The House met at 10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker: Statements by the ministry.
CONDOMINIUM HOME OWNERSHIP
Hon. Mr. Handleman: I would like to inform the members that the government is establishing a new interministerial committee to examine and make recommendations into the problems of condominium home ownership in the province of Ontario. The Ministry of Consumer and Commercial Relations plans to draw on resource personnel from the ministries of Housing, Revenue and TEIGA. An independent consultant from outside government will be engaged to act as co-ordinator. It is hoped that the individual condominium associations across this province can be brought together and that the resulting input will help us to analyse the situation in order to arrive at workable solutions.
The concept of condominium living is a desirable one which offers advantages consistent with the lifestyles and financial capabilities of a significant percentage of the residents of Ontario. But we must also accept that there are a number of problems which must be overcome if the full potential offered by this type of accommodation is to be realized. It is to overcome some of the obstacles which have surfaced in the past several months that we feel this study is needed and is needed immediately. No doubt most of the members are aware of some of the difficulties with respect to condominium ownership, but I would like to outline briefly the more important aspects of the study.
First, there are delays in registration. Occupancy charges are often considerably higher than rent for equivalent accommodation. There are delays by all levels of government in granting approval for construction and registration. There has been indicated a lack of managerial experience on the part of boards of directors of condominiums. There have been a number of municipal servicing deficiencies. There have been problems arising from excess volumes of rental units in condominiums. The market has indicated that there are sales practices being used which ignore condominium legislation and which could tend to mislead purchasers.
There have been steep increases in maintenance costs after the guaranteed first-year period. We have evidence that some developers are entering into contracts which are not in the best interests of future owners. These are just some of the areas the committee will examine to make this growing and important form of residential development work for the people of the province.
Mr. Cassidy: Where have you been for the last five years?
Hon. Mr. Handleman: We’ve considered the possibility of convening an Ontario conference on condominium problems, where condominium associations, developers, municipalities, representatives from the ministries, the legal profession and other interested groups or individuals would meet for the first time for full disclosure of the issues. The condominium concept will alter significantly the lifestyle of future generations and we owe it to the present and future condominium owners to ensure that their quality of life and their financial investment will be protected.
The committee we are announcing today is vitally important to ensure that the transition is conducted in an orderly and logical fashion.
Mr. Cassidy: Like Paul on the way to Tarsus.
Mr. Speaker: Oral questions.
TRAINING SCHOOL DEATH
Mr. Lewis: I have an opening question for the Provincial Secretary for Social Development. Maybe I could recount something briefly and ask her a question about it. Because I was confused about her information yesterday, given to the Legislature about the Norma Dean case, I phoned the judge this morning.
Mr. Reid: You are talking to judges?
Mr. Yakabuski: Dangerous.
Mr. Lewis: Without compromising him and after the event. I believe the judgement was out. Alas, I once knew him. I asked about the disposition which perplexed me yesterday. I’d like the minister to explain something. In the last part of the transcript of the July 7 -- I do not have the transcript and I couldn’t have got it; only the Attorney General (Mr. McMurtry) can I gather -- disposing of this case, the following words appear from Judge Fisher: “I would think probably in my view that Norma should not go to a training school. I think that would be a bad mistake. I am not an expert in this area, but my feeling is that it would not be my recommendation that she should go to a training school at all.”
That is then confirmed by the mother, acceded to by the experts, and Oakville Reception and Assessment Centre is chosen. Can the minister explain to me why that terribly pertinent fact, involved in all of the events preceding Norma, was not shared with the House yesterday?
Hon. Mrs. Birch: I think there are many events that have not been explicitly explained. That will all be dealt with at a public inquest, where people will be subpoenaed and under oath will be asked to testify. I feel very strongly about it and I am most disappointed in the Leader of the Opposition. I gave him information which he agreed to keep confidential. He discussed some of that information with the press yesterday.
Mr. Lewis: Yes.
Hon. Mrs. Birch: At this point, I’m going to advise the opposition and everyone else that I am not going to answer any more questions that specifically deal with this case until after the inquest has been held. I’m perfectly willing to discuss the broad implications of the system. But I refuse to answer any more questions about this young girl and this unfortunate incident.
POINT OF PRIVILEGE
Mr. Lewis: On a point of personal privilege, Mr. Speaker, the minister will recall that yesterday the leader of the Liberal Party asked her a question about the waiting period for Youthdale, which was not in her statement but in what she had given to us, and which obviously didn’t compromise anything to do with the young girl. Outside I simply expanded on the Youthdale point, to talk about the four-phase rural system, revealing nothing in effect that hadn’t been discussed in the House and to which she had responded. With great respect, the details were not shared -- I want the minister to know that -- except on that one point, and I asked the question this morning only because it seemed to me an important matter was omitted from the record yesterday. I will leave it at that, Mr. Speaker.
Hon. Mrs. Birch: I hope so.
Mr. Lewis: Perhaps I can ask the Treasurer whether he is aware that in the 1975 corporate report of the Urban Transportation Development Corporation Limited there is an effective write-off of the Krauss-Maffei licence of over $5 million paid from the UTDC and, since we were supposed to emerge from the whole Krauss-Maffei relationship without a loss, how do we account for the loss of in excess of $5 million?
Hon. Mr. McKeough: I think that is a question that should be directed to the Minister of Transportation and Communications (Mr. Snow).
Mr. Lewis: I will certainly redirect it on Monday, if I may.
Mr. Lewis: I have a question for the Minister of Labour. Sometime in September -- around September 20, if memory serves me -- the minister indicated that Ontario was turning its guidelines into standards for the threshold limit values set up in hazardous work places. Can she explain to the Legislature the difference between a standard and a guideline as it affects the workers in those work places now? What has the qualitative difference been?
Hon. B. Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, as the hon. member knows, there isn’t any difference in the levels which are established, because indeed we have accepted the American Conference of Industrial Hygienists’ levels or TLVs as guidelines in the past. However, it is not possible to enforce a guideline as vigorously as one can enforce a standard.
While I recognize there is debate amongst the experts throughout many of the states and the provinces regarding the use of TLVs as standards, the ministry believes that indeed it would be more effective in its role in the enforcement of the threshold limit values if they were established as standards rather than as guidelines at the moment. It does not mean that those guidelines are rigid or that they cannot be changed because indeed, as knowledge increases, they must be changed. They will be standards which we can use to enforce legislation in a rather more effective manner than we can if they are simply left as guidelines.
Mr. Lewis: By way of supplementary and by way of example, since in the area of the coke ovens -- by virtue of her ministry’s own reports -- the exposure levels to which the workers are subject now in Algoma, in Stelco and in Dofasco are several times greater than the ministry’s standards -- not its guidelines, but its standards -- what is the difference in the enforcement procedures?
Hon. B. Stephenson: The difference in the enforcement procedure will be the issuance of orders and the rate of compliance by the employers to those orders. This we will be able to enforce more vigorously.
Mr. Lewis: Let me ask the logical supplementary: Now that the standards have been in place for more than a month, for six weeks or so, have there been any orders issued for compliance with any penalties attached, let us say in the coke oven area?
Hon. B. Stephenson: To my knowledge, not in the coke oven area at this time. What we are attempting to do is to provide all of the relevant employers and the companies’ establishments with a list of standards relating to their specific establishments so that they will be aware of them and of the fact that they are to be enforceable standards.
Mr. Lewis: I really hadn’t intended to pursue it, but surely the minister is not suggesting that since the standard is the same as the guideline, and they knew the guideline before, there will be any revelation in the list which is revealed to them. I ask again, since the minister has made what she called at the time a major pronouncement in the field of occupational health, is she in fact going to issue specific orders with requirements attached since the ministry’s standards are now being violated?
Hon. B. Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, orders most certainly will be directed to those companies.
Mr. Lewis: Thank you.
Mr. Speaker: Any further questions?
GRAVEL PITS APPEAL
Mr. Lewis: I must admit that I guess I have just one further question. I don’t know whether it should be to the Chairman of the Management Board or the Chairman of Cabinet. I think to the Chairman of Cabinet, if I may. That is not a matter of personal preference, just a matter of logic.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Since when did logic influence you?
Mr. Lewis: Has he yet decided on the appeal around the gravel pit licences in the Erin area?
Hon. Mr. Davis: No.
Mr. Lewis: I didn’t ask the Premier; I asked the Chairman of Cabinet, Mr. Speaker. I don’t have to be heckled.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I am just telling you.
Mr. Lewis: Is the Chairman of Cabinet deferring to the Premier?
Hon. Mr. Brunelle: You heard the Premier’s answer.
Mr. Lewis: May I ask someone by way of supplementary: Is the minister going to submit to the arguments being made even by the back-bench Tory member who represents Wellington-Dufferin-Peel (Mr. Johnson) that the Minister of Natural Resources (Mr. Bernier) was wrong in authorizing both licenses, and at the very most only one should be issued, preferably none at all? Is he taking that recommendation into consideration?
Hon. Mr. Brunelle: I think the matter is still being considered.
Mr. Lewis: But the minister wouldn’t leave his member hanging on a limb as he left him for the last several months?
No further questions, Mr. Speaker.
APPOINTMENT OF STATUS OF WOMEN COUNCIL CHAIRMAN
Mr. Breithaupt: First of all, Mr. Speaker, a question to the Premier.
Mr. Breaugh: Here is another one.
Mr. Breithaupt: Can the Premier advise us when we might expect his announcement concerning the chairpersonship of the Ontario Status of Women Council, and whether the Premier intends to appoint the acting chairman as permanent chairman?
Hon. Mr. Davis: That matter, Mr. Speaker, is currently being considered by the government and I anticipate there will be an announcement in the relatively near future.
Mr. Reid: Bring back Laura.
Hon. Mr. Davis: You want Laura back I think.
Mr. Nixon: Maybe you should promote Margaret to that.
Mr. Cassidy: There are nine vacancies on that council.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I have news for you, Michael; you don’t qualify for that.
Mr. Cassidy: Neither do you.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Nothing would surprise me.
Mr. Breithaupt: A question of the Attorney General, Mr. Speaker.
Can the Attorney General advise us what steps he has taken to investigate the situation brought forward by the member for St. George regarding the possible assessments of the Peel family court of Browndale, and the resulting placement in Viking Homes which has financial and other ties to Brown- dale?
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: As the member knows, Mr. Speaker --
Mr. Mancini: Steve is one of the shareholders.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: -- there is an ongoing investigation into the financial affairs of Browndale. Dealing specifically with the hon. member’s question, as I explained to the member for St. George (Mrs. Campbell) the matter of referrals by a family court judge is a matter solely within the jurisdiction of a family court judge. The Ministry of the Attorney General has absolutely no authority either to advise, direct or otherwise interfere with the judge’s discretion in that regard. Obviously this is well understood or should be by the member for St. George in view of her own experience.
COST OF VIKING HOME REFERRALS
Mr. Breithaupt: A question to the Minister of Community and Social Services, Mr. Speaker.
Considering the large bill that the region of Peel is faced with, nearly $1 million this year alone, due to the referrals to the Viking Homes, is he considering any changes in the financial structure which would relieve some of this financial pressure on the region?
Hon. Mr. Taylor: Yes.
Mr. Breithaupt: Can the minister advise when he might report to us on those changes?
Hon. Mr. Taylor: When any change is worked out it will be announced at that time.
Hon. Mr. Davis: We might even announce it to the region of Peel.
Mr. Breithaupt: I am sure that would be well received in the region of Peel, Mr. Speaker.
BIG DADDY TV
Mr. Breithaupt: A question of the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations with respect to the Big Daddy TV situation we have read about.
Mr. Reid: Do you own that?
Mr. Breithaupt: Why has he chosen to issue a cease and desist order against the owner rather than actually fining the company with respect to the unfair practices toward consumers which have apparently taken place?
Hon. Mr. Handleman: Mr. Speaker, it has always been our policy to get voluntary compliance if possible from companies rather than hit them over the head with a big stick. If we can get the marketplace cleaned up I think it is far more constructive than getting a $2,000 fine out of a company, which does nothing for the consumer.
Mr. Breithaupt: Is it correct that the cease and desist orders are being issued rather than charges being laid because the wording of the business practices legislation makes it very difficult to show that the company has knowingly performed an unfair business practice?
Hon. Mr. Handleman: I think it would be obvious to the hon. member that those kind of things are difficult to prove in court. However, we have not hesitated to proceed with prosecutions where cease and desist orders are defied or voluntary compliance is not obtained.
CLOSURE OF ARENAS
Mr. Breithaupt: I have a question of the Minister of Labour with respect to the community arena situation. Is the minister aware of a report by an engineering firm in Burlington that various structural changes can be made to redesign some of these structurally deficient community arenas at five to 10 per cent of the replacement cost which is now going to be undertaken? Has the minister any information that can confirm or deny that, so as to benefit the various communities that are hit with these problems?
Hon. B. Stephenson: We have had reports from at least one or two consulting engineering firms recommending certain types of structural change which they believe would ensure that the structures would meet the National Building Code. I believe this information has also been distributed to the various communities by the consulting firms and some of the communities are looking at this quite carefully at the moment.
Mr. Reid: Supplementary: Will the minister consider reimbursing, perhaps through Wintario, the small towns in the province under perhaps 10,000 people for the cost of the engineering studies that have been done? Is the minister aware that for some of the small communities and the privately owned non-profit arenas the very cost of the engineering costs has added an economic hardship on these places?
Hon. B. Stephenson: As I’m sure the hon. member for Rainy River is aware, the requirement to obtain the engineering studies has been known to each of these arena owners for the last six years.
Mr. Reid: They don’t have the money.
Hon. B. Stephenson: I think it’s entirely possible that they might have budgeted over those six years for the cost of providing the service. It is indeed the responsibility of the community under the Act to engage the engineer and to reimburse the engineer. If the member is looking for extra funds to do this, I will most certainly inquire of the Minister of Culture and Recreation (Mr. Welch) whether he might ask Wintario to consider this activity.
Mr. Deans: I perhaps don’t understand this, but have the recommendations made by the three or four engineering firms that the minister is speaking of, received the approval of the Ministry of Labour in terms of the appropriateness and safety of the arenas that are in question?
Hon. B. Stephenson: I did not say that.
Mr. Deans: I did not say she did.
Hon. B. Stephenson: I said that the suggestion had been made to the ministry and it’s being reviewed at this time by the construction safety branch. At the same time, I believe that at least one of these engineering consulting firms has informed many of the arena owners of the idea as well, and I think they are considering it.
Mr. Warner: I have a question for the Minister of Colleges and Universities. Will the government continue to reveal policy and political decisions via the Toronto Sun, or will the House be formally advised about tuition fee increases before National Students Day, which is next Tuesday?
Hon. Mr. Parrott: I would have thought that question would have been more appropriately addressed to the editor of the Toronto Sun.
Mr. Lewis: His hands are full of the Scientologists. Let the minister answer the question.
Mr. Ruston: Ask Claire Hoy.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. Is there a supplementary?
Mr. Warner: Yes. I would like to know if the minister is going to continue to hide until after National Students Day, or will he make a statement today as to what the fee increases will be?
Hon. Mr. Parrott: I would think that the member for Scarborough-Ellesmere would agree with me that perhaps I’ve been as visible on campus as he has been, and I know that’s been considerable. It if comes to the hours in the bear pit, I think I’ve set a record, and I’m pleased to do so.
Mr. Lewis: No, you’re wrong.
Mr. Reid: The score is Christians 100; bears 0.
Hon. Mr. Parrott: It’s a part of being the Minister of Colleges and Universities and I’ll continue to address myself to the problems of the students. Let me assure the member that we are hiding behind no one. When the final decision is possible, and I’m working at that as actively as I possibly can at this time, I will make an announcement in this House, which seems to me the appropriate place to announce government policy.
Mr. Cassidy: You will delay it until after Students Day.
Mr. Reed: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of the Environment. Upon confirmation of reports that traces of the potentially dangerous chemical Mirex are seeping into the Credit River from landfill sites beside the river, would the minister now be prepared to raise substantially his ministry’s priorities on the development of 100 per cent solid waste recovery systems and would he be prepared to facilitate a commitment by Halton region towards solid waste recovery through an increase in assistance for such a project?
Hon. Mr. Kerr: Mr. Speaker, as I’ve indicated before in the House, the region of Halton has made an application for a resource recovery plant as one of three proposals. We have replied to that and indicated the various costs involved in the different types of plant. We have indicated that if they want to go ahead with either one of the three, we would be prepared to do the necessary design and finance the plant under our present arrangements.
Present arrangements are that we will pay the full capital cost of that plant and charge back 50 per cent over a 40-year amortization period. The region would be required to provide the site for the plant. We think that is an attractive enough proposition for municipalities to get into the resource reclamation field rather than relying entirely on landfill sites. The cost of land in establishing landfill sites and the objections from various groups make the proposal of reclamation plants even more attractive now.
Mr. Reed: Supplementary: Regarding the chemical Mirex and its reported possibility of seepage into the Credit River, can the minister give the House a status report on his investigations at the present time?
Hon. Mr. Kerr: It’s rather ironical that the hon. member would tie in the news report regarding the plant in Georgetown and the necessity for a sanitary landfill site. As far as we’re concerned, there isn’t a problem from the disposal of Mirex in the Georgetown area. The concern mentioned by a Mr. Johnston really isn’t a legitimate concern.
First of all, it isn’t Mirex; it’s Dechlorane, which is a plasticizer rather than a pesticide. We’re not aware that the company has been dumping the residue of that particular chemical at a sanitary landfill site. However, because of the concern expressed by Mr. Johnston, we are, in fact, monitoring that landfill site to make sure that there isn’t any leaching of any kind into the Credit River. We’re quite sure there isn’t.
If there’s any problem, it would be from the effluent that might come from the plant in its sewage disposal. But certainly we’re monitoring any waste that may have been disposed of by the company to see if, in fact, Dechlorane may be in some way affecting fish life.
Mr. Lewis: A brief supplementary, if I may: Since we know, from the scientific community, the possible consequences of Dechlorane and its relationship with potential cancer, why is Dechlorane Plus being used now in Ontario on the same chemical base, I understand, without a careful investigation by the ministry of the composition of the toxic compound?
Hon. Mr. Kerr: My understanding is that where Dechlorane Plus is used -- and it is used in very small quantities, probably by about three different companies --
Mr. Lewis: It doesn’t take much.
Hon. Mr. Kerr: -- it does not, in fact, have the same deleterious effects on fish. It does not have the same chemical compounds that have caused the problem in fish life. That’s the information that I’m getting.
Mr. Lewis: Has the ministry investigated?
Hon. Mr. Kerr: Yes. Our people are investigating and that is the information I’m getting.
TORONTO REFINERS AND SMELTERS LIMITED
Mr. McClellan: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of the Environment with respect to the clean-up programme at Toronto Refiners and Smelters. Could the minister explain what is the sense or purpose of the current soil replacement programme in the Niagara area undertaken by Ontario Hydro, when, No. 1, successive delays in pollution abatement enforcement means that the companies are still polluting unchecked in the area; No. 2, backup emission control devices are still not required of the company; and No. 3, and perhaps most inexplicable, the soil replacement involves only residual properties and leaves untouched a number of non-residential lots which are highly contaminated and are themselves a source of further lead contamination?
Hon. Mr. Kerr: Mr. Speaker, the lead companies are all under control orders.
Mr. McClellan: Buildings are not.
Hon. Mr. Kerr: Since the discovery of lead emissions in that area, I believe about three years ago, the companies have been required to install certain types of abatement equipment, emission control equipment. They are onstream as far as their timetable is concerned.
Only Toronto Lead -- and the member read about a stack in an article this week -- is having problems meeting a deadline for a stack because of the 45-feet by-law as well as getting the necessary material. These companies are on a timetable.
There are two factors here we’re dealing with. One is treating the emissions, cleaning up the emissions, reducing the contamination from emissions and at the same time there is the question of replacing the contaminated soil.
There’s a committee, as the member knows; I believe it had a meeting last night. There’s another one on November 25 at which time there’ll be a public meeting, indicating the number of properties which are affected, which will be cleaned up and when it will be done. It has to be done at a time when the property and the shrubbery won’t be disturbed or gardens won’t be disturbed; sometime in the early spring. That will be done.
The list of homes would be, I would think, a first step. The concern is residential properties. I’m not sure if we should clean up industrial or commercial properties and public thoroughfares -- that may be a very expensive proposition. At least we’re dealing with the residential properties in light of the recommendation of the task force on the lead hearings.
Mr. McClellan: By way of a supplementary: Can the minister guarantee that there will be no more delays granted to the company in installing pollution abatement equipment? No. 2. surely, if we’re going to replace soil, we should replace all contaminated soil because contaminated soil is itself a source of further contamination.
Mr. Speaker: Is that a question or a debate?
Hon. Mr. Kerr: There will be no further delays as far as the Toronto Refiners and Smelters Limited is concerned. The end of January next year is the final change in the compliance date.
The concern expressed by the task force as a result of these lead hearings was that in some way people could be contaminated by putting their hands in the soil and getting it close to their mouths in some way. That’s why the concern was directed strictly to residential property, particularly as it affects children, for example.
There wasn’t any recommendation regarding commercial or industrial property. The soil has to contaminate an individual directly in some way and it has to be a rather substantial amount. However, I’m not precluding that that won’t be considered. That’s the reason we have this committee. It may very well go beyond the recommendations of the report.
Mr. Sargent: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Minister of Transportation and Communications; probably this should have gone to the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations.
Regarding the Ontario Telephone Service Commission, in view of the fact that the pending application for rate increases could cost Ontario phone users about a half a billion dollars in this current increase, why are the 40 independent telephone systems in Ontario under the ministry forced to go through public hearings for rate increases? There are 4.8 million or five million phone users in Ontario with Bell, which has an exclusive franchise but doesn’t have to go through hearings under the ministry. Why is that? And does the minister plan to operate it properly and hold a public hearing for these increases?
Hon. Mr. Snow: First of all, Mr. Speaker, there are two methods of regulating the telephone industry in Canada; one is under provincial regulation and one is under federal regulation. In Ontario there are 39 independent telephone companies, three or four of which are Bell subsidiaries, but they are totally operated within the confines of the province of Ontario and come under regulation of the Ontario Telephone Services Commission.
Bell operates in both Ontario and Quebec and comes under the regulation of the federal body. They have to make their application for rate increases and prove the necessity of those rate increases to the federal regulating authority, the same as the independent telephone companies within Ontario make their representations to the Ontario Telephone Services Commission.
The Ontario Telephone Services Commission has no jurisdiction over Bell as it is regulated federally. The only input we have is by making representations on behalf of the people of Ontario before the federal regulating body, which we will be doing.
Mr. Sargent: Supplementary: The report says that Bell has an exclusive franchise from the government, and it isn’t very meaningful if the exclusive franchise means we cannot rule on the increases.
Mr. Speaker: Is there a question?
Mr. Sargent: Yes, sir. The question is then, what does the exclusive franchise mean? It is not meaningful, is it, if we can’t rule on their increases or control their prices?
Hon. Mr. Snow: I think I have explained as fully as possible, Mr. Speaker. The regulation of Bell comes under the federal minister and the commission, and the federal minister, Madame Sauve, has made it very plain that she has no intention of giving up the regulatory powers over Bell Canada.
Mr. Swart: My question is to the Attorney General. Has he given any consideration to any action against a magazine which is wholly devoted to the promotion of drug use, including hard drugs, which is openly displayed and freely available in this province to anybody who wants to buy it? It’s an American magazine that now proudly says that it is a monthly publication, and it’s appropriately called “High Times.”
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Mr. Speaker, I am aware of the publication and it offends, to my knowledge, no provision of the Criminal Code of Canada.
Mr. Lewis: It should.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Would you let me finish please? Thank you. But in view of the fact that the narcotic control legislation is a matter of federal jurisdiction and as the federal Minister of Justice looks after most of these prosecutions, I have written to the federal Minister of Justice drawing this publication to his attention. I have yet to hear back from him. As a matter of fact, my colleague, the member for York West (Mr. Leluk), brought it to my attention some weeks ago, expressing similar concern. I share the concern of the member for Welland-Thorold and, as I say, we will continue to press the federal government, which does have responsibilities in this area, to see what can be done.
Mr. Swart: May I have a supplementary, Mr. Speaker? Would the Attorney General be willing to give the House his opinion on the legality of the advertising in that magazine where they advertise a formula for home-made highs, as they call it, and which also said that they have practical methods to make your own LSD, your own cocaine and 99.7 per cent pure methamphetamines? Could he tell us whether this advertising is legal or whether in fact it may contravene the regulations, if not of his ministry, then those of the Ministry of Consumer and Commercial Relations?
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: I can’t give the hon. member a specific legal opinion now. We know of no legislation that it offends, although I agree it is most offensive. I will try to report to the House much more fully on Monday. I’ve had some people in the ministry looking at it and, as I say, perhaps I’ll be able to respond to the member more fully at the beginning of the week.
Mr. Deans: Supplementary: Is there no legislation in the province of Ontario and doesn’t the province of Ontario have the jurisdiction to impose legislation to require that books such as this not be sold in the province of Ontario?
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: It is a very difficult constitutional problem. You can attempt to control the distribution of magazines such as this through licensing legislation. But from experience in the courts in the past, if the effect of the legislation is really to legislate matters that are of a criminal law nature, then of course the legislation will simply be struck down as unconstitutional. When you get into legislation in relation to morality, you really are dealing with the criminal law. As I say, this is why I believe that there is a very real responsibility on the federal government because in my view this comes within their constitutional jurisdiction.
POST-SECONDARY EDUCATION COSTS
Mr. Sweeney: I have a question of the Premier; I’d like to come back to the issue of post-secondary tuition fees. A week ago I asked the Minister of Colleges and Universities the rationale for these. I didn’t ask for the figures, but just the rationale. It would appear that in the interval the Premier intervened for what would appear to be political expediency reasons. If that is not the case, then I would come back again and ask what is the rationale to be upon which such decisions are to be made? If it isn’t political expediency, what is it?
Mr. Eakins: Deny it.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I’m very intrigued just how this came about, and I don’t want to be misunderstood by reporters from Toronto’s other important morning newspaper. I read certain reports as to what might be a proposed fee increase if in fact it were to happen. I read another report where the Premier is reported to have intervened and said to his cabinet colleagues, “No, the fees will be something other than that which was initially reported.” I understand that the member for Kitchener-Wilmot is still not totally experienced -- I guess none of us are -- but I have one word of advice for him --
Mr. Ruston: Claire Hoy must have bugged you.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I read very carefully all the publications in this province, including the newspapers, and I’m guided by them from time to time, but I can understand why it’s impossible for all of us to always be right. I have to say to the hon. member that the report in the paper that the Premier had intervened is just not factually correct.
Mr. Lewis: What, in the Sun?
Hon. Mr. Davis: Now does that help the member?
Mr. Sweeney: Mr. Speaker, I don’t believe the question has been answered.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Can I help the member a little more? The budgetary decisions have not been finalized. There has been no final decision with respect to a number of matters. The question of a possible increase in tuition fees has not been finally determined. Does that help him?
Mr. Warner: Including political decisions.
Mr. Sweeney: Supplementary, just one: Can we be assured that if there is an increase in fees, there would also be a corresponding increase in the grants and loans for those students who need it?
Hon. Mr. Davis: Can I say to the hon. member, because I know he is genuinely interested in this subject, and since I have had some slight involvement with this over a period of years, there was a fee increase, I guess, about four years ago, if memory serves me correctly.
Mr. Nixon: Right after the election, it was 1972.
Hon. Mr. Davis: There were fee increases prior to that, spread over a period of time. The present average fee in this province is in the neighbourhood, I guess, of $650. The probable average cost is in the neighbourhood of $4,600. The percentage of tuition fee related to cost four years ago was probably in the neighbourhood of 26 per cent or 27 per cent. Today it is down to around 16 per cent or 17 per cent
Any rationale, of course, is obvious. If there were to be a fee increase, it reflects the cost increases in education generally. I would point to the hon. member that the student award programme in this province is the most comprehensive, the fairest, the most generous --
Mr. Reid: Poorly administered.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Hon. Mr. Davis: -- anywhere in Canada and that includes the great provinces of Manitoba and Saskatchewan and any other one the member wishes to compare it with. It is superior to any student award programme in the United States of America --
Mr. Ruston: We have heard that before.
Hon. Mr. Davis: -- or in western Europe. I can be very expansive today because I know a little bit about it.
Hon. Mr. Davis: That doesn’t mean I know all about it --
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Hon. Mr. Davis: -- but I know a little bit about it. I can assure the hon. member --
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Hon. Mr. Davis: -- that this government --
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Mr. Lewis: May I assure the Premier that he is expansive even when he knows nothing about it.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Listen, like the Leader of the Opposition, there are some subjects about which I know nothing --
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. Can we have fewer interjections?
Hon. Mr. Davis: -- subjects about which I have to reserve comment. I learned that from him.
Mr. Ruston: Order.
Hon. Mr. Davis: He really doesn’t know a balsam from a jack pine. There is no question about that.
Mr. Swart: He knows a barren forest.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I would challenge a lot of the members to tell me the difference.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. We are wasting time.
Hon. Mr. Davis: If there were to be an increase, certainly consideration would be given because it has been a very basic policy of this government to assist those students who genuinely need assistance in the post-secondary institutions.
ITALIAN COURSES IN SCHOOL
Mr. Grande: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Education. Would he assure the families and the separate school board that adequate funds will be forthcoming from his ministry for Italian language courses rather than relying upon the Italian government to subsidize them?
Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, I would be happy to assure the hon. member that I will be carrying on discussions with the Metropolitan Separate School Board with the aim of assuring that no Italian family in this city, in Metropolitan Toronto, is jeopardized and that the kind of programmes they want and which can be proved to be educationally beneficial will come about.
LIE DETECTOR TESTS
Mr. B. Newman: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Attorney General: Has the Attorney General arrived at some policy concerning the use of lie detectors? The question is a follow-up of the one I asked him earlier this year.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Mr. Speaker, a proposal in this area is being developed within my ministry and I expect to be able to report to the House in relation to this proposal in the relatively near future.
Mr. Ferris: This would be a good place to test it.
CONDOMINIUM HOME OWNERSHIP
Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Speaker, a question of the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations: Given that the government could have appointed a committee of condominium owners, of people from the industry and of people from municipal as well as provincial governments to advise on condominium problems; or given that the minister could have taken the proposal of the member for York West (Mr. Leluk) for a select committee on condominium problems; can he explain why the government has chosen a narrowly-based and secretive in-house inquiry into condominium problems in which condominium corporations will only be able to provide input and not to participate?
Hon. Mr. Handleman: Mr. Speaker, I think the statement indicates quite clearly that the process will be open. There will be a provincial conference at which all aspects of condominium ownership will be discussed; the condominium owners will be able to provide input, as well as other sectors in society who have an interest in this.
There is no suggestion whatsoever in the statement that it will be a secret in-house type of review. Obviously there must be some expertise from those people who are dealing with the problem on a daily basis and that will be the core group of the people who will receive input from everyone in the whole sphere of condominium ownership.
Mr. Cassidy: Is the minister prepared to allow condominium owners to participate in the inquiry rather than simply submit briefs to it?
Hon. Mr. Handleman: Mr. Speaker, I made it quite clear that they will be participating on an almost daily basis. At the present time there are -- I don’t know how many condominium corporations there are in Ontario and there is not a single association to speak for them. One of the things we hope will evolve will be a single voice to speak for condominium owners in this province.
Mr. Reid: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the --
Mr. Philip: A supplementary, Mr. Speaker --
Mr. Speaker: I am sorry. I thought it was a new question. The member for Etobicoke.
Mr. Philip: The minister’s statement mentions a number of areas which the committee will be instructed to look at but it doesn’t mention the problem of double taxation which condominium owners face in the sense that they pay doubly to have their snow removed, to have their access roads maintained and so forth. Will the minister instruct the committee to bring back recommendations on this problem?
Hon. Mr. Handleman: Mr. Speaker, I don’t think the hon. member read the statement at all. One of the points that is mentioned quite clearly is the deficiencies in municipal services. I don’t know how much clearer we could be. We are not instructing the committee on what to look into. These are a number of points which we are suggesting. They are certainly not limited to those points. Certainly with the Ministry of Revenue being involved in the study, I don’t know how the hon. member could come to any other conclusion than we are looking at taxation as well as the other problems involved.
Mr. Ruston: Really botched it up.
Mr. Reid: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Transportation and Communications in regard to the 1975 corporate report of the Urban Transportation Development Corporation Limited, part of which has been asked --
Mr. Renwick: This was the Leader of the Opposition’s question.
Mr. Reid: Well, he is not the only fount of all wisdom and knowledge in this place, although he may believe so.
Mr. MacDonald: Don’t be self-conscious.
Mr. Reid: On page 16 of this report, under the total expenses, there is a provision called “operating loss before write-off of Krauss-Maffei licence” of $850,434 for 1975 and $497,346 in 1974, as well as a “write-off of Krauss-Maffei licence” of $5,122,023. Can the minister explain, first of all, what is involved in the operating loss before the write-off? Is that, in fact, dollars that have been lost to the province of Ontario and therefore a contradiction of the answer we have had from the Premier that the loss was in the neighbourhood of a few thousand? And can the minister explain what the write-off loss of $5 million is for the licence?
Hon. Mr. Snow: First, Mr. Speaker, the operating loss of $850,000 for the year is for the total operation of the Urban Transportation Development Corporation. It has nothing to do with figures that have been previously supplied to this House relating to the cost involved and the recoveries made from Krauss-Maffei.
Mr. Reid: No. It says, “operating loss before write-off of Krauss-Maffei licence.”
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. I think the question has been asked. We are just about out of time.
Hon. Mr. Snow: Mr. Speaker, that is exactly what I am saying. It is the operating loss of the corporation and has nothing to do with the Krauss-Maffei licence.
Mr. Lewis: But what about the $5 million?
Mr. Reid: Why doesn’t it say that in the report?
Hon. Mr. Snow: It does. If the hon. member looks at the report, he will see that the total operating loss for the year is quoted at $5,972,457.
Mr. Ruston: Fix up the books for him, Marvin.
Hon. Mr. Snow: The $5.1 million is the write-off of the Krauss-Maffei licence.
Mr. Sargent: You’d better show the Treasurer how you do that.
Mr. Ruston: He doesn’t have to show him anything. He already knows. That’s cash flow.
Hon. Mr. Snow: If we go back a few years, the first arrangements with Krauss-Maffei were entered into by the ministry prior to the establishment of the Ontario Transportation Development Corporation, or the later replacement corporation, the Urban Transportation Development Corporation. The licence was granted to the government of Ontario. The licence was then transferred to the Ontario Transportation Development Corporation when that corporation was set up. The government purchased shares in UTDC -- two million shares at $3 per share, for $6 million -- and transferred the licence, which had no cost to the government, to the corporation for 1.7 million shares, which meant an established value of roughly $5.1 million for that licence. When the Krauss-Maffei arrangement was cancelled and terminated, and the government received some $9 million from Krauss-Maffei for the cancellation of that arrangement, then of course there was no licence in existence at that time and UTDC could not carry that licence on their books for the $5.1 million.
Mr. Lewis: That is a direct loss of $5 million.
Hon. Mr. Snow: No.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Mr. Lewis: You have just written it down, and it contradicts the statement of November 13, 1974.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Believe me, you are wrong.
Mr. Speaker: Order. Is there a further answer from the hon. minister?
Hon. Mr. Snow: Would you please let me explain?
Mr. Reid: You’re just shifting figures back and forth.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. If you wish the hon. minister to complete his answer, fine; let’s have fewer interjections.
Mr. Sargent: Tell him to sit down.
Hon. Mr. Snow: Mr. Speaker, the agreement or the possession of the licence by UTDC, for which they had issued 1.7 million shares, was cancelled; the 1.7 million shares which they had issued to the government of Ontario for the licence were returned to the corporation.
Mr. Renwick: Was $5 million returned to the corporation?
Mr. Lewis: It was $5 million worth.
Hon. Mr. Snow: But $5 million had never been paid for the shares --
Mr. Renwick: You valued them at $5 million.
Mr. Lewis: You valued it at $5 million in your books. Now you refuse to look at it.
Hon. Mr. Snow: I can understand the Leader of the Opposition --
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. We’re well over the time of the expiry of the question period --
Hon. Mr. Snow: Do they want the answer or not, Mr. Speaker?
Mr. Speaker: That’s what we’re trying to find out. We always allow the hon. minister to complete the answer but with fewer interjections we can wind this up. Is there anything further to add? Please ignore the interjections.
Hon. Mr. Davis: You know why you can’t read a balance sheet? You don’t believe in balance sheets. I understand. I sympathize.
Mr. Warner: What is $5 million?
Hon. Mr. Snow: Mr. Speaker, I can understand the hon. Leader of the Opposition --
Mr. Lewis: That is $9 million in the hole.
Mr. Speaker: Order. Obviously the answer is not desirable.
Mr. Nixon: Neither is the minister.
Hon. Mr. Snow: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order.
Mr. Speaker: May I correct one word first? That was desired, not desirable. Is there a quick finale to this?
Hon. Mr. Snow: Yes, Mr. Speaker. I would have had it finished long ago because the Leader of the Opposition can’t understand a balance sheet.
Mr. Ruston: That is not his question.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Hon. Mr. Snow: But the member to his left should be able to understand a balance sheet.
Mr. Speaker: You are not answering the hon. member’s question.
Hon. Mr. Snow: The member, whom I have some regard for, should be able to understand.
Mr. Breithaupt: Which one is that?
Hon. Mr. Snow: When the corporation was set up a value was established on an asset called a licence; it’s similar to setting up a corporation. I’m sure the member has set up --
Mr. Renwick: You put a $5 million tab on it.
Hon. Mr. Snow: -- hundreds of corporations in his day when he established a value for goodwill.
Mr. Lewis: Oh -- $5 million for goodwill.
Hon. Mr. Snow: For which nothing was paid.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Mr. Reid: Was the money transferred?
Mr. Lewis: No.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. I think that if you study Hansard you might get the answer. The oral question period has expired.
POINT OF ORDER
Mr. Lewis: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order.
Mr. Speaker: Do you have a legitimate point of order?
Mr. Lewis: Yes, I think I do. I wouldn’t raise it if I didn’t think it were legitimate.
Hon. Mr. Davis: You most certainly would.
Mr. Ruston: That is a matter of opinion.
Mr. Lewis: On a point of order, I fear, and I’ll just take a second, that the minister is inadvertently misleading the House by suggesting that --
Hon. Mr. McKeough: Nonsense.
Mr. Lewis: I said, inadvertently, the price tag of over $5 million which was written into the books is applicable to goodwill. The explanation which accompanies the report says, and I quote: “The existing technological information in the possession of the company was returned to Krauss-Maffei. In view of the foregoing, related licence costs of $5,122,000 have been written off in the current year.” He lost the value of over $5 million and contradicted his undertaking to the assembly on November 13, 1974, that this valuable asset is available to Ontario without cost.
Hon. Mr. Snow: That is not correct, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Reid: It is. You said we would keep the technology besides.
Mr. Speaker: That, really, I think, was more a debating point than a difference of opinion as to interpretation.
Mr. Lewis: I think you may be right and I wouldn’t try it again.
Mr. Speaker: That’s a promise I’ll hold you to.
Hon. Mr. Auld presented the annual report of the Civil Service Commission for 1975-76.
Mr. Speaker: Motions.
Introduction of bills.
Hon. Mr. Welch: Mr. Speaker, before calling the orders for today, it’s usual that the work for next week is announced at the end of the day but we don’t usually have as many in the House at that time as we have now so perhaps we might indicate that next week, on Monday, we’ll take into consideration second readings of Bills 134, 155 and 156. If there is time before 5 o’clock, after that work, we’ll then go back to the municipal bill which we started last night. There is no session Monday evening.
On Tuesday, we will take order No. 28 into consideration, that is carrying on the debate on the final report of the select committee inquiring into Hydro’s proposed bulk power rates.
I should interrupt myself by saying 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Monday, of course, is private members’ hour and there has been some agreement to do three things together during that hour on Monday: I think its Bills 57 and 58, and some resolution dealing with a like subject, the whole area of condominiums; that’s on Monday during the private members’ hour.
On Tuesday, after we’ve completed order 28, the select committee report, then we’ll go back to legislation; and on Wednesday it will be budget debate.
For today we’ll call order No. 5.
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. Ziemba: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. On October 29 the Globe reported: “Carleton MDs Decry Student Beer Intake.” I’m going to quote it:
“Carleton University students last year collectively imbibed 1.3 million pints of beer in the eight campus pubs, a situation the university’s doctors find alarming. Ron Mertons, manager of a campus watering hole known as The Pub, says his patrons annually hoist about 38 gallons of beer each, compared to a national average of 18 gallons a person. Total sales this year are expected to reach $690,000, more than double the $316,000 Carleton students spent on beer in 1974, he added.”
That news item, Mr. Speaker, brings me to my point. Ontario’s venture into “civilized drinking” has failed and this government must recognize that fact. It has been a poorly planned slide into increasing drunkenness, a policy that costs taxpayers $3 to repair the damage for every $1 of liquor revenue the government of Ontario receives.
I’m sure many of you know that I have personal reasons for being a salesman for liquor control, but don’t dismiss my arguments on that account. I have the facts to back up my emotional and political commitment.
Coming from west Toronto, the only dry area in Metropolitan Toronto, with a proud history of involvement in the temperance movement, I’d like to ask what’s wrong with prohibition? I know it’s bad press, mainly as a result of American TV shows, but the fact remains that under prohibition, Canadian prohibition, deaths from cirrhosis of the liver dropped 30 per cent.
Today, under “civilized drinking,” our hospital costs in 1974-75 for alcoholism were $137.3 million and that doesn’t include doctors’ fees. Our mental health costs were $151,055,329. It should be noted that these figures do not include police budgets or costs of traffic accidents, loss of productivity in industry and the costs involved in the social and economic disintegration of an alcoholic and his family.
Alcohol was implicated in 33 per cent of the murders in this province, 38 per cent of the attempted murders, 54 per cent of the manslaughters. 39 per cent of the rapes, 42 per cent of other sexual offences and 61 per cent of the assaults.
The dollar cost of alcohol-related collisions in Ontario in 1974 was approximately $130 million. An estimated annual dollar loss in Canadian industry due to alcoholism is one quarter of a billion dollars.
Altogether, the total estimated annual cost of alcoholism in Canada would be $982,700,000.
As for the tragic connection between teenage drinkers and driving fatalities, I have detailed that already in this House.
This is an impressive record, Mr. Speaker, and we can expect it to become even more impressive. The figures from France, a country which represents the ultimate in “civilized drinking” are well known. Forty per cent of their medical costs are the result of alcohol related diseases and 50 per cent of their hospital beds are taken up by drinkers. That is one out of every two beds.
Child alcoholics are no rarity, and we’re beginning to see that here. Speak to workers in the child welfare field and ask them how many 13-year-olds they know of who drink to excess.
What do the people of Ontario get in return for this encouragement of the liquor industry? We have our sports heavily subsidized by liquor. It’s no secret that Carling has a large financial interest in the Argonauts; that the Blue Jays, Toronto’s new baseball team, are owned by Labatt; that Molson are into hockey and that 35 per cent of sports broadcasting is sponsored by the breweries. The advertising from the liquor industry is supposed to be keeping many advertising agencies and publications afloat financially.
The government of Ontario also receives revenues from the sales of liquor, and that’s why this is a speech to the budget. In 1970, total sales of spirits, beer and wine in Ontario were $647,450,000 and the provincial government received $93,233,000 in revenue. In 1973-74, our consumption was up 11.2 per cent, to a dollar value of $965 million; and Ontario’s profit was up to $280 million. Figures from the Addiction Research Foundation demonstrate that 40 per cent of liquor sales come from that segment of drinkers who are defined as hazardous drinkers, those who are drinking enough to damage themselves physically.
I would like to ask what are the moral and the ethical questions involved in revenue from alcohol addicts? How can it be justified? It can’t even be justified on financial grounds. The cost of heavy drinking to Ontario taxpayers far outweighs this blood money we get from people who are killing themselves and others with heavy drinking.
Does the government have any answer to the problem of alcohol use in Ontario today?
A feeble advertising campaign; more liquor outlets; fewer restrictions.
I would like to remind the members of this Legislature that the freedom from taverns we have enjoyed in west Toronto for the last 73 years is available to any district under the local option section of The Liquor Licence Act. Any district now wet is at liberty to reduce its alcohol problems with a 60 per cent vote in favour of temperance. I understand the Inuit community of Frobisher Bay is the first in Canada to turn its back on “civilized” drinking. They voted in increased restrictions and are very pleased with the results.
I know how unfashionable it has become to oppose our new liberalized drinking laws. The majority of drinkers are moderate drinkers, and unaware or unwilling to face the results of their demand for easy access to liquor. Right now, one out of 10 drinkers becomes an alcoholic. Do we have to wait until every family has an alcoholic member before temperance sentiment becomes acceptable again? We drink more in Ontario than in most of the rest of Canada, and Canadians drink more than Americans or Britons. As per capita consumption increases, so does the number of alcoholics and heavy drinkers.
I would like to see another temperance movement in this province bringing the unsavoury facts about our drinking habits today home to every person in Ontario. I would like to see liquor outlets reduced, to see liquor cost more, to see the drinking age moved up, and to see drinkers pay more for their insurance and more for their drinks -- to the point where non-drinkers are not subsidizing the true costs of drinking.
I plead with this government to reverse our liquor policy before the economic role of the liquor industry in this province becomes irreversibly entrenched as it has in France; before our toll of alcoholic death and destruction, already horrifying enough, reaches the epidemic levels it has in France. To any member of this House who remains unconvinced by my figures and puts me down as a killjoy, I recommend a pamphlet recently released by the Addiction Research Foundation here in Toronto, entitled Toward Saturation -- In Search of Control; Alcohol Use in Ontario in the Mid-1970s.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Sweeney: The response to the budget is slowly drawing to a close, Mr. Speaker, and I am reasonably sure that most of the very important issues have been raised at one time or another. I want to touch on a few which are of concern to me and which perhaps haven’t been gone into in the depth that I would like to see. I propose not to be too long.
I would first of all like to refer to the budget statement itself and to a section which, surprisingly, is headed Restraining Expenditures. I think it draws to our attention one of the fundamental economic problems facing this province right now and that is our deficit and our debt.
I look first of all on page 29 under the heading, Restraining Expenditures, to a circle diagram headed: How is the Money Spent? The thing that surprises me -- and, I must say, infuriates me -- is that I note that the debt charges of this province will take up seven per cent of the total budget. Immediately above it, that section of the budget entitled Social Services will also get seven per cent. In other words, what we are saying is that we are spending as much money right now on retiring the debt of this province as we are in providing the very needed social services.
Is it any wonder that the Minister of Community and Social Services (Mr. Taylor) has to go around this province restraining expenditures, according to this title; telling mothers on welfare that they can’t get any more help; telling municipalities that they can’t get additional help for daycare centres; and all the way down the line when we see that the same number of dollars is spent to retire the debt.
A new look at priorities in this province is certainly needed. I also want to draw your attention, Mr. Speaker, to page 28 of the same section and to the fact that the per capita debt from 1974-75 to 1975-76 increased by almost 50 per cent. In other words, as the result of the economic practices of this government, every man, woman and child in this province is now obligated to a 50 per cent increase in the per capita debt, from $420 to $602. The projection for the next coming year, 1976-77, is to increase it by another $100 to $708.
Mr. Nixon: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order, I don’t see a quorum.
Hon. Mr. MacBeth: That takes everybody out of committee.
Mr. Speaker called for the quorum bell.
Ms. Sweeney: I was drawing to the attention of the House my concern with the debt position of this province and the effect that debt position has upon our ability to allocate our funds in a better way. The fact is our debt position makes it impossible for us to provide more funds for social services, since at the present time we have to allocate an equal number of dollars for debt service.
I was pointing out that of great concern -- or what should be of great concern -- to the people of this province is the fact that the per capita debt -- the debt that sits on the head of every man, woman and child of this province -- increased by 50 per cent from the 1974-75 fiscal year to the 1975-76 fiscal year. It was an increase from $402 per capita to $602 per capita.
We note that the projected increase in that same area is going to make it $708 per capita for the 1976-77 fiscal year; that’s another very substantial increase. I would also point out that it has only been during the period of this particular government, this particular ministry, this particular Premier (Mr. Davis) that we have had these very significant increases in our capital debt.
This particular government took over in the 1970-71 fiscal year and we would note that at that time the total net debt of the province was $1.5 billion. It has increased substantially every single year afterward until now it is up to, or is projected for this coming year to be, $6 billion, a four-fold increase.
Mr. Nixon: That last year was the last year of John Robarts’ premiership. That was the last year we had a surplus.
Mr. Sweeney: The point we’re making is that if we have a serious debt problem, a deficit problem, in this province it can be traced directly and only to the present government in power. It cannot be blamed on the previous government.
I notice at the very beginning of the statement on the 1976 budget that the Treasurer (Mr. McKeough) spoke with some manner of pride about some programmes which he introduced in the 1975 fiscal year and which, he said, had so much to do with helping the economy of this province to recover.
He speaks, for example, of the programme by which he reduced the sales tax by two per cent. What he does not say is that that reduced the income of this province by approximately $340 million and had a great deal to do with the almost $2 billion deficit we faced that year.
He points with pride to the $1,500 grant to first-time homeowners but he does not mention that the original projected cost of that grant was in the neighbourhood of $45 million; that it was quickly revised to $65 million, and that in the last budget statement we got, it was increased to $88 million. A couple of days ago in this House, it was pointed out -- and the minister did not deny it -- that it very likely will cost $102 million. We add that to the $340 million.
I think enough has been said in this House over the last couple of days on the rather devastating effect of that programme but I would like to read one sentence from an editorial in the paper in my own area. It points out:
“We are not suggesting that all of the 9,000 or more offenders deliberately set out to take advantage of the scheme.” Here’s the important one. “Some of them no doubt are as innocent as Mr. Meen has suggested they are and were simply misled by the ambiguities of The Ontario Home Buyers Grant Act under the terms of which the money was distributed.”
That has to be the understatement of the year -- that they misunderstood and were misled by the ambiguities of the Act. We are still being misled. People are still misunderstanding the ambiguities of that Act.
For example, I had a constituent in my riding who wrote me a letter saying that he was denied the grant because his application arrived here on July 13, 13 days after the so-called cut-off. I phoned the ministry and said, “How would that constituent have known that June 30 was the cut-off date?” It was pointed out to me that the date is not on the application form which the constituent filled out so he couldn’t have known from that.
I asked the ministry officials to send me, if they could, a copy of any single advertisement which appeared in any newspaper in this province and which specified that June 30 cut-off date. They said they couldn’t do it. In the public advertisements to the people of this province that date wasn’t listed.
Where is the date listed? They finally found it. It was in one of their manuals, one of their books, and it was buried in the middle somewhere but that book was not necessarily available to the people who applied. What I am trying to say is in terms of people being misled and misunderstanding yet having to pay the penalty.
In another situation with this grant, two constituents of mine jointly bought a semidetached home which, at the time they purchased it, was under one ownership. They immediately applied to have it separated. Through no fault of their own -- and the ministry was aware of this -- it went to, I think, January 13, 14 or 15 before it was finished and they were denied the grant.
Yet we go on and we see the kinds of people who did get the grant; the kinds of people who deliberately deceived in getting this grant. Yet people who made honest mistakes were denied the grant because of the ambiguities.
This editorial goes on to point out that the whole misguided programme did nothing, of course and this is the key:
“It did nothing to discourage growth of the overblown home cost tree in this province. What it did do, no matter who got the money, was to fertilize the roots by making it easier for home buyers to pay the excessively high prices. It was fertilization that was not needed -- $102 million down the drain.”
We go to the third programme of which we heard so much and this was the rebate on new car purchases. It is pointed out in the budget statement that 200,000 rebates were paid but the whole purpose of this programme was to stimulate the auto economy in the province of Ontario and the rebate was paid to Ontario auto purchasers. What the Treasurer (Mr. McKeough) did not point out was that one of the reasons we had a lag in auto sales in the first quarter of that year was because in the United States there was a tremendous drop in sales. It is well known that the majority of the units we produce are sold there and therefore a rebate in Ontario would have nothing to do with that programme whatsoever.
What he also fails to point out is that although they started out by saying it would apply only to cars built in Ontario, very quickly it was brought to his attention that the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade made it mandatory that it would have to apply to any car sold in this province, and so therefore some calculations have been done. It has been estimated that if we look -- first of all, let me go back -- at 200,000 rebates, and take the average price of a car at about $5,000 and take $350 as the tax you would normally pay, by multiplying $350 by 200,000 you get $70 million as the cost of this programme, or very close to that.
Let me go back to the other point. If we take all of those car sales and try to extrapolate -- and that is all we can do because I defy anyone to prove it, even the Treasurer -- how many new cars were actually built and sold in this province because of this incentive programme, than otherwise would not be, the figure I have heard two or three authorities come up with in the automotive industry itself, in the manufacturing segment of the industry and in the sales segment of the industry, was 14,000 units that probably would not have been built and not sold in Ontario otherwise.
If we then take 14,000 units and divide it into $70 million, which is what the programme cost, we come out at a cost of $5,000 per unit. In other words, this programme cost us per unit the price of the car. It must have been a pretty expensive programme for this province. I mention that because in the past fiscal year we had a total deficit of $1.9 billion and almost $600 million of that was because of these give-away programmes.
Mr. Ruston: It happened to be an election year.
Mr. Sweeney: I would like to make another little observation.
Mr. Nixon: You could have given everybody a new car.
Mr. Sweeney: This is the kind of thing that has gone on before and probably will continue. There is a little observation from a British historian, Alexander Tyler, quite a while back too. He said: “A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse or gifts from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury with the result that democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy.”
Mr. Eakins: Did you hear that?
Mr. Sweeney: Democracy can collapse over loose fiscal policy. I would suggest to you, Mr. Speaker, that is precisely what has been happening in this province since this particular ministry took over, and the people of the province are now paying the price. I would strongly suggest it is simply too high a price to pay.
Let me move on to another area. We have had a lot of discussion in this Legislature and a lot of discussion outside the Legislature about health costs in this province. One of the things that I seem to see some agreement on all sides of this House is that we have to come up with some alternatives, some less costly alternatives. In March of this year I received, as I understand every other member of this House received from the Minister of Health (Mr. F. S. Miller) a statement and a booklet which read: “Attached for your information is a booklet which pulls together all of the prepared public statements and announcements issued over the last couple of months on constraints in the health field.”
There are a couple of rather strange comments in this book. For example, if I can just digress for a second, I am going to quote Mr. Gary Chatfield. But before I do so I want to quote a comment made by the minister himself in this book. He says here:
“In a couple of minutes, I am going to ask Gary Chatfield to expand on that general outline. At this point, I am going to interrupt myself to tell you why Gary is particularly well qualified to fill that part of the programme.” He goes on to explain why, and I am sure every member has read it. Just let’s get the effectiveness of the resource person here. Mr. Chatfield makes this observation: “We must recognize that while an active treatment bed in the hospital today costs an average of $102.60, the provincial per diem cost for nursing home accommodation is $12.85, about one-tenth, and the average per visit cost of home care is $9.50, even less.” Mr. Chatfield makes those observations, then he goes on and says: “Despite this, there are few nursing home beds available. We recognize that.”
Let’s go back to a point that was made by the minister himself in referring to those two much less costly alternatives. It’s a rather surprising statement by the minister: “Even in some areas of more economical alternative care services, such as home care, there can be no expansion.” That doesn’t make any sense. How can we have Mr. Chatfield, whom the minister says is well qualified to comment, point out to us that an alternative like home care costs $9.50 a day compared to $102 a day for hospital care, and yet the minister says there can be no expansion, even though he recognizes it is more economical?
To go on, the minister says: “In addition, there will be no approval for further nursing home beds, or any increase in the amount of money to be spent on research and demonstration model projects,” which can prove more efficient ways of dealing with it.
We have the ministry itself saying that it’s more costly to keep people in the hospital, by a very wide margin; that they know they can have more economical ways of dealing with the problem; and yet they’re not going to do anything about it. It’s pretty hard to understand what they mean by restraint. It doesn’t make sense at all.
While we’re on the topic of health, I would like to bring up another point -- and I have mentioned it briefly in this House before -- and that’s my concern with the increase in abortions in this province. I fully appreciate that the legislation dealing with abortion is a federal matter. I fully appreciate that there is a study going on at the federal level right now to re-examine it. The point I want to speak to is the administration of that legislation, which does fall under the provincial government.
Let me sketch a scenario which was explained to me by a doctor in the city of Cambridge. He was walking down the hospital corridors with a colleague, and they stopped in front of an office door. The colleague said: “Excuse me a minute, I have to step inside and do something.” They both walked in and the colleague sat down at a desk. There was a pile of papers, one overlapping the other like shingles, laid out on the desk. This doctor commenced to attach his signature to each paper in turn, without even reading them; he just put his signature on. The other doctor was somewhat curious and said: “What are you doing?” He said: “Oh, I’m part of this hospital’s abortion approval committee, and they need my signature on these approvals.”
Mr. Speaker, I don’t know how common that practice is, I honestly don’t, but that’s a true statement. I sketched it as a scenario but that happened.
What I’m saying is that the very fact it could even happen once, even if it only happened once -- and I think I’d be stretching the imagination of every member in this House to suggest that it did happen only once -- indicates to me that while we have got a law on the books of this country to be administered by this province, its administration in the way in which I have described it is an absolute farce. Not only is it a farce, but I would go so far as to say it’s illegal, if it could be proven. I’m not quite sure how I’d do it, but it would be illegal. It is of great concern to me personally, and, I would suggest, to a fairly sizable number of people in this province, that that kind of thing can occur, that our attitude towards life, the right to life, the most basic right of all, should be abused in this way.
Just a short while ago a letter to the editor appeared in our local newspaper which drove this fact home to me more clearly than I’ve ever had it driven home before. I’ve seen all the arguments pro and con, the pro-abortion people and the anti-abortion people, and I feel that it’s justified in putting it here because it’s provincial funds that are providing the possibility to do this. It is part of our budget debate. That letter commented on the fact that the committee was now sitting in Ottawa and probably would relax the abortion laws in this province and could very likely have us end up with abortion on demand. The writer -- and surprisingly enough it was a man, from the way he signed it anyway -- went on to say: “Why don’t we take the logical next step? Why don’t we introduce legislation permitting discretionary quietus?” Discretionary quietus. Now, I’d never heard the term before and had no idea what it was. But the writer went on to explain what he meant by it. He said: “If we can destroy a human being prior to birth, why can’t we have the discretionary power to allow the baby to be born and to live for, let’s say, one year, for the parents then to have the discretion to decide whether or not, like a dog in the pound, it could be quietly put away?” Quietly put away, because it was not convenient for the parents to keep it, or it may have been decided by that time that this child had a physical or mental deformity and therefore would be a burden on society.
All I’m trying to say is that, with as much horror as I view that kind of suggestion, I have to admit that at least it’s a logical conclusion to follow from. We see what’s happening in the state of California right now in terms of people who are terminally ill and what they’re talking about, people who are physically or mentally handicapped and their use to society.
I would suggest that the time has come for we as a people to stand up and very clearly say that the most basic right of all in our society is the right to life, and that because a new life, a new human existence happens to be a burden or an inconvenience to someone, that does not give them the right to destroy it, to kill it.
I’d like to go on and speak very briefly about the Minister of Education’s recent statement on changes in education policy. When we realize that the budget allows something like $1.7 billion for public elementary and secondary education and the local taxpayer coughs up something in the neighbourhood of $1.3 billion for elementary and secondary education, we appreciate that we’re spending about $3 billion a year in this province on elementary and secondary education. That’s a pretty big chunk of money, I think we’ll all agree. As a matter of fact, it’s probably as much money as we’re spending on any public service which we provide in this province.
Yet we know that the people of the province are very concerned about what they’re getting for their money. That’s been debated in the education estimates and I’m not going to go through it all again. But I only want to make one point and that is, in my travels around the province and in the travels of my leader around the province, the message that seems to come home time and time again when this issue is raised is that we would even be prepared to spend that kind of money on education if we had the perception that we were getting our money’s worth.
In both the education estimates debates of November, 1975, and June, 1976, we raised with the Minister of Education (Mr. Wells) that in fact the people of this province didn’t think, didn’t believe -- I couldn’t say that they didn’t know because that’s part of the problem, they don’t really know -- but their feeling, their perception is that they’re not getting a return on their investment. As a matter of fact, I drew two particular points to the minister’s attention. In November of 1975 I pointed out that in the secondary schools of this province it was possible for a student to go all the way through the secondary school and never take a course in what we call English language skills -- grammar, punctuation, spelling, composition, essay writing, that kind of thing.
I said that in November of 1975 and within about a page after that the hon. minister responded, “I would have to disagree with the hon. member, because I think he shows a very shallow appreciation of the idea of shared curriculum responsibility.” “I would have to disagree,” okay? The point I was making at that time was that although the minister had announced in 1974 that English would be a compulsory curriculum course in the secondary schools of this province, the guideline was drawn so loosely that it was indeed possible, in fact in was happening, in the secondary schools in this province, that students would not take a course in what we call basic language skills. The minister says, “I disagree with you, it can’t happen.” I don’t understand how curriculum works, that’s what the minister said.
In June of this year I pointed out to the minister that with respect to Canadian studies, which is also a compulsory subject in our secondary schools, it is possible and, in fact, it is happening, that students can go through the secondary schools of this province and not once take a course in Canadian history or Canadian geography, because once again the course outline for Canadian studies is so loosely drawn that it does not automatically include Canadian history and geography.
As an aside, Mr. Speaker, I would suggest to you that when the people of this province hear the term “English studies” or “Canadian studies” it is my understanding, and I would suggest we could stop anyone in the street and get their response, that the kinds of things I said should be in there are in fact what they think should be in there.
So let’s go on. I pointed this out to the minister. He said “Let me ask a question. Are you saying the students of this province can go through without taking any Canadian history or geography?” My response: “I’m talking of secondary schools, and the answer is yes.” The minister went on to say: “I would dispute that.” That was last November and last June. We have a rather surprising statement from the minister, however, on October 6. Let me read just three short passages, to suggest just where we are at with education in this province, when on the one hand the minister says: “Can’t be, can’t be”; and then he says this:
“We now take this step on behalf of the students, their parents, and the public in general. We cannot leave it to chance that the young people get the fundamentals. We have to ensure it.” He said there was no problem a few months ago. And we go on; “Starting especially with the subjects included in the mandatory core group, our curriculum guidelines will become much more comprehensive. Concepts of English composition, grammar and literature must be included. We don’t want to take any chances about this.”
If there wasn’t any problem, how come the change? It goes on: “With respect to Canadian studies, curriculum guidelines will be revised to ensure that every student knows enough about our history and geography to be aware of Canada’s identity and Canada’s place in the world.”
I’m not trying to be picky. That’s not the point of my remarks; that’s not the point of the references. The point I am trying to make, however, is that we are spending more money in this province of Ontario, from the provincial Treasury and from the property owner tax base, for elementary and secondary education, and when the people of this province say to the ministry and say to this government, “We are not satisfied with what we’re getting for that money,” and when the minister comes back and says there is nothing to worry about and that everything is okay, but has to turn around and make a statement which very clearly points out that everything isn’t okay, then we have to ask ourselves from a budget point of view how wisely are our funds being spent or, more importantly, does this ministry even know how the funds are being spent?
I would like to turn to one other point in the budget, to budget paper E, which refers to the changes in the property tax. I would have to suggest at this point, and maybe the Premier of the province, because of rather recent announcements, has realized it as well, that this is going to be rather a hot potato for the government.
Mr. Nixon: Heaven help us if they are ever elected with a majority.
Mr. Sweeney: The point right now, as my colleague has just pointed out, is that we understand the implementation of this is going to be delayed for one more year. I guess all we can assume is that perhaps by that time the government feels it will be through another election and feels that by some miracle it will be in power again --
Mr. Nixon: They will be back in their law offices.
Mr. Sweeney: -- and therefore they will be back and be able to implement this --
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: We don’t need a miracle, you’ve got it; you’ve got our miracle over there.
Mr. Sweeney: -- despite the opposition that they are meeting at every single review centre across this province.
Hon. Mr. Kerr: Who said that?
Mr. Sweeney: Talk to Blair Willis.
Hon. Mr. Kerr: Willis Blair.
Mr. Sweeney: He will tell you what kind of opposition they have been getting.
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: We don’t need a miracle; we have got Smith.
Mr. Acting Speaker: Order, please; the hon. member has the floor.
Mr. Sweeney: Is it any wonder because we were told back in 1970 that there was going to be changes in the property tax legislation in this province. It was going to be implemented in 1973 but somehow or another it just didn’t get done. Then we were told it was going to be all brought up again in 1975 to be implemented in 1976, but it didn’t get done. Then we were told just a little while ago it was going to be calculated in 1977 for implementation in 1978, but it is still not going to be done. Now it has been changed once more. Four times this government has had to come out and say that it doesn’t know what in blazes it is doing with property tax reform in this province.
They don’t know what to do about it. They know there is a problem. Everybody out there knows there is a problem but they don’t know how to solve it. Four times it has been delayed. Looking at some of the things they are suggesting, it is no wonder they are getting a response. They are talking about market value assessment and saying that the residential taxpayer is going to gain by this because he will be paying a smaller share of the total tax base. At first glance, that looks as if it could be so, but they don’t mention that there could be a rather dramatic shift within that property tax base.
For example, just a couple of days ago, the Toronto Board of Education did an analysis of what would happen in their area. Do you know what they discovered? Their brief says those with the lowest family incomes will pay the greatest increase in the proportion of their family incomes for property taxes. Those with the lowest incomes will pay the highest increase.
The brief also shows that owners with houses worth $110,000 -- they are probably the same ones that got that grant, the same group -- will pay 27 per cent less. In fact, their taxes will drop from an average of $1,600 to an average of $1,200, almost $400.
Hon. Mr. Kerr: They need it.
Mr. Sweeney: Then the Minister of Revenue comes back and says no, that’s not what is going to happen at all because under this new plan the local municipalities won’t raise any more money than what they did before. They will just re-allocate it differently. Yes, they sure will re-allocate it differently. When the minister says we are not going to raise any more money, strangely enough, he finishes with this sentence: “Unless the council deliberately sets out to increase its revenue” -- and here is the key point -- “the only increase in taxes generally speaking will be those which should have occurred anyway and which are probably long overdue.” Do you understand the implication of that?
Mr. Nixon: Sure, that’s the target for the Treasurer in higher taxes.
Mr. Sweeney: What he’s saying very clearly is, “Look, you local municipal councils, you’ve been wanting to find some way to raise taxes for a long time. I’m going to give it to you. We’re going to bring in a property reform taxation system which is so mixed up and so confused you’re going to be able to get more money and the people won’t even know what happened.”
Let’s go on to another statement. We are told there is not going to be any increase after all but for some strange reason, in budget paper E, they list the Niagara region as an example of what could take place. I don’t know why they selected this one. They could have selected any number of municipalities but they selected this one. We look at the figures they quote and what does it say? The tax levy before reassessment will be $80 million. The tax levy after reassessment will be $96 million. Why? They’re not going to raise any more money? For some reason or another, the levy is going to increase from $80 million to $96 million in their example.
An hon. member: Heaven help us.
Mr. Sweeney: All I can say is it is becoming more confusing all the time and I can understand why the government has delayed it.
I want to take this opportunity to address myself very briefly to a topic which was raised in this House last July. I think it certainly fits within the budget statement because I understand the committee for the administration of justice is now meeting downstairs.
The members of the House will remember that I reacted rather strongly to a suggestion that the Supreme Court of Canada should be elected rather than appointed the way it is now and that it should come under greater control of the parliaments, provincial and federal.
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: You like to phone judges in your party. We know about that.
Mr. Sweeney: I reacted very strongly to that and I had intended not to bring up the point again because I think I made my point.
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: Hello, Mr. Judge; it’s me, the boss.
Mr. Sweeney: But something has occurred in the last couple of days --
Mr. Eakins: You’re hitting a tender spot.
Mr. Sweeney: -- which compels me to bring up this point. The issue I was trying to get at it the only way the people of this country or this province are going to be protected from their government -- and it’s been demonstrated several times in this province, with this government, that that kind of protection is needed -- is if we have an independent judiciary and independent court.
Hon. Mr. Kerr: We do have.
Mr. Sweeney: Yes, we do and we intend to see that it stays that way.
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: You would rather have them elected. You say elect them.
Mr. Sweeney: No, absolutely not. I’m speaking against that point and you know I’m speaking against it.
Mr. Nixon: Why don’t you listen to what he said?
Mr. Sweeney: I spoke against it before. We do not support the election of the judiciary. We entirely oppose the election of the judiciary. It was a member of your government who suggested it.
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: You supported it.
Mr. Sweeney: A member of your government suggested it and not one single one of you stood up and objected. You would allow it to go through. You would allow this government to control the courts of this country if that member’s suggestion was approved. If you disagree with it why didn’t you object the way we did? Why didn’t you?
Hon. Mr. Kerr: You are out of your cotton-picking mind.
Hon. Mr. Handleman: What have you been smoking?
Mr. Eakins: Not even Don Morrow objected.
Mr. Sweeney: All we’ve got to do is look at what’s happening and what has happened wherever the government has control of the judiciary.
Hon. Mr. Kerr: What about Ouellet? Would he agree?
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: Hello, judge, this is the boss.
Mr. Sweeney: Look what happened in Germany. Look what is happening right now -- and this is the reference I want to make --
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: Look what’s happening in Ottawa.
Mr. Sweeney: -- now in India, which is nominally a democratic country in the Asian continent.
Mr. Eakins: Look what’s happening at Queen’s Park.
Mr. Sweeney: On November 3, changes in the constitution were passed and one of the opposition members pointed out that this bill will open the flood gates to regimentation and dictatorship. We can only assume that’s what this government would also approve of. They go to point out:
“One of the key factors of that bill will substantially enhance the power of Parliament and the Prime Minister and diminish the power of the courts, which have so often been a bastion of resistance to the central government’s stern new posture.”
Do you recognize yourself? You should.
Mr. Sweeney: The other comment on the same issue:
“In particular the amendment in part redefines the role of the Indian judiciary, curtailing the court’s rights to enforce civil liberties and to review both ordinary legislation and constitutional amendments.”
We would have to assume, Mr. Speaker, because of the silence emanating from those benches --
Mr. Sweeney: -- that feelings like this reside over there.
Mr. Haggerty: Shame, shame.
Hon. Mr. Kerr: Mrs. Gandhi is the head of the Liberal Party over there. Imagine, she is the leader of the Liberal Party in India.
Mr. Sweeney: Since the Minister of Housing happens to be in the House, I would just like to briefly point out to him that the housing industry in this province is really quite in the doldrums, really in the doldrums.
Hon. Mr. Kerr: Oh, Mr. Trudeau says we are not all bad.
Mr. Sweeney: If he has been reading any of the local press and if he has been meeting with any of the local people -- make --
An hon. member: That’s terrible. It is just a shame.
Mr. Sweeney: Yet if we want to talk about our economy -- we have said this before and we will probably have to say it again as long as this government is in power -- the housing industry of this province can be the greatest stimulus to the economy of the province, the greatest stimulus in terms of putting skilled workmen, in terms of putting production people back to work, in terms of putting homes and roofs over the heads of our people. Yet we look at the amount of money that is allocated in this budget and we look at what’s happening, not what the government says should happen or what it thinks might happen but what in fact is happening -- and I guess maybe that’s really the point I am trying to make with all of the examples I listed -- when we look at this, when we look at the kinds of economic and financial decisions which are made and when we look at the results, they aren’t very happy.
Mr. Acting Speaker: The hon. member for Hamilton Centre.
Mr. Davison: Mr. Speaker, at this time of year people are very concerned about the question of energy and I would like to take this opportunity to comment in a rather concise way on that issue and some of its ramifications. I don’t intend to speak to the history of energy policy development in our province but, by way of background for the remarks that I do intend to make, I would like to read to the House from the annual report of the Ministry of Energy a passage that clearly sets forth the cornerstone upon which the government’s policy is to be based.
“The Ministry of Energy is responsible for the development and implementation of a provincial energy policy which is designed to ensure that Ontario’s consumers receive an adequate and secure supply of energy at reasonable prices, with an acceptable environmental impact.”
The cornerstones of the policy are commendable. I would say, however, that it’s quite unfortunate that the government chose to go and build the policy somewhere else. When we are dependent on sources outside of our province for 80 per cent of our energy, by no stretch of the imagination could anybody say that we have an adequate and secure supply. When the costs jump by 20, 30 and 40 per cent every year, by no stretch of the imagination could one say that we have energy at reasonable prices. When tomorrow or the next day may bring with it a major nuclear disaster, no one could possibly say that we have energy with an acceptable environmental impact. The government has brought to energy policy development in this province its standard practice of saying one thing and doing the opposite. The government has managed to bring our province from an energy crisis to an energy disaster. A number of years ago it became readily apparent to anyone who wasn’t a complete fool that we could not depend on fossil fuels and a few massive hydroelectric facilities for energy needs. Sometime after that it became apparent to the government. Casting about for a solution, the government adopted the nuclear option.
No doubt they were impressed by the opinions of people like Lewis Strauss, who at the time was the chairman of the American AEC, when he said electricity from nuclear power plants would eventually be so cheap that no one would bother to even meter it.
Whatever the reasons, whatever the justification, or whatever the motive, Ontario was pushed into the world of atomic energy. Research and development of other alternative sources was discouraged. Nuclear energy was to be the safe and economic energy of tomorrow. Well, yesterday’s tomorrows have a way of turning into today. Perhaps it is time that we should take a look at the realization of yesterday’s promises and predictions and see what has happened.
I would like to examine the safety of the nuclear option at several of its stages in the fuel cycle. The uranium production stage presents two separate kinds of hazards. The first is the exposure of people working in the mines and in the mills to an incredible number of radioactive materials which range from the well-known ones like uranium 238 to all of its various and deadly by-products like radium 226, radon 222, polonium 218. Estimates show that one out of every five underground uranium miners will die of lung cancer because of exposure on the job. Those are stunning statistics.
The second hazard involved with the production is waste materials. We call these waste materials tailings. The liquid wastes that flow into the waterways around the mine or a mill have caused incalculable environmental damage. More recently, incidents have come to light of houses, schools and other buildings being built on landfill that contains sandy tailings. These are exactly the same radioactive materials that have been responsible for the deaths of thousands of miners throughout the world.
Elliot Lake and Port Hope aren’t just the names of places on the map of Ontario. They are representative of communities in our province where men, women and children will die because of a government policy decision. I don’t say that by way of an accusation, but simply as a fact.
The next stage in energy production involves the preparation of uranium itself for use in the core reactor. This requires that the uranium be shaped into rods, which are then ensheathed in zircaloy coating. And whenever you have any sort of process like this, it means that the workers are again exposed to deadly radioactive materials over the long and the short terms.
The next stage after that, of course, is the reactor itself. And along with that comes the intensification of all the problems presented by the production of nuclear energy. In the fuel cycle prior to the reactor stage we are confronted with the difficult problems of processing and handling radioactive uranium ore. However, within the reactor core itself this uranium is subject to incredible forces which cause the composition of the fuel to grow increasingly complex as the reaction proceeds. It becomes more and more difficult for us and for our scientists to keep track of all of the competing processes involved; and as the process itself becomes more and more complex, the potential for serious problems developing increases at an alarming rate.
Some proponents of further nuclear development suggested that your chances of being killed by nuclear accident are less than your chances of being killed by lightning. That is not overly reassuring. It is not reassuring to me and it is not reassuring to most people. It is also not the kind of information that the public can use in making a rational judgement on the question. Before the public can make a judgement, before the public can come to decide about the question, they have to know whether the risks are worth the benefit. They have to know something more than just the odds; they have to know the consequences. Governments, this one holding a very high place among them, have been perhaps understandingly reluctant to make public studies which show the damage a major accident could cause.
On the few occasions when these studies do come to light the contents are indeed alarming but perhaps they’re only the tip of the iceberg. The first example of this situation occurred some 20 years ago. The American government document, No. Wash. 740, which was entitled Theoretical Possibilities and Consequences of Major Accidents in Large Nuclear Power Plants was published in March, 1957.
The study considered a maximum credible accident which, by their estimation, resulted in one-half of ‘the fissionable material of the reactor core being leaked into the atmosphere. The reactor in question was 50 kilometers from a city of one million people and the disaster would occur when the wind was blowing toward this city. Wash. 740 predicted 3,400 deaths. It predicted 43,000 permanent injuries and property damage -- get this -- of $7 billion. By anyone’s standard, those statistics were and still are very alarming.
However, at the same time, the Power Reactor Development Corporation commissioned a similar study, a similar analysis from the Engineering Research Institute of the University of Michigan. Their report came out a few months later, in July, 1957. They assumed an accident resulting in the complete release of the core’s inventory when there was temperature inversion and a wind blowing toward the city. In the case of this study the city was Detroit. Their results’ made the Wash. 740 results pale into insignificance.
They estimated that 133,000 people would receive fatal radiation dosages and that an additional 426,000 people would be injured. After that, of course, they made no effort even to make a guess at what the property damage would be.
How do those figures relate to Ontario 20 years later? Reactors today are a lot bigger than they were then. The nuclear complex not very far from here at Pickering is one of the ‘biggest in the world. Today our cities are much bigger; our property values are much bigger. A total rupture at Pickering could kill or injure hundreds of thousands of people in this province and the property damage would be tens of billions of dollars. Clearly, the odds have to be considered in terms of the possible consequences.
The favourite argument in the arsenal of nuclear plant advocates as far as safety is concerned is history. They say that in over 20 years of operation not one major disaster has occurred. They don’t, of course, say that nobody’s been killed because indeed many people have been.
Before we discuss a few examples of near disaster, it would perhaps be of interest to members to consider what one expert has to say about safety and its relationship to the past and to the future. Professor Garrett Hardin of the University of California put it this way, and I quote:
“As people repeat simple operations year after year without an accident they become bored and careless and disbelieving of the possibility of an accident. There is a sort of reciprocal relationship between the frequency of past accidents and the probability of future accidents. The smaller the first value, the larger the second. This reciprocity sets some sort of undefined limits to human reliability. A long and distinguished safety record sets the stage for a serious accident at an unforeseen time.”
The list of disasters associated with nuclear reactors is both long and awesome and I have no intention of reciting it, but let’s explore a couple of examples.
The Enrico Fermi I plant near Detroit went into operation in August, 1963 and was plagued by a continual and long series of problems. On October 5, 1966, while the control room staff was trying to figure out the cause of one of these problems, the radiation alarms went off. Everybody knew what was wrong. The fuel in the core was melting. But nobody had the slightest idea what the cause of that was or what to do about it. While official records don’t show it, testimony indicates that at this point in time an alert went out to the local police and the civil defence authorities to prepare for the evacuation of Detroit and other centres.
It turned out in the end that a zirconium triangle plate had come loose and had blocked the flow of the sodium coolant. This had caused the melting of several of the fuel pins. The process stopped short of a complete meltdown and there wasn’t an evacuation. If it had not, then scientists predict that the area around Detroit would have been a wasteland indefinitely.
In March, 1975, there was a fire at the Brown’s Ferry nuclear reactor in Alabama. It is interesting to note that the fire was started accidentally by a couple of electricians who were looking for a draught with a candle. It looked for a while as if there would be a major loss-of-coolant accident. The fire destroyed seven of the plant’s 12 emergency core cooling systems. Fortunately for the state of Alabama, the remaining five ECCSs were adequate to prevent the meltdown. One has to wonder if four would have been equally adequate.
The first two accidents that I have mentioned did not occur in Canada. That is not to suggest that we haven’t had our fair share.
Mr. Speaker, you may recall that the world’s first major nuclear reactor accident occurred right in our very own province. On December 12, 1952, the reactor at Chalk River near Ottawa nearly went up in smoke with all of the surrounding area. A technician had mistakenly opened two or three valves in the basement of the reactor. The warning lights on the panel in the control room started to flash. The supervisor on duty rushed downstairs, saw what had happened, turned off the valves, and called up his assistant on the telephone to tell him that he should press buttons 4 and 3. In his haste, he said four and one. The technician pushed the buttons. There followed a technical mechanical failure.
Within minutes the order went out to evacuate the entire complex, to evacuate the plant. The temperature and pressure increased and the chemical reaction destroyed the reactor’s core. It was by the most incredible luck that night that no one was killed by the release of about 10,000 curies of long-lived fission products. If the accident had been of just a slightly different nature, who’s to say what might have happened at Chalk River that night? As it is, the events at our small experimental reactor showed that human and machine errors can happen. They can happen right here in Ontario.
One of the most sensitive and potentially dangerous facets in a reactor is the coolant system. We have found enough leaking pressure tubes at Pickering to frighten anyone as far as the safety of our modern CANDU reactors are concerned. When we think about the possibility of human and mechanical errors leading to a disaster at a reactor, it is not in my opinion wise to take comfort in the odds. There is a law of science that’s referred to as Murphy’s Law. It’s something we should always keep in mind. It says that if anything can go wrong, it will.
The dangers at a reactor would be shocking enough if the only cause of a disaster was a human error or mechanical failure. Unfortunately, that is not the kind of world we live in. Nuclear power stations have to be secure from external intervention.
A number of months ago, an incident came to light, which had been hidden for a number of years and which was absolutely incredible. On September 8, 1969, the alarm systems went off at a reactor in India. Some staff members rushed to the switch- gear room to check the abnormality and found a man they had never seen before flipping switches with reckless abandon. It turns out that he was mentally disturbed and had just sort of walked in off the street. If there had been a simultaneous local power failure, probably tens of thousands of square miles of India would have been wiped out.
I don’t think we should be chauvinistic in the least about security measures, because it wasn’t very long ago that a member of this very House found he could walk around the Pickering complex without permission carrying a bag which could have contained anything. I’ll tell members something -- if lunatics and MPPs can get into these top security areas --
Mr. Burr: The two extremes, of course.
Mr. Davison: That’s not for me to say; two extremes, yes. If they can get in, what makes us think that saboteurs and terrorists can’t do it?
There have been so many near misses as far as terrorists are concerned, and they’ve occurred in countries all the way from Argentina to Scotland. It’s not even necessary for the terrorists actually to break into the reactor to cause a disaster at the reactor. In November, 1972, three hijackers demanded $10 million or, they threatened, they would crash the DC-9 they had hijacked into the nuclear complex at Oak Ridge, Tennessee. The reactors were shut down, the staff evacuated and the money was paid.
Terrorists can intervene at other places in the fuel cycle. They don’t have to go to the reactor. Between each stage in the cycle we depend upon transportation of these radioactive materials, if we can’t protect a reactor how on earth can we expect to protect moving trucks, trains, boats, planes? We can’t do it.
Even the most simple things can cause a major disaster. If some workmen should happen to pile crates containing just moderately radioactive material too close together, they can obtain a mass which will go critical and cause a chain reaction. Something that simple.
A closing word on terrorists: I think it would be pretty easy for a terrorist to get his hands on some radioactive material and I don’t think, nor do experts think, it would be very much more difficult for them to construct a powerful nuclear device. With a bit of plutonium 239 about the size of a golf ball and $2,000 a serious student of physics can make a nuclear bomb.
A nuclear reactor produces a large amount of radioactive waste and one of the most serious questions raised by atomic energy production is what do we do with the waste? The longest lasting of these wastes is plutonium 239 which over 24,300 years loses only one-half of its radioactivity. Plutonium 239 will remain radioactive for about a quarter of a million years. The most bizarre aspect of nuclear energy is that we know of no way to store this material safely for any length of time because any material which comes in contact with radioactivity is subject to constant change and we can’t depend on anything remaining stable.
If we know of no way to store this material for a couple of decades what is it that makes anybody think we’re going to be able to store it for 25,000 decades? Is it really sensible for us to accept the assurances of people who say we will surely discover -- science and technology will surely discover -- a safe permanent storage site for ever-increasing amounts of deadly radioactive wastes? Is that sensible? I’ll tell members how sensible it is. It’s about as sensible as going down to the CN Tower and jumping off it with a bag full of hardware and hoping to build a parachute on the way down, That’s how sensible it is.
It’s patently clear to me, and I think to most people, that no sane, rational, well-informed person could consider nuclear energy to be safe. One might suggest that perhaps says something about the government. There is no need for anybody to tell me the answer to that remark, because it’s painfully clear what the answer is. The government’s apologists would admit that of course there are some dangers involved but, quite frankly, nuclear energy is so economical that the risks involved are simply outweighed by the benefits.
Let’s put aside the question of safety for a minute and take a look at these economics. Let’s see how economical nuclear energy is. We live in a world of rapid change, and circumstances have changed since the government adopted the nuclear option.
There are three areas in which the economics of nuclear energy and nuclear power plants have changed dramatically. The first area is in construction costs. The firms that design and supervise construction of plants work on a cost-plus basis, which means there is no incentive to bold costs down. The first nuclear power plants, those on which we based our costs, were built with very few safety systems. All aspects of fitting these new safety systems have involved very expensive yet completely unexpected costs. There have been periodic shortages of skilled labour, which has led to overtime at double and triple pay. The complexity of construction has led to skilled workers being paid while they are waiting for work because the process was not properly synchronized. These and other factors have resulted in capital costs increasing tenfold in about 12 years. In dollar terms, that means what cost $100,000 in 1964 costs $1 million today.
The second problem sector is operating costs. The main difficulty here is that nuclear power plants are just not as efficient as was predicted. Our plants were supposed to operate at 80 to 90 per cent of their capacity. While exact assessments are going to be a long time coming in, because we have to see the figures over a long term, it is safe to estimate that the actual figures are going to be somewhere between 30 and 60 per cent of capacity. The repair costs are terribly expensive because it takes a great deal of time and large numbers of people so that workers aren’t exposed to large doses of radiation. The lower the efficiency of the plant, the more expensive the electricity it does produce when it is working. A plant working at an average of 35 per cent efficiency produces electricity that h twice as expensive per kilowatt as an identical plant working at 80 per cent capacity.
The third area is fuel costs. It is assumed -- not properly so -- that uranium would remain a relatively inexpensive commodity. Since 1973 the price of uranium has increased about sevenfold on the open market. The current Westinghouse lawsuits, which are going on right now south of the border, show in a very dramatic fashion the effect of this increase on costs. Another difficulty is that the actual burn-up rate of uranium was found to be not the same as predicted. This means that our requirements could be as much as 50 per cent higher than was estimated. The CANDU reactors use heavy water as a coolant, and this also has turned out to be more expensive than estimated. I might add that when we lose tons of heavy water because of the leaks in our pressure tubes at Pickering, that doesn’t help the cost factors either.
When Canada built its first heavy water plant at Glace Bay, I think just about everybody in the country was rather mildly surprised to find out that after the millions of dollars spent in building it, it didn’t work. So we had to go and spend many more millions of dollars in completely rebuilding the plant so it would work. Nuclear power is capital and energy intensive, not labour intensive, and the economics of nuclear power have become uneconomical.
Mr. Speaker, as I said earlier, yesterday’s tomorrows have a way of becoming today. What was to be the safe and economic energy of tomorrow has turned out to be the unsafe and uneconomical energy of today. We simply can’t afford it. The road of nuclear energy can lead only to disaster and this government seems determined to drag the people of Ontario down with it. The government simply is not acting in a sane and rational manner. I respectfully suggest that if the members opposite want to continue on this course, they be free to play with only their own lives, not with everybody else’s in this province. This policy of nuclear energy is an excursion into hell and as far as I’m concerned it is one trip the members opposite can take by themselves, because we don’t want to go.
Anybody who would argue that the abandonment of the nuclear option would create an energy shortage simply doesn’t know what he’s talking about. Any need that is supposed to be met by atomic energy can be filled by alternate energy sources. Many future needs that cannot be filled by nuclear energy can be filled by alternate renewable energy sources.
Before I make a few brief comments on the benefits of some of these renewable energy sources I would just like to remind the members of some of the sources themselves.
The best known, I guess, is solar energy. The sun’s energy can be harnessed in a number of ways to provide energy for domestic heating, commercial heating and industrial fuel and heat.
The energy of the wind can supply electricity for any need and is particularly suitable for rural areas.
There are similar benefits to be gained from the harnessing of other renewable resources, such as tidal power, wave power, ocean thermal energy and geothermal energy.
Heat pumps provide an interesting answer to home heating needs.
Photo-voltaic energy appears to be an almost unlimited source.
Biomass burning generators can supply electricity, and synthetic fuels can be produced from biomass to provide liquid fuel for transportation needs.
Small-scale hydro dams are a very efficient use of our resources.
I have made no attempt to provide an exhaustive list, as its length would be overwhelming. It is very interesting to note that there are four renewable energy sources which individually could have provided more energy than we used throughout the entire country in the year 1975. Those are solar-thermal, photo-voltaic, wind and geothermal.
Renewable sources enjoy two tremendous benefits that make them very sensible alternatives. They have the advantage of simplicity, so the development costs are low. They have the advantage of diversity, so we can build a decentralized energy system in this province. Many of these sources are already cost competitive, others would be with mass production techniques, and some require further research and development. Some may prove not to be useful, but their adoption as a new energy base would make us truly energy self-sufficient forever in Ontario.
Development of these systems would be labour intensive, not capital and energy intensive. We could create countless numbers of new jobs in Ontario and we could put the province back to work again. There’s no need for the kind of unemployment we have. We could build a totally new sector in the economy which would make us not an exporter of raw materials, but an exporter of finished products that would meet the energy needs of an energy-starved world.
In conclusion, we still have control of our destiny. The future is still open for us to write, as far as energy policy development goes. Is this government so myopic that its visions of the future are limited by the bounds of the past? I don’t want to leave, and the members of my party don’t want to leave, future generations in this province nothing but a wasteland. We want to leave future generations the best province possible. If this government is not willing to work toward that goal, then it has governed too long and it should leave.
On motion by Hon. Mr. MacBeth, the debate was adjourned.
Hon. Mr. MacBeth: Mr. Speaker, I understand the order of business for Monday has already been announced.
On motion by Hon. Mr. MacBeth, the House adjourned at 12:30 p.m.