The House resumed at 8:05 p.m.
BUDGET DEBATE (CONTINUED)
Mr. Speaker: When we rose at 6 o’clock, we had called the order of budget debate. Do we have a speaker? The hon. member for Windsor-Walkerville, I believe, was in the midst of his remarks. He may continue.
Mr. B. Newman: Mr. Speaker, I would like to continue the remarks I originally started in the month of November. Here it is December and I am still on my feet making these comments.
Mr. Ruston: I didn’t know you were so long-winded.
Mr. Deans: I am surprised you could stand that long.
Mr. B. Newman: I attempted in my earlier remarks to point out to the members of the Legislature the inequities of the provincial grant structure as it applies to the city of Windsor --
Mr. B. Newman: -- and I had asked for fair and equitable treatment for the Windsor taxpayer. Quite often it is said that we are in an advantaged position in comparison to other municipalities in the province of Ontario with approximately the same type of population.
Mr. Ruston: The advantage is we don’t have any Conservatives in Essex county or Windsor.
Mr. Hodgson: That is a disadvantage.
Mr. B. Newman: We are not advantaged at all as far as the grant structure is concerned. Otherwise I wouldn’t be on my feet at this time attempting to point it out to the hon. members who are in this Legislature at the present moment. We are requesting that the government take a good serious look at the information the municipality has provided to the Ministry of Treasury, Economics and Intergovernmental Affairs in relation to the resource equalization grant and the general support grant. Referring to the grants and comparing London, a municipal it of approximately the same size, to Windsor we find that in 1974 Windsor was in a deficit position to the extent of $3,245,000. in 1975 the loss on the combined resource equalization and general support grants, was $4,100,000. In 1976 the loss on the combined resource equalization grant and general support grant was approximately $4,900,000. We don’t say that London should not receive what it has received. We don’t ask for any cut backs. We simply ask that we be treated in exactly the same fashion.
In the three years there was a difference of approximately $12,245,000. That is not fair to the citizens of Windsor, in my estimation. The figures provided to me and the brief presented to the government dearly indicate that discrepancy. We would like the ministry to take a good serious look at the figures presented and adjust both the resource equalization grant and the general support grant so both communities are treated in exactly the same fashion.
I had also asked that legislation he introduced so that the third level of government which is not covered under an election expenses Act be so covered. We have the federal legislation, we have the provincial legislation; now we need legislation that would cover municipalities. In this way we would take the idea of raising funds out of the closet and put it on the table and everyone would be able to know just exactly the amounts of money that were received and spent. Personally, I would like to see limitations put on that --
Mr. Samis: A bill was passed on that some time ago.
Mr. B. Newman: You may come along and say that you have passed a bill. The city of Windsor has passed a resolution which I read into the record quite some time ago, so you can see that it is a very progressive community --
An hon. member: Don’t say that word.
Mr. B. Newman: -- progressive to the extent that they can foresee needs and don’t hesitate to express the needs for justice and equality.
I also had commented on the price of home heating fuel and how it will and does adversely affect those on limited incomes and those on fixed incomes. At that time I attempted to point out a plan that is being used in some of the jurisdictions to the south of us. For example, the state of Michigan right now has a proposal that has been introduced by the chairman of the Michigan Public Service Commission, a gentleman by the name of William Rosenberg, which would provide relief or assistance as far as fuel bills are concerned to approximately 350,000 Michigan families -- families that really need assistance, and because of having to pay higher fuel bills are lowering their standard of living.
Under the Rosenberg proposal, the family utility bills would have to be at least equal to 10 per cent of the family income to be eligible. If they were over 10 per cent of the family income, then they would be eligible for some type of assistance from the state. It sort of parallels the programme that they have concerning food stamps. However, they put the limitation on this that it applies only if your utility bills go over 10 per cent of your family income.
What would happen is, vouchers would be issued in the name of the eligible recipient and he would be able to use these in the payment of his fuel bills. They would not be transferable at all. The individual on fixed or limited income would not be as adversely punished as he is today when fuel bills continue to escalate.
I am not saying we should implement the proposal, but I think we should be looking at the proposal. If it has merit or if it needs refinement, then maybe we should be refining these proposals so we can introduce something that could alleviate suffering for the categories of individuals that mentioned.
One of the other topics I did cover was voting rights for the handicapped. The handicapped in a lot of municipalities now can only vote in the advance poll, where they generally find the polling subdivision on a ground level, with no need for climbing upstairs or walking downstairs into basements and so forth as in the case when polls are set up in ordinary residences. I think we owe it to the handicapped to provide them with the opportunity to vote without any physical punishment to them. That’s the least we can do for them. I know municipalities attempt to find homes, schools and churches on one level so that those who are handicapped and even those not actually handicapped, don’t have the difficulty of climbing up and down stairs. It’s a very simple thing to implement and I think we certainly should implement it.
I would also make a recommendation that any time we have an apartment, regardless of whether it is for senior citizens or otherwise, once it surpasses a certain number of units and a certain number of residents, the polling subdivision should be located in that apartment or apartment complex. For example, in my own area, there is an apartment complex put up by Ontario Housing that consists of approximately seven or eight buildings. I would see nothing wrong at all with having seven polling subdivisions, one in each of the buildings. After all, we want to encourage people to vote; we don’t want to make it difficult so they figure that, “Well, it’s a little too difficult for me to go out. The weather is inclement,” and so forth, when we can accommodate them by having them vote right in their own residence. That is especially true when it comes to complexes developed by Ontario Housing.
I also commented concerning the first annual report of the Ontario Advisory Council on the Physically Handicapped. I hope now the report is down that there will be some action taken by the government in relation to that report.
One of the items I also mentioned -- and I think I concluded my remarks with it -- was on providing safety certificates or markers to people-moving devices. I categorized elevators as a people-moving device. I also made mention of amusement rides in various amusement and exhibition parks. As long as they are carrying passengers and giving them some type of entertainment, the passenger should know when purchasing a ticket that that device is mechanically safe. We would not have had the episode that we did have on Bob-Lo Island in the past year. It involves a very simple application of inspection, where the licence or the inspection safety certificate is posted right at the booth where one purchases the ticket, so that a person purchasing a ticket can readily see the device that he is going to be entertained by is safe and he will not hesitate to enjoy himself.
One of the topics that interested me very much over the past week was the one on the extent of marsh land in the Essex, Essex-Kent and Lambton county areas in southwestern Ontario. We happen to be in the duck-hunting season at present, and while there are all kinds of marsh land around --
Mr. Haggerty: But no ducks.
Mr. B. Newman: -- and all kinds of ducks there is no place really for the average hunter to hunt. It’s sort of like starvation amidst plenty. There are probably more waterfowl hunters in southwestern Ontario with less available space for hunting than anywhere in the province. Yet there are an estimated 200,000 acres of marsh land considered to be the home of the best waterfowl habitat on the continent within one hour of most of the hunters. But the majority of the acreage unfortunately is privately owned and off limits to the average hunter. It is privately owned in spite of the fact that there are approximately 200,000 acres.
Sellers of migratory game bird permits in our area say there are approximately 4,000 sold throughout Windsor and environs for this year’s hunt alone, and the hunting season closes on December 15. Yet in spite of the fact there are 200,000 acres, most of the acreage is in hands of private individuals and/or companies.
Mr. Bain: Are you against free enterprise?
Mr. B. Newman: The prime waterfowl hunting areas in southwestern Ontario are found along the St. Clair River, Lake St. Clair, Fighting Island, the Detroit River, Rondeau Provincial Park and along the shores of Lake Erie, including Point Pelee and Holiday Beach. As I mentioned earlier, there are estimated to be approximately 200,000 acres. But of all of this vast acreage, extending from where the Thames River empties into Lake St. Clair at a place called Lighthouse Cove, going right around to Rondeau park, there are 21 different parcels of marsh, all privately owned, including 17 owned by American interests. Of the 21, there are only four that are owned by our own people. And, Mr. Speaker, you know what happens when a Canadian wishes to hunt on the limited area that is left.
Mr. Gain: What’s the solution?
Mr. Cunningham: Buy it back from the socialists.
Mr. B. Newman: On both the north side of Essex and Lambton and the south side of Essex and Kent counties, we find that our American friends have practically monopolized all of the acreage. They have it all posted: “Keep out.” If you have the proper connections, “keep out” means nothing at all, because you can be bunting in the private area. But the average hunter -- and, as I mentioned earlier, approximately 4,000 hunting licences are sold in the area -- is extremely restricted when it comes to duck hunting. Four out of 21 areas are owned by our own people, and the average hunter is left outside completely.
Here is how some of these areas are located and what they have around them. You will find high fences, sometimes barbed wire fences, surrounding these private marshes.
Mr. Haggerty: That sounds like down in Erie.
Mr. B. Newman: What you develop there is a hunter’s paradise for the select few.
Mr. Samis: Is that a new Liberal policy?
Mr. Kerrio: The Tories changed that in 1941.
Mr. B. Newman: It is estimated that there are more ducks in that area than there are in any other part of the province of Ontario.
Mr. Warner: That’s because there are no hunters.
Mr. B. Newman: There are probably more hunters but they can’t get to the places where the ducks can be shot, simply because the properties are all owned by private interests.
In one of the private areas you will find a plush hunting lodge with a stone fireplace, liquor cabinet, people to help you clean the game --
Mr. Ruston: That sounds like Makarchuk’s lodge.
Mr. Deans: Is that the one you attend?
Mr. B. Newman: -- guards to patrol the area and to guarantee privacy to the hunter.
Mr. Bain: What’s the solution?
Mr. Ruston: Just a minute and you’ll hear it.
Mr. B. Newman: All I can say to the last member who spoke is that a hollow log makes the most noise.
Mr. Speaker: The hon. member for Windsor-Walkerville has the floor, please.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Mr. B. Newman: It is said that they even have their own hunting dogs so that the poor fellow who comes from across the border doesn’t even have to retrieve anything.
Mr. Deans: I have my own hunting dog.
Mr. Peterson: Is it grey and curly?
Mr. B. Newman: One of the areas has an off-duty out-of-uniform OPP officer patrolling the marsh to keep out our own residents of the province.
Mr. B. Newman: To control the marsh levels, they have become really sophisticated by having water pumps so that the levels are all controlled. There are private driveways with gates which lock automatically once the individual in a car passes a certain point. This is all to keep the residents of Essex, Kent and Lambton counties away from the area so they cannot hunt at all.
Mr. Deans: Let’s take it over.
Mr. B. Newman: I think it is time that the government looked into the marshland situation in the tri-county area to see if it cannot either have some type of a programme to buy them out --
Mr. Warner: Public land ownership.
Mr. B. Newman: -- or at least lease or rent the land so that the resident hunter from the tri-counties has the same opportunity to duck hunt --
Mr. Bain: What happens if the owner doesn’t want to lease?
Mr. B. Newman: -- the select individual who belongs to some exclusive club or corporation across the river from Essex or Lambton counties.
It is something I bring to the attention of the government, hoping that the Ministry of Natural Resources will look into it so that at least we can have some duck-hunting within an hour’s drive for the residents of the tri-counties.
To have proper development in a municipality and in a given area, it is quite essential that some of the problems of the area be studied in an attempt to alleviate them. I would suggest to the government and I hope it realizes this, that railway relocation is an area which both the provincial and federal governments have to look at a little more seriously. It is a joint venture on the part of both governments. The province of Ontario designates the areas which require railway relocation; the federal government provides the financial wherewithal.
I think we could have more orderly development in a community; we could have better location of industry; we could have less disruption in the residential areas if studies were initiated and, as a result of these studies, railways were relocated in more fit and proper locations with the least disruption to the movement of traffic within a community.
In some communities we need not worry about the problem and build expensive overpasses and/or underpasses instead. That is far too expensive and not the solution to the problem. By relocating the railways coming into and leaving a community we can save the expense of construction of under and overpasses, facilitate the movement of traffic and locate industry better throughout an area.
I would strongly suggest that one of the prime areas in the province which should receive consideration from this government is the Windsor and Essex county area. We are the entrance for the heavy tourist traffic which comes to the province of Ontario. Let’s eliminate the bottlenecks and let’s have the tourists coming into the province be impressed with the orderliness and ease of movement provided by a given community.
I did have an opportunity, not too long ago, to attend hearings of the Canadian Railway Transport Commission in the city of Windsor. They held hearings simply because Canadian Pacific, in their own wisdom, decided all of a sudden they were going to triple track a railroad track extending approximately two miles in a residential section, without any environmental impact studies, without any consultation with the residents in the area, and without any approval from the municipality.
Simply because they owned the property and the right of way, they completely disregarded the municipality, the public and the residents in the area. They became a power unto themselves and decided they knew better what the city needed. They were not triple tracking for the benefit of the residents of Windsor, but simply to accommodate traffic that was coming from the United States, passing through my community either on its way into parts of Ontario or through to Niagara Falls and Buffalo and continuing into the United States. CP were doing it for an American railway.
Even though we do have legislation, we have to see to it, in consultation with our federal government, that regardless of whether the agency is a federal agency or not, before they can do anything that is going to disrupt and interfere with the use and the enjoyment of one’s property, one’s castle, that that federal agency and/or provincial agency or municipal agency should hold environmental impact studies, should go to the people, should explain everything and should get permission to construct anything that can, after being constructed, be to the detriment of the individual in enjoying his property or his castle, so to speak.
I think it was extremely unfair on the part of Canadian Pacific Railway to treat the residents in the area in the fashion they did. Thankfully, the hearings of the Railway Transport Committee ruled against Canadian Pacific, and as a result they were denied the use of two tracks but allowed to carry on the one track which had been in the area for years and years and to the use of which the residents in the area registered no objection.
How would you like, Mr. Speaker, to be living in a fairly good residential section and have parked next door to you a series of refrigerated cars with gasoline motors running all night, especially in the summer months, polluting the atmosphere with both noise pollution and fumes from the gasoline motors? Yet CPR thought nothing of doing that. I was very pleased that the Canadian Railway Transport Committee did just exactly what they did do -- denied them the use.
Mr. Speaker, the arrogance of CPR -- and you probably know about it from your own personal experience -- is unbelievable.
Mr. Samis: Tell them about it, Jack. The resident expert.
Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order, please.
Mr. B. Newman: Mr. Speaker, will you bring the gentlemen to order?
Mr. Deputy Speaker: Will the members stop derailing the hon. member for Windsor-Walkerville?
Mr. Ruston: He’s going to get off the track.
Mr. B. Newman: Mr. Speaker, back in 1966, I raised the question of asbestos in the House, it being cancer-producing.
Mr. Haggerty: One of the first members to raise it.
Mr. B. Newman: In fact, the first time it was ever discussed in the House was on March 7, 1966. The first comment I made in asking a question of the Minister of Health at that time, Hon. Matt Dymond, referred to “press reports that asbestos is a health hazard linked to cancer.” Health agencies in both the United States and Canada knew of this a little over 10 years ago, because that was March 7, 1966.
I again raised this same issue in June 15, 1971. We didn’t pay attention to it at that time. As a result, we find ourselves today in the most embarrassing position of finding out that asbestos can cause very serious problems and having to impose all kinds of new environmental requirements upon various types of industry.
I make mention of that, because the next thing I want to bring to the attention of the members of the House is the use of high-tension lines and the radiation effects of high voltages.
Mr. Foulds: When did you first raise swine flu?
Mr. B. Newman: We have belittled this. I can recall raising this with the then Minister of Energy -- in those days it was the current Treasurer (Mr. McKeough) --
Mr. Deputy Speaker: That is called the corona, I believe.
Mr. B. Newman: I don’t know the name of it, Mr. Speaker; you may be absolutely right in what you say. But in raising the thing, it was sort of pooh-poohed at that time. Maybe there is no danger as a result of this, but I was told exactly the same thing when I raised the issue of asbestos, that there was no health hazard with it.
Do we know that there is no health hazard as a result of this? We’ve heard of the problems in the Soviet Union, where the throwing of some type of an electronic beam affected the officials and employees in the American embassy. Are we not being confronted with a similar problem now by the radiation effects from the high voltages that are carried by our overhead transmission lines?
I am not going to read the comments or press reports about this, Mr. Speaker. I bring this to your attention so that the ministries will take a serious look at this. We don’t know whether there are cumulative effects as a result of this exposure. If there are cumulative effects, we find out five, 10, 15 or 20 years later when it is too late. I certainly hope that someone in the government will look very seriously at this in an attempt to let us know at this time if there isn’t a better or safer way of transmitting energy.
We are always looking for new methods of cleaning our waste waters. There is experimentation going on in parts of the United States and primarily in the universities. Southern Illinois University at Carbondale has developed a new water treatment mode; the idea of its use is not new, but the variations they have made make it much better than anything they have had before. They use what is called sonocatalytic oxonation; the process converts organic wastes into carbon dioxide and water and produces no known toxic results, whereas our present method, the use of chlorination of waste water, we know in some instances forms chlorinated hydrocarbons which become hazardous and are cancer-causing.
The laboratory tests in this instance are using a combination of air, ozone and ultrasound. In this way the catalyst that is also used, iron oxide, results in efficient destruction of all viruses and bacteria and organic compounds in waste water. I don’t know if such a process would be expensive or not, but you see that this is actually being done, at least on an experimental level, and has proven to be extremely efficient and effective.
Another item I wanted to raise is the new chemicals that are being put into use all the time. This is one that some may be familiar with, it’s called TCDD. They don’t give it a name, they use four letters of the alphabet; T, C, D and D. It is such a chemical that one billionth of an individual’s weight of that chemical -- in other words, if a person weighs 140 pounds, one billionth of 140 pounds of that chemical, such a minuscule dose, will kill one. In one of the cities in the United States -- Verona, Missouri -- they happen to have a tank with 4,500 gallons of the chemical. They don’t know what to do with it. They don’t know how to dispose of it. It’s there. No one wants to have anything to do with it.
You see, we’ve reached the stage of sophistication in the chemical manufacturing processes, that we can develop and produce the weirdest types of chemicals without knowing what after-effects the use of that chemical can have. That chemical, they claim, is linked with and is similar to the one that was used in Italy. I can’t recall the name of the town, but I think it was Seveso, in Italy where, as a result of the exposure of that chemical in the area they’ve had to move all of the people out and no one can come back into the area as yet. They’ve completely barbed-wire fenced the area and from what I understand that was approximately five or six months ago.
So you can see, Mr. Speaker, that we’re fooling around with chemicals today, not realizing what we are doing. There doesn’t seem to be any type of agency in any jurisdiction to whom the manufacturer of a chemical is submitted so that it can be tested before it is ever produced in quantity or marketed. We’re going to have to have a really close look at the manufacture and the production of all of these new, weird and unusual chemicals.
The Blair commission held hearings in the community -- but they held them at the University of Windsor at the time there happened to be a strike going on in the university. That didn’t disturb them at all; they still went on with the hearings. I wanted to go and listen to the hearings but I wasn’t going to cross any picket line because I knew the employees at the university had a just cause and a just reason for picketing the university at that time and so I absented myself.
I contacted the Blair commission here in Toronto and told them about it. In my estimation, knowing that there was a picket line around the university and at all entrances, the least they could have done was move the hearings to some other location in town. To me it should have been at the Cleary Auditorium in the community so that those who refused to cross the picket line would still have had the opportunity at least to hear and/or to make presentations to the Blair commission.
Unfortunately, the Blair commission did not look upon it in the same way as I did. They carried on their hearings. The hearings may have been successful, but I am fairly positive they would have been by far more successful had they been heard in a location which was not being picketed at the time as a result of a labour dispute.
Mr. Ruston: They came back last week and had another meeting in Essex.
Mr. B. Newman: I hope that some of the recommendations and suggestions the government has in budget paper E, which was presented to us as a result of the 1976 budget, are completely discarded. I am really surprised to think that --
Mr. Ruston: The member for London North is looking up. Remember the budget?
Hon. B. Newman: -- the government would come along and consider taxing churches, retarded children’s schools, and private schools in a community. It wants to tax all these types of institutions and then to tell them, “Go back to the municipality and get a grant in lieu of taxes.” The government takes and then hands back rather than leave alone the institution which is providing a good community service. We can imagine how much furore that caused in the community -- probably much more so in my community than in the minister’s community but only because of numbers. I thought the Blair commission and this government proposing to tax churches, schools and charitable organizations --
Mr. Ruston: Tom Wells.
Mr. Peterson: Golf courses.
Mr. B. Newman: -- was completely out of line. I hope the government in its wisdom --
Mr. Yakabuski: This government didn’t recommend it. Take that back; don’t mislead the House.
Mr. B. Newman: -- discards many of its own suggestions and recommendations.
Mr. Yakabuski: That’s misleading the House. It was not recommended by this government What the Blair commission said and what this government does are two different things.
Mr. Ruston: The Treasurer read them over.
Mr. B. Newman: I have a copy of table E here and those are all the proposals of this government. There is no way of getting around that at all. They were all the government’s proposals.
Mr. Bain: Anti-church.
Mr. B. Newman: They were all of the things -- the government used the Blair commission as a scapegoat.
Mr. Cunningham: You hung old Willis.
Mr. B. Newman: I could talk on mobile housing, the need for more mobile housing and the development of mobile housing not only in the rural areas in the province but even in some of the larger metropolitan areas.
Mr. Peterson: At King and Bay, for example.
Mr. B. Newman: I don’t think it’s an answer to our housing problem but it is a short-term solution; a short-term partial answer to a problem. We have to look at mobile housing a little more seriously than we have in the past. It’s ideal housing for two occasions in an individual’s life -- when he or she is first married and when he or she retires. It can be used comfortably at those times.
When there is a family, it is not the ideal type of housing, not that there is anything wrong with it but I think the individual would prefer to live in regular accommodation rather than a mobile unit. It is a partial answer yet we completely neglect mobile housing when we attempt to resolve the housing problems in the province.
Mr. Kerrio: You have given the NDP 10 more years of issues.
Mr. B. Newman: There are many other topics I could raise. I really didn’t intend to speak as long as I did --
Mr. Ruston: You can go on until January. You started in November.
Mr. B. Newman: -- when I hear some heckling from my colleagues to my right, then it only encourages me to keep talking. As I said earlier, I started in the month of November and here it is September --
An hon. member: December.
Mr. B. Newman: December. I thought I went right around. I think I may have spoken long enough.
I hope the suggestions I have made and the topics I have raised in the course of the few minutes at my disposal are looked upon seriously not only by the government but also by our colleagues to our right, because more than likely in a year or two many of them will be saying exactly the mine things that have been said by me here today.
Mr. Haggerty: Mr. Speaker, I want to enter the budget debate to discuss some of the problems that are rather important to me and perhaps to a number of citizens across this province.
The introduction of the television cameras into the Ontario Legislature seems to have been a signal for the members to be subjected to frequent replays of policy statements -- in particular, the Treasurer’s ongoing performance of prophesying Ontario’s future. Some of his scripts have been of little value, reminiscent of the old-movie reruns on television, such las Gone with the Wind, and we all know how that love story ended.
On November 23 we were subjected to the Treasurer’s so-called economic strategy statement. This had been billed in advance as a major financial statement, and was in fact nothing more than a rerun of the Treasurer’s budget speeches of 1975 and 1976 -- a forecast of an improved economy for Ontario citizens, a prophecy made in spite of the fact that the hopes of a bright future for employment have not materialized since the employment situation started on the downswing in 1974 and has continued since.
The Treasurer’s economic strategy for the year 1977 is a typical Tory approach, a waiting and baiting game at the expense of the taxpayers of this province. I suppose one could say the Treasurer at least is consistent in his crystal ball predictions of early recovery from Ontario’s economic problems and high unemployment. However, we in the Legislature know full well that unemployment is well above the acceptable level. For example, in the town of Fort Erie in the riding of Erie, with a population of 23,000, almost every industry has cut back on production and employment. It’s estimated the unemployment figure in this municipality is 22 per cent. Ontario’s unemployment is at an all-time high which no doubt will run close to eight per cent.
This doesn’t seem to be in accordance with the Treasurer’s forecast in the budget speech last April 14 that there would be something like 116,000 new jobs this year. “The Ontario 1976 budget is a responsible document,” he said, “which will make a forceful contribution to the national economic stability.” One might say it’s been stable ever since; there hasn’t been any increase in jobs.
The Treasurer’s statement appears to have little prospect of success. Let’s consider his announcement that he will extend the existing exemption from the seven per cent retail tax for production machinery and equipment, which would have been discontinued at the end of the year under present legislation. Apparently the Treasurer believes that extending this privilege of sales tax exemption is a good way to stimulate investment in Ontario and create jobs. Yet he knows only too well that in many instances machines will actually reduce employment opportunities, although improved technology will be the key to increased productivity.
Similar policies by the government have led to considerable debate in the Legislature, with any opposition members doubtful about the job-creating merits of tax incentives for industry. In the past, in the budgets for the years 1975 and 1976, the Treasurer has indicated to us that such a programme of tax exemption would play an important part in stimulating Ontario’s lagging economy and would speed up growth in industry. Unfortunately, the Treasurer’s forecasts have been as accurate as some weather forecasters on television; a probability of overcast with rain, a mixture of sunshine and a high and low temperature ranging from 85 to 55.
Mr. Ruston: And always a shortfall.
Mr. Gaunt: He just can’t miss.
Mr. Haggerty: Can’t miss. In 1975, the Treasurer’s Ontario budget was predicated on such an assumption; in fact, its main thrust was that there would be an upswing in the economic recovery by the end of the year. The province’s economy was in trouble and the Treasurer in that year introduced not one but two budgets -- one in April and one in July. We were told the government was concerned about excessive inflation and growing unemployment that had continued from the previous year, 1974, and it seemed that a recording of government priorities was necessary.
How well I can remember and how well we can all remember the Treasurer’s measures to stimulate the economy: the first-time home buyers grant, the temporary sales tax reduction, the automobile sales tax rebate. Whether these measures stimulated the economy or not is open to argument. They certainly resulted in a loss of provincial revenue to the tune of about half a billion dollars. The Treasurer’s own estimate of the increased revenue to result from the increased OHIP premiums is $228 million for this year. Yet if nearly half a billion dollars hadn’t been lost to the Treasury because of the election goodies, this OHIP increase could have been postponed for a year and possibly two.
During the election campaign, the Conservative candidates boasted there had not been an OHIP premium increase for at least five years, despite inflation. However, once the election was safely over, the Treasurer wasted no time in increasing the medicare premiums to double or 50 per cent.
To return for a moment to the subject of the retail sales tax. I would just like to re mind the House that when the three per cent sales tax was first introduced in 1961 we were given to understand it would only be a temporary measure. That was some 15 years ago -- is years during which the tax has risen from three per cent to seven per cent. If 15 years of sales tax is considered a temporary measure from this government’s financial standpoint, then surely a two per cent reduction in the tax for a matter of months can hardly have been worthwhile from a budgetary point of view. Yet the Treasury would expect people to believe that there was no political motive for this tax reduction which ended on December 31 of last year.
In his recent statement, the Treasurer stressed the need to help other industries compete. When is he going to stress the need to help the people of this province contend with the day-to-day difficulties of coping with inflation? Where’s the help for the house holder whose fuel oil has gone up from 27.5 cents a gallon in 1973 to 34.5 in 1974, to 41.5 in 1975 and 46 cents in the year 1976? Where is the help for the natural-gas user whose price has gone from 50.69 cents in 1973 to 140.5 this year?
What about the people faced with rapidly increasing hydro bills based on a residential rate which increased 10 per cent in 1974, 12.4 per cent in 1975, 22 per cent in 1976 and is expected to go up another 30.3 per cent next year? On the subject of hydro, the Treasurer directed Ontario Hydro to reduce its expansion programme by $1.2 billion, but this was really little more than a moratorium or a deferment on an expansionary programme. The net impact, of course, was that there was a slowdown in Ontario employment opportunities and still the rate Structure was not yet within the guidelines of the Anti-Inflation Board.
With respect to oil prices, let’s not forget the price of motor gasoline, with the price for regular gas going from 58.9 cents a gallon in 1973 to 83.9 cents this year. Car insurance rates have gone up something like 65 per cent since 1975. What help has the Treasurer given to the people hit by these inflationary expenses?
Let’s not forget the Treasurer’s proud finale in 1975 of the reinstatement of the higher rate of provincial sales tax at seven per cent from five per cent. That was something that was not discussed during the election campaign.
On November 23, 1976, the Treasurer took about an hour to announce just one tax change. Despite the fact that most Ontario industries are lagging behind in a competitive market, he talked vaguely about the increasing job opportunities. On the other hand, the new president of the United States, Jimmy Carter, is considering tax cuts to create more employment opportunities. Why couldn’t the Treasurer take the opportunity of his economic strategy statement to announce measures to encourage investment in the housing market to facilitate the purchased new homes and older homes, to put capital into the housing marketplace?
The solution of Ontario’s housing problems is probably one of this government’s greatest areas of failure. No attempt has been made to live up to the commitment to provide suitable and affordable housing for most of our citizens.
In 1974 the Ministry of Housing under-spent its budget by $49 million. In 1975 the housing budget was underspent by $103 million for the two-year period. Remember the Throne Speech in 1972 when the government pledged further means by which housing construction could be encouraged? Yet to this date the government continues to under-spend its allotment of both federal and provincial funds.
In the last 14 years house prices in this province have tripled. Comparatively cheap mortgage money under the federal Assisted Home Ownership programme is only available to people where monthly payments are not more than 25 per cent of their total income, which means that the increased house prices have caused less than 30 per cent of Ontario families to be eligible for these advantageous mortgage arrangements.
According to recent information, the prices for basic three-bedroom homes on a lot in the Toronto, Hamilton and St. Catharines areas are approximately $69,000 in Mississauga, $55,000 in Hamilton and $48,000 in St. Catharines.
To take the Mississauga home, for example, we assume that at a 20 per cent down payment, the remaining mortgage would be $55,000 at an interest rate of 12 per cent. Always supposing that the average couple could find 20 per cent down payment, think of the burden of $550 or so a month for principal and interest over a period of 25 years and in some ewes, 50 years.
What hope has the average young couple in the Metro area of ever meeting this kind of financial commitment? Dr. Frank Clayton, president of a research company specializing in housing studies, maintains that the rapid rise in the cost of homes is Caused by excessive demand and insufficient serviced building lots.
What has the government done to make more reasonably priced serviced building lots available? Provincial housing initiatives have been so inadequate that the projected housing starts for 1976 and 1977 are well below housing needs. The present Housing minister has repeatedly indicated that he’s not in the numbers game and will not state housing production targets. Well, taking into consideration past government mistakes and inaccurate projected goals I can well understand his wish not to stick his neck out. But his attitude offers no crumb of comfort to the people of Ontario who in recent years have seen the possibility of home ownership become an impossible dream.
During the last election campaign the Premier got into the act when he promised help with mortgage rates -- a yearly allowance of up to $500 to reduce interest charges on residential mortgages over 10¾ per cent. He was hardly off the campaign trail before he abandoned the idea, if he had ever really seriously entertained it. The average home buyer is still faced with enormous initial capital outlay followed by years of slavery to crippling monthly mortgage payments.
As if the situation wasn't bad enough, the government has placed municipalities in a position where they are literally forced to substantially increase property taxes.
In the circumstances and in view of the fact that the government obviously has no really serious plans to improve the housing situation, I think it was unforgivable for the Treasurer to encourage people who could ill afford to do so to purchase homes to be eligible for the home buyers grant. Surely, if any government is really interested in providing affordable housing for the average wage earner in the $10,000 a year bracket, it would remove taxes which affect the constructing industry and do something about reducing interest rates on mortgages or provide a significant income tax credit which could have the same effect.
If the provincial government can provide lower interest rates to general industry and to the tourist industry through the Ontario Development Corporation at an average of seven per cent or even interest free, something could be done to help prospective home buyers.
The Treasurer stressed private sector expansion in the 1977 economic strategy unveiled in the past week. He combines investment incentives with tough government spending restraints to provide a healthy climate for private sector expansion. The Treasurer is recycling his policy and his concerns for a self-contained budget prediction to date are negative. His stimulation policy in particular as it relates to long-term exemption from retail sales tax for production equipment has not been a creative tool to reduce Ontario’s high unemployment rate.
Unemployment is critical in Ontario and throughout Canada and both levels of government, federal and provincial, prolong this agony of economic recession. To sit tight and hope that there will be an upswing in the economy in the United States is wishful thinking. The provincial Treasurer has for two long years depended upon the American economy to bail him out of this continuing government employment crisis.
Our financial critic last April 14 perhaps put it in one paragraph better than I can, in relation to the Treasurer’s provincial budget.
Mr. Ruston: Listen to this.
Mr. Haggerty: “His self-assurance, the slick presentation of the so-called facts, the smug satisfaction at the reduction of the deficit, the proud statement that no public borrowing would be required, all were quite impressive. As a theatrical performance it was well done, indeed. Unfortunately for the people of this province the Treasurer is a much better actor than he is a producer.” I wonder if the member agrees with that now?
In his contribution to the Throne Speech debate, the Premier spoke --
Mr. B. Newman: You don’t see him on the front row.
Mr. Haggerty: Perhaps he’s embarrassed -- of the fundamental public responsibility we all share in this House to serve the economic well-being of future generations of Ontarians. This House may share the responsibility but the Premier and his colleagues seem to go out of their way to ensure that we are unable to do anything about it. While he is formulating fine phrases about the welfare of future generations, he might perhaps spare a thought for the present-day difficulties of Ontario’s people who are, on the one hand, faced with rapidly increasing expenses and, on the other hand, prevented from receiving catchup pay increases by the provisions of the anti-inflation guidelines.
I remember in 1969 the former Treasurer, Charles MacNaughton, stated that this province faced a fiscal nightmare. It might be interesting to hear his views, his honest views, on the situation today. In those days, we tended to think the term fiscal nightmare referred to the complexity of the province’s financial situation.
Today, the short-sighted policies of this government have made absolutely sure that every taxpayer in the province knows exactly what a fiscal nightmare is all about. We may not all be financial wizards but we know all about inflation. We live with it; we struggle with it and we receive very little help from the provincial government in coping with it.
Mr. Ferrier: With that support from my caucus, I’m prepared to talk all night.
Mr. Peterson: Don’t feel you have to.
Mr. Ferrier: Mr. Speaker, it’s a pleasure to join this debate even though it’s at a late hour in the parliamentary session. We expect it will be drawing to a close within the not too distant future and all will then direct their attention to the holidays.
Hon. Mr. Meen: Do you think we’ll make it by Christmas?
Mr. Ferrier: I might keep going and maybe we’ll let you go Christmas Eve.
Mr. Lane: Come on, have a heart.
Mr. Ferrier: I’m like the grinch that stole Christmas; a real cussed individual.
I’m very happy to see the member for Timiskaming in the chair as I begin my remarks. We are very happy to have you make your very significant contribution. I’m sure some of the things I will say tonight are thoughts that you have had; I know you have made representations on some of these subjects. I hope that the efforts of both of us perhaps will move that government over there to realize that northern Ontario is still part of this province and that some attention should be paid to a very significant problem that exists up there.
I would like to begin my remarks by saying that I certainly support my leader on the stand that he has taken on the Reed Paper issue. The company proposes to get limits of 19,000 square miles, considerably larger than any other limit ceded to any other company in this province. Furthermore, it’s supposedly to supply one mill, whereas the next largest company with limits supplies several mills.
The ecosystem is certainly very fragile there, and one of the things that concerns me particularly is the Treaty 9 people who will be displaced if that were ever allowed to go ahead at the present time. I want to assure the people of Treaty 9, a number of whose head office people are in my riding, that I certainly am not in favour of the Reed development at this present time.
Mr. Haggerty: You are not sure now, Bill?
Mr. Ferrier: I’m not in favour of it at all, to tell you the truth.
Mr. Haggerty: The member for Lake Nipigon is.
Mr. Ferrier: I don’t know whether the member for Lake Nipigon is or isn’t. That’s up to him.
Mr. Ferrier: This party realizes that there is a major problem there, and this party is pretty disturbed, as I think the people of Ontario are, particularly those in northern Ontario --
Mr. Reid: You are right; that party is very disturbed,
Mr. Ferrier: -- at the lack of forest management in the province of Ontario over the last number of years. Year after year, as studies have been tabled and reports have been made. It was dramatically brought home to the members of this Legislature who went up to Thunder Bay in late August to meet with the Ontario Professional Foresters Association, that this province is in a very desperate state as far as our forest management and our future wood supply are concerned. Even as things now stand, a third of our forests are cut over each year and not being regenerated. They say they are doing about a third by mechanical regeneration and perhaps a third may be done by natural means but, year after year, at least a third is just being left there and is not being properly managed or nothing much is being done with it.
In northeastern Ontario our limits are pretty well all let out to various companies, and there are really no further supplies of wood available. If the government continues this mismanagement programme of our forests, the impact will be felt by the diverse industry base that we have in a place like Timmins, where the mines depend on some forest products operations such as wafer-board from Malette’s mill and E. B. Eddy to provide some alternatives and some other jobs. Those jobs won’t be there a few years down the line. The prospects of our young people, whom we hope to keep in the north by providing jobs and to build up the economy of the north, are being jeopardized by this lack of commitment by this government to an adequate and far-sighted forest management policy.
I think all of us pretty much resent the way our forests have been put in jeopardy by the past action of this government across the way. We would like to see some indication that this mismanagement is going to stop and that someplace along the line our future is going to be protected.
I suspect it is not going to be protected by that government over there. They have had reports telling them what to do since 1948 and the situation is the same today as it was then, only it’s worse as far as our forests are concerned.
They talk about jobs in that area of northwestern Ontario. Certainly we are concerned about jobs, very much concerned. But I am going to make a proposal here tonight that I think will go a long way to providing some of those jobs, particularly in the Red Lake area. I would like to see Reeve Goodwillie be a good deal more aggressive in the field that I am going to make some comments about tonight and which would help his area a great deal. Until this point, I don’t know that the people of that part of the province of Ontario have been very moth involved.
I’m talking about the needs of the gold-mining communities of this province. I know the mayor of our city, Leo Del Villano, has certainly taken a very aggressive stand and has got a committee together representing the gold-mining communities of this country. They have gone to various communities to speak with the leaders; they have met with the people involved in the mining industry; they have met with people involved in the trade unions representing those miners; they have talked to financial people, and they have made representations to the federal government and to this government here. I happened to sit in on the representations that were made to the hon. Minister of Natural Resources (Mr. Bernier) by the gold study committee. They made a number of recommendations to this government.
The crisis of the drop in the price of gold has been brought about by the International Monetary Fund every six weeks selling a large part of its gold. That has had a real deflating effect as far as the price is concerned. This was a policy agreed to by the federal government, but the policy in its impact had its greatest and detrimental impact on the gold-mining communities of this province and of this country. It seems most unfair that those gold-mining communities, those miners, and those gold mines are the ones that have to bear all the brunt of that federal-government policy thrust.
Our provincial governments argue that they should have a say and full control, I suppose, over our natural resources. So when an industry is in jeopardy by a government policy, I think a provincial government has something more to do than just sit back on its hands and wait for something miraculously to develop. It may develop; it may not develop. I think we in this province and in this country must decide whether we want the gold-mining industry to continue in this country and develop a long-term policy to that effect.
I would like to remind you, Mr. Speaker, and the members of this House, that South Africa has a gold-industry policy, as does the USSR -- the first and second largest producers with Canada coming in third. Why should we not develop a long-term policy? I know that the Ministry of Natural Resources has been reviewing the South African tax credit scheme to determine its possible application in Ontario. The Ontario gold-mining industry presented for discussion a proposal for loans for exploration and development as a means of sustaining the industry over the next four and a half years. The Mining Association of Canada has submitted a formal brief which recommends loans for exploration and development.
There are some who say that the gold-mining industry has had its day, and that we should let the industry die -- that there’s no demand for gold. Well, The Emergency Gold Mining Assistance Act, the programme that was carried out at the federal government level, was to assist gold mines and communities to phase out their operations. In fact it had some success in seeing that the producers were able to phase out. The producers have gone down very dramatically. But at current prices supply-demand analysis indicates that new production will be inadequate to meet commodity demand for gold without sales from government stock. So in the long term government stocks of gold will be required to meet growing demands. If there is any trouble in South Africa -- and it appears that there might very well be periods of political instability there -- there will be a greater demand than ever for Canadian gold. It seems reasonable that we should come up with some kind of policy to sustain our present gold mines.
Ontario has, according to the people who have studied this subject, the potential for becoming one of the world’s lowest cost producers and for achieving substantial growth at forecast free market prices. It is interesting to note that there has been very little incentive for any gold exploration in the last 35 years. But this is not to say that there is not a good deal of gold available in some of the areas that have been the gold-mining camps of this province. In fact I am told that there are known ore bodies within the Timmins area and other areas where, if the government would declare some kind of a policy and give some indication that it wants the gold mining industry to continue, some of these properties could be developed.
You see, since the turn of last year there has been a dramatic loss of jobs in the gold-mining industry in my own community. There were 1,500 to 1,600 people employed in the Pamour operation at the first of last year and by the end of this year it will be down in the 700 to 800 range. The Dome mine has laid off about 167 workers. Sometimes we hear in this House members jumping up and raising a tremendous fuss about 35, or 40, or 50 jobs lost by a plant closing some place down here in southern Ontario -- there’s terrific concern. But there hasn’t been a ripple, it seems, over 900 jobs that are lost in a community in northern Ontario. It just shows that this government down here and the people down here don’t seem to care two hoots about the economy of northern Ontario.
We have large unemployment all across this province and this country and we want to create jobs. There are jobs here that can be created almost overnight if the government was prepared to work out, in consultation with the federal government, a long-range policy for the gold mines. I’m sure that in four or five years things will have improved a good deal, the mines will be much more viable arid the jobs will be there.
If we are going to have those jobs in four and a half years’ time, something is going to have to be done in the interval because there are not very many gold-producing operations left in this province. For this industry to be sustained it means that these mines, the operations they have and the mills they are operating, will have to be utilized in some continuous form. Once a gold mine is closed down, it doesn’t reopen. It is gone, it seems, for good.
What we do in the next little while is going to be critical as far as the gold situation is concerned in this province of Ontario and in this country. We do have a very skilled work force in the gold mines now.
I know some people will say they can go and work in some of the other operations. There’s Texasgulf, or maybe they could go to Sudbury to work at Inco or Falconbridge. Some of them are going to Elliot Lake but one is not too enthusiastic at seeing them go there.
The reason many of these workers do not feel like moving around to these other areas is they have worked a long number of years in the gold mines. They have been there maybe for 15 or 25 years and they can’t or won’t be hired by Texasgulf or Inco or some of the mining companies because they are too much of a health risk. Perhaps they have had an injury or there’s the possibility of some lung condition developing. They are tied to the industry we have.
I say we have to take a pretty careful look at this whole situation and decide if we want to do something about this unemployment. Do we want to sustain this industry, provide these jobs for these workers and provide the benefits for those gold-mining communities? Or are we going to say, “You people take it on the nose. We don’t care”?
The Porcupine camp has just two gold mines in operation now but the Pamour mine is trucking ore from perhaps 70 miles away. They are trucking it and milling it now at an economic rate. They are making a little bit of money on some of this. When they started it was costing them $195 to produce one ounce. Now they are doing it for about $115 but it has taken a good deal of planning and careful work to get it to this stage.
“Compared to Porcupine the Red Lake gold camp is a relatively new area with indications of even greater potential. There are literally thousands of square miles of exceptionally favourable gold environment which would fall within existing or possible area programmes in current and former gold camps.” That’s a statement by Malcolm Slack of the Pamour Porcupine mines which he made to Rendall Dick, the deputy Treasurer of this province and Dr. Reynolds, I believe, the deputy Minister of Natural Resources.
There’s the potential in Red Lake to provide many jobs if this government and the federal government would make a commitment to the long-term operation of the gold mine. Until governments and industries develop comprehensive policies, strategies and rational programmes to deal with this new era of uncertainty, it would be improvident to abandon existing operations which have little likelihood of being replaced.
The situation is pretty critical, I suggest to you, Mr. Speaker, and we do need some attention, some real concern by this provincial government and by the federal government --
Mr. Lane: Put the blame where it belongs.
Mr. Ferrier: The blame is two-fold. It may be primarily at Ottawa, but are we just going to say about a resource which we claim to have sovereignty over that we’ll let Ottawa do it? We’ve got to get in there, I suggest, and fight for our rights.
After all, the Minister of Natural Resources did take a stand on this issue at the mines ministers’ conference in St. John’s, Newfoundland, and called on the federal government, since it created the problem, to take some action. He gave a commitment to the gold study committee that as soon as the Quebec government was sworn in he would try to contact his counterpart there and see whether they could go to Ottawa together and make representation.
I don’t know that there has been recent representation to Ottawa from this government, either in conjunction with Quebec or on its own, to try to exert some influence on our behalf. I think if this government has any concern at all for northeastern Ontario -- the area that I and my colleague from Timiskaming represent and in which we want to see some growth and development and more diversity within its communities -- I think the minister has to be aggressive on behalf of the province to try to force the issue with the federal government.
As I say, I would like to see the reeve of Red Lake be a little more aggressive and outspoken on behalf of the gold-mining communities of this province as well We’ve got to do something to provide jobs for our people The government makes a big hullabaloo about 35 or 50 jobs down here, but it’s not saying anything or doing very mirth about 900 jobs in northern Ontario. I think the people of northern Ontario have got the message and they keep getting it very dramatically from this government. I’m glad to see there’s some support from over there too.
Mr. Lane: Why don’t you support a ministry for northern Ontario?
Mr. Ferrier: I don’t think we need a new ministry for northern Ontario, we need a new government for northern Ontario.
Mr. Reid: A Liberal government.
Mr. Ferrier: One of the suggestions I would like to make is that I think the member is trying to create a job for himself, that’s why he is so vociferous for a northern Ontario ministry. I think he’d like to have “the Honourable” before his name and go parading up to the communities and to the associations when they meet up there.
Mr. Lane: I don’t want any suggestions.
Mr. Acting Speaker: The member for Cochrane South has the floor. If the member for Algoma-Manitoulin would like to speak we’ll put him on the list.
Mr. Reid: Jack Stokes you ain’t.
Mr. Ferrier: Back before the election in September --
Mr. Grande: There is some support for that.
Mr. Ferrier: -- the hon. Treasurer came into this House with the first of his mini-budgets. It was in July, I think, and he took the sales tax off cars -- I think it was off all cars at that time.
Mr. Ferrier: One of the things he said was that we had to create jobs in four areas; there was Dryden, I think there was New Liskeard or some place near there, and Timmins. They were going to create office complexes -- they’ve talked about this for a long time -- to stimulate the economy of those areas and to provide jobs. They were going to advance the construction schedule of these projects and get them under way and have jobs that winter.
Of course, in the process of the election we got the announcement that things were taking place and the tenders or whatever it was were let. It wasn’t long after the election that the Treasurer brought in the Henderson report. I think it should be called the McKeough report because it’s got his imprint and his thinking all over it. He brought that in and it was the restraint programme and all of a sudden the unemployment problems in those communities didn’t seem to matter and they cut back and those projects were shelved. Now that there is very great unemployment in the city of Timmins because of these gold-mining jobs that have been lost, I suggest that sound economics would say that the government had better take that project up again and do something about it. Let’s go 00 with building that provincial office complex up there in the city of Timmins.
I had an opportunity yesterday to deal pretty well with the health matters that I wanted to deal with, although there was one subject that I did want to make a few comments on. That was the study into I health services for the francophones of this province called “No Problem.” The member for Ottawa East (Mr. Roy) has indicated a very alarming set of circumstances as far as health services for francophones are concerned. One could really go after the government, except that the Minister of Health (Mr. F. S. Miller) is the one who commissioned this report and gave solid support for the committee during its investigations and hearings. So one would say at least maybe -- maybe -- the Minister of Health is concerned enough to try to do something about this very upsetting situation that has developed, and has become a real injustice as far as I can see from reading that report.
I don’t think this government has had a significant commitment to any kind of bilingualism; any kind of commitment they have has been mere tokenism. We see that all through the report. I would like to just point out in one area in psychiatric services where it is shown how great the injustice has been and it has gone on and gone on.
On page 15 of that report it says:
“In professional services a similar phenomenon is demonstrated in regards to communication with Mexican-Americans. Dr. Edmundo J. Rutz, MD, discusses The influence of bilingualism in group communication in the October, 1975, issue of the International Journal of Group Psychiatry. Often, unconscious material comes out more easily in the original language, he points out. In the bilinguals, it seems as though the reactions in English, and the reactions in Spanish were from two different persons.
“Again, in 1947, Dr. R. B. Egerton, MD, and Dr. M. Karno, MD, reported the results of a similar study undertaken with 444 patients who could express themselves in English but with whom communication was much easier and much more personal in the Spanish language.
“Dr. G. C. Barker, MD, had obtained in 1947 similar results from experiments with Mexican-Americans who had studied in English language schools. Dr. H. J. Lurie describes bilingual communication with Mexican-American in the October, 1972, issue of the American Journal of Orthopsychiatry.
“Dr. Ruiz is convinced that feeling and thought processes are nurtured in the first communication system and the latter is the basis in the development of the personality -- a person thinks, figures and even dreams in his mother tongue.”
And then another little quote:
“In the American Journal of Psychiatry, Dr. J. C. Castillio, MD, described several cases in which patients showed psychotic symptoms in interviews conducted in their language but not in interviews conducted in their secondary language, because the patient who has to communicate in another language produces unconscious vigilance over his emotions.”
It’s very obvious from those comments that the whole psychiatric treatment programme has been somewhat in jeopardy because of a lack of commitment to bilingual treatment facilities within the hospitals.
It was most alarming to read about the situation at Brockville, where there was a significant number of French-speaking patients and yet there was no psychiatrist who spoke French and very few who made any attempt to communicate with the patients in French. The statement was made that for a francophone to enter the Ontario Hospital system was like taking an immersion course in English. That’s a terrible indictment, when we’re supposed to be showing good faith to our minority group and providing some leadership in this country. We’re far behind Quebec in that. Is it any wonder we’re into the constitutional crisis and the situation in Quebec when we carry on like that?
Children from francophone communities or francophone homes who are deaf or blind or who have some perceptual handicap like that, even if their homes are unilingually French, have to come down to Belleville, Milton, London or one of the schools down here and take all their education in English. Sometimes it’s said in their reports that those students who have been immersed in English have real difficulties in communicating when they try to go home, and in some instances they have to go to foster homes. That’s pretty bad, I suggest. I know they have an arrangement with the school for the deaf in Montreal for some of those students; there are two or three from my riding who are there. But it seems to me we shouldn’t have to go outside our own province when there are well over half a million francophones here. We could gear up some kind of a facility for them either in Ottawa or Sudbury or some place in the north.
To communicate with doctors has been another problem. There are very few francophone doctors. I know when I talk to my physician, I like to have some confidentiality and discuss things on a pretty private basis. If I was talking to a doctor in another language, I’d be pretty worried if I had to have somebody come in to translate for me. In the hospitals they say they sometimes have someone from the kitchen staff or the maintenance staff translate for a patient. That’s not right. That’s bad.
I think the minister recognizes that is a problem, and he may have enough goodwill to try to do something about it. But he’s going to have to have the co-operation of the full cabinet to carry out a long-range and a short-range plan. One hopes that he will get this kind of co-operation, and that the Treasurer will not impose his heavy-handed restraint programme on this very important sector but that money will be available to begin to move rather quickly into these areas where we now know the damage is being done in a significant way. Let’s try to correct it. Let’s put our own house in order here before we start telling Quebec what they should not or ought to do. I don’t know that we should ever tell somebody else what they should not do but there are some people who will make some gratuitous comments in that regard.
I am concerned about the chronic care situation in my area. We’ve talked shout this for ever and a day. We were in a position to provide some improvement at the Timmins home for the aged. The tender call for the project had gone out and the tenders came back but they were away over the limits that had been set so they were to retender on it. The next thing we knew we had the Minister of Community and Social Services (Mr. Taylor) on one of his trips up to the northeast and he said there’s no capital money available for this year. So there the situation rests as far as the senior citizen home in Timmins is concerned.
At Iroquois Falls it was the same thing. Homes for the aged have become almost chronic-care homes; almost everybody is in a bad situation and there are not very many who are mobile. The homes have changed from what they were originally supposed to be, a residence for those who were able to move around and look after themselves to a significant degree.
Mr. Acting Speaker: Would the member for Don Mills (Mr. Timbrell) and his confreres keep it down, please?
Mr. Ferrier: I thank you, Mr. Speaker, for intervening and --
Mr. Ferrier: -- keeping some attention from the unruly members on the other side of the House.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Is there a quorum?
Mr. Ferrier: In Iroquois Falls we need more spaces for chronic care, to look after the people there. But the restraint programme’s there and the government is not doing anything.
Mr. Spence: That is not what you said on the drainage committee.
Mr. Ferrier: It’s the old people who are being hurt. What’s going to happen this year?
I’m glad to see my hon. friend from Kent-Elgin is behind me 100 per cent. The drainage committee did a good job but I’m afraid that had there been a restraint programme when it was in operation, it would have done a lot less draining than it actually did.
To say another word for Cochrane South’s homes for the aged. We do need chronic-care facilities. They have the regional centre for the mentally retarded which used to be the Northeastern Regional Mental Health Centre. There is a considerable number of beds there which could be used to set up an adequate chronic-care wing so that people could he looked after in their own community. They might even have some rehabilitation facilities there, too.
We’ve got to look at the needs of our province. We can’t go on with a restraint programme for ever and a day and let the old people suffer unduly and I hope that he loosens the purse strings.
Another area in which he should be showing more humanity, more concern and more justice is in the whole field of pensions under The Family Benefits Act and general welfare assistance. I read in the paper last night that maybe he’s going to make some recommendations to his cabinet colleagues. It’s about time he did. It’s been well over 16 months they’ve had to stay on the same level.
It was raised before the election and one could say that since there’s talk of a spring election, I guess he’s going to try to pull his old ploy again. It seems to be the only time he considers those people who are really in need and justice doesn’t seem to have the upper hand.
There is another area. The government can argue it all the ways it likes -- we argued it with the member for Cochrane North when he was the minister -- but it will never justify that unjust difference between unemployable and disabled. The government can’t justify that.
Mr. Cassidy: That’s right.
Mr. Ferrier: All the fancy footwork and mental gymnastics that it tries to do will never remove that injustice. These are people in need who are being kicked wound. It’s tough enough when you’re sick and unemployable and not able to make your way for your family or for yourself, but then to have that kind of injustice foisted on you on top of it should be condemned in the strongest way possible.
Mr. Deans: Aren’t you ashamed?
Mr. Ferrier: We’ve argued that for years and there is no movement across there.
Mr. Cassidy: It’s a shame James Taylor isn’t here to hear that.
Mr. Ferrier: We parade down there to that prayer breakfast in May and we take such a sanctimonious stand at times but we let people in this province be treated in that way. I suggest there’s a pretty far distance between what we profess with our lips and what we actually do about it when we can’t look after people like that.
I want to make a few comments about another area that affects my city and a number of my constituents, and it is some of the older gold miners who have worked in the mines all their lives and who now have developed serious lung problems. The situation with them is that the silicosis that they have is in the developing stage; it hasn’t got to the stage where it shows on X-rays. So they might begin to say, “Well, you’ve got maybe a little bit of silicosis but really not enough to provide attention,” or they will say it’s something else. The person never really gets compensation but he is short of breath, he loses weight, he can’t sleep, he coughs, he can’t climb stairs very well, and he can only walk a block and then he has to stop.
Those people have serious lung problems, and they’ve never really got a breakthrough with the Workmen’s Compensation Board.
But there are a few things that we now know, and I think that by bringing these out into the open we should be able to get some action from this government and from the Compensation Board.
In 1967 and 1972 Dr. Paterson did reports on silicone miners and an extremely high incidence of tuberculosis was found in the province of Ontario among miners who have had a long exposure to silica. It is clear the overall risk of miners developing tuberculosis is much greater than for non-miners. That’s shown by Dr. Paterson’s study.
There was a deposition before the Department of Labour, Bureau of Workmen’s Compensation, Lansing, Michigan, some time ago, and the pathologist there argued that a man who has been exposed to silica does not have silicosis but does develop tuberculosis. The mere presence of crystalline silica in the presence of tuberculosis organisms encourages the development of silico-tuberculosis. This doctor believes it is not necessary to develop silicosis before developing a high risk for tuberculosis.
I think it’s valid and this government should make the particular amendment that if a man has completed five years of consecutive work underground or at least 10 years of interrupted work underground then he is a greater risk for developing active tuberculosis and if he subsequently does so then this tuberculosis should be treated as compensable, as is any tuberculosis defined under the Act with reference to hospital employees.
And this should not only include those who work in the mines but in the foundries and stone cutters, pottery makers and so on.
The other area I suggest should have compensation is the whole area of chronic bronchitis in miners. And I want to offer here just a little bit of a medical opinion of a specialist character:
“As has been pointed out by Higgins et al, it is difficult to assess the role of occupation in etiology of bronchitis in heavy smokers. As this study points out, there is no doubt that miners have excess mortality and morbidity due to bronchitis compared with other workers and indeed, disability due to bronchitis is greater in miners with no pneumoconiosis as is the case with this patient compared with those having grade one pneumoconiosis.
“This study indicates clearly that mortality and morbidity statistics indicate miners to be more prone to chronic bronchitis than other workers, while at the same time they recorded higher prevalence of respiratory symptoms and lower mean maximum breathing capacities than men who worked only in dust-free occupations. Furthermore, the prevalence of respiratory symptoms was lower and the mean maximum breathing capacity higher in non-smokers than in smokers and ex-smokers. In patients between the ages of 55 and 64 surveyed, the incidence of chronic bronchitis was only 3.4 per cent in nonsmokers compared to 22 per cent in heavy smokers such as this subject.
“In another study, Higgins and Oldham showed that the mean indirect maximum breathing capacity in heavy smoking miners was 20 per cent lower than in matched smoking above-ground workers. Other studies from the coal-mining industry have shown similar results, thus Higgins et al showed that the differences in the incidences of bronchitis between miners and non-miners could not be ascribed to differences in smoking habits and thus had to be related to occupational exposure while in a German study Boehme and Leut showed the incidence of bronchitis in miners to be 32.6 per cent, compared to 14.6 per cent in nonminers. On the other hand, Enterline and Lainhart studying coal miners in the United States demonstrated an excess of respiratory symptoms of wheezing and dyspnea, as well as increased frequency of episodes of pneumonia and pleurisy, but were unable to show an increased incidence of chronic bronchitis except in those with pneumoconiosis. In any case, they pointed out that the effect was not great.
“An extensive study by Sluis-Cremer et al from the gold mines of South Africa formed with great care with respect to epidemiological parameters showed in 827 miners an incidence of chronic bronchitis of 39.3 per cent in the 562 that were dust exposed, but only 19.6 per cent in those without dust exposure. They demonstrated a clear excess of chronic bronchitis in the dust-exposed workers and concluded that there was some factor operative in this group increasing the incidence of chronic bronchitis over and above the effect of smoking.”
There are five studies that have been done and this is accepted in the scientific community. In fact, since 1970 in South Africa they have made some recognition of chronic bronchitis as being compensable and have paid pensions for it -- probably only in the white workers, but at least they have done something that we in Ontario haven’t done some six years later. Justice again must be done to these people. These studies are in the medical community and people at the Workmen’s Compensation Board know about them.
Mr. Bain: They ignore them.
Mr. Ferrier: Why doesn’t the Workmen’s Compensation Board at least pay attention to the research that has been done and has shown conclusively that the miner who has worked in the mine is much more susceptible to chronic bronchitis than those who have not? And why is the miner not compensated for it when he develops that condition?
There is some dispute, I gather, over the question of emphysema, as to whether the dust is a significant factor in it developing or not. I don’t think the medical community has come to any conclusion. Rather than dragging our heels and following jurisdictions, it’s time that we tried to do justice to those people who have made a significant contribution to our economy by working hard and who have suffered the ill effects of it. I hope that the minister will do something about these gold miners with chronic lung conditions and rectify a wrong that’s gone on far too long.
Hon. B. Stephenson: The member for Timiskaming wouldn’t know emphysema if he saw it. The member for Cochrane South would, but his colleague wouldn’t.
Mr. Bain: Pardon? He has more compassion for workers than you do, though.
Hon. B. Stephenson: That is absolute -- pardon me, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Deans: He couldn’t have any less.
Mr. Ferrier: No, I don’t think I could have any less.
I want to mention briefly two other things. ETV in northern Ontario hasn’t quite got there yet. That’s another area of the province that’s well looked after down here as far as cable is concerned. They can get their American channels. They can get a wide selection of TV without even needing cable. But not us in northeastern Ontario and in northern Ontario. I don’t think the Minister of Housing has got cable TV in his riding. Oh, he has. Is there ETV there yet? Then he’s one of the lucky ones. I know the member for Cochrane North hasn’t got ETV there.
Hon. Mr. Brunelle: It is coming.
Mr. Bain: When?
Mr. Ferrier: We’ll get it the same time that you get it -- and we’re still waiting. I’ve got cable TV in my home; this morning, my young lad was watching the set and he said, “Dad, it’s 43 below out.” I wasn’t too anxious to go out and walk uptown. Maybe the cable TV would have been better if it hadn’t been on.
I suppose ETV will eventually come for those of us who are paying $8 a month and the installation charge for cable TV. But there will be a lot who will not go on cable, and there will be some of the smaller communities that won’t have it. I don’t know whether they’ll have it at Remi Lake, for instance, or whether they’ll have it --
Mr. Ferrier: You’ll have it in Kapuskasing, but you don’t live in Kapuskasing, you see. You may have to do without it.
Only a fraction will have cable anyway, and again I think we’re not getting the same kind of treatment that we see people getting down here in southern Ontario. It’s always easy to cut back in the north, because we are scattered and there are so few of us in comparison with the number of people down here. If you want to bring the axe down heavily, those people in the north are the ones who can take the blow. They can squeal and yell and shout and protest and do all they like and the southern Ontario establishment in this Legislature just says, “Oh, well, it’s the northerners again,” and they write us off. It is about time they paid attention to northern Ontario and didn’t make big speeches at election time and forget us in between.
Mr. Ferrier: I don’t want to destroy my argument here but I was at a mini-caucus about two weeks ago in Barrie.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: In a phone booth.
Mr. Ferrier: There were a lot of people there, and I’ll tell the minister, we’re going to win that seat the next time around.
Mr. Bain: We might even win Cochrane North if the hon. member doesn’t run again.
Mr. Ferrier: The people from Orillia and the people from Barrie came and told us how many senior citizens’ houses they had --
Mr. Bain: How about Don Mills?
Mr. Ferrier: -- less than a hundred in each place, and when you compare that with what’s going on in my riding, already we have got -- well, in Timmins --
Mr. Ferrier: We have done better than down here in some of these areas that have had a government member and maybe you haven’t paid as much attention --
Mr. Bain: The moral is to have a NDP member.
Mr. Ferrier: Anyway, there is always an exception to every rule and we will grant that maybe there is one in that incident. But I will tell the House that Ed Diebel is still signing up his names. I met him not too long ago but he didn’t impress me that his party will gain that many seats in the next election. I don’t think he has got his 10,000 names yet. Anyway, we will see.
I got a pretty good note here from my hon. friend from Kent-Elgin who wants me to deal with two or three other subjects, but if the government is showing a lot of restraint, I guess it is kind of contagious and maybe I had better do the same too and call it quits for tonight.
Mr. Deans: Mr. Speaker, I thought perhaps I might not get the opportunity during this session to speak in the budget debate but I am certainly very grateful for the chance during the next 20 minutes to share with the House some thoughts I have about matters that I think if they are not of concern to the government, ought to be. They are not particularly far-reaching, many of them. Some relate directly to the riding that I represent, some to the immediately adjacent area, but I feel it might be important for me to make sure the government is aware of some of the problems.
I want, though, before I deal with matters of policy to take a moment to say something about the Legislature because I have been concerned of late about the Legislature and the way it has operated. I think in fairness that the minority government, the minority Legislature, has produced a higher level of debate and a higher degree of awareness in the members who were elected and in the public than the Legislatures that preceded it. But unfortunately I suspect a great number of people who look in on us from outside don’t really understand the workings of a parliament very well and they are taken hack at times over the way that we deal with each other and over the way we carry on. I suppose that would be the correct term that might be used in terms of our day-to-day operations.
I think it should be understood, and I think the members probably do understand, that the Legislature can he and frequently is a very tense place. The government, in its desire to pass legislation which it, in its wisdom, believes to be in the best interests of the people it represents, comes forward with proposals which we, either in the NDP or in the Liberal Party or, from time to time, it may even be both parties, disagree.
That brings about heated debate. That debate need not always occur during second readings or during structured debates such as this but, on occasion, it occurs during the question period. It may well be said by the purists that that’s not the appropriate place for this to happen; that the question period should be more subdued and sedate and it should pay more attention to the historical values placed on the Legislature rather than on the events of the day.
Many looking in, press and public alike, get the impression the members of the Legislature are, to say the least, an unruly bunch. I think if I were sitting in the gallery I would probably share those views. I think I probably would feel; as many people have felt and have expressed the feeling, that I don’t quite understand why we act the way we do.
I’m not going to apologize for the Legislature because it isn’t my role to apologize. I suspect on balance, if one were to look carefully at the work done by the 125 members of the Legislature, singly and collectively, the contribution made by this House and by its membership is significant and will, in history, reflect a fairly dedicated group of individuals attempting to find solutions to very complex problems.
I am concerned about one aspect of the House and I want to share that with the House at the moment. I do so in a somewhat subdued tone because I feel it’s rather delicate yet I think it has to be raised. I’m concerned about the historical lack of respect that this Legislature has for the role of the Speaker.
The role of the Speaker is much more important than the Speaker himself. If we continue as we have been doing, to taunt and bait, to ignore and frustrate whoever is sitting in the chair as Speaker of the Legislature, the effectiveness of the House as a whole will continue to deteriorate. I say this knowing full well that like almost every other member, I have contributed to it. I’m not attempting to preach or to claim that somehow or other I haven’t been a part of what’s gone on.
It frustrates me and aggravates me -- in fact, angers me -- to hear people and see people point their finger at the incumbent and claim that he perhaps is incapable of handling the job. The job of the Speaker should be a very simple job. The job of the Speaker shouldn’t be as taxing and as difficult as we have made it. If the members, individually and collectively, had respect for the role, for the office, then the Speaker wouldn’t have to get into arguments and battles and be placed in a position, day after day, of attempting to rule the unruly.
When people tell me that the incumbent Speaker doesn’t have the control over the House that he perhaps ought to have, I have to think back to the Speaker who was in the chair in 1967 when I was first elected. The same was said of him, and of the Speaker who followed him, Mr. Speaker Reuter. We almost drove him to his grave. It’s something about the way the House operates and is not necessarily a reflection on the individual.
If a person is given the role of Speaker in the Ontario Legislature for some reason or other the members seem to feel that that person then becomes fair game for abuse and criticism without recognition of the fact that that person, like all of us, is a human being elected to do a job and doing it to the best of his or her ability -- in this case his ability. If we respected the role and the office, and paid no attention to the person as an individual, and perhaps if the Speaker were to rule with a firmer hand, we would benefit immeasurably in the terms of the way in which this Legislature operates, and in terms of the way the public might view us, both through the writings and showings, if you will -- whatever -- of the press and also in terms of the people who come to visit with us and to sit in the gallery.
I would appeal to the members -- as I have appealed to myself privately -- to stop the unnecessary harassment of the Speaker. I would appeal to them to not continue the chatter and harangue to the extent that they do.
That doesn’t mean there can’t be crossfire. That doesn’t mean there can’t be interjections. What it means is that when the Speaker says “Order,” everybody should stop. I think if we could all exercise that kind of self-control that would enable us to recognize that it would only be in that atmosphere that we could operate efficiently and effectively and if we would recognize that what we do is bring disrespect upon ourselves that we could perhaps then have a much more sensible and a much more respected legislative assembly.
As I say, I appreciate that, like all other members -- if not all, certainly most -- I’ve contributed to the demise if you will of the role. I now ask from that position whether collectively we can’t find a way to re-establish the role in a more sane and sensible way. I ask that members of all parties, particularly those on the front benches of both sides, who may influence the Speaker more than is fair, should refrain from commenting on his role and that we should try as best we can to allow the Speaker to rule -- as we do, incidentally, with the chairman and the deputy Speaker and the chairman of the committee of the whole House.
When the Deputy Speaker and the chairman of the committee of the whole House makes a ruling for reasons that are not entirely clear to me -- and this has been historically true again -- we have paid more attention to those rulings and to those directions than we have ever paid to the Speaker in similar circumstances speaking from the chair.
I raise this -- I realize it may cause some to wonder, but it has been bothering me for some time and I feel it is only appropriate that I should raise it tonight.
I think the Legislature operates not too badly, given that that problem might be overcome. I think the level of debate in general is fairly high and I think that people tend to speak what they believe to be the truth.
I don’t think you find many people grandstanding in the Legislature. I don’t think you find many people making speeches based on what they know to be misinformation. And I don’t think there are many occasions in this House when it could be truthfully said that someone was intentionally misleading the House. But I don’t think for a moment that we should in any way believe that people only unintentionally mislead the House.
I think there are occasions when a member, whether he be a minister of the Crown or a member of the opposition, speaking on a topic which he or she may know sufficient about to speak, would make a statement which on balance, after having been checked against all of the details involved, might be found to have been, if not outright misleading, certainly based on misinformation.
If this Legislature is going to operate in a reasonably human way, we’ve got to understand these things will occur. We’ve also got to understand that from time to time someone in the House may well challenge the information being put forward and suggest that, based on the information being put forward, the House is being misled.
That doesn’t imply for one moment that the speaker is lying or intentionally misleading the House. It simply means that based on the information currently available, the House is being misled; that the information being given is not in keeping with what one other member believes to be the facts. I don’t think we need continue to engage in the game of one-upmanship, of trying to imply that people are not telling the truth, because I suspect that in most circumstances, most of the time, members of the House do in fact tell the truth.
In any event, I want to deal with two or three matters that are of particular concern to me, having said what I’ve said. I want to say with regard to the business of the House that it’s been a unique experience having been the House leader for the official opposition, having had the opportunity to deal with the government House leader and the staff of that office, and having had the opportunity to sit down and try to work out acceptable schedules that would allow the business to be conducted in a reasonable way without in any way attempting to muzzle or restrict any of the duly elected members of the Legislature from having their say.
One of the things I might say in passing, Mr. Speaker, given that you, the member for Lake Nipigon, are in the chair at this moment, is that one of the regrets I have about this minority parliament is that we haven’t really had the benefit of your participation as you participated in years gone by. I think it’s unfortunate not only for the House but it’s unfortunate for the public at large that we would require of a person, assuming the heavy role of Deputy Speaker, that he or she feel they have to withdraw from the normal partisan debate that would allow them to express the opinions that really in themselves were the basis for them getting elected in the first place.
I think somehow or other as we review the rules, and we’re going to, that we should give some consideration to attempting to find ways to enable the Deputy Speaker and the deputy chairman of the committee of the whole -- and the Speaker too, although the Speaker’s role is somewhat different -- to express opinions that will at least be a reflection of the concerns and views of their constituents without in any way jeopardizing their impartiality in dealing with legislation and the like when it comes before them and they are required to make rulings.
I am not sure how that can be done; it may be something that can’t be done. But I do think we lose and the public of Ontario loses when we don’t get the benefit of the wisdom of people who have been appointed to those positions by the Legislature, the reason being in the case of my colleague, the member for Lake Nipigon, and I’m sure it holds true for the others, that he was nominated for this role because we had a great deal of faith in his judgement, and of course the reason he won the seat in the first place was because the electorate had a lot of faith in his judgement. It is unfortunate we’re not able to allow him wider latitude in dealing with matters that might be of concern, without jeopardizing the impartiality which he has and which I am sure he would be able to maintain regardless.
In any event, I want to talk about some other matters. I have been very disappointed in the way in which the rent review procedures have operated in the province of Ontario. I don’t intend to make a lengthy speech about it because I know my colleague from Ottawa Centre does have some statistical information and other information he wants to place before the House on another day. But I was, I think “amazed” would be the word, when I went before the Rent Review Board for the purposes of expressing the views of a number of tenants who felt they couldn’t express their views sufficiently lucidly in order to have the board listen to them.
I was surprised first of all at the way the board operated. I was surprised that there was not a clear set of rules, parliamentary procedure, if one will, which would set out how a case might be presented and what would be admissible or otherwise before the board. It was a hodge-podge.
I walked in; I sat; we carried on a debate across the table. I asked questions. The landlord asked questions. The rent review officer asked questions. The tenants asked questions. There never seemed to be any order to it. At the end I wasn’t really sure whether everything that had to be brought out had been brought out.
I don’t know if the Minister of Labour is smiling because she believes me or not, but I was --
Hon. B. Stephenson: I saw one.
Mr. Deans: You saw one? Yes. It really was an amazing experience. It was a disturbing experience because I couldn’t imagine -- I have gone before many boards and tribunals and the Ontario Municipal Board. I’ve spoken at so many different places. I’ve always attempted to collect my thoughts, to prepare my case and present it in such a way that I would be able to allow my opponent, whoever it happened to be -- the other side, if one will -- to rebut it if they could; to refute it if they could; to present their evidence. Then I would have the opportunity for cross-examination.
I was flabbergasted by the lack of order. I didn’t know how the board was ever going to reach a decision as a result of the hearings I attended. It wasn’t for the lack of effort on our part nor, I am sure, was it lack of effort on the part of the landlord or his representative. It was just a hodge-podge. It was a mess.
We can’t go on like that because that in itself destroys the credibility of the rent review procedures. It makes it difficult for tenants. It makes it difficult for landlords and it destroys the credibility of the whole procedure. I really do urge that we should spend some time reviewing the procedures themselves and trying to set out some more clearly understandable terms of reference and what is expected from both sides at hearings of that type.
That doesn’t mean that an individual wishing to state an opinion ought not to be given the chance or that they must come in with a lawyer. I think there should be some clear rules of procedure to be followed.
I want to tell you, in the minute left to me before 10:30, of the one thing which amazed me. I had a case in which the person involved went before the board with his landlord because the landlord was asking for a sum of money -- for the purposes of this discussion we’ll say it was $246 a month. That was an increase from $180 a month.
The board found in favour of the tenant. The landlord had not justified the increase due to a number of factors prior to the increase being implemented and a number of the claims being made were unsubstantiated. It found in favour of the tenant.
The landlord then appealed. The tenant was on vacation and the landlord was granted the entire $246 that he asked for. All the tenant got was a notice saying that as a result of the appeal, the amount granted was $246. There was no justification, no explanation, nothing. Having had it brought to my attention, I then wrote, perhaps wrongly, to the rent review head office and I said, “I wonder if you’d be kind enough to send to adjourned. me the justification provided which would show that this was a fair and equitable amount arrived at.” I didn’t get a reply, but the tenant then received -- and I received a copy -- a new notice. It had been reduced to $210.
I notice that it’s 10:30.
On motion by Mr. Deans, the debate was adjourned.
Hon. Mr. Meen: Mr. Speaker, before moving adjournment of the House I would advise members that tomorrow we will resume the budget debate.
On motion by Hon. Mr. Meen, the House adjourned at 10:30 p.m.