The House met at 2 p.m.
Mr. Grossman: Mr. Speaker, just before the business of the day, I have with me some pieces of the anniversary cake on the 25th anniversary of Doctors Hospital, which we are pleased to celebrate this week. I would like to invite all the members of the assembly after question period, except for those who stay in the House, to join us in the government members’ caucus office for a piece -- there are 125 -- a piece of our 25th anniversary cake.
Mr. Nixon: Are you serving tea?
Mr. Stokes: Let them eat cake!
Mr. Breithaupt: Will there be a 26th?
Mr. Speaker: Statements by the ministry.
MUNICIPAL VOTERS’ LISTS
Hon. Mr. Meen: Mr. Speaker, during the past week a controversy has arisen concerning the accuracy of the voters’ list in Toronto’s Ward 6. Claims have been made that a fair municipal election is not now possible.
Mr. Speaker, this is a very serious allegation, and since the assessment division of my ministry is responsible for conducting the annual Ontario enumeration from which these voters’ lists, among other lists, are prepared, it is imperative that I assure voters in Ward 6 and elsewhere that such a charge is unfounded; and, indeed, every step available to us has been and will continue to be taken to ensure the accuracy of all final voters’ lists in the province.
As has been reported, Mr. Peter Budd, a candidate in Ward 6, has sent a telegram to me in which he requests that a new enumeration be conducted in that ward. From my investigation I have found no irregularities which would warrant a second enumeration. I am confident that provisions in The Municipal Elections Act will more than adequately ensure the integrity of the final voters’ list.
I believe it would be useful to put on record just exactly what steps are followed to create the final voters’ list.
All information relating to property ownership, school support and voter eligibility is held in the standard assessment system computer file of the assessment division of my ministry. All ownership and tenancy changes are recorded in this file each year, and in an election year municipal enumeration forms are produced from this file covering every assessable unit, prior to the enumeration period. Enumerators hired and trained specifically for this purpose, visit all residential units in order to check the accuracy of the information on file. Changes indicated by the occupant of the property are recorded and the file is updated accordingly.
If no response is obtained on the enumerator’s first call, he or she calls back at least one more time. If there is still no response, the enumeration notice is left at the door, together with a prepaid return envelope and with instructions to the occupant to verify the information on the notice and to return it to the local assessment office if any corrections are necessary.
Enumeration notices for commercial properties, both owner-occupied and rented, are mailed to the occupant with instructions to verify, and return the notice if corrections are to be made.
Prior to the production of the preliminary list of electors, a list of names in alphabetical sequence is produced for each municipality. At this time, this is checked in an effort to identify and remove any duplications. It is my ministry’s policy not to exclude names from the list which cannot be absolutely verified as being the same individual, on the basis of all information available such as age, mailing address, Christian names and initials, and school support. This assures a voter that his name is not removed simply because it is similar to someone else’s.
Throughout this whole process every effort is made by my ministry to obtain the correct information. However, as in federal and provincial elections, the final onus is on the individual to ensure that he is correctly identified and qualified. The fact that errors and omissions can occur on a preliminary voters’ list is readily acknowledged, and for this very reason provisions are made in the legislation for the clerk of the municipality to revise this list of electors.
In preparing the final list, the clerk is dependent on the public’s willingness to check their eligibility as recorded on the preliminary list of electors. In my opinion, these steps provide more than adequate safeguards in the preparation of an accurate voters’ list. In fact in a province-wide review by my ministry after the last municipal election, the volume of revisions constituted less than one per cent of the total number of voters listed. The higher rate of changes in Ward 6 can be attributed to the high density of commercial development where the onus is clearly on the occupant to respond to his enumeration notice.
If I may return to the case of Mr. Peter Budd, a candidate for alderman in Ward 6 of the city of Toronto, sufficient accurate information was not available to exclude him from the list for two commercial properties which he occupies on Yonge Street. In both cases the enumeration notices were mailed to Mr. Budd, but it appears he chose not to correct the errors on file and apparently did not return the corrected forms to the assessment office.
In light of all these circumstances, Mr. Speaker, I feel that any call for a new enumeration in Ward 6 is unnecessary.
Mr. Speaker: Oral questions.
DOMTAR MILL CLOSING
Mr. Lewis: A question of the Minister of Labour, Mr. Speaker: Has the Minister of Labour looked into the announced closing of the Georgetown mill of Domtar Fine Papers Limited with, if memory serves me, about 175 people to be thrown out of work? Has the minister looked at the company’s reasons for closing the plant and some of the problems the company alleges it has? Is the ministry involved in any alternate work opportunities for the employees?
Hon. B. Stephenson: The hon. Leader of the Opposition is almost totally accurate in his estimate of the number of employees. It is exactly 176.
Yes, the ministry has been busily involved in examining the reasons given by Domtar regarding the need to close this plant; and their reasons for suggesting that a reasonably large number of the employees there may in fact move to the other plant where they can be employed. We are involved in an employment adjustment service within our ministry and with the federal government.
Mr. Lewis: Supplementary: Since there are, I believe, some 66 employees with more than 15 years of service, many of them now in their 50s or beyond, is it possible for the ministry to take charge of the alternative employment opportunities and perhaps make a progress report to the employees over the next few weeks?
Hon. B. Stephenson: Each individual employee is interviewed in our programme, and consultant services are provided in terms of exploring job possibilities and job potentials, and, indeed, the counsellors assist the employees in finding new jobs. Each one is dealt with on an individual basis, and I’m sure that they are aware of the activities which go on within the employment adjustment programme.
Mr. Reed: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Would the minister be prepared to present her findings on the alternative possibilities and the results of the studies that her ministry is doing at the present time?
Hon. B. Stephenson: This will be an ongoing programme for at least the next eight, 10 or 12 weeks, and at the end of that time I’d be very pleased to provide the information.
Mr. Lewis: To the Minister of Natural Resources: In light of the public controversy over reforestation, will the minister be introducing supplementary estimates, as other ministers are, within the next month or so to be applied directly to a stepped-up regeneration programme?
Hon. Mr. Bernier: That’s a subject we’ll have to discuss within the government, and when we’re prepared to make that statement it will be there.
Hon. Mr. McKeough: There could be a lot of trees planted between now and March 31.
Mr. MacDonald: Supplementary: What did the minister mean when he said in that meeting up in northwestern Ontario that the government was a year and a half behind in its reforestation? A year and a half behind what?
Hon. Mr. Bernier: The comment I did make in Red Lake and Ear Falls where 450 people at Red Lake supported the Reed proposal --
Mr. MacDonald: I’m not interested. I want the answer to the question.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: Two hundred people in Ear Falls hailed the document as one of the greatest documents in the history of northwestern Ontario.
Mr. Roy: They thought you were just great, eh?
Hon. Mr. Bernier: I indicated that in our policy option for the year 2020, which guarantees that by the year 2020 we will have 9.1 million cunits of wood fibre available for the industries of this province. We are approximately a year in a pause period, and we will be catching up on this shortfall.
Mr. Nixon: You are not going to be here in 1977.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Are you going to be here, Bob?
Mr. Foulds: Supplementary: Is it not a fact that unless the minister gets additional moneys to spend on forest management regeneration, he is into timber mining instead of reforestation of a renewable resource?
Hon. Mr. Bernier: No, Mr. Speaker, we’re not in timber mining at all. We’re in forest management and forest harvesting.
Mr. MacDonald: That’s what the foresters say.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. Order, please.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: In fact, I would say to the hon. member since we embarked on a very ambitious industrial expansion of the resources of northern Ontario in which we’ve brought a new paper mill into his community, a new waferboard plant into his community, a new waferboard plant into Atikokan, a new pulp mill -- an expanded pulp mill -- in the riding of the member for Lake Nipigon (Mr. Stokes), that we are now reviewing our 2020 programme. In fact we’re looking for a 2050 programme, which will guarantee that by the year 2050 we will have over 12 million cunits of wood fibre available for that particular area.
Mr. Foulds: Point of order: I know that the minister did not intend to mislead the House, but in fact there is not a new pulp mill in my community. There was an expanded one.
WINTER WORKS PROJECTS
Mr. Lewis: May I ask the Premier, in the light of the unemployment figures which emerged I guess today, is there any intention on the part of cabinet for a special winter works undertaking -- a special winter works programme?
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I haven’t looked at the figures carefully myself yet. I think they are marginally less than a year ago, which is somewhat encouraging. They still are much higher than I think any of us would like to see. We’re not contemplating at this moment a particular winter works project, say comparable to the elm tree programme or matters of that kind. The Treasurer (Mr. McKeough) and the government are constantly monitoring the economic situation, of course, but we are not contemplating a programme of that nature at this moment.
Ms. Bryden: Supplementary to the Premier, Mr. Speaker: Is he not aware that the seasonally adjusted figure is up from 6.1 per cent to 6.3 per cent, and that 20,000 more workers are out of work?
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I understand there are 20,000 more workers out of work, seasonally adjusted, than a month ago, yes.
UNITED ASBESTOS PLANT
Mr. Lewis: Just one question to the Minister of Natural Resources: May I ask him a question which will, miraculously, bring credit to his ministry rather than disrepute?
Hon. Mr. Bernier: In that tone?
Mr. Lewis: May I? Thank you. I feel strongly about it.
Mr. Laughren: He won’t know how to handle it.
Mr. Lewis: Could the minister give much greater currency and publication to the recent test results at Matachewan, which while they still indicate significant room for improvement, show also very important improvements since the previous series of tests, and demonstrate I think, that when you put -- or would the minister not agree with me -- that when you put really severe pressure on a company like United Asbestos they can end up implementing the changes that they said initially were not possible?
Hon. Mr. Bernier: Mr. Speaker, certainly I’d be glad to take that suggestion. I’m sure the hon. Leader of the Opposition is aware that we are providing his caucus --
Mr. Lewis: Yes.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: -- with regular reports of the testing that’s going on. If he wants to speed those up, we’ll attempt to work very closely with the Ministry of Health and get those out to him as quickly as we can.
Mr. Lewis: Okay. May I ask a supplementary: Has the minister conducted -- these tests are now mid-October, with some major plant changes in process -- has the ministry taken another series of tests in the last three to four weeks?
Hon. Mr. Bernier: I could check on that, Mr. Speaker, but I would say that our staff is there on a weekly basis and there have been tests coming out on a fairly regular basis. Just the exact timing of that I’m not sure, but I’ll get the information for him.
Mr. Lewis: No further questions, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Bain: Supplementary: I’d just like to inquire of the minister: Does he feel that he’s had sufficient staff to monitor mines across this province? Considering that this portion of his ministry will be transferred into the Ministry of Labour, if it hasn’t had sufficient staff, what target does he feel is necessary in order to carry out an ongoing monitoring system so that we don’t only deal with problem areas, but have the whole area of mining adequately covered and monitored?
Hon. Mr. Bernier: I think this question will be adequately answered in the weeks ahead, as the branch gets moved into a new ministry and as we co-ordinate our activities with regard to the inspection of that particular industry. I’m sure the member will be looking forward to the results of that change.
Mr. Breithaupt: Mr. Speaker, a question of the Minister of Labour: Is the minister aware that in the Sudbury district the International Nickel Company permits as its working language only the English language and that the 8,000-odd Inco workers from this 30 per cent francophone area of Ontario must pass job examinations for categories printed in English only, are able to lodge grievances in English only and have available to them a safety instruction manual printed in English only?
Hon. B. Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, I had not been aware of it until I read about the grievance lodged by a francophone worker at Inco who has complained that he was unable to lodge his grievance in his own language. We have been exploring this problem and we will be reporting to the House later about it.
Mr. Breithaupt: One supplementary, Mr. Speaker, to this matter of linguistic rights: Will the minister enter into any general review of the various areas of heavy industry, where particular safety problems might occur quite quickly, to ensure that there is proper availability of safety manuals and instructions in the particular languages that might be used substantially by the members of the work force, whether, for example, it might be the need for the Italian language in Toronto or some other language to ensure that the workers are getting the best possible balance of protection in these cases?
Hon. B. Stephenson: Since occupational safety and health is one of the highest priority activities in the Ministry of Labour and since communication is a very important part of that activity, we shall most certainly be attempting to ensure that communication is as complete as possible in all of the languages which are necessary.
Mr. Laughren: In view of the fact that mining is under the jurisdiction of the Minister of Natural Resources (Mr. Bernier) still, I believe, would she check with him, in view of the fact that he already knew that this problem existed and had not done anything about it?
Hon. B. Stephenson: The responsibility for this activity will remain under the Ministry of Natural Resources until this House agrees to the legislation which we have proposed, which I hope will be in the not-too-distant future. In the meantime, I shall be pleased to consult with my colleague.
Mr. di Santo: I’d like to ask the Minister of Labour whatever happened to the pilot safety project in Italian and does she consider that that kind of project can meet the needs of the Italian workers in Metro Toronto?
Hon. B. Stephenson: The results of the Italian project are not entirely tabulated as yet. I think it was a useful exercise. I do not think it can meet the needs completely, but I think it is one way of making Italian-speaking workers aware of the availability of assistance when they have problems in terms of health and safety.
DEATH OF INCO WORKER
Mr. Breithaupt: A question of the Minister of Natural Resources: Is the minister aware of the inquest into the death of an Inco worker, Samuel Beals, and the recommendation of the coroner’s jury calling for changes in The Mining Act regarding, in particular, the re-railing of ore cars? If so, does he plan to correct this dangerous situation which apparently occurs daily in the mines?
Hon. Mr. Bernier: Yes, I am very much aware of that. In fact, we have a committee within the government now working very closely with labour, with industry and with my own ministry in bringing forward and recommending changes to The Mining Act. I will personally make sure that they are aware of the recommendations of the coroner’s inquest.
Mr. Laughren: Supplementary: While the minister is recommending changes, would he also recommend that miners themselves be allowed to sit on inquest committees when there are fatalities in the mining industry?
Hon. Mr. Bernier: Yes, I would be glad to recommend that to the committee looking at revisions to The Mining Act for their consideration.
INTERMEDIATE CAPACITY TRANSPORT SYSTEM
Mr. Breithaupt: A final question to the Minister of Transportation and Communications: Can the minister report to us on the progress of the intermediate capacity transit programme undertaken by UTDC, specifically whether it’s under budget, over budget or whatever it may be? Secondly, why have we had no announcement as yet concerning the location of the proposed test track, which appears to be long overdue?
Hon. Mr. Snow: The programme is proceeding on schedule. I have not had a report recently from the corporation as to the budget; I’ve not had any report, however, that it is any different than what was budgeted. I expect within the next two weeks to be able to make an announcement to the House on the location of the test track site.
Mr. Breithaupt: When he makes that statement, would the minister as well give us the information, since there has been a great deal of controversy over the state of UTDC’s finances, with respect to exactly how much money the government will have injected at that time into this corporation for the ICTS project or any other project?
Hon. Mr. Snow: Yes.
Mr. Roy: I have a supplementary dealing with this particular project. In view of the fact, as I understood it, that in the Krauss-Maffei situation we were left with parts, test tracks and everything else in Munich, have we been making use of all that equipment? If we have, has the minister got his little sign out saying that it is part of the Ontario government contribution?
Mr. Breithaupt: He is getting decals made.
Mr. Nixon: They don’t emphasize that any more.
Hon. Mr. Snow: The UTDC did make considerable use. I understand, of the test facilities in Munich.
Mr. Roy: In Munich?
Hon. Mr. Snow: They made all the use they required of what was available to them. They’re not using them at the present time.
Mr. Roy: Supplementary on this?
Mr. Speaker: One more supplementary.
Mr. Roy: Could the minister just be more specific and tell us what use was made of it, in view of the fact that that test track out there, as I understood it, was for vehicles without wheels and the vehicles proposed in the new programme have wheels?
Mr. Ruston: Can it go around corners?
Hon. Mr. Snow: I don’t believe they make use of the test track for the current intermediate capacity system at all. I believe they did make use of it to test out certain other components.
Mr. Peterson: Are you for or against the wheel?
Mr. Speaker: Was that the final question?
Mr. Breithaupt: Yes, Mr. Speaker, thank you.
Mr. Samis: A question of the Minister of Industry and Tourism: Can the minister tell us what special action he is prepared to take to help find alternative sources of employment in the Millhaven area in view of the fact that 216 employees were permanently laid off last week, in view of the fact that of 452 employees laid off in the spring only 100 have been called back and in view of the fact that the federal government doesn’t seem to be willing to move further than the action announced recently? And in saying that, Mr. Speaker, I do recognize the efforts of the minister to pressure the federal government.
Hon. Mr. Bennett: Mr. Speaker, I am sure it would be of interest to the House that representatives of the textile field, to which we are referring in this question, along with provincial representatives, will be meeting with Mr. Chretien later this week to discuss the possibilities and the alternatives that the federal government might be able to implement to try to bring back the Canadian market and thereby secure some of the employment. Until that meeting has concluded, sir, I have no further comments to make, other than that Ontario will be making a very strong case at that meeting.
Mr. Samis: Supplementary: I wonder if the minister could explain a statement in the November 4 issue of the Kingston Whig-Standard, made by the member for Prince Edward-Lennox (Mr. Taylor), who said that he knew of some plans for the area and explained: “I know there will be other developments that will assist and they should gel soon.” Does the member know of something that the minister doesn’t in this regard?
Mr. Roy: It wouldn’t be the first time, eh, Claude?
Hon. Mr. Bennett: Mr. Speaker, I would have to consult with the member for Prince Edward-Lennox to find out which particular project he was referring to. But let me assure the hon. member for Cornwall (Mr. Samis) there are several projects we are looking at in that particular area --
Mr. Roy: Remember Edwardsburgh?
Hon. Mr. Bennett: -- whether they be a direct supplement for the textile industry, I’m not prepared to say at this moment.
Mr. McKessock: Mr. Speaker, by way of supplementary, I’d like to assure the Minister of Industry and Tourism that this isn’t just happening in the other member’s area. In Markdale yesterday --
Some hon. members: Question!
Mr. McKessock: -- they got notice that in eight weeks’ time their only factory is closing down, and in Palmerston there is a similar situation. Can the minister tell me why the companies are moving out of Ontario to Montreal in these two cases?
Mr. Lewis: It is in anticipation.
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: Are you kidding? They are on their way back.
Hon. Mr. Bennett: Mr. Speaker, in defence of Ontario companies, I would have to say I am not aware of any great number of them --
Mr. Breithaupt: René Levesque made them an offer they couldn’t refuse.
Hon. Mr. Bennett: -- indeed, I am not aware of any one in particular that is moving in that particular direction at this moment.
Hon. Mr. Handleman: It’s a one-way street.
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: Their leader was ahead of his time.
Hon. Mr. Bennett: And I would think that until some time after November 15 there will be very few decisions made about moving in that direction.
BUS DECAL PROGRAMME
Mr. Peterson: A question of the Minister of Transportation and Communications, Mr. Speaker: I would like to pursue, if I may, the matter we were discussing yesterday when the minister was saved by the bell. Could the minister tell me the total cost in the province of Ontario of his programme to put these decals on the sides of the various buses?
Hon. Mr. Snow: It is my understanding that there are roughly 4,500 transit vehicles in the province; that includes buses, streetcars and subway cars. As I stated yesterday, the cost of the decals is 71 cents each and the cost of the installation would be very minimal. They are very simple decals to install.
Mr. Peterson: Is the minister aware of Michael Warren’s comment that in Metro Toronto alone it will probably cost $25,000 to implement this programme because they have to move decals and the many complications in the programme?
Mr. Shore: Better check those figures for him.
Mr. Peterson: Is the minister aware of that and what is his response?
Hon. Mr. Snow: I am very much aware of Mr. Warren’s comments. He is completely off-base on that comment --
Mr. Lewis: Michael Warren?
Hon. Mr. Snow: -- as he has been on several other comments.
Some hon. members: Oh, oh.
Mr. Peterson: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker?
Mr. Speaker: One final supplementary on this by the hon. member.
Mr. Peterson: Does the minister not feel, in view of the restraint programmes that the rest of his cabinet colleagues are talking about, that if he is going to do it, at least he should put on the decal that it is being paid for by the taxpayers of Ontario and not his government?
Hon. Mr. Davis: So are the machines.
Hon. Mr. Snow: I think that is one and the same thing.
Hon. W. Newman: Aren’t you proud of the province?
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Mr. Roy: Mr. Speaker --
Mr. Speaker: Is this a supplementary?
Mr. Roy: Yes.
Mr. Speaker: All right. One final supplementary on this question.
Mr. Roy: By way of supplementary, I wonder if the minister might explain if the decal, as he calls it, has to go pursuant to the instructions at the front of the curved roof panel above the right front wheel shield just to the right of the “no smoking” decal? Is that exactly where he wants it? Why does he bother with this --
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Hon. Mr. Snow: A letter went out from my ministry to the transit authorities requesting that this decal be installed. It did request that it be installed preferably in a certain location. I did not see the wording of that particular letter before it went out.
Mr. Peterson: Are you denying responsibility?
Hon. Mr. Snow: It is not necessary as far as I am concerned that the decal be in that particular location, if it interferes with --
Mr. Roy: A no smoking sign.
Hon. Mr. Snow: -- the colour scheme or another insignia of the transit authority.
Mr. Mancini: You know where it should be.
Hon. Mr. Snow: As soon as this was brought to my attention I made that known to the operators.
Mr. Roy: Are you going to put signs in front of schools?
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: No, that is what your federal friends do.
Mr. S. Smith: Put them on the hospitals.
Mr. Lewis: John, relax.
Mr. Roy: Try to control yours, Mr. Rhodes.
Hon. Mr. Davis: How was your meeting with Pierre, Stuart?
Mr. S. Smith: Next time I will bring you a cigar.
Mr. Speaker: The hon. Minister of Transportation and Communications has the answer to a question asked yesterday.
ICE STORM DAMACE
Hon. Mr. Snow: Mr. Speaker, yesterday the hon. member for Essex North (Mr. Ruston) raised a question regarding a supplementary grant which was made available, I believe, to a municipality within his riding, relating to the additional costs that municipality had from the severe ice storm in western Ontario last year. He inquired as to whether that was the only municipality which got such a grant and whether it was because the mayor of that municipality is a PC candidate.
I’d like to answer that question a little more fully than when I replied yesterday. The following municipalities got supplementary grants relating to the ice storm:
The town of Ridge town; the town of Forest; the town of Petrolia; the town of Wallaceburg; the city of St. Thomas; the town of Exeter; the regional municipality of Niagara; the city of Port Colborne; the town of Fort Erie; the township of Wainfleet; and the township of East Williams. That makes a total of 11 municipalities which got a total allocation of $138,600 for this purpose. I was unable to determine definitely but to my knowledge, the mayors of all 11 of those municipalities are not Conservative candidates.
Mr. Roy: Your recruitment is down in that area.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Look at your own recruitment.
Mr. Roy: You have to give them odd jobs like looking at condominiums.
ONTARIO HYDRO SUSPENSIONS
Mr. Bain: I’d like to direct a question to the Minister of Energy. Would he direct Ontario Hydro to cease and desist its programme of suspending for one day all employees who joined in the national day of protest on October 14 against the anti-inflation programme? Would he further instruct or persuade Ontario Hydro to restore the day’s pay of all those who have been so unjustly suspended and docked a day’s pay?
Mr. Kerrio: They gave two days’ suspension.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, the answer to the first part is, no. The answer to the second part is, no.
Mr. Peterson: Says he with a sneer.
Mr. Bain: A supplementary: Does the minister not think that his attitude and the attitude of Ontario Hydro is going to accomplish nothing positive? Does he not feel it is going to further disturb relations between management and the workers?
Mr. Speaker: We are debating the question now. Order, please.
Hon. Mr. Handleman: Maybe they will stay at work next time.
REMOVAL OF TEXTBOOKS
Mr. Givens: A question of the Minister of Education: How does the minister reply to the accusations levelled at him by Professor Kenneth McNaught of the department of history of the University of Toronto, who has charged that he is directly culpable of thought control, censorship and supine surrender because he acquiesced to the removal of a number of textbooks from the list of books approved for use in Ontario schools because of the intervention of Professors L. M. Kenny, and J. R. Blackburn of the University of Toronto’s Islamic studies department and by the Canadian Society of Moslems?
Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, I plead not guilty.
Mr. Roy: Plead insanity.
Mr. Givens: Mr. Speaker, is there indeed an office in the minister’s department which deals with the question of censorship of books on the ministry’s approved list for use in Ontario schools and what are the criteria that such a person uses with respect to the censorship of such books?
Hon. Mr. Wells: Well, let me say, Mr. Speaker, that we don’t censor any books and we certainly would never consider censoring books.
Mr. Peterson: Well, what about Roy? Does Roy agree with you?
Hon. Mr. Wells: Our concern is that there be used in this province textbooks that are free of bias. Now, I realize when I say that, that that’s a very difficult thing to achieve because to one person what is biased and what should be taken out because it is outright bias is perhaps to another person a case of censorship. But we try to achieve in the textbooks that are used in the schools of this province no sex bias -- now in saying that I don’t mean that every book that is used in this province doesn’t have sex stereotyping because there still are some that do -- because we can’t remove all books and have books that fulfil that criterion overnight.
We are trying to remove racial bias particularly as it pertains to the native peoples of this country; a bias which is today thought to be out of place but 20 years ago perhaps was not -- so it is a very difficult area.
In regard to the books that you are referring to concerning the Islamic religion and Moslems, we have been working over the last year and a half, not with the people from the University of Toronto but the Council of Moslem Societies and some very reputable people in this province, concerning certain textbooks which they felt cast some biased slur on the Islamic religion.
After much discussion with them we decided to remove several of them from our Circular 14 list and we have under consideration several others but certainly the kind of charges attributed by the good professor at the university against what we are doing, I think, are unfounded. All we are trying to do is achieve in this province a situation where no group can charge that the textbooks used in our schools are casting unfair bias on another racial group. But I would be the last one to suggest we should ever consider censorship and I think it’s a very fine line -- we have to tread that fine line but we have to be concerned about bias in textbooks.
Mr. Givens: Supplementary: Does the minister personally look at these books that his ministry has occasion to remove from the approved list?
Hon. Mr. Wells: I purposely try to not look at the books because I don’t want people to attribute political bias to what we do and really unless someone has --
Mr. Peterson: That’s a refreshing change.
Hon. Mr. Wells: -- specifically drawn it to my attention, I leave it to people in our ministry, working with other groups, working with the Ontario Human Rights Commission and others, to do this job. Now what is basically done --
Mr. Mancini: Does Roy look at those magazines?
Mr. R. S. Smith: I don’t think you should look at the budget either.
Hon. Mr. Wells: -- is that we don’t censor. We will look for people who are publishing new textbooks. We will look at the manuscripts and if there are indications of areas that might have bias we will suggest to them that these perhaps are areas where bias is present. It is up to the publisher whether he wants to publish that book then or not.
UNIVERSITY ENROLMENT DATA
Ms. Sandeman: A question for the Minister of Colleges and Universities: Could the minister please tell us to what use the ministry intends to put this massive collection of computer data from Statistics Canada, USIS data base, particularly in view of the fact that most of the statistics contain therein a breakdown of university enrolment based on the country of origin of the students and further country of origin of students in individual programmes and individual faculties, by university?
Hon. Mr. Parrott: I must confess I haven’t seen that publication. If the member would like to send it to me, I will take a look at it later and report to the House.
Mr. Lewis: Supplementary: May I ask you to look at it in the context of the concern that it is causing in some of the university circles over the use that might be made of information quite as explicit as that in identifying backgrounds of every individual student in individual programmes? Some are quite concerned.
Hon. Mr. Parrott: Yes, I will take a look at it.
Mr. Nixon: I have a question for the Minister of Housing. Has he received notice from the council of the regional municipality of Haldimand-Norfolk requesting that the government’s programme to go ahead with the development of the new town on the Townsend site be postponed for a period of time so that the serviced lots presently available in the area will be used up, rather than going on with the expenditure of funds for the servicing of the town?
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: Yes, I received notice that they had requested that there be a delay in the project. No, they have not suggested the reason was to use up the existing serviced lots.
Mr. Nixon: Supplementary: I wonder if the minister could tell us what his response will be to the request? Does he recall a report that was commissioned within the Ministry of Housing which was made public, I believe, last June which recommended that the ministry set a new timetable, since there was a real chance that up to $40 million in servicing would be spent in the new townsite up to three years before it might be required?
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: It is my intention to meet with the regional council, as it was their request that we meet with them -- myself and two of my colleagues -- to discuss what their concerns are. We had not anticipated the expenditure of funds for servicing to be three years ahead of schedule. I think, as the hon. member knows, the intention was that we would be in a position to begin building houses in that particular area in 1978, and that the servicing would be available for the initial stages of that development.
Mr. Makarchuk: Supplementary: Is the minister aware that if he suspends the development of the Townsend site that will allow the speculators in that area to jack up the prices of land to exorbitant levels?
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: I have never at any time suggested that we would suspend development of the site. As the hon. member knows, we have been progressing towards the goal of having that land on stream and ready for building in 1978. If the regional council of Haldimand-Norfolk has some information that we are not aware of, then, of course, we would like to discuss it with them. There has been some concern, I understand, expressed by the regional council that our population projections are overoptimistic. Our original figures for the early part of that project in 1978 are not, I suggest, out of line with those that are being used by the region. But we want to discuss the matter with them.
Mr. Speaker: The hon. Minister of Transportation and Communications has the answer to a previous question.
Mr. G. I. Miller: One further question.
Mr. Speaker: All right.
Mr. G. I. Miller: Is the townsite on schedule at the present time?
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: To the best of my understanding, the planning process has gone along and is now on schedule. We were and still are anticipating that if things go as they have been projected to go we would have housing built by 1978.
Hon. Mr. Snow: Yesterday the hon. member for Etobicoke (Mr. Philip) asked me a question regarding the possible transfer of certain wheel-manufacturing facilities from Toronto to Montreal by the CNR. I have had an opportunity this morning, to make a preliminary inquiry to the Canadian National Railways. I have established the fact that CNR has never had a wheel-manufacturing facility in Toronto. CN advises that it does certain processing of wheels and, I believe, rebuilding of wheels in Toronto and that this operation, which was done until recently at its Toronto shop, has been transferred to Montreal.
However, I am advised that a formerly Montreal-based CNR maintenance operation, requiring essentially the same type of employees and, I believe, maybe a slightly larger number, has been moved to Toronto. In essence, there will be no loss of jobs in the Toronto area as a result of CNR changes in its maintenance facilities.
OHIP DENTAL BENEFITS
Mr. Foulds: I have a question of the Minister of Health: Is the minister aware that changes implemented by OHIP in July with regard to oral surgery have caused severe hardships to many patients who have been denied hospital care when such was obviously necessary for health and safety purposes?
Hon. F. S. Miller: I am very familiar with the topic the hon. member discussed and I am not sure he is correct in his conclusions. Certain changes were made in the dental benefits under OHIP which in effect eliminated one of the abuses of the system -- the abuse that led to people having a number of teeth taken out simply to qualify for free dental coverage.
Mr. Bain: That is a case for a free dental programme then.
Hon. F. S Miller: However, we left it clearly evident any person who needed to be in hospital for dental treatment because of their general health or for any other reason -- for example, a severe heart patient, a child who may have epilepsy, this type of thing -- could have the coverage in hospital prearranged. Some dentists were not quite familiar with the new procedures; some also felt we didn’t accept their assessment or other people’s assessments properly. I’ve talked about this within the last week or two with the ODA. I believe the original misconceptions and misunderstandings are being pretty well worked out, and that in fact we are paying for hospital benefits when a person should be admitted to hospital for any dental treatment.
Mr. Foulds: Supplementary: Would the minister then consider the following cases abuses, or does he think they should have been admitted to hospital -- which has been rejected by OHIP -- a 72-year-old-man who requires extraction of 24 teeth and suffers from chronic ulcer disease; a 62-year-old gentleman requiring nine extractions who had a lung removed --
Mr. Speaker: May I suggest we’re going into too much detail? I think you’ve quoted enough examples.
Mr. Foulds: -- a female patient, requiring 14 extractions, 73 years old with a chronic ulcer?
Mr. Speaker: Thank you. Order, please.
Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, I have seen one or two that I think errors were made on. I’m quite willing to have any specific case that was denied looked at.
Mr. Foulds: One final supplementary: How does the minister justify OHIP’s direction to two oral surgeons in Thunder Bay that they cannot have their patients referred to a general physician for a medical history before they proceed with their surgery?
Hon. F. S. Miller: I’m not going to try to until I find out something about it.
Mr. McKessock: A question of the Minister of Industry and Tourism: In view of the fact that the minister is not aware that Junior Footwear, of Markdale, Mount Forest and Aurora, is moving to Montreal, and also Heritage Kitchens of Palmerston, and now that the minister is aware, what is he prepared to do to help these small towns that desperately need these industries?
Hon. Mr. Bennett: I sent a note across to the member asking him if he would inform me of the companies because I’d be pleased to look at the situation. The leather industry in this province has been in trouble for a great number of months, if not years, as a result of, again, low cost imports coming into this province and into the country. I will take the names of the companies and have it looked into. I think it’s likely an amalgamation.
Mr. Breaugh: Mr. Speaker, a question to the Minister of Industry and Tourism: What role did his ministry play in the establishment of new CKD units for General Motors of Canada in Tillsonburg and the parts and service department in Woodstock? What incentives did the ministry give to General Motors to do that?
Hon. Mr. Bennett: We in the ministry have not added any incentives for General Motors to locate in any of the different parts of the province of Ontario. I will admit to this House that the Minister of Treasury, Economics and Intergovernmental Affairs, the Minister of Housing, the Resources Development policy field and myself have met with the executive officers of that corporation to discuss their future development plans in this province.
Mr. Breaugh: Supplementary: I wonder if the minister -- since he’s not being very specific about this -- now has a policy of allocating unemployment to industrial areas? In this instance, he took 350 jobs out of that Oshawa situation and put 60 people under the benefits of the Workmen’s Compensation Board disability pension. Is that his policy in this area, to allocate from existing industrial bases to other areas of the province?
Hon. Mr. Bennett: Mr. Speaker, we have given advice and suggestions to private investors in this province, and in luring new investors into the province as well. We have never in this government taken the initiative nor the position, nor are we intending to, to start dictating to companies where they must invest their dollars for industrial development in the province of Ontario. We will try to explain to those investors where we believe their funds would be best invested in the economic interests of the province of Ontario, but in the final analysis the economic interests of the companies must also be kept very clearly in mind if they are to survive and continue to produce an economy worthy of the province of Ontario.
Mr. Moffatt: Supplementary: In the light of the answer by the minister, I wonder if the minister could assure us that he has read the document tabled by the Treasurer last May, entitled “The Durham Subregion,” in which it is indicated that a number of jobs will have to be created in that area? If he has read it would he please tell us how that jibes with his statement this afternoon?
Hon. Mr. Bennett: Mr. Speaker, we make known to the industrialists coming into Ontario or those presently here how we see the advancement of the province of Ontario. In that document -- or in any of the other documents we’ve produced -- it was not a compulsory direction for industry to go, but a very clear indication of where the opportunities and the potential will exist in Ontario.
SUMMER EMPLOYMENT FOR STUDENTS
Mr. S. Smith: Mr. Speaker, a question for the Minister of Colleges and Universities, National Student Day and all that --
Hon. Mr. Davis: What is the “all that”?
Mr. S. Smith: Can the minister tell us whether he’s aware of the student employment survey prepared by the Carleton students’ association in which it’s indicated that students who come from low-income homes have had considerably more difficulty than other students have had in finding summer employment this year? Is he aware of this study and has he drawn any implications from that study with regard to future government policy in student aid programmes?
Hon. Mr. Parrott: Yes, I’m very aware of it. I had the pleasure of being at the University of Western Ontario this morning and there was a very excellent presentation which outlined that particular study plus many others. I thought it was a good presentation and I have taken a look at it.
I’m not quite prepared to agree with the leader of the third party that one can draw a straight-line relationship between the two facts he presented. We’re well aware that there are differences in the socio-economic mix. We’re not too certain -- and I don’t think anyone is yet prepared to state categorically that they are certain -- of the causative factors of that socio-economic mix. We feel that with the generous student assistance programme in this province -- I made the statement this morning at Western that it’s the most generous of any province in Canada and there was not a single soul there who denied that or indeed challenged it -- I think with the generous student assistance programme of this province, which is aimed directly at helping those in the lower income brackets, we are making a very strong effort to overcome that factor.
Mr. S. Smith: By way of supplementary: Has the minister any studies in his own ministry to determine whether or not it is a fact that students from low-income households have the further disadvantage of being unable to find summer employment? Can he tell us whether he is drafting his new policies to take that into account and what he is going to do to take that into account?
Hon. Mr. Parrott: I would think that before too long the government’s announcement of next year’s programmes will be made. I think there are two or three programmes which are well under way in that regard.
I have looked at that. We do not have a direct study on the subject matter but I think that involves more than just my ministry. Indeed, all the various ministries of this government are concerned. I think the member knows that a very extensive programme was in place last year and I would expect it would be in place in a future year.
Mr. Speaker: Just before we call on the hon. Attorney General for an answer to a question asked previously, perhaps we might have the lights turned down now that the cameras have gone? Thank you.
The hon. Attorney General.
Mr. Peterson: But the Attorney General is getting up, Mr. Speaker. Get more lights for him.
Mr. Speaker: I understand he’ll throw some light on another situation.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Mr. Speaker, I have a preliminary --
Hon. Mr. Davis: Why is the member for London Centre (Mr. Peterson) so worried about the lights being on?
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. Let’s hear the answer. Order.
Hon. Mr. Davis: We’re trying to conserve energy.
Mr. Peterson: I’m worried about Roy.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Mr. Speaker, I have a preliminary answer to a question the leader of the Liberal Party asked in this Legislature on October 26 and yesterday regarding an alleged assault on September 30 during a religious festival on Weston Road.
Upon receiving a letter and attached petition from Mr. B. N. Sarkar, dated October 9 and received in my office on October 21, I requested that a full report on the incident be made available to me.
I now understand that my colleague, the Solicitor General (Mr. MacBeth), had made a similar request of Chief Adamson on October 7 in response to a query from the member for York South (Mr. MacDonald) and that he is in receipt of a preliminary report dated October 19 from an inspector of No. 12 division of the Metropolitan Toronto police force.
I’m also informed that Chief Adamson personally has appointed a sergeant from the complaints bureau to investigate the matter further. It is anticipated by Chief Adamson that a full, detailed report will not be available for about another 10 days. At the same time, Mr. Speaker, I’d like to point out that the incident of September 30 and the complaints arising from the incident are being viewed most seriously, and consequently I’m satisfied that a very detailed investigation has been undertaken.
Mr. Roy: I wouldn’t count on it.
Mr. Speaker: The oral question period has expired.
Hon. Mr. Kerr presented the annual report of the Ministry of the Environment for the fiscal year ending March 31, 1975.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: It is my pleasure, Mr. Speaker, to present through you to the members of the House the annual report of the Algonquin Forestry Authority covering the period beginning April 1, 1975, and ending March 31, 1976. The report summarizes the first full year of the authority under the operational direction of the general manager, Mr. I. D. Bird, whose appointment became effective on April 1, 1975.
As the members are well aware, the authority’s objectives are defined in the Algonquin Provincial Park Master Plan, published by my ministry in 1974. I am most pleased with the progress achieved by the chairman, Prof. Vidar Nordin, and his board of directors of the authority in establishing a new venture in an atmosphere of apprehension and controversy.
The successful year recorded in this report is a reflection of the excellent support and collaboration of the forest industries as well as other agencies and individuals, too numerous to identify, who support the multiple-use concept of park resources.
An hon. member: It is, coincidentally, after the estimates -- just a coincidence.
Mr. Speaker: Motions.
Introduction of bills.
Mr. Singer: Mr. Speaker, as we are approaching November 11, the day of remembrance, could I on your behalf, sir, and on behalf of the members of the Legislature, bring the greetings of all of us to the Royal Canadian Legion, who are bringing to a close the celebration of the 50th anniversary of their founding.
MOTOR VEHICLE ACCIDENT CLAIMS AMENDMENT ACT
Mr. Speaker: Yesterday the hon. member for Oakwood (Mr. Grande) introduced a bill to amend The Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Act. It has been brought to my attention that as this bill calls for an expenditure of public moneys it is out of order for a private member and must be removed from the order paper. The member has been so informed and agrees.
ANSWER TO WRITTEN QUESTION
Hon. Mr. Welch: Mr. Speaker, before the orders of the day I wish to table the answer to question 141 standing on the notice paper. (See sessional paper 131.)
Mr. Breithaupt: All that for one question?
Mr. Speaker: Orders of the day.
NOTICE OF MOTION NO. 8
Hon. Mr. Timbrell moved resolution No. 8:
Resolved: that the order for adoption of the final report of the select committee inquiring into Hydro’s proposed bulk power rates be discharged but that the House adopt the following resolution in lieu thereof:
“That the Legislature adopt the policy direction of the select committee’s report and the modifications as proposed by the government to specific recommendations as follows”:
III-7. (re bulk metering) That the Legislature endorse the study of bulk metering practices now being conducted by Ontario Hydro and the municipal utilities to be completed within 12 months, and that, recommendations from Ontario Hydro be considered by the government at that time; and that, in the interim, the Legislature further endorse the moratorium on conversions to or from bulk metering which has been initiated by the municipal utilities;
III-11. (re revolving capital pool for industry) That pending study by the government as to the financial implications and statutory requirements of a revolving capital pool for industry, and as to whether this would be the best technique to encourage energy conservation by industry, a decision on this recommendation be deferred;
III-18. (re peak reduction targets) That the government make an interim report to the Legislature within two months on the specific peak demand reduction targets which are to be met by Ontario Hydro for each year over the next 10 years, and the changes, legislative and otherwise, which must be made to permit a workable load management programme;
III-23. That pending the development of, and experience with, Hydro’s load management programme, Ontario Hydro not further reduce its targets for adding generation capacity in the next 10 years;
III-24. That pending the development of, and experience with, Hydro’s load management programme, Ontario Hydro not develop a new generation plan which would reduce its planned growth in its generation capacity;
III-27. (re James Bay) That the government request Ontario Hydro to continue its investigations of the potential which might exist for Ontario from developments of the hydro-electric potential in the Baie James area of Quebec; and that in view of public hearings being held by the royal commission on electric power planning and their intent to make recommendations to the government on hydro-electric resource development in the province, the government advise Ontario Hydro that there will be no development of the Albany River at this time;
III-28. (re examination of nuclear commitment) That the Legislature endorse the review of nuclear power being conducted by the royal commission on electric power planning;
III-29 (iii) (re monitoring select committee) That in order to permit sufficient time to implement the recommendations approved by the Legislature, consideration of a monitoring select committee be deferred for one year;
IV-3. That, considering water power is an energy resource in the same vein as coal, uranium, oil and natural gas, Ontario Hydro not be exempt from water power rentals.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, I offer these few remarks at the beginning of the discussion and with the intention of making the bulk of my comments at the conclusion of the debate. The past five years has been a period of intense scrutiny of Ontario Hydro. The select committee’s report on Ontario Hydro’s 1976 bulk power rates is but the latest of a series of such examinations. Other recent studies include: the advisory committee on energy, Task Force Hydro, the Solandt commission, and the Ontario Energy Board rate review and system expansion hearings.
The work of the select committee without question has made a valuable additional contribution to that of the earlier studies. It carried out an illuminating and constructive review of Hydro. In addition, of course, the royal commission on electric power planning has been holding hearings for some time now on the broader issues of Ontario Hydro’s long-range planning programme and is involving all interested persons and groups in this major review. As I stated last week, the government accepts the tone and policy direction proposed by the select committee.
Of the 40 recommendations made by the select committee the government accepts 31 outright; others are accepted in principle with only differences in details of implementation.
Mr. Deputy Speaker: Can we have some order, please?
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: In most instances, in fact, we have already taken actions to put these proposals into effect. For instance, the select committee’s recommendation III-22 reads as follows -- that:
“Ontario Hydro change its planning process to emphasize meeting Ontario’s electrical energy needs after implementation of conservation and load management programmes, with the minimum amount of new generation that is consistent with sound planning.”
The government has accepted this recommendation and I have directed Ontario Hydro to take fully into account implementation of conservation and load management programmes in planning to meet Ontario’s electrical energy needs.
Similarly in recommendation III-19, the select committee proposed that:
“Ontario Hydro develop a measure of the reliability of the generation system that includes all significant variables, and indicates with the highest possible degree of clarity and accuracy the frequency, duration and scale of probable outages.”
The government agrees with this recommendation, and accordingly I have directed Ontario Hydro to continue its investigation of the value to the customer of different system reliability levels and to make an interim report to me within six months. The report should include an analysis of present and future reliability levels under the present generation station and transmission line construction schedule.
Mr. Sargent: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order: Will the minister tell me what is the use of the whole exercise if he has the right to veto what he wants?
Mr. Deputy Speaker: That is not a point of order.
Mr. Sargent: It’s a hell of a good point.
Mr. Deputy Speaker: The hon. Minister of Energy will resume.
Mr. Sargent: It’s an exercise in futility.
Mr. Deputy Speaker: That is not a point of order.
Mr. Sargent: Nothing is going to happen.
Mr. Deputy Speaker: The hon. Minister of Energy may continue.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. A third example relates to recommendation III-8, which proposes that:
“The Ontario government make available additional research funds for the development of energy-saving technology.”
As the hon. members are aware, I recently tabled information on the government’s new energy conservation initiatives which include several research and development projects for energy-saving technology including, for example, solar heating and wind power. These new initiatives represent a significant expansion of the scope of our energy management programme.
In addition, Ontario Hydro has significant research and development programmes of its own relating to energy-saving technology in such areas as heat pumps, more efficient transmission and distribution of electricity and more efficient insulation of buildings.
In 1975 Hydro allocated $11 million on research alone and still more was spent on development. The complete list of responses by the government, together with the reasons underlying these responses, are set out in the report I tabled last Thursday. It is not my intention to repeat these details. I would like, however, to touch on a few highlights so as to put Ontario Hydro and electrical energy into an overall energy policy framework. This is particularly important with respect to Ontario Hydro’s capability to meet the future demand for electricity.
When I met with the select committee just prior to the Ministers of Energy conference last February I stated that:
“Canada’s energy future, given present patterns about price, energy availability and diminishing tolerance to energy producing facilities, is serious. It is serious yet still manageable. There is no doubt that as Canadians we have some immediate and perhaps painful decisions to make. We can no longer afford to have it both ways. We can no longer expect to keep energy available on demand and with unfailing reliability in everlasting quantities and yet at the same time expect that the physical plants, whether refineries, natural gas fields, electric generating stations, transmission lines or whatever, will somehow be unnecessary. We can no longer realistically expect energy to be cheap.
“That may not be an easy message to deliver. However, as you know, we in Ontario must depend on receiving 80 per cent of our energy needs from outside of this province. And, as you are aware, some of those jurisdictions are demanding higher and higher prices for their energy resources. Even when we do have some control on the supply of a particular energy source, as with electricity, we are finding that there are other factors which dictate whether we can realistically deliver all of the energy we estimate may be needed at the price we have become accustomed to paying.
“One such factor -- and one which is becoming increasingly important -- is the availability and the price of capital to finance the building of facilities. Energy policy-making is becoming more complex and more subject to uncertainty. However, if I were to describe our policy objectives in one sentence I should say we are endeavouring to balance competing and conflicting objectives, wants and desires, in order to ensure that the people of Ontario have access to a variety of energy alternatives at as low a price as possible, keeping in mind our position with other jurisdictions.
“As energy prices increase and become a more visible and significant component of our personal and business budgets we have not only to look at the actual cost of energy, but to become more conscious of the relative costs vis-à-vis other provinces and countries.
“Ontario has an important role to play in the Canadian energy scene. We are by far the largest consuming province in Canada. But as I have mentioned, we are especially vulnerable to decisions made by others, particularly by governments over which we have no control.
“In the past year we have taken a number of important initiatives designed to protect Ontario consumers and the competitiveness of our industry. These are and will continue to be the objectives of paramount importance.”
Mr. Speaker, these remarks, which I made last February, clearly are very relevant to this afternoon’s debate.
Ontario Hydro has played a key role in the economic and social development of this province. The founding of Hydro in 1906 brought a new service of energy for the commerce and industry of the province and lit up the homes and streets of our municipalities. The rural electrification programme in the 1930s was a giant step forward for the farmers of Ontario, which provided them with power to modernize their farms and to live in comfort. In the late 1940s the key decision was made to standardize the system frequency at 60 cycles, and this programme set the stage for the postwar growth and development of our provincial economy.
Ontario Hydro’s future role in our province is no less crucial than its past role. Clearly we must be cognizant of the total energy scene within which electricity plays its role in Ontario life. Clearly, too, we should not concentrate solely on the expansion of the supply of energy. We must also limit our demands.
There is no question that we must take every appropriate measure to reduce wasteful demand for electricity, as with other forms of energy. The select committee came to that conclusion and the government concurs with its assessment. Starting in the fall of 1973, the government, including Ontario Hydro, has initiated numerous programmes to conserve energy. These programmes will be expanded significantly. Energy conservation must become part of our way of life. Conservation is essential if we are to cope with rapidly rising costs for those non-renewable resources which are required to manufacture electricity -- coal, crude oil, natural gas and uranium. It is essential if we are to cope with the rapidly rising construction costs and limited financial resources, all of which undermine Hydro’s ability to keep electricity rates at reasonable levels.
Conservation, however, can only reduce the growth in demand. It cannot entirely eliminate such growth, unless electricity is rationed or its use is otherwise forceably restrained. The government has rejected that course as a matter of policy, except, of course in times of crisis.
Contrary to the expectations of some, neither the total consumption of energy nor peak demand has decreased in 1976. In fact, primary electricity consumption, that is, total energy generated, is forecast to be up 6.8 per cent over 1975. Actual primary energy consumption and peak demand in September of this year were both up more than 10 per cent from the equivalent figures in September, 1975.
Conservation will help to reduce future increases in consumption and peak demand. But nonetheless we can expect Ontario to require more electrical energy each year, barring major crises.
One of the crucial issues, therefore, with which the government has dealt over this summer in its review of the select committee’s recommendations is: How much reduction and growth of electricity demand can be achieved, over what period of time, and how can this reduction be effected in a publicly-acceptable manner? A further and perhaps overriding question which the government asked is: How much risk should the consumer be asked to accept? Or, to put it another way, how likely it is that the consumer will be unable to get the electricity he or she will need in the future and how much less expensive will electricity be as a result of the additional risk assumed? I think the select committee clearly established that Hydro rates cannot be reduced appreciably even though considerable extra risk is assumed by the consumer.
I should emphasize there is no conflict between the government’s objectives and the select committee’s recommendations. Only our appreciations of the level and the speed with which the growth and demand for electricity might realistically be reduced differ. Specifically, I refer to the prospects for further cutting back on generating capacity expansion on the basis of an assumed value for interconnections with other utilities and on the basis of reductions in peak demands through load management.
Over the summer, Ontario Hydro again has contacted the electrical utilities in other jurisdictions surrounding us to determine the potential for surplus power and to obtain information on which to base a reasonable value for interconnections. The picture with respect to the availability of surplus power is not promising. In fact, power which Hydro has purchased in the past from jurisdictions such as Quebec will not be available once the present contracts terminate in 1977.
Similarly, the committee’s recommendation III-18, to reduce peak demand by a targeted amount of one per cent per annum to 1985, on examination is considered to be too ambitious given the legislative, technological and other changes which would need to be put in place first before any significant impact can be made. A case in point is the potential which exists to affect the peak load by reducing the demand for residential water heating. Here, the simple fact is that only 18 of the 353 electrical utilities in Ontario now practise this kind of load management. Time would be necessary in order to gear up those other utilities where savings could be effected.
Given this and the considerable doubt which exists as to whether a one per cent per annum reduction in peak demand is even realistic the government has decided that while it accepts the principle it cannot at this time accept the target. Nonetheless, the Ministry of Energy will quantify the potential for reducing the peak demand on the electrical system through load management.
I will report to the Legislature on the specific demand targets which are to be met by Ontario Hydro for each year over the next 10 years and the legislative changes and otherwise which must be made to permit a workable load management programme. I expect to make that interim report in two months.
I would hope that there is no misunderstanding. Since July, 1975, Ontario Hydro has reduced its construction programme over the period from now until 1985 by $6.5 billion. It has meant a reduction in its system expansion rate from the historic growth rate of seven per cent to six per cent per annum. This represents a delay of 1,000 megawatts of installed capacity in 1979 and more each year thereafter. It means that 5,700 megawatts which would have been available to meet consumer demand in 1985 will not be available at that time. That is almost three Pickerings.
In order to accommodate this loss of capacity, Ontario Hydro will have to operate with lower reserve margins thus increasing the risk to the consumer. There is a limit to how much risk the government feels the consumer should bear, especially when he or she will not benefit from appreciably lower rates by further cuts in generating capacity. In view of this, the government believes the most prudent course is to direct Ontario Hydro to continue with its revised system expansion plan adopted earlier this year which would increase generating capacity at an average annual rate of six per cent.
In summary then, the government agrees with the tone and the direction of the select committee’s report. Because events and subsequent analysis have tended to overtake some of the recommendations, a resolution calling for the modification of certain recommendations has been made, dealing with bulk metering, recommendation III-7; the establishment of a revolving capital pool for industry, recommendation III-11; peak reduction targets, which is recommendation III-18; reduction in generating capacity, recommendation III-23; a new generation plan, recommendation III-24; James Bay development, III-27; examination of the nuclear commitment, III-28; the monitoring select committee, III-29; and water power rentals, III-43.
I might say that by way of the assistance of staff of the former select committee, the three parties have agreed on amendments to recommendations III-23, III-24, III-28 and III-29, which I will table with the Clerk of the House. In the circumstances, I believe these to be responsible and appropriate modifications to the select committee’s report and trust that the hon. members will agree to the adoption of this resolution as amended.
Mr. Peterson: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker, is the minister going to read those in at this time?
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: No, I hadn’t intended to. The representatives of the other two parties are familiar with them as we discussed them earlier on.
Mr. Peterson: At what point will they go in the record, just for my own edification?
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Correct me if I am wrong, I believe the fact that I have tabled them puts them into the record.
Mr. Peterson: I am sorry, Mr. Speaker, could you give us a ruling on this?
Mr. Deputy Speaker: It has been suggested that the Clerk can read them at the table if you wish.
Mr. Peterson: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
Clerk of the House: Mr. Timbrell moves:
“(i) That, concurrent with Hydro’s load management programme and the establishing of specific peak demand reduction targets for each of the next 10 years, Hydro develop a new generation plan which would reduce its planned growth.
“(ii) The Ontario government appoint a select committee as the appropriate public forum to examine Hydro’s nuclear commitment not later than the fall of 1977.
“(iii) That the government commits itself to the appointment of a monitoring select committee to commence work not later than the fall of 1977.”
Mr. Peterson: I am sorry, Mr. Speaker, maybe I have the wrong understanding. Was there a figure given to the planned growth?
Was that not part of the agreement? Perhaps I am misinformed.
Ms. Gigantes: Under load management?
Mr. Deputy Speaker: The hon. minister can clarify that, if he wishes.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: The amendments as tabled and just read into the record of the House are as discussed among the hon. member for Carleton East (Ms. Gigantes), the hon. member for Halton-Burlington (Mr. Reed) and myself. It did not include a specific figure, no.
Ms. Gigantes: The reading of the minister’s new motions obviously changes the context in which this debate is occurring. I think what we have seen in his motions is an acceptance more of the spirit of the select committee’s work than we had seen in his initial response tabled last Thursday with the House.
I will speak to the main points which are contained in the minister’s motions today, because I think they represent the very essence of the recommendations and the spirit of the recommendations of the select committee’s work. We have already had two mini-debates which touched on the subject of the recommendations of the select committee on Hydro established last fall by this Legislature. The report was tabled in June and was accompanied by brief comments from the opposition and government.
Just last week we debated the proposed Hydro rates for 1977. Despite his glowing words of praise for the work of the committee, despite his claim to welcome the recommendations of the committee and despite the initiative he has undertaken in response to those recommendations, despite all these things the minister still does not seem to grasp the spirit of the report produced by the select committee. I say that, even in the light of the motions which we see from him today.
In the months since the report was tabled, the minister has had a period of time, several months, to consider the details of the committee’s work. He has had time to reflect on the import of the broad scope of the conclusions reached by the select committee. His considered response was tabled in the Legislature five days ago.
While it is heartening to see how much of our work has already been accepted, and indeed today he accepts more of the import of our work, I had and I have some real concern about the way in which some important elements in our recommendations were neglected or rejected by the minister and still seem to be given grudging acceptance.
As a background to the points I’d like to make, I would like to refer to chapter III, section 4, of the report of the select committee. It is the section of the report about which all the members of the committee felt very strongly. It is entitled “Ensuring Adequate Follow-up.” I quote from the first two paragraphs:
“It is essential that these recommendations be seen not in isolation but as integral parts of the whole new direction. The report must be viewed in its entirety, as the new direction is a substantial redirection for both Ontario Hydro and the government.
“The new direction will also require a substantial change to the government’s approach to energy. The traditional arm’s-length approach to Ontario Hydro is changed by the joint commitment to conservation and load management objectives. A more vigorous government role in electric energy is set out -- from increasing the extent of industrial electricity generation to working towards energy efficiency standards for appliances. And there will be a new urgency to articulate an overall energy policy for the province.
“The committee expects that the government, in formulating its energy policy, will follow the committee’s lead in taking immediate action before flexibility is lost, to build an economy that deals more realistically with the wise and efficient use of our energy resources.”
I want to stress and re-stress the importance of those paragraphs. Anyone who has the patience to read back through the volumes of transcripts of the proceedings of our committee will come time and again to prolonged discussions that we had about how we could, to the best of our ability, bring about a change in the fundamental attitudes of Ontario Hydro and the government which oversees our gigantic public energy corporation.
I think I can speak for all members of the committee, Mr. Speaker, when I say to you that we were preoccupied with the need for a new understanding and a new policy on Ontario’s energy future. That preoccupation was a direct reflection of our conviction that Ontario will not have an easy energy future, even if we adopt the best of policies. We came, on the committee, to the awful comprehension that our province will be vulnerable and must be wise.
I need not remind you, Mr. Speaker, of the makeup of the select committee. We came from all the parties represented here in this House. We were senior members of the Legislature and very junior members. We were lawyers, teachers, businessmen, farmers, actors, firemen and politicians. Politicians above all. And we agreed unanimously on every phrase of the report.
Let me refer you at this point, Mr. Speaker, to pages two and three of the minister’s response to our report tabled last Thursday. He says: “The select committee is but one of a series of examinations of the electric power planning system generally” -- he repeated those words today -- “and of Ontario Hydro specifically, initiated by the government in the past few years on various aspects of Hydro’s operations and its relationship to the government.”
He goes on to list six bodies which were commissioned to examine Hydro since 1970 -- everything from the Ontario Advisory Committee on Energy through to the current royal commission on electric power planning, the Porter commission. He sees the select committee as “but one of” those.
Mr. Speaker, I insist that the work of the select committee was not “but one of” a series of examinations of Ontario Hydro. It was absolutely without parallel in modern Hydro history. It was a political examination of our public energy corporation by members of all political parties represented in this House, and it came to unanimous conclusions about the letter and the spirit of what we called a new public policy direction for Ontario Hydro.
I stress this point, because I think it was the missing link in the minister’s understanding in his initial response, and indeed in his response today, to the approach that we have developed in our report. Our report was done by politicians, people who seek public office and are paid to represent the needs and guard the future of the residents of this province. We were not experts on power planning systems. We were not familiar with the engineering or the physics or chemistry of power generation. We weren’t trained as systems analysts. We were not economists. We knew little about the mysteries of Wall Street. We were politicians. We were helped by three excellent staff people, and we learned enough to make us fully aware of how little we knew and how very important questions have not been asked or answered about Hydro in the period from 1970 to 1976, the period the minister refers to.
We politicians were being paid to find the questions which experts and government appointees will not find. We were being paid to find those questions and to lay out the way to some answers, and we did -- and we agreed on every question and on every direction embodied in the report.
The Minister of Energy has seen and will see many reports on Hydro, but none have been of this nature. I hope that the minister will come to understand the difference between reports which are produced by appointed experts or appointed non-experts and reports which are produced by politicians. Let me illustrate what I mean by mentioning a few specific points in the minister’s response to our report which trouble me.
Let’s look first at Hydro’s plans to expand generation in the next 10 years. Hydro is now offering delays in expansion on some plants and cancellations. Bruce C will be cancelled, Bruce D, Wesleyville and Darlington postponed two years, and six other projects will be postponed one year.
The committee recommended, as recommendation III-23, that Hydro further reduce its plans for generation expansion in the next 10 years. On page 11 of his response, the minister rejected this recommendation and as usual he employed the old threats, the old “brownmail” -- blackouts, brownouts and what he calls “allocation of electricity,” which is an interesting new refinement on the same theme. He pointed out what the committee already knew and had reported to him, that according to current Hydro estimates the deferral of Bruce B or Darlington would be unlikely to decrease the charges to Hydro’s customers in the next 10 years.
What he failed to acknowledge, and what he fails to acknowledge today, is our judgement that though the deferrals would not be likely to reduce rates significantly in the next 10 years, they would produce savings of three-quarters of a billion dollars to Hydro in those 10 years and would have an impact on rates to customers between 1985 and 1990, an impact which we must plan to create. That’s our responsibility.
Let me turn to another response by the minister which concerned me. Recommendation III-18 of our report called for Ontario Hydro to “adopt immediately a programme specifically aimed at reducing peak demand by a target amount of one per cent per annum per year.”
This is a very important recommendation, because it’s a recommendation which is in addition to our outline of the necessity for general conservation. We noted, as a prelude to our recommendation, that we recognized that peak load management requires careful planning and a flexible approach, that it has been employed in other countries with proven success, and that, given Hydro’s current position of excess generating capacity, it offers no problems to Ontario in the early years of experimentation.
We also noted that we were setting the one per cent target because this target would be -- and this, Mr. Speaker, is a very temperate expression of opinion -- “an effective way of providing a focus and incentive for immediate action.”
We set the target because we thought this target might be achievable. We thought that Hydro could, if it would, probably set out a programme which would give a cumulative saving of 10 per cent of peak load within the next 10 years. We’re now told by the minister that he will bring us a report in two months on this subject. I hope it will meet some of the standards that we set. We set the target because we thought Hydro would not feel the necessity of trying out a serious programme of peak load management unless it was committed to a 10-year target.
Let me quote from the minister’s response, from page nine of his reply to our recommendation: “While load management is accepted in principle the specific target proposed by the select committee is too ambitious, given the technological and other difficulties inherent in its achievement.”
What we were recommending in our target amounts to a cut in increased demand of about 2,500 megawatts by 1985, the equivalent of a Pickering unit.
It’s a very serious recommendation and we considered it with great seriousness. We decided that it does not mean that Ontario factory workers will have to work from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. and Ontario women will have to use their clothes dryers on the midnight shift, though this is the scenario that the Treasurer has been bull-horning in anxious public ears.
We decided that Hydro needs a target now. The Minister of Energy decided that we can afford to wait and we have to wait now another two months. The Minister of Energy didn’t share our sense of urgency; he didn’t share our understanding of how slowly a giant institution reacts to need for change. Let me quote once again from our recommendations, page III-21. We say, “With Hydro’s approach, the risk is that too little will be done too late.”
When we approved that statement in our report we had full recognition of what we were saying. We have that fear.
I will cite another example of the gap between the minister and the committee. Our committee heard expert testimony, the best of expert testimony, on the subject of conservation and space heating. I should point out that the greatest increase in demand for electrical energy in this province is coming and has come for the past few years from the commercial sector. The commercial sector includes such sources of demand as schools, hospitals, shopping malls, car sales outfits, apartment towers and high-rise hotels. That’s where the demand on our Ontario electrical system is really booming.
Our committee heard testimony from experts in space heating on this specific subject and we learned that commercial structures can now be designed so that they are almost completely energy self-sufficient. We weighed the evidence presented to us and we recommended the following: “The Ontario government establish energy efficient standards at an economically optimal level for all new commercial structures.” That’s not a tough recommendation.
We knew it was quite economic for new commercial structures to meet these standards. All that we would require is that large government and business structures do not continue unnecessarily to gobble up our future supply of electricity. This is the response we got, and I quote from page six of the minister’s reply, which he labels “accepted.”
“In February, 1976, the Minister of Government Services (Mrs. Scrivener) announced that new provincial government buildings with more than 70,000 square feet of floor space must meet energy efficient standards. The Ministry of Energy, with the support of other ministries participating in the energy management programme, has initiated a study entitled Energy Budget for Commercial and Institutional Buildings. The purpose of the study is to establish reasonable norms of energy requirements for both existing and proposed buildings” -- listen to this -- “which may eventually be published through the Ontario Building Code as guidelines for annual energy use in buildings.”
Mr. Speaker, I ask you -- where is the Minister of Government Services planning to build that we haven’t heard about? Why is the minister talking about “may eventually be published” when the technology is here? I must underline the point because this was a recommendation which the minister said he accepted.
Let me turn from a point which the minister said he accepted to one which he says he accepts in modified form. I refer to our recommendation III-28, which says, “The Ontario government appoint a select committee as the appropriate public forum to examine Hydro’s nuclear commitment.”
This was a serious recommendation. It was made not by experts, not by appointees, but by politicians who had informed themselves enough to become seriously concerned about the future of people who live in this province and will have to live with the results of Hydro’s current plans for expansion of nuclear generation of electricity. We had informed ourselves enough to know that we were not well enough informed to make a judgement.
We were also very tired by the months of hearings and none of us was at all eager to take on more hearings of the same burden, either then or in the near future. We had been appointed, after all, to solve the problem of the 25 per cent increase in Hydro rates for 1976. We had done much more than that and we had worked through to June, 1976.
For what? Only to feel the irritation of the public and our own colleagues in each party that we had “allowed” Hydro to increase its rates by 22 per cent in 1976. And that we had insisted that Hydro publish its predictions of rates for 1977, 1978 and 1979 for which we are now also taking the blame.
I say this not because we expected more sympathy than we got but precisely because we knew, as politicians, how little sympathy we would get but thought it our duty. We knew how unappealing another select committee would look to us and our critics, and we knew we didn’t want to have to participate in another select committee of this kind. In spite of all this, we came to the considered, reluctant conclusion that we must recommend another select committee to examine Hydro’s nuclear commitment. I will not attempt to put the reasons for our concern at this time about that nuclear commitment. I will refer to chapter III of our report and the detailed discussion of this question in many sections of the transcript of the hearings of the select committee. Let me simply quote from the minister’s response to our recommendation, his initial response of select committee review. On page 14; it is a reply:
“Accepted in Modified Form,” is the headline. “The principle of a review of Ontario’s commitment to nuclear power is accepted. Indeed, this was initiated with the appointment of a royal commission on electric power planning. The chairman of the royal commission, Dr. Arthur Porter, has recently announced a programme for a review of the part nuclear power should play in Ontario’s system. This programme is extensive and will involve the public and all interested groups. In view of the royal commission’s activities a select committee would be an unnecessary duplication and expense.”
I am relatively new to politics, but I was not alone in my judgement that the forum for a thorough examination of our nuclear commitment should be a forum of politicians, a select committee. When we made our judgement, we knew of the existence of the Porter royal commission. Dr. Porter himself had been before us to tell us how Ontario would participate in the future of Hydro from 1985 to 1995. But we were, and still are, politicians and we know the difference between expertise and common sense. We know the power that information carries and we know how ill-equipped the ordinary person in Ontario is, if he or she wants to question Hydro on common-sense grounds, to question Hydro as non-experts.
I have come to feel very strongly about the efficacy of appointed bodies: They are useful when everything is going right; they are an impediment when things get sticky -- everything from the boards of health in Ontario to the board of Ontario Hydro. They are appointed, their mandate is to manage, and they are not chosen or paid to do more than manage.
A royal commission is different. A royal commission has a wider mandate. A royal commission is usually set up by a government which does not want to get a message right now; maybe a few years from now, maybe never.
In Canada, we’ve had some superb royal commissions. But these royal commissions concern subjects on which ordinary people could give testimony from their own personal experiences on health, on taxation, labour disputes, and similar questions. But few ordinary, non-experts in Ontario can relate their personal knowledge to a royal commission on nuclear power planning.
The Porter royal commission is another in the series of appointed bodies which reviews expert testimony. Some of the members of the Porter commission are experts themselves in this field. This is not good enough, and we know it is not good enough. From Sweden and the United States we are learning that nuclear power planning and the choices it involves must ultimately involve political decisions. Politicians must inform themselves, declare themselves and provide leadership on the question of nuclear power.
If war is too important to be left to the generals, nuclear power planning is too important to be left to the engineers. Too much is at stake for us to leave the question about nuclear power planning to the experts. As responsible politicians we must face up to our responsibilities and make our decisions before the options are closed off by experts.
I have attempted to give specific examples of what I feel is a general attitude on the part of the minister toward Ontario Hydro. His attitude has differed substantially from the approach which was developed in the report of the select committee. I will remain apprehensive about his attitude until the government proves by its action that it accepts a duty to guide our gigantic public electrical energy corporation in new ways.
If we are ever going to regain public control of Ontario Hydro the time is now. We may never have another chance. I hope the minister will come to understand more fully the gravity with which the select committee approached its work and I hope he will also come to understand more fully the sense of urgency with which we outlined a new public policy direction for Ontario Hydro.
There is much that is new and promising in the minister’s response. As we see today, the minister’s response is modified daily. Today we get more modification in his response to our report. I hope for more. There is much that is new and promising --
Hon. Mr. Kerr: You are getting to him, Evelyn, you are getting to him. Sounds pretty suspicious to me.
Mr. Moffatt: Even though he isn’t here, he is listening.
Ms. Gigantes: There is much that is still old and hesitant in his response. I hope his views will continue to change, and I hope they’ll change quickly enough that we still have time to change Ontario Hydro.
Mr. Reed: Mr. Speaker, to rise and endorse the report of the select committee of Ontario Hydro gives me the opportunity to say to this House that the functioning of this select committee and the result of its work is an example of the better things minority government has to offer. If all of our deliberations rose to the level attained by this committee, and if the results were as fruitful, we would have good government indeed. I think it is obvious by the very nature of this report, its expansive deliberations and its pointed yet constructive recommendations, that we see the product of genuine dedication and a pooling of talent that is indeed rare.
The adoption of this report and, more importantly, the application of this report, will result in constructive change in the operation of Ontario Hydro which will allow it to evolve creatively and effectively and to provide a standard of service to the people of Ontario unparalleled in North America.
Hindsight is always better than foresight, and those of us who have studied the report in detail, and indeed have been part of its creation, cannot help but wonder why the questions that are asked, deliberated on and hopefully answered in this report were not considered 15 or 20 years ago when Ontario Hydro made the necessary decision to enter the age of thermal generation in this province. It is indeed this transition that has been the cause of so many of the problems that face Ontario Hydro today. One can speculate that if we had become serious about conservation, renewable energy development and renewable resource maintenance, if we had had the vision at that time to implement the load management techniques so necessary with thermal generation, it would be safe to say that the increases in rates that are upon us now would not have occurred on nearly the same scale. But then, as I have said, hindsight is always better than foresight.
We trust that this report will change the attitude in which electric power is generated, marketed and used. We hope it will teach us to give electric power a much higher value than we have in the past -- not so much monetarily as in the terms of the grade of energy that is delivered. Ontario Hydro has been told in this report to broaden its concept of what it actually does. It has been told that with the employment of certain management techniques, it can even have a certain amount of control over the amount of electricity that is used and the degree of peaking. It has been told that it must not continue to consider itself the only creator of electric power in this province. It has been told that in terms of reserves, in terms of the value it must place on interconnections with other provinces and parts of the United States, and with its development of capital for future expansion, that the time has come to leave the luxuries behind and become practical and Spartan.
In paying tribute to my colleagues on that select committee -- colleagues of all parties in this case -- I want you to know, Mr. Speaker, that I was pleasantly surprised and encouraged by the fact that the politics of the occasion did not cause conflict often. And I must admit that at least once, I was the perpetrator of that political injection into the select committee. If there was an absence or blank spot in this report -- an area of omission, if you like -- it was the in-depth consideration of the fact that Ontario Hydro’s size and the magnitude of its movements as it has grown have made it difficult to avoid adversely affecting people. So I became Peck’s bad boy in order to point out to the select committee how I felt about that effect that Ontario Hydro has on people. The medium I used was the Bradley-Georgetown corridor, one of the interconnecting links of a large expansion programme. That, because of the implementation of this report I may say, may yet prove to be redundant in the overall scheme of electric generation in this province.
The select committee ruled that the issue was not central to the terms of reference to the committee’s work and that was so stated in the select committee report. Because of its omission, of course, there are a few of us -- some of us on the committee and some who are not -- who must continue the fight to make Ontario Hydro aware that it must change its methods of dealing with people or face resistance worse yet than the situation I have been so closely connected with.
There are some specific areas of the report that I would like to allude to. First is the recommendation that a forum be provided through the select committee process to hold a full scale debate on nuclear power. It is obvious that we are drawing to the time when we must make a decision not as to whether we will have nuclear power in Ontario but whether we will plan and work toward the second generation of nuclear plants, those which will be using recycled rods and burning plutonium.
I think every one of us realizes that because of decisions that were made 20 years ago or more we must face the reality of the nuclear system and play out its life cycle. It is the feeling of the select committee that this large scale commitment that will eventually herald the entry into the plutonium age should be a decision made after full scale public debate and not an after-the-fact discussion, as we are presently having.
I would urge the government to consider that this is one of the key recommendations for the long term. I was particularly distressed to see a section of the amendment of the minister which would relegate the nuclear debate to the royal commission on electric power planning and endorse and recognize that commission through the amendment.
Let me point out, first of all, that the royal commission has not yet finished its deliberations. The House could not, if it wanted to, endorse recommendations that do not yet exist. I would envisage the very important findings of the Porter commission as being a basic part of the input to the select committee that is recommended in our report, and I am pleased the minister has reconsidered his position on this matter.
Secondly, I would like to refer to those parts of the amendment put forward by the minister that would take away the challenge we gave to Ontario Hydro to continue to refine its projected needs for expansion and change its long range goals from six per cent per year imposed by the restraints of the Treasurer to the further reduction endorsed by this select committee. To this date, so far as we know, there has been no new evidence which would give any substance to the premise that the generating target must remain at six per cent. We currently enjoy a reserve margin over peak, that magic peak which occurs for a few hours every February, of over 35 per cent and upwards of 38 per cent.
We also recognize that there are certain aspects of the expansion programme which cannot be turned back without great economic loss. The select committee recognized this and as a result left it up to Hydro to choose the brightest economic path. The point is, though, if we don’t set goals we will never achieve the desired results. We recognize that the end results of this effort toward load management are as yet unproven and must he established, but at the same time we will continue to endorse the objectives originally laid down by the select committee.
Thirdly, I would like to refer for a few moments to the proposal that would amend the select committee’s intention to re-form in the spring of 1977 in order to monitor the progress that has been made by the government and Ontario Hydro on this subject. The government’s amendment to the establishment of a select committee in the fall of 1977 rather than the spring points out that the spring of 1977 is perhaps too early for enough concrete change to have taken place to make the re-forming of the select committee worthwhile, and with that aspect, we do agree and will concede that the select committee should be re-formed in the fall of 1977 rather than the spring. However, we continue to hold the government to a commitment to that re-formation rather than to a “consideration of.” The differentiation must be made distinct and clear.
There are certain recommendations in the report which show clearly that Hydro must utilize as many resources as are available within the borders of this province. With some we are favoured with a sophisticated and highly developed technology. I refer to the further development of hydraulic power in the province, especially those small on-site locations which can be developed on existing dam installations and sites in southern Ontario and can be run on a remote basis.
I urge Ontario Hydro to attack this economically feasible challenge immediately. As members know, the select committee also recommended that the hydraulic potential of the Albany River system and that area of northern Ontario be examined so that Ontario receives the maximum reasonable benefits. The government has accepted this proposal in a modified form, deleting any possible development of the Albany River area.
I wonder, at the present time, if that amendment to the original proposal was not made from a more political consideration than a practical one, considering the recent conflict over the development of natural resources in the north of Ontario. I wish to go on record as mentioning that I am sure there is no one on the select committee who is not deeply concerned and aware of the rights of native peoples in northern Ontario. That is precisely why the word “reasonable” was injected into that proposal.
We want to make it clear that not one of us would want to proceed with development in the north without first having consultation with and participation of the native peoples. I am sure members recognize that that concern has been made very clear in the recommendation of the select committee.
I would also like to ask why is the minister revising this recommendation since its intentions have already been stated? Does he truly feel that the amended recommendation is more fluent and expressive? I wonder.
I would like to deal with some areas on which we all have agreed but I think are worth stating, considering that their subject matter is new to Ontario Hydro and presents some of the area of broadening that the corporation will undergo in years to come. First is the whole area of that subject known as solar power which might be more adequately described as renewable resource utilization since it encompasses subject areas such as the production of energy from plant life and wind power as well as the direct utilization of the sun’s rays.
I had the good fortune to spend a week this summer at the solar energy conference in Winnipeg which was attended by more than 2,000 delegates. We were presented with a picture of the potential of solar power -- using it as the all-inclusive phrase -- that would give us great reassurance for the future standard of living in Ontario if we will only undertake to develop and adapt it to our circumstances.
The United States has led the way. With a commitment of roughly 50 cents per person in that country they have unleashed a multitude of development projects which are already beginning to show great promise. The province of Ontario must not be allowed to take a back seat in these matters and a similar commitment on the part of this government would help to assure Ontario of its share of the industrial potential of the manufacture of solar products and the resulting energy in the future.
Can you imagine, Mr. Speaker, the positive impact on the economy of this province if 50 per cent of our imported energy was redirected to the utilization of renewable resources within the boundaries of this province? Can you imagine the impact on agriculture that would grow the products which make the energy? Can you imagine the impact on manufacturing, on the process of distillation and all of those other attendant bonuses in the economy? Can you imagine the effect on our provincial balance of payments?
We do have a long way to go in the development of renewable resources but the economic potential is tremendous. If we do not make this decision and begin now to move in that direction, we will once again be buying technology and hardware from our neighbours to the south. Let us proceed in this matter with imagination and vision.
I would like to refer as well to the recommendation regarding industrial generation of electric power. Industrial generation or, as it is more commonly known, co-generation, is one of the ways in which the thermal system can be made more efficient. As I have said often, and it is a well-known fact, two-thirds of the energy we put into a thermal generating plant at the present time is lost as waste heat. With co-generation, a great proportion of that waste heat can be utilized by industry as processed steam or in-plant heating. It is up to the government to encourage that development in every way possible. I am pleased to see that resolution in the select committee report.
The economics of co-generation are obvious and the efficiencies gained as a conservation measure are obvious. The techniques, the technology, is not new, having been highly developed in Europe because of the thermal configuration which they have had to deal with for some generations. This thrust will provide one of the great alternatives to the vast expansion programme now contemplated and under way by Ontario Hydro.
As you can see, Mr. Speaker, it is the select committee approach involving more than the government party that has brought these issues out of stagnation. Minority government appears to have its effect, even on the Minister of Energy himself. A year ago I challenged the minister during estimates about his priorities and why a more concentrated commitment was not being given to the development of renewable resources. The minister simply denied the feasibility at that time. Last Thursday in the House the Minister of Energy announced increased concentration on the development of renewable resources.
Finally, in summary I should like to state my party’s position on the select committee report. We feel that this report, being a combination of a combined party effort, is one of the most important documents addressing the problems of Ontario Hydro that has ever been put together.
Mr. Lane: I would like to take part in this debate this afternoon. I wasn’t an original member of the committee, as I replaced the member for Parry Sound (Mr. Maeck), but I was a member of the committee during the early part of this year. We had a good committee, a very concerned committee, a great chairman and great members on the committee to work with and an excellent staff. I think we made some very good, sensible recommendations.
I think that the affluent society in which we have been living for the past few years has allowed many of us to waste too much, and one of the things we have wasted is energy. We are all guilty of using more heat, light and power in our homes and places of business than is required. Most of us drive our cars when we could perhaps stay at home or walk to work, thus saving some gasoline and energy. I think we should be concerned about these things. We should train ourselves and our families to save in as many ways as possible, especially on energy.
Ontario Hydro has made some cutbacks, as a result of the recommendations made by the select committee, but I doubt that it would be wise for them to continue to make further cutbacks. While I have said we all must save on power and energy, I don’t think the people of this province are ready to accept brownouts or blackouts because the capacity to generate power has not been developed.
For the past three or four years Ontario Hydro has been looking at a possible site for a power generating station that would be located on the north shore of Lake Huron. I am rather surprised that they are still talking and thinking about a site at La Cloche Island because this particular area is in the boundaries of the north Georgian Bay recreation area. Even though some people in my riding would like to see this type of development in that area, it doesn’t make any sense to me at all. However, it does make a great deal of sense to me that this type of operation should and could be located at Spragge or Blind River where the jobs are really needed.
I think the power is going to be needed in the not-too-distant future. I would say that Hydro should get on with the job and should not be hampered by further studies. I understand the Porter commission will report on all of these things some way down the road and --
Mr. Foulds: Coal power or nuclear?
Mr. Lane: -- I, for one, in the north, and I think many more people, think we’re studied to death in the north. Let’s get on with some development.
Mr. Renwick: Mr. Speaker, I just want to speak very briefly about the report of the select committee and the government’s response to it with respect to Ontario Hydro and perhaps to echo some of the matters raised by my colleague, the member for Carleton East (Ms. Gigantes).
I think the concern and the uneasiness which we in this party felt about the government’s response to the report, not only now but in its initial response after it was tabled in the Legislature earlier this year, was a sense of whether the government in fact was committed to the title of the report, whether in fact it was committed to “A New Public Policy Direction for Ontario Hydro.”
I may say that the acceptance today of two modifications of the proposed amendments to the report, suggested by the government in its response, goes some way to relieve that sense that I have of a lack of positive commitment by the government to the purposes of the report. But I still have those misgivings. Perhaps they’re now only reservations, but there’s an element of misgiving about them and I want to spend a minute or two emphasizing what we believe we were trying to say in the report, leaving aside many of the specific recommendations which are dealt with in some detail in the report and have been stated to be acceptable to the government.
The very first recommendation that we made to the government was that “the Ontario government develop and clearly articulate government policy towards Ontario Hydro.” Then, in the chapter of the report dealing with ensuring an adequate follow-up, we dealt with the consequences to Hydro of an acceptance of this new direction and the concern which we had that if this Legislature as a body, through a select committee of the assembly, did not have the opportunity to monitor and follow-up the implementation of the recommendations in the report by Hydro, that a good deal of the momentum would be lost; indeed, it would lead us to believe that the government itself was not prepared to accept the implications of the major recommendation, the very first recommendation, about the need for an acceptance by the government of responsibility for the policy of Ontario Hydro.
We said in that particular recommendation relating to the select committee, which we had hoped to be set up in the spring of 1977 but which the government now is committed to set up by the fall of 1977: “It is of fundamental importance that until the redirection becomes clearly established Hydro policy, steps taken by Ontario Hydro to implement the thrust of the report be monitored periodically in an organized manner.” It was with that purpose in mind that we recommended the appointment of the select committee, which has been accepted by the government for appointment.
It was also designed to give the government, concurrently with that opportunity, the sense of responsibility for the policy of Ontario Hydro and to give to this assembly a clear and continuing statement of the policy that is to be adopted by the government for Ontario Hydro. In a very real sense we are saying that the time has come that the responsibility for Ontario Hydro’s policy be that of the government and that the accountability be to this assembly through the kind of select committee which was envisaged in our report.
It is not too far an analogy to say that we are saying about Ontario Hydro what we say in the estimates, that the government must be responsible to the assembly, either by legislation or in the estimates of the House, for the policies which are embodied in the estimates and in the budget and in the Speech from the Throne and in the legislative programme of the government. We are now saying that in addition to that, at this particular point in time in the history and development of Ontario and the demands of a sound energy policy, the government is responsible for that policy and that this assembly is the place to which the government must account for the implementation of that policy.
I am delighted that the government has seen fit to modify its position since last week and to accept the appointment of that select committee of the assembly.
I want to spend just one or two minutes on my concerns about the James Bay area. My concern about the James Bay area relates mainly to the developments which have taken place in commitments and feelings which I have had for some considerable time about that whole area of the province. I’m not engaged in beating anyone over the head about the questions of whether Reed Paper should or should not proceed, or what the relationship to that project should be.
I have been, over a period of time, more and more convinced that the northwestern part of the province of Ontario, the very watershed that we were talking about in this report with respect to the possible potential for electric power development, requires an overall look by the government to determine the course which we are going to take, and that that overall look would best be carried out through a commission similar to the Berger commission, to which reference has been made by the leader of this party. It is no longer possible to isolate one particular area of the north for one particular potential purpose, but the whole of the northwestern part of the province must be looked at as a whole and dealt with that way if we are going to understand the extent to which it is possible to carry out development in the north, with particular attention to the people who live in that part of the country and with particular attention to the very special relationship which this government must have with the Indians living in that area under Treaty No. 9, and to a lesser extent under Treaty No. 3.
In a sense, the overview or perspective from northwestern Ontario through, as we recommend and urge the government to accept, a Berger-type royal commission, which would look into the renegotiation of Treaty No. 9 to which this government is a party, to which the province of Ontario is a party, an over-view of the possibilities of restoring the forest industry in northwestern Ontario and the way in which that industry is to be exploited in the future, is of paramount importance. Coupled with that, of course, is the necessity to look at the availability of hydroelectric power in the James Bay watershed. I do want to make certain that the assembly is aware of what we were talking about when we made the recommendation about the watershed, and I quote from the report:
“Finally, the committee is concerned about Ontario Hydro’s apparent failure to give serious consideration to the hydro-electric potential of the watershed flowing into James Bay -- both the systems in Ontario and those in Quebec.
“The committee is aware of the difficulties in getting electrical energy from either area. In northern Ontario, the concerns of the native people and environmental problems will have to be dealt with before any development can take place.
“This increases the urgency for starting studies and inquiries now. And, if Ontario is to gain any benefit from the Quebec Baie James potential, the government of Ontario will have to initiate negotiations with the government of Quebec. All the more reasons for setting out the parameters of an acceptable arrangement and doing preliminary calculations of the economics of such a venture.
“It is quite possible that the whole development of the James Bay watershed should be considered in the context of national energy policy, which would require the involvement of the government of Canada. The committee found Hydro’s reluctance to give serious consideration to this potential frustrating and perplexing.” And it was on that basis we made the recommendation that: “The Ontario government accept the responsibility now for taking all necessary actions to ensure that Ontario receive the maximum reasonable benefit from the hydro-electric potential of the James Bay watershed.”
I’m saying to the government it is our perspective at the present time that that particular recommendation cannot be dealt with in isolation and we therefore have accepted -- not necessarily the exact terminology of the government’s proposal in its acceptance or in its response to our recommendation -- but we have said that that is one of the ingredients which must be a part of an overall commission study of the Berger type in the whole of northwestern Ontario. It is for that reason, amongst the other reasons which I have enunciated, that we stand by that policy and we urge the government to come to that conclusion itself as soon as possible and to deal with northwestern Ontario in that particular way.
The other amendment which the government accepted, or the other modification of its response which the government accepted, was to take into account that Ontario Hydro and the government had to be committed to a load management policy and that that commitment would, in a very real sense, be measured both by the alacrity with which the interim report, which is referred to in the government’s response, will come before the assembly.
I would assume that that would be early in the next session of this parliament. It would be evidence that that commitment would also be sustained, for us if, as has apparently been accepted by the government, concurrent with the targets being set down for load management, that Ontario Hydro would be instructed concurrently with the achievement of those targets to so modify its generation plan that there would be no delay in implementing a plan which would give effect to the load management target.
With those modifications of the response of the government we are pleased to see that I believe the ministry and the government have now an understanding, at least to some extent, of the immense redirection by way of commitment that the select committee felt was entirely necessary if it were going to be possible to deal adequately with the responsibility of the assembly to the government to make certain that the government account properly to the people of Ontario for the overall energy policy of this province in which hydro-electric power or electric power from whatever its sources plays, and will play in the future, such a necessarily large part.
When we talk about the nuclear option and our anxiety when we heard from the government that it was not prepared to have a select committee of the assembly deal with the nuclear option, but rather wanted us to accept it as part of the Porter royal commission you can understand the reasons why we felt that way. It seemed to us to be an indispensable part of the political process at this time in Ontario that the question of nuclear option should be dealt with by elected representatives responsible to the people of the province for the commitment, if commitment there be, and the nature and extent of that commitment to the nuclear option in the province.
I am prepared, as anyone in the assembly is, that if that is the commitment that should be made so be it. If it is not the commitment that should be made and if there are other alternative methods by which the energy needs of this province can be met in a reasonable way with a smaller or much smaller nuclear component, well again, that is what we have to decide. But the very important fact that we must recognize is that that commitment is almost at the point where it is irreversible, that the combination of government enthusiasm and the enthusiasm by Hydro and of industry generally, has brought us to the point that there has not been a public examination of the nuclear option. There has been no real understanding by the people of the province of Ontario of what it means to be committed irreversibly to that particular option.
There are many ways in which that can be stated and I don’t intend to try to state it in cosmic terms. I’m speaking only about the kind of nuclear commitment to which the province is presently committed and which must be examined in all of its aspects in order to make certain whether or not we should embark irreversibly on that commitment and on that role.
It is for that reason that we believe the cultural, social, long-term, long-range impacts of the nuclear option have now to be examined with the full objective recognition that it may well be that, if it is possible to do so, we discard the nuclear option and rely on alternative sources of energy. All of those things can only come out if we have an objective look at that problem through a select committee of the assembly which is not engaged in justifying the Candu nuclear reactor as against other types of reactors in the world; not engaged in playing down whatever accident may happen within the nuclear establishment already in the province of Ontario; and not engaged in leaving to the scientific community only the dread effects of radiation on the people who may come in contact with radioactive material produced in this province.
It must be so objectively looked at that if the conclusions make sense and we can come to a decision about our commitment to the nuclear option in a reasonable and intelligent way we will do so. But we must have the courage and the skill and the ability to reject that option if it is not a feasible one in the long term, having regard to the environment in which we live; the long-term needs of the people who will come after us in this province; and the need to protect the health and well-being of the people in Ontario at the present time. All of those matters can only be looked at within the framework of a select committee of the assembly composed of persons who are representative of people in the province by election; who are responsible to people in the province through that election; and who are answerable through the democratic process.
I have respect for Dr. Porter and I have respect for the work which that commission is trying to do, but any other alternative would have been totally unacceptable to this party. I’m delighted that the government has seen fit to modify its attitude so far as that is concerned.
I may say that one of the sensitive areas or communities in the whole of the nuclear option has been Sweden which has been very much in the news, particularly during the last election because the present Prime Minister of Sweden highlighted his concern as part of the election campaign at that time. The reason it was highlighted in that election campaign was not because somebody suddenly picked it out of the air as an issue which was going to be discussed but because in 1974 in Sweden there was a tremendous upsurge of public concern about their commitment to the nuclear option.
As a result of that concern, as I understand it, and I believe it to be true, some 6,000 groups in Sweden were funded through the government and given the capacity and the opportunity to become publicly involved in the debate which was going on about the nuclear option. Where it stands at the present time, all I know is that I have heard that the new government in Sweden is committed to a national referendum in 1978 on the nuclear option. For us, in Canada, we are not used to the national referendum.
In a country such as Sweden which, since 1974, has been concerned and deeply concerned about that nuclear option and has gone through a process of public education and public involvement about it, then one can well imagine that it is possible in 1978 for them to put, by way of national referendum, the whole question of whether or not there should be any continuance of nuclear activity within Sweden.
Somehow or other, the select committee of this assembly on the nuclear option, which will be appointed not later than the fall of next year to commence its work in that field, should be involved in the same kind of extensive public education and public involvement activity so that when the time comes we in this assembly can determine, perhaps for the first time in the life of the province of Ontario, that there should be a provincial referendum on the whole question of whether the commitment should continue to the nuclear option or whether it should be ceased and stopped entirely.
I know that in this day and age it sounds almost impossible to suggest that we will reverse the present commitment by the government, by industry and by Ontario Hydro to the nuclear option, but I say to the assembly that unless the select committee envisages that kind of option available to it that it will reverse the nuclear option and look at the problem objectively with the aid of whatever scientific information is available, but recognizing that it is an indispensable part of the political process that the economic, cultural, environmental and historical results of that overview of the nuclear option must be taken, then I say that select committee will not be doing the job as I envisage it, because I would like to understand that at the end of the work of that committee it won’t say, “Well, we have no other alternative but to go on with the nuclear option.” That committee should be in a position where, if it has to say there shall be no more nuclear development in the province of Ontario and we will dismantle what has taken place, that option has to be clearly available to that committee. I seriously hope and anticipate that whoever are members of that committee will recognize the importance which we in this party assign to that particular work.
With those remarks, I am pleased with the extent of the commitment. I hope that the minister, in his response to this debate today, will underline and reinforce and remove forever any reservations or misgivings I might have about the commitment of the government of the province of Ontario to this redirection of policy, and the articulation and enunciation of that policy by the government, in order that we in this assembly can share our role of being certain that the accountability for energy policy resides in the government and that they must be accountable to this assembly for that policy.
Mr. Peterson: Mr. Speaker, I would like to speak very briefly on this, if I may. I must say that this is one of the happiest days that I have had in this House in the sense that I think that we are seeing for the first time, in my view at least, some real appreciation and understanding of the Hydro picture and, in a broader sense, of the energy picture.
I don’t understand the reasons why -- and I guess at this point it’s irrelevant why the minister has changed his position from last week -- but all I can do is applaud him for changing his position. I think it’s a good thing and I personally feel very good about the fact that he has done that.
I don’t think it’s the kind of day that we need harsh criticism. I think it’s the kind of day that we all have to rise up and support the kind of commitment, at least as it is on paper, and I will be anxious also to hear the minister’s response and what kind of serious commitment he has to this situation.
I think it’s interesting, however, to note the lack of trust that his entire House -- not just on this side of the House but all the members of that committee -- had in the Ministry of Energy. This was manifested in a very serious recommendation in this report that a select committee should be set up to monitor the progress of Hydro and of the Ministry of Energy. This was clearly part of this report, and it says to me very clearly that because there wasn’t the trust, we weren’t prepared to let that very serious series of options and suggestions be left solely with the Minister of Energy.
But you know all of that is behind us -- I hope it is behind us -- and I hope there will be no problem in the future, regardless if there is an election or not or whatever the outcome of that election is. I hope very desperately, for the sake of this province, that the minister, the Premier and the cabinet will carry forward with these very solid series of recommendations. As one who has been most critical of Hydro and of the minister, and the entire government on this issue, I think it is cause for great hope today. I am not as cynical as some of my friends to the right: I think there is real cause for celebration today.
Mr. Bain: Is your leader cynical?
Mr. Peterson: In many respects it underlines a view that I have had about the Ministry of Energy. I think it has been treated far too long as a junior ministry. I think it is time that ministry was brought up front into a very important position with a lot of clout in the cabinet, so that it can have its impact felt on all of the decisions that the government makes, because there are very few things that government has power over today that are more powerful and gives as wide an influence as the whole matter of energy. That person, or that group, or that government that controls energy policy today can control in many respects, the destiny of this province and of this country.
I don’t think there has been enough appreciation of that. I don’t think there is enough attention paid to how serious and powerful a device it is in government’s hands to control all sorts of things -- human settlements, population growth, the whole land-use question and all the other issues that are attendant with it. Because it has such an impact on our rate of inflation, on our entire economy, it has to be integrated, it has to be a powerful part of virtually any policy articulated by the government.
I say to you respectfully, it has been treated as a junior ministry, and it shouldn’t be. The Minister of Energy should be right up front, he should have a say in all of the important policies that are brought down by any government.
As I said, I don’t want to be terribly critical because I am happy about the result of it. I am happy that finally, after all this time, it has come along that the minister is going to apply his mind to the report. The only thing that bothers me is that it didn’t happen a little faster.
As you recall, last week in this House we debated Hydro rates for next year. There are many of these suggestions, that if implemented several years ago -- and this report should have been done several years ago by an all-party legislative political committee as opposed to a technical one -- it would have had a very serious impact on the rates that we are paying today, and indeed the nature and the quality of the electrical service that we have in this province today. It is long overdue. But then again, I am trying to be positive and I think we should be grateful for the small mercies that have been afforded us on this particular day. I regret it has been so long, and I regret, in some respects, the way it has had to come about.
I just want to draw attention to one thing. It is the first, and probably the most important recommendation of this entire report which has been bought wholesale by the government. That recommendation is that this government requires a policy toward Hydro, which I think the majority of the members of that committee would say, in fact, they have not had -- Hydro has run virtually on its own. They have been the authors, virtually the authors of all of the policies and all of the plans, running in many respects outside of government. That can no longer be. The times have changed, the mandate has got to change. Government clearly has to spell out what it requires from Hydro and Hydro has to respond to that without any ifs, ands or buts.
You know, Professor Nelles in his book wrote about Hydro and the history of Hydro saying that Hydro is in and out of politics as it suited the disposition and the present politics of the situation, as it suited the management of Hydro and the government of the day. I would respectfully submit to you, Mr. Speaker, that this can no longer be the case. We clearly have to recognize that Hydro is government controlled, is responsible to the government and to this Legislature, and clearly the policy has to rest here. Government either has to stand or fall on the responsibility that it brings to the management of that great huge organization which has in many respects the worst of non-regulated industry, and the worst of free enterprise. It is too big; it is too important; it is too big an employer and has too big an effect on everyone’s life in this province to let it ever again drift in the sea as it has been drifting.
In conclusion, let me say I’m happy it has happened. I’m happy with the capitulation of the minister. I too want to be convinced of his sincerity in implementing this. He will be a better minister and it will be a better government if they do start conscientiously today implementing this very fine series of proposals.
Mr. Drea: As a preamble to about three specific points in this report which I would like to discuss, I think it extremely significant that the practice we are following today sets a precedent concerning the reports of legislative committee, particularly those of select committees. Until this report, those who worked on select committees and who were part of them found out the results of their efforts, frankly, by reading the newspapers and finding out if, as and when government was prepared to adopt any, a substantial amount or, indeed, all of the proposals.
I think this practice not only lends itself to Hydro. I think it is significant that it has begun with this Hydro report because of its importance to the province, I think it extends -- pardon?
Ms. Gigantes: That’s the benefit of a minority government.
Mr. Drea: Not necessarily. It extends throughout the whole select committee process. I regard this as a very positive demonstration by this government, unlike the present hiatus in Ottawa where on some days there is a form of energy policy and on others virtually none, that this government is now committed to an energy policy for the particular form of energy it does have control over, and that is the electrical field.
One of the more significant recommendations in this report is the one by which Ontario Hydro will change its planning process to begin emphasizing the implementation of conservation and the most important part of conservation, that is, load management. It is very significant that with the recommendation of the committee some months before, even prior to the acceptance by the government of this proposal, there was a great stimulus to the people who are really going to have to work on it and in the end determine whether or not conservation and more effective load management can be made to work in this province. I speak of the local utilities and the Ontario Municipal Electric Association.
I am very proud that in my own area, the Scarborough Public Utilities Commission has presented to the government a most imaginative and at the same time a most practical proposal for a load management programme which may very well change the entire operations of public utilities across this province. It is an imaginative programme because it involves the ripple control technique which is a way of forcing conservation on the customer without the customer suffering any ill benefits. It is a proposal that will ultimately save the consumers an enormous amount of money but, more significantly, will allow a new approach to planning the generation capacity for the future.
One of the concerns at the present time is that it is all very well to talk today about limiting future developments in generation, but concern is that what we limit today may very well come back to haunt us 10, 12 or 15 years down the road. I am convinced that with energy conservation and peak load control we can make the existing system so much more flexible, so much more able to handle upturns in demand and so much better able to smooth out the peaks and valleys that have produced such a strain upon not only the generation capacity but the distribution capacity of the local utilities, that in the future the success of load management planning may very well overshadow that of generation planning. Frankly, for the past 50 years generation planning has been the dominant factor in the policies of Ontario Hydro.
My only concern with the question of setting specific targets and demand reductions is not in principle, but I do not think we can treat electrical energy in this province in isolation from certain other developments that are taking place in the energy field. I wouldn’t have any qualms if we were assured in this country of an adequate and continuing source of energy from oil or from natural gas.
Quite frankly, what concerns me is the conversion by industry, by necessity, from natural gas into electrical energy. The fact that there is not a national energy policy concerning natural gas, at least not a coherent one, puts more strain upon the existing Hydro system because industry more and more is not going to leave itself dependent upon one energy source. It is going increasingly to convert to electrical energy. Since that involves the very industrial growth, the standard of living and the ability of this province to sustain a standard of living which is for the good and welfare of all the people, I think it should be a very deep concern when looking ahead toward what we really face in terms of demand and in terms of increasing demand.
While I do not share the very grave concerns of some about the future of nuclear power, at least in this country and at least with the techniques and the plants developed by Ontario Hydro, I do feel, because of the tremendous emotionalism raised by the very mention of nuclear power or nuclear generation or nuclear plants, that indeed a select committee will provide a very salutary effect. It’s very interesting that, despite the frantic emotionalism and the plebiscites that were held upon nuclear power in the United States -- and I don’t consider that to be the way to decide whether a nuclear commitment should go on or be stopped -- not one of those plebiscites was successful in stopping the continuation of nuclear power.
There is no doubt that the future of this province is harnessed to nuclear power. The obligation is to provide nuclear power that will be a safe, efficient and continuing source of electrical energy, not only for industry but indeed for the entire community.
Mr. Lewis: What about the disposal problem?
Mr. Drea: I don’t have the qualms that you have about the disposal problem.
Mr. Haggerty: Recycle it, Frank.
Mr. Bain: What is your solution?
Mr. Acting Speaker: Order please. The hon. member for Scarborough Centre has the floor.
Mr. Drea: Unlike some people I do not consider myself to be an instant expert on nuclear energy. I am suggesting I do not share the emotional qualms. I have said that the select committee, even if it cannot come up with solutions to very particular and very specific problems concerning the nuclear energy of the future, the second generation of it, at the very least it will provide a very salutary effect upon the emotionalism that unfortunately is clouding this issue; particularly emotionalism that concerns certain factors that go on in the United States or other countries and do not necessarily go on here.
In conclusion, I wish to compliment the minister. With the amendments that have been made today, 33 out of the 40 recommendations of the select committee have been adopted by government. There are firm commitments to accept them, to implement them and to make sure that they are carried out. I think this indicates the record of a select committee that started out with a very specific and a very narrow task, which was to consider the rates for 1976, that after considering those rates under tremendous time constraints did expand itself into looking through the curtain of those rates into the entire system of Hydro, and now has produced the kind of proposals that will permit the province to develop a policy whereby the energy challenges not only can be met but will be met in the most efficient way and at the lowest possible rate to the consumer.
Mr. MacDonald: When I spoke briefly on the occasion of the tabling of this report, “A New Public Policy Direction for Ontario Hydro,” in June, I stated that it was one of the most satisfying select committees that I had been a part of in my 21 years in the Legislature. That satisfaction derived not only from the fact that I had the privilege of chairing the committee, but also because I felt that the combination of the efforts of the committee members and of the staff had produced a report which was genuinely going to provide a new public policy direction for Hydro.
Perhaps if there was any underlining that was needed, the minister has given it in terms of his fairly complete acceptance of the report and now, with further amendments today, a near complete acceptance. Indeed, I think, if I may just correct the hon. member for Scarborough Centre (Mr. Drea), he’s even done his government’s record a little injustice. My tabulation in the first instance was that there were 30 accepted totally, five accepted on a modified basis, two accepted in principle and three rejected. With the amendments, I think there are really about 39 accepted with some modifications and some small changes, and one little one with regard to water rentals, which we’ll not argue over, still sits there as rejected.
However, let’s forget those statistics. I think it is a commitment on the part of the government to proceed with the implementation of a report to an extent that I am confident has never taken place before, perhaps ever, in the history of the province of Ontario.
I want to accept congratulations for the committee for a good report. I want to extend congratulations to the government for recognizing it as such and moving so quickly to accept it in its implementation. There is not much need for extended comment, in view of this unanimity and the mechanisms that have been established for implementing it, but there are two or three areas that I do want to touch on briefly. I want to express particular satisfaction at the government’s acceptance today of the appointment, not later than next fall, of a select committee to look into the whole nuclear option.
Hon. members are very much aware of the almost incredible growing concern that is arising all across the world, resulting in the postponement and in some instances of the cancellation of the building of nuclear plants. Whether or not one accepts the qualms with regard to the nuclear option, I suggest that really isn’t the point at this stage. The point is that one has to provide an appropriate kind of public forum to take a look at this, to calm the apprehension, and I think there is no institution that is going to be served by that more than Hydro. If Hydro is going to find a growing public expression of doubt about the cornerstone of its generation policy, if governments are constantly going to be the butt of political flak with regard to a dangerous process of generating energy, surely it’s in the interests of people, in the interest of everybody concerned, to resolve those difficulties to whatever extent they can be resolved.
In fact, just let me pause here to interject a mildly irrelevant point to show how very confused this issue can become. The public image is, and the world generally has accepted the proposition, that the Democratic Socialist government in Sweden was defeated because of the nuclear issue. The facts are that that party lost three-tenths of one per cent in votes, and that the Conservative party that won the election and became the government lost two per cent of the vote and became the government because it got the support of two small parties, whose votes went up and both of whom were in support of the Social Democratic position in support of nuclear energy.
Here you have a public image that Sweden had rejected this, whereas any objective analysis of the figures comes to the alternative conclusion. In a way that is analogous, I think, to what we have to do, which is to get at the facts and resolve them. I have no illusions that perhaps this thing is so shot through with emotions now that even if one does get the facts some people are going to have difficulty changing their minds. At least I think it is an important exercise and provides a vehicle for a sort of a therapeutic outlet, as it were.
Let me touch on only one topic in something of a substantive way with regard to this report. One of the fascinating things that emerged in the course of the committee’s deliberation and is highlighted in the report is what is referred to as the capital crunch that Hydro is now having to face. Hydro’s operations in the past, difficult as they may have been, were very, very simple by comparison with their problems in the future. In the past, they forecast what their needs were and their track record in terms of forecasting their needs was a very good one. They then turned to the engineers and said: “Here are our needs down through the years for the next 10 years. What is the appropriate mix of new generators to be created to be able to produce that electricity?” After the engineers had come to their conclusions, they turned to the financial boys in Hydro who, in turn, worked with Bay Street and New York and said: “Let’s get the money.” There was no problem in getting the money. Until two or three years ago they never had to borrow more than $500 million, $600 million or $700 million, which was a wholly manageable kind of proposition.
Mr. Haggerty: That’s peanuts.
Mr. MacDonald: That’s peanuts, that’s right. But, as you know, Hydro’s capital needs in the last two or three years had mounted until they were getting close to $2 billion and, because of a situation that the government generally faced, the provincial Treasurer (Mr. McKeough) intervened and has fixed for this year, next year and 1978 a ceiling of $1.5 billion as all the capital that is going to be available to Hydro. So Hydro now has to reverse its whole process of operation. It takes a look and says, “What is our available capital?” Having decided what that is, they say, “What is the best mix of generating plants that we can build with that capital?” Then, finally, they say, “What can we do to reduce our forecast electricity needs so that we won’t have brownouts, so that our generating capacity is going to meet those needs fully?” That is not only a fundamental, that kind of reversal of process, but it is almost mind-boggling in its ramifications.
What I want to draw to the attention of the House is a table that is Exhibit II-3, which is a forecast of the substantial financing gap for Hydro in the 1980s. Without going through all the stages of the years that lie between here and 1982, the last one that is illustrated on the graph, we find that the capital availability in 1982, is in the range of approximately $2.5 billion, while the borrowing requirements for Hydro in that year are going to be just a shade under $4 billion. In short, in 1982, as we look down the road at this stage there’s going to be a gap of $1.5 billion in capital that at the moment doesn’t look as if it is going to be available.
Quite frankly, I almost hesitate to ask anybody how they are going to grapple with that problem. That’s an extremely difficult kind of situation. Indeed, I think it’s going to get worse. I’ve seen figures elsewhere, in terms of forecasts beyond 1982, which saw Hydro’s needs going up to $4.5 billion, to $5 billion and to $5.2 billion.
We are going to be faced with what was termed in the report as a capital crunch. One can see the proportions of that capital crunch when the gap between the requirements and available capital in 1982 is going to be almost $1.5 billion and a ceiling has been placed on available capital by the provincial Treasurer for these three years; one can see a crunch of monumental proportions.
I think it underlines the very great necessity, in this new direction in public policy, for moving in two or three areas. First, it seems to me -- and this doesn’t escape wholly the capital crunch -- that we’ve got to look at those alternative sources of power that may be available. I think the public today have tended to accept the idea that there is a ready solution just around the corner in terms of solar energy. But as to whether or not and to what extent we can develop solar energy, unfortunately we’re still only at really an experimental stage; we should have started a generation or two ago and been at a stage where we would be in a position to assess the potential contribution of solar energy, but we’re not. However, solar energy and other alternative sources have got to be examined.
There has got to be not only great stress on conservation, and the minister has not only got to get Ergie on buttons, but he’s got to get energetic in terms of setting targets and making certain that those targets are lived up to. Once again, I don’t think one should have any illusions as to the difficulties inherent in this, because to a considerable extent it’s going to require some degree of changing lifestyle as far as residential and perhaps commercial use of electricity is concerned. It is perhaps not only going to change lifestyle but industrial patterns and production procedures in the whole industrial sector. So that’s going to be difficult. But it must be tackled in spite of its difficulties, because that capital crunch is really staring us in the face.
Mr. Nixon: Well, I thought he was supposed to get Joulie, not Ergie.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: That is 10 million ergs.
Mr. MacDonald: For once this government wasn’t expansive; it was content with a little erg instead of 10 million of them.
Mr. Nixon: No, an erg is a unit of work, not of energy.
Mr. MacDonald: The final area where the government’s bringing in a further amendment as an acknowledgement of an even firmer recognition on their part is in reference to this necessity of setting targets for the reduction of the peak load.
I don’t know whether the public has really grasped the point that when one builds a hydro system such as we have in the province of Ontario, there may be one or perhaps more than one generating plant which is sitting there to be used only for a few minutes every day or for a few days every year. It enables the system to meet that peak on the graph when the requirements are needed -- toward 6 o’clock at night toward Christmas and on into January depending on weather conditions during the course of the year. They think that in some fashion or other we can shave those peaks and fill in the valleys to obviate the need to have that extra generating plant.
We are saving hundreds of millions of dollars in terms of new capital requirements. Now it gets to almost a billion or more dollars and therefore something must be done. What is now being recognized and accepted in the further amendments is that if we are going to set targets and work toward their fulfilment, we should at the same time immediately develop an alternative generation programme which will reduce the size of Hydro because there’s just no way about it. If we want to cut rates, the only way we can cut rates is to do something to reduce the whole size and the expansion of the system. In so doing we are going to be able to meet the overall objective of a system which won’t require so much capital which, at this point, looks as though it simply isn’t going to be available at the end of the next decade or so.
Most of these key recommendations sort of focus on this question of the size of the system and what can be done legitimately to reduce that size and, therefore, lessen the burden on the consumer without in any serious way eroding the reliability of the system which in the past has been rather spectacularly good.
My final point is once again to express appreciation to the minister with particular reference to his acceptance of the establishment of a monitoring committee, not later than the fall of 1977, to begin to take a look at what’s happening here. It is no criticism of Hydro. It is just a recognition of the basic fact that dealing with an institution as big as Hydro is like trying to turn a battleship around in the ocean. It is not going to happen without a lot of concentration and redirection.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: I said that at your committee meeting.
Mr. MacDonald: Did you? I wondered where I had picked up that rather good analogy. Very good. I sort of tucked it away on my shelf and I was going to use it other than in your presence and now it has slipped out. I am sorry, but I give you credit for it.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: You can at least give attribution.
Mr. MacDonald: Okay. I now attribute it to you.
Mr. Renwick: I thought the minister was talking about himself.
Mr. Foulds: It is certainly better than the introductory speech you gave to this --
Mr. MacDonald: In case the minister and I may appear to be getting too palsy on this thing, let me say this: I think any ministry, particularly a new ministry, trying to cope with an institution like Hydro, even though it is more sensitive to government intervention and to government’s right to lay down policy, is going to be strengthened in fulfilling its obligations if it has the backing of a select committee as the voice and the involvement of the Legislature.
If there’s one serious fault in the history of Hydro, it has been that for reasons which are understandable in the earlier years but which became less justifiable in later years, Hydro has operated almost as a law unto itself. I am not letting any secrets out when I say that on the government back-benches many times in the last generation, for example, there was as much anger and frustration with regard to what was going on in Hydro, the difficulty of finding out what was going on and the attitude of Hydro toward government and members, as there was on the opposition side of the House.
I have illustrated that point by saying that it was my conviction that the government appointed Bob Macaulay, who was one of the most effective gadflies in the world, as vice-chairman of Hydro in the late 1950s just to go in and find out what was going on in that institution. Unfortunately, Bob became interested in other things and whatever the benefit of that little sojourn of his it was never sort of passed on because he got out of politics.
Finally, Hydro now has become something that the Legislature is aware of, and has had an opportunity to look into. Indeed it was a rare privilege -- I speak personally now -- it was a rare privilege to have the opportunity to have what was a crash-course in terms of the examination of the operations of Hydro. Some of its achievements are very, very creditable achievements. But some of the concerns expressed in the past are still there.
It seems to me the operation of a select committee to monitor and make certain this new direction in policy is being fulfilled, to assist the minister in his process in doing that, is a very important part of this report and a very important part of the government’s acceptance of it.
Mr. Eakins: For years the provincial government has permitted, yes, and even encouraged, Ontario Hydro to operate without effective legislative control. Establishment of the select committee was the first attempt to really inquire into Hydro’s activities. Perhaps the real question at issue is: Why has the government permitted such independence of action in an area in which it has direct jurisdictional responsibility?
In 1974 the Hydro rate increase was 10 per cent; in 1975 the increase to municipalities was 12.4 per cent, to direct industrial customers 15.2 per cent; in 1976, 22 per cent was the figure; and for 1977 the requested increase was 30.3 per cent. Exponential growth has, it seems, become a matter of Hydro policy at every level. Whether this is necessitated by consumer demand, or whether it places an unnecessary financial burden upon Ontario taxpayers would seem to be a matter of no importance to either Hydro or the provincial government.
Last October, in the Throne Speech the government appealed to the people of Ontario to be resolute in the fight against inflation. The government also decided that the national anti-inflation programme should apply directly to the public sector in Ontario. In all fairness, how can the government call upon the people of Ontario to accept the anti-inflation restrictions on salary increases, and at the same time permit the imposition of increases in OHIP premiums, hydro rates, and so on, which far exceed the anti-inflation guidelines?
Hydro’s rate of expansion is not inevitable. It already has been demonstrated that capital expansion can be reduced. When the Treasurer issued a directive that spending must be reduced by $1½ billion a year, Hydro cut their targets from seven per cent to six per cent in annual growth. Two months previously, they had said that this was impossible, but they reduced the targets in approximately three weeks.
We believe a capital load management programme would reduce the increase in demand still further. I believe 5.4 per cent is a reasonable rate of increase which would result in ultimate savings in cost to the consumer. Right now we have sufficient reserve capacity -- I believe there is 38 per cent reserve over and above the peak consumption.
Hydro has failed to reduce peak consumption by incentive pricing. It has not changed its pricing method to encourage energy conservation. Although Hydro’s own figures for 1975 demonstrate the cost per kilowatt for thermo-nuclear electricity is about eight times that for hydraulic power, the government has made such a firm commitment to nuclear power electricity that hydraulic plants have been closed down rather than repaired and refitted.
Throughout the world the entire question of nuclear power is being re-evaluated. This is the situation in Japan, Holland, and in Scandinavia. In Britain, a royal commission has recently warned against the major commitment to nuclear power for electricity, citing the danger of nuclear waste and the entirely credible possibility that terrorists might seize nuclear materials.
For environmental as well as financial reasons Hydro should scale down expansionist policies, concentrating, I believe, upon energy conservation, load management, and other methods of reducing generating capacity targets. The funding of Ontario Hydro plans for future expansion places an unreasonable and well-nigh intolerable financial burden upon the people of this province.
Ontario Hydro can no longer be permitted to operate outside the control of this Legislature. It is the responsibility of the Premier (Mr. Davis) and his ministers to ensure that Hydro is accountable to the people of Ontario through their elected representatives.
Mr. Acting Speaker: I understand that on the normal rotation the hon. member for Dufferin-Simcoe (Mr. McCague) would be the next speaker. The chair is not aware of any other arrangements made by the House leaders on allocation of time or rotation of speakers. Perhaps we could be advised and abide by the wishes of the House leaders.
Mr. Haggerty: Mr. Speaker, I thought from what our critic indicated to me, that there was an hour’s time allotment for each party and the speakers were to follow on that basis. So I imagine the debate should end at about 6 o’clock.
Mr. Acting Speaker: The chair is not aware of any arrangements or understanding that the House leaders may have had.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, perhaps I could attempt to clarify this. I understand that the House leaders did, in fact, make some arrangement that each of the parties would have about an hour. With regard to the question of rotation, since the previous speakers for the government party have used up about 35 minutes of the hour allocated to our party, I’ve conferred with my colleagues and the decision was that the rotation should continue within the time limits for each of the opposition parties and then I would use whatever time is left on behalf of the government party and wind up the debate, if that’s acceptable to you, sir, and to the members of the House.
Mr. MacDonald: In short, you speak at about 5:30 at the latest and it rotates here until 5:30?
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Yes.
Mr. Acting Speaker: The hon. member for Dufferin-Simcoe.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, the point I just made was that there will be no further speakers from the government side except myself, who will wind up the debate; until that point it would rotate between the two opposition parties.
Mr. Bain: Mr. Speaker, because of the constraints of time I will attempt to remain quite brief. The gravity of today’s debate, though, I think deserves some comment.
The fact that the government is willing to accept a select committee that will investigate the appropriateness of Hydro’s nuclear commitment, I think is significant. I wouldn’t want to be somewhat pessimistic or sceptical of the conversion of the minister and the government to the idea of a select committee, but there has been a certain reluctance by the government to accept it; indeed, the government does not have to set it up, according to the motion we have in front of us, until the fall of 1977. Knowing the political climate in Ontario, one never knows what will be the situation in this House by the fall of 1977.
Mr. Conway: Come, come!
Mr. Bain: But regardless of that, at least we will have public participation. I think that is the most important thing. We can’t take much solace in any commitment that the government may or may not be making to implement legislation, but I think a public airing of the nuclear commitment is important. I believe that there are a considerable number of problems with nuclear energy and, contrary to some of the statements that have been made by government members, they are not mere technical problems or emotional over-reactions.
The member for Scarborough Centre (Mr. Drea) indicated that the most important thing the select committee would do would be to give people a chance to vent their emotions, and thus defuse those emotions, regarding nuclear energy. In fact, we do not have in Canada, through the Candu reactor system, a safer method of generating nuclear energy than any other jurisdiction. Perhaps the only area that has one that is generally accepted to be especially dangerous is in the Soviet Union. But our system is certainly just as dangerous as the American one. I would remind the minister that nuclear reactors, in essence, are bombs, and bombs do explode. Just because none has exploded, that might have to do with something along the line that there aren’t very many yet and that you have had a lot of very good, very capable people, and extremely lucky people looking after those nuclear reactors. With the proliferation of nuclear reactors, you’re bound to get a very serious accident and you’re bound to have devastation over a very wide area; in essence, a nuclear explosion.
That is a problem that I think is very severe. The government may say that this is not going to happen, that we’ll always be able to meet the challenge, that we’ll always have technicians who can short-circuit the problems before they become a severe accident, but what are you going to do with the nuclear waste?
The nuclear waste is not something on which you have any clear-cut proposals. Basically your attitude is that you’ll bury them, bury the problem, bury the waste and hope that in the future there’ll be a technological solution as to what you’re going to do with this nuclear waste. I would suggest that this is being optimistic to the point of being negligent. We don’t have any guarantees there will be any technology and you know that, in fact, the storage containers for nuclear waste will not last as long as the life of the nuclear waste itself, so the containers will disintegrate before the radioactivity in the waste is gone.
I know some jurisdictions -- I believe Britain is one of them -- dispose of their nuclear waste by dumping it in the ocean. The Americans apparently pump it into underground well systems -- neat little things like that. They never will be able to retrieve it. You at least keep it around so if you do ever come across a technology to do something with it, you can do that. But other jurisdictions dispose of it in such a manner that they are ensuring that in generations to come this nuclear waste will become a very severe environmental hazard that will have repercussions not only for plant and animal life, but for mankind as well.
The only possible solution I can see at the moment is to place a moratorium on the development of nuclear energy and as quickly as possible phase out the existing nuclear reactors. That debate will be the one the select committee will get into and I believe the public hearings that will occur, and address themselves to that kind of a question, will be extremely useful.
The alternative sources. The minister is perfectly aware most alternative sources are a lot more efficient, in fact, in terms of energy efficiency, and conversion efficiency than nuclear energy. Energy Probe says the Candu nuclear power plant system is 30 per cent efficient whereas our large hydro-electric turbines are 95 per cent efficient. Thirty per cent efficient, I know, was not the target you may have anticipated but it is, in fact, what has been the result. The Candu nuclear reactors are extremely inefficient and probably none of them will ever operate anywhere near the capacity that was envisioned for them.
Other forms of energy such as wind and solar energy are much more efficient and again, Energy Probe, in the Renewable Energy Handbook, indicates that we could, in fact, supply all our needs in Canada with any of the following and each one would supply all our needs: Solar, thermal, photovoltaic, wind and geo-thermal.
Now, if this government had anticipated -- and in fact, it is this government that’s before us today -- if this government had been planning at all and if Ontario Hydro had been planning -- because I feel that the government and Ontario Hydro really are one and the same -- it would have been into some alternative forms of research in the 1940s. We now would have solar energy being supplied to our cities and the people of this province and the government would not need to try and force nuclear energy down our throats with the threat that our industry and our homes and our factories and our schools will go without light and power if we don’t go along with nuclear reactors.
In essence, because it has never planned ahead in the area of energy, the government is now blackmailing us into accepting nuclear reactors. Nuclear reactors are dangerous, we can’t dispose of the waste, and they are going to get this province into something that in a few years’ time none of us will want to be into. As I said earlier, we must have a moratorium on the development of nuclear energy and we must phase out the existing plants.
We also must get into a lot of research -- spend the money we’re spending on nuclear energy research and development on solar energy. If necessary spend a little more and get into a real crash programme so that we can have solar energy coming on stream. Perhaps before we get to the solar energy coming on stream, we are going to have to have very severe cutbacks in our consumption of electricity. If we all have to go without air-conditioning and electric toothbrushes and electric can openers, worse things have happened.
Again, I welcome the establishment of the select committee, and I’m sure that it will get into some very fruitful discussions. I only hope that the government will be diligent in pursuing the recommendations of that committee, and that it will begin to get away from the nuclear commitment it has made.
I would just like to add that Ontario Hydro, as far as I’m concerned has been acting almost as a private, independent entity. It’s supposed to have been responsible to the people of this province through the government, but it really hasn’t been. Only from time to time has the government scrutinized the operations of Ontario Hydro and usually it always agreed with Ontario Hydro. Now either this government or Ontario Hydro is negligent in not having planned properly so that we would avoid any sort of development of nuclear energy by default, because we couldn’t do otherwise. I think that is unsafe to get into and it’s something that the government has to avoid at all costs.
I would simply like to leave with the members a paraphrasing -- and I don’t claim to be quoting him accurately -- of Mr. Gofman in Poisoned Power. He says that an error on the side of conservation in estimating a danger can be at worst a delaying nuisance for the promoters of the technology. An error on the side of optimism leading to some underestimation of the true hazard can be extremely costly to mankind.
Mr. Haggerty: I am pleased to enter into the debate relating to the response of the Ministry of Energy concerning the recommendations of the select committee reviewing the Ontario Hydro proposals to increase bulk power rates for the year 1976.
As a member of that committee, the all-party committee, we endorsed and supported the 40 recommendations and I don’t think there was any disagreement whatsoever. I think the 40 recommendations were good recommendations. The committee heard from a number of knowledgeable witnesses who represented a broad area of experts across the North American continent, and I’m pleased to commend the minister now in moving the amendments that will further some of the recommendations of that report, particularly as it relates to recommendation III-29, that in order to permit sufficient time to implement the recommendations approved by the Legislature considering or monitoring the select committee be deferred for one year, and he did suggest or indicate to the House that there was an amendment to that which said a committee would be established sometime in the early fall.
How well I can recall the member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk (Mr. Nixon), then the leader of the official opposition, indicate to the Legislature in November, 1973, that a committee of the Legislature be established to review Hydro rate increases for 1973. Previously the proposed Hydro rate increases were approved by the government without any particular review. The rate increase in 1973 was an average of 7.5 to 10 per cent for the rural customers in Ontario. The question again was the equity in the increase at that time.
At the present time it is suggested that the rate increase for 1977 will be 30.3 per cent, which is above the recommendations of the select committee last year. The final action taken by the government, through a minority government, was to appoint the select committee to review the rates and I think it has met with quite a success here in the Legislature and through this report.
Much of the difficulty now present in the increased Hydro rates -- I should say a substantial increase to consumers of approximately 60 per cent in a three-year period -- can be credited to the mismanagement of Hydro goals for the expansion programme.
One recommendation of the select committee was to reduce this expansion programme from 7 per cent to 5.4 per cent growth. That perhaps has caused some difficulties with the report and the interpretation of it, but I think it has merit that we should perhaps be heading for that goal. In the past the expansion programme and the rate of growth they had used when they calculated their expansion programme I think was far in excess of the needs for Hydro in Ontario.
No doubt the increase in Hydro rates is going to cause some difficulty to industry and one can only quote from one of the persons present at a number of the hearings of the select committee dealing with the Ontario Hydro rate proposals, Mr. Kenneth Voss, who was chairman of AMPCO. And I would like to quote what he said in his August, 1976 press release:
“Ontario must adopt power pricing policies which promote economic utilization and conservation of electricity,” the past chairman of AMPCO said in June. Mr. Kenneth Voss also criticized the Porter royal commission on electrical power planning for acting unilaterally in ignoring the priorities contained in the terms of the reference.
He goes on to say:
“Ontario Hydro and its industrial users could aid many smaller firms in the application of sound conservation practices.”
I think he put their case very well before the committee. He continued:
“We supported Ontario Hydro and the province of Ontario in hearings before the National Energy Board in Montreal opposing an application to export nine mil power to the United States from generating facilities at Churchill Falls and James Bay. Our position is that Canadian consumers should have the first call on Canadian natural resources and that we should not consider giving away these resources when they may be employed to a far greater benefit here at home.”
When we look at that comment, I suppose the other direction that the minister discussed with the committee at the particular time was there should be a national energy policy in Canada. I think that is a most important step, too.
“Contingent liabilities on Ontario Hydro had increased in a 10-year period 163.2 per cent to almost $5 billion in two years, a substantial increase of 32.9 per cent from the year 1975 to 1976 of almost $5 billion.” An expenditure that places the province in a financial straitjacket.
One of the financial difficulties where Ontario Hydro has not produced is perhaps in the revenue from exporting hydro to the United States. There was supposed to be substantial revenue gained by this; I think it was estimated to be about $100 million and there has been quite a shortfall in that particular area.
This, in my opinion, means the government has been misled in this area by the minister’s predecessor when he stated in the Legislature -- quoting from Hansard, Volume 4, 1973, page 4632:
“Hon. Mr. McKeough: ... the outstanding success of Pickering has made it possible, with permission, for Ontario Hydro to export more power at a very good price, I might say, which lowers the cost of power or has the effect of reducing the cost of increasing electrical power to the consumers of Ontario.”
Now, that to me is a misleading statement. I think this is where we got into our problems with Ontario Hydro and their expansion programme. We had geared Hydro to export energy to the United States, and that’s another field of difficulties that we find ourselves in. When you have competition from the province of Quebec also wanting to export energy to the United States, there’s quite a field.
I suppose with the recession in the United States they have not purchased the power the previous minister had expected. I feel he is the culprit here -- in the cost of energy to the province of Ontario. Through his guidance, decisions were made to gear up Ontario Hydro into huge, expansionary programmes to export energy to the United States -- at the present time a complete failure. As a consequence the people of the province of Ontario now have to suffer tremendous hydro rate increases. It’s causing difficulties not only in the industrial field, but even for the home consumer.
Just how far can you push the residents of the province of Ontario on any energy cost? I think the government has to take careful consideration of any cost of energy to the people of Ontario from this day forward. It is a problem area.
The Power Commission Act, debated in the Legislature in 1973, provided means for Ontario Hydro to spend some $8 billion to $10 billion in a period of approximately eight years. The member for Rainy River (Mr. Reid) the party critic at that time, stated the intent of the Act was “hydro at cost.” But then he added, “It will be hydro at uncontrollable cost.”
I believe the member was right on.
The government has failed in this area of hydro at cost. And the cost to the consumer of any energy form is becoming out of the reach of his income.
I do have a few other comments to back up some of the arguments that have been put to the minister here. I was concerned about the article from the Ontario Economic Council -- The Effects of Energy Price Changes on Commodity Prices, Interprovincial Trade and Employment. These are on page three of a press release from James R. Melvin, Ontario Economic Council:
“Uniform price increases for petroleum products in North America would favour United States industry. This suggests that there may be an economic justification for maintaining a price differential between Canada and the United States. If Canada adopts world prices for petroleum, as prices continue to rise, she will find herself more and more at a price disadvantage relative to the United States.”
I think that the select committee when they continue hearings in the fall should be looking at this particular area -- the uniform price in Canada of all energy -- which will be reflected in the cost of hydro in Ontario.
As my colleagues have mentioned before, I think we should be taking a good hard look at the hydraulic facilities that have been phased out in the past 10 or 15 years. We should perhaps reconstruct these particular sites. And as mentioned before there are some areas of nuclear power generating in Ontario that may cause difficulties in future years.
There is a risk with any nuclear power. I would suggest a reasonable way to generate electricity in Ontario is by using our hydraulic resources. I understand there are a number of areas in this particular field -- some members talked about the Albany watershed in the James Bay area. I think the intent of the committee, when we mentioned this, was that the government should be implementing environmental studies now. Not saying that we should get on with the project, but saying we should be ready at almost any time to implement hydraulic electricity generating plants. If we look at the announcement in the past week about Reed Paper expanding in that area and consider that other paper companies are expanding in that particular area, then I think we are going to have to look for additional hydro-electricity from our resources area and in particular the Albany River.
I hope that the minister will appoint that committee a lot earlier than the fall and that we can continue with the 40 recommendations, which I think are going to set new policy guidelines for Ontario Hydro. But I say the fault for the Hydro increases at the present time -- and they are substantially high -- lies with the government, because it geared itself for export.
Mr. Acting Speaker: Is there any further debate? I understood from the comments that were made earlier by the minister about the allocation of time, that he would start his reply around 5:30.
Mr. Conway: I think I can accommodate that with one or two very brief remarks, Mr. Speaker.
I did not want to let the opportunity pass without positively acknowledging the minister’s reconsideration of the select committee on the question of nuclear energy, because I doubt if there is anyone in this august assembly who has a greater representation of nuclear concern than I do in Renfrew North and I do think that it is an extremely appropriate forum to take place at this point in time.
I can tell you, sir, that I listened with a great deal of interest both to the comments of the member for Timiskaming (Mr. Bain) and earlier from the member for Carleton East (Ms. Gigantes) with respect to the role of politics and politicians in such a debate, but I just wanted to take this opportunity to say on behalf of many of the people -- and there are several thousand in my riding -- whose livelihood is determined by and related to the nuclear energy business, that those people sometimes feel very chagrined at what we politicians do in matters of high technical concern and specificity and complexity. At the present time, for example, we are faced with the situation where the Port Hope material is finding its way into the environs of Renfrew North. I think it is an important debate, one that I certainly support, and I just wanted to take this opportunity to acknowledge the minister’s positive reconsideration of that. I think it’s important. I know the people in the atomic energy business in Renfrew North will certainly appreciate the opportunity, and for them I would just like to take this opportunity to focus my own acknowledgement of what I think is the minister’s very wise reconsideration.
Mr. Roy: Make 5,000 copies, Sean.
Mr. Acting Speaker: Is there any further debate? The hon. minister.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, I want to start off my concluding remarks by reading into the record some of the advice I have had since the final report of the select committee was tabled in the House in June of this year.
Following the tabling of the report, I undertook to canvass a fairly wide cross-section of the Ontario economy. I wrote to trade unions. I wrote to various associations involved in commerce, agriculture and other fields. I wrote to such groups as the manufacturers’ association and so on and, of course, first and foremost, to Ontario Hydro to ask for their advice on various aspects of the report as tabled. I want, first of all, to read into the record of the House, and subsequently to table in the House, the response which I had from the chairman of Ontario Hydro. It’s dated September 16, 1976, and is addressed to myself:
“Dear Mr. Minister:
“The board of directors has carefully reviewed the June 1976 report of the Legislature’s select committee entitled ‘A New Public Policy Direction for Ontario Hydro.’
“The board concurs with the general intent of the committee’s recommendations, which in the board’s view accurately reflect the new social environment in which utilities are now operated, the need for aggressive conservation programmes and the urgent requirement to develop and put into effect load management techniques that will guarantee the most efficient use of generating stations and fuel resources in the constrained circumstances that lie ahead.
“In developing its response to the select committee’s report, the Hydro board identified two major areas of uncertainty that can only be resolved by the government of Ontario.
“First is the need to reconcile the long-term assessment of power system planning being undertaken by the royal commission on electric power planning and the specific recommendations for immediate action made by the select committee.
“Second is the need to assess the socioeconomic impact of changing the planned expansion of Ontario’s electrical resources and the need to define the respective roles of government and Ontario Hydro in the performance of that task.
“The select committee accepted Hydro’s load forecast and agreed that its conservation programme is an ambitious one. However, its recommendations are based on an even more stringent conservation programme, a high target for load management and an arbitrary assumption concerning the level of assistance that should be expected from those utilities outside Ontario with which Ontario has interconnections.
“While the board shares the committee’s view that every realistic initiative towards the economical use of resources must be seized and carried forward, it faces three key unknowns in reviewing its plans for the expansion of the provincial power system.
“1. When and to what degree can changes in the habits and behaviour of consumers be expected to reduce the demand for electricity?
“2. To what extent can Ontario rely on utilities in other provinces and in the United States to provide assistance in meeting power demands during critical periods? Most of those utilities face similar constraints on the financing and construction of new generating capacity to those faced by Hydro.
“3. What is the future availability and price of other forms of energy going to be?
“The select committee itself noted, as conventional sources of energy become scarce or prohibitively expensive, Ontario Hydro may have a vital and much broader role to play in protecting Ontario’s energy future.’
“More recently you have indicated that a trend to substitute electricity for fossil fuels has begun and is predicted to continue. In the long run the conclusions and recommendations of the Porter commission should provide a basis for making judgements on these questions. In the shorter run, to which the recommendations of the select committee are addressed, Hydro will be seeking and using interim answers. The board’s view is that plans for expansion of the province’s electrical resources should be adjusted either up or down to match future needs as they are identified from time to time by the best current forecasts.
“As I indicated in my letter last May to Donald C. MacDonald, chairman of the select committee, the board has serious misgivings about ordering further cutbacks in the system expansion programme before the benefits and risks of such a decision are carefully weighed. The $6.5 billion reduction in the expansion programme over the last 12 months has increased substantially the risk of having insufficient generating capacity to meet the needs of the province in the early 1980s.
“To make deeper cuts without a thorough assessment of the effects on the provincial economy would, in the board’s view, involve risks of unacceptable proportions. No one has yet assessed the implications of such a move on the economic vitality of Ontario, and the government would undoubtedly require a clearer understanding of them before permitting further cuts to be made.
“While there are cost penalties associated with overbuilding, the economic hazards of underbuilding appear to be even more harmful. With the long lead times now needed for the construction of new power stations, errors of judgement in planning can take 10 years or more to correct.
“In view of the magnitude, complexity and interdependence of these issues, the board has ordered a complete reassessment of the corporation’s current system expansion programmes, along with a review of all the factors connected with it. We expect that the study, which will commence forthwith, will require from nine to 12 months of intensive effort before we will be ready to evaluate the committee’s recommendation that the programme be altered.
“To be successful, the study will need the full co-operation of several government ministries. The findings can then be reviewed by the government as a basis for provincial policy decisions. You will appreciate the risks of declaring a complete moratorium on all commitments and construction of plant while this review is made.
“In an expansion programme, working to in-service dates scheduled over the next 10 years, delay itself becomes a decision to cut back the programme. The loss of 12 months would be impossible to recover. As a result, the board believes that it is necessary to move forward with some aspects of the work associated with the Darlington and Atikokan stations and with the acquisition of a new site on the north shore of Lake Huron. The work will include such time-consuming steps as site preparation and environmental assessment but major equipment purchases will not be made for these projects until their present scheduling is reassessed as part of the study we are commencing.
“The taking of these steps simply recognizes the need to keep present options open in view of the uncertainty of the situation. During the past decade, Ontario Hydro has been trying to respond to some dramatic developments in the technological, economic and social context in the type, sources and costs of primary energy supplies -- coal, oil, natural gas and uranium; the development and application of complex technologies for energy conversion and the delivery of electricity; the construction and operation of heavy water plants; a large, new and highly sophisticated chemical manufacturing process; inflationary increases in the cost of money, equipment, materials and labour, causing very large increases in the price of electricity; capital availability constraints; rising public concern about the environmental, economic and social consequences of Ontario Hydro’s activities and the resultant review processes with their effects upon schedules, costs and general effectiveness of Hydro’s operations.
“These developments have taken place principally in the last three or four years and have altered the order of the criteria by which a system expansion plan is judged. For example, system reliability and long-term product costs have been replaced by capital availability as the primary concern. It is clearly evident that, as suggested by the select committee, the priorities in Hydro’s planning environment have substantially changed.
“The presently approved system expansion programme, known as LRF 48, reflects two cutbacks made during the past year as a result of constraints imposed by government directives. The second and more restrictive of these directives was issued in January of 1976; that cutback, of necessity, was made hurriedly with time for only very limited analysis of the effect on the various criteria, except for capital availability. Although expansion has been sharply curtailed, load forecasts have indicated little change in the steady growth of power demand. To bridge the gap, Hydro’s conservation programme is being accelerated and given high priority in order to try and preserve an acceptable level of system reliability.
“Ontario Hydro has, for many years, prepared extensive analyses as a basis for making choices among alternative plans. However, the recent shift in the order of precedence of the criteria used for judging programme alternatives has made analysis much more complicated and difficult. Sophisticated analytical techniques and masses of information which have not been either available or needed before are now required.
“Some of the work related to the study is already in hand, and the remainder will proceed as quickly as possible. Because of the extent of the cutbacks already made and the lack of experience in North America of such extensive load-growth reductions as those recommended by the select committee, the study must include an assessment of the economic and the social effects of changes in the expansion plan insofar as that is practicable.
“Ontario Hydro has done some work in this area and will be able to provide certain data from reliability studies currently underway. But the responsibility for a major portion of a socio-economic assessment will have to rest with the government. The study will attempt to evaluate all the key factors in the production and delivery of electric energy under a range of conditions encompassing all the pertinent recommendations of the select committee. These factors can be grouped broadly as follows: Resources, including primary energy supply, system reserve, manpower and finances; service, including quantity, quality, price and value; and, finally, community effects, including economic, social and environmental.
“Specifically, the study must encompass the following: The socio-economic effects of power system expansion on the Ontario community, including an assessment of the risk and resultant impact of excess or deficiency in system capability; an assessment of the role of electricity in protecting Ontario’s energy future in relation to the availability and price of fossil fuels; a definition of a load plan that includes a programme for conservation and load management together with an assessment of the probabilities of achieving different target loads; an analysis of reserve capacity policy in terms of risk of failure to supply demand; the effect on the price of power and the associated value of reliability to the community; an assessment of availability, security of supply and cost of primary energy; the cost and reliability of various generation mixes; the financial implications of system expansion, including the price of electricity, financial soundness and capital availability.
“The study will require extensive effort within Hydro and substantial contributions by appropriate government ministers. In many respects it will be developmental and continuing in nature but only such an approach can form the necessary ongoing basis for a proper selection of policies to apply to system expansion programmes of the future.
“The board believes the study will bring the many variables and uncertainties into clearer focus. It is an ambitious objective but one that the corporation must pursue. Many of the select committee’s recommendations concern matters of broad policy for your ministry and the government to decide. The Hydro board, however, wishes to offer a comment on one specific recommendation in this category that related to the establishment of a select committee as the appropriate public forum to examine Ontario Hydro’s nuclear commitment.
“There is a clear need to achieve greater public understanding of the benefits and risks of nuclear energy but it would hardly seem appropriate, particularly at this late date, to exclude the nuclear debate from the broad mandate given to the royal commission on electrical power planning. The appointment of a select committee to review the nuclear question would, therefore, result in two inquiries running parallel and simultaneously. This would blur rather than clarify the public’s understanding of the issue and the alternatives.
“We suggest that a better way would be to await the final report of the royal commission and see if it meets the need expressed by the select committee.
“The Hydro board believes that the report of the select committee represents an important contribution to the understanding of the role and place of electricity in the economic and social structure of the province. We ask that you place this response of the board before the Legislature when the report of the select committee is debated.” It is signed on behalf of the board by Robert B. Taylor.
This I agreed to do, Mr. Speaker, and at the same time I commended Hydro for the initiative they have shown. There are a couple of points there where obviously we did not accept the advice entirely, but I think the initiative shown by Hydro in reviewing their system expansion programme and the elements that go into it is commendable and is reflected, in fact, in the number of the conclusions which the government arrived at and which are included in our response.
If I may, I also want to take a couple of minutes to read some other responses that we had from the private sector, if you will, which perhaps will give some indication to hon. members opposite why we were so reluctant, without further studies to which the government has committed ourselves and Ontario Hydro, to accept recommendations III-23 and III-24 as they were written.
The first letter I want to read comes from the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America. It reads as follows:
“It is predicted that 1,000 construction jobs will be lost in the very near future owing to these cutbacks in Hydro construction.” That is cutbacks already put in place. “And, of course, not only will this affect employment in the construction industry, but also will affect employment for people in manufacturing who supply the necessary materials and equipment for Hydro projects.
“On behalf of the Ontario provincial council, I would ask you to give serious reconsideration to the provincial fiscal policies to enable Ontario Hydro to complete their planned construction projects as scheduled.”
The next letter comes from Mr. Schultz, the vice-president of Teamsters Union Local 879:
“Should we not continue these programmes to the utmost of our abilities at this stage, we will be certainly faced with power shortages causing brownouts and blackouts to the extent that industry and the people of our province, and the country for that matter, will experience in the near future.
“What we would like to know is whether or not it is cheaper to lay off thousands of construction and industrial workers and feed them on welfare rolls or unemployment insurance, or is it cheaper to employ these workers on the worthwhile, needed energy programmes now under construction and continuing those already slated for construction and/or production.”
The third of these responses came from the Electrical and Electronic Manufacturers Association of Canada. I quote again:
“We are totally opposed to this recommendation, which does not recognize the realities of the current energy situation and will inevitably lead to disruption of the Ontario economy, outward migration of industry and severe unemployment within 15 years.”
And, finally, one from the Canadian Steel Industries Construction Council:
“We are confident that you recognize the serious implications of any action tending to jeopardize the supply of electrical energy, which has been the keystone in the development of Ontario’s industrial economy. At a time when capital investment and employment are sorely needed, concerns of this kind create a most unfortunate deterrent to new investment and expansionary planning.”
Obviously, we have not decided to go back on the directives given to Ontario Hydro in the summer of 1975 and in January of this year. The cuts which have been made and the delays which have been put in place in the system expansion programme, will stand.
We have today put forward an amendment to our amendment -- I guess that is really what it amounts to -- which reads as follows and would replace recommendations III-23 and III-24:
“That concurrent with Hydro’s load management programme and implementation of specific peak demand reduction targets for each of the next 10 years, Hydro develop a new generation plan which would reduce its planned growth.”
Mr. Speaker, I think the material I have just read into the record from Hydro and from outside groups, both in the union movement and in the industries, perhaps gives you some idea of why we didn’t feel we knew enough, neither on this side of the House nor on the opposite side, nor for that matter at the corner of University and College --
Mr. Moffatt: Just speak for yourself.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: -- to be able to accept the kinds of targets that were outlined in the report of the select committee. We are prepared to accept and have accepted, as has Hydro, that we obviously have to do a great deal of homework in the area of load management. I commend, for instance, what the Scarborough PUC has recommended. The hon. member for Scarborough Centre (Mr. Drea) has mentioned their proposal, about which I will be meeting with representatives, including, I believe, the chairman, Mr. Cavanagh, in the next week or 10 days. This is the kind of thing that we have to know more about --
Mr. Nixon: What is the member for Scarborough Centre smiling about?
Mr. Conway: Let’s hear it for the member for Scarborough Centre. You may get into the cabinet, Frank.
Mr. Drea: Don’t you wish you could?
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: -- to be able to come back to the House in the months ahead with some clear indication of the amounts of energy that can be reasonably expected to be controlled through load management.
Mr. Nixon: That’s a good boy, Frank.
Mr. Roy: Frank, I hear that Marvin is going to beat you to the cabinet.
Mr. Nixon: You are going to be Marvin’s parliamentary assistant.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: There are other factors, of course, than those mentioned in the letters or what I’ve previously said. First of all, there’s the question of load increase. With all due respect to my friend from York South (Mr. MacDonald), I want to correct something that I read in a press release from his office regarding a speech he gave in Barrie the other night. If I read that press release correctly, he was saying that the use of electricity, particularly industrial, was down in Ontario this year. In point of fact, it was up. I read figures into the record earlier that indicate that it now appears in 1976 the use of primary energy will be up 6.8 per cent.
Mr. MacDonald: It was down in June, wasn’t it?
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: I don’t recall the June figures. I’m talking about the whole year. I do know that in September it was up about 10 per cent. So that, in fact, we have to take that into account.
Mr. Roy: You are talking off the cuff now, are you?
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: There is the question of interconnections. I mentioned that we have asked Hydro, and they have followed through, to contact all of the utilities surrounding Ontario and with whom we have interconnections.
Mr. Conway: Marvin, don’t leave Frank.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: The prospect for more electricity from those jurisdictions -- the two provinces and those states -- is not promising. I mentioned earlier that the contracts which we have with Manitoba and Quebec run out in 1977 and we have no assurance that we will be able to purchase any electricity on a firm basis from those jurisdictions after those dates.
Mr. Roy: You were shot down by the National Energy Board the other day.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Then there is the question of energy conservation and how successful conservation is going to be in terms of the effort which is intensifying in the province, not only on the part of the provincial government but all local utilities and, I’m pleased to say, many private and public interest groups in the communities across the province.
Finally, there is the question of the availability of other fuels. As I’ve said so many times before when reviewing electricity matters, we have to put it in the context of the overall energy scene and not view it in isolation from oil, natural gas and coal problems and what the prospects are for the future supplies of those fossil fuels.
Mr. Speaker, I want to correct one thing which the member for Erie (Mr. Haggerty) said. He indicated that the problem as he sees it is due to the fact that the entire Ontario Hydro system is committed to exports. The member has now left the House, but I’ll point out to his colleagues or anybody else who perhaps holds that view, that in point of fact we in this province have only one firm power contract for export. It is a 35-megawatt contract in a system which is now about 17,000 or 18,000 megawatts.
It is true that we export power throughout the rest of the year but it is on an interruptible basis. We export it when it is available in our system, when the capacity is surplus to our system, and we sell it for a profit. This has been commended year after year by the Ontario Energy Board in reviewing the Ontario Hydro rate proposal. In fact, as I recall, the select committee in its first report even urged Ontario Hydro to do everything possible to promote the sale of interruptible power -- I presume that meant to the Americans as well as to anybody else that we could sell it to, even in Canada -- because the profit from that does flow back into the coffers of Ontario Hydro and thereby softens their requirements for borrowing and for current revenues.
Mr. Roy: You are wrong.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, some members seem to be under the impression --
Mr. Roy: It wasn’t correct.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: The hon. member should read the Energy Board reports of 1975 and 1976 before he says that, okay? I want to read into the record too --
Mr. Roy: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Deputy Speaker: A point of order? The hon. member for Ottawa East.
Mr. Roy: The minister tried to suggest by some of his comments that we thought the problem was the exports, and I just want to correct the record to show that we don’t think that’s the problem. We feel that the minister is the problem.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, the valuable contributions of the member for Ottawa East are always appreciated in this House.
Mr. Drea: He is working for his QC.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: If he’s working for his QC, that’s a funny way to go about it.
Mr. Roy: No, I’d have to be a Tory candidate to be a QC.
Hon. Mr. Bennett: Automatic, automatic.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, I want to read into the record of the House the terms of reference of the royal commission on electric power planning. Mr. Speaker, I have very little time left, unless you’d like me to go past 6 o’clock until I finish.
These are the terms of reference of the commission, commonly known as the Porter commission.
“The royal commission on electric power planning has been empowered and instructed to:
“1. Examine the long-range electric power planning concepts of Ontario Hydro for the period 1983-93 and beyond and to report its findings and recommendations to the government so that an approved framework can be decided upon for Ontario Hydro in planning and implementing the electrical power system in the best interests of the people of Ontario;
“2. Inquire comprehensively into Ontario Hydro’s long-range planning programme and its relation to provincial planning; to domestic, commercial and industrial utilization of electrical energy; to environmental, energy and socio-economic factors including, but not limited to, matters such as electric load growth, systems reliability, management of heat discharged from generating stations, interconnecting and power-pooling with neighbouring utilities, export policies, economic investment policies, land use, general principles on the siting of generating stations and transmission corridors, efficient utilization of electrical energy and wise management (conservation) of primary energy resources, power generation technology, security of fuel supplies and operational consideration.
“3. Deal primarily with the broader issues relating to electric power planning and thus serve to alleviate the need for re-examination of these issues at subsequent hearings of other hearing bodies on specific details such as siting, rates, etc.
“4. Consider and report on a priority basis on the need for a north channel generating station; a second 500 kv line from Bruce; a 500 kv supply to Kitchener; a 500 kv line from Nanticoke to London; a 500 kv line in the Ottawa-Cornwall area; and other projects as may be directed by the Lieutenant Governor in Council.”
I should also tell you that the membership of the royal commission is rather broad. We have a physicist, an economist, a journalist, a farmer -- and only one engineer.
I offer the terms of reference and these comments on the makeup of the commission in response to some of the comments made earlier that perhaps the government was somehow trying to avoid the nuclear issue. In point of fact, since the royal commission was appointed I have, as have other ministers of the government, made it clear that one of the prime questions to which they must address themselves is this of nuclear power. They also must avail themselves to the people around the province and there’s probably no royal commission which has travelled more broadly and into more diverse communities than has the royal commission on electric power planning.
One member suggested that they only listen to experts. The royal commission, it is true, has heard from experts but they are listening to the people. If you would attend any of their hearings -- be they in Kingston, in Ottawa, in the far north, in Toronto, in London, in Kitchener, wherever -- they are listening to the people.
They advertise broadly and invite individuals as well as organized groups to submit their positions. But not just that -- if they have nothing more to submit than a question, a concern, they want to hear those too. But they are listening to the people.
Mr. Warner: Was your speech writer from northwestern Ontario?
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: The concern that was outlined in the earlier position on the question of a nuclear select committee is reflected in the amendment put to you today. It is that we would like to see the royal commission finish its work. We would like to see the commission, in an unfettered way, probe deeper into the question of nuclear power as part of the broad question of electrical energy as outlined in section 3 of the terms of reference, and to present to the assembly and to the government a report that embraces all of the factors which come into it.
The member for Timiskaming (Mr. Bain) said that nuclear waste has been dumped in oceans. I take it that he is suggesting that nuclear fuel has been dumped in oceans. If he knows of some I wish he would tell me. I know of no instance where that has ever happened.
He talked about the nuclear waste issue. Unquestionably that’s one of the things that Porter has to look at as well. If he would read what he has put out on the question of the review of nuclear power he will see that that is front and centre.
He suggests that Candu reactors are like bombs. If he would read the literature, if he would talk to people like Professor Trainor at the University of Toronto, whom I know very well as my school board trustee and who is a member of your party. He will tell you that that is wrong, that that is impossible.
Mr. Bain: Can you guarantee they will never blow up? You can guarantee that?
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: I guarantee I will finish in about five minutes.
On the question of alternative energy sources and conservation, the hon. member for Erie talked about a position paper of AMPCO. I want to tell him that in the two years that I have been Minister of Energy I have been consistently trying to get out of AMPCO some commitment to conservation and to the greater use of interruptible power. I’ve had lots of letters from them but at no point have they ever specifically answered my request for a position. Really, when one reads that letter one must put it in the proper context that they have not come forward with any specific recommendations on what can be done.
Then there’s the question of James Bay. There again, I have to say that with what I know about the potential for the Albany River, with what I knew at this point about the cost associated with getting power out of the Albany River, I could not recommend to my colleagues in the government that anything be done with it in terms of a hydro-electric development.
The whole question of hydro-electric development, the potential, is in the hands of the royal commission. That is again a specific question to which they must address themselves and advise the government and this assembly. What is the potential? At this point I’m advised that we have tapped every economically feasible hydraulic site in the province of Ontario. At this point in time there is not another site sufficiently large to be useful to the system, sufficiently economic to be considered.
I’m glad the member for Erie has returned on the question of exports, because we were interrupted by a frivolous interjection by a member from Ottawa. I want to repeat, now that he’s back in the House, that the export of power is not one of the underlying principles or goals of the expansion of the Ontario Hydro system. It is not now; it has never been; it will never be. We do export power but on an interruptible basis.
Mr. Haggerty: They are competing with Hydro-Québec.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: I want to put into the record some figures. There has been some discussion which has been perhaps a little bit off target.
Mr. Roy: Why don’t you table them? They are not very interesting.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: People have been comparing the various fuels which are used to generate electricity and the cost of them. I want to read into the record the cost figures for four sources of electricity, namely uranium, coal, oil and gas. This includes all capital costs.
At Pickering the cost of power is eight mills. At Lansing, which is coal, the cost of power is 13 mills. At Lennox, which is oil and one of the newest plants in the system, the cost of power is 15 mills. At Hearn, which is one of the older plants and which is natural gas, the cost of power is 16 mills.
Mr. Haggerty: Give us the cost of the Adam Beck station.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: These are the kinds of things I think we have to consider along with the other issues of safety, the waste problem and everything that goes into the nuclear question.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, to conclude, a great deal --
Mr. Conway: Here comes the judge.
An hon. member: He is right.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: -- has been said about the first recommendation of the select committee which, for the benefit of the House, I’ll reread: “The Ontario government develop and clearly articulate government policy towards Ontario Hydro.”
I think if we look at the 70-year history of Ontario Hydro this really has been taken as given by the various governments which have, first of all, established and then worked with and related to Ontario Hydro for these past 70 years.
Hydro has gone through several eras. First there was the Sir Adam Beck era until his death in 1926 I think. I can’t remember the name of the next chairman but through the years of the 1930s, of the problems with the contracts with Quebec, and finally in the --
Hon. Mr. Davis: Don’t overlook the vice-chairman.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: I was coming to you. Finally in the 1940s there were the decisions of the provincial government to go through a programme of rural electrification and, following on that, the decision to convert to 60-cycle power in the province. Hydro has seen a number of eras in its history.
If we are not into a new era we are entering one with the new demands on Ontario Hydro; with the capital crunch, as my friend from York South likes to call it; with the demand from society indeed from government, that more be done to control demand and not just concentrate on supply. Hydro is entering a new era.
Last week my friend from Carleton (Ms. Gigantes) talked about the need to rattle Ontario Hydro. I hope that when she has a chance to read in Hansard the letter from the chairman of Hydro she will realize that isn’t necessary. We have in the person of the chairman of Hydro, in the persons of the board of Hydro and in the senior management -- some of whom are in the House today in the Speaker’s gallery -- some of the finest people in the electrical utility business in North America. They will and they do respond to government directive.
Hon. Mr. Davis: It is the envy of every public utility in North America.
Mr. Roy: You are funny.
Hon Mr. Timbrell: Under The Power Corporation Act, there are about 24 or 25 categories of activity of Ontario Hydro for which they must come to government for permission. These include, of course, borrowing and capital works and a number of others.
Mr. Speaker, if you consider the changes in The Power Corporation Act in the last three years, if you consider, sir, the introduction of The Ministry of Energy Act, if you consider the amendments to The Ontario Energy Board Act with the provisions for rate review, then you will see, sir, that what we have done is to bring Ontario Hydro into this new era.
I would say to the member for York South that the work that has been done by his select committee has been unquestionably invaluable, invaluable in airing a number of issues and in assisting Hydro and the government in establishing what this new direction is going to be.
I want also, Mr. Speaker, if I may, to table today with you the submission made by my ministry to the royal commission in July, 1976, that deals with the relationship of Hydro to government, and clearly sets out who is responsible for what, and what are the processes for development of new policy direction.
Mr. Conway: Have you read Nelles?
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Yes, I have as a matter of fact. Not a bad book; a little out of date, but not a bad book.
Mr. Conway: How about the conclusion?
Mr. Roy: Give us a prepared statement on that.
Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order, please. We are into overtime now. Will you allow the minister to complete his remarks?
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I want to, in conclusion, thank again the select committee but also to thank my staff in the Ministry of Energy --
Mr. Roy: Yes, I think you should too. You haven’t said one original word all evening.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: -- who have worked so diligently in following up, not only during the time of the life of the select committee --
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: -- but since the select committee stood down, in assisting me in developing the responses to the recommendations of the --
Mr. Deputy Speaker: Will the members from the Ottawa region stop being mischievous?
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Well said, Mr. Speaker, well said.
Mr. Drea: Don’t splutter, Albert, speak.
Mr. Roy: You are much too restrictive in scope there, Mr. Speaker.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, I want to just perhaps say this -- that I look forward to the next year or two working with the --
Mr. Conway: I bet.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Yes, I do, as a matter of fact.
Hon. Mr. Davis: As Minister of Energy too.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: And I will tell you something. I will tell you something. In a couple of years’ time, I will even get you a ticket for the Speaker’s gallery. I will be glad to do it for you because it is going to be --
Mr. Conway: You are going to have to be modern if you want to advance.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: -- an exciting time.
Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order, please. Will the minister address his remarks through the Chair and ignore the interjections?
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, I will come to you to get the ticket for him for your gallery. I want to say this, Mr. Speaker, that the next couple of years in the energy field are going to be even more exciting than those we have just come through. There is so much changing in the area of energy policy, not just electricity but all forms of energy. The demand for conservation; the demand for load-growth control -- whatever euphemism you want to use; the demands on members of this House, not just on whoever happens to be Minister of Energy, are going to be tremendous -- in setting examples and giving leadership in every community of this province. This is a good beginning. I look forward to working with it even more.
Resolution as amended, concurred in.
Hon. Mr. Welch: Mr. Speaker, before moving the adjournment of the House, I would indicate that we are meeting tomorrow afternoon, and we will engage in some more budget debate.
On motion by Hon. Mr. Welch, the House adjourned at 6:10 p.m.