was a bravura performance. I was really quite taken with the extraordinary verve of the man, with the artfulness with which arguments were put, with the range of knowledge which he incorporated. He did a quite masterful job. When it was over I understood no more about the Anti-Inflation Board than I did before he began.
Mr. S. Smith: He is not responsible for the classes he is leading.
Mr. Lewis: Although it was a remarkable performance it was largely if not totally unintelligible. What Jean-Luc Pepin did during the course of his performance was to say, as only Jean-Luc Pepin can, with great feeling, that at some point in time in Canada somebody had to pull it all together.
Mr. Kerrio: He’s working under a handicap, though.
Mr. Lewis: On Oct. 13, the federal Prime Minister had done that and, said Jean-Luc Pepin, it was like the charge of the Light Brigade.
Mr. Shore: Hear, hear.
Mr. Lewis: Albert Roy says “Hear, hear,” and I can see it.
Mr. Roy: It wasn’t Albert. I was listening to you silently in rapture.
Mr. Lewis: It wasn’t Albert Roy? It was one lawyer or another lawyer; one of you said “Hear, hear.” I thought to myself how willingly federal Liberals, provincial Liberals, and provincial Tories charged off into the valley. That’s quite typical of the way the federal and provincial Liberal and Tory parties work around questions of inflation. It conjures up the image, of course, of the provincial Treasurer, bareback on his horse, or the horse’s bare back.
Mr. Breithaupt: Bare? Horse? Him?
Mr. Lewis: One or the other. With trumpets sounding, with armour down and visor up, roaring into the fray and that kind of --
Mr. Breithaupt: Like Lady Godiva.
Mr. Lewis: Lady Godiva hasn’t struck me as a normal parallel for Darcy McKeough. For one thing his hair isn’t that long. May I say, Mr. Speaker, the question New Democratic socialists have to ask themselves in such situations, one of the things that has to be answered, is who is at the other end of the lance when you are making your enthusiastic charge? The answer, when it comes to the federal Liberals and the provincial Tories is pretty clear. The real adversaries in this case were not at the end of the lance. They chose, thoughtfully, the working people of Canada and of Ontario as the villains of inflation, as the target for the charge.
Mr. S. Smith: And you choose the unorganized and the people on fixed incomes.
Mr. Lewis: We said at the time and we continue to say it now that they were wrong. We said that philosophically and empirically in every sense they were wrong.
Mr. Reid: That is what Joe Morris told you to say.
Mr. Lewis: That is why we oppose this bill at this time. The alternative isn’t Davis or chaos, to use that old phrase. As a matter of fact, it is Davis and chaos, to use the new phrase; right? That isn’t the alternative for us.
Mr. S. Smith: No, it is Smith.
Mr. Lewis: What it is basically is a fundamental difference on principle with everything the anti-inflation guidelines stand for. We didn’t like them when Pierre Trudeau introduced them. We thought they were unfair and inequitable. We thought they were based on false premises. We thought they were misdirected --
Mr. S. Smith: You were wrong.
Mr. Lewis: -- and we are not going to support a bill now which enshrines them and their application in the Province of Ontario -- don’t think we will.
Mr. Reid: But you did in December.
Mr. Lewis: No, sir, we did not.
Mr. Reid: You did.
Mr. S. Smith: What silliness.
Mr. Reid: What a bunch of poppycock.
Mr. Speaker: Order. The hon. Leader of the Opposition has the floor.
Mr. Lewis: My goodness, you are exercised.
Mr. Reid: Your hypocrisy knows no bounds.
Mr. Lewis: As a matter of fact, Mr. Speaker, what the member for Sarnia read today -- I have noted it in the column, I think of Bob Duffy of the Star -- I recall that during the debate which was held in the House. As a matter of fact, there was no doubt and I have no qualms about saying it, that in the first, almost frantic for some of us, response to the anti-inflation guidelines, for me -- I admitted it myself -- the need to protect the public sector, the need to deal with the inequity that was unleashed, spawned the feeling that maybe there should be some provincial kind of board. I know I talked about it, and I wouldn’t hesitate for a moment to admit it. And I don’t deny for a moment that in our refusal to support the Liberal amendment, there lay a consideration of whether or not the election should fall so soon after Sept. 18, 1975. But I want to say something else, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. S. Smith: When you decide, it is not too soon.
Mr. Lewis: There were a number of people in my caucus, a number of my colleagues, who had profound reservations about the whole rationale of a provincial board --
Mr. Reid: You are having it both ways again.
Mr. Lewis: -- and pressed that upon those of us who thought there might be some sense in it. And as I watched the Anti-Inflation Board unfold over the last several months, thank God their will prevailed, because they were right. There should not be a provincial board in this province to give credence to what the federal government has done; and I see that now.
Mr. S. Smith: The push-me-pull-you. You are talking out of two sides of your mouth.
Mr. Lewis: No. I am not; I am telling the House exactly the process that we went through.
Mr. S. Smith: You can’t have it both ways.
Mr. Lewis: The Liberal leader is unable to share frankly the views that his party holds, because the views shift too quickly for frankness; it’s as simple as that.
Mr. S. Smith: You’re talking out of both sides of your mouth -- and that’s a very painful thing to do.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Careful.
Mr. Lewis: Mr. Speaker, the fact of the matter is that we felt that the Anti-Inflation Board was premised falsely from the outset. I want to remind the Premier, if I may, that the kind of premises which underlay the anti-inflation guidelines, forced the unfairness which, I think, is now universally applied. The Premier will recall it was argued that wage settlements were outstripping everything else, and therefore there had to be some anti-inflation guidelines. It was only after the guidelines were brought down on Oct. 13 that the statistical data began to emerge to show that wages had fallen short of prices on the consumer price index by six, seven or eight per cent, year after year, from 1971 to 1974 -- and that only in the middle of 1975 had they begun to catch up. With some considerable embarrassment, John Munro admitted that himself after the guidelines had been implemented.
But the fact that the evidence which was brought forward did not coincide with the rationale for the policy, would not allow them to change the policy. The Premier will recall that it was argued that the wage rate increases in Canada were higher than those in the United States. Then after the announcement of Oct. 13 it was learned, lo and behold, that the comparisons are all phoney, for two fundamental reasons. First, 50 per cent of United States negotiated contracts include cost of living arrangements; and only 20 per cent of the contracts in Canada, So, naturally, the wage component in the United States contracts will be smaller. Second, the statistics computed for Canada are based on the lowest wage, whereas the statistics for the United States are based on the average wage, which invariably inflates the Canadian situation. That, too, was noted after the guidelines were brought down on Oct. 13.
The Premier will recall that we were pricing ourselves out of the world market, because wages and unit costs and declining productivity in Canada were such that we could no longer compete on world markets. Then at the end of May, 1976, an outfit called the C. D. Howe Research Institute, on which all of the government’s statistics in 1975 had been based, put out a major correction on the comparisons between the United States and Canada. What did it show? I think this is tremendously significant to the context of the debate -- that between 1969 and 1974 the output per man-hour of productivity in the United States increased by 1.5 per cent, and in Canada increased by 2.9 per cent. In fact our productivity was nearly twice as great as in the United States every single year, although the alternate premise had been one of the bases for the anti-inflation guidelines.
Then, Mr. Speaker, it showed that between 1969 and 1974 the unit labour cost in the United States had increased by 5.6 per cent, but in Canada by 5.2 per cent; and again, one of the basic rationales on which the anti-inflation guidelines are posited was shot to smithereens. Do you think that for a moment that allowed the federal government to reconsider an ill-considered policy? Not on your life.
Then it was argued, you will recall that because of the trade crisis -- the balance of payments crisis; the export decline -- that we had to have anti-inflation guidelines, and a careful analysis of the reality allowed the Financial Times to write on Nov. 24, 1975: “A main reason for imposing wage and price guidelines is, according to Ottawa, Canadian manufactured goods are in danger of being priced out of world markets. Neither trade nor price index figures show this to be true.”
And I’ll say what they did show was that manufactured exports of finished products had jumped 11 per cent in the last year but that exports of raw products were down.
What does that tell you, Mr. Speaker? I’ll tell you what it tells the New Democratic Party. It tells us that the answer to the export problem is to refine and process at home, not to apply wage guidelines on workers.
Mr. Martel: It will wipe you out of the north.
Mr. Lewis: On what we knew at the time to be completely false premises a whole anti-inflation approach was constructed by the federal government and embraced by this government and the prime culprit was to be seen as wages.
Worse still -- and this is really incredible to us -- even with the pretence, that the government would do something about prices, the Premier managed to endorse an anti-inflation policy which excluded from its definition all of the important areas of the economy. The government has excluded food prices, it has excluded house prices, it has excluded land speculation, it has excluded energy prices, it has excluded interest rates, it has excluded fully 50 per cent of the consumer price index -- that’s right, 50 per cent.
Hon. Mr. Davis: No.
Mr. Lewis: That’s not a programme, that’s a travesty. That’s what it is.
Mr. S. Smith: Your economics are something to behold. What should they do about interest rates?
Hon. Mr. Davis: You voted for the land speculation tax.
Mr. Lewis: I will come to that. The Liberals talk and the Tories talk about doing something for the oppressed, for the disadvantaged -- boy, oh boy. Those federal Liberals and Tories have been in power in federal governments in Canada for as long as I can think, and for the lowest 20 per cent quintile in this country, between 1951 and 1974 as a proportion of net income their incomes declined.
Mr. S. Smith: But they are not the same people. Many of the people have moved up in this country. Many of the people have moved up and that’s what it is all about.
Mr. Lewis: They’re not the same people? Many people have moved up in this country?
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. The hon. Leader of the Opposition, please.
Mr. S. Smith: That’s what it is all about.
Mr. Cassidy: Don’t rely on the Liberals.
Mr. S. Smith: Growth of income is what it is all about in this country and you should understand that.
Mr. Cassidy: Get that on the record.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Mr. Cassidy: No hope left for those Liberals.
Mr. Martel: Give another 20 per cent the right to starve -- you nitwit!
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Mr. Lewis: That is an exquisite argument emanating quite appropriately from the leader of the Liberal Party. As long as it is a different 20 per cent, they can rot -- that’s as far as he’s concerned.
Mr. S. Smith: No one is rotting in this country. They are better off than they would be under socialism.
Mr. Martel: You couldn’t even believe Mickey Mouse.
Mr. Lewis: The fact of the matter is, Mr. Speaker, if you feel as a Premier, through the Chair --
Mr. S. Smith: Back to your comic books, Elie!
Mr. Martel: That’s all you read, you moron!
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Control your caucus, will you?
Mr. Lewis: I feel my caucus is aroused, Mr. Speaker. Barely contained. They understand the displacement that goes on around here -- if I may use a psychological term.
Mr. S. Smith: One quarter million votes ahead of you people.
Mr. Lewis: You people can’t stand being third, but you are going to be third for a long time.
Mr. Lewis: Now, if I may say, for Odoardo and Tony and Tony, back to numero uno. I want to speak about the Premier.
You have talked nonchalantly from time to time, you have pulled into your own scheme or arguments the matter that the consumer price index is coming down slightly. Even today in the Globe and Mail Ronald Anderson points out that it is very difficult to attribute that to the Anti-Inflation Board, but as a matter of fact it is a matter of some bitter irony that the areas where the consumer price index is declining are precisely those areas which are not covered by the anti-inflation guidelines. Where the guidelines apply, the index is going up, and in fact even where it is not covered at the moment people like Jean-Luc Pepin and others have indicated it will go up in the fall.
What we are fundamentally opposed to is the premise and the operation of the guidelines, their discriminatory application, the way it works. Yesterday the provincial Treasurer hurled at us, as doubtless the Premier will do, the question of alternatives. “We don’t mind your opposing,” he said, “that’s the job of the opposition, but we want you to propose as well.”
I want to say to the Premier, through the Chair, that kind of bravado is positively breathtaking and no one else in this Legislature could get away with it as Darcy McKeough tries to get away with it. For the last five years in this House, I remind you, day in and day out at question period and in every single debate in which we were engaged, we begged you to do something about prices; we begged you to do something about profits. The refrain identified with the NDP, “Who protects the consumer of Ontario?” became discordant music in your ears, and day after day we repeated it and day after day we offered to you every conceivable alternative.
As a matter of fact, you were so embarrassed by the cumulative impact of the discussion of inflation in prices and profits that even John Clement had to initiate a study into 16 major retailing companies in order to show that prices had not increased inordinately in Tory terms.
We put to you at the time a prices review board, we put to you an excess profits tax, we put to you controls on Hydro rates, we put to you responses on oil and gas, we put to you, one after another, the alternatives which could have avoided the extremity of Oct. 13 last and you refused to do it.
Mr. S. Smith: And each would have wrecked the economy.
Mr. Lewis: Therefore, the chaos is of the making of the government in Ottawa and at Queen’s Park and we don’t see that it is our obligation to bail you out, frankly. We see that it is our obligation to oppose the principles of this bill.
Mr. S. Smith: Turn this into Britain.
Mr. Reid: They did in December; they won’t now.
Mr. Lewis: There is no guile about it, there is no dissembling about it. We said we think you should be defeated on the bill and we are prepared to discuss this matter publicly with you on the hustings, as indeed others seem to be. This isn’t in any sense a charade. If we could defeat you on this bill, that is what we would do. But, in order to pull things together, Mr. Speaker, may I say to the Premier, even though it is several months later and even though we concede to him that things are much more complicated now than they were eight or nine months ago, there are a number of alternatives which we continue to put.
I don’t know whether they are the right alternatives or the right answers; they are a different range of options for the people of the Province of Ontario, and we put them now as we put them before and we re-emphasize them in each case, and were we a government it is the kind of thing we would have done in response to Oct. 13 and it is the kind of thing that we urge upon you now.
No. 1. Don’t allow a penny increase in any oil or gasoline prices across the Province of Ontario, north or south, until the oil companies have justified their price increases. If you want to deal a body blow to inflation that’s one of the prime areas in which to do it.
No. 2. Refuse permission to all automobile insurance companies in the Province of Ontario to raise their insurance premiums by one cent until they have brought them before some kind of board of review of this Legislature or agency of this government. That will do more to combat inflation than all your nonsense in the federal anti-inflation guidelines.
Hon. Mr. Handleman: The BC scheme didn’t work.
Mr. Lewis: Well, that’s fine if you want to bring in the Manitoba scheme.
Mr. S. Smith: Manitoba or BC?
Mr. Lewis: If you want to do something in a serious way about inflation, you insist with the federal government that there be amendments to the Bank Act in order to bring those interest rates down, and if you can’t get it through the federal government, then you go to the banks yourself, and if you can’t do it through the banks yourself, then do what you promised during the election campaign you would do, provide a mortgage rate tax credit and interest rate tax credit, for the people of this province so that the low income earners for whom you weep can have some legitimate response to inflation rather than the curtailment of their wages. That will do something to combat inflation.
If you want to do something about inflation that we would frankly do, and again I am mirroring some of the things which you have talked about and others have talked about in the Tory party, you bring in a 60- or 90-day price freeze covering the commodities that were indicated in the Province of British Columbia, or can I indicate to you the changes in Manitoba reflected in the bill that Ed Schreyer is now bringing before the Legislature on the control of prices because he, too, is losing confidence in the way the guidelines are being applied.
You do that kind of thing in Ontario, a 60- or 90-day price freeze, and then, let me tell you, you will be battling inflation. The whole business of how you handle the invidious matters of public sector wages and private sector wages in Ontario is, I admit, terribly difficult because so many invidious differences have emerged as you embrace the programme. But, Mr. Premier, while I concede to you that this is terribly complex and you have to look at a range of possibilities, if we could urge upon you or if we had the opportunity ourselves in the public sector, we would try to provide some kind of avenue of appeal, some kind of buffer which would protect public sector employees -- those groups of them, like the Liquor Licence Board employees, who are particularly discriminated against -- from being discriminated against and at the very least, in every single instance of merit, we would go as a government with our employees to the Anti-Inflation Board and say, “give them the settlement they deserve.” We wouldn’t leave them in the lurch.
Mr. S. Smith: We asked the government to do that. We asked them to do precisely that.
Mr. Lewis: Let me utter the final heresy to you if I may, Mr. Premier, through the Chair. We would also want to intervene in the private sector. There would be a totally different reaction, and I must say if by chance government changed I suppose this reaction would have to be taken into account. It is certainly the way we would have responded in October.
We would not have felt that the federal Liberals should get away without criticism except from the labour movement and some disadvantaged groups, and now gradually from the Chamber of Commerce, I note with irony, for the imposition of the controls programme without a government fighting on behalf of a number of the individuals involved.
Where the federal guidelines are discriminatory to private-sector wage earners, the government has a moral responsibility to intervene and to fight with the board and to say, “Pierre Trudeau, your guidelines, while legal, are nuts and we will resist them with every capacity at our command.” Let me say that had we been the government in this province and Jean-Luc Pepin did to Denison mine employees what that board did without considering the consequences for those miners, they wouldn’t have got away with it for 30 seconds. We would have mounted the defences in favour of those workers receiving a legitimate wage settlement and wouldn’t have minded that that was the private sector and the particular prerogative of Jean-Luc Pepin.
Somewhere you have to have a provincial government which doesn’t simply endorse these guidelines in a mindless fashion even though their premises are no longer valid. So putting all of that together, plus the need to create some jobs in the Province of Ontario, we are giving you the flavour of an alternative response. No one says it is necessarily valid. No one pretends that is an omniscient answer. Sure, I concede that. All I’m saying to the government is that it is a sense of alternative changes for the Province of Ontario.
I will draw my remarks to a close. I don’t want the Premier forever to ask us to play by the rules of his game. This is the club of the Legislature, but don’t ask us to play by the rules of the government’s game. Putting it as simply as I can, we in the New Democratic Party don’t like the economic priorities the government has struck. We don’t like the values of the economic system which it has structured. We don’t like the inequities which are reflected in it and which the anti-inflation guidelines reinforce. We are in simplest terms democratic socialists who would wish to change the economic priorities in Ontario and make them more equitable and more just for the people of this province.
Mr. MacDonald: If you want to fight an election on that, just try it.
Mr. Lewis: Yes, I’d have no qualms about that, and putting the alternatives. That leads me to my last brief point and then I’ll take my seat. I appreciate the members allowing me to go about two minutes overtime. There has been much talk of vested-interest groups, of people who are tied to other people. I don’t see politics that way and never have. I understand that political parties have some philosophic colleagues in other social institutions. We regard the trade-union movement as a terrible important movement for social change, dealing not only with its own membership but in the broadest possible scope with all sectors of society, far more usefully, I may say, than Liberal parties, federally or provincially, can ever dream of doing.
Mr. Reid: They regard you as a puppet.
Mr. Lewis: We regard the Tories as a party philosophically at ease with corporate interests. So what? What we are putting to you in this Legislature is some kind of basic alternative. We think the day is fast approaching when that opportunity for alternative choice should be put to the people of Ontario.
What is being debated today is the latest in a succession of unhappy government reversals. I thought it would be the final reversal of this month. I note, after that extraordinary announcement about Doctors Hospital yesterday, the government is into yet another pattern of retrenchment and retreat. There seems to be no end to it. I say to the Premier, thoughtfully and respectfully but forcefully, what he surely must do very soon is not so much to seek the mandate of the Legislature but to seek another mandate from the province.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I really just wish to add a few unprovocative thoughts with respect to the matters that we are discussing as we approach second reading and the vote on this very important piece of legislation. In the very few moments that are available, and I do not intend to prolong this debate because I think all that has been said is perhaps all that is necessary, I’m going to try to get through to the Leader of the Opposition and perhaps point out to him the total lack of logic, the great contradiction and the lack of responsibility that really he is presenting on behalf of his party to this House on this occasion. Perhaps when I’m finished my remarks he will see that I’m right and that he is wrong and he will make second reading very simple and it will be unanimous here in this House.
Mr. Lewis: I might not be able to bring all my colleagues with me.
Hon. Mr. Davis: No, I sense that the Leader of the Opposition would have some difficulty with a few of his colleagues, but there are some reasonable ones there. I can’t identify them because in identifying them I would exclude others and they would be upset and I don’t want to do that on this occasion.
Mr. MacDonald: You haven’t listened to what he said.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I really think there are some differences, and this has become very obvious during this debate, among the three parties in this House. There are some very obvious differences. The one thing about this government and the party that I lead is -- and I do like boating and I use the nautical sort of story -- if I or if this government sees someone in trouble, perhaps drowning, the first thing we would do would be to --
Mr. Reid: Throw him an anchor?
Hon. Mr. Davis: No, we would throw them a very sturdy rope with a life jacket attached to it. Do you know what the Liberal Party would do?
Mr. Lewis: That’s an old joke.
Hon. Mr. Davis: You would spend half an hour debating who owns the rope before you throw it. You people would throw several ropes, all of them too short, and only to your friends. That would be the very major differential among the three parties.
Mr. Roy: You know what you would do? You’d give them a legal opinion.
Hon. Mr. Davis: That’s right.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I stopped giving legal opinions some 14 years ago.
Mr. S. Smith: I think what you should have done is thrown in the towel.
Hon. Mr. Davis: The member for Sarnia, the member for Ottawa East and the member for Wilson Heights -- I don’t know about the member for Armourdale (Mr. Givens) or the member for Kitchener -- are still all giving legal opinions. I had to forgo that some years ago. Hopefully, those learned gentlemen will never have to forgo that great pleasure, because I expect --
Mr. Reid: You couldn’t do any worse.
Hon. Mr. Davis: -- they will still be able to continue in private practice for many years yet to come without making the sacrifices of becoming a minister of the Crown. I can see that never happening.
Mr. Breithaupt: We’re practically there now.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Oh, Jimmy, you wouldn’t want to be. Think what you would have to give up, the lifestyle.
Mr. Bullbrook: It looks like a pretty expensive suit you have on.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I have to tell you that it is one of my more modest ones, selected by my wife.
Mr. Bullbrook: You look pretty in it today.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. We’re wasting valuable time.
Hon. Mr. Davis: It was done totally within the restraint programme, I assure you.
Mr. MacDonald: You have wandered away from the bill.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I do apologize to members of the House if I’m wandering away from the principle of the bill, because in this way -- and I don’t do it too often -- I’m only following the example of so many of the speakers opposite over the past day and a half.
Mr. MacDonald: Verbally, I mean.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I would say to the member for York South, certainly I wander. I wander in what I say from time to time. However, unlike the member for York South, I do have certain objectives and this government has achieved those objectives, which is something the member for York South is going to be frustrated about the rest of his political life.
Mr. MacDonald: Is that right? You want to bet on it?
Hon. Mr. Davis: Yes, sure.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I don’t know whether it’s parliamentary or not. I’ll bet $1 with the member for York South, and for me that is a significant bet.
Mr. Breithaupt: Double or nothing.
Hon. Mr. Davis: No, no, no double or nothing. I’ll bet $1.
Mr. MacDonald: I’d be taking money off you.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I’ve monitored very carefully the suggestions and the thoughts being expressed by the members opposite. I didn’t have an opportunity to hear all of them. I regret I didn’t hear some of the very learned arguments from the member for Sarnia here, but I did hear some of them in my office and I do sympathize with him, because there is no question, the Leader of the Opposition is right; the member for Riverdale has been given more credit during these deliberations than he deserves, you have received less than you deserve but neither of you really, thank heaven, have ever had the responsibility of the Attorney General of this province and today. that gives me great comfort in the long run. I would say, when the member for Sarnia refers to the Attorney General of this province then --
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Hon. Mr. Davis: -- I guess it was the member for Ottawa East who was talking about the nine-zip decision --
Mr. Roy: That’s right.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Oh, I like that phrase, nine-zip. It’s very contemporary, nine-zip. I would only say to the member for Sarnia, the Attorney General’s batting average is still 100 per cent better than the leader of his party successively over the past number of years, which is a fact that has not escaped the member for Sarnia and that was very obvious today. I say that kindly. I say that very kindly.
Mr. Bullbrook: I don’t know what you’re talking about. Maybe somebody else can tell me.
Mr. Lewis: Why don’t you say it unkindly?
Hon. Mr. Davis: Well, I am not an unkind person. How could I say it unkindly?
Mr. Lewis: No, you are not.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I am getting back to the bill.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. I think the House would be better served if there were fewer interjections.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I have a lot to say about the bill, and I am getting around to it. We still have a few minutes.
Mr. Roy: And you should get the legal opinion --
Hon. Mr. Davis: You know, Mr. Speaker --
Mr. Roy: -- from the member for Scarborough Centre.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I think the leader of the Liberal Party and his really, I think, strong and intense criticism of the official opposition --
Mr. Lewis: Venomous.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Venomous is a very good word.
Mr. Lewis: Rabid.
Hon. Mr. Davis: No, rabid has a connotation to it that I wouldn’t apply to the member for Hamilton West.
Mr. S. Smith: I know you two admire each other but --
Hon. Mr. Davis: Venomous, maybe; but rabid, no. That would be unfair and unkind and I don’t want to be either of those things.
Mr. S. Smith: Why not? It’s summertime.
Hon. Mr. Davis: And, of course, I noticed that the member for Riverdale and the Leader of the Opposition were attacking with some enthusiasm the Liberal Party of Ontario. In fact, as we sat here we really wondered who was engaged in the debate. It really seemed to be a debate once again as to --
Mr. S. Smith: You haven’t been part of it at all.
Hon. Mr. Davis: -- who wants to be number two. Well, gentlemen, I say to both of you, God bless you both. You can both be number two as far as I am concerned, because neither of you will ever be number one.
Mr. S. Smith: Don’t bring Darcy into it.
Hon. Mr. Davis: But I did find it interesting --
Mr. Cassidy: Want to bet?
Hon. Mr. Davis: Listen, I have stretched the weekly budget with the one bet I have made. I can’t really take on another one today.
Mr. Lawlor: Back to the bill.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I would guess, Mr. Speaker, that the member for Hamilton West has sort of unhappy feelings at this moment, and they relate back to events of last fall. I can understand this. They, in their wisdom at that time, opposed provincial boards.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Were in favour, rather, of provincial boards. They were in support of them. The New Democratic Party, for what was then obvious political expediency, did not want to join with them. The Leader of the Opposition today is very brave because he knows that the Liberal Party, for once, is showing some judgement and is going to support the government.
Mr. Cunningham: They were right then.
Hon. Mr. Davis: That makes them feel more courageous. The rhetoric flows more easily.
Mr. Lewis: I am regretful.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I listened to the NDP leader’s description of Jean-Luc Pepin. I have not had the pleasure of listening to him, but if the member does have some things in common, as I suggest he was suggesting to the House in the way he described him, he really was describing himself.
Mr. Foulds: I thought he was the psychiatrist.
Hon. Mr. Davis: The one thing that he did not say, and where he exceeds Jean-Luc Pepin by a mile, is in his own degree of self-righteousness and as he demonstrated his position here.
Mr. Lewis: Sanctimonious.
Hon. Mr. Davis: That’s true. It reminds me a little bit of the debate on the Metro teachers situation.
Mr. Martel: It is our halo.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Well, the halo as far as the NDP is concerned has slipped substantially; but we will leave that for another occasion.
Mr. Martel: Why don’t you try it out with the people, then?
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
An hon. member: You are sanctimonious.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, they are interrupting -- and I am always reluctant to have interruptions.
Mr. Moffatt: There is nothing to interrupt.
Hon. Mr. Davis: It reminds me of their position on the Metro teachers bill. I can recall speaker after speaker getting up and saying --
Mr. Cunningham: Teacher after teacher.
Hon. Mr. Davis: -- “The teachers have got to go back in the classroom. The schools have got to function. But on a matter of principle, we are going to vote against the bill.” I remember the member for Windsor-Sandwich coming into my office, as he should have, with some of his constituents when they --
Hon. Mr. Davis: He did. He came in with them. And the member for Windsor-Walkerville (Mr. B. Newman) was also there. The member for Windsor-Sandwich sympathetic to the plight of the parents in Windsor because those students were out of school. And, “Gosh, we’ve got to do something about it. We’ve got to get those schools open.” Those parents left my office saying, “Gosh, Mr. Bounsall is a nice man. He is going to vote for that.”
Mr. Lewis: I guess everybody says gosh after they leave your office.
Hon. Mr. Davis: He is going to get them back to work. No question that was their impression. What does he do? He comes into the House and votes against getting the schools open in Windsor. Never believe it.
Mr. Bounsall: We voted for a bigger alternative.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Here today, as they did yesterday, those people across the House say they are opposing this on a matter of principle. They don’t like the anti-inflation programme. I am not going to quarrel with that. I have never said that we are totally satisfied with all aspects of the AIB. No question that we are not.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I don’t think there is a resident of this province or of this country who is totally satisfied, but one thing I am satisfied about --
Mr. Lewis: it is satisfying.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I’m not satisfied, I am concerned about, something the Leader of the Opposition still doesn’t totally understand -- that this country last fall faced serious economic difficulties.
Mr. Lewis: Right. Right.
Hon. Mr. Davis: We are not out of the woods yet We are making progress. I hate to give credit to the government of Canada, I am a partisan Tory and I don’t mind admitting it.
Mr. Peterson: Go ahead.
Mr. Roy: We will forgive you.
Hon. Mr. Davis: But I do say --
Mr. Lewis: You are talking about expediency.
Hon. Mr. Davis: -- that if the federal government had to do something, in my view they should have acted perhaps in a different fashion earlier and there was a political leader in this country who said so and the public didn’t agree, and it’s wonderful how you people have become converted, tremendously encouraging. The fact is you would have us sit around and do nothing.
Mr. Lewis: No.
Hon. Mr. Davis: You would see the economy of this country go down the drain, and you talk about the groups you want to protect. I know what your kind of protection means and you revealed a good deal of it today.
Mr. S. Smith: They would make sure everybody had the same wage -- nothing.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. Fewer interjections, please.
Hon. Mr. Davis: You oppose controls of this nature, but you would totally control the energy industry.
Mr. Lewis: Totally, no.
Hon. Mr. Davis: You certainly would.
Mr. Lewis: Yes, we wouldn’t let energy go.
Hon. Mr. Davis: You would control the automotive insurance industry, you would control the resource industry, you wouldn’t have to sympathize with the workers at Denison Mines, you have a simpler solution. You would become the president of Denison Mines. You would take it over. Certainly you would.
Mr. Lewis: That is an interesting thought. I’d like to consider it.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Can’t you just see Elie Martel, general manager of Inco?
Mr. Martel: I’d consider it a promotion.
Hon. Mr. Davis: The hon. member is a man of some principle, and I say some principle, I’ve got to tell the Leader of the Opposition I think he would abandon his principles if anybody were foolish enough to offer him the job. They won’t.
Mr. Lewis: It will be a Crown corporation.
Hon. Mr. Davis: But if that were to happen, I will take the phrase from the member for Ottawa East, instead of it being one of the major economic contributors to the Province of Ontario, International Nickel under his direction would be zip in terms of the economy of this province. No question about it, Elie. It would happen.
Hon. Mr. Davis: And the other alternative --
Mr. Lewis: This is excellent. What do you have for Jim?
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: Sympathy.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I think the member for Riverdale should be appointed to the Supreme Court.
Mr. Lewis: What about MacDonald?
Hon. Mr. Davis: I don’t know who should go first, the member for Riverdale or the member for Sarnia.
Mr. Conway: Elected, as suggested by Frank Drea.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I have a feeling that if both the member for Sarnia and the member for Wilson Heights were offered the opportunity, the member for Hamilton West would have to be looking for new candidates right away. They’d accept the job. I would make that prediction.
Mr. S. Smith: The member for Scarborough Centre (Mr. Drea) is ahead of them now.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I listened to your alternatives, and I just have to say, and I say this very constructively to the Leader of the Opposition, your alternatives presented in this House this morning were just pure nonsense.
Mr. MacDonald: Take it out on the hustings and we will try it.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Pure unadulterated nonsense.
Hon. Mr. Davis: It’s true. They don’t come to grips with the problem. They don’t deal with the problem whatsoever.
Mr. Makarchuk: Take it to the people if it is nonsense.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Hon. Mr. Davis: They don’t deal with the problem whatsoever. Of course they don’t.
Mr. Lewis: Energy, food, insurance.
Hon. Mr. Davis: We’ll enumerate them. You talk about the consumer price index and what’s behind it. How many people voted for the land spec tax? How many did?
Mr. Lewis: And what has happened?
Hon. Mr. Davis: I will tell you what has happened. The price of land has been stabilized because of that tax and you people voted against it.
Hon. Mr. Davis: You get into the cost of housing --
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Hon. Mr. Davis: You talk about your opposition to control philosophically. Do you know really what you are saying to the people of this House and the people of the Province of Ontario? Your solution, I understand. I’ve understood it for years.
Hon. Mr. Davis: No, you wouldn’t have an Anti-Inflation Board, you wouldn’t have an inflation programme. No, what you would have would be a totally controlled economy, controlled individuals, so they were all totally responsible to the state. That’s your basic approach. That’s how you solve a problem and that is the basic differential that exists between us.
Yon would solve the economic problems like Barrett did in British Columbia, tremendous solutions. Your philosophy has certainly enhanced the economy of the United Kingdom. They have done well under that sort of philosophy. We can go to jurisdiction after jurisdiction and we will find --
Mr. Lewis: They inherited it from the Tories.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Pardon?
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Mr. Wildman: They went broke with the Tories.
Hon. Mr. Davis: What was that again? I couldn’t hear you.
Mr. MacDonald: What are your views on the bill?
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the leader of the Liberal Party --
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. Fewer interjections and we’ll get on with the debate.
Mr. Lewis: Come on, if you are so confident about it, let’s take it to the people.
Mr. MacDonald: He has nothing to say. He is inviting the interjections.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I have to be very honest with the members of the House, I don’t mind at all the interjections.
Mr. MacDonald: I know you don’t, because you have nothing to say.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I find them stimulating and revealing, and they usually reveal not much thought but they’re stimulating. To get back to the principle of the bill --
Mr. Sweeney: Are you from Scarborough Centre?
Hon. Mr. Davis: -- the principle is very simple. There was a court decision handed down on Monday. I don’t know when it was made but it was handed down on Monday. The position that was taken with respect to the constitutionality of the federal legislation was upheld; a position supported, obviously, by this government and, I think, the public generally. This government did enter into an agreement. There was no secret about it. The agreement was tabled. The member for Sarnia can couple me with the Prime Minister of Canada, I won’t comment on that. He does some things I don’t; I may do some things he doesn’t, I don’t know. But I would say to the member for Sarnia, there was an opportunity on several occasions, if you did not like that which we did you had opportunities in the past three months to move no-confidence motions. You had an opportunity to vote with those people a few weeks ago. You have an opportunity today. The truth of the matter is, you know --
Mr. Bullbrook: What are you talking about? We did. We already did.
Hon. Mr. Davis: -- in your own heart of hearts that the route we went, the determination we made that we would not have a separate board for certain groups in the Province of Ontario was right.
Mr. Bullbrook: Where were you? We did.
Hon. Mr. Davis: You also know that last fall you would not have supported it. Certainly not.
Mr. Bullbrook: You sound like Barry Goldwater now.
Mr. S. Smith: We know you are right, very right.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I would say to the member for Hamilton West there are some days when I think he is trying to carve a niche for himself and his party in a position even to the right of the Treasurer of the Province of Ontario. It isn’t going to wash.
Mr. S. Smith: God forbid.
Mr. Reid: That’s right of Attila the Hun.
Hon. Mr. Davis: My colleague said there isn’t any room.
Mr. S. Smith: The world isn’t that round.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Where is your great affection for all of these groups? I felt your attack on the OSSTF, but I say this reasonably because I’ve had my differences, some of them are still here.
Mr. Breithaupt: On the press release.
Mr. Lewis: It was unbalanced.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I thought it was a shade unfair. Did you read to the House the last line of their press report? They supported the anti-inflation programme. They just want one that more suits their purposes.
Mr. Breithaupt: Yes, I’ve got it.
Mr. S. Smith: If it gives them 39 per cent.
Hon. Mr. Davis: That’s understandable. I can understand that. I just don’t happen to agree with it. At least, I wasn’t one of those last fall who did and is today changing my mind. You agreed with it last fall. You wanted a provincial board. The inequities that would have been created for the people of this province would have been grossly unfair.
Mr. S. Smith: That’s arrant nonsense. It would have applied the same guidelines and you know it.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Let me tell you this, if this province had not discharged what we think is something of a national responsibility --
Mr. Lewis: Don’t promote it. Be careful, you’re walking on thin ice. You could provoke a spontaneous election.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I have spent all of my political life walking on thin ice, but I would say to the hon. member we’ve managed to survive and we’re going to survive for a lot longer yet. I thank the member for Hamilton West for his party’s support. I recognize it’s a great change of position, a change of heart, which gives me encouragement.
Mr. S. Smith: It’s just too late now to do what should have been done in the first place.
Hon. Mr. Davis: You still think we should have provincial boards?
Mr. S. Smith: Yes, we should have had it but it’s too late.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. There are only a few moments left.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I find your position even more difficult to understand.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Hon. Mr. Davis: We’re making no apologies for entering into that agreement nor are we making any apologies for making the decision, which is really basic to the debate, that the public sector in this province should be treated in the same fashion as the private sector.
Mr. Lewis: Unfairly.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I talked to some of my friends who are supporters of yours -- I’m not sure as enthusiastically as they were -- members of the UAW. They say to me very simply --
Mr. Breaugh: Get out.
Hon. Mr. Davis: “If Jean-Luc Pepin is going to adjudicate what I get, why in heaven’s name shouldn’t he adjudicate what everybody else gets in the Province of Ontario?” Tell me what’s wrong with that? Where is the lack of equity?
Mr. Lewis: The whole programme is wrong.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Hon. Mr. Davis: But we have the programme.
Mr. Lewis: We don’t have to co-operate with it. Why do we have to co-operate with it?
Hon. Mr. Davis: No, you still want to hold out to these people from the teachers’ federation that you are supporting their point of view. You’re saying this to the whole public sector. Of course you are.
It is just like the teachers bill -- you try to have it both ways. Mr. Speaker, it is as simple as this. If this bill does not pass, it’s not a question of Davis or chaos; I tell you right now, there will be chaos. There will be inequities.
Mr. Lewis: There is chaos.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Sure, the temptation is great. Believe me, it is great. It was great on Monday to say, “Let’s test the political feelings of the people of this province.” Mr. Speaker, there would be 38 to 40 days during which there would be very great difficulties and I think it would be totally irresponsible. I’ve got news for the Leader of the Opposition; I’ve got news for the member for Hamilton West. It may cause him some doubts. We’re just as eager, at the proper time, to test the feelings of the people of this province. I want to tell the NDP leader and the member for Hamilton West something --
Mr. S. Smith: We have our own surveys if you would like to see them.
Mr. Cassidy: Always tomorrow, but never today.
Hon. Mr. Davis: -- they have a lot of homework to do before they test them.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Hon. Mr. Davis: A lot of homework to do.
Mr. S. Smith: At the proper time we will make a fight.
Mr. Lewis: You would be going now if you felt secure.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I’m a competitive political person but I also have the responsibility of being Premier of this province. I say to the Leader of the Opposition that if he wants to demonstrate responsibility, here is the opportunity. There is no alternative to the passage of this bill.
Mr. Lewis: Okay; pass it.
Hon. Mr. Davis: If he wants to see chaos in this province, if he wants to see pensioners and others, the disadvantaged, further suffer from the ravages of inflation, let him vote against it. I would say very simply that his alternatives here this morning present no viable solutions to the problems of inflation in this province and this country.
I know his solution. It’s simplistic; it’s total control and we reject it. I say as simply as I can -- there are about 10 minutes left -- please consult with your colleagues; for once, exercise some responsibility and support the passage of this very important bill which is essential to the economic welfare of so many people in this province.
The House divided on the motion by Hon. Mr. McMurtry for second reading of Bill 127, which was approved on the following vote:
Yakabuski -- 80.
Ziemba -- 35.
Clerk of the House: Mr. Speaker, the “ayes” 80; the “nays” 35.
Motion agreed to; second reading of the bill.
Mr. Speaker: Shall this bill be ordered for third reading?
The House recessed at 1 p.m.