30th Parliament, 4th Session

L002 - Thu 31 Mar 1977 / Jeu 31 mar 1977

The House met at 2 p.m.



Hon. Mr. Auld: Mr. Speaker, I have here a message from the Honourable the Lieutenant Governor signed by her own hand.

Mr. Speaker: By her own hand, P. M. McGibbon, the Honourable the Lieutenant Governor, transmits estimates of certain sums required for the services of the province for the year ending March 31, 1978, and recommends them to the Legislative Assembly, Toronto, March 31, 1977.

Statements by the ministry.


Hon. Mr. McKeough: Mr. Speaker, I’m tabling today -- and I believe they are now being placed in the members’ mailboxes -- copies of a special issue of Ontario Finances, reporting on the fourth-quarter performance of the 1976 budget. It includes a comparison of the actual operating results for the first 11 months of this fiscal year, with those for the same period in 1975-76. These interim figures for 1976-77 will be the figures published in the 1977 budget; the final figures for 1976-77 will be reported as usual in the 1976 financial report.

Net cash requirements for 1976-77 are now projected at $1,388 million, or $158 million higher than the original budget. This increase in net cash requirements is entirely due to lower than anticipated revenues.

Some of the highlights of the report: Expenditures are $11 million below the original budget target of $12,576 million. In-year shifts in spending plans have been accomplished to finance $372 million of additional requirements for priority areas. Revenues are projected at $11,177 million, $169 million less than the original budget plan. The additional $158 million in net cash requirements will not necessitate public borrowing. In fact, during the 1976-77 fiscal year, treasury bills outstanding were reduced by $195 million.

The deterioration in the 1976 revenue performance is primarily attributable to a poorer economic performance than originally anticipated when the budget was formulated. The revenues most affected are personal income tax, retail sales tax and corporation income tax. These revenues exhibit the greatest sensitivity to fluctuations in the economy. Much of the deterioration has been offset by higher than forecast payments under the revenue guarantee and improvements in non-budgetary receipts and credits.

On the expenditure front, increased funding was allocated during the year to cover additional requirements for the operation of hospital and senior citizens’ facilities, for home renewal grants, firefighting and other programmes. However, these increases were entirely financed through expenditure savings from other areas.

For the 11 months ended February 28, 1977, budgetary revenue amounted to $8,880 million, or 14.3 per cent over the same period last fiscal year. On the other hand, budgetary expenditure was $10,179 million, for an increase of 11.7 per cent over the same period in 1975-76.


Hon. Mr. Auld: Mr. Speaker, in accordance with the new House rules, I have tabled the special warrants approved between the last and the current sessions.

At the same time copies of these special warrants were placed in the postal boxes of each member on Tuesday, March 29. A special warrant is an order under section 4 of The Management Board of Cabinet Act, signed by the Lieutenant Governor, authorizing expenditures of an urgent nature for which no appropriation exists and is permissible only when the Legislature is not in session. It differs from a Management Board order primarily in that an MBO may only increase the spending level of an appropriation which already exists, whereas a special warrant has the effect of creating a new appropriation.

The two special warrants which were approved were both of an urgent nature which could not be delayed until the current session of this Legislature. For particulars concerning these special warrants I would suggest that questions be directed to the ministries concerned.


Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Mr. Speaker, I intend to introduce today the four bills on family law reform which were before the House last session. I refer, of course, to The Family Law Reform Act, The Succession Law Reform Act, The Marriage Act, and The Children’s Law Reform Act.

With the exception of The Children’s Law Reform Act, which was given first reading on the last day of the session, all the bills were before the standing committee on justice when the House rose in December. Many people who wished to make presentations to the standing committee could not be accommodated in the time available last session. Accordingly, in order to continue the policy of full public consultation through the final steps of the legislative process, we chose to reintroduce the bills in this session and refer them back to the standing committee for further examination.

Much work has been done on the bills on the basis of both the comments we received in the standing committee last session and further submissions since that time. However, the improvements are largely matters of clarification, form and emphasis. What has been clear since the initial introduction of these reforms is the broad public support for the principles incorporated in the legislation. Our commitment to equality, fairness, individual freedom and personal responsibility in family law has therefore been confirmed.

The Family Law Reform Act continues to provide for equal sharing of family assets on marriage breakdown, support obligations based on need and contracts for private arrangements about property and support. In response to public concern two particular alterations will be made. First, no support obligation will arise between a childless common-law couple until they have lived together five years; the previous period was two years. Second, provision will be made for common-law spouses to make agreements similar to marriage contracts. Thus contracts could provide for the couple to share property or adjust their support obligations in the same way as legally married persons.

The Succession Law Reform Act equalizes the inheritance rights of children born within and outside marriage, and equalizes the rights of widows and widowers. It implements many principles recommended by the Ontario Law Reform Commission with respect to wills, intestate succession and dependant’s relief.

The Marriage Act similarly implements some of the major recommendations of the Ontario Law Reform Commission report on marriage and clears up a number of administrative procedures.

The Children’s Law Reform Act removes the legal stigma of illegitimacy and provides rules and procedures for facilitating proof of parentage. Later in the session I hope to expand The Children’s Law Reform Act to deal with custody, guardianship and other related matters.

In conclusion, Mr. Speaker, in this session I look forward to the culmination of a major part of the process of family law reform. I am confident that our intensive study and broad consultation has produced a package of reforms which is unmatched in any other jurisdiction.


Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Mr. Speaker, I am tabling a background paper entitled: Freedom of Information; the Right of Privacy and Government Information Practices.

This paper is a perspective document which outlines the development, in Canada and elsewhere, of the related concepts of freedom of information and information privacy as components of government information practices.

It identifies the dilemma faced by the policymaker as the result of the emergence of two schools of thought from the current debate in Canada over government information practices. One school is wedded to the concept of a legislative solution not unlike that adopted in the United States. The other school advocates a solution said to be more in keeping with our system of responsible government and parliamentary democracy.

Mr. Lawlor: We have the best of both.


Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Commentators are unanimously of the view that government information practices can be improved.

Mr. Cassidy: You are not going to act though.

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: The paper points out, however, that interest in these matters is a relatively recent phenomenon and that no thorough assessment has been done of the probable effects on our system of government of the solutions proposed.

Mr. Lawlor: It has been around as long as the Tories.

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: The paper recommends a thorough study of government information practices in the light of both the needs of the people of Ontario and the exigencies of our system of government.

Mr. Cassidy: Never do today what you can study till tomorrow.

Mr. Reid: Study it to death.

Mr. Lawlor: A question --

Mr. Speaker: No, not at this time. The hon. member will be given an opportunity shortly.

Mr. Lewis: What are those exigencies the Attorney General is talking about?

Mr. Speaker: The hon. Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations.

Mr. Ruston: Rent control.

Mr. S. Smith: Minister of a mess.

Hon. Mr. Handleman: Mr. Speaker, in the Speech from the Throne --

Mr. Peterson: Why did you steal the Premier’s (Mr. Davis’) rose?

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. The hon. minister only has the floor.

Mr. Ruston: He needs a little encouragement.

Mr. Speaker: Order.


Hon. Mr. Handleman: Thank you, Mr. Speaker, I’ll start over again. In the Speech from the Throne the government announced an initiative to foster economic development east of Metropolitan Toronto by locating significant government operations in selected areas.

I have the pleasure today of announcing the first of these projects, a $40-million bulk storage and distribution warehouse, which the Liquor Control Board of Ontario is to construct in the Durham region.

Mr. Peterson: There is industry for you.

Mr. Roy: Have you made a poll of that?

Hon. Mr. Handleman: This 600,000 square foot facility, to be built in Whitby, will be the largest in the Liquor Board’s chain of storage and distribution centres and will eventually employ more than 100 people, as well as the temporary employment created during construction.

Mr. Samis: Are those ballpark figures on that?

Hon. Mr. Handleman: My colleague, the Minister of Housing (Mr. Rhodes), has already announced that the province is providing a $1.7-million interest-free loan to the region to assist in servicing industrial land as part of a balanced programme of development.

Part of that money will be used by the regional government to provide the necessary access roads for this development. It is estimated that the improved traffic linkage between the Oshawa and Whitby industrial areas will have considerable effect in accelerating industrial activity on about 1,000 acres of land in the area.

Mr. Moffatt: Any consultation?

Hon. Mr. Handleman: Just keep waiting.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. There will be time for questions in a moment. The hon. Minister of Labour.



Hon. B. Stephenson: At the appropriate time today, I will introduce a bill to establish province-wide single-trade bargaining in the construction industry in the industrial, commercial and institutional sectors of that industry. Members will recall that a similar bill -- Bill 176 -- was presented for their consideration in the last session of the Legislature but was not passed into law before the House prorogued in December.

As with Bill 176, this bill too embodies the main recommendations contained in the report of the construction industry bargaining commission which I tabled in the Legislature on June 4, 1976. I have today had 10 more copies of that report delivered to each caucus.

As I explained in December the bill is confined to the industrial, commercial and institutional sector of the construction industry and will result in the reduction of bargaining situations from 205 to approximately 25 as a result of the requirement that bargaining within that sector be conducted on a single-trade, province-wide basis.

As the members know, there are two important related factors. First, all collective agreements within this sector will be for two years and will be required to expire on a common date; and secondly, provision is made for the designation of a co-ordinating agency to enable employer bargaining agencies to exchange information and data and to engage in related co-ordinating activities.

The consolidation of bargaining structures along trade or craft lines in this important sector should eliminate disruptive intra-trade and intra-regional bargaining rivalries and allow the parties to adopt broader bargaining perspectives to the benefit of all those active in the industry, as well as to the province as a whole. The resulting concentrated nature of bargaining will also enable my ministry to provide even more effective and innovative mediation services. Therefore, the bill represents a significant improvement in the collective bargaining process.

As I have said, most of the provisions of the bill are similar or identical to those contained in Bill 176. However, some changes, most of them of a technical nature, have been made. The one significant change that does not fall into the technical category, and which should be emphasized, relates to the timing of mandatory province-wide single-trade bargaining.

It was originally assumed that the bill would be enacted last December, thus enabling the ministry to designate both employer and trade union provincial bargaining agencies well in advance of April 30, 1977 -- the date upon which approximately 70 per cent of the affected collective agreements expire. However, it is now clear that even if the bill is enacted before April 30, there will be insufficient time to permit the affected parties to organize themselves and to obtain ministerial designation as provincial bargaining agencies for the 1977 round of bargaining. The designation process is likely to be time-consuming, and I am sure all members will agree that such a fundamental restructuring of collective bargaining should begin on the right foot with appropriate attention paid to all the important considerations involved.

Intensive consultation in the past several weeks with representatives of major unions and employers affected by the proposed legislation have confirmed that it would be unrealistic to attempt to have 1977 bargaining governed by the legislation. For these reasons the bill has been modified to provide that single-trade province-wide bargaining be mandatory only on or after April 30, 1978, and that in the meantime all agreements concluded after January 1, 1977, but before April 30, 1978, be deemed to expire on April 30, 1978, regardless of their stipulated expiry dates.

The other amendments are of a more technical nature. The designation procedure has been somewhat modified to provide for greater flexibility in devising designation orders and in resolving problems that may be encountered. The other technical change relates to the repeal of outstanding accreditation orders in the industrial, commercial and institutional sector of the construction industry as employer bargaining agencies are designated. This change is to guard against the possibility of conflicting bargaining rights and recognizes that the concept of the bill supersedes the pre-existing accreditation procedures of the Act for this sector.

I am pleased to report to the members of the House that the contents of the bill which I am introducing today have broad support from both labour and management in the industrial, commercial and institutional sector of the construction industry. The degree of bipartisan support and encouragement continues to be encouraging to us. However, all members will appreciate that this bill embodies a unique labour relations concept -- a new departure in the structure of collective bargaining, if you will -- and therefore, as I said in December, the government must carefully monitor the new process as it evolves.

As the monitoring proceeds I will not hesitate to recommend changes as circumstances may require. But having said that, I am optimistic that the bill will result in significant improvements to the collective bargaining process in this very important sector of the construction industry, and, I believe, will assist it to operate effectively and responsibly in the post-control economy which lies before us.

Mr. Speaker: Oral questions.


Mr. Lewis: A question if I may, Mr. Speaker, to the Premier: Given the breakdown of figures for youth unemployment, which has jumped 28 per cent over this time last year, up to 143,000 now, can the Premier indicate to us more specifically the number of jobs he expects to be created through the initiatives his government is taking? Even more than that, given the exact reference in the Throne Speech to student employment related to services to the aged, how many jobs are we talking about?

Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, there was reference to this very important aspect in Her Honour’s very excellent Throne Speech and --

Mr. Eakins: Cut out the games.

Mr. Breithaupt: Written by whom?

Mr. Roy: Is he out of order, Mr. Speaker?

Mr. Breithaupt: If you had written it yourself, it couldn’t have been better.

Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I’ve been here a relatively short period of time and I don’t really recall Her Honour making a better Throne Speech than was delivered on Tuesday. I think she should be congratulated on it.

Mr. Lewis: It was Her Honour’s swan song.

Hon. Mr. Davis: No, it was not Her Honour’s swan song; I’ve got to tell you that it was not.

Mr. Ferrier: Now you’re being provocative.

Hon. Mr. Davis: I’m not being provocative.

I resent any implication that by my stating what an excellent speech it was, delivered by Her Honour, I am being at all provocative.


Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Mr. Lewis: How many jobs are you creating?

Hon. Mr. Davis: In reply to the Leader of the Opposition -- and it is an important subject -- I would ask him to be patient in terms of these issues being dealt with when the equally excellent budget of the Treasurer (Mr. McKeough) of this province will be presented in, roughly, two and a half weeks.

Mr. Sargent: It’s a big grab bag, that’s all.

Mr. Lewis: By way of a supplementary: There was a reference to the budget, there was also a specific reference to the programme to provide jobs in conjunction with services to the aged as part of a Throne Speech initiative; can the Premier indicate to us how many jobs in that designated category?

Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, this will be contained in the budget.

Mr. Lewis: By way of a supplementary: Is the Premier, as a government, prepared to allow the removal of the summer savings requirement from the Ontario student aid programme as at least one small way to make it possible for students to --

Mr. Singer: That’s not a supplementary, that’s one of the initial questions.

Mr. Lewis: It is supplementary to jobs -- in order to provide the access since the jobs are not there?

Hon. Mr. Davis: I’m not as familiar as I used to be with the student award programme and I will only go by recollection. The question really should be properly directed to the Minister of Colleges and Universities (Mr. Parrott). But as I recall it, there is included in the programme a recognition, or they can account for the fact that they have not been able to get summer employment, that it has been a part of the approach to it.

Mr. Speaker: The member for Kitchener-Wilmot has a supplementary.

Mr. Sweeney: Mr. Speaker, I think it’s a supplementary to the first question.

Mr. Speaker: We’ll hear it.

Mr. Lewis: Mr. Speaker, I asked a supplementary, which you permitted. I presume, therefore, that it remains on the first question.

Mr. Speaker: The hon. member for Kitchener-Wilmot with his supplementary.

Mr. Sweeney: Mr. Speaker, through you to the Premier. Given that there are 10 applications for each Experience ’77 opening in the province right now, and we’re a long way from this coming summer, does the government propose to expand that programme, obviously to provide more jobs for 10 times as many students who are applying?

Hon. Mr. Davis: I guess my answer would be the same as I gave to the Leader of the Opposition which was, perhaps, not understood -- I’ll phrase it that way -- by the hon. member. The details related to this government’s programmes for young people and other areas of our economy will be contained in the budget of the Treasurer.

Mr. Cassidy: How soon does the Premier intend that the government’s programmes to help young workers, if there are any, will start to take effect; that in view of the fact that six weeks ago, in the middle of February, one worker in every five of teen age and one worker in every eight of the age of 20 to 24, was out of a job in the province of Ontario?

Hon. Mr. Davis: I would say to the hon. member that we intend them to take effect, as they have in other years, related to the government’s programme of employing young people internally within the government, or incentives or other approaches we may wish to discuss; they will relate to the same period of time they have in other years. I think the answer is really very obvious. If the hon. member wants me to restate it, I’ve restated it.

Mr. Speaker: One final supplementary from the member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk.

Mr. Nixon: This is really supplementary to the Leader of the Opposition’s second question. Can the Premier assure the House that even if his programme, which will be announced by the budget, is not successful in giving employment to all of the young people, particularly university students who are looking for employment, that no student will be hindered from continuing education by reason of the fact that he or she could not earn, in the province of Ontario, the amount of money prescribed by the student award programme?

Hon. Mr. Davis: I will restate for the hon. member the basic philosophy in the student award programme which --

Mr. Sargent: Give him the budget, if it will be in the budget.

Hon. Mr. Davis: I would say to the hon. member for Grey-Bruce, who knows about all of these issues of course, that there isn’t a government in this country that has had, and still has, as comprehensive a programme for student assistance as does the government of the province of Ontario. There isn’t one; there isn’t one. It is not as good in Manitoba; it’s not as good in Saskatchewan; it’s not as good in Prince Edward Island. Name any other province --

Mr. Lewis: On a point of order.


Hon. Mr. Davis: I haven’t finished answering yet.


Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Hon. Mr. Davis: The basic philosophy behind the programme is very simple, and that is to assist those students who have legitimate needs so that a student can have access to our post-secondary institutions which is not predicated upon economic resource.

Mr. Nixon: So the government is waiving the minimum summer requirement; the minimum summer earning requirement?

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. I announced that as a final supplementary. There was some question --


Mr. Speaker: Order, please. There was some question as to whether there were separate questions asked by the Leader of the Opposition. I ruled that there was one question; the second part, which some construed as a question, was related to the first one. The hon. Leader of the Opposition may now ask his second question.

Mr. Lewis: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I don’t have the facts but I am sure the Premier is wrong, about those comparisons.

May I ask the Minister of Housing if I could, Mr. Speaker --

Hon. B. Stephenson: The facts have never bothered the member before.

Mr. Lewis: Well can’t I work on faith?



Mr. Lewis: Mr. Speaker, to the Minister of Housing: I have here a list of the outline of the new home ownership programme, through land sales and private sector participation, applied to 20 or 30 communities across Ontario; the AHOP and non-AHOP sales intended, land and housing. Can I ask the minister: (a) why none of this, I think, has yet been made public, although you have tender calls intended for the immediate future; and (b) why has the minister not discussed this with the key municipalities involved, which should surely have some sense of what the government intends within their own perimeters?

Hon. Mr. Rhodes: Mr. Speaker, I am afraid I would have to ask the hon. member if he could let me see that material because I don’t believe I have seen it, the material he’s referring to. I quite frankly admit that I am not sure what it is.

Mr. Martel: You need a shredder, John.

Hon. Mr. Rhodes: I may have seen it and I may not relate it to his question. If he can send it to me, I would like to look at it, but I don’t think I can answer him properly at this time.

Mr. Sargent: Are you running Liberal next time?

Hon. Mr. Rhodes: There won’t be very many around, I’ll tell the member that

Mr. Speaker: The hon. Leader of the Opposition.

Mr. Lewis: Mr. Speaker, it sounds fair that it should be difficult to answer if the minister hasn’t seen it. May I ask him, therefore, by way of an anticipatory supplementary, that he explain when he answers how it is that the government has driven the land cost up to almost the maximum possible level, therefore increasing the cost of housing in and out of AHOP.

Can I send it over to the minister? I will send it over to him. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.


Mr. Singer: Surely, Mr. Speaker, you have to cut that nonsense off.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. If there is a supplementary to that we will hear it.

Mr. Singer: To the anticipatory supplementary question; is that what we are going to have?

Mr. Speaker: Order, please, so I can hear.

Mr. Breaugh: The question is it might just simply be a question of the minister’s memory. Is it true that this programme was announced, some six weeks before a public announcement was made at a private gathering at a place called La Scala on Bay Street, to some selected builders and developers? Is that true?

Hon. Mr. Rhodes: Mr. Speaker, I would have to bow to the hon. member’s regular visits to La Scala; I haven’t been there for the last six weeks so it certainly wasn’t made by me.

Mr. Breithaupt: Must have been a select committee day.


Mr. S. Smith: Mr. Speaker, if I may direct a question to the Treasurer: In view, Mr. Speaker, of the special edition of Ontario Finances indicating “a poorer economic performance than originally anticipated in the province of Ontario”; is the Treasurer continuing to forecast, as he did previously, five per cent real growth in the Ontario economy in 1977?

Hon. Mr. McKeough: Mr. Speaker, I imagine that will be something which I will forecast again, in some form or another, in the budget.

Mr. S. Smith: By way of supplementary, Mr. Speaker: In view of the fact that the failure of the economy to live up to its previous forecast, to result in a shortfall of revenue of $169 million; in view of the Conference Board estimate, who have now downwardly revised their estimate to 2.9 per cent and that downward revision was only for Ontario and Quebec; how can the Treasurer continue to stick to his previous estimate of government expenditures, which he discussed with us in this House prior to the breakup of the last session?

Hon. Mr. McKeough: Mr. Speaker, I’m afraid I’m not clear on the question. Is the member advocating a higher rate of expenditure?

Mr. S. Smith: If I may just clarify the question, Mr. Speaker: Since the rate of expenditure is presumably linked to the anticipated growth in the economy and since the forecast the Treasurer gave was five per cent, in view of the fact that his previous estimate was overly optimistic and in view of the fact that the Conference Board in Canada, as one forecaster -- a distinguished group -- have now lowered their prediction to 2.9 per cent, how can he continue to be so optimistic in predicting a five per cent rate, having tied the expenditures, presumably, to that anticipated rate of growth?

Hon. Mr. McKeough: Mr. Speaker, the expenditures aren’t necessarily linked to the rate of growth of the economy. In fact, some would argue that they should be counter-cyclical; I’m not making that argument. Presumably the rate of growth in revenues would be more closely linked to the rate of growth of the economy rather than to the expenditures in the short run. In the long run, of course, I think there’s general feeling on this side of the House and, indeed, elsewhere that if government expenditure continues to climb ultimately it, too, affects the rate of growth of the economy.

Mr. Cassidy: Will the Treasurer agree that the statement he just gave to the House was dissembling to the degree that it dealt with cash requirements and not the budgetary statement? Will he agree that the budgetary deficit for the province of Ontario, which he forecast at being less than a billion dollars in his original budget, is now forecast to be $302 million higher; and that the budgetary revenue of the province of Ontario, which he was suggesting was down by $100 million or so, in effect will be down by $247 million? Isn’t that misleading the House?

Mr. Lewis: My goodness, this is going to be a good session.

Hon. Mr. McKeough: Mr. Speaker, inasmuch as members opposite continually treat net cash requirements as a deficit as opposed to cash requirements, we deal with cash requirements. The figures are there; interpret them as you wish.

Mr. Speaker: The member for Hamilton West?

Mr. Lewis: Come back with my material, John.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. The member for Sarnia with a supplementary.

Mr. Bullbrook: May we presume from the Throne Speech and the Treasurer’s continuation of the agreement with the federal government under the anti-inflation programme, that the Treasurer of Ontario still regards inflation as a more significant hazard to the economy of this province than the obvious downturn that’s now taking place?

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. That’s somewhat removed. It’s a good question but somewhat removed from the --

Mr. Bullbrook: It has nothing to do with La Scala, I realize that.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Mr. Singer: It isn’t anticipatory either.

Mr. Speaker: The member for Hamilton West with his second question.


Mr. S. Smith: A question of the Minister of Revenue: Would the minister tell the House how much money, precisely, the government has now recovered of the close to $10 million in illegal first-time home buyer grants?

Hon. Mrs. Scrivener: Mr. Speaker, I cannot provide this information precisely at this time but I will do this in a few days.

Mr. Sargent: I bet you will!

Mr. Sweeney: Different ministry, same answer.

Mr. S. Smith: By way of supplementary: Can the minister tell us, Mr. Speaker, whether any money has been paid out in second instalments to persons already identified as ineligible recipients of these particular grants?

Mr. Sargent: Unfair question.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Hon. Mrs. Scrivener: I think, Mr. Speaker, that if such a situation had arisen it would be entirely as a result of error on our part, because such would not be our intent. However, I think there have been instances in which second cheques have gone out and their return has been asked.

Mr. S. Smith: By way of supplementary: Since the minister is aware, apparently, that some cheques have been returned, can she give us any estimate whatsoever of how much money has been recovered and whether any second instalments were sent out when the money should not have been, and have not been returned?

Mr. Sargent: Ask the former minister, he’ll tell you.

Hon. Mrs. Scrivener: I’ll have to provide this in a reply in a few days, Mr. Speaker.


Mr. Moffatt: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Energy. I would like to ask the minister, now that he has made a statement in the press that the Madoc site is inappropriate for the disposal of nuclear waste materials, if he would care to share with the house his reasons for making that statement and what evidence he has to justify such an outburst?

Hon. B. Stephenson: Outburst?

Hon. Mr. Taylor: I gather the hon. member is opposed to the position; although he’s stated it incorrectly, as usual.


Hon. Mr. Taylor: Does he want the short reply or the long reply?


Mr. Speaker: Order. Will the hon. minister answer the question that was asked, please? Thank you.

Hon. Mr. Taylor: I stated that I was categorically opposed to the proposed nuclear waste site in Madoc. I made that statement for a very simple reason, and that was that in my estimation there should be no Crown agency or government going into an area and telling the local people what its intentions are without consulting with those people.

Mr. Nixon: That’s what you do with garbage dumps.

Mr. Cassidy: You get sillier all the time.

Mr. Breithaupt: What about the Hydro programme?

Hon. Mr. Taylor: Regardless of what the potential merits may have been, once that course of action is taken, in my estimation it erases the potential for a site in that location.

Mr. Riddell: Take that story to the Bradley- Georgetown people.

Mr. Speaker: Order please. The hon. member for Durham East.

Mr. Moffatt: Perhaps it is inappropriate to style the press release as a statement --

Mr. Speaker: Does the hon. member have a supplementary, please?

Mr. Moffatt: Yes, I do, Mr. Speaker.

Given that answer then, I would like to know if that is the same kind of response which municipalities like the town of Newcastle in the region of Durham will get when it comes to the placing of a nuclear power plant in Darlington?

Hon. Mr. Taylor: Again, if the hon. member is opposed to a nuclear power plant in Darlington -- is he opposed to that? All right.

Mr. Lewis: No, no.

Mr. Moffatt: Answer it.

Mr. Warner: Answer the question.

Mr. Breithaupt: We ask them, you answer them.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. I can’t hear the answer. Will the hon. minister answer the question that was asked?

Mr. Warner: He doesn’t have an answer.

Mr. Riddell: You won’t be any further ahead after.

Hon. Mr. Taylor: Mr. Speaker, surely the member must appreciate that they are not parallel at all.

Mr. McClellan: What a limited principle that was.

Hon. Mr. Davis: The hon. member should know.

Hon. Mr. Taylor: In the case of the Madoc site there was an agency of the federal government, AECL, that went in there in advance of government policy. I do not think that a Crown agency should be going into an area in advance of government policy which may fix the government’s position.

Mr. Breithaupt: You wouldn’t do that.

Mr. Sargent: Did the former Minister of Energy (Mr. Timbrell) tell you that?

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. A final supplementary from the member for Renfrew North.

Mr. Conway: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Minister, given your statements about Madoc and given the importance of the nuclear dump question, how do you feel about Chalk River becoming a dumping site for the nuclear waste products?

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. The question had to do with Madoc and that’s not Chalk River.

Mr. S. Smith: What is Darlington?

Mr. Singer: It is anticipatory.


Mr. Spence: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Natural Resources. Is the minister aware that in the county of Kent the village of Erieau has 92 acres of land owned by the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway Company? Is he aware that 67 homes of citizens in that village are built on that property, and 24 of these homes are those of senior citizens, widows and widowers; and that this is creating a hardship to those people?

The price of these leases in the past was as low as $24 and now they have increased them to $727. Others were as low as $45 and they have now increased the leases to $1,302. The citizens of this village have tried to purchase these lots from the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway --

Mr. Speaker: Order, please, is there a question? I have difficulty hearing it.

Mr. Sargent: It is a good question.

Mr. Cassidy: It is a good question, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Spence: The council of this municipality has tried to purchase these leases from the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway, yet the railway says it will only sell the property --

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. You are making quite a speech. I haven’t heard a question yet. Will the hon. member ask his question?

Mr. Spence: All right, I’ll cut ’er down.

Mr. Sargent: Having said that --


Mr. Spence: This municipality can’t deal with this Ohio railway, and I ask the government if it would enter in and deal with this problem of the citizens of the village of Erieau; because no municipality can deal with it, I ask the government to take action. Will the minister do this; will he act?

Mr. Roy: You got your two questions out.

Mr. Sargent: Get your shin pads on.

Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, if I wasn’t aware, I am now; but I was aware. In fact, I know the hon. member realizes the people of that particular community know they were paying very low rent, because those figures he was quoting were per year on the properties.

Secondly, I’m sure he knows this ministry did try to purchase the property. There is a difference of over 100 per cent between our appraised value and the asking price. I think he has to realize that the purchase of that property by this government would not necessarily solve the problems of the people in the community, because they live on land that would be totally unacceptable for housing if this government owned it. The lots are overlapping, the deeds are confused, they are substandard sizes and there are sewage problems. The first thing that would have to happen is probably a clearance of that land for park purposes, and I don’t see how that would solve the problems of the people at all --

Mr. Conway: It sounds like one of you would like to buy it.

Hon. F. S. Miller: -- because they’re interested in tenure, they’re not interested in us creating a park there; I’m sure he agrees with that.

Mr. Good: What are you going to do about it?

Hon. F. S. Miller: As a park it does not have a high priority, because this ministry has a number of requirements for park lands and I’m afraid that’s somewhat down the list.

Mr. Spence: Supplementary: Is the minister going to let these citizens lose their homes in the village of Erieau? This is a serious matter to the council and the citizens of that village and the county of Kent.

Hon. F. S. Miller: What I’ve tried to point out to the hon. member is that the purchase of that land by the province would probably end their tenure much faster than an agreement with the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway.

Mr. Sargent: You are the bad guys.


Mr. Wildman: I have a question for the Minister of Transportation and Communications. In view of the provincial government’s recent offer, announced by the Minister of Housing (Mr. Rhodes) in Sault Ste. Marie, to have the ONTC take over the CPR Budd ear service between Sudbury and the Sault, and the statement in the House of Commons yesterday by the Hon. Otto Lang that he would be willing to facilitate negotiations between the ONR and the CPR, can the Minister of Transportation and Communications describe for the House what proposals he has made to the federal minister regarding arrangements for such a takeover?

Hon. Mr. Snow: Mr. Speaker, I have made no proposals for such a takeover. As a matter of fact this is the first I’ve heard of it.

Mr. Angus: He doesn’t know what you were talking about.

Mr. Speaker: Is there a supplementary to that?

An hon. member: The minister should hang around La Scala a little more.

Mr. Wildman: By way of supplementary --

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. Does the member for Algoma have a supplementary?

Hon. Mr. Snow: Maybe I should have a supplementary. As the hon. member I’m sure knows, I have been out of town for the last three days, just arriving back this morning, and there may be something in my mail that I’m not aware of.

An hon. member: The Minister of Housing can look after the shop for you.

Mr. Wildman: Supplementary.

Mr. Speaker: I don’t see how there could be a supplementary from a non-answer. I’m serious about that.

Mr. Reid: If you’re serious about that, be consistent.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. I think members should realize they don’t have to ask that second question and call it a supplementary. If there isn’t an answer given, if there’s a promise to give an answer, well then, let’s wait till that answer comes.

Mr. Sargent: He should know something, though.

Mr. Speaker: I don’t see how there can possibly be a supplementary to that particular question so I will hear the member for Ottawa East -- his question that is.

Mr. Reid: The hon. Leader of the Opposition did that, Mr. Speaker. All I’m looking for is consistency.


Mr. Roy: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, just to keep up with the proceedings of Tuesday: j’ai une question pour le procureur général. Je veux demander au procureur général, Monsieur l’orateur, pourquoi vu l’établissement des cours en français en Ontario, celui-ci ou son gouvernement n’a pas accepté des subventions du gouvernement du Canada pour traduire les statuts de l’Ontario en français.

Did you get that?

Mr. Speaker, I will be kind. But I did want to emphasize the problem. I want to ask the Attorney General, in view of the fact that he is establishing French courts in Ontario, and in Ottawa specifically in July, can he explain why his government has refused grants from the federal government of $500,000 for the translation of Ontario statutes?

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: The cost of translating all of the Ontario statutes would be very considerable. The $500,000 that the member refers to would cover at very best a tiny fraction of the cost. While the proposal is a laudatory one, I think the appropriateness of this proposal is a question that might well be directed, for example, to the provincial Treasurer.

Mr. Peterson: Nice move.

Mr. Roy: Would the Treasurer like it?

Mr. Speaker: Order please, a supplementary now.

Mr. Roy: My supplementary to whichever minister, including the Premier, if he chooses to answer --

Mr. Speaker: The question was asked of the Attorney General.

Mr. Roy: -- is, given the minister’s answer that, having some statutes in French is a logical conclusion of pleading in the French-language courts, would the minister not have felt that it would be a good start to do like Manitoba and the province of New Brunswick and accept over the last five years $100,000 a year at least to start the translation of some of these statutes? And would the minister advise whether he would accept the grants for the year 1977 to start the translation of statutes?

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Perhaps I may be ill-informed, but it has not been my understanding that there are any such grants available for translation, for example, of two or three statutes. I agree The Highway Traffic Act would be a good place to start, and we are looking at that.

My understanding is that these funds that the member refers to that are purportedly available from Ottawa are not available on a statute-by-statute basis.

Mr. Breithaupt: You should start there.

Mr. Peterson: To the Attorney General: Would it not be his legal opinion that it would be very difficult to have a French court operating with statutes in a different language? Does he not agree that that would make the legal technicalities for the judge and the various people involved very complicated, and that this programme should be undertaken post haste?

Mr. Roy: Just say yes.

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Obviously it would be of assistance to have the sections that are generally used in relation to criminal prosecutions available in both languages, and we are endeavouring to do that.

Mr. Cassidy: You just said you were not.


Mr. Dukszta: I have a question of the Minister of Health. In view of the decisions reached in a divisional court of the Supreme Court of Ontario, firstly in the matter between Robert Louis Archambeault and the optometry review committee of the College of Optometry of Ontario and secondly, in the matter between Dr. Joseph Y. Wakil and the medical review committee of the College of Physicians and Surgeons, where in both these cases the court held that there has been a denial of natural justice, my first question is what specific action is the minister contemplating to bring forcibly to the attention of professional governing bodies the need to adhere strictly to the principles of natural justice? Two, what action is the minister contemplating to amend immediately The Statutory Powers Procedure Act, The Health Disciplines Act and The Health Insurance Act? Or is the minister not interested in recovering the OHIP money which was alleged to have been overpaid?

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: I noticed a little dig at the end of the question, which was really unnecessary because he knows very well that my interest, the interest of my predecessor, and the interest of the government are very clear in recovering any funds that should not have been paid out. On the question relating to the court decisions --

Mr. Singer: Like in housing grants when you did it twice.

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: -- I am reviewing this with the officials of my ministry and of OHIP to determine whether amendments to the legislation are necessary or whether it can be accommodated through administrative changes.


Mr. Stong: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Minister of the Environment with respect to the proposed Maple garbage dump.

In view of the fact that an industry which is three-quarters controlled by American interests has made a proposal to establish in Maple what is tantamount to being Canada’s largest garbage dump on an overgrown garbage bag, with the resultant threat of contamination of the water supply for Maple and for the town of Richmond Hill, will the ministry intervene with the Environmental Assessment Board and direct that board to apply the available rules of procedure which would require the applicants to submit briefs on alternative proposals, both dealing with site and alternative methods of garbage disposal?

Hon. Mr. Kerr: Mr. Speaker, it is not absolutely necessary for the applicant to provide alternative sites or alternative methods of disposing of waste. The applicant, of course, has to make its case out as far as the proposed site is concerned. That is something that could be asked for by intervenors, by people who are parties to that hearing. For example, anybody intervening could say that an alternative site within a few miles would be less environmentally dangerous than the proposed site. But that isn’t required of the applicant.

Mr. Stong: Mr. Speaker, in light of the fact that the ministry has changed its mind already in these hearings -- taking a stand against the applicants at the beginning and then in March, this month, 1977, changing its attitude towards these applicants -- what is the attitude of the ministry with respect to what is virtually an American-owned monopoly in this situation? Again, I direct the minister’s attention to the resultant threat of contamination of the water supplies.

Hon. Mr. Kerr: The latter part of the hon. member’s supplementary is what is important to us. The fact that it may be an American-controlled company is not at issue here; this is a question of whether or not this is a safe site. The Environmental Assessment Board is hearing the application at the present time. I am not aware that the ministry has changed its mind at all. I don’t believe the ministry has given an official opinion on this site at all at this point. It has been asked for information and for technical evidence and material. The hearings have been adjourned to about mid-May to enable the ministry to provide that material. I am not aware that there has been any change of mind.

Ms. Bryden: Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask the minister if he is planning to hire consultants to assist him in the preparation of this supplementary submission that the board has asked for. I understand consultants were hired for the first brief which appears to have been now withdrawn by the ministry. Is he preparing, with the assistance of consultants, a further statement which will state whether the minister opposes this particular proposal?

Hon. Mr. Kerr: It is quite possible that we will require some outside help.

Mr. Reed: Do revelations of this nature and requests of this nature not indicate to the minister at long last that the recommendation that might be made by the ministry would be the alternative recommendation of resource recovery?

An hon. member: Never.

Hon. Mr. Kerr: Mr. Speaker, this is something we have made to many municipalities, most of the municipalities in Ontario; many of them have taken advantage of a very generous capital financing programme to do just that.


Mr. Samis: I have a question of the Minister of Health. Can the minister indicate to the House when we can expect some action in the field of French-language health services along the lines suggested by the Dubois report? Can he indicate what priority his ministry is giving to achieving these changes? Thirdly, can he tell us whether his attitude towards implementing the changes is very different from that of his predecessor as was widely reported in the press before Christmas?

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, I can say to the hon. member and to the House that the matters covered by the “pas de problème” report are a very high priority with me and that I hope to bring recommendations to my colleagues in the cabinet within the next three to four weeks.


Mr. Samis: Supplementary: Can I ask if we can expect immediate action on one of the principal recommendations, namely the appointing of a director of French-language programmes within the ministry?

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: That is part of the review of the total report which we are making within the ministry. We have sought the comments of some of our sister ministries, which we would hope to have completed by this week, so that we can bring the whole matter, including the question of staffing, as a package to my colleagues.


Mr. R. S. Smith: I’d like to direct a question to the Minister of Community and Social Services, Mr. Speaker. Will the minister indicate to the House when he intends to adjust the family benefits rates, as well as those of GWA, both of which have not been adjusted for at least two years? Over that period, the inflation that has taken place has more than eaten up any increases that were given then.

Hon. Mr. Norton: Mr. Speaker, I --



Mr. Speaker: Now the hon. minister.


Hon. Mr. Norton: I don’t have them any longer; my staff took care of that.

Mr. Speaker, the question that’s raised by the hon. member opposite is one that is under active consideration by the ministry at the present time --

Mr. Cassidy: That is, before you said it.

Some hon. members: Sit down.

Mr. Lewis: Show us your social conscience, Keith.

Mr. S. Smith: He is not the gingerbread man.

Mr. Nixon: You have learned well.

Mr. Cassidy: That is a recycled answer if I ever heard one.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please, we would like to hear the answer.

Hon. Mr. Norton: It was one of the first things to which I directed my interest when I assumed my present duties and it is something that had been initiated by my predecessor. I would hope that there will be an announcement in the very near future. You also understand of course that it’s not a determination for me alone, but the whole of the cabinet, and I would expect an early decision on that.

Mr. Roy: Really?

Mr. Nixon: Perhaps the Treasurer?

Mr. R. S. Smith: Mr. Speaker, is the minister aware that the last time we asked this question that his predecessor indicated that representations were then in the process of being made to cabinet and to Management Board and that was last fall? I wonder what happened to those representations and just how long it takes to process that type of representation?

Mrs. Campbell: Take it to cabinet

Hon. Mr. Norton: I thought I had acknowledged that I realized my predecessor had initiated this procedure to the policy field, I believe, at that point --

Mr. Sargent: He didn’t either.

Hon. Mr. Norton: -- and the matter is much further along the line now. That’s why I suggest the members will probably be hearing a relatively early announcement.

Mr. Good: Are you against it?

Mr. Roy: Your former boss used to say “in the fullness of time.”

Ms. Sandeman: Supplementary: When the minister is making his calculations and doing his surveys could he assure the House that the family benefits rates will be based on actual budgetary needs which take into account the actual cost of components of the benefits, such as the actual costs of hydro rates, the actual costs of fuel, and not some figure plucked out of the air?

Hon. Mr. Norton: I can assure the hon. member that in arriving at the new level full consideration will be given to the increased costs in the areas that she has cited --

Mr. Sargent: In the fullness of time.

Hon. Mr. Norton: -- taking into consideration, of course, the resources that are at our disposal to meet those needs.

With respect to the question of fuel consumption though, I think there may be a misconception on the part of the hon. member, as there is on the part of many people, that in fact it is already possible under the existing programmes to meet the actual cost of fuel. There is a figure that is arrived at, an estimated cost which is payable on a monthly basis. At the end of the heating season if the recipient is in a position to present bills indicating that his costs for fuel have exceeded the amount allowable, he can be reimbursed for the full amount of the costs of his fuel.

Mr. B. Newman: Supplementary: I wanted to ask the minister if he was considering setting into the FBA costs an energy supplement so that in the future the high cost of energy wouldn’t have an adverse monthly effect on the individual; the individual wouldn’t have to wait until the end of the winter season, or the cold season.

Hon. Mr. Norton: I have discussed with my staff various methods that we might introduce to try to compensate for the shortfall that people experience on a monthly basis. I realize that is a hardship for some people and it has caused some difficulty in people’s relationship with their fuel supplier. We would like to find a remedy for that.

Mr. Deans: I have one supplementary. Even if it were true that they were able to be reimbursed for any over-expenditure incurred, where would the minister propose that they get the money during the winter months to pay for it as they require it?

Hon. Mr. Norton: I have indicated to the question that the shortfall creates a real problem for many people and I have also indicated in my response to the previous question that I have under discussion with my staff methods which we might introduce to try to counteract the problem people face on a month-to-month basis. I would hope, as soon as we have a solution, to announce it to the members of the House.

Mr. Deans: Did you ever think of just giving them more money?


Mr. Davison: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations. Will the minister inform the House as to when he intends to introduce legislation to control the practice of discounting income-tax rebates in the province of Ontario?

Hon. Mr. Handleman: Mr. Speaker, I’m aware of the hon. member’s interest in this and the fact that he has written an open letter to me asking me to acquaint myself with the practices of other jurisdictions. We’re fully aware of the practice in other jurisdictions. I’ll be sending the hon. member a reply to his letter very shortly. The answer is that the other provinces have introduced legislation which is completely unconstitutional. They know it, but they’re doing it and trying to pull a bluff.

Mr. Warner: You are trying to protect the consumer?

Hon. Mr. Handleman: They’re trying to pull a bluff on the tax rebaters. I don’t see any purpose of bringing in legislation which could be successfully challenged in the courts.

Mr. Peterson: Oh, come on now. That’s not a proposal.

Mr. Roy: You have enough court cases, right?

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Hon. Mr. Handleman: We have asked the federal government, on a number of occasions -- I have just written this week to the Minister of National Revenue, the Hon. Monique Bégin, asking her to make a simple amendment to The Income Tax Act which would put a stop to the practice on a national basis.

Mr. Davison: Surely what we’re interested in is action --

Mr. Speaker: Question? This is not a debate. Have you a question, please?

Mr. Davison: Surely what we’re interested in is action. The other provinces have got --

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. Is there a further question?


Mr. Speaker: Order. This is not a time for debate. It’s a time for a question and answer.

Mr. Davison: Why can’t this government do something to protect citizens who are being gouged? Let’s have some action instead of talk.

Hon. Mr. Handleman: Mr. Speaker, this government has never hesitated to act within its power.

Mr. Roy: Even without its power.

Hon. Mr. Handleman: The question of interest is so clearly a federal jurisdiction that even in the province of Quebec has not challenged it.

Mr. Peterson: Hire McMurtry as a lawyer, then go ahead.

Mr. Renwick: Does the minister understand that the people who are being ripped off are the very people who obtained their rebate under the Ontario tax credit system implemented by this assembly? Is there not some way that this assembly can prohibit the cashing of those cheques by persons other than the payees?

Hon. Mr. Handleman: Mr. Speaker, that question might properly be better addressed to the Minister of Revenue (Mrs. Scrivener) who negotiates the agreement with the federal government. We have asked --

Mr. Renwick: Let me repeat it to the Minister of Revenue, Mr. Speaker.

Hon. Mr. Handleman: I just want to put forward what we have done from our ministry. We have asked the Minister of National Revenue to put in a simple amendment which would require the person receiving a tax rebate to receive it directly without being able to assign it. It’s a simple matter.

Mr. Renwick: Meanwhile, you stop them.

Mr. Lewis: Mr. Speaker, one supplementary: May I ask, to the minister’s knowledge has any of the other legislation in any jurisdiction been successfully challenged in court?

Hon. Mr. Handleman: Mr. Speaker, it hasn’t been successfully challenged because --


Mr. Speaker: Order. Order, please.

Hon. Mr. Handleman: Mr. Speaker, they are simply ignoring the legislation. The Minister of Consumer Services, the Hon. Kenneth Rafe Mair, who has just tabled legislation in British Columbia, has written to the Minister of National Revenue in Ottawa pointing out that he doesn’t feel this legislation will stand up and will she please act.


Mr. Cunningham: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Transportation and Communications. Will the minister tell the House whether the Urban Transportation Development Corporation still plans to hire foreign sales agents in co-operation with your ministry?

Mr. Sargent: He has been away. Don’t ask him that.

Hon. Mr. Snow: Well, Mr. Speaker, I am not totally aware of what the hon. member is referring to.

Mr. Cassidy: You are not aware of very much today, are you?

Hon. Mr. Snow: The urban transit --

Mr. Conway: Have you got Foley a nomination yet?

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. The interjections do not help.

Hon. Mr. Snow: Mr. Speaker, the Urban Transportation --


Hon. Mr. Snow: -- Development Corporation, in conjunction with the Hawker Siddeley Company and through the co-operation of the federal Export Development Corp., did submit a bid on a foreign contract in Venezuela, that being one of the contracts on the Caracas subway, and a consortium did use the services of a commercial agent in Venezuela.

Mr. Cunningham: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Will we know who these agents are, how much they are being paid, what the basis of our arrangement with them was and the extent of their commission? Also given the fact that we have had some difficulties with the CANDU reactor sales with the federal government, would you not agree that we should discourage some kind of practice like that?

Hon. Mr. Snow: Mr. Speaker, I certainly would be prepared to give any information the hon. member wants. It is my understanding at this time that it is very unlikely that the Canadian bid will be successful. Consequently no funds will be paid to the agent.


Mr. Mackenzie: To the Minister of Labour: I ask how the minister expects the various national and international unions to notify their local unions to appear before the public inquiry hearings on the new omnibus safety and health legislation as she requested in her letter. The hearings started today, and her letter dated March 23 was only received on March 28 in many cases. How does she expect the local unions to appear before those hearings with only three days’ or even two weeks’ notice. Further, would she not extend the hearings to other areas of the province, particularly to the Sault and Kingston?

Hon. B. Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, the specific groups involved in the hearings which are going on today in Sudbury had been informed at an earlier time, although they had not received the questionnaire until unfortunately Her Majesty’s late mail delivered it to them. I am sorry that I have no control over Post Canada, but we did attempt to send through the mail the letters and the questionnaires to those groups who would be meeting early, at the earliest possible date. There were some that were sent out later because they were those meetings which are going to be held at the end of April, but we have attempted to provide them with the information as far before the meetings as possible. It was not possible however to take the mails into account.

Mr. Mackenzie: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Would the minister then not also consider, as requested by the steel workers, the draft legislation being submitted so that we can have some meaningful public dialogue on what we are trying to do with this important bill. You want this kind of input in Bill 176, why not in this bill that covers all of the workers?

Hon. B. Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, there is apparently some misinformation floating around that there is draft legislation. When we began the development -- when we discussed Bill 139 in fact and I talked about the development of the omnibus bill -- I promised personally that we would carry out as full consultative procedures as possible in the development of the omnibus bill. That is precisely what we are doing at this time.

These meetings are consultative meetings to hear the concerns and the opinions of both employers and employees throughout the full range and scope of industry in the province of Ontario. We are attempting to get as much information as we can from those people who are directly related to the concerns which will be contained within the omnibus bill. There is no draft legislation at this time. None.

Mr. Speaker: Final supplementary.

Ms. Bryden: Mr. Speaker, would the minister indicate whether she is going to permit the media to take their pencils in, since she has denied them the other tools of their trade in covering these meetings?

Hon. B. Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, I am sorry that it seems to be difficult for the hon. member to read the newspapers but it was announced on radio and it was also published in the newspapers today that indeed they could take both their pads and their pencils into the meeting.

Mr. Lewis: And leave their recorders at the door.

Hon. B. Stephenson: These meetings, sir, are specifically intended to provide full information to the Ministry of Labour which is charged with the responsibility of developing this legislation. They are not intended for any other purpose and if there is any inhibitory effect produced by any external presence within those meetings, then it is not going to be of assistance to either the workers of this province or the people of this province. Therefore we have asked the press to function as efficiently and as responsibly as possible by not cluttering the meetings with extra paraphernalia.


Mr. Kerrio: Mr. Speaker, I would address this question to the Minister of Agriculture --

Mr. Lewis: Freedom of the press is a very new idea.

Mr. Kerrio: -- but there may be some involvement with the Ministry of Consumer Affairs. Is the minister aware of the threat to the business of many small independent dairies because of the practice of large corporate corner-store owners selling milk as a loss-leader?

Hon. W. Newman: Mr. Speaker, in answer to the question, yes, I am fully aware of what the member is talking about. We just finished a meeting about three weeks ago. The opposition critics sat through it with the various commodity boards, with the various retailers, with the various chain store groups, and discussed this whole matter. Not only that, I just finished releasing a report for the Ontario Milk Commission on the whole pricing of milk in the province of Ontario.

Mr. Roy: What are you going to do about it?


Mr. Kerrio: A supplementary: I have a copy of that report, and I would question this particular matter in regard to this report as a wholesale and retail pricing practice. My further concern has to do with the thousands of jobs that are in jeopardy for the deliverers to the home in this province. I think there are something like 8,000 or 10,000 delivery people involved. They can’t compete with a loss-leader --

Mr. Speaker: The question?

Mr. Kerrio: The question is, are we going to follow up this particular report and get down to the retail level and some control, so that these thousands of jobs will not be lost to these workers who deliver milk to the door, if you keep a fair and equitable price between what they can deliver for and a loss-leader at the corner store?

Hon. W. Newman: I would like to point out to the hon. member that milk is formula priced as far as the farmers are concerned. It has been, in the past, sold as a loss-leader by some of the larger companies, but certainly that report is in and we are studying it at this point in time. I think the report does recommend that there be some monitoring done. Also, as a result of the other meeting which dealt with the overall picture, which we had about three weeks ago, we’re looking at the total picture right now.

Mr. MacDonald: Supplementary: In view of the fact that the government’s food council has been studying the whole issue of loss-leaders since last July or August, what was the purpose of the meeting that the minister convened? How many cooks is he going to get in to stir this broth before he does something about the issue?

Hon. W. Newman: If I understand the member correctly, he’d like to legislate it out of business.

Mr. MacDonald: Right.

Hon. W. Newman: Okay, you’ve made your position very clear.

Mr. Lewis: Always do.

Hon. W. Newman: We had a public, open meeting with the press there so they could hear the comments of all the people concerned. That’s why I had the meeting, so everybody would know exactly what was happening. Our food council has also been --


Hon. W. Newman: You talk about --

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.


Mr. Martel: A question of the Minister of Health.

Mr. Sargent: Supplementary.

Mr. Speaker: No, the member for Sudbury East. We will get to a new question at this time. The member for Sudbury East.

Mr. Martel: Will the minister answer the letter --

Mr. Sargent: Supplementary.

Mr. Speaker: No, the member for Sudbury East. There’s been too much debate going on here.

The member for Sudbury East, finally.


Mr. Martel: Will the new minister answer my letters to his predecessor of July 13, January 6 and January 12, concerning industrial deafness? These were letters which attempted to obtain from the minister agreements he had made in his office in July pertaining to the industrial deaf, namely, that he would ask the health council in Sudbury to establish speech therapy and lip-reading courses and that he would ask his colleagues in cabinet to exclude new employers who are hiring men suffering industrial deafness from being charged any responsibility for damages suffered while working for another employer, thus encouraging the new employer to hire someone who is industrially deaf. Despite three efforts to get it in writing, will the minister now concede or write what the government intends to do with respect to these 800 men in the Sudbury basin?

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: I don’t believe the hon. member has written to me since I assumed my responsibility. I must tell him I have not seen that correspondence from him to my predecessor. I will pull all of it from the files, review it, and write to him as to our position.

Mr. Martel: Supplementary: Would the minister in his reply also tell me who is responsible for the testing of workers and the work place, and if the government is going to force those figures to be released to the workers so they would know as quickly as they started to suffer industrial deafness that they were in fact in jeopardy?

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: I will review all that. It would be helpful if the member would put in a letter to me the full extent of his concern.


Mr. Eakins: To the Treasurer: Now that the Citizenship Act has been proclaimed, does he anticipate that the voting qualifications for provincial elections and municipal elections would change?

Hon. Mr. McKeough: I would anticipate that that would happen. I think the first thing we would want to do is to look to our own statutes here in terms of provincial elections, and then we would move to The Municipal Act.


Ms. Bryden: I have two new questions for the Minister of the Environment regarding the Maple landfill situation. The hearings have now gone on for 45 days. In view of the fact that hearings of this length obviously take up a great deal of time and make it very difficult for citizens’ groups to appear, is the ministry considering funding any of the citizens’ groups or individuals who are opposing the application? That’s my first question.

My second one is, now that The Environmental Assessment Act section applying it to the private sector has been proclaimed as of January 1977, is the minister prepared to designate this particular operation under that Act so that the hearings can be held under The Environmental Assessment Act instead of The Environmental Protection Act where the requirements are more stringent and give more opportunity for participation by various parties?

Hon. Mr. Kerr: We haven’t any policy as far as funding private interveners is concerned. In some cases, in hearings under The Environmental Assessment Act we have indicated we may consider funding some groups. We are thinking of that, for example, in the Reed proposal. But as of now under this circumstance the answer would be no.

As to the second part, although the Act was proclaimed in January, we still would have to bring in regulations applying to a specific private undertaking. I indicated that that would not be done until some time in the latter part of this year, until the Act itself and the hearing procedures have had a little more experience.

As the hon. member said, we’ve had at least 45 days of hearings. I expect there will be at least that many more. To start now all over again under new legislation would really drive the people she is worried about up the wall.

Mr. Speaker: The oral question period has expired.



Mr. Lawlor: If I may, Mr. Speaker, I have 977 signatures affecting the glassworkers of Ontario, particularly the United Glass and Ceramic Workers of America, Local 200, which is in my riding, with respect to the banning and the policy of the government with respect to non-returnable pop bottles. Since this isn’t in precisely technical adequate form, I would ask that these documents be placed in the hands of the minister to carefully peruse the same.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. If this is a petition to a ministry it is not proper to come before the House at this particular time. You can go directly to the ministry.

Mr. Lawlor: I read the rules of this House with great particularity and found that I didn’t fall quite under them. I would have the things directed to the minister.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. May I just point out that I have --

Mr. Sargent: It is in the wastepaper basket now.

Mr. Speaker: I believe it has already gone across to the minister. We’ll have something more to say about petitions later.

Mr. Bain: Mr. Speaker, on behalf of over 5,000 Timiskaming residents, I would like to present to the Lieutenant Governor and to the members of this assembly a petition opposed to the excessive Ontario Hydro rate increase. In addition to their names, the people have affixed their addresses and phone numbers to the petition. In keeping with standing order 83(b), I have also signed the petition.

The petition reads as follows:

“We, the undersigned, are opposed to the unjustifiably high rate increase imposed by Ontario Hydro on the people of Timiskaming. We strongly believe that Ontario Hydro should be limited to an eight to 10 per cent increase, the same way the wages of working people are limited to an eight to 10 per cent increase.”

In keeping with the recent changes in the standing orders, I look forward to the government’s response. Hopefully the government will agree to roll back Ontario Hydro’s rate increase this year to eight to 10 per cent. Thank you.

Mr. Speaker: May I just say about petitions, we’ll have something more to say about this tomorrow.

As the members of the House are aware, I think if they read both rule 83 and other parts of our standing orders, the provisional rules governing our proceedings lay particular stress on the proper use of petitions and the response thereto. For this reason it is essential that petitions presented to this House are completely in order as prescribed by the standing orders of the House. For this reason I will take these petitions which have been presented today under consideration -- I think the latter one is addressed to the House, the first one I think was not; we’ll have to study those -- and advise the House tomorrow whether they’re in order and may be properly received by the House. At that time I will endeavour to make a more comprehensive statement respecting the rules and precedents governing petitions. Thank you.

Presenting reports.


Mr. Renwick presented the second report of the select committee on the Ombudsman, and in accordance with the terms of reference asked that it be placed on the order paper for discussion.

Mr. Bain: Mr. Speaker, point of order.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. I didn’t hear that report completely. Is it for adoption?

Mr. Renwick: Mr. Speaker, in accordance with the terms of reference, it goes on to the order paper for discussion.

Mr. Speaker: Yes. I wasn’t sure exactly what the hon. member said. Thank you.


Hon. Mr. Welch: Motion No. 2.

Mr. Bain: Mr. Speaker --

Mr. Speaker: Point of order? All right. Before the motion, does the hon. member have a point of order?


Mr. Bain: Point of order regarding petitions: When the Speaker is studying the matter for his report next day, could he also comment on the fact that in the fall session of 1915, I believe, there was a change. The Liberals supported us in that change that the petition section should be interpreted in the broad sense and that if the petition did not meet with the old procedure that the Speaker would see that it was forwarded to the appropriate minister. I understand that that precedent was an effort to broaden the scope of petitions so genuine concerns of people could be presented to this House.

Mr. Speaker: All these matters will be, I think, elucidated somewhat tomorrow. We’ve had a meeting with a good discussion on such things. As I say, if you read the new set of temporary rules under which we’re operating for this session, it’s placing a great deal more responsibility on the petition than before, and I think they want to be treated quite accurately. Certainly we’ll be as helpful as we can to all hon. members, but we’ll clarify this matter more thoroughly tomorrow.

Introduction of bills.



Mr. Kennedy moved first reading of Bill 5, An Act to amend The Proceedings against the Crown Act.

Motion agreed to.

Mr. Kennedy: Mr. Speaker, the purpose of the bill is to clarify the law with respect to the right to garnishee the wages of a Crown employee who is employed by a Crown agency and whose salary or wages are not paid from the consolidated revenue fund, by providing that a Crown agency is subject to garnishment proceedings.


Hon. Mr. McMurtry moved first reading of Bill 6, An Act to reform the Law respecting Property Rights and Support Obligations between Married Persons and in Other Family Relationships.

Motion agreed to.


Hon. Mr. McMurtry moved first reading of Bill 7, The Marriage Act, 1977.

Motion agreed to.


Hon. Mr. McMurtry moved first reading of Bill 8, An Act to reform the Law respecting Succession to the Estates of Deceased Persons.

Motion agreed to.


Hon. Mr. McMurtry moved first reading of Bill 9, An Act to reform the Law respecting the Status of Children.

Motion agreed to.


Mr. Johnson moved first reading of Bill 10, An Act to amend The Elections Finances Reform Act, 1975.

Motion agreed to.

Mr. Johnson: Mr. Speaker, this bill permits newspapers which are published weekly or less frequently to accept election advertisements when the regular publication day comes on the day before polling day. The amendment is substantially the same as the recommendation of the commission on election contributions and expenses, contained in its second annual report.


Hon. Mr. Handleman moved first reading of Bill 11, An Act to amend The Personal Property Security Act.

Motion agreed to.

Hon. Mr. Handleman: Mr. Speaker, this amendment will allow interested parties to gain access to the personal property security system by a motor-vehicle serial number. Previously all searches had to be conducted through the owner’s name. The bill further provides the effective date of the amendment is to be April 1, which is tomorrow, and we are ready to put the system into operation then.


Mr. Lawlor moved first reading of Bill 12, An Act to provide for Class Actions.

Motion agreed to.

Mr. Lawlor: The Class Actions Act, 1977 -- the purpose of this bill is to provide statutory procedure whereby one or more persons may sue a defendant in the form of a class action. The bill is designed to achieve this purpose by permitting a person who wishes to sue on behalf of a class to apply for a court order authorizing the class action. Once the order is obtained, the action proceeds as a class action and the final judgement finds for all members of the class except those who have been excluded as well as the parties to the action.


Mr. Lawlor moved first reading of Bill 13, An Act respecting Occupier’s Liability.

Motion agreed to.

Mr. Lawlor: Mr. Speaker, the bill replaces the common law as to occupiers’ duty of care, replacing the common-law distinctions between duties to invitees, licensees, trespassers, with one common duty of care applied to the circumstances of each case. The bill is in the form recommended by the Uniform Law Conference of Canada.


Hon. B. Stephenson moved first reading of Bill 14, An Act to amend The Labour Relations Act.

Motion agreed to.

Mr. Speaker: Orders of the day.


Hon. Mr. Welch moved resolution No. 2.

Resolved: That standing committees of the House, for the remainder of the present Parliament, be as follows: social development; resources development; administration of justice; general government; public accounts; statutory instruments; procedural affairs, and members’ services.

That the House recommends this committee structure to future Legislatures.

That wherever possible, matters be referred to standing committees, thereby minimizing the necessity for select committees.

That a Speaker’s panel is hereby established to consist of Mr. Speaker, the Deputy Speaker and chairman of committees of the whole House, the deputy chairman of committees of the whole House, and the chairman of all standing and select committees.

That committees schedule for consideration all matters referred to them after discussion by the Speaker’s panel, as desirable; such scheduling shall ensure as far as possible that there is no interference with the business in the House, giving particular attention to clause 31 of the order of December 16, 1976, and such committee consideration shall not conflict with time-scheduling agreements made by the parties in consultation.

That the statutory instruments committee above referred to, include the committee provided for by section 12 of The Regulations Act, and have the terms of reference as set out in that section, and that the said committee, in addition to those powers, shall review and consider:

1. The role of the committee with particular reference to the recommendations of the select committee on the fourth and fifth reports of the Ontario commission on the Legislature, and the practices of the Parliament of Canada and the United Kingdom, and

2. The establishment of guidelines to be observed in the delegation by statute of power to make statutory instruments and the use made of such delegated power. The said committee to report its recommendations to the House and that in addition to the normal powers of standing committees it shall have power to employ counsel and such other staff as the committee considers necessary.

That the procedural affairs committee review and report to the House its observations and opinions on the operation of the standing and provisional orders of the House or by Mr. Speaker from time to time and that the committee also have power to review the operation of particular boards, agencies and commissions, for which annual reports have been tabled in the House and referred to it, and the committee may review the operation of these bodies as it selects with a view to reducing possible redundancy and overlapping.

That the eight points in the first paragraph on page 29 of the second interim report of the select committee on the fourth and fifth reports of the commission on the Legislature respecting proposed powers of committees, stand referred to the procedural affairs committee.

That there be referred to the procedural affairs committee the recommendation of the select committee for the enlargement of the committee staff of the Clerk’s office so that clerks may be permanently assigned to specific committees.

That the procedural affairs committee be appointed for the full life of this Parliament with no substitution of members, but that substitution be permitted on all other standing committees provided that notice of substitution be given to the chairman of the committee prior to the commencement of the meeting.

That the members’ services committee examine the services to members from time to time, and without interfering with the statutory responsibility of the Board of Internal Economy in such matters the committee be empowered to recommend to the consideration of the House matters it wishes to draw to the special attention of the board.

That all standing committees have the normal powers to examine and inquire into all such matters and things as may be referred to them by the House, and to report from time to time their observations and opinions thereon with the usual power to send for persons, papers and things, as provided in section 35 of The Legislative Assembly Act.

Resolution concurred in.


Hon. Mr. McKeough moved resolution No. 1.

Resolved: That the Treasurer of Ontario be authorized to pay the salaries of the civil servants and other necessary payments pending the voting of supply for the period commencing April 1, 1977, and ending September 30, 1977, such payments to be charged to the proper appropriation following the voting of supply.

Mr. Renwick: Mr. Speaker -- by the way, nothing that I have to say here is to be construed as being either obstructive or manipulative of the government.

Mr. Breithaupt: Or even wanting in confidence.

Mr. Singer: Is that the new line?

Mr. Breithaupt: Sunshine and fight.

Mr. Lewis: That’s the new line. Did you notice the co-operation on resolution No. 2? Not a thing. If you want it you are going to have to contrive it.

Hon. Mr. Davis: You are going to --

Hon. Mr. McKeough: Don’t play chicken, Stephen.

Mr. Conway: With that crowd across the floor it wouldn’t be difficult.

Mr. Renwick: Mr. Speaker, we considered this motion at some length in the caucus of the New Democratic Party. I would like to say that we are in support of the motion. We gave some consideration to the date which the Treasurer has chosen to insert in it, and we like it for two reasons: it’s applicable whether there is an election and it’s applicable whether there is not an election.

Hon. Mr. Davis: Very cogent.

Mr. Breithaupt: That is almost prescient, isn’t it?

Mr. Renwick: It also achieves something that we in this party wanted for some considerable time, and that is that the fall session of the assembly would start in September rather than at some later date. With that in mind, we’re quite prepared in this caucus to expedite the business of the House by granting supply for the payment of salaries and the payment of other necessary amounts for the period commencing on April 1 and ending on September 30 of this year.

Mr. Nixon: In somewhat the same vein, Mr. Speaker --

Mr. Deputy Speaker: We can do without all of the side conversations. Will you conduct your private business outside?

Mr. Nixon: It is not our intention to oppose the motion. However, I did notice particularly that in Her Honour’s speech on Tuesday, she brought to our attention the important steps taken by this Legislature to open up the debate, to open up the discussion of public business, not only to the members of the opposition but to the community at large.

Without going on to the further steps that the government indicates it intends to take in this connection, I am somewhat disappointed that the Treasurer has indicated he wants six months’ interim supply rather than what I would like to consider a normal three months. As a matter of fact, we don’t really have any normal amount of interim supply because in the last 18 months we have just got used to having a situation in the Legislature where the government does not demand and therefore receive a full year’s supply even before the Legislature gets the opportunity to see the budget or to even complete the expenditure from the previous year.

In my time, going back some years now -- and the Treasurer will recall -- a standard motion was brought in. Just a pro forma motion in which the government asked the Legislature to approve all the expenditures covered by the estimates which sometimes has not even been made available. Then as the opposition members, I suppose, became more aware of the importance of that motion, which really set aside anything but the debate aspect of the discussion of the estimates, there were more and more comments made that we really ought not to vote a full year’s supply in advance even before the discussion of the budget or before any examination of the estimates had come about.


In looking at what the custom is in other democratic institutions where this has been established, I believe it is normal to have quarterly supply, which means that on a more regular basis the members of the House, whether it’s the Legislature or the House of Commons, have an opportunity to discuss on matters that pertain to the expenditure of public moneys certain aspects of public policy that they may think is important.

Certainly, there have been occasions in the House of Commons’ history, not too ancient history, when the opposition, through their debate and through withholding supply, have been able to, at least, amend government policy in situations where it might not otherwise have been changeable. The opposition, of course, runs a real risk in so doing because it simply means that unless supply is voted the government cannot fulfil its legal requirements to send out certain emoluments and cheques for services rendered or otherwise. This is, of course, I suppose, the kind of lever that the government has in its own hands besides the votes of its supporters, whether they’re in the majority or not.

Frankly, I’m disappointed that the Treasurer would indicate that he wants six months’ supply. The efficacy of the date that’s been pointed out by the member for Riverdale is an interesting one -- it’s good if there is an election, and it’s good if there isn’t. We might as well presume that we’re going to be here at least until the end of June, which would have been, in my view, a suitable date for the interim supply to terminate.

As we know, in the event that the Legislature is not in session or the government or the members of this House are otherwise occupied, there is a procedure whereby the basic payments can be carried on until such time as the House does come together to give its approval, or otherwise, in the regular democratic process. So I would simply say, as the person whose amendment, some months ago, brought about something less than the full year interim supply that the Treasurer has been accustomed to, I’m disappointed that the date is not June 30, but for reasons that one can surmise we’re not prepared to move an amendment because I presume that there will be a fall session of the Legislature in any event and we’ll have an opportunity to discuss and examine the further expenditures of public funds at that time. Not all of you, but some of you will be here.

Mr. Breithaupt: I just have a few comments following those of the member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk, Mr. Speaker. In the changes suggested to the rules and adopted by the House as they’ve now been reprinted pursuant to the adoption on December 16 last, there is now the additional new item 24 which states: “The motion for interim supply requires notice and such notice shall include a time limit of not more than six months.”

As a result of the suggestions made by the select committee dealing with the fourth and fifth reports of the Camp commission, which is generally referred to as the Morrow Select Committee after the hon. member who was its chairman, there was consideration made with respect to this particular matter that the member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk and I and several others have spoken to on a number of occasions over the past several years. We have, of course, been concerned that the granting of interim supply, in effect, made really rather nugatory the passage of estimates from time to time and, to some extent at least, made a bit of a sham of the development in depth of discussions on estimates because the money, in fact, had already been approved.

As a result of the minority situation resulting from the last general election, we had for the first time an opportunity to have the usual term of interim supply somewhat shortened, as the member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk has already stated. I realize, of course, that the time limit, even now by the new rules, suggests that six months be a maximum time. The government, whichever party and whatever its members may be in years to come, I hope will at least allow that rule to stand so that we will have at least the double opportunity within a year to discuss the traditional general grievances which might come forward from time to time before, in fact, this House grants the power to spend funds to the government of the day.

I, too, would agree that from my point of view, having been involved as Treasury critic for some years and having an interest in this subject, a matter of three months would have been a sufficient time. I hope that in future years the government will consider this three-month term, because I think it sets a better balance for the operation of the Legislature than the passage of interim supply for this length of time.

I hope that the occasion will come forward in years to come that this matter can be dealt with on a somewhat shorter term and that the quarterly suggestion, as it appears in other Legislatures and in the House of Commons, will develop into a reasonable, balanced rule that will satisfy not only the needs of the ministry to have its estimates proceeded with and funds available in the alternative but also the needs of members to be able to speak on estimates and to realize that their comments might have some effect. I hope that may happen in the future but for the present we will accept this motion.

Resolution concurred in.


Hon. Mr. Snow moved second reading of Bill 2, An Act to amend The Highway Traffic Act.

Mr. Breithaupt: Mr. Speaker, does the minister have a statement that would perhaps occasion a somewhat more concise debate?

Hon. Mr. Snow: Mr. Speaker, I didn’t really have any prepared statement ready. I understand that copies of the bill have been distributed to both opposition House leaders and the critics for my ministry. The compendium of background information to the bill has also been distributed, which I think is only a one-page document, and explains fully the reason for this amendment to the Act, which basically changes one figure in one section of the Act to extend the provisions of this particular part of the Act for one further year. I refer to the part of the Act relating to the size and weights of commercial vehicles on our highways. We have draft legislation in process right now which I expect to introduce later on in this session and which would deal with this matter permanently.

Mr. Renwick: Mr. Speaker, I find the minister’s comments somewhat less than helpful in an understanding of the reasons for the bill. I can well understand that the March 31, 1977, expiry date, which is currently in the bill and which we passed a year or so ago, extending it from 1976 to 1977, now requires action by the government in order to extend it for a further year.

I would have anticipated that the minister would have addressed himself in his comments about the bill as to why it is that it has taken so long for him to come to a conclusion as to what the amending legislation should be and to indicate quite clearly to the House the kind of amending legislation which he will be presenting to the assembly so that we can understand clearly whether or not we as a party should support the extension of these particular provisions. Obviously they have to be supported, and we certainly won’t be dividing the House on the bill. They have to be supported simply because they extend the existing provisions, and there is no evidence from the minister, other than a hope which he only recently expressed, that amending legislation would be introduced.

As I understand it, the provisions of part VI and part VII of The Highway Traffic Act dealing with weights and loads and with axle weights have been in the bill for some considerable period of time. There’s been an alternative provision providing that compliance can be made by complying with either part VI or with part VII of The Highway Traffic Act. Now, of course, the particular intention of the Legislature as expressed in section 81(1) will not be operative because of this extension of the year in section 81(2).

I would hope that the minister, as he usually does, would give some really clear explanation of why for a second time we are being asked to extend a provision of the bill which permits compliance with part VI only up until March 31, 1977, rather than with respect to the alternative provisions provided in section 81(1), which would have permitted compliance with part VII and sections 65, 68, 69 and 70 or, alternatively, with the provisions of part VI.

I only wanted to comment to express my disappointment in the failure to have a concise explanatory statement made by the minister. We, of course, will support the extension of section 81(2) of The Highway Traffic Act for another year, but perhaps when the minister replies in this particular section of the debate, that is, on second reading, he will deal with those matters so that there won’t be any need for us to ask that the bill go to committee of the whole House. I don’t really think it deserves that consideration, if in fact the minister can make a response to the questions which I have raised.

Mr. Cunningham: Mr. Speaker, we have no objections to these proposed amendments which will allow the extensions. I would only say at this time that I am concerned about the difficulties that the ministry has had in the past enforcing these weight limitations, and I’m concerned about possibly the lack of uniformity of that enforcement, the lack of appropriate weighing facilities across the province. Recognizing the recommendations that we made in the interim report of the select committee on highway transportation of goods and recognizing that we are going to maintain a regulated system of transportation of goods in this province, the provision of such facilities, not only the weighing facilities but also the enforcement facilities, would serve us very well, I think, at this particular point in time.

I look forward to seeing the minister’s new legislation when it comes, and I would encourage him to take into consideration when he examines the classifications of these vehicles the recommendations made by our select committee.

Mr. Deputy Speaker: No further discussion? Does the minister have a response?

Hon. Mr. Snow: The provisions under the Act, as I understand them, are very lengthy and very complicated. There are many pages and sections of tables relating to the legal weights and sizes of vehicles. It has been found in the past five years or so that we’ve been operating under this system that, first of all, the industry has had a very difficult time in complying with these complicated charts and tables setting out the permissible weights, while at the same time the enforcement arm of the ministry and the police have had a very difficult time in respect to the enforcement.

With this problem before us, we have been doing a considerable amount of work in developing a new set of tables which will be a great deal less complicated, although to me, and I suppose to any of us that are not totally involved with these types of tables, they still look somewhat complicated. But certainly they are much easier to understand than the very complicated ones that we have at the present time.


It has taken some considerable period of time to develop these tables. I had hoped as late as a week or two ago that I would have had the new legislation ready to introduce to the House at the same time as this bill was introduced on the opening day of the Legislature -- by my colleague due to my absence from the province.

We are concerned and want to improve this situation. We have this legislation almost prepared at this time; we are double-checking it and having certain consultation with the industry, both the transportation industry and, I believe, to some degree the manufacturing industry involved with the vehicles. I wanted to have all this matter checked out as much as we possibly could before introducing the bill but I intend to introduce it in the relatively near future. I had intended to introduce it along with the bill and to ask the House to pass this bill to keep the regulation in force and, at the same time, deal in the normal course of the rules of the House with the new bill but I just wasn’t able to have it here on Tuesday.

Motion agreed to.

The following bill was given third reading on motion:

Bill 2, An Act to amend The Highway Traffic Act.

Hon. Mr. Welch: Mr. Speaker, if the members of the Legislative Assembly will stand by, the Lieutenant Governor is coming in for royal assent.

The Honourable the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario entered the chamber of the Legislative Assembly and took her seat upon the throne.


Hon. P. M. McGibbon (Lieutenant Governor): Pray be seated.

Mr. Speaker: May it please Your Honour, the Legislative Assembly of the province has, at its present sitting thereof, passed a certain bill to which, in the name of and on behalf of the said Legislative Assembly, I respectfully request Your Honour’s assent.

Clerk Assistant: The following is the title of the bill to which Your Honour’s assent is prayed:

Bill 2, An Act to amend The Highway Traffic Act.

Clerk of the House: In Her Majesty’s name, the Honourable the Lieutenant Governor doth assent to this bill.

The Honourable the Lieutenant Governor was pleased to retire from the chamber.

Hon. Mr. Welch: Mr. Speaker, before moving the adjournment of the House, may I indicate to the House in accordance with the rule, since this is Thursday, the order of business for the following week.

Tomorrow we will take into consideration the reply to the Speech from the Throne with the mover and the seconder, and also tomorrow bring forward the motion as to the membership of the committees now that we’ve got the committee structure in place.

On Monday of next week, the leader of the official opposition takes part in the Throne debate, on Tuesday the leader of the third party, and then we’ll follow that with a session going into the evening on Tuesday for Throne debate. We will in fact, according to the resolution passed on opening day, meet on Wednesday afternoon with further Throne debate.

It has been agreed to have Friday hours on Thursday, so that we will meet from 10 to 1 on Maundy Thursday, with the long weekend off, from Friday till we resume operations here on April 12.

On motion by Hon. Mr. Welch, the House adjourned at 4:10 p.m.