The House met at 2 p.m.
ONTARIO LEGISLATIVE INTERNS
Mr. Speaker: Just before entering into the proceedings of the House this afternoon, I would like to draw to the attention of the House the presence in the Speaker’s gallery of the first group of Ontario legislative interns. This programme is operated by the Canadian Political Science Association in cooperation with this assembly. These seven recent university graduates have been working with members since late September and will continue with us until late June.
I know the experience gained by the interns will not only be of value to them, but by their increased knowledge of the parliamentary system the community will also benefit. I know all hon. members will wish to welcome them.
Statements by the ministry.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: I have the privilege today of tabling in this assembly a white paper on courts administration which sets out the government’s proposal for a reorganization of the administrative structure of the courts.
The problems of court administration have of course long been a concern of my ministry. In 1970 the then Attorney General referred the question of the existing court administration structures to the Ontario Law Reform Commission. In 1973 the commission set out its findings and recommendations in a report on administration of Ontario courts.
Following extensive discussions with those concerned with the administration of justice throughout the province, a model court administrative structure was established to test the feasibility of various court reform proposals. Following this, the central west region, a group of 10 counties and judicial districts clustering around Hamilton, was selected for the development project because it provides a microcosm of the entire province. Authority for the project was given by this assembly when it enacted The Administration of Courts Project Act, 1975.
As stated in section 2 of the Act, the purpose of this legislation was to enable the establishment of a developmental project in the region for the central co-ordination of the administrative facilities and services of the courts in the region and for the better operation of the courts, subject to the traditional independence of judges respecting matters bearing directly on the adjudication of matters coming before them. In short, the project was designed to determine whether effective court reform could be achieved with the traditional division of authority. The Ministry of the Attorney General was to have control over strictly administrative matters and the judiciary was to control matters bearing on adjudication. The results of the project have been evaluated.
The central west project has effectively demonstrated that we need a new approach for courts administration. To clear the backlogs in various parts of the court system, we particularly require a new approach to the flow of cases through the courts. The caseload crisis facing the courts of this province now has the potential to seriously undermine the quality of justice in Ontario. There is also a broad consensus that this crisis can only effectively be met by significant court reforms which will include the application of new management techniques to the ever-increasing workload of the courts.
While justice can never be sacrificed for administrative efficiency, we can still do a great deal to improve the quality of justice by applying management techniques to the business of the courts. However, as has been indicated by the central west project, it has been shown that the present artificial division of the business of the courts simply cannot provide the basis for significant court reform. The courts are at present divided between purely administrative matters on the one hand and quasi-administrative, quasi-judicial matters on the other hand. Theoretically the purely administrative matters are managed by civil servants and the quasi-administrative, quasi-judicial matters, such as the times that a court sits, for example, or the way that cases are adjourned or the way that trial dates are set, are decided by judges.
While perhaps laudable in theory, these distinctions have proven unsatisfactory in practice. Obviously neither effective case flow management nor true court reform can be based on such distinctions. in our view, the only way to achieve an effective, unified approach is to consolidate the administrative management of the courts, including the quasi-administrative, quasi-judicial matters, into a single structure. It is obvious that the unified management of all these matters cannot be consolidated in the hands of the Attorney General or any other minister of the Crown. Our entire court system is, of course, premised upon the principle of the independence of the judiciary. That principle includes the proposition that judges cannot take direction from the government with respect to any judicial matter that arises in relation to the trial of a case. While judges cannot take direction or guidance from the government in these matters, they can take direction and guidance from senior members of the judiciary itself. For that reason, it is our view that the only logical place to consolidate the management of the courts is in a body comprised of the senior members of the judiciary.
This white paper explains the need for a reorganization, sets out the details of the government’s proposals for reorganization and concludes with a draft of legislation designed to implement these proposals.
The basic proposals are as follows:
The day-to-day administrative, financial and operational aspects of courts administration would be transferred from the Ministry of the Attorney General to an office of courts administration headed by a judicial council.
The judicial council would consist of the Chief Justice of Ontario as chairman; the Chief Justice of the High Court; the chief judge of the county court; a county court judge appointed by the Lieutenant Governor in Council; the chief judge of the provincial court, criminal division; and the chief judge of the provincial court, family division.
The judicial council would be given authority and responsibility for establishing and applying policy directives on all administrative matters, whether the actions required are those of court personnel or those of individual judges.
The office of courts administration would carry out the day-to-day administrative, financial and operational aspects of courts administration under a director of courts administration responsible to the judicial council.
The director of courts administration would be a public servant with the status of a deputy minister, appointed by the Lieutenant Governor in Council on the recommendation of the Attorney General and would be removed by the Lieutenant Governor in Council upon the recommendation of the judicial council.
The advisory committee on courts administration would be established to monitor the work of the office of courts of administration and to initiate studies in relation to various aspects of courts administration and procedure.
The advisory committee on courts administration would consist of the chairman of the judicial council; the Deputy Attorney General; the Deputy Minister of Government Services; the treasurer of the Law Society of Upper Canada; the director of courts administration; and two lay members appointed by the Lieutenant Governor in Council.
The Lieutenant Governor in Council would retain the power to appoint judicial officers and those court officials who are presently appointed by the Lieutenant Governor in Council.
The government would retain overall authority and responsibility in relation to the administration of justice through its fiscal, legislative and other controls such as the standards of the Civil Service Commission.
This white paper is obviously a major and an essential step before legislation is introduced to implement a reorganization of courts administration and, in fact, I have included in the white paper draft legislation as a basis for concrete discussion. it is my hope to bring forward legislation implementing these proposals next spring.
However, before I do, I do look forward to the comments of the hon. members of this assembly, the judiciary and the public. It should also and obviously never be forgotten or overlooked that our courts belong to the public and that they exist solely to serve the public. It is essential, therefore, that the public examine with care these proposals for the future development of their courts, as the issues raised are so central to our fundamental liberties.
Mr. Lewis: That was a statement of cabinet calibre.
Mr. Roy: May I have a copy of that?
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, 18 months ago I announced to the House the main elements of the government’s energy management programme which was designed to complement the government’s initiatives with respect to energy supply.
Today I should like to advise the House on the progress of this programme and to announce new energy conservation initiatives which broaden the scope of our activities. Members and the press have already received a detailed outline of our conservation policy with the attachments to which I will refer.
I will not dwell on the merits of conservation; they should be self-evident to the members of the House and the public at large. Suffice it to say, the reality of rising energy prices and potential insecurity of supply suggest that more thoughtful and economic ways to use energy and to manage our level of demand for this precious resource must be found.
At this time, the government feels that the marketplace or the price mechanism should continue to be the primary instrument for allocating supply and encouraging conservation. To complement the price mechanism, further incentives will be developed in the coming months to supplement the longer-term influences of the marketplace. In other words, demand will be determined by individual choice, including voluntary restraint. As a matter of policy, the government has determined that energy allocation or rationing can be avoided except in times of crisis. We reject the notion of deciding for people how much and what forms of energy they may use, except, as I said, in times of emergency.
If the price of energy must be high because it costs more to find, produce and market, then so be it. But governments should not impose artificially high prices beyond the needs of securing supply in the name of conservation.
As the members know, during the past 18 months the government has concentrated on many energy-saving projects through its energy management programme, primarily within its own ministries, and much has been accomplished. As an example, the Ministry of Industry and Tourism energy bus visited 252 firms throughout the province up to September of this year, and identified total potential savings of $15.7 million, or an average of about $62,000 per firm.
Mr. Moffatt: That used a lot of energy.
Mr. Nixon: How much gas did that use?
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: In addition, the Ministry of Colleges and Universities, through the colleges and universities in the province and through improvements in their space conditioning systems, saved $4.2 million on their energy bill in 1975-76. Today I am tabling a summary of these successful projects.
But now the emphasis on energy conservation will be expanded into other areas, calling for the cooperation and the involvement of individuals, organizations and the private sector generally, and, of course, all levels of government in the province.
Mr. Nixon: Three years too late.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: For example, discussions have been held with the principal energy suppliers in the province -- electrical, petroleum and natural gas -- with a view to their cooperating under a common energy conservation theme. I am pleased to say that all have agreed to a co-ordinated approach and the details are now being worked out.
To reflect more accurately the present emphasis being placed by the government in various aspects of energy policy-making, the Ministry of Energy has been reorganized. While a more complete description of the changes is attached, I should like to announce the establishment of an energy conservation group within the ministry office, and the appointment of Dr. Ian Rowe as its executive co-ordinator.
The government is undertaking a variety of specific initiatives, which are listed in the attachment to this statement, which the members have received. The initiatives involve the expenditure of $2.7 million over and above the already allocated $2 million in the energy management programme. For the information of members, the highlights are as follows:
First, renewable energy: We are embarking on an assessment and demonstration programme in renewable energy to demonstrate solar heating and cooling in publicly-owned residential and institutional buildings. A second aspect is to develop and demonstrate wind energy conversion to electricity for use in remote communities. A third aspect is to develop and demonstrate renewable energy applications for agriculture and recovery of energy from wastes.
In parallel with the programme, the necessary legal, fiscal and taxation measures to stimulate private sector investment in renewable energy resources will be investigated by the Ministries of Energy and Treasury, Economics and Intergovernmental Affairs.
Second, district heating: The Ministry of Energy will co-ordinate activities by several ministries in the promotion and development of district heating in Ontario; that is, the provision of residential, commercial and industrial requirements for heat from a central, highly efficient boiler.
The town of Elliot Lake is being funded by the province to study the economics and engineering feasibility of applying district heating to an addition to the present town-site.
The Ministry of Housing, over the next two years, will carry out detailed assessment of the economics and engineering requirements of district heating for the North Pickering and Townsend developments. I am tabling more details on this initiative, which is unique in North America.
Third, space conditioning of public buildings: The government will be expanding considerably its upgrading or retrofitting of provincially-owned buildings to improve energy efficiency. In addition, the government will now require: Each ministry to cut its energy consumption for space conditioning by 10 per cent from the base year of 1976-77 or, in a few cases, perhaps earlier for initiatives already under way; each ministry to develop energy audit programmes within its jurisdiction by April 1, 1977, and to develop detailed energy budgets which identify the consumption and costs of energy for each building on which public funds are spent.
The government is also asking all other provincially-funded agencies and institutions to take steps to meet the same target.
Fourth, residential/consumer awareness programme: The government, as members are aware, has proclaimed the week of October 31 to November 6 as Energy Conservation Week, during which a concerted effort will be made to heighten individual commitment to energy conservation. I must say that I am heartened to have received the enthusiastic support of shop owners, industry, service clubs, school groups and municipalities who are all largely providing their own resources and organizational talents to carry the conservation message to their neighbours and associates.
However, we also see the need to help people put their commitment into effect. Two initiatives, then, are designed to meet this purpose: An energy conservation information centre within the Ministry of Energy to answer specific requests for advice; and a residential energy audit programme based on the latest infrared imagery techniques to identify building heat loss. This involves providing information to homeowners about probable savings through improving insulation, storm windows and doors.
Fifth, energy conservation within industry: The government will direct the Ministry of Industry and Tourism to identify the energy needs of Ontario’s secondary industry on a sectoral basis and to encourage these industries to implement additional programmes to reduce their energy demand an average of 15 per cent below their projected demand by 1980.
Finally, municipal and federal commitment to energy conservation is also essential. After meeting with the Provincial-Municipal Liaison Committee and receiving a positive response, it is my hope that the municipalities will ensure that conservation is fully integrated into municipal practices. As well, I have written to my federal counterpart, the Minister of Energy, Mines and Resources, advising him of the province’s initiatives and asking that the federal government emulate them for those activities which they carry on in the province of Ontario.
At the federal level, there are areas of responsibility where leadership has yet to be evidenced. This is particularly the case with regard to the long-promised federal subsidy for urban transit which has yet to be realized. There is, in addition, need for financing district heating projects which might largely offset new community demands for natural gas and light fuel oil.
Also, I have received deputation after deputation of concerned scientists and engineers who point to the steady erosion of this country’s technological base due to the lack of research and development funding. This is an area where federal leadership is urgently needed. I have written to the Minister of Energy, Mines and Resources asking him to call a federal-provincial meeting --
An hon. member: You should write Dear Abby, too.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: -- to discuss a comprehensive approach to energy research and to seek clarification of the federal government’s programme as outlined in the recent Throne Speech in Ottawa.
In addition, there is the long-heralded but yet unseen Cantag programme which involves the publishing of energy efficient standards for appliances. I have spoken to the federal government to avail itself of the expertise within the Canadian Standards Association, ably advised by the technical staff of Ontario Hydro, to bring in appliance performance standards in the national interest.
Mr. Speaker, the policy framework I have just outlined clearly states the government’s commitment to energy conservation. Many of these policy initiatives will take some time to fully implement. The important point is that, either in its role as a leader or as a consumer, the government is setting an example, establishing a tone and providing incentives to conserve energy. That is the objective of the policy framework which I’ve just announced.
It is essential to appreciate that conservation is not a panacea for all our energy needs. A balance between supply and demand must be struck. With rational and wise use of our energy resources and prudent energy supply policies, the residents of this province need not ever live in an energy deficient society. However, in terms of energy conservation, the onus is on each one of us individually for it is individual decision-making which, in aggregate, determines total demand. It is individual decision-making that makes the best energy conservation policy.
Ms. Gigantes: On a point of information, Mr. Speaker: I am still a novice member of this House. I wonder if you could tell me how many times the Minister of Energy is permitted to give the same speech in this House?
Mr. Breithaupt: He has to give it until he gets it right.
Mr. Lewis: That’s true, but that doesn’t permit him to --
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. Does the hon. minister have a brief response?
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Speaking to the point of order, I think perhaps the hon. member would be well advised to look at what she feels I have said before and read today’s statement. As usual, she is mistaken.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. The hon. minister had a chance to respond to that. May I just point out --
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. The statement, as I understood it, was an updating of a report.
Mr. Lewis: The minister was out of order; he has no right to reply.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. There are many people out of order right now.
Any further statements by the ministry?
The hon. Minister of Health.
Hon. F. S. Miller: He’s being provocative, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Speaker: Can we get down to the business, please?
Hon. F. S. Miller: A week ago a local radio station claimed I wouldn’t wear what my wife got me. Well, I’m wearing it.
Mr. Speaker: I don’t know whether that’s part of the statement or not. Could we get on with the real statement, please?
Mr. Lewis: You never promised us a rose garden.
Hon. F. S. Miller: No, but you are amongst the thorns.
Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
FRENCH-LANGUAGE HEALTH SERVICES
Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, later today I shall be tabling the report of the French Language Health Services Task Force, 1976, entitled “Pas de problème? -- No Problem?”
Mr. Lewis: What is that?
Hon. F. S. Miller: “Pas de problème?” What I haven’t mentioned is that there’s a question mark at the end of it.
The terms of reference for the task force were: To study the effects of language on the quality of health services provided to French-speaking citizens in the province of Ontario; to identify where health services are not readily available or accessible due to language difficulties; and to recommend courses of action to improve the availability and accessibility of health services by overcoming language difficulties.
The report, which is detailed and contains recommendations concerning specific areas and regions of the province, will receive careful study by the Ministry of Health, and the implications of the recommendations will require consultations with various health agencies and district health councils.
I should like to thank Dr. Jacques Dubois of Welland, the chairman of the task force, and his fellow members: Dr. Jérôme Corbeil of Rockland, Sister Albina Gagnon of Timmins, Sister Gilberte Paquette of Ottawa, Dr. Jean-Marie Rochefort of North Bay, Miss Laura Sabourin of Cornwall, and Mr. Onesime Tremblay of Sudbury. Dr. Marc Colonnier of Ottawa was an original member of the task force but resigned for personal reasons in January 1976.
CURRENT SALARY NEGOTIATIONS
Hon. Mr. Auld: Mr. Speaker, hon. members will recall that salary negotiations in the public service were seriously delayed last fall by the introduction of income and price controls and by the subsequent decision by the union to refer disputes in all eight bargaining categories to eight separate boards of arbitration. Therefore, I am particularly pleased to report to the House encouraging progress in the negotiations that are currently under way.
The parties have reached tentative agreement on salary increases, within the guidelines, for the scientific and professional category and the administrative services category, two of the three contracts having an effective date of October 1, 1976. Negotiations on the third October category, and the five which expire on December 31, are also under way and progressing satisfactorily.
If the success in reaching agreement on these two contracts can be taken as an indication that the union is prepared to settle all contracts within the guidelines, salary increases for the remaining six categories should be resolved in a matter of weeks. If and as the settlements are ratified by the members the costing will be submitted promptly to the Anti-Inflation Board for their consideration. In view of the fact that our method of calculating the permissible increases under the guidelines was accepted by the AIB last time around, there is every reason to expect that the settlements will be approved.
Hon. Mr. Handleman: Mr. Speaker, later today I will be introducing amendments to The Insurance Act and The Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Act.
The amendments will revise and update the mandatory limits for third party liability policies under The Insurance Act and provide for a corresponding increase in the maximum amount payable out of the motor vehicle accident claims fund.
Last spring I told the House that I would be examining the maximum and minimum limits which have been in effect since 1969. The select committee on company law has not yet made its report on automobile insurance so, as an interim measure and as a step in what I hope will be the direction to be recommended by the committee, I am introducing these amendments.
Currently the minimum amount of third party liability insurance coverage which is required by section 218 of The Insurance Act is $50,000. Under The Claims Act, the highest award any innocent victim of an uninsured or unidentified driver can expect from the motor vehicle accident claims fund is $50,000. However, hospital expenses, motor vehicle repair costs and general damage awards have been increasing and this has been reflected in an increase in the amounts awarded to accident victims by the courts.
As an example, the motor vehicle accident claims fund has experienced almost a 25 per cent increase in the amount of payments made in the last fiscal year.
In order to keep pace with economic conditions, we are raising the maximum amount that can be awarded from the motor vehicle accident claims fund from $50,000 to $100,000 effective January 1, 1977.
Simultaneously, the amendment to The Insurance Act will require that automobile insurance policies must provide at least $100,000 insurance against liability resulting from bodily injury to or death of one or more persons and loss of or damage to property in a single accident. This new figure will also become effective on January 1, 1977.
Mr. Deans: Why don’t you review the rates while you are at it? Why don’t you do something useful?
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, the government has suggested that there be an opportunity this evening for a debate on the measure we have taken to protect the public interests in any development of a plan for an economically viable integrated forestry complex in northwestern Ontario.
Mr. Nixon: That’s one way to look at it.
Mr. Reid: Some protection!
Mr. S. Smith: They were doing fine when you weren’t protecting it.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Hon. Mr. Davis: The province of Ontario has had discussions with Reed Paper, which has indicated an interest in developing such a complex. I wanted to define some of these further, in what I had thought might be an opportunity to discuss these matters this evening, but I gather those discussions might not take place. In this statement I am not here to defend Reed Paper. I am here to make it very clear -- and I want it understood by the members opposite --
Mr. Lewis: Shame. Is this a ministerial statement?
Hon. Mr. Davis: Yes, it is a ministerial statement.
Mr. Lewis: Is this on Reed Paper?
Mr. Cassidy: It sounds like you are backpedalling.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. The Premier has the floor.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I want to make clear the investment which we have made and exacted to ensure the protection of the public interest through a memorandum of understanding signed on Tuesday. The government’s sole interest in that memorandum of understanding is that of ensuring that no development or undertaking is commenced by Reed Paper or anyone else in northwestern Ontario until there is clear and publicly audited evidence that every possible segment -- and there are several segments -- of the public interest is being protected.
The questions of native rights, economic development, environmental protection, forest renewals, all rank within the context of the public interest we are seeking to protect. You people opposite forget about one or two.
Mr. Lewis: You don’t need any agreement to do that.
Hon. Mr. Davis: The memorandum of understanding -- and I want this understood by the members and by the public -- is precise. Paragraph 5, section (b), and I am sure all members have read it, is absolutely clear.
Mr. Lewis: The minister has read it; he read it to the House.
Hon. Mr. Davis: There will be no licence granted unless all the conditions listed in paragraphs two and four are met absolutely to the satisfaction of this government. Those two paragraphs specify clearly --
Mr. S. Smith: You’re easily satisfied.
Mr. Reid: That’s what bothers us.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I don’t want to be provocative --
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Hon. Mr. Davis: -- but I do take exception to what the Leader of the Opposition has been, deliberately or otherwise, stating to the public of this province that the arrangement with Reed is a fait accompli and the licence has been automatically issued.
Mr. Lewis: That’s right.
Hon. Mr. Davis: That is not a fact. It is not the truth and the Leader of the Opposition knows it.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: You are going to lose on this one.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. There’s a point of privilege.
Mr. Lewis: I have said -- Mr. Speaker, this isn’t a ministerial statement. The Premier is trying to defend a position which the Ministry of Natural Resources has handled badly in public.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: No development, no jobs.
Mr. Lewis: I want to rise on a point of personal privilege. I have said, and I make no apology for it, that I believe and we believe that signing of the memorandum involves a fait accompli and irresistible granting of the licence to Reed two or three years hence. We believe that.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: Misleading.
Hon. Mr. Davis: All right, Mr. Speaker --
Hon. Mr. McKeough: Nonsense.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, the Leader of the Opposition can believe what he wants to believe. And if he doesn’t want to believe what is the truth, that is his decision.
Mr. Lewis: That’s not misleading -- I am telling you I think it is a mistake to have done it.
Hon. Mr. Davis: What you are saying is untrue, it is as simple as that.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please, The hon. Premier has the floor. The hon. member rose on his --
Mr. Lewis: I don’t believe it.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: You are pushing.
Mr. Lewis: On a point of privilege.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. A further point of privilege.
Mr. Lewis: The Premier has said that what I have said is untrue. I’m not asking him to withdraw it. On a point of privilege, I’m asking him only to recognize that what he considers truth and what we consider truth varies and we think he is wrong and the whole proposal is wrong. He should respect that position.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: You will regret the day, fellows.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I am quite prepared as a matter of order --
Mr. Warner: Resign.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I am quite prepared to accept the Leader of the Opposition saying the judgement of the government is wrong.
Mr. Lewis: That’s exactly what I said.
Hon. Mr. Davis: But I do not accept that he can say to the public of this province that the agreement with Reed for the development of this project in northwestern Ontario is a fait accompli. I say that is absolutely untrue. It is untrue.
Mr. Lewis: You are not going to rescue it now.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. The hon. Premier will continue.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Well, I just tell you --
Mr. Reid: How about a public inquiry?
Mr. Lewis: Have a public inquiry.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: The north is listening.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Mr. Cassidy: You have sure shifted this about in two days; two days it took for this change in position.
Hon. Mr. Davis: We’re not changing anything.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. We will continue with the order of business. The hon. Premier has the floor.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: Pat, you have to get re-elected in the north.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, those two paragraphs specify clearly that the company must participate in environmental assessment hearings established by the Ministry of the Environment under the Act which was enthusiastically supported by the members opposite. Some days the Leader of the Opposition almost appears to be taking credit for it. The government retains the prerogative to specify the scope of those hearings should there be any concern that the scope is not broad enough.
I would point out to the Leader of the Opposition if he would read the Act carefully --
Mr. Lewis: I have.
Hon. Mr. Davis: -- he will find the provisions of the Act go beyond what any creative person can do in terms --
Mr. Lewis: Except it won’t work in this case because of the native people.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Hon. Mr. Davis: You have no faith in the legislation you people supported.
Hon. Mr. Davis: They also specify that Reed must make available to the government its own environmental impact study. This will be made public upon receipt by the government. As we have no capacity to attest to the accuracy of those studies the hearings will be held. They will be held in public so that a more objective and balanced fashion for determining a fair assessment can be achieved.
Mr. Cassidy: They did and you sent it back.
Mr. Lewis: You signed the agreement -- why did you need an agreement?
Hon. Mr. Davis: Well, why do you think?
Mr. Speaker: Order, please, the Leader of the Opposition --
Mr. Lewis: Who is going to speak for the company?
Hon. Mr. Davis: Paragraph four, Mr. Speaker, specifies clearly that the company must apply a forest management plan which meets with the approval of the government. That is an obligation. We intend to ensure that the question of renewing forest resources is adequately treated, or else my government will simply not proceed.
Mr. Renwick: Is this in the debate tonight?
Hon. Mr. Davis: I understand there may not be any debate tonight.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Hon. Mr. Davis: The criteria to which those plans must conform are also spelled out: --
Mr. Lewis: This is a real abuse.
Hon. Mr. Davis: -- Optimum utilization of the forest resources, the increase of the growth potential, improving the standard of forest protection, conformity with the government’s development plans for the area, the enhancement of recreational potential and the protection of wildlife and fish resources, and the improvement of employment opportunities of local inhabitants with particular emphasis on economic and social aspirations of the native population in that region.
Mr. Cassidy: Why don’t you make this statement in the estimates committee?
Hon. Mr. Davis: I would say, and I am a pretty tolerant soul, to the member for Ottawa Centre if he is that disinterested in this situation, so be it.
Mr. Norton: He doesn’t want to hear the truth.
Hon. Mr. Davis: But the government takes this seriously. We believe it is the right route to go and we are going to proceed. If he doesn’t want to learn anything about it, he doesn’t have to sit and listen to it.
Mr. Cassidy: That is why the Leader of the Opposition was in the estimates committee this week.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Hon. Mr. Davis: If that plan is approved, then as part of the long evaluation process the plan will be made public. If it is not approved, the company will not get a licence. It is as simple as that.
Mr. Lewis: The company has the licence under the agreement.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I would say to the Leader of the Opposition that is an untrue statement. They do not have the licence under the memorandum of understanding.
Mr. Lewis: Sure they do.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: That is the tombstone of the north.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I will try to explain this to the Leader of the Opposition. Memorandums of understanding are an indication that two parties have reached some common ground on how the process is to proceed. The rules are those by which this government will decide whether Reed’s programme for the area, the broad environmental concerns and the economic and native right interests, can be meshed into an acceptable economic framework which will assist the economic development of the north.
I guess it would be politically easier to simply not try to bridge those interests, and the broad interests of northwestern Ontario. The Leader of the Opposition’s colleague, the member for Lake Nipigon (Mr. Stokes) would not support that point of view, because he has had some experience and he knows how these things are done.
Mr. Foulds: We certainly don’t support your point of view.
Hon. Mr. Davis: It would, however, be a surrender, initiated here at Queen’s Park, of the economic rights of the people of northwestern Ontario to equality of opportunity.
Mr. Lewis: You haven’t even consulted them.
Hon. Mr. Davis: And that surrender would be cheap, unseemly and a dereliction of the public responsibility of the government. I know politics but I am disappointed that the Leader of the Opposition would lead that surrender when our northern citizens deserve so much better from all members of this House.
Mr. Lewis: You have surrendered the entire resource base of northern Ontario. You have surrendered the resources.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Let me finish my statement.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. I point out to the hon. Leader of the Opposition that this is not a debating time; would he please retain his seat. The hon. Premier will continue.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Certainly, I haven’t finished yet.
Mr. Lewis: I’m sure you haven’t.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I don’t want to get into a debate at this point. I hope I have made my point.
Mr. Lewis: You are surrendering the resources to Reed.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I don’t want to once again say that what the Leader of the Opposition is saying is untrue, but I will say so; it is untrue.
Mr. Lewis: You have already done it, as a matter of fact.
Hon. Mr. Davis: It is untrue, it is not accurate, it is not factually correct; whatever terminology you may wish to use.
Mr. Lewis: You are wrong. Saying it doesn’t make it so.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I am also interested in the perception and the recognition of the interest this has for the people, not only in the northwest but elsewhere, that in the direction of the hearings and the functioning of the Environmental Review Board that there is not only objectivity of fact but in appearance as well. The government will, by order in council, by adding to the membership of the Environmental Review Board a further individual or individuals who have had no relationship or experience within government, who will bring to this particular responsibility a degree of objectivity, and hopefully with some judicial background, that I think Mr. Speaker, will have a beneficial effect on the review --
Mr. Lewis: Now that is beginning to look like it. Now the minister is understanding. Was that the whole preamble?
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Hon. Mr. Davis: -- throughout this programme, as a member of the Environmental Review Board.
Mr. Lewis: Now, on a point of information, which you’ve allowed once already this afternoon, Mr. Speaker --
Mr. Speaker: Not really, no.
Mr. Breithaupt: There is no such animal.
Mr. Lewis: -- that entire --
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. The opportunity for information is in the question period if we ever get to that. Now, a point of order?
POINT OF ORDER
Mr. Deans: On a point of order, the Premier indicated that he had wanted to have a debate this evening on this very matter and I want to make it clear to you, Mr. Speaker, that we were quite prepared to have that debate subject to only sorting out some ground rules under which the debate would take place.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. The Treasurer has the floor.
DUNDAS PUC INQUIRY
Hon. Mr. McKeough: Mr. Speaker, you will recall that when I answered a question from the hon. member for Wentworth (Mr. Deans) on Tuesday regarding the Dundas PUC I indicated that my colleague the Minister of Energy (Mr. Timbrell) would be dealing with this issue. That is true. However, my ministry has a responsibility under The Municipal Act for boards and commissions. My staff, as an ongoing process, monitors all such matters that come to our attention and reports to me as necessary. I understand -- and this is confirmed in a separate story in Tuesday’s Hamilton Spectator -- that a police investigation is taking place. My staff will be following the situation very closely and in due course will be reporting to me. Whatever action will be appropriate will be taken at that time, after consultation with the Minister of Energy.
Mr. Speaker: I recognize the member for Wilson Heights.
POINT OF PRIVILEGE
Mr. Singer: Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of personal privilege. On Tuesday last, the hon. Attorney General said this, as quoted in the Hansard transcript and I read from it.
“I think the hon. member opposite [and he was referring to me] labours under an almost total misunderstanding of how the system works. [We were talking about one Bluestein and what happened to him as a result of certain legal proceedings.]
“First of all, Mr. Speaker, the individual is not in prison. He is not an accused person. He has not been found guilty of a criminal offence. Under the law of this land he has not been found guilty and is regarded as a mental patient.”
I thought, sir, it should be of some significance that I indicate to you and to the House that I do have somewhat of an understanding of what I was saying and not a total misunderstanding of how the system works, and I thought, sir, I should draw to your attention, and perhaps to the attention of the Attorney General as well, the specific provisions of certain sections of the Criminal Code, which prove once again that the Attorney General was quite wrong in what he said.
Mr. Nixon: Not again! At least he is batting 1.000.
Mr. Reid: The minister is consistent. He’s never right.
Mr. Singer: Section 542(2) states: “Where the accused is found to have been insane…” and that is the kind of finding that was made in this particular case; and surely, Mr. Speaker, if the people who enacted the Criminal Code can use that phraseology I may be so entitled as well, and perhaps everyone is not wrong and the Attorney General right.
Then, sir, could I take you to section 545 of the Criminal Code, which says: “Where an accused pursuant to this part is found to be insane…” the second reference setting out exactly the same thing. That section goes on to say: “In which he is detained…” the word “detained” is the equivalent, surely, to imprisonment and certainly he is not regarded as a patient. Then it says the Lieutenant Governor may act in accordance with certain things, and section 547 states: “Where a person has been held in custody under the provisions of this part then the committee of review can be appointed.”
So on all counts, Mr. Speaker, in all his little peroration the hon. the Attorney General was quite wrong and I would say indicates an almost total misunderstanding of how the system works.
Mr. Nixon: He was referring to the Tory old boy system.
Mr. Roy: You get full marks for consistency.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker, or on a point of personal --
Mr. Speaker: You’re responding to a point of personal privilege, I presume.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: -- privilege, I respond to the remarks of my friend opposite and the statement made by him, which I will repeat I still object to, and as far as I’m concerned it still indicates a total misunderstanding of the process. I will quote the hon. member’s statement on Tuesday last, where he stated as follows -- and I am quoting from the Hansard transcript:
“Does he not think that the whole procedure demands a review and an enforced consultation of the law enforcement authorities, at least for their opinion, and, certainly as with other matters concerning the imprisonment of citizens, that the matters be done in public and the public be allowed to become aware of what has happened?”
Mr. Singer: Yes, “custody” and “imprisonment.” Tell us the difference between those two words.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Now if the hon. member is still labouring under the delusion that people who have not been found --
Mr. Lewis: Which delusion?
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: That’s a difficult question for me to answer.
Mr. Reid: They are all difficult for you to answer.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: If he is labouring under the delusion that people who have been found not guilty by reason of insanity and who are, in fact, regarded by the law of this country as mental patients, that their rights and matters relating to their conduct should be determined as matters governing people who are in prison, then I state, as he said --
Mr. Singer: I only quoted the words of the Code. You’re better on hockey players than you are on this one.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: -- then I state that the hon. member still has demonstrated a total misunderstanding of the process.
Mr. Roy: As an objective observer, I think you are wrong.
Mr. Speaker: I hope that clarifies that.
Mr. Singer: Do you want a copy of the Code so you can read it?
Hon. Mr. McKeough: Go back to law school!
Mr. Singer: Thank you, Darcy.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. The hon. member for Wilson Heights raised a point of privilege that he objected to certain statements. I think it’s been clarified and the matter should rest there.
Mr. Roy: Don’t take this to court; you don’t have a chance.
Mr. Singer: No wonder the Attorney General lost in Ottawa.
Mr. Speaker: Oral questions.
Mr. Lewis: A question, if I may, of the Premier: Could the Premier read just that last paragraph or last sentence of his statement, which I’m not sure I heard?
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, in that I ad-libbed a great deal of the statement, I am quite prepared to try to recall what exactly it was that I said.
I believe that I said, so that there would be total objectivity, because this hearing is the first we have had with respect to the private sector in terms of the new Act and the functioning of the review board, the government will be appointing, for the purpose of this one hearing only, an additional member -- or perhaps members, but certainly a member -- who will be the chairman for this particular hearing, who it is hoped will bring to this responsibility some background, perhaps in law or matters that could be helpful in the discharge of this responsibility.
Mr. Reid: You have no faith in the present system.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I point out that this person will be a member of the Environmental Review Board for the purposes of this responsibility and will be functioning within the terms of the Act, which, I say with respect to the Leader of the Opposition, go far beyond the Berger commission that he has referred to, or what have you, in terms of the responsibilities of the Act, and go far beyond that which might even be contemplated at a royal commission.
Mr. Lewis: Let me ask, by way of supplementary then, since the Treaty No. 9 association is holding a press conference tomorrow morning, there again undoubtedly to express their opposition, as they have already done, to the hearing process as it has been established because of the synonymous nature of Reed and mercury in their minds, is it possible for the Premier to suggest to them in advance that there is a qualitative difference in the nature of the board as intended, and as he had modified it this afternoon, of a kind which might win their confidence and maybe even their participation, rather than their opposition throughout?
Hon. Mr. Davis: I fully intend to acquaint the leadership of Treaty No. 9 with this decision by the government. It is my hope, and I hope it’s something that’s realized, that the native people in that part of the province will recognize that this government is concerned about their interests and about their points of view, and that they can be encouraged to participate in a process that I think has great significance for them. Certainly I will be communicating these thoughts to the Treaty No. 9 people.
Mr. Singer: A supplementary: I wonder if the Premier could clarify something he said in his statement. As I listened to him, I thought he said that provision 5(b) allowed a discretion to the government to issue a licence. Now, I have 5(b) here in front of me and it doesn’t read that way to me. It seems that if section 2 and section 4 have been complied with, and the test of compliances is an objective one not a subjective one, the licence must automatically issue.
Perhaps I misinterpreted what the Premier said. If so, I would like him to clarify it.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I can only say to the member for Wilson Heights there is nothing in the memorandum of understanding that in any way indicates the licence will automatically issue. I just tell you that very simply.
Mr. Singer: By way of further supplementary, in order to let me understand it at least --
Mr. Speaker: All right; we’ll allow the member for Wilson Heights to complete the other part of his supplementary.
Mr. Singer: Does 5(b) not say if 2 and 4 have been complied with, the licence will issue?
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, one has to read the total memorandum of understanding; one has to have some knowledge of the intent of the government and the parties. I just say very simply --
Mr. Reid: Yes, that’s what we were afraid of.
Hon. Mr. Davis: That’s fine.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Mr. S. Smith: What is your intent?
Hon. Mr. Davis: There is no automatic issuance of licence. I don’t want to bring up another issue but it may come as a bit of a surprise to the member for Wilson Heights that the total control is in the hands of the government. We haven’t even discussed with them the question of stumpage dues. We have total control of this situation.
Mr. Speaker: The hon. Leader of the Opposition.
Mr. Lewis: I want to come back to a question, a supplementary I asked before, and elaborate on it slightly for the Premier. Would he consider the hearing makes any sense, would it be even worth proceeding with, if the people of Treaty No. 9 said they would oppose, resist, fight and refuse to participate in the whole Reed-government transaction? Does the Premier think it makes any sense to proceed under those circumstances? Therefore, isn’t it possible in some way to convey what he has interpreted this afternoon as an impartial kind of inquiry so as to enlist their support?
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I thought that I had already said to the Leader of the Opposition that I intend to convey this to the members of Treaty No. 9. It is my hope, because I think it’s important, that they will participate in this environmental review under the Act in a way which is constructive, because it does serve their interests. I guess I always remain an optimist that they will see the wisdom of participating.
Mr. Reid: In view of the Premier’s recent conversion to this approach, has he someone in mind to act as impartial chairman, and will he ask Treaty No. 9 and others interested for their input as to who the chairman of the commission should be?
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, with great respect to the hon. member for Rainy River -- I know we love to play politics here and I guess I do it from time to time myself -- I would point out to him --
Mr. Reid: Not always successfully, I might add.
An hon. member: But you are successful.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I have been converted to some things, as he has been to his own misfortune. I would have to say that what we are doing here does not represent a recent conversion. With great respect, it does not represent --
Mr. Reid: We have just heard this. This is a new wrinkle.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Hon. Mr. Davis: If the member for Rainy River and his colleagues had been prepared to debate this tonight, like the rest of us, we might have been able to get into some of these things this evening. Now, what was the question?
Mr. Breithaupt: There was nothing to be gained tonight and you know it.
Mr. Reid: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order --
Mr. Breithaupt: Nothing to be gained at all.
Mr. Reid: I put it to you that the Premier has misled the House --
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Mr. Reid: -- because there was nothing in the minister’s statement that indicated there would be an impartial inquiry by the Environmental Assessment Board.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. The hon. member for Rainy River will withdraw that statement about anyone misleading the House.
Mr. Reid: Well, he has, Mr. Speaker. He indicated that --
Mr. Breithaupt: You said he was a liar.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. If the hon. member wishes to remain in the House he will withdraw that statement. It’s very clear in our rules that you will not accuse a person of such behaviour. It’s quite clear.
Mr. Nixon: Point of order, Mr. Speaker. Surely there is accusation --
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. The Speaker is not ruling on -- order, please.
Mr. Nixon: Why waste the time of the House on distinctions?
Mr. Speaker: The Speaker has the floor. The Speaker is not ruling on what truth there is in it one way or the other. I say that statement --
Mr. Nixon: I am not asking you to.
Hon. W. Newman: You are just asking --
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. I say that statement will not be made and I ask the hon. member for Rainy River --
Mr. Lewis: Why?
Mr. Speaker: -- to withdraw the charge.
Mr. Lewis: On a point of personal privilege, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Speaker: We haven’t finished with this yet. Order, please. Will the hon. members please sit clown? Order, please.
The hon. member for Rainy River, I’ll await his response.
Mr. Reid: Mr. Speaker, I don’t mean to suggest that the Premier has intentionally misled this House. What I meant to point out was that the Premier indicated that we were in receipt of this information and that we had it, but in fact, we have not had it. The first we heard of it today was when the Premier made the statement about the impartial chairman of the assessment board. I don’t indicate that the Premier intentionally misled the House but I think there was some misinformation given.
Mr. Speaker: Actually, I advise and caution the hon. member to be more careful in his choice of words from here on. Order please.
Mr. Lewis: What?
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. I’m not getting into a debate as to what the content of the material is. Does the hon. Leader of the Opposition realize that the Speaker is speaking? All right. I think I made myself clear, though. I’m not ruling on the content -- order, please. Now does the hon. Leader of the Opposition have a point or is he continuing his question? Which is it now?
Mr. Lewis: I just wanted to point out to you, as an aside, that when I was accused of straight fabrication, you didn’t have the slightest inclination to intervene. But when the member for Rainy River --
Mr. Lewis: May I draw your attention to the fact that I’m still on my feet, sir? Thank you. When the member for Rainy River -- that’s right, I had not completed.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Hon. Mr. McKeough: Just can’t take it.
Mr. Speaker: The hon. Leader of the Opposition.
Mr. Lewis: When the member for Rainy River made a simple statement of fact you chose to intervene. We ask only that the judgements on what is truth and what must be withdrawn be applied fairly and equally in the House. That’s all we ask.
Mr. S. Smith: That’s right.
Mr. Lewis: I apologize for my earlier disrespect.
Mr. Speaker: Thank you very much. As I say again, a difference of opinion arises from time to time, but it’s very clear that in the House we shall not accuse another member of deliberately misleading the House. Now that’s all I’m saying.
Mrs. Campbell: That isn’t what he said.
Mr. Speaker: I don’t care what the statement --
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. Can we get on with the question? Does the Leader of the Opposition have further questions?
Mr. Lewis: Yes, I certainly do.
A question, if I may, to the Minister of Natural Resources. Will he explain the meaning of section 8 of the memorandum, under timber allocation, which gives him the right to grant portions of the present tract under discussion if it has regard to reasonable business requirement? It says under 8b, he has the right to grant Crown timber licences under any existing agreements for the supply of Crown timber, or under any existing commitments.
Why is that there if there is no existing commitment? If so, what is the existing commitment and what does he intend to grant to Reed?
Hon. Mr. Bernier: Let me make it very clear that there is no commitment to grant any timber to Reed per se. What this says is, and I want to read into the record just in case there’s some misinterpretation or some twisting of the words:
“Having due regard to the reasonable business requirement of the company hereunder, the minister may make available Crown timber from the tract to maintain the existing wood using industries now dependent on Crown timber from tracts and without limiting the generality of the foregoing nothing herein shall restrict the Crown from -- “
And it lists it.
That was put in there for a very distinct purpose. We have a number of industries working in northwestern Ontario employing literally hundreds of people. In the event that we should run across the situation we’ve had in the last two or three years with regard to spruce budworm or to forest fires, then the minister could, providing he had the approval of the Minister of the Environment, because he will have the final word to allocate timber to meet the needs of any company.
Mr. Lewis: Doesn’t say so there.
Mr. Speaker: Order please.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: The order in council -- we want to protect those jobs which presently exist, so we wouldn’t be locked in totally with this. We want to keep these ongoing jobs going. That’s the whole purpose of that section; to protect us, to give us control.
Mr. Lewis: By way of supplementary, is it not true that just last year the minister had agreed to give Reed 1,300 square miles of the present acreage now under discussion, as listed in their prospectus filed with the Ontario Securities Commission? They haven’t taken advantage of it yet, but doesn’t it still give the minister that right under this clause?
Hon. Mr. Bernier: No, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Lewis: It gives him a wide open and clear right.
Mr. Reid: Supplementary.
Mr. Speaker: Supplementary, the member for Rainy River.
Mr. Reid: For clarification -- I asked the minister this about a year ago: Will this allow, for instance, Boise Cascade to have access to that wood in that area if it’s required?
Hon. Mr. Bernier: Mr. Speaker, in the event that there was a catastrophe of nature, to keep the existing plant going in Kenora then we would have that right under this section.
RADIOACTIVITY AT ELLIOT LAKE
Mr. Lewis: A question of the Minister of Health, if I may; Can the Minister of Health give us some assurance about the community of Elliot Lake, given the radioactive fault in the rock formation which has been found running through the town, and particularly the building of houses on foundations made from radioactive materials? What can be done to prevent Elliot Lake from turning into the fiasco of Port Hope?
Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, because we have had the experience with Port Hope and because eventually, as you know, the federal government assumed responsibility for its role there, the federal government has already said it will start and carry out the testing programme in Elliot Lake. That’s the information I have right now. I think it’s quite proper it should rest with them.
Mr. Lewis: One supplementary, if I may:
Is it possible for the Ministry of Health to initiate monitoring and testing and surveying in the Bancroft area since logic, if not intuition, would lead us to believe that the pattern of Port Hope and Elliot Lake may well be repeated in Bancroft? And wouldn’t it be preferable to sort it out now?
Hon. F. S. Miller: Certainly we have reasons to suspect a number of areas. I think when we were looking at Port Hope you may recall the federal government got into the act and had mentioned spots where they thought there were abnormal concentrations. That is one of them.
Mr. Lewis: Can the minister do something about that?
Hon. F. S. Miller: I’d be glad to look into it and make sure they at least are, and if they aren’t, then we can step in.
Mr. S. Smith: Mr. Speaker, a question of the Minister of Health.
Mr. Moffatt: Mr. Speaker, I had a supplementary.
Mr. Speaker: Oh, I’m sorry, I thought we were on to the next question. We will allow a supplementary; the member for Durham East.
Mr. Moffatt: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. To the Minister of Health: In view of the fact that the federal Atomic Energy Control Board has stated publicly that they have far too few staff to properly conduct investigations of the nature the minister just suggested, how does he anticipate such a study in all of those diverse areas being carried out?
Hon. F. S. Miller: Well, Mr. Speaker, with 39,000 more people in the last few years, I can’t understand how the federal government is short of anybody.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Hon. F. S. Miller: The fact remains we will be quite happy to get involved; if necessary on a contract basis if they are that badly off.
Mr. S. Smith: A question, Mr. Speaker, for the Minister of Natural Resources: Getting back to the clause 5(b) in the memorandum of understanding regarding Reed Paper, is the minister aware that 5(b) reads, “that in the event that the company performs its obligations under paragraphs 2 and 4 the minister agrees to grant to the company a licence,” and so on.
Mr. Nixon: Red tape.
Mr. S. Smith: And is he aware that paragraphs 2 and 4 with the environmental impact study and with management plans and feasibility studies, each of which can be settled by someone’s opinion other than that of the government itself? Therefore, would he not agree that the government no longer has discretion not to grant the licence if in fact 2 and 4 are complied with?
Mr. Lewis: Is what you said untrue today?
Hon. Mr. Bernier: I would ask the member to read 2(b) of the agreement under the environmental impact study, which says, Mr. Speaker:
“The company agrees that it will be prepared by July 1, 1977 to participate and that it will participate in a public meeting to be held by the Environmental Assessment Board of the Ministry of the Environment in the Dryden, Red Lake, Ear Falls area for the purpose of ensuring that the proposed development by the company will be environmentally acceptable.”
Mr. Singer: Supplementary: Would the minister not agree that all that 2(b) that he just read says is that the company will agree to make the proposal environmentally acceptable and that there is nothing in section 8, the one that he just read, that vitiates from the provisions of 5(b); and further that 5(b) gives no discretion that the tests are objective, as is the test in 2(b), and 8, is a supplementary licence to somebody else? Could the minister tell us if there is any other basis whatsoever in his memorandum of agreement which says the government may or may not issue the licence provided it wishes to refuse or not to refuse to do so? Is there any other place in section 5(b) or 2(b) or section 8 where this might be indicated, because the three that he has already given us don’t indicate any such thing?
Hon. Mr. Bernier: Yes, we interpret those sections to give the government complete control of the whole area. That’s the way it’s interpreted and that’s the way the agreement has been drawn up.
Mr. Lewis: They don’t.
Mr. Singer: We know how well your interpretations will hold up in court.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: Yes, they will.
Mr. Lewis: A hopeless memorandum.
Mr. R. S. Smith: Who wrote this agreement?
Mr. Renwick: By way of a supplementary question, is the minister aware that the provision that provides for the forfeiture of the $500,000 is conditioned only on the failure of Reed to build the pulp mill and has nothing to do with the fact that the licence may remain in existence for the price of $500,000 and no pulp mill?
Mr. Lewis: That’s right. The licence is retained. It means the $500,000 is lost.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: No, that’s not entirely correct. If you’ll read the Act, and look over it carefully, and the whole agreement together --
Mr. Lewis: We did.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: -- you will see that the Ministry of the Environment does have the final word. The Environmental Assessment Board is totally involved and the licence cannot be issued if the board rules against it; it is in there, it is carefully worded.
Mr. Lewis: No, you are not answering the question.
Mr. Renwick: After the licence is granted they build the pulp mill.
Hon. Mr. Davis: The condition of the licence --
Mr. Speaker: Order please.
Mr. Singer: Supplementary: In view of the very difficult position that the ministry has to find itself in by relying on the terms of the agreement, wouldn’t the ministry be better advised to bring in a brand new statute, which we might pass, saying that come what may the final discretion about awarding the licence lies with the ministry, and not rely on this document?
Hon. Mr. Bernier: There is ample provision and protection under The Crown Timber Act for the issuing of that licence. Conditions can be attached to it.
Mr. Speaker: Final supplementary, the Leader of the Opposition --
Mr. Lewis: May I not point out to the minister that the document is so frail that after he has granted the licence, having conformed with all of the environmental hearings, then if the company does not build the pulp mill within the time required the company forfeits the $500,000, but it does not forfeit the licence, that is nowhere in this agreement. The licence remains for 21 years. Look at the section.
Mr. Reid: Look at section 6.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: The member has not read and does not know what the conditions of The Crown Timber Act are.
Mr. Lewis: I have read it; I am totally right. You haven’t protected yourself, and when I raised it with Mr. Greaves last night he recognized it.
Mr. Speaker: Order please, that was the final supplementary. The member for Hamilton West has the floor.
Hon. Mr. Davis: We put a condition on the licence.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: The government is in control.
Mr. S. Smith: I have a question for the Minister of Health. He’s disappeared, oh, heavens!
Mr. S. Smith: A question for the Minister of Energy: Is there any truth to the rumour that the minister will announce shortly the acceptance of our suggestion that Hydro’s wasteful declining block rate structure be eliminated; and if so, is he intending to go so far as to implement our other useful suggestion, namely an inverted rate structure, which would truly be a conservation move?
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: As the member knows -- and it is public knowledge, so it is not a rumour -- I will be making a statement in the House tomorrow, at which time I will table the costing and pricing study which has been under preparation for some time. I just suggest that he wait until tomorrow and he’ll find out what’s in there and the process which will follow from that at the Energy Board.
Mr. Lewis: The idea is that of the member for Windsor-Riverside (Mr. Burr); let that be understood.
LIQUID WASTE DISPOSAL
Mr. S. Smith: A question for the Minister of the Environment: Would the minister not agree that a description of the chemical, physical and biological properties characteristic to the fluid to be injected into the proposed deep disposal sites in Canborough township by Cambrian Disposal Limited should be required information to be placed before the Environmental Assessment Board hearing on November 8? Would the minister see to it that a list of these properties, chemical, physical and biological, be placed before that board?
Hon. Mr. Kerr: Yes, Mr. Speaker, that would be an obvious and natural request to the board, because that is one of the terms or conditions of any approval that would be issued by the board and by the ministry.
Mr. Lewis: Supplementary: Since the minister was good enough to send me the letter -- which I read and marginally understood; marginally understood -- may I ask why is it not possible to put the precise chemical compounds and their relative toxicity in the hands of the citizens group which is appearing to object to the use of the wells in the Canborough site? Why is it not possible to give them that information in advance so that they can make it a part of their argument before the board?
Hon. Mr. Kerr: Mr. Speaker, one of the problems -- and this is what I pointed out to the hon. member -- is that there will be a certain amount of mix of various chemicals after they are treated at the plant in Mississauga, for example, and “destructed” there, and then hauled to Canborough. The chemicals will be mixed and, therefore, to list specific chemicals really won’t help the members of the public or really indicate the true effect of that chemical or whatever effect it may have in being disposed of.
Mr. Lewis: Let them know. You have hidden it up to now.
Hon. Mr. Kerr: There is no reason why we can’t give this to the members of the public and certainly this is something that could be before the Environmental Assessment Board, but --
Mr. Lewis: Do it in advance. That’s what they have asked for.
Hon. Mr. Kerr: -- it has to be accurate. It has to be accurate, and, as I say, if you have chemicals going into a plant, for example, in Mississauga, which will be the case here, treated there and mixed there, put into a truck and hauled to Canborough and put down a well, they are not necessarily the same chemicals with the same result, as a result of mixture hauled in the first place to Mississauga.
Mr. Lewis: They are probably worse.
Hon. Mr. Kerr: That is the problem and, therefore, rather than try and mislead anybody, I suppose the only thing we can do is list every possible ingredient that may go down the well.
Mr. Lewis: That’s right.
Mr. Nixon: Supplementary: Since this matter is so technical and complex and yet the responsibility to argue against the granting of the licence seems to fall on citizens groups as well as the local municipality and since the local municipality has indicated they don’t feel they have sufficient time to prepare the elaborate defence against the possible award of the right to inject these chemicals, will the minister consider asking for a postponement of the hearing beyond November 8, which has only given them about two weeks to prepare this elaborate submission?
Hon. Mr. Kerr: Mr. Speaker, it is very important -- and it’s under the Act -- that the minister doesn’t interfere in any way in this process. For one thing, I am one of the sources of appeal in the event that the citizens, for example, aren’t happy with the decision of the board. I don’t think there would be any problem if the citizens group or anybody appeasing before that board asked for adjournment upon reasonable grounds and I would think that adjournment would be given.
Mr. Gaunt: Supplementary: In the event that this request would be granted, what kind of monitoring systems is the ministry going to undertake to ensure that no contamination takes place with respect to the underground drinking water sources?
Hon. Mr. Kerr: Mr. Speaker, for one thing this particular well goes half way to Peking.
Mr. Reid: Now we are making war on China. Are you going down there personally to investigate, George?
Mr. Nixon: You will never go far enough.
Hon. Mr. Kerr: It is about 3,000 feet deep --
Mr. Reid: What if they are coming the other way?
Hon. Mr. Kerr: -- and the water table, I would say, is about 2,600 feet above the bottom of that well, so I don’t think there is any concern with that.
Mr. Godfrey: Supplementary: In view of the statement that he doesn’t know where the well really does go -- and I can assure him it does not go half way to Peking -- would he not undertake to do sufficient studies to reassure us that if stuff is put down the well, it won’t end up in the Detroit River or other lakes in the same way the refuse is now being put in the Detroit River? Would he not undertake that those studies be done by a government agency?
Hon. Mr. Kerr: Mr. Speaker, that is one of the things that would have to be discussed at the board hearing and the board would have to be satisfied on that. There is, I think, ample technical and scientific evidence that would indicate whether or not a well of that depth, with the type of equipment that will be installed -- for example, the piping, the casing, the type of material that it would be composed of, all that type of evidence would come out.
Mr. S. Smith: I have another question on the same topic of the Minister of the Environment. Would the minister move to require all companies that produce waste chemicals to supply a list to the ministry indicating the toxic chemicals produced by the company and where these chemicals are presently being dumped? I think this would be a great move forward. Would he consider doing that?
Hon. Mr. Kerr: At the present time, we are finalizing some regulations regarding the hauling and disposal of industrial liquid waste. We’re using the waybill method which indicates the type of waste, where it is picked up and where it will be disposed of. That enables us to carry out a monitoring and inspection system.
We are aware of the companies involved in this business. We naturally know where the disposal sites are and we know what various types of toxic materials are being disposed of. So we’ve got a complete handle on this whole problem, and it is a problem. The real problem, as far as we’re concerned, is that we have to stop using ordinary landfill sites for this type of disposal. Therefore, it is essential that we find other methods, such as deep well disposal.
Mr. S. Smith: I have a supplementary with regard to using the deep well disposal method: Are the abandoned subsurface wells in the Sarnia area presently being monitored by the ministry?
Hon. Mr. Kerr: Yes, the ones that are in use for this purpose.
Mr. S. Smith: I have a further supplementary. Will the minister confirm reports that there are wastes in these particular wells that are moving within the underground strata and reaching the surface?
Hon. Mr. Kerr: There was a report several months ago, Mr. Speaker, of a particular well that may be affecting our neighbours in Michigan.
Mr. Nixon: Just like the Chinese.
Hon. Mr. Kerr: This well is now out of commission.
Mr. Breithaupt: Don’t put a handle on that long well or you will flood out Peking.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please, one final supplementary on this. The member for Durham West.
Mr. Godfrey: Will the minister not confirm the fact that Tricil have been told they must stop dumping their waste disposal in the wells around the Detroit River as of the end of this year?
Hon. Mr. Kerr: Yes, Mr. Speaker, there’s one well that has to stop at the end of this year but unless we have some alternate method of disposal and a little less emotional involvement in this type of disposal and more hard facts --
Mr. Godfrey: It’s not emotional to be healthy.
Hon. Mr. Kerr: The Leader of the Opposition was tippy-toeing around Canborough and saying: “This is a terrible thing,” and causing all kinds of problems.
Mr. Lewis: This is the second time today. What is this?
Hon. Mr. Kerr: We’ve got to get the emotion out of this and stick to science.
POINT OF PRIVILEGE
Mr. Lewis: Mr. Speaker, on a point of personal privilege.
Mr. Speaker: Point of privilege.
Mr. Lewis: On a point of personal privilege, I did not tippy-toe around Canborough.
Mr. Breithaupt: What did you do?
Mr. Lewis: I strutted into Canborough at a community meeting of several hundred people, all of whom expressed concern, and uniformly condemned your ministry for the lack of support.
Mr. Breithaupt: On tippy-toe.
Mr. Speaker: Does the hon. member for Hamilton West have further questions?
Mr. Lewis: Tip-toe around Canborough! Whatever your proclivities are, don’t attribute them to me.
Mr. S. Smith: I have a question, Mr. Speaker, of the Minister of Health. I notice he’s returned, because I had to shade my eyes.
FREEZE ON NURSING HOME BEDS
Mr. S. Smith: Could the minister tell us, since we were unable to find this out from his ministry this morning, whether he is prepared to lift his freeze on nursing home bed approvals, particularly in the Toronto area; particularly in the light of the Woods-Gordon study on hospital and nursing home beds which has indicated a shortage everywhere except Scarborough and North York? Would he consider lifting his freeze on nursing home beds?
Hon. F. S. Miller: First, Mr. Speaker, I’m sorry the member had to shade his eyes, but it shows he and I have one thing in common and that’s the name Stuart.
Hon. F. S. Miller: I just happen to show mine in a different way.
I am not prepared to lift the nursing home bed freeze. First of all, we have about 2,000 beds in construction in various parts of the province which will, I would say, come on stream before too long. Secondly, a very important part of the conclusion, or data, needs to be looked at, too, and it isn’t there. That is simply how many people are in nursing homes who shouldn’t be there. That has to be looked at, as it was in Ottawa, to determine whether in fact we have an imbalance in the nursing homes as well as in the hospitals.
Mr. Speaker: The member for Hamilton East.
Mr. Mackenzie: To the Minister of Labour --
Mr. Speaker: I’m sorry; the member for Hamilton West was finished, was he not?
Mr. S. Smith: I had one more question for the Minister of Health on a different topic, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. S. Smith: Can the minister tell us exactly what the policy is in his ministry regarding the direct purchase of property, instead of leasing, by Browndale? Is direct purchase of property happening and under what authority can Browndale seemingly use operating per diem moneys for those capital acquisitions?
Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, I don’t know that we’ve ever had any policy on whether Browndale owned or leased property, nor do I believe we should. The real question is whether we’re getting value for the care rendered and since we went to a per diem basis the question of the actual cost of the property has gone into, I’d say, a less important area. Certainly, in the days prior to a per diem it was a critical factor because it was built into the cost.
Since we went to per diem their method of obtaining property is not important, except in the Attorney General’s investigations, should it be improper in some legal or criminal way. I’m not really aware of the investigations there so I can make no comment on them.
We are only concerned with the average per diem for the place. This year, believe it or not, it’s only three per cent more than last year. list.
Mr. S. Smith: A supplementary. Is it not a fact that the ministry must be given some approval to such purchases and to leasing arrangements? Is it or is it not a fact that the ministry has to approve any lease entered into by Browndale?
Hon. F. S. Miller: I’m not sure we approve the details of a lease. What we do have to do is approve the location and that is true of any person licensed under The Children’s Mental Health Act.
Mr. S. Smith: A final supplementary, if I might: Can the minister explain to us, if it’s simply a matter of making sure, as he said in a letter to me and as he just said to the House, that the quality of care supplied is satisfactory and making sure that the price is reasonable, there is any reason to insist that Browndale be a non-profit organization? Why not simply allow them to make the profit, since he doesn’t seem to mind if they lease from their own profit-making arm?
Hon. F. S. Miller: I assume that the ideological background of the owner of Browndale would prevent him from making a profit.
Mr. S. Smith: What kind of an answer is that to a serious question?
Mr. Breithaupt: That is not even funny.
Hon. Mr. Davis: He is the only one in the group that has that reservation.
SINTERING PLANT EXPOSURE CRITERIA
Mr. Mackenzie: To the Minister of Labour: What possible justification could the minister give this House for the comments by the Workmen’s Compensation Board spokesman, Jack Hollingworth, as reported in yesterday’s Globe and Mail and last night’s Spectator, that the board uses a six-month exposure criteria for sintering plant workers in Sudbury and a one-year exposure criteria for sintering plant workers in Port Colborne?
Hon. B. Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, it was my understanding that the six-month criteria had been used for the sintering plant in Copper Cliff until 1952, and that when the process was changed at that time and was made similar to the process used in Port Colborne, the same one-year criteria was utilized in both of those areas, from the year 1952 on.
Mr. Gaunt: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Minister of Agriculture and Food. Would the minister consider, as a temporary relief measure to the industrial milk producers, a rebate of the $1.35 levy?
Hon. W. Newman: Mr. Speaker, I’d like to answer that question. I’d say no at this point in time, qualifying it by saying we have already put up a provincial commitment of $10.4 million to allow the in-sleeve production to go on. We have 127 million pounds of milk which have been allocated to the province of Ontario, or will be allocated nine days from now by Ottawa, which we have been asking for repeatedly now for the last 2½ months, which we now finally have, and when the Milk Marketing Board, whom I met with last Friday, decide exactly how this allocation will go I think it will have a great deal of bearing on those producers who are suffering a great deal of hardship.
Mr. Riddell: Supplementary: As it is obvious there is going to be no relief forthcoming for the milk producers in accordance with the suggestions made by my colleague, can the minister tell us how and when the additional allocations to the province of Ontario will be distributed to the milk producers in Ontario?
Hon. W. Newman: I am anticipating that the Milk Marketing Board at its meeting today and I believe again tomorrow -- I had a meeting with them last Friday, or with some of the members of the board to discuss my thoughts on the matter. They are meeting, I guess, yesterday, today and tomorrow. Mr. Whelan wants an answer exactly how they think it should be distributed. The quota will be available from Ottawa in about nine days’ time, which will take us past the end of the month. I would anticipate, if it can be worked out satisfactorily, that the quota allocation would show up in the November milk allocation, which cheque would be in the producers’ hands approximately by December 15.
Mr. Good: Priority basis or across the board?
HOME CARE GRANTS
Ms. Sandeman: A question for the Minister of Health: Could the minister please explain the rationale for the funding method for home care services in this province which resulted last week in a schedule of cash flow payments for the VON branch in Peterborough, which indicated that they would receive absolutely no funds for home care for the month of October; and further, would the minister advise that in such a situation home care services be withdrawn for the month?
Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, the overall home care budget this year was up around 18 per cent, I think, over last year. Peterborough isn’t the only area faced with some last-quarter problems, because apparently the level of service rendered in a number of areas in the first half of the fiscal year exceeded the rate it should have.
I have my staff looking into the problems, not only for them but for a number of other areas who are experiencing a similar problem, and until I get an answer to that I’m honestly unable to say what will happen to any one specific area. I want to see why we are in this problem, because enough money was allowed for a normal growth, both in inflationary costs and the expected number of cases handled across the province.
Ms. Sandeman: Supplementary: While the minister is looking into this problem, could he please assure branches who have been told they’ll have no money for one month that they can, in fact, continue to give the services which they expect to be able to render?
Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, I don’t want to make assurances I can’t back up with money. I have no right to promise money until I, in turn, have got it. That’s a thing we both have to realize. Their budgets, I understood, were clearly spelled out. I want to know why before I answer that.
Mr. Makarchuk: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Speaker: I think we should get on to a new question. There’s just a few moments left.
Mr. Roy: Mine’s a new question.
OTTAWA-CARLETON DETENTION CENTRE
Mr. Roy: I’d like to ask a question of the Minister of Correctional Services --
An hon. member: The little guy across the hall.
Mr. Roy: -- dealing with the detention centre in Ottawa. In view of the fact that over the last 16 months there’s been about 17 escapes, a riot, a suicide, a murder, a hostage drama, and in view of the fact that he’s been saying all along that he knew what was wrong with the place, what is he going to do to correct the situation and prevent that sort of thing?
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: Lock your doors.
Hon. J. R. Smith: Mr. Speaker, a number of things have taken place. One is that tenders have been called for internal alterations to --
Mr. Peterson: Just go up there yourself and --
Hon. J. R. Smith: -- tighten the internal security or the maximum security area of the detention centre. New screening devices have been installed in the meeting area for visitors. We presently are going to construct a new wall around the exercise yard.
The National Capital Commission has agreed to clear the brush at the rear of the detention centre, and we’re receiving cooperation from the Attorney General to expedite long remands of dangerous prisoners who are being detained at that centre.
Mr. Roy: Could I ask a supplementary? In view of the fact that at the last time there was an escape, some 16 months ago, seven people got away, the minister pointed out at that time the security problems. Why didn’t he correct these before six other people left the place just a few weeks ago by just throwing a gun and fence cutters over the fence?
Mr. Breithaupt: He is giving them a group rate.
Mr. Roy: And what is he going to do?
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: They wanted to vote in the federal by-election.
Mr. Breithaupt: For your candidate.
Mr. Roy: In view of the fact that we’ve pointed this out --
Mr. Speaker: I think the supplementary has been asked.
Mr. Roy: In view of the fact that we’ve pointed out the security problems and the problems in justice over the last 18 months, what’s taken the minister so long to correct that problem?
Hon. J. R. Smith: To my knowledge, the hon. member hasn’t visited the centre for some time himself, and I wish he had involved himself to put forward some positive suggestions.
Mr. Roy: Hell, I live a mile from there. I go there regularly.
Mr. Breithaupt: He once spent two years less a day there.
Mr. Roy: I am on a day pass every time I come down here.
Mr. Speaker: Any further questions?
Mr. Reid: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations. In view of the amendments that he is tabling today, does he not think it’s time that he proclaimed sections 366 and 367 of The Insurance Act in order to ensure that people, particularly people in northern Ontario, can first of all get insurance, without having to go through the Superintendent of Insurance to put pressure on the insurance companies to provide that insurance and, secondly, so that they can get insurance at reasonable rates?
Hon. Mr. Handleman: Mr. Speaker, the proclamation of those sections might very well have the effect it has had in Newfoundland, and that would deprive people in northern Ontario of any insurance coverage. We are dealing with the market problems in the insurance industry, and I’ve said to all hon. members if they know of anyone who can’t get insurance, please contact us and we’ll try to do everything possible.
As far as proclamation of the sections is concerned, my understanding is there is a select committee on company law which is dealing with this matter at the present time. They’ve had a few months of sittings and they’ve travelled the world. I assume they have some recommendations to make to us; we’d be prepared to consider them when they come.
Mr. Germa: Mr. Speaker, I would like to present a petition addressed to the Lieutenant Governor in Council and the Legislative Assembly of Ontario. It’s presented by the external policy implementation committee of the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation, which requests that the province of Ontario withdraw from its agreement with the federal government as it relates to the Anti-Inflation Board legislation. I have affixed my signature to the petition.
Hon. Mr. McKeough presented the report of the Ontario Universities Capital Aid Corporation financial statements and report on the audit for the year ended March 31, 1976.
Hon. Mr. McKeough presented the report of the Ontario Education Capital Aid Corporation financial statements and report on the audit for the year ended March 31, 1976.
Hon. Mr. McKeough presented the report of the Ontario Municipal Improvement Corporation financial statements and report on the audit for the year ended March 31, 1976.
Hon. Mr. McKeough presented the report of the Public Service Superannuation Fund statement of fund and report on the audit for the year ended March 31, 1976.
Hon. Mr. McKeough presented the report of the Public Service Superannuation Adjustment Fund financial statement and report on the audit for the period from inception to March 31, 1976.
Hon. Mr. Parrott presented the financial report of Queen’s University for the year ended April 30, 1976.
Hon. Mr. Parrott presented the financial report of Wilfrid Laurier University for the year ended April 30, 1976.
Hon. Mr. Parrott presented the financial report of Huron College for the year ended April 30, 1976.
Hon. Mr. Parrott presented the financial report of Ryerson Polytechnical Institute for the year ended March 31, 1976.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell presented the annual report of the Ministry of Energy for the year ended March 31, 1976.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell presented the report on the Ontario Energy Board, dated September 30, 1976, with respect to 1977 Ontario Hydro rates, and letters to the Minister of Energy from the chairman and president of Ontario Hydro, dated October 19, 1976.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: I understand that the government House leader, with his colleagues, the House leaders of the two opposition parties, has arranged for a discussion of this report and these letters on Monday afternoon next.
Hon. Mr. Rhodes presented a report on his ministry’s second survey of the rental markets in Ontario, carried out in August.
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: Surveys were carried out in the cities of Toronto, Ottawa, Kingston, London, St. Catharines, Sault Ste. Marie, Sudbury and Thunder Bay. Copies of the report will be sent to the mail boxes of individual members.
Mr. Gregory from the select committee on highway transportation of goods presented the committee’s report which was read as follows and adopted:
Your committee recommends that the time for presenting its final report be extended from December 31, 1976, to February 28, 1977.
Mr. Gregory from the select committee on highway transportation of goods presented the committee’s interim report.
Mr. Gregory: Mr. Speaker, the terms of reference and the time limits assigned by the Legislative Assembly to this select committee posed a substantial challenge to members and staff. The members of the committee approached the task with vigour and a sense of purpose that enabled them to complete their work both on time and with unanimity. I congratulate the members for their ability to work well together and thank them for making the position of chairman a very rewarding experience.
The committee is fortunate to have an outstanding staff. It is because of the work of Mr. Max Rapoport, QC, committee counsel, Mr. Brian Caldwell, research director, and Miss Gail Roberts, secretary, that the committee was able to cope with such a complex subject. Their diligence and high level of work made it possible for the committee to hold so many of its hearings outside the Toronto area. David Callfas, assistant clerk of the Legislative Assembly assumed enormous responsibilities in not only scheduling the many hearings across the province but also has taken care of the physical arrangements for the committee.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry presented the report of the statutory powers procedure rules committee for the year ending May, 1976.
Hon. Mr. McKeough moved that the Treasurer of Ontario be authorized to pay the salaries of the civil servants and other necessary payments pending the voting of supply for the period commencing November 1, 1976, such payments to be charged to the proper appropriations following the voting of supply.
Mr. Breithaupt: I understood from my earlier discussions, at least with the House leader that motion was to have a two-month term on it, but I understand that that is not in the motion at this point?
Hon. Mr. McKeough: It couldn’t matter less to me. It’s my understanding that the estimates will be completed, presumably, in a month’s time and we will be putting the final supply bill. If the member wants to put a time limit on it for December 31 it’s fine with me. It would be my hope that we would have wound up that matter for this year by then in any case. So it doesn’t matter.
Mr. Breithaupt: My only further comment, Mr. Speaker, was to that effect -- that of course pursuant to the rule I believe the 75 days for estimates is completed sometime in early December in any case. So that we would have no objection to the motion passing on that term.
Ms. Bryden: I wanted to make a few further comments on this motion. I certainly think there should be a time limit on it so that we know what we are voting and when it will expire. I would assume that the estimate will be dealt with before we rise some time in December.
But I also wanted to state that we on this side are somewhat reluctant to support a motion which is based on estimates, which in our opinion recognize wrong priorities. During the discussion of the estimates that have come before the Legislature or the committees so far we have made clear where our priorities differ from the government’s. For example, we question the $23.6 million in the Housing estimates for payment of home buyer grants, which will bring the total for this programme up to almost $110 million. We question the whole purpose of this give-away programme. Subsequent developments have indicated that it was so badly designed and so badly administered that a substantial proportion of these funds voted by the House went to purchasers of houses over $100,000 and substantial amounts to people who cheated by signing fraudulent statements about previous home ownership.
We’re reluctant to vote for funds for this kind of programme and we regret that the funds did not go to provide affordable housing.
We also question the continuing expenditure of millions of dollars on the so-called super ministries and ministers without portfolio. The current year’s estimates for these programmes amount to over $6 million. This sum might have been used to bring a much needed increase to persons on social assistance who have not had an increase for over a year despite increases in the cost of living; people who are mainly sick, disabled, elderly and unable to work. I could go on and outline many other areas where our priorities differ, but we have already done this in the discussions on the estimates and will continue to do so.
But we also have considerable doubt about supporting a supply motion to a government which spent $877 million over the main estimates last year, and which in the first six months of the current fiscal year has spending over-runs totalling $139 million. Most of it is in the field of health, which the minister has consistently failed to bring under control due to lack of planning and failure to limit the over-use of active treatment beds and private profit making labs and of unnecessary surgical procedures.
Significant over-runs are also apparent for this year in the justice policy field totalling $35 million. This would seem to indicate the failure of this government to develop adequate crime prevention programmes. It seems to be able to find money for increases in judges’ salaries but none for raising juror’s fees from the miserable $10 a day which they are now getting.
The drop of $36 million in the amount allocated in the budget for housing investment is a further indication of policy failure which seems to be the chief way in which over-runs are being offset in order to keep the --
POINT OF ORDER
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. The hon. member for London Centre has a point of order.
Mr. Peterson: On a point of order, it is my understanding of the rules that these estimates have already passed and they are not germane or relevant to this particular matter of housing the member is talking about. My understanding of the rules is that this is not the opportunity or the time for discussion in this particular area in the House at this time. If the member wants to talk about issues of that nature it is only those estimates that have not been passed as of this time.
Mr. Speaker: As I understand it, the hon. member is outlining, but not debating in detail, the reasons why they are not in favour of extending the right to pay salaries of civil servants and other necessary payments. As long as you stick to something very brief, just to illustrate but not debate the reasons, then it would be in order.
Mr. Peterson: The estimates in Housing have already passed. It is irrelevant what she has to say about it now.
Mr. Speaker: I think if the hon. member will confine her remarks to just summarizing the reasons -- something like a debate on third reading of bills -- then it’s in order.
Ms. Bryden: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I am simply referring to the housing under-runs that came out in the six months report -- which is a sort of progress report on the government’s spending to date. I am not discussing the estimates. I am saying that they are $35 million under hat was in the budget which seems to be the way they are making up for the over-run in other areas in order to keep the cash needs down.
I have only mentioned a few areas where the government’s management of the finances seem to indicate a failure to appreciate that the fiscal situation has to be brought under better control. These over-runs, which the Legislature does not vote for until long after the event, must be controlled. Despite these rather serious misgivings about the government’s ability to manage its finances and to manage the funds which we vote for it, we are intending to support this motion for interim supply. We know that if we didn’t do it, the civil servants would not be paid, the roads would not be maintained and we would have to revert to government by management board order which does not allow us to vote the funds in advance. We only find out about them several months after the orders are issued. We prefer to retain the right to vote supply prior to spending. We intend, though, to continue our criticism of the priorities and we look to the day when we can actually implement our priorities through these votes.
Motion agreed to.
Hon. Mr. Welch: Mr. Speaker, although this seems to be well in advance, it might help members in making their plans for next month.
Hon. Mr. Welch moved that notwithstanding any previous order, the House will meet on Wednesday, November 10, at 2 p.m., and when it adjourns that day, the House will stand adjourned until Monday, November 15.
Motion agreed to.
MUNICIPAL AMENDMENT ACT
Hon. Mr. McKeough moved first reading of Bill 149, An Act to amend The Municipal Act.
Motion agreed to.
Hon. Mr. McKeough: Mr. Speaker, I have a number of amendments to The Municipal Act to present to the House. Most are aimed at seeing that more local government decisions may be carried through at the community level. In this respect we propose the removal of several provisions regarding ministerial and municipal board approval to by-laws. We are also proposing to lift certain provisions requiring a two-thirds or three-quarters vote of council. Municipalities should be able to handle things as tither governments do with a simple majority vote. I am not sure that my staff knew the significance of that particular phrase when they wrote it.
Of considerable interest will be the amendment which permits a separation of the tax bill. This authorizes municipalities, if they wish, to send out one tax bill for school taxes and a separate bill for all other taxes the municipality is required to collect. This will aid accountability, assisting the taxpayer to know where his money is going.
Another amendment authorizes municipalities to enact a municipal code. This is optional but it should make it easier for new councils, as well as the public, to know the existing state of the various municipal by-laws.
I am also proposing to give the municipalities the option to do what they did before in respect to overdue taxes. At present municipalities are entitled to charge up to 12 per cent per annum on tax arrears. We are inserting the option of one per cent per month, which was the prior situation.
REGIONAL MUNICIPALITIES AMENDMENT ACT
Hon. Mr. McKeough moved first reading of Bill 150, An Act to amend the Regional Municipalities Act, 1976.
Motion agreed to.
Hon. Mr. McKeough: Mr. Speaker, the amendments to this bill duplicate, to some extent, the amendments for the Municipal Act with a few additions to allow for greater freedom of administrative action. Two amendments are related to certain requests from specified regions, namely, York and Durham.
DISTRICT MUNICIPALITY OF MUSKOKA AMENDMENT ACT
Hon. Mr. McKeough moved first reading of Bill 151, An Act to amend the District Municipality of Muskoka Act.
Motion agreed to.
MUNICIPALITY OF METROPOLITAN TORONTO AMENDMENT ACT
Hon. Mr. McKeough moved first reading of Bill 152, An Act to amend the Municipality of Metropolitan Toronto Act.
Motion agreed to.
Hon. Mr. McKeough: This bill, Mr. Speaker, is analogous to the Regional Municipalities Act. The amendments are similar.
COUNTY OF OXFORD AMENDMENT ACT
Hon. Mr. McKeough moved first reading of Bill 153, An Act to amend the County of Oxford Act, 1974.
Motion agreed to.
Hon. Mr. McKeough: Mr. Speaker, this bill brings the County of Oxford into line with the policies adopted and proposed for restructured municipalities generally.
MUNICIPALITY OF SHUNIAH AMENDMENT ACT
Hon. Mr. McKeough moved first reading of Bill 154, An Act respecting the Municipality of Shuniah Act.
Motion agreed to.
Hon. Mr. McKeough: Mr. Speaker, Shuniah is a municipality divided into two wards. The original legislation contained the unusual feature of requiring separate budgets to be prepared for each ward. The amendment in this bill was designed to streamline the budgetary procedure and also clarify the municipal designation of Shuniah.
Mr. Cassidy: Out with the cobwebs.
Hon. Mr. McKeough: Don’t you think that’s good?
Mr. Speaker: Introduction of bills.
INSURANCE AMENDMENT ACT
Hon. Mr. Handleman moved first reading of Bill 155, An Act to amend the Insurance Act.
Motion agreed to.
Mr. Deans: Why don’t you do something about the rates? Small businesses are going out of business because of high insurance rates.
MOTOR VEHICLE ACCIDENT CLAIMS AMENDMENT ACT
Hon. Mr. Handleman moved first reading of Bill 156, An Act to amend the Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Act.
Motion agreed to.
REGIONAL MUNICIPALITY OF HAMILTON-WENTWORTH AMENDMENT ACT
Mr. Cunningham moved first reading of Bill 157, An Act to amend the Regional Municipality of Hamilton-Wentworth Act, 1973.
Motion agreed to.
Mr. Cunningham: Mr. Speaker, this bill would amend section 135(3) of Bill 155, An Act to Create the Regional Municipality of Hamilton-Wentworth, and would provide for the election of members of the Public Utilities Commission and, hopefully, restore confidence in the Public Utilities Commission in my town.
UNIFORM TIME ACT
Mr. Cassidy moved first reading of Bill 158, The Uniform Time Act, 1976.
Motion agreed to.
Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Speaker, as in so many other areas, the government proposes to turn the clock back on the clock this weekend. This bill provides for year round daylight saving time in Ontario in order to conserve energy, and also to provide more usable hours of daylight in winter for the use and recreation of children and adults, particularly in urban areas.
Mr. Ruston: No respect for children getting on buses, I can see that.
Mr. Cassidy: The bill is obviously contentious. I think that the bill is particularly appropriate in view of the great efforts being made by the government with the launching of energy conservation week this weekend at the time the clocks are due to go back, and with the warnings by the Minister of Energy to people to conserve energy, in view of the excess load that is introduced by the reversion of standard time. So let the clocks not fall back.
ADVERTISING AND SELLING OF PERISHABLE STAPLES ACT
Mr. Grossman moved first reading of Bill 159, An Act respecting the Advertising and Selling of Perishable Staples.
Motion agreed to.
Mr. Grossman: Mr. Speaker, this bill would prohibit the advertising or selling of perishable staples such as bread, rolls and other bakery items, as loss leaders at below cost prices.
Hon. Mr. Welch: Mr. Speaker, before the orders of the day, I wish to table the answers to questions 75, 117 and 119 standing on the notice paper.
Mr. Speaker: Orders of the day.
OMBUDSMAN SELECT COMMITTEE REPORT
Consideration of the first report of the select committee on the Ombudsman.
Mr. Speaker: Does the hon. member for Riverdale wish to lead off on this? Thank you.
Mr. Renwick: I have a few laconic comments to make on the report. I think in a very real sense the report speaks very much for itself. But I thought I should draw to the attention of the House the particular matters which may require some action by the House and some decisions with respect to them.
The report deals with a number of general matters and also, of course, deals with the unresolved impasse which arose between the government and the Ombudsman with respect to the North Pickering project. I want to leave my very brief comments on that matter to the end.
The first matter I want to deal with is that the select committee on the Ombudsman which sat under the chairmanship of the member for Wilson Heights (Mr. Singer), made a recommendation that there should be a permanent committee of the Legislature established to review the reports of the Ombudsman as they become available from time to time and the estimates of the Ombudsman. It would appear that this committee which was established in July by this House, the select committee on the Ombudsman to which this is the first report, is that permanent committee. Because of that there are two matters which I want to comment about.
The first one is that we recommend in the report that the terms of reference of the committee be enlarged to include the formulation, from time to time as the committee deems necessary, pursuant to section 16.1 of The Ombudsman Act, 1975, general rules for the guidance of the Ombudsman in the exercise of his functions under The Ombudsman’s Act. I would hope that the House, for the reasons set forth in the report leading up to that recommendation, would agree at an appropriate time that the terms of reference of the select committee be so amended. The reason is obvious. The statute requires it and there is no such committee yet established; and it was recommended by the first select committee on the Ombudsman, commonly known as the Singer committee.
The second matter, that is the question with respect to whether or not the additional term of reference of the committee should deal with the estimates of the Ombudsman, is one which the committee has not as yet taken any position on and it offers no opinion about it. It is a matter which we undoubtedly will take under advisement when the first annual report of the Ombudsman comes before the committee. This will likely be either sometime later this year or in the early part of next year.
I would draw your attention to the fact that this particular report expresses no opinion on that problem. We do recognize, of course, the immense amount of time and the difficulty which that whole question caused to the assembly and to the committees of the assembly earlier this year. We have stated in the report that the committee is of the opinion that it does not, at this time, have sufficient information respecting this function -- that is whether or not we should be the committee to deal with the estimates of the Ombudsman, particularly in view of this committee’s ongoing responsibilities in other areas. Accordingly, the report offers no opinion and makes no recommendation on the subject at this time.
The other matter on which the committee had occasion to rule was the long delayed and vexing question of whether or not the committee’s proceedings should be open to audio-visual coverage by the media. After correspondence between myself and the Speaker, and other considerations which entered into the matter, the committee ruled that access to the press gallery members for audio-visual coverage by radio and television and still photography is permitted, and the rules which have applied in these proceedings to the print media will apply as well to the radio and television media.
We made that decision, I think, in the light of the wishes of the assembly about the matter and certainly after consultation with Mr. Speaker. There are some problems about it but we believe that the problems are not sufficiently real when balanced against the need for adequate coverage of those proceedings to rule out audio-visual coverage. We recommend in the report that all necessary steps be taken by this assembly, or by whatever the appropriate committee of the assembly is, to formalize this extension of coverage so that it will be clarified for all of the committees of the assembly.
We believe that is consistent with the recommendations in the Camp commission report and also with respect to the resolution which has already been made about that problem in connection with the coverage of the proceedings in this assembly itself.
Turning now, if I may, to the North Pickering dispute, I think it is fair to say that we had, during the course of the hearings, the cooperation of all persons who were called before it or had occasion to be involved in these proceedings. I think on behalf of all the members of the committee I’d like to express my appreciation for that cooperation. I want to say specifically, without particularizing everyone who appeared before us, I think it is proper to say that the Ombudsman himself cooperated fully with the committee and the Minister of Housing cooperated fully with the committee.
I think the committee was firm and totally unanimous on the one proposition and that was that the select committee on the Ombudsman was not the proper forum at any occasion to deal on a one-to-one basis with the 44 cases that were in dispute between the Ombudsman and the Minister of Housing (Mr. Rhodes). It did not seem appropriate that a select committee of this assembly should take upon itself what was in the nature of a judicial decision on relative merits between the negotiators for the Ministry of Housing and the particular landowner as to what that decision should be. And I think it’s fair to say that the members of the committee were unanimous and solid throughout the hearings that if that one-on-one operation had to take place at any time, a select committee of the assembly was not an appropriate body to do that.
In addition to that of course, we all realized that life was far too short for us to be engaged in that kind of a lengthy undertaking and we were quite prepared to stand united against any pressure brought on us that we should take it upon ourselves to make that kind of assessment.
I think in my own particular view, rights and responsibilities and duties between citizens are best decided in the courts and not in a forum such as that of the select committee the purpose of which is entirely different.
Within that framework, I think it is reasonable to say that we maintained a consistent pressure on the Minister of Housing and on the Ombudsman, if I may use that in its best sense. The committee met regularly and diligently. The committee clearly indicated to both the Minister of Housing and to the Ombudsman that we were intent, regardless of the obstacles or hurdles which might appear before us, on doing the work which this assembly required of us, namely to review that report and report back to the assembly on it.
And in that basic sense of urgency which the committee brought to the problem with which it was confronted, and the need for a speedy solution of it ,we had of course the immense and continuing support of the counsel for the committee, Mr. John Bell, and of both the first clerk of the committee and the present clerk of the committee.
In the working out of the meetings of the committee at about the end of September, it became relatively clear to all of us, and everyone responded to the situation, that in a sense the committee provided the forum for keeping the Ombudsman and the Minister of Housing in close and continuous contact. I think it is also fair to say that the catalyst which precipitated the solution to the problem was an action, a motion, brought in the Supreme Court of Ontario, returnable in the divisional court, on behalf of five of the negotiators.
I think that perhaps that occasion to precipitate the kind of agreement which was reached between the Minister of Housing and the Ombudsman was bound to come at some point in time. I think it is also proper to say that it was that particular event which precipitated the opportunity for the Minister of Housing and the Ombudsman to meet together to try to resolve the matters before us. The member for Quinte gave the final nudge to them when he suggested that they should perhaps have luncheon together and from there on in the Minister of Housing and the Ombudsman met privately themselves and then with members of their staff on an almost continuous basis until they reached an agreement on the direction of the committee.
They then returned to the committee and we met in camera at the request of both the Minister of Housing and the Ombudsman to discuss the agreement. We thoroughly canvassed the agreement, not from the point of view of remaking their agreement but to make certain that it was the kind of agreement which would draw the concurrence of all members of the assembly, regardless of party, in this House.
We took a considerable amount of time to make certain also that there would be no need, to the extent that it was possible for us to do so, for enabling legislation in order that the agreement could be implemented because that would have meant further delay.
It was our anxiety, and I am quite certain it was shared by the Ombudsman and the Minister of Housing, that sufficient time had gone by, there had been enough delay in the course of settling these outstanding matters of very deep emotional controversy within the whole framework of the North Pickering project, and that the sooner these questions were settled, the better for everyone. Again, within that framework of that sense of urgency, we agreed in the agreement reached between the Ombudsman and the Minister of Housing and we urged that it be implemented promptly and immediately in order to cut down any further delay which was in many people’s minds, already interminable.
I want to say that our recommendation, for which we ask the concurrence of the assembly, is to give effect to this agreement, that is, the agreement between the Ombudsman and the Minister of Housing.
“This committee recommends that the legislative assembly approve in every respect the agreement reached between the Ombudsman and the Minister of Housing.
“This committee further recommends that the commission to be appointed under The Public Inquiries Act, 1971, be appointed forthwith with terms of reference substantially in accord with the agreement between the Minister of Housing and the Ombudsman.
“With respect to the statement of issues as adopted by this committee and reproduced earlier in this part of the report, the committee is of the opinion that the inquiry which will be conducted under The Public Inquiries Act, 1971, with the agreed terms of reference and the hearings by the Ombudsman’s office, pursuant to section 22 of The Ombudsman’s Act, 1975, will both involve areas of inquiry wherein those issues will be fully investigated, examined and thoroughly reported upon.”
I wish to say that recommendation is the unanimous recommendation of the committee without even any mental reservations, so far as anyone could determine, on the part of any member of the committee. I think it is within that spirit that the committee concluded its deliberations with respect to the North Pickering project.
I was pleased to note that the Premier (Mr. Davis) announced the appointment of that commission on the day that this session of the assembly reconvened. I think it was very important that that commission be appointed before this report was a matter of discussion in the assembly; otherwise the debate might very well have been confusing to say the least.
The commission that has been appointed -- and I have not seen the exact terms of reference of the commission, but I assume they are in accordance with the recommendations of the select committee on the Ombudsman which I’ve just quoted verbatim from the report -- is to be composed of the hon. J. F. Donnelly, a former judge of the Supreme Court of Ontario; Mr. Roy Grant, who is vice-chairman of the Ontario Land Compensation Board; and Mr. G. P. Marriott, who is also a member of that board.
Perhaps I might be permitted a minor parenthesis about our report. If I had to do it over again, I think I perhaps would have urged the members of the committee to have suggested that some consultation would have taken place between the members of the committee, perhaps the Attorney General (Mr. McMurtry) and perhaps with the Ombudsman, on the selection of that panel. I want to close that parenthesis with the simple statement that that in no way, in my judgement, is to be taken as reflecting in any way upon those persons who were appointed. However, in the delightful glow of afterthought, I would believe that the appearance would have been somewhat better had there been some consultation through this committee, with the government and with the Ombudsman on those appointments.
I am certain the commission that has been appointed will carry out the responsibilities which are imposed upon it in accordance with the Act and for the purpose of achieving the resolution of the very deep-seated emotional problems, let alone legal controversies, which arose in the process of the development of the North Pickering project.
Basically, the decision-making processes are in two parts. Twenty-eight of the cases -- that’s 12 cases which, in the hearings of the committee, had been disputed by the Minister of Housing, together with an additional 16 cases in which the five negotiators who had placed the motion in the divisional court -- are to be dealt with by the commission under The Public Inquiries Act, which of course will be in public in accordance with the requirements of that Act and will deal with the substance of the controversy between the particular land owners and the Ministry of Housing and those agents and employees acting for it.
I think it bears comment, as stated in the agreement between the Minister of Housing and the Ombudsman, that the commission is to be set up by order in council.
“The commission so appointed will be empowered to consider in the first instance the overall merits of the claims for additional compensation of the former land owners. [Which in this case is the 28 land owners to whom I have referred.] In making this determination the commission shall be empowered to take into account all the circumstances of each particular case including, but without limitation, any misleading statements, inadequate appraisals or misunderstandings based upon reasonable grounds in the circumstances of the particular case.”
In addition to that, the commission “shall determine what allegations of misconduct are made against the five applicants to the motion presently before the divisional court in the report of the Ombudsman and whether they are justified.”
Then, after those determinations, they will be entitled to fix the additional mode of compensation to be paid, if any, in accordance with the terms as further set out in the report.
I think it is important for the House to recognize that that commission will deal with those 28 cases. I think it is the anticipation of all the members of the committee that that form of public inquiry will permit all of the issues which have caused so much deep concern in the North Pickering project, which were investigated by the Ombudsman, to be fully aired and I hope resolved in the report that will be made in due course by that commission published under the Public Inquiries Act.
The remainder of the 44 cases, together with additional cases, which at October 1 aggregated in total I believe about 71 cases, will go before the Ombudsman on an individual basis to be dealt with by the Ombudsman’s office under oath in an adversarial situation but in camera. I think it’s fitting that they should be in camera, those 71 cases, and any others which may have come in since that time. The Ombudsman’s office will determine -- whether or not by reason of any misunderstandings or any of the other, in the broad sense of that term “misunderstandings” misrepresentations -- other concerns which may have caused these controversies to arise; in each particular case the Ombudsman’s office will make the decision. The Minister of Housing has agreed that in those 71 cases, plus any of the additional ones, that he, the Minister of Housing, will accept the decision of the Ombudsman’s office in those cases and will then proceed automatically to refer those cases to the Land Compensation Board for determination of the additional compensation, if any, which may result from the consideration of those cases by the Ombudsman’s office.
I spoke with the Ombudsman yesterday in connection with his annual report which is in process. His first annual report, I understand, will be presented if all goes well to Mr. Speaker and automatically thereby referred to this select committee some time before the end of this session. I would expect from what he said that it will be sometime in late November. My anticipation would be that at the turn of the year, the committee will reconvene for the purpose of considering the first annual report of the Ombudsman. I think with the experience of the North Pickering project, with the experience of review of the first annual report of the Ombudsman, this committee will be in an informed position to be able to make intelligent and intelligible recommendations to the assembly with respect to the whole area of the institution of the Ombudsman’s office and its relationship to the parliamentary process as we know it.
The member for St. Andrew-St. Patrick (Mr. Grossman), being the vice-chairman of the committee, and myself, had the privilege of meeting briefly while we were in England on other business with the chairman of the select committee of the House of Commons in the United Kingdom to discuss some of the problems and also to establish a very necessary relationship with that chairman, which I think will be of mutual benefit.
It may be interesting for the House to know that while it’s not a matter of immediate concern to this assembly -- and I suppose by the time it comes around few of us will be around -- but one of the concerns they felt very strongly about was that the first Ombudsman appointed in the United Kingdom -- he is actually called a parliamentary commissioner -- retired from office and the government, unilaterally without any consultation, appointed the successor. There was no criticism of the choice of the successor but certainly the select committee in the United Kingdom and the House of Commons felt that it would have been advisable and strongly urged that in the future any appointment of a successor in the important office of the Ombudsman should be after consultation, not any veto of course, with the select committee on the Parliamentary Commissioner in the United Kingdom. At some point in the future someone may want to raise in the assembly that very question but that’s a long way off and it’s not a matter of immediate concern.
I may also say that three members of the committee and counsel for the committee attended the first international conference of Ombudsmen. Those were the member for Hamilton Centre (Mr. Davison), the member for Quinte (Mr. O’Neil) and the member for Essex North (Mr. Ruston), together with counsel for the committee. They attended the first international conference of Ombudsmen in Edmonton. They had an opportunity to meet with the delegations from all of the countries in the world which attended that particular conference and I think those connections or relationships will prove of immense value to the committee in its ongoing work.
Specifically, and I think this is perhaps a suitable place for me to close my remarks, the Ombudsman in Alberta has now been in office for some 10 years. They are conducting -- a special committee of the assembly is engaged in receiving public representations with respect to the office of the Ombudsman. As their Act is so much the same as ours counsel for the committee has made arrangements with that committee in Alberta to let us have the submissions which are made to the committee in Alberta to see whether or not we can perhaps have the benefit of their 10 years’ experience and not, in our own case, have to wait 10 years before we have such a public review to deal with any anomalies or concerns that the public may have with respect to the function of the Ombudsman.
With those brief remarks I am pleased to have had the opportunity to chair the committee. I am surprised that the committee ended up with the unanimous result and I am delighted to think, in anticipation, that the report will receive the unanimous endorsation of the House and our recommendations which need to be implemented will be implemented.
Mr. Ruston: The chairman of the committee very ably explained the general consensus of our report and I’m sure I wouldn’t want to belabour it.
This report, being the first one that the Ombudsman brought in -- it may be bad in one way and good in another that we learned in a hurry something about the Ombudsman and his operations. When his first major recommendation came in and was not accepted by the Minister of Housing nor by the Premier then, of course, it was laid in the lap of the Legislature and delegated to the committee.
It so happened, from what I can gather, this is about the first time in the world that an Ombudsman has run across a similar situation. As mentioned by the previous speaker, some of us had the opportunity to attend the first world conference of Ombudsmen in Edmonton. Speaking with a number of the Ombudsmen from Sweden, Australia, Quebec, New Brunswick, Alberta, gave us a real opportunity to speak in person with some of these people and find out how they operate.
What was going on in Ontario was quite a surprise to the whole conference and it was seen as trying to break in another new road as to how the operations of the Ombudsman would be carried out. In most cases as far as we can understand, the recommendations in the Ombudsman’s report have been accepted by the government, the ministry or whatever the case might be.
We were faced with something on which we had to more or less try and receive as much information as we could and still try to keep it within the realm of a committee of this Legislature. And, as the previous speaker mentioned, we didn’t want to get into the adversary system of a court and so forth, because that really isn’t the function of a select committee. We didn’t have too much opportunity to find that type of information from the World Conference of Ombudsmen because this type of confrontation, I guess you would call it, was more or less something new.
I have a feeling myself -- and not to get into the details of it, because I realize that now the resolving of the matter is before a commission. Also other matters left in abeyance are going to the Ombudsman under a different section of the Act, so I don’t want to get into the detail of it.
What concerns me is that here we have the first report of the Ombudsman of Ontario and the rejection of it by the ministry. It went its full course around and ended up with the committee. Then the minister was called in and he made a reply to us.
Over the period of our hearings I think he made three major representations, some of them took an hour and a half each -- 60-page presentations on a couple of occasions.
But what concerns me as a layman, and not as a legal person, is that it seems to me that the first report of the Ombudsman should have been looked at more carefully by the minister, and maybe the items that he brought out to us should have been brought out to the Ombudsman at the time. That’s hindsight, of course, but on the other hand I think that in order to try and make the system work maybe we could find some criticism there on how it came about and why it was sent to us. If there had been a little more flexibility on behalf of the minister in taking the report, looking it over and coming back to the Ombudsman with his recommendations or his findings, perhaps the Ombudsman may then have taken a new look at what he had and maybe the problem would have been resolved without coming the full route that it took.
Another thing; with the new Act as we go along maybe we are going to see flaws in the statute. One section of concern to me is section 19(3): The Ombudsman “shall give to that organization or person an opportunity to make representations respecting the adverse report or recommendations, either personally or by counsel.”
In looking over the Alberta bill, under their section 26 they say that the Ombudsman must give the department, officer, member, employee, person or group of persons an opportunity to know the nature of the opinion or comment that he’s going to make.
I figure that our part of the Act, section 19(3), is maybe not quite fully clarified. There should be more clarification so that anyone’s name that may be mentioned in a report of the Ombudsman, whether it may be some report of the way that an individual in some ministry worked -- when the Ombudsman may be making an adverse statement as to how he did his work -- then he should be notified by the Ombudsman that he’s going to bring this into the report. This is, of course, what caused the five people to make representation to the divisional court, because they were making the representation that they were not notified.
Not being trained in legal technicalities, I look at section 19(3) and feel that if the minister was notified, wouldn’t in fact all people under his ministry be notified? Well, some of them work under contract and a number are regular civil servants, so to be fair, I suppose, maybe we should enlarge that section at a future date to see that anyone who may be affected adversely would be notified and have an opportunity to present their side of the story to the Ombudsman before the report comes out. That’s an area, I think, we will probably have to consider in the future.
It’s been a learning process. I think we’re all looking forward to seeing what the commission will find when they go through the number of cases that they have as well as the number of cases that the Ombudsman will be dealing with under oath and in camera. As far as the report and the things in general leading up to the report and the whole realm of the North Pickering project you could talk for an hour or two on how it started and the problems that went along with it. You make a statement in the House, say, that you’re going to build a new town someplace and of course, then everything changes around that area.
There are rumours flying; there are reports coming out. Ministers change from one ministry to another and there’s no continuity of the same thinking and so forth. This all adds to the whole conundrum of a major project. I don’t think this is the time to get into that because our recommendation is that these things be referred to a commission and back to the Ombudsman. I think that should be held at a later date. I’m sure that with the amount of evidence that was presented to the committee by the Minister of Housing on his statements and the Ombudsman and other information that we had access to, it’s very interesting. I’m looking forward at a future date to probably going into detail on the whole planning process and the announcement of a major new town near a proposed major airport.
These are all things that I think we should not be discussing at this time because I wouldn’t want to in any way jeopardize anything that may go before this commission. I just want to say that I’m happy that we came up with a good arrangement. I think that when the member for Quinte mentioned about the Minister of Housing and the Ombudsman having lunch together, it reminds me of when you have a problem with a constituent in the riding. You may find that by going out to the house and sitting across the kitchen table from him, you resolve more problems or allay fears that he has. Many things may be resolved in that type of atmosphere. I think that’s what assisted some in this where the pressure had been on the Ombudsman and the Minister of Housing. We feel that that, no doubt, helped them to come to an agreement on their differences.
Mr. Godfrey: I can heartily endorse the recommendations of the committee and express confidence in the work of the Ombudsman and others who have participated in this function. I can certainly agree to the urgency with regard to settling the problems associated with the 44 people who have been under considerable duress with regard to financial matters.
However, I am a little concerned at my colleague, and I am sure he will take me in good faith, I am concerned about statements that life is too short to really go deeply into these matters in the select committee. And I express a certain amount of disappointment that we have now been given a hoist to what should have come out at that particular time. Realizing the wisdom of not becoming involved on an individual basis with any of the 44 people who were involved, I think there were other matters in the report which could have been explored more extensively.
Part of this concern is borne out by the fact that on page 10, subsection 2, it points out: “The Ombudsman will re-open the investigation into the merits of the balance of the 44 cases and in all of these cases and any new cases coming before the Ombudsman, the Ombudsman -- ” and so on. I am concerned there, because there does seem to be slightly different shading and I’m sure it was unintentional on the part of the committee as we already have assurances from the committee that they are very well alerted to what should happen when the Ombudsman does meet these 71 further applicants and others who most likely will appear.
I would call your attention to page 9 where, in setting up the rules for the commission which will act, it says:
“All circumstances of each particular case, including but without limitation, any misleading statement, inadequate appraisals or misunderstandings based upon reasonable grounds in the circumstances of the particular case.”
Certainly this clause does not limit the Ombudsman from looking into such matters and it is possible that his terms of reference would include those matters but I am concerned that the committee did not see fit to emphasize that in those particular areas. Why am I concerned? Because I do not believe that consideration of 44 cases will bring out all of the issues which are on hand. If they are brought out it will be in a different light. The 44 people who will appear before the special commission will be those who are seeking money and when one is seeking money, one’s motives take on a different implication.
On the other hand, many of the others will come before the commission not seeking money; they will come before it, and I agree to this, to speak to an emotional problem. I agree with the select committee that this was a highly emotional problem and I am glad they realize that. After saying it is emotional it is not sufficient to say, “We will now become legalistic. We will now go about our business and disregard these emotions.”
I would remind all of us in this House that the people in this province are emotional people. They have certain beliefs; they have certain faiths, if you like, in equity and in justice. That is why they become emotional, and highly emotional, when it seems that the natural processes of justice are being ignored.
Indeed, I think it will come as a bit of a shock to them to realize that a Supreme Court action is what forced the resolution of this problem. It was a problem that to them was a highly personal problem. It had been investigated by the Ombudsman, with a committee which was thundering along, investigating, etc., then, suddenly, on the appearance of a motion against the Ombudsman, somebody went out to lunch and the problem was solved.
That seems to me a small travesty of the way justice should work. Surely, we should be able to do this without pressure being exerted upon an ombudsman or anybody else to get a resolution to the problem.
My concern, therefore, is that the Ombudsman will continue to pursue aggressively what went on in the North Pickering business because it was an emotional thing. For the first time in the province a large number of people feel, and felt, that they were done badly by and they looked to the Ombudsman and continue to look to him for redress not of money -- of justice, of an evaluation of what went on.
The Ombudsman has already referred to that. If I may refer members to his report, on page 90 he points out, “We anticipate that following the course of action that has been recommended will create a substantial increase in the work load of the Land Compensation Board and would recommend” etc. There he’s talking about the money thing and he goes on to talk about, “The actions of the officials and agents of the Ministry of Housing were unreasonable, unjust and oppressive.”
I don’t think these matters have been addressed by the select committee in the fullness which they deserve. I’m sure when this new action goes forward with the Ombudsman they will have a full hearing but that full hearing must not be based upon the fact that the applicants who come for the hearing are seeking money. I reinforce once again -- they are seeking rectification of an ill that was done to them and in being done to them, is being done to the people of this province because it was done by a government agency.
I would point out that the whole North Pickering project created the most terrible air of distrust, a climate of distrust which is still present in that area. When we have citizens who distrust the government, we cannot have good citizen participation.
I would point out that the Ombudsman, in looking at this in the future, aside from the 44 people who want more money, must address himself to correcting that air of distrust. This distrust is founded very largely on very real emotional inner things that go with the people who live in that area. They have distrust because their social community was torn apart, their churches were dismembered. Their communities -- Whitevale, Cedar Grove Martin subdivision and others -- were shattered and remain in that situation today. You wonder why it is an emotional issue. Yet there has still been no redress made.
For example, hay is stolen -- 900 acres of hay was stolen from a farmer’s barn. What’s happened to our community? That could never happen in a farming community at any other time. But when you have a bunch of strangers coming in, who knows what is going on. There is nobody there to protect Bill’s property next door when he is away. This is an index of the type of distrust they have because they know their community has been rent asunder and will not be resumed again until they get that trust back in government.
In addition to the social impact which they suffered, there was the utter confusion which attended the whole exercise, the limbo living which 3,000 families were subjected to and the inability to get answers. The Ombudsman has referred to this and has made recommendations that in the future during this type of activity it should be the responsibility of only one person from beginning to end.
But that doesn’t help them. They live in that atmosphere of confusion. Two years after the announcement of the annex of understanding -- and I would say parenthetically, with regard to the debate earlier today and the Reed matter and the small piece of paper which has been signed, I would point out to you this whole business began, the airport and the North Pickering business on an annex of understanding, a simple document which had no real legal standing; in the same manner the Reed business may devolve to this as well.
It was hung in the official office where information was given out to the citizens. The map showing the area which was to be expropriated or acquired was an RCE map taped to a wall, an Army Survey Establishment map, dated 1964. This was the official document which was presented to people who came into the office and asked for information.
It was not only confusing, it was also once again leading to an air of distrust in the government. I am sure it will come out in the future as one hysterical comedy situation. Somebody phoned the Premier’s office and asked who was in charge and then was passed successively through a series of ministers who said: “Oh, Mr. White is in charge,” or “Mr. so and so is in charge.” Nobody really knew, on several occasions, who was really in charge of the North Pickering development.
All of these things that happened were as a result of big government -- and it is a big government, a tremendous government -- involved with these small people. Indeed, that air of distrust that has come about is largely on the basis of the big government not having sufficient sensitivity.
I would hope truly that in future the Ombudsman will look at the misrepresentation to people. He has already referred to it in his documents. On page 90 he pointed out:
“We have concluded that undue pressure, the scare tactics and resort to like devices in dealing with owners, many of whom are unsophisticated in such matters, would have left the agents of the project open to criticism even if they were acting for private developers.”
I hope that we talk about that when we talk about other than 44 people who feel they want more money. I hope the Ombudsman will investigate to the fullest extent when those people, who have no motive other than justice, come before him.
In addition to misrepresentation to people, there were also misrepresentations to groups -- the People or Planes group, the Whitevale citizens group, the Christian group in that particular area. Although they sat down with the government they were never given the exact truth of what was going on. I don’t think the government was trying to be sinister about this. I think it was simply because the government itself didn’t know what would be the next step. On several occasions they were told the expropriation notices would be going out within the day, within the week or what have you; and these never did appear until some two years later.
Indeed, one of the things that caused much of the distrust by the citizens were the so-called Citizen Participation Groups for which we paid some $60,000 of tax money. These Citizen Participation Groups were set up in order to get the people together so they could discuss the future in the North Pickering development. It was somewhat akin to inviting you to a meeting to say do you want to be drawn or quartered? That was about the choice they had.
These citizen participation groups cause more distress on the part of the people there, because they did not feel that they were being run in the best possible interest of the people in the community. Indeed they were part of a deliberate selling campaign on the part of the government to do that.
Now all of these things are intangible. You can talk about dollars and you can say a house is worth a certain amount of money, but I earnestly plead -- and I fault the select committee for not looking at this more deeply -- that any further investigation into this look into this matter. You cannot redress people with money for insult in the past; but you can ensure, by setting up a proper framework, that it will never happen again.
I’m delighted to hear that the North Pickering project has been an object lesson. It’s been a lesson for this government. I would like to hear a little bit of sympathy offered to the people who were the unwitting models for this edification of ourselves. Thank you.
Mr. Grossman: Mr. Speaker, I may not be able to keep my mind on my remarks. I can’t help it, sitting here behind such divergent people as the member for Prince Edward-Lennox (Mr. Taylor), with his friend the member for Cornwall (Mr. Samis) -- their differing philosophies, if not their hairlines, are distracting me.
Mr. Grossman: If I speak long enough it may encourage him to stay. Even I can’t speak that long.
I did want to address a few remarks on the subject of the North Pickering report. I will get a copy of Hansard for today to enshrine somewhere in my office the remarks of the member for Durham West (Mr. Godfrey) about big government and all the problems were caused by big government. I think I’ll be reading them back to him on several occasions later.
But I did want to deal with one of his remarks and that is that he’s sorry the committee did not deal more directly -- and forgive me for not paraphrasing him not quite exactly -- with some of the emotional and other problems from the people in North Pickering. I think it’s fair to say that all the members of our committee well understood that money could not assuage all the problems and emotional upsets which very many of the people there may well have suffered. But that wasn’t really what the select committee on the Ombudsman was all about.
We still have some long sessions ahead of us to determine exactly the procedures to be followed on these reports. What are we really about? Are we to follow the mode which is generally followed, I think in England, of acting more as a public accounts committee would operate, and that is to assess the recommendation of the Ombudsman, assess the reaction of the government, and comment upon those reactions as to whether the government has offered up a sufficiently acceptable explanation for not following the recommendations of the Ombudsman.
These are problems that still lie ahead of the committee. But I think it would be a little unjust to the members of our committee to suggest that we were not exhibiting any empathy or an understanding of the problem involved. Indeed, it was really the intense desire of all the members of the committee to see that justice was done in North Pickering, notwithstanding what was termed the “battle of the giants”, notwithstanding the reputations, or whatever, of the persons involved directly, being the Ombudsman and the Minister of Housing, to provide that justice to the landowners and former landowners of North Pickering. It caused us to get as deeply involved as we did and to meet as often and as regularly as we did and deal so intensely with the problems and not to gloss over any of the problems as they arose.
None of us, even we lawyers on the committee, wanted to get involved in some of the legal gyrations that developed. But we all felt a deep obligation to see that those matters were adequately dealt with and fairly dealt with in that very open and very public forum, so that none of the landowners, those present in the room and those not present in the room, could go away saying that we had advertently or inadvertently let any hint of legal or legislative injustice abound. As time developed, because of our determination to see that this didn’t happen, we got deeper and deeper into some of these legal problems but I think all of that led toward a determination to be consistent with our earlier decision not to get into a one-on-one. It led us down the path in any event toward having a properly constituted set of judicial persons or judicial-like persons deal with the problems under oath and with proper legal protections to see that justice was done to those persons who are entitled to more money, who are entitled to be compensated as of a different date from the one on which they decided to sell. I think the members of the committee are satisfied that justice in that sense will be done.
I have been concerned as things have developed since the termination of the committee and indeed right up to the present when the chairman of the committee -- who, by the way, did a very, very capable and excellent job of handling the committee notwithstanding the fact that his absence on one of the key mornings was either a coincidence or a catalyst; we haven’t decided which -- the chairman, the member for Riverdale (Mr. Renwick), did comment that the catalyst was the law suit launched by Mr. Sopinka.
That may have been a catalyst in the minds of some of the members of the committee, some members of the public and press, and may have been a reason for Ombudsman and/or the Minister of Housing suddenly deciding to move toward some reconciliation of their differences. I felt badly about that because it has never been my opinion that the external intervention of that law suit did anything but move up the ultimate determination of the committee to have the thing eventually go to a judicial inquiry. That is, of course, my own personal judgement, my own personal feeling, as the thing developed.
I think my feeling developed that that was what was going to happen because the more we were there, the more we got into matters relating to what happened in the offices of the North Pickering project. The next step was going be what happened -- what the negotiators said and what happened in the homes of North Pickering. That would invite us to get into the one-on-one which we so earnestly sought to avoid.
I could see a situation developing, particularly in view of the substantial briefs submitted by both the Ombudsman and the Minister of Housing, in which we were eventually going to say, “There’s a pretty large doubt raised both ways and we had better let persons who are properly constituted deal with the one-on-one situation.”
That is, as I say, my own personal guess as to where the committee was headed in any event. I did feel that a close reading of the transcripts would indicate that at least on the face of the transcripts, while the Sopinka motion certainly played a role in determining which cases went where and it certainly played a role in moving up or shortening the deliberations of the committee, I am really quite unhappy at the thought that the public or landowners in North Pickering -- for whom we have gone to great lengths to find a very special remedy -- would feel that ultimately it took a law suit launched externally to pressure the Ombudsman and the Minister of Housing finally to say, “Let’s get down to providing some justice and immediate justice for the residents of North Pickering.”
I didn’t sense that at the committee, I felt that at the particular stage at which the committee had arrived there were a lot of questions being asked and a lot of difficulties being raised on both sides. We were getting very much involved in the timing of the minister’s reactions and what role that played. We were getting very much involved in the question of notice under section 19(3) of The Ombudsman Act. These things were playing a very important role, it seems to me, and as the days went on the questions continued to build up and build up. The more questions that were created, the more questions we had in our minds, the larger our task became and the more we were invited to get into that one-on-one. I sensed, as I sat there, that we were approaching the time, at which Messrs. Rhodes and Maloney were going to say, “We’ve got to find some way to get out of this jackpot. We’ve got to find some way to have justice determined on a one-on-one situation by persons other than a select committee of the Legislature.” It was my feeling, in any event, that that day was close at hand.
I would have hoped that the parties involved could have reached that determination prior to the launching of the lawsuit by Sopinka, because I do think that all persons involved have been put in a somewhat bad light by the fact, in the public appearance, that it was the Sopinka motion that finally jerked everyone into action.
As I say, I can’t speak for the Ombudsman or the Minister of Housing in saying that was or was not the catalyst. I just wanted to get on record in this House my feeling with regard to where the committee was going and the committee’s very fervent desire to see that those in North Pickering who were and are entitled to more money and adequate compensation do, in fact, get that compensation.
I don’t think anyone could suggest that there was anyone sitting around that table, including all the parties and all the members of the committee, who was there to do anything but see that justice was arrived at for those residents in as quick and reasonable and fair a fashion as possible. I think that would have developed regardless of what John Sopinka or anyone else did in the courts quite outside of this Legislature.
I did want to say that I think the members of the Legislature should be aware that the committee did discuss inviting the members to communicate individually with the committee on the blueprint and the annual report of the office of the Ombudsman. I think it’s important that the members of the assembly should be aware as early as possible that the committee, very unanimously, is intending to invite all the members to communicate with the committee to let us know their thoughts after this first year of operation of the Ombudsman’s office, so that we know what the members of the assembly feel about the operation, particularly about the blueprint for the operation of the office, as it comes down the pipe in the next few weeks, and the first annual report, because it has been very much of a learning process. I sincerely hope all members will apply their minds to the subject over the next few weeks so that a meaningful contribution can be made by as many members as possible to this very difficult task.
One thing that the chairman of the committee, the member for Riverdale, and myself did learn overseas when we were speaking with the persons involved in the Parliamentary Commissioner’s office in Great Britain was that the operation of the Ombudsman’s office in Ontario and our select committee was quite unique and was being looked to by Ombudsman’s offices throughout the world as a new and different type of operation in all respects.
I think it’s fair to say that one of the things that the members of the committee who were in Edmonton reported back to our committee was that the appointment of our Ombudsman here, the Act, the operations of his office and the operation of the select committee in Ontario were looked upon as a very signal movement in the whole concept of the Ombudsman’s office.
Therefore, we should understand, all of us, that we really do not have enough precedents to look to and no precedent that is as binding and as easy to grasp and look to as we would like to in every circumstance that may develop over the next period of time. I say that in spite of the fact that the chairman of the committee has a very effective habit of looking to his own precedent; but, outside of that, we don’t have very many or enough precedents from the operation of Ombudsmen committees or Ombudsmen throughout the world to make our task very easy.
I’m happy to say that the committee worked well together and showed some determination to work together to assist this very difficult process as well as a willingness to remain together over the next period of time. Some of us are also very confident that the member for Riverdale will be able to continue in his capacity as chairman of the committee after the next election.
Finally, I must say that I’m concerned about the idea that the committee might have been consulted in the appointment of the committee. I think that is perhaps taking a too active interpretation of the role of the committee.
I have felt, as members of the committee will know, that we ought to, as much as possible, stand back and attempt to take an overview of the process as it’s developed, the report as it came down to us, the reaction of the government as it comes to us, and try and develop through whatever modes possible, whatever witnesses we have, whatever sources we can glean from, try and develop some sense regarding the appropriate action to be taken. And this is not inconsistent with the memorandum of agreement, or disagreement, reached between the Ombudsman and the Premier (Mr. Davis) prior to our deliberations.
My tendency is always to have the committee take an overview and draw some conclusions with regard to the propriety of the action on both sides, and not to get involved in the day to day administration, the day to day remedies, the exact ways in which the difficulties pointed out by the Ombudsman ought to be corrected and the wrongs righted. Rather, a comment -- a recommendation to the assembly that the recommendation of the Ombudsman is an appropriate one, and the remedy seems to be appropriate or that the remedies ought to be altered or changed in accordance with some of the recommendations made by the governmental authorities; but not that we should get involved in some of the very difficult decisions to be made in the implementation of those recommendations.
Having said that, may I say that the committee went through very many difficult days -- which is no secret to any member of the committee or the House or the public for that matter, but I think it was well struck in terms of membership and if, as and when the criteria of the committee are adjusted and our full authority worked out, I think that this committee will and can make a very substantial and important contribution to the operation of the Ombudsman’s office, and to the input that this assembly ought to and can have and must have into the process, to be sure that justice is provided to all persons affected, notwithstanding any personalities which may become involved at any particular time along the line. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Acting Speaker: Does any other hon. member wish to take part in this debate?
On motion by Hon. Mr. Welch the item was discharged from the order paper.
BUDGET DEBATE (CONTINUED)
Resumption of the adjourned debate on the amendment to the motion that this House approves in general the budgetary policy of the government.
Mr. Burr: Mr. Speaker, I have several questions I should like to put to the Minister of Agriculture and Food (Mr. W. Newman), but as all members know the chances of doing this during question period are becoming less.
When I first entered the Legislature we had a five-hour question period a week, one hour a day for five days; now, as you realize, we have three-quarters of an hour for four days. The question period has shrunk from five hours a week to three hours a week. So I think the best chance of getting some answers to my questions on certain matters lie in my describing them very briefly to the House now and drawing the Minister of Agriculture and Food’s attention to them afterwards.
The Ontario Veterinary Association has many concerns about veterinary practice in Ontario, and many months ago Dr. E. H. Botterell was given the task of inquiring into the delivery of animal health services in Ontario. Question one for the minister is, of course, when will this report be made public? The veterinarians are distressed about the huge amounts of milk that have had to be destroyed over the past few years simply because of overdoses of penicillin and other antibiotics, So question two: How much has been destroyed and what was its value during each of the last five years?
They are concerned also about the medical problem for humans caused by the use of antibiotics in animals that have eaten commercial food mixes. Some humans now cannot eat meat, at least certain varieties of meat, because they are allergic to the antibiotics that are left in the animals in sufficient quantities to have adverse effects on some people. One man, of whom I heard recently, becomes swollen if he dares to eat a certain kind of meat.
So, question three: What research is being done on this aspect of feeding animals?
The vets are concerned also about the large number of food animals lost annually to our food supply because of inadequate preventive care.
So, question four: Has the minister looked at the Manitoba system of delivering animal health care, a system which to all accounts is proving satisfactory to farmers, vets, consumers and the government?
The vets are concerned about the milk losses resulting from clinical and sub-clinical mastitis.
Question five: How great have been the financial losses resulting from mastitis during the last few years?
Question six arises out of these previous questions: What is the ministry doing in preventive care for our food producing animals?
There are many other aspects of the delivery of animal health services that are of concern to the Ontario Veterinary Association, but they are hoping that Dr. Botterell’s inquiry will bring forth many worthwhile recommendations. But they are becoming weary and increasingly frustrated by the absence of the publication of his report.
As a PS may I add that on Tuesday evening I urged the government to consider raising the driving age from 16 to 17 or perhaps to 18. Since then I have been told that in the United Kingdom and in South Africa, 18 is the lowest age at which a motorist may legally drive a motor vehicle.
That is all I wish to put on the record at this time.
Mr. Edighoffer: I’m pleased to be able to participate to some extent in this budget debate. I’d like to say, first of all, that I would like to thank Mr. Speaker again during this session for allowing me to put the excellent brochures from the Stratford Festival on the members’ desks. I know many of them have attended during the year and enjoyed it very much.
An hon. member: Right, great place.
Hon. Mr. Welch: I must say, next to the Shaw Festival, it is top-notch.
Mr. Edighoffer: It’s okay is it? However, there was one time during the festival season, which has now been completed -- by the way, it was the 24th season -- we did have one sad time during the whole season and that happened on October 9, not too long ago. As many members are probably aware, the festival continues on into the fall season and, of course, plays to audiences made up of many students from all over Ontario and the United States. On October 9 they happened to have the Minister of Education (Mr. Wells) in attendance in preparation to give a lifetime pass to the millionth student who attended the Stratford Festival during these special student performances.
However, this student was picked out. He actually came from the Howe Military Academy in Indiana and they were very busily checking off the number of students as they came through. I am sorry to say that when he was drawn from the line going into the theatre and was taken over toward Mr. Wells, the local newspaper said “As he was pulled in the direction of Mr. Wells, Bill Bond’s had hung low. It looked as if he was being led away by the police.” I am sorry to say we did have that one sad day at the festival.
However, the Minister of Education was there. I am happy to say that next year will be the 25th season of the festival and we look forward to it being given again a tremendous season and, of course, again adding to the great tourist business which we in Ontario enjoy.
It has been a long time since the budget was brought down by the Treasurer (Mr. McKeough) -- in fact, it was April 6. It seems a very long time ago and I presume a lot of bucks have gone through the provincial till. I have received two interim reports on revised budgets and I believe in the September 30 report the Treasurer stated that the 1976 budget remained on target with net cash requirements only $7 million above the original budget plan. Of course, included in the revised budget we expect another $20 million from the provincial lottery which was not in the original budget so I might say that probably we are going to find that our budgetary deficit is larger than predicted on April 6. I feel I have to put in the record again the first two paragraphs of the budget speech given by the then Liberal critic. It went like this:
“I could not help but admire the Treasurer’s presentation of the provincial budget just over a week ago. His self-assurance, the slick presentation of the so-called facts, the smug satisfaction at the reduction of the deficit, the proud statement that no public borrowing would be required, all were quite impressive. As a theatrical performance, it was well done indeed. Unfortunately, for the people of this province, the Treasurer is a much better actor than he is a producer. This new budget is obviously and specifically designed to conceal more than it reveals.”
Mr. Ruston: Who said that; the member for London North (Mr. Shore)?
Mr. Edighoffer: To continue:
“It is a masterly presentation of warped statistics and semantics, woven together with the competent skill of a professional con artist. Had the Treasurer and his officials spent their time and effort in sincerely attempting to exercise some degree of financial responsibility, the people of this province would have been much better served.”
Those are the first two paragraphs and I thought it might not --
Mr. Ruston: The member for London North.
Mr. Edighoffer: -- hurt to put that on the record again.
Hon. B. Stephenson: He was suffering undue influence from his cohorts across the way.
Mr. Good: He didn’t really mean it.
Mr. Ruston: I notice they didn’t put him right behind the Treasurer. They left him over a little way.
Mr. Acting Speaker: Order, please. Please allow the hon. member for Perth to continue.
Mr. Edighoffer: Thank you. I thought it would be appropriate to remind the House again that those were the words spoken by the member for London North. In the same municipality, a writer in the London Free Press wrote: “This year’s Ontario budget is such a marvellous piece of political magic that one is left wondering how the Treasurer did it.”
On May 26, the Treasurer spoke to the Trust Companies Association and said:
“We took it as a high priority to turn our budgetary position around this year. The government of Ontario reduced its budgetary deficit from $1.6 billion in 1975-76 to less than $1 billion for 1976-77. That is the kind of progress recognized by everyone.”
This is really how I think a magician works. He pulls out figures where he wants to use them for his own benefit. If you look back at his budget presentation in 1975 you see that the budgetary deficit expected was $1.2 billion and the net cash requirement was $1.6 billion. Then his 1976 budget called for a budgetary deficit of $997 million and net cash requirement of $1.2 billion. So you see how the Treasurer can rearrange the budgetary deficit and the net cash requirement for his benefit so that the difference doesn’t look as great as it really is.
Mr. Ruston: That’s cooking the books isn’t it?
Mr. Good: He makes Aberhart and his funny-money books during the 1930s look like an amateur.
Mr. Edighoffer: I would say, Mr. Speaker, that his revised budgetary deficit after six months has increased $87 million to over a billion. I look forward to the time when the people of Ontario are handed approximately a $1.5 billion budgetary deficit at the end of the fiscal year. Goodness knows what the net cash requirement will be.
Mr. Speaker, it’s an alarming budget. The first thing the Treasurer said was that the first element in his 1976 fiscal plan is control of spending. Then he said very specifically, to complement expenditure control the second element in any 1976 fiscal plan is to increase taxes in order to reduce the province’s cash requirement. So today his spending has increased and the net cash requirement has also increased.
The riding of Perth is, I would say, very similar to all other areas in Ontario. The local tax bills have increased considerably.
Mr. Ruston: The only difference is they give their member a 10,000 majority.
Mr. Edighoffer: Well, that’s a good difference.
Mr. Ruston: I wish I had that many votes, period.
Mr. Edighoffer: I receive many complaints from municipal officials about the conditional grants from the province. They leave very little elbow room for local councils to press ahead with their priorities.
The Treasurer did, however, announce in his budget a proposal to establish a committee of provincial and local officials to study the scope for deconditionalization and simplification of provincial grants. I certainly am one that would urge the Treasurer to press on and make changes as quickly as possible. More unconditional grants would allow greater freedom for locally elected people to use the tax money more carefully locally.
There are many things I would like to speak on. As I said before I work very closely with my constituents, and this year I have received more mail pertaining to government waste than ever before. In fact, a number of my constituents were appalled at the waste of money in placing tropical plants in the Ministry of Transportation and Communications building in London. I know that this was discussed during the Ministry of Government Services’ estimates but as chairman I wasn’t really able to make any comments -- so I thought this might be an appropriate time.
Because of the many letters I received from my constituents I thought I should look a little deeper into the reason for purchasing 429 plants at a cost of $19,000 -- then on top of that to give a two year contract for $10,061 to maintain the plants. In fact I went a little further and I obtained the great 15 page document which outlines the specifications for the Ministry of Government Services office building in London which has to do with the maintenance of the interior plants. As I went through I noticed it certainly got down to the nitty-gritty so that the person who received the contract certainly would know what had to be done to maintain those tropical plants.
For instance in this document it takes it right down to the nitty-gritty and it tells them exactly how plants should be watered and how they should be turned around to the light. In fact, I’d like to read one or two of the items which outline the schedule of services. It says here:
“Plants should be checked once every week for need of water and general condition. The entire growing medium shall be kept moist but not wet. Growing medium shall be checked for each plant individually as to the need of additional water. Detect the need of water by feeling the soil and miming the fingers down into the soil. If no moisture can be felt one inch down in the soil additional water is required. Use only lukewarm water.”
Hon. Mr. Taylor: Use rainwater.
Mr. Edighoffer: And I could go on and on.
Mr. Ruston: Oh go on, we want to hear that. How to look after our plants.
Mr. Edighoffer: The other area states that for that $10,000 over two years for looking after these plants, you must make certain that all foliage plants must be turned on their axis about 15 or 25 degrees --
Hon. Mr. Taylor: Turned on their what?
Hon. B. Stephenson: Axis he said.
Mr. Edighoffer: -- preferably every week if possible. But if they are in square planters, a full 90 degree turn will be required.
I won’t go on and on but I feel this is a ridiculous waste of government expenditure. I see no reason why, if plants are needed in such a building, the maintenance staff can’t do the work without having it done by special contract.
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: That’s enough of that, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Breithaupt: $10,000 worth.
Mr. Edighoffer: The opening paragraph of the budget ended by stating that the government would set an example for others to follow in the fight against inflation.
Mr. Ruston: Running a bigger deficit every year.
Mr. Edighoffer: I have mentioned it in this House before and I have to mention it again because I feel the government is fueling inflation in the area of land prices.
In 1966 the government purchased 9.2 acres of land in the northwest corner of Stratford for approximately $25,000. This was purchased from the board of education as a site for a future teachers’ college. I know that priorities for teachers’ colleges have changed in the last few years. But included in that purchase was an easement on a half an acre of land adjoining the 9.2 acres, so that there would be adequate access from the original 9.2 acres.
This property has remained vacant since it was purchased in 1966. In April, 1974, the government appraised it at $192,000. In December, 1975 the government appraised it at $270,000. In early 1975 they offered the property to the municipality for the figure of $270,000, which of course the municipality turned down.
Mr. Ruston: They paid $25,000 for it.
Mr. Edighoffer: During the election campaign last fall, a ministry official made a trip to Stratford -- in a big black limousine, I am told -- and agreed to sell the easement --
Hon. Mr. Taylor: Was that your leader?
Mr. Edighoffer: No, that was not my leader. I said it was a ministry official from the Ministry of Government Services. He agreed at that time to sell the easement to the board of education for $1. My Conservative opponent immediately issued a press release and said that he had contacted the Minister of Government Services, who is now the Minister of Transportation and Communications (Mr. Snow), and that negotiations certainly would be speeded up so that they could buy back the easement which, by the way, was included in the original purchase.
I have now learned that on April 1, 1976, seven months later, after Visits, telephone calls and letters, the papers have finally been signed and the board of education bought back the easement for $1. What this really means is that the government wants to receive, not $270,000 but $270,001, in return for a $24,500 purchase, which was completed because it was to be used for an educational facility. I would urge the Minister of Government Services (Mrs. Scrivener), if she believes in setting an example for others to follow in fighting inflation, to sell the land back to the board at the cost plus reasonable interest. That makes sense, doesn’t it?
Mr. Kerrio: But it has nothing to do with the way the government operates.
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: You old sewer digger, don’t sit over there making trouble.
Mr. Edighoffer: I would like to refer briefly to another problem in my area. The county of Perth, I have to say, is one of the best agricultural areas in Ontario.
Mr. Kerrio: John is not here.
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: He will be.
Mr. Edighoffer: We do have small areas spotted throughout the countryside that are unworkable and could be used for housing. Our land division committee has been working well, with the help of the local Agriculture and Food office and the agricultural engineer there. Now the Minister of Agriculture and Food says that the local staff cannot participate and offer advice to the local land division committee. I believe this was sent out in a press release by the Minister of Agriculture and Food; I don’t have it handy here, but I believe it was sometime in April. From what I understand, the Minister of Agriculture and Food wants to set up a number of regional offices where these land severances would have to go to be reviewed by a representative of the Minister of Agriculture and Food. I understand the one in our area possibly may be set up in London, so that representative would serve 10 counties.
Mr. Good: Centralize; that’s the policy.
Mr. Edighoffer: I simply say to the Minister of Agriculture and Food that I certainly hope that he changes his mind and that he doesn’t regionalize this service, because it’s working well now. I know that the Perth county council wrote to the minister in May and presented him with this resolution, which stated very briefly:
“That Perth county council go on record as being opposed to the decision of the Minister of Agriculture and Food to eliminate the land severance review function from the local agricultural offices and recommend to the minister that this function continue to be carried out by local staff in Stratford, who are familiar with the county.”
That is certainly a very brief, concise, constructive resolution --
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: Inaccurate.
Mr. Edighoffer: -- and I hope that the Minister of Agriculture and Fond will act in agreement with that resolution.
Hon. Mr. Taylor: You will find him as cooperative as ever.
Mr. Edighoffer: I am glad to hear the Minister of Community and Social Services say that they will be most happy to cooperate with such a great council as the Perth county council.
Mr. Speaker -- I feel more comfortable this way. I’d like to make a comment or two about the increase in health premiums and health costs because I receive a great number of requests from constituents to assist in their premium billings or their claims. This seems to have increased in the last number of years. I would think as OHIP became more organized, more fitted into the system, that this would not have happened but the work load seems to have increased tremendously.
I feel, Mr. Speaker, that the identification system and procedure which we have now should be changed to a credit card style system. If this was done at the same time the patient or person receiving the service could use the card the same as he’d use any other credit card and he should be requested to sign for the service and receive information as to what the service is costing.
To me, the government to date has developed a system for health services which shows a total cost at budget time but does not in any way educate or notify the patient as to what his or her benefits may be. In most cases, the only time a person realizes the amount of the bill is if the contract has lapsed. If the individual signed, he or she would know the cost and make duplication of billings impossible.
Also on health care costs and health care generally, I would have to bring to your attention, Mr. Speaker, that one of my municipalities has been trying for a number of years to design and develop a community health centre which would not only serve as a medical clinic but serve as a preventive health care centre. We’ve tried to work with the Ministry of Health for a number of years but have been unable to receive any financial support. I’d like to make a suggestion -- and I’m sorry that the Minister of Health (Mr. F. S. Miller) and the Minister of Culture and Recreation (Mr. Welch) aren’t here at the present time, but I’d like to suggest that there seems to be many millions of dollars in the Wintario fund and I think it would be most helpful and beneficial to the people of Ontario and the health care system if the Minister of Health were to explore the possibility, along with the Minister of Culture and Recreation, of using some of those funds to support community health centres that would also be a centre that would promote physical fitness. As I say, I’m sorry the ministers aren’t here but I’m sure they’ll read my remarks in Hansard and, no doubt --
Mr. Maeck: And act upon them immediately.
Mr. Edighoffer: -- there will be such grants available.
In conclusion, I would like to remind the Treasurer that as he ended his budget speech he said:
“It is imperative that governments reduce their borrowing as well as their spending. Governments cannot live on credit indefinitely any more than families can.”
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: Right on, as Pierre Trudeau once said.
Mr. Edighoffer: It was also clearly stated in the editorial page of the Stratford Beacon-Herald on Thursday, April 8 -- that’s an excellent paper. Actually it wrote the minister up very well as he was speaking to the last provincial Conservative annual meeting.
Mr. Kerrio: Hypnosis! That’s hypnosis.
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: Don’t you have them in your democratic organization?
Mr. Edighoffer: Oh yes, we have them.
Mr. Breithaupt: We just don’t let a few years go by in between.
Mr. Edighoffer: So, in closing, Mr. Speaker, I would like to read the first line from that editorial which says:
“There was a time when a balanced budget was looked upon as a political virtue, one that would be appreciated by voters when the next election rolled around. It’s time some hard budgeting is done to gain the confidence of the tax paying people of Ontario.”
Mr. Speaker: I think there’s an agreement that rather than embark on another presentation before the dinner hour, I should recognize the clock. I do now leave the chair and we will resume at 8. At 8 o’clock, the hon. member for Timiskaming (Mr. Bain), I believe, will lead off.
The House recessed at 5:46 p.m.