30th Parliament, 4th Session

L007 - Wed 6 Apr 1977 / Mer 6 avr 1977

The House met at 2 p.m.



Mr. Martel: Mr. Speaker, in response to a question which I raised yesterday, the Minister of Labour (B. Stephenson) made the following statement -- I’m quoting from the Instant Hansard:

“Thank you very much. I shall remind myself, Mr. Speaker, to not read the last lines of any of those letters since they are somewhat disconcerting in their content. It would seem [to me] that the use of the English language is something that might be exercised by some of the correspondents.”

I’m afraid that statement could create and has created a false impression. Let me quote to you, Mr. Speaker, the last paragraph of the four letters I wrote to Michael Starr on the issue which I had raised with the appropriate minister and I’ll let you judge the language.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. If it’s a point of personal privilege, as the hon. member announced, he may state his point of privilege but not debate it and not build up the information.

Mr. MacDonald: He is not debating.

Mr. Martel: Mr. Speaker, with the greatest --

Mr. Speaker: He may state the point of privilege; and if he’s been misquoted and so on --

Mr. Martel: I’m not suggesting --

Mr. Speaker: -- it could be construed as a point of personal privilege, but otherwise we don’t debate it, except that he can raise the matter at the time as a point of order. But as a point of personal privilege --


Mr. Speaker: -- if none of the privileges of the hon. member has been breached --

Mr. Martel: My privileges have been breached.

Mr. Speaker: Well now, a misinterpretation of what one says, or a difference of opinion as to what one says or reads, is not a point of personal privilege.

Mr. Martel: Mr. Speaker, I’ve spoken --

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. So he may state his point of privilege, not debate it.

Mr. Martel: I am not attempting to debate it, Mr. Speaker, with the greatest of respect. I simply stated what the minister in her statement indicated, that some of the language was intemperate or whatever. I’m just going to quote, very briefly, the last paragraph of each of the four letters involved in this issue. There are only four sentences, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Nixon: I’d certainly like to hear what he said.

Mr. Philip: I would too.

Mr. Martel: The first letter, on July 18, says, and I’m quoting the last sentence: “I think your position is intolerable. I would appreciate your comments.” The one on January 24, 1977: “Can you indicate to me whether or not there is really any intention on the part of the Workmen’s Compensation Board, through Dr. McCracken or yourself, to meet with the above-named people to discuss the problem of industrial deafness. Thank you.”

Mr. Nixon: “Thank you”?

Mr. Martel: On February 17, I wrote the following -- and these are addressed to Michael Starr: “Maybe you aren’t concerned about deafness in the Sudbury area, but I damn well am, and I want to know when this meeting will take place without further BS.” And the BS means Bette Stephenson.

Mr. Lewis: Now there’s an abuse of the language.

Mr. Martel: The last letter, Mr. Speaker, on March 3, 1977; the final paragraph: “It is for those reasons that I do not need a meeting to be briefed, but rather I need a meeting that will clearly propose action on this matter.”

Mr. Speaker, obviously the minister’s statement left the impression with the press that my language is intemperate, because the headlines say: “MPP’s Language Called Filthy.” I want to know where the filth is.

Mr. Lewis: Right.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. The last part is about the only point that could be construed as a point of privilege.

Mr. Lewis: Yet another Stephenson discrepancy.

Mr. Speaker: We do not build up a case in this case; I repeat again we simply state the point of privilege.

Mr. Nixon: I think we should hear from the minister on that.

Mr. Speaker: There’s nothing I can do about any misinterpretation.

Hon. B. Stephenson: On a point of personal privilege, I did not write the headline in the newspaper.

Mr. Deans: No, you made the statement. Interjections.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. Such matters can be brought up, I’m sure, at --


Mr. Speaker: -- order, please -- at an appropriate time, some other time; but none of the privileges of the member has been breached.

Statements by the ministry.


Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to announce the establishment of a royal commission to examine the state of pensions in the province of Ontario.

I also take pleasure in appointing Miss Donna J. Haley, QC, as chairman of this commission. Miss Haley has had a great deal of experience in the field of pensions. Since February, 1974, she has chaired the Pension Commission of Ontario and this February she was reappointed for another three-year term. As well, Miss Haley was a member of the task force on employee benefits under part X of The Employment Standards Act, and has been involved with other task forces and commissions, both as a member and a participant in preparing briefs. In addition to these and many other duties, Miss Haley has been practising law with the firm of Haley and Martin in Toronto since 1970, and she was appointed a Queen’s Counsel in 1967.

Along with Miss Haley, Mr. Donald Coxe of Guelph, Mr. Walter Upshall of Toronto and Mr. Alfred Cordell of London will be commissioners in this public inquiry. Brief biographies of each are attached to this statement, together with the terms of reference. A representative of organized labour will be appointed shortly.

There are compelling reasons for initiating a royal commission on pensions. During the past year, the private sector has encountered criticism for its apparent inability to provide adequate retirement pensions; and further, it has become obvious that private sector pension plans find it financially difficult, under the existing institutional and legislative arrangements, to maintain the real value of pensions during periods of inflation. This fact, alongside fully-indexed Canada Pension Plan and Old Age Security benefits, and conspicuous fully-indexed benefits of federal and provincial public employee pensions plans, has caused some public dissatisfaction with private sector pensions.

As a consequence, there has been widespread pressure to significantly expand the Canada Pension Plan at the cost of displacing private sector pension plans. Such an expansion of the CPP under its present financial structure would result in a private-to-public shift of capital, increase intervention by government in an individual’s consumption/savings decisions and a much larger transfer of income between the present generation and the next.

We are approaching a crossroads with respect to the financing of the Canada Pension Plan. The government of this province welcomes views and suggestions as to the appropriate method for financing the CPP, and what investment policies should be followed with respect to any surplus funds that are created. Similarly, the commission will solicit opinions on the future structure and investment role of public sector employee pension plans.

Before Ontario embarks on any changes to its own pension legislation, or agrees to changes in the Canada Pension Plan, it is absolutely essential to know the economic impact of these changes. Pensions involve social, political and economic issues which are as complex as they are significant. The importance and the complexities of the issues involved require the establishment of a commission. The in-depth investigation of the commission and its final recommendations will provide the government of this province with much-needed information and will determine the direction in which pension policies should be pursued.

The royal commission will seek and welcome submissions from all interested parties during its investigations. We have heard much from those who are avowed spokesmen for the public but we have heard little from the public themselves. I wish to emphasize that submissions from the public are specifically welcomed. Their participation is necessary if the commission is to evaluate the effectiveness of current pension policies and formulate appropriate changes.


Hon. Mr. Davis: I have a very brief announcement to share with the House. We have been expressing some interest in employment. The member from the riding involved is there at the moment, and I am pleased to say I have received a report, through my wife who has just christened the motor vessel, Algolake at Collingwood, a maximum sized vessel which can be built for the Seaway and which will be hauling Ontario coal. I understand the christening went well; that the champagne, or whatever it was -- the Canadian champagne, I’m sure -- broke on the first effort.

Mr. Roy: It was good they sent her and not you.

Hon. Mr. Davis: It was also brought to my attention that there will be a press conference in Collingwood this afternoon where an announcement will be made that a similar ship, to be known as Hull 215 --

Mr. Nixon: That’s a romantic name.

Hon. Mr. Davis: -- will be commenced in June and built for Algoma Central Railway; built by Canadian Shipbuilding and Engineering in that community.

Hopefully, it will provide much employment in the area. It is estimated that at the peak of production of this new vessel, there will be 850 people employed at the shipyards in Collingwood, without us having to take an equity position in that great organization.

Mr. Lewis: We didn’t say that.

Mr. Moffatt: The Leader of the Opposition wins again.

Mr. Lewis: I thank you for acting so quickly.

Hon. Mr. Davis: The Leader of the Opposition shouldn’t thank me, he should thank my wife.

Mr. MacDonald: That would be much more pleasurable.


Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I hope you won’t rule me out of order; this is a statement, and as such perhaps it should come before orders of the day, but I do have a small problem which will become evident in a few moments.

I understand that the Leader of the Opposition, while contemplating the government’s Throne Speech, and offering co-operation and legislative dependability, has also been cited by the press as being upset at not having received baseball tickets.

Mr. Lewis: Upset isn’t the word, it is “concerned.”

Hon. Mr. Davis: The saddest hallmark of old, tired, bankrupt and intellectually stilted socialism -- that of the variety espoused so eloquently by the Leader of the Opposition -- is that it institutionalizes envy, preaches total lack of faith in personal private commitments and initiative.

Mr. Lewis: Did you have to have this written for you?

Hon. Mr. Davis: I wanted you to understand --

Mr. Lewis: Have you no spontaneity left?

Mr. Breithaupt: He may strike out as well.

Hon. Mr. Davis: I wanted you to understand, because I don’t have many more and I have to be very careful of what I say. I made the private commitment to take the initiative of offering to the Leader of the Opposition two tickets to the ball game, which I am pleased now to transmit. The seats, sir, are slightly to the left of the plate. I could not get those far out in left field which would be more appropriate, but I want to assure him that they are in the blues.


Mr. Speaker: I might allow a brief response to that out-of-order statement.

Mr. Lewis: Mr. Speaker, if I may, as a matter of simple graciousness and without a text, thank the Premier immensely for his generosity and say that I would sit anywhere in that stadium tomorrow other than the Premier’s box, because I would not wish to be the recipient of booing but to boo myself.

Mr. Speaker: I think we should hear briefly from the member for Hamilton West.

Mr. S. Smith: On a point of view, I suppose it is, I would like to say that to be sure that I could participate in the booing, we have already purchased four tickets which we will be using.

Mr. Speaker: The Speaker has been forgotten in all this.

Mr. Lewis: That’s free enterprise for you.

Mr. Speaker: Does the hon. member have a point of order?


Mr. Martel: Mr. Speaker, I hate to keep this going and belabour this matter, but I am rising again on the Minister of Labour’s attempt to respond, and I ask Mr. Speaker to turn, when he has an opportunity, to page 1435-2 of the Instant Hansard for yesterday:

“Hon. B. Stephenson: I do worry about your language, Elie. It’s pretty filthy.”

And that’s quoted in Instant Hansard.

Mr. Lewis: It is time you told the truth.


Mr. Speaker: Order, please. I stated before that -- order, please -- on rising on a matter of privilege, one must state the privilege. If it’s a matter of debate, a matter of interpretation, that is not a point of privilege. There’s no privilege. I say again, if there is a difference of opinion on the interpretation or meaning of someone’s words -- order, please -- it is not a point of privilege.

Mr. Lewis: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order if I may.

Mr. Speaker: Your point of order.

Mr. Lewis: On a point of order, if a member, either in government or opposition, has specifically denied the use of language and words which are explicitly contained in Hansard, surely it is a breach of the privilege of the House not to have that corrected or drawn to the attention of the House?

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. As I understand there was no misquoting; and that’s what a member may rise on.

Mr. Lewis: She denied the words.

Mr. Speaker: No. As I understand it, it was a matter -- order, please.

Mr. MacDonald: She denied it this afternoon.

Mr. Speaker: I heard it very well, I think, and it was a matter of interpretation.

Some hon. members: No, no.

Mr. MacDonald: Read the Instant Hansard.

Mr. Speaker: I haven’t heard of any words having been misquoted. I will check the record and just see for myself. As far as I am concerned, as I understand it, there was not a misquoting. That’s what a person may rise on.

Mr. Deans: It was a denial.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. The hon. Treasurer.


Hon. Mr. McKeough: Mr. Speaker, at the appropriate time this afternoon I will be introducing The Audit Act, 1977. This new Act represents, I believe, a significant structural reform to help all of us improve the productivity and accountability of our government institutions.

Since the first auditor for the province was appointed in 1869, it has been seen that this office performs an essential role in making responsible government work. Major revisions in our audit legislation have moved to confirm and clarify its task.

In 1954, The Financial Administration Act was introduced to deal separately with certain functions which were not directly related to the audit process. The last amendment to the current legislation, made in 1971, provided the means to phase out the pre-audit function of the Provincial Auditor. Thus relieved of the task of examining each requisition for funds within approved appropriations before a cheque could be issued, the auditor gained a larger degree of independence and more time to evaluate the internal controls of each ministry.

Mr. Speaker, the legislation I have the privilege to introduce today aims to strengthen the role and responsibility of the Provincial Auditor and to delete those sections of the current legislation which still pertain to the pre-audit function or are otherwise redundant.

This proposed Act will: First, require the Provincial Auditor to report on the economy and efficiency of expenditures, as well as on the procedures undertaken by the ministries to measure the effectiveness of their programmes; second, broaden the powers and responsibilities of the Provincial Auditor by providing for inspection audits or of requiring a full accounting from recipients of transfer payments, which now make up more than 70 per cent of provincial expenditures; third, expand the powers and responsibilities of the Provincial Auditor regarding the audits of Crown agencies and Crown-controlled corporations; fourth, improve the independence of the Provincial Auditor by having his staffing and financial requirements approved by the Board of Internal Economy and by having his report tabled directly in the Legislature by the Speaker.

In preparing this legislation the government is indebted to the fine work of the independent review committee on the office of the Auditor General of Canada, which was under the chairmanship of the late J. R. M. Wilson, FCA, and to the experience of the Exchequer and Audit Department of the United Kingdom. Also, I would like to thank the members of the standing committee on public accounts for their advice and recommendations.

We propose by this legislation to provide the auditor with a more visible and dynamic mandate. He will now be able to bring to the attention of the Legislature cases where he has observed that value for money, comprising the concepts of economy and efficiency, has not been obtained. We look forward to his reporting on the assessment of our procedures to measure effectiveness, and whether our activities are achieving positive results in relation to our legislative goals and objectives. This could only spur us on to be concrete about what we want to do and careful about how we go about it.

I recognize that certain jurisdictions are hesitant to take this course for fear of undermining the primacy of our representative system, but I feel that this concern is ill-conceived. The immediate danger of modern government is that its size and complexity may diminish our capacity to check bureaucracy and to debate better ways of doing things. A stronger auditor cannot diminish the responsibilities of this Legislature, but this office can help us perform our tasks more competently, and thereby enhance the good name of this system of government which we cherish.


Hon. Mr. Handleman: Mr. Speaker, I would like to announce today a one-man inquiry which is being instituted under The Public Inquiries Act to examine the reliability and safety of aluminum wiring for residential use.

Mr. Moffatt: Boy, you’re dynamite.

Hon. Mr. Handleman: The government recognizes that there are questions in the public mind and a lack of consensus among the standard-setting bodies, manufacturing industries, installers, electrical inspection agencies and consumer organizations as to the reliability and safety of this type of wired electrical circuits.

In order to resolve the conflict of views and to ensure that the public interest is best served, we have appointed Dr. J. Tuzo Wilson to undertake this task.

The terms of reference for this inquiry are quite simple and straightforward:

1. To investigate all matters relating to the safety and reliability of aluminum-wired electrical circuits for residential use, relative to the safety and reliability of copper-wired circuits for residential use.

2. To hold public hearings to enable groups and organizations, individual citizens and representatives of industry to present evidence and other pertinent information on the subject.

3. To make appropriate recommendations, if warranted, on any measures that should be taken by the government of Ontario, by other levels of government, by the general public and by the industry.

I am pleased that as eminent a scientist and scholar as Dr. Wilson has been able to take on this task. As members of the House are probably aware, Dr. Wilson is a former professor of geophysics at the University of Toronto, principal of Erindale College, and since 1974 has been director-general of the Ontario Science Centre. He is a noted author and a fellow of several learned societies, including the Royal Society of Canada and the Royal Society of London, and an associate of the National Academy of Science in the United States.

Dr. Wilson will, of course, be accorded the full assistance and co-operation of all government ministries, boards, agencies and commissions, and will have the authority to engage counsel, expert technical advisers, investigators and other staff as necessary.

I would emphasize that this inquiry is being undertaken in the public interest. I’m sure that the members of the House, many of whom have spoken on the issue, will look forward to Dr. Wilson’s report.


Hon. W. Newman: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to announce the appointment of the members of the Farm Income Stabilization Commission of Ontario. The members representing the three major agricultural organizations are:

Mr. Conway: Gordon Hill?

Hon. W. Newman: Cash crop and beef farmer Hilbert Van Ankum of Wroxeter, representing the Christian Farmers’ Federation; dairy farmer Ellard Powers of Beachburg, representing the National Farmers’ Union; and tobacco and corn farmer Albin Kormas of Vanessa, representing the Ontario Federation of Agriculture.

Other commissioners are cash crop farmers: Jules Debrabandere of St. Marys, dairy farmer; dairy farmer George McLaughlin of Beaverton, a former chairman of the Ontario Milk Marketing Board; and dairy and beef farmer Arden Baker of Brockville.

Chairman of the commission is Henry Ediger, who is also chairman of the Crop Insurance Commission.

Mr. Nixon: That is in the riding of Brant.

Mr. Breithaupt: Didn’t Gordon Hill make it?

Hon. Mr. Davis: He sure led you guys up the garden path.

Mr. Breithaupt: No, not us at all.

Hon. Mr. Rhodes: You are right on. Gordon Hill didn’t make it; and he won’t.

Hon. W. Newman: Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased with these appointments. I believe the experience these people have in various sectors of agriculture will help ensure the success of Ontario’s income stabilization programme.

The commissioners will administer The Farm Income Stabilization Act, which was proclaimed April 4. Under the Act, agricultural producers will be able to establish a stabilization plan for individual commodities. Each plan will be financed one-third by participating producers, two-thirds by the government of Ontario. Plans will be established only at the request of producers, and membership is voluntary.

Now that the commission has been appointed, the stabilization programmes can be applied to the 1977 production year.

Mr. Speaker: Oral questions. The Leader of the Opposition.


Mr. Lewis: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. In the absence of the Minister of Education (Mr. Wells), perhaps I could put a question to the Premier.

Given the clear undesirability of putting another 159 young people onto the unemployment rolls as a result of a decision of the Toronto Board of Education to release or dismiss those teachers, might the Premier speak to the Minister of Education about the particular funding for English as a second language and special education classes for kids with learning disabilities, which it appeared from the board’s discussion underlay the need to fire the teachers? It wasn’t so much that they weren’t needed in the school system as that the programmes which were required didn’t have the appropriate funding.

Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I don’t think the issue is really quite that simple. The Minister of Education will be here and I am sure would be quite prepared to reply and give his point of view to the Leader of the Opposition. I expect he will be here shortly.

Mr. Lewis: Mr. Speaker, if when that happens I could redirect I would appreciate it -- I’ll consider that a question, of course -- if you would allow me at that point.

Mr. Speaker: We could class it as supplementary if we are still in the question period.


Mr. Lewis: Thank you. I’ll ask a question, then, of the Minister of Labour, if I may:

Can the Minister of Labour indicate to us what her plans are, beyond the industrial disputes commissioner appointed into the three collective bargaining disputes with the public health nurses, to deal with the other, I guess more than 20 areas still outstanding, still unresolved, in what is one of the longest ongoing labour disputes in this province for many years?

Hon. B. Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, I am awaiting the report of the industrial inquiry commissioner who has been appointed. I anticipate we shall have that report, probably by the end of this month, and hopefully there will be some directions which will be delineated by the report which we will be able to apply to the other areas.

Mr. Lewis: By way of supplementary, if I may; if that report turns out to be as futile as every other initiative has been in the case of the remaining units, might the minister, for the purpose of reaching a resolution of the bargaining process, take into trusteeship, purely for the purpose of collective bargaining, those boards of health which are intractable? Let them do all their other normal functions but resolve it once and for all so that we don’t have to retreat to arbitrary legislation?

Mr. S. Smith: Anything but arbitration.

Mr. Lewis: If possible, yes.

Hon. B. Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, that is an interesting idea, one which has been proposed previously as a matter of fact, and one which I would consider to be an almost last-resort activity. But I shall certainly take it under consideration.

Mr. Speaker: Supplementary, the member for Hamilton West.

Mr. S. Smith: Surely before the minister has to go to the extent of taking boards of health into trusteeship, surely she could consider, could she not, giving these nurses the right to arbitration, which is all they ask and all they require?

Hon. B. Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, as I think I said, I would consider the hon. Leader of the Opposition’s suggestion a last resort. I think there are many other steps which one would consider before that one.

Mr. Lewis: None of them is working.

Mr. Speaker: The hon. member for Hamilton West with his questions then, please.


Mr. S. Smith: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. A question of the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations:

In the light of the decision last night by Metro council in favour of the sale of beer at Blue Jay baseball games, at least on a six-months’ trial bails, might the minister now be prepared to support the resolution that I have tabled today which gives people credit for sufficient maturity to conduct themselves responsibly at the ball game, and permit beer to be sold at professional baseball stadiums in Ontario?


Hon. Mr. Handleman: I’ve seen neither the resolution from Metro council nor the resolution that the hon. member mentions.

Mr. Nixon: You are like Lord Nelson.

Hon. Mr. Handleman: Once I’ve seen them I’ll be discussing them with my cabinet colleagues and it will be a cabinet decision.

Mr. Peterson: What do you say, Sidney?

Mr. Nixon: You have got two blind eyes.

Mr. S. Smith: Does the minister, or for that matter does the Premier, agree with their former candidate, Barbara Greene, who said on the radio this morning that they are “out of touch with young people if you think that they’re going to get their first drink at the ball game”; and that in any case, “better they should get it there than in the back alleys of Metropolitan Toronto”? Are you aware of that comment by your former candidate; and how do you feel about that?

Hon. Mr. Davis: Is that to me? Are you asking me?

Hon. Mr. Handleman: I’m not aware of the comment; and I wouldn’t agree with it if I was aware of it.

Mr. Lewis: Is that a matter of confidence?

Hon. Mr. Davis: Yes; and I have news for you, be very careful.

Mr. Speaker: The hon. member for Scarborough-Ellesmere with a supplementary.

Mr. Warner: To the minister: Could he share with us the explanation that he will be giving to Metro council with respect to a definition of local autonomy and how that affects this decision?

Mr. Deans: Would you fight an election over beer?

Hon. Mr. Handleman: I’d be glad to share with the hon. member and any other members of the House whatever explanation is given to Metro council upon receipt of whatever resolution has been made by that council. I haven’t seen it, I can’t comment on it; and I don’t know how I can share the reasons until that time comes.

Mr. Cassidy: Oh, you are hiding.

Mr. Nixon: Bill knows best, he knows what local autonomy is.

Mr. Samis: Could the minister tell us if, once the election is over, once the baseball season is over, he would reconsider his intractable, immutable decision for the following season?

Hon. Mr. Rhodes: Beer in the Cornwall arena?

Hon. Mr. Handleman: I’m very grateful to the hon. member for his confidence that after the election I’ll still be in a position to make that decision; and I assure him that I will do so.

Mr. Warner: As your party’s critic perhaps.

Hon. Mr. Davis: The most revealing question of the week.

Mr. S. Smith: The new defeated party -- the NDP.


Mr. S. Smith: What is the Premier’s response to the charges levelled last night during the TVOntario programme entitled Issues, and supported by, among others, Dr. Ian Macdonald, that the inadequate instruction in Canadian history in our schools is a primary cause of the tensions that we are now experiencing in Confederation?

Hon. Mr. Davis: I must confess that I didn’t have a free evening last night --

Mr. Nixon: You need a rest, Bill.

Hon. Mr. Davis: -- to watch TVOntario; which is a great organization; I’m delighted to know the leader of the third party is watching it. I was working in the public interest.

Mr. Reid: It is nice to keep busy.

Mr. Cassidy: It is a matter of opinion.

Mr. S. Smith: Does the Premier not get it in Fort Lauderdale?

Hon. Mr. Davis: I was hoping the hon. member was going to ask me about beer. I guess when you’re at 13 per cent you seize on any issue, don’t you?

Mr. Roy: You weren’t that popular about a year ago.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please; only the hon. Premier has the floor.

Hon. Mr. Rhodes: Okay, who is on his side? Put your hands up.

Mr. Reid: I am.

Mr. S. Smith: Mr. Speaker, have you heard any kind of an answer?

Mr. Speaker: No, because of the interjections. The hon. Premier can continue with the answer to the question please.

Hon. Mr. Davis: If there were fewer interjections I could get to my answer. I have to confess I did not see the programme so it’s very difficult for me to comment on something I didn’t see. However, I go back to a period of time when we had debates in this Legislature and discussions on the whole question of Canadian history. I can recall some dialogue between myself and the former leader of the third party on this issue.

It was very constructive. I can recall some constructive criticism emanating from that party as it related to a programme that I rather personally had initiated with respect to the teaching of Canadian history in the school system of this province. I recall very vividly a report being prepared related to this very subject. I acknowledge the great interest of a late member of this House, and one who took a very active interest in this himself, Alex MacLeod, who was partially involved in the development of this concern, this critique, and we discovered some very interesting things. I am just trying to give some background to the leader of the third party.


Hon. Mr. Davis: We discovered there was a certain reluctance --

Mr. S. Smith: it is a serious matter.

Hon. Mr. Davis: It is a serious matter and I took it very seriously; I am pointing this out to him so that he will learn something from the history of the situation.

Mr. S. Smith: Then give an intelligent answer. Don’t lecture me.

Mr. Lewis: This is intolerable.

Hon. Mr. Davis: I am having a little bit of fun.

Mr. Speaker: Order please. Would the hon. Premier continue with the answer to the first question?

Hon. Mr. Davis: Well, now the Leader of the Opposition is concerned about his other two points.

Mr. Speaker: Order please. The first question.

Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, what we discovered in that discussion with the people in the profession, the history teachers, was their own reluctance in terms of, shall we say Canadian history being colourful, being the kind of thing they wished to emphasize.

As a result of this study, the Ministry of Education then, as it does now, has given great encouragement to the teaching of Canadian history. But I would point out to the leader of the third party that the teaching of Canadian history cannot be confined to the teaching of history in one single province. I want to once again acknowledge the involvement of an organization headed by a gentleman who is very close to the members opposite, Mr. Walter Gordon, in a programme which has been supported by this government in terms of finance, in terms of moral support, in terms of persuasion of the other provincial governments in this country as it relates to the teaching of Canadian history. I think it is important. It is something that has received a priority as far as government is concerned, and while I didn’t hear what Dr. Macdonald, or President Macdonald, has said, I have to tell the leader of the third party if he had been here -- and I am not being critical of this -- some years ago, we had these discussions, and this government is very clearly on the record in terms of the importance of teaching Canadian history. But I say with respect it cannot be confined just to the province of Ontario.

I said something else, now that I am on the subject, some years ago --

Mr. Cassidy: We haven’t heard this style of answer for a long time.

Mr. Speaker: Order please.

Mr. Cassidy: This goes back four or five years.

Mr. Speaker: Order. Will the hon. Premier continue with the answer?

Mr. Peterson: The style is the man himself.

Mr. Speaker: Order please.

Hon. Mr. Davis: I made some other observations -- I forget to which organization -- that while we can’t get uniformity in terms of the teaching of history, that is something that I don’t think one can expect; we have made progress in terms of mathematics and science, but it is very difficult to get uniformity in Canadian history among all the provinces of Canada.

I don’t know whether this is what Mr. Macdonald was saying in whatever he said last night; I have no idea. He is only 100 yards away and I can go and ask him. But I would say to the leader of the third party that there are many reasons for the present difficulties we face, and I do not minimize the importance of history. It is taught in schools right across this country, as being a very important priority. But I just can’t tell him that we have any capacity here to determine the history courses, the texts and so on in all the various provinces of this country.

Mr. S. Smith: By way of supplementary, Mr. Speaker, could the Premier just answer two specific points; and they are: Can he assure us that he will take issue with the Minister of Education and guarantee that the new core curriculum, which includes Canadian studies, be implemented for those students presently in high school rather than simply for those who may be entering this fall, so at least they will know Canadian history; and can he guarantee us that some steps will be taken so that every public school child, every elementary school child in Ontario, shall have some reasonable understanding of the basic history of this country, especially at this time of crisis?

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: It is in public schools, it is already in public schools; it is already there.

Hon. Mr. McKeough: Talk to your former leader.

Hon. Mr. Rhodes: Where were you educated?

Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I assume this is the point the leader of the third party made to that massive audience in Oakville last night on matters of education. I would say to him -- and I don’t often get provoked -- the students in our school system are learning Canadian history. I happen to have five in the system. I don’t know how many the member has.

Mr. S. Smith: Two, and they haven’t learned a thing about Canadian history.

Hon. Mr. Davis: Well, my five are learning something about Canadian history and they are damned proud of it. What I can’t say to the leader of the third party is that every student in Canada is going to learn the same history. We don’t have that capacity. It may be one of the problems, but to suggest to the public of this province that young people in our elementary and secondary school system aren’t learning Canadian history and have no appreciation of it, is just pure, utter nonsense and he should know better.

Mr. Lewis: One of my children knows a great deal about Upper Canada.


Mr. Speaker: Order, please. The question has been answered. I’ll allow the member for Kitchener-Wilmot a final supplementary on this question.

Mr. Sweeney: Is the Premier not aware of the fact that it was on his own initiative in 1968, as the then Minister of Education, that it was no longer required that history be a compulsory subject in the secondary schools of this province?

An hon. member: Right.

Mr. Sweeney: And has not been since that time?

Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, the hon. member should know a little more about the educational system in this province than some of his colleagues.


Hon. Mr. Davis: He knows full well Canadian history is compulsory. It is compulsory in the elementary grades and has been since day one.

This is where the young people get an appreciation and understanding. If he didn’t teach it in his system then it was his negligence, but it was being taught in every other system in this province.

Mr. Conway: That is not the question.

Mr. Sweeney: The question has not been answered.

Mr. S. Smith: You are on weak ground.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. I announced that was a final supplementary. I might point out that we have been close to 15 minutes on the --

Mr. Breithaupt: Who are you pointing it out to?

Mr. Speaker: Just to the House.

Mr. Breithaupt: I don’t think we can have both leaders’ questions answered at such length.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. There has been a request that the question period change its format a certain amount to give more people a chance to ask questions and get answers. If that is going to be abused, if you spoil it; it’s your question period and I can’t help that.

Now then we will go back, as we promised. The Leader of the Opposition asked permission, and was granted it, to complete his first question -- I guess we could call it that. The Minister of Education being here, he may now do that.


Mr. Lewis: Since it becomes clear from the previous exchange that teachers are badly needed in this system, may I ask the Minister of Education is there any way that he can move urgently in the area of grants for English as a second language, and special education classes for the learning disabled, in order to allow the maintenance on staff of 159 teachers in the Toronto board, whose dismissal seems not so much to be a matter of overhiring as a matter of inadequate funds to provide the programmes so urgently needed?

Mr. S. Smith: I think you are trying to get Cressy off the hook.

Mr. Lewis: Cressy? He is no longer there.

Mr. S. Smith: Yes, but he did the overhiring.

Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, there is no question that there is a problem, budget-wise, insofar as the Toronto board is concerned. Declining enrolment is also part of the problem, as is the Metro staffing formula, a negotiated formula.

All of these together mean that the Toronto board, as I understand it, is not able to keep a group of teachers they hired and whom they didn’t need last year. I think no one disputes that fact. It was an error, and errors are made, I guess we have to realize that.

Certain accommodations were made for those teachers over the year. But now the issue of permanent jobs for them is the question and it isn’t possible for the Toronto board, under those various formulas I just stated, to offer permanent employment.

It bothers me -- and I did some checking this morning -- that some of the reductions the Toronto board has made in its number of teachers because of declining enrolment involves cutting teachers in the special education and English as a second-language areas. I can’t tell you exactly why they have chosen to do that, Mr. Speaker, at first glance it doesn’t please me that they have done that.

That seems a rather strange area to cut. As the hon. member knows, we have suggested there will be some new initiatives in the English as a second-language area coming forward very shortly.

All I can tell the member at the present time is that I intend to investigate this matter just a little further to find out a little more about the special education and English as second-language areas that are represented here; but I think we also have to realize it is a case of a Metro staffing formula and a surplus of teachers who were hired because of an error a year ago.


Mr. Lewis: Supplementary then, quickly: Since the minister, as others, finds it unhappy that we always seem to have to cut back in the most vulnerable areas of the school system, around kids who are most vulnerable, and since he intends to introduce measures, financial included, to provide greater support in precisely those areas, can he ask the Toronto board to declare a moratorium on the dismissal of those teachers so that they can be absorbed, contingent on the minister’s programmes?

Hon. Mr. Wells: I can’t give the member that assurance until I find out exactly how this relates to the 159. I understand that 44 special education positions are being somehow phased out. I’d like to find out why, and how that relates to this particular problem. Certainly it doesn’t sound at first hearing as if it’s a very reasonable way to do it, but I’ve got to investigate it a little more before I can find out exactly why this is the situation.

I think my friend has to remember that the decision to do this has been made by a group of people who are elected the same as we are, and represent the citizens of Toronto. If we believe all we say about local municipal bodies, they are closer to those people whom they represent than even we are.

Mr. Lewis: Like Essex county.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. Is this a supplementary?

Mr. Warner: To the Minister of Education: Am I to understand from the minister’s statement about English as a second language that he will take the responsibility of direct funding for English as a second-language programme through his new legislation?

Hon. Mr. Wells: Oh no, Mr. Speaker. I think if my friend remembers the Speech from the Throne, it said there would be some new initiatives in the area of English as a second language linked with our multicultural programme and our heritage language programme.

Mr. Warner: And will not include --

Hon. Mr. Wells: No, this is the English.


Mr. Lewis: What’s the Treasurer muttering about? Let the Minister of Education answer the question.

Mr. Conway: Darcy, you are not boss yet.

Mr. Ruston: He’s trying hard, though.

Mr. Grande: Could the minister give us some ideas in terms of what these new directions are that he is talking about, as a result of the Throne Speech, in terms of ESL and in terms of --

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. I’m sure the hon. member heard the hon. minister state these new initiatives will be announced shortly, and we will await that time.


Mr. Breaugh: Mr. Speaker, a question for the -- Point of order, Mr. Speaker: Is he still to be referred to as the Minister of Housing?

Mr. Speaker: I don’t understand the question. Would the hon. member please ask the question, if he has one, of the ministry?

Mr. Breaugh: To the hon. member for Sault Ste. Marie, I think the Minister of Housing: Would he be a little more specific in providing the House with the inventory or a list of properties that he intends to make available, with actual prices that he will charge to builders or developers, in this new dismantling of the HOME programme? And when he does that, does he intend to address himself to that small problem in the assisted-home-ownership programme of no income ceiling, so that the programme itself that he has opted into might be abused, if you like, by those who may not need the financial assistance? Does the minister intend in any way to address himself to that problem?

Hon. Mr. Rhodes: Mr. Speaker, I regret that the hon. member has not taken the time to read the programme or he would know that there is, in fact, an income ceiling and that the grant structure that has been set up in the combination of the two programmes provides for a declining grant, to the point where there is no grant when the income ceilings are there -- which has been a position espoused by the member’s predecessor, a very commendable predecessor; the weakness of the opposition is noticeable now. It’s there; read it.

Mr. Cassidy: That’s a gratuitous comment.

Hon. Mr. Rhodes: But true.

Mr. Breaugh: Supplementary: I certainly appreciate the quality of the response. I wonder whether he does intend to present to the House the list of the properties that will be made available and the actual prices that would be charged. Does he intend to give us any inkling as to what he intends to do with things like North Pickering and Cayuga sites?

Hon. Mr. Rhodes: Mr. Speaker, certainly the prices of those lands will be public knowledge; we have said so, that they will be made available on the public market. I’ve indicated I can’t give the member a specific price until such times as appraisals of the lands have been completed. We have said in the statements, and I repeat here, that it was intended they would be sold and will be sold at the low end of the market, the lowest of three appraisals.

I cannot comment on the Cayuga lands because it is not my area of responsibility. As far as North Pickering is concerned, we are carrying on with the final acquisition of that land. As the member knows, there is now some controversy over that, and at the same time we are proceeding with the planning for the area in conjunction with the regional municipality of Durham, to whom we have a commitment of not proceeding until we can find an accommodation with the region.

Mr. Breaugh: Could I have another supplementary?

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. We’ve had two questions. The one had to do with income ceilings and the other had to do with the price of lots; one’s not supplementary to the other. I allowed them because they’re in the same general field, but is this a supplementary to that question? It is? Then I’ll allow a final supplementary.

Mr. Breaugh: Could the minister provide us with the rationale for proceeding with North Pickering and other sites under the Ministry of Housing, when he intends to buy it with public funds and then turn it back to private enterprise? Why is he continuing to do that?

Hon. Mr. Rhodes: The hon. member should be well aware that the lands I’m referring to under the AHOP-HOME programme are lands that were purchased and were being held by the Ontario Housing Corporation.

Mr. Lewis: That’s right.

Hon. Mr. Rhodes: The lands at the North Pickering site are lands that were not purchased by the Ontario Housing Corporation but are now in the hands of the North Pickering Development Corporation --

Mr. Lewis: They are both public lands.

Mr. Cassidy: They are public lands.

Hon. Mr. Rhodes: -- and they are proceeding in their planning as a developer would and are dealing with the regional municipality. It is not in my area of responsibility.

Mr. Breaugh: An excellent record of performance.

Hon. Mr. Rhodes: The hon. member will have to read the material and understand what is happening in those areas.


Mr. Sweeney: A question to the Minister of Health: What will be the response of his government to the initiative by the federal Minister of Health that he intends to press the provincial governments to set up regional abortion clinics to replace the present practice in provincial hospitals?

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: I have had no such indication from my federal counterpart, Mr. Lalonde. I understand the federal Minister of Justice, Mr. Basford, has indicated he intends to tour the provinces to meet with officials. There has been no prior indication of what he specifically intends to say to us. When the report, known as the Badgley report, was received by my office, I established a review committee made up of representatives of the OMA and the OHA under Dr. Caudwell of my ministry and I should have their report within a few months.

Mr. Sweeney: Supplementary: What would be the criteria of this ministry to determine whether or not regional abortion clinics might be set up?

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: We are not considering setting up regional abortion clinics. I don’t know where it comes from. Maybe that’s an idea being espoused by the hon. member, but it is not being espoused by me. The committee to which I referred, under Dr. Caudwell, is examining the report as it pertains to the application of the aspects of the federal Criminal Code that relate to therapeutic abortions -- how they’re applied in this province and how fairly they’re applied.

Ms. Gigantes: Supplementary: I’m wondering if the Minister of Health has considered adding a woman to his review committee?

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: There are two women members of the committee.

Mr. Nixon: Another one will make three.

Mr. Ruston: Take one off; they only want one.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.


Hon. Mr. Snow: I would like to reply to two questions asked on Monday, April 4, by the hon. member for Etobicoke.

Officials of my ministry did meet with members of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters on March 17 and March 31, 1977. The question of confidentiality of medical records was raised at those meetings. The first concern raised was the right of the drivers to refuse to supply an employer with a copy of the medical report. It was, of course, possible to state emphatically that the employer had no entitlement to such reports.

On the more general question of confidentiality of medical records in our files, they were advised that complete confidentiality is maintained as a matter of firm ministry policy. This is not a new policy. The ministry’s medical advisory committee has functioned for some 30 years and confidentiality of medical records has been maintained during that period and continues under the new licensing programme.

Section 143 of The Highway Traffic Act makes the original report of a medical practitioner, required under this section, privileged for the information of the registrar only and not open to public inspection. While this section does not ensure confidentiality of the types of reports filed by drivers for licensing purposes, the same policy is supplied to them without exception.

Mr. Speaker, if I may, I would also like to reply to a question asked Monday by the hon. member for Durham East also in connection with the classified drivers’ licence system.

On the matter of the diabetics being excluded from operation of heavy trucks or passenger transport, this follows the recommendation of the Canadian Medical Association and is dealt with on pages 27 and 28 of their publication, A Guide for Physicians in Determining Fitness to Drive a Motor Vehicle:

“A problem of diabetics is the risk created by the element of instability that is always present and which is subject to so many variables. Insulin reaction can be caused by irregular or skipped meals, degrees of exertion, other illnesses such as flu, nausea, et cetera, which would, at times, prevent the diabetic from adhering to the usual diabetic diet, as well as errors of the patient in insulin dosage. An insulin reaction is not always accompanied by a warning and so mental confusion, automatic behaviour without memory or ability to function normally, or complete loss of consciousness may occur. Should any of these occur while driving larger commercial vehicles, or passenger-carrying vehicles, the results are potentially that much more hazardous.”

Mr. Philip: I wonder why the minister cannot simply accept a statement by a qualified physician that the particular driver lives up to the criteria set by the ministry, rather than require the filing of all this detailed documentation that can fall into the wrong hands.

An hon. member: Like insurance companies.

Hon. Mr. Snow: Mr. Speaker, I don’t believe --

Hon. Mr. Davis: You people are experts, yes.

Hon. Mr. Snow: -- this information is at all likely to fall into the wrong hands.

Hon. Mr. Davis: Like you leave it on the desk and say it is there.

Hon. Mr. Snow: As I mentioned -- and if the Premier wouldn’t interrupt me, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker: The hon. minister.

Hon. Mr. Snow: As I stated, Mr. Speaker, it is a strict ministry policy that all these medical records are kept confidential.

Mr. Mancini: It is the moustache.

Hon. Mr. Snow: Although The Highway Traffic Act of which I quoted a section requires the strict confidentiality of these records provided under section 143, the same section does not apply to the licensing records but, as I stated, as a ministry policy we follow the same degree of confidentiality. When reviewing future amendments, if it is the feeling of the House that it should be included, I’m going to discuss with my staff when we are bringing forward amendments to the Act that we include that degree of confidentiality right in the Act. I’m prepared to say right now that I will do that.

I’m not prepared to accept a simple statement from a doctor that a person meets our standards because, of course, we have a medical review committee; we have an appeal procedure, if it’s necessary for the medical review committee to have the form forwarded to it. This is the policy in any other similar circumstance where a medical is required, that the report of the doctor is forwarded to the receiving authority so that if there is any doubt it can be reviewed by a medical review committee and not by one individual. I think this supplies a considerable degree of protection for the driver whose privileges you are concerned about protecting.


Mr. Moffatt: Mr. Speaker, I would like to say that I appreciate the minister’s comments in regard to this question which was asked the other day, but what I would like to ask him now is, is there no recognition -- and I have read the regulations -- for the degrees of insulin requirements by various individuals, given that a great many people now qualify as commercial vehicle drivers holding licences? Those people will be precluded from holding such licence after February 1, 1978, and I think we are going to get into great difficulty there. Would the minister investigate that as well?

Hon. Mr. Snow: Well, yes, Mr. Speaker, I will send the hon. member a copy of this Canadian Medical Association booklet which may help him.

In my previous answer I mentioned the medical review committee; that’s why we have that committee. I think, not being one that knowledgeable about medicine, or not having had any direct personal experience with people who have to take insulin, there are obviously different degrees of capability or seriousness of the situation. I think anyone whose driving privilege is affected by these new requirements would certainly be able to ask for a review of his or her particular situation by the medical review committee and forward the necessary doctors’ reports to support his particular degree of need so that it could be properly assessed. That’s why we have the medical review committee, so that these can be assessed on an individual basis independently, and not just take the word of one doctor’s yes or no.

Mr. Moffatt: Check with Bobby Clarke.

Mr. Cassidy: In view of the discrimination against people handicapped in this case, why is it that the diabetics are deemed not to be a risk if they drive cars; but to be a risk if they drive trucks?

Hon. Mr. Snow: I don’t believe I ever said that they are considered not to be a risk if they are driving cars either. There is a degree of risk there.

I think I said in my first answer that with a person who could be subject to becoming incapable of driving because of this handicap, the degree of danger is much more serious if he or she is driving a bus down the highway with 50 or 60 passengers in it or driving a large semi-trailer than it is if he is driving his automobile. Of course, there is no doubt that if his degree of illness, shall we say, is serious enough, the medical review committee would not allow him to drive a car either.


Mr. Cassidy: A question to the Attorney General, Mr. Speaker: In view of the several announcements he has made about bilingual court facilities in Ottawa, can he now give a date when bilingual court facilities will begin in the Ottawa area?

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Yes, Mr. Speaker. My best estimate at the present time is at the end of June.


Mr. Roy: Mr. Speaker, a question to the Attorney General as well: Is the Attorney General aware of a charge under section 178 of The Criminal Code, the wiretapping section, against the Niagara Falls telephone repairman who apparently found a listening device in the course of changing telephones and that this individual was in fact charged and, as I understand, acquitted?

Would the Attorney General express to the House or maybe give a directive to his officers about the propriety of an individual in the course of his work like this being charged under section 178 of The Criminal Code?

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Mr. Speaker, I am not aware of the particular case but I will be happy to learn what I can and report back to the House.

Mr. Roy: I wonder if the Attorney General as well might look at the fact that apparently section 178 of the Code covers the case where one in the course of his work -- as is stated in the Code and I read just very briefly -- “in the course of operation of a telephone or telegraph, discloses that there is a listening device.” That is why, in fact, the individual in Niagara Falls, was charged.

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: As I indicated I will look into all the circumstances of this particular case and report back to the hon. member and to the House.


Hon. Mr. Rhodes: On Friday last the hon. member for Haldimand-Norfolk (Mr. G. I. Miller) asked a question of the Premier as follows:

“Mr. Speaker, in view of the fact that the Townsend site is in my riding and in view of the fact that agriculture requires many years of planning in advance, I wonder if the initial plans for the Townsend town site have been finalized, and when they may be made available?”

The planning work connected with the preparation of the Townsend community plan has, for all intents and purposes, been concluded. The planners are now preparing the final report for printing, and I understand it will be available in approximately six weeks. The results, of course, will be presented to the council of the regional municipality of Haldimand-Norfolk. In conjunction with this, however, the planning proposals will be subjected to review and evaluation by the responsible municipal and other public agencies, the citizens in the region and all other interested parties. At the conclusion of that review the province will meet with the region to determine the acceptability of the plan or the need for revising it.

Mr. Nixon: Supplementary: I wonder if the minister can indicate whether his ministry has made a decision to go ahead with the servicing of at least a part of the Townsend city site and the building of homes within the next 15 months? Secondly, is the commitment made to bring a water service either fully into the Townsend site or at least as far as Jarvis?

Hon. Mr. Rhodes: No. We have not made a firm decision to bring that servicing all the way up. As the hon. member is well aware, I’m sure, there has been some debate going on in the regional council about that. We had indicated to the council at a meeting held here in Toronto that we would like to see development take place and would like to see approximately 240 to 250 houses on the site by 1980. That decision, though, has not been finalized. That, of course, would require bringing the services, as he suggested, initially up to the site.

We have not made any commitment as far as the servicing of the area into Jarvis or Hagersville is concerned. There is still some negotiation going on between Stelco and the region and the Ministry of the Environment concerning the water supply for the Stelco steel works there -- so, it’s all to be tied together. No final decisions have been made yet.

Mr. Nixon: Supplementary: I wonder if the minister could tell us what the estimated cost would be to service the proposed 250 lots in the proposed city of Townsend? We’ve heard $40 million.

Hon. Mr. Rhodes: I think the figure of $40 million is, probably, reasonably accurate -- I would refer to my absent colleague for more exact figures -- if you went in and put the total servicing in at one time. We have been looking at the possibility of starting off and phasing the servicing, so that you would not start off with an initial cost of $40 million, but substantially less than that. This would supply the water to those two communities that really need that water supply -- Jarvis and Hagersville -- as well as getting it to the Townsend site, and possibly using a lagoon system in the early part of the stage for sewer servicing.


Mr. Makarchuk: Question to the Minister of Revenue: In view of the fact that the Provincial Auditor has concluded that, on the basis of her ministry’s decision alone, Ronto Development Company owes the province of Ontario something like $493,158 -- that’s without interest -- does the minister intend to collect this money from the company now?

Hon. Mrs. Scrivener: I have not been so informed by the auditor.

Mr. Makarchuk: Supplementary: Will the minister, first, try to find out from the auditor that the computation has been made and, second, report back to the House as to what she intends to do about the matter?

Hon. Mrs. Scrivener: I will take the matter under advisement.

Mr. Nixon: Supplementary: Can the minister at the same time undertake the review to see what the amount would be if in fact the full profit of Ronto were subject to the land speculation tax? It appears to the members of the standing committee that it could be as much as $2 million that has been forgone as a result of the order in council exempting Ronto.

Hon. Mrs. Scrivener: My ministry has already been represented and has expressed its opinion before the public accounts committee.


Mr. Stong: Does the Attorney General propose the establishing of county court facilities in Willowdale and the building of a provincial court complex at Woodbine and Steeles? If so, does he intend to continue with the court complex at Newmarket? Again, if so, when does he intend to commence the project at Newmarket?

Mr. Hodgson: That was announced last week.

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: I know of no proposed county court facilities in Willowdale. When the courthouse is built in the north end of the county, it would be hoped there would be county court and indeed Supreme Court facilities there. I believe the Minister of Government Services (Mr. J. R. Smith) made an announcement last week with respect to the commencement date. I’m afraid I can’t tell the member off the top of my head what it is at the moment.


Mr. Grande: My question is to the Minister of Health. Is he concerned that senior citizens are getting ripped off in nursing homes, in particular at the Lincoln Place Nursing Home? Is he aware that these senior citizens are being charged for services which they do not receive? Is he also aware that the ripoff has been going on since January 1975 and that Mr. Graham, chief of the nursing home inspection service, has known about it since May 1976 and to this date has done nothing about it?

Will the minister order an investigation or a review of the nursing home regarding pricing of services, whether the prices charged are legal and whether those residents who have been charged for services not rendered will be reimbursed?

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, while I am on my feet, may I correct my answer to the member for Carleton East earlier? I said two of the members of the review committee were members of the female sex. I was incorrect. It’s three out of the four nominated by the OHA and the OMA.

Mr. Lewis: What was that? Members of the female sex?

Mr. Speaker: Now the answer to this question.

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: I believe the name of the nursing home in question is Lincoln Place. I haven’t had any correspondence from the member. Fortunately, I do read the newspapers and members of my staff have talked with Mr. Corder, who is the head of our inspection branch. That matter is being investigated. As soon as I have a report on the matter, I will get back to the member.


Mr. Spence: I have a question of the Minister of Labour. Could the minister inform me if any progress has been made in settling the strike at Tube Turns of Canada Limited in Ridgetown? As has been brought to my attention, there is big concern.

Hon. B. Stephenson: To my knowledge, that strike is not as yet settled but the members of the mediation conciliation branch are in touch with both parties. If there is anything of event to report to members, I shall certainly report to the House.


Ms. Sandeman: I have a question for the Minister of Community and Social Services. In view of the fact that the Ministry of Community and Social Services has underspent its budget by some $31 million this year, could the minister explain why he is finding it so hard to give an immediate increase to recipients of family benefits and general welfare payments?

Mr. Conway: And don’t shout; just settle right down. Your one pair of shoes won’t last.

Hon. Mr. Norton: I have no intention of shouting. I am very calm.

Mr. Speaker: Will the hon. minister answer this particular question and just ignore the interjections, please?


Hon. Mr. Norton: I am sure the hon. member realizes, for one thing, that increases in the level of support for family benefits and the other income-support programmes are not a one-shot affair. While it’s under consideration, the matter has to take into consideration resources on a longer-term basis than just at this particular moment in time. I would point out, just to put it in perspective, that under the family benefits alone we pay out almost $30 million per month in support under that one programme, not taking into consideration general welfare assistance and the other income-support programmes.

So although the $30 million that the member referred to -- and I can’t at this point confirm whether that’s an accurate figure or not, but assuming that it is -- seems like a very substantial amount of money, taken in the total picture of what the cost is in terms of income support programmes it is not such a large amount. It would be substantially less than one month’s commitment, and if one looks at the long term, then I think one has to look at it more carefully before jumping to the conclusion that it’s a good way to get rid of some excess money you have in the budget at the moment.

Ms. Sandeman: Mr. Speaker, is the minister aware that for family benefits recipients it is often the short term that is the most important to them, and that in the short term of last year the underspending could have meant an average increase of 9.7 per cent to family benefits and general welfare recipients had it been put to those budgets?

Hon. Mr. Norton: I can’t, again, confirm the member’s figures or her calculations. I’d be glad to take a look at them.

Mr. Cassidy: Oh, for God’s sake.

Hon. Mr. Norton: But I might add that certainly I’m aware of the importance of the short term and the long term and I think it would be totally irresponsible of us to jump to the conclusion that an immediate and perhaps very popular short-term infusion of funds might be very popular at the moment and create a great public response. I want to find a more reasonable and longer-term proposal that is going to be of more substance to the people in the province of Ontario who are receiving income supplements.

Mr. Cassidy: You are just a trendy version of James Taylor.

Mr. Warner: Did James Taylor leave you all his old speeches?

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Mr. B. Newman: Would the minister consider phasing out any family benefits received by a recipient in case of the death of one of the members included in the family benefits team, rather than reducing it automatically on the death of the individual -- phasing it out over a period of time?

Hon. Mr. Norton: I would certainly be prepared to take a look at that. If the member could give me details of a particular case, I’d be quite prepared to look into it at the present time.

Mr. Warner: At the same time.

Mr. McClellan: Why don’t you do something?

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Hon. Mr. Norton: There is a phasing-out programme under other circumstances. I’m not aware of the details in the case of death, but I’d be quite prepared to have a look at it.


Mr. Mancini: I have a question for the Minister of Agriculture and Food. Is the minister going to take action so that the farmers of Essex county and Ontario will no longer have to pay more for gasoline while they’re buying in bulk than they would when they buy at the retail level?

Hon. W. Newman: Mr. Speaker, if the hon. member will check back through Hansard, I did cover that aspect of it. As far as the --

Mr. Conway: Have you done anything?

Mr. Nixon: It is still more expensive in bulk.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. Will the hon. minister ignore the interjections and answer the first question.

Hon. W. Newman: Mr. Speaker, I would suggest the hon. member should talk to his federal counterpart who put the five-cent tax on diesel fuel for farmers, for number one.

Mr. Nixon: What about your tax?

Mr. Breithaupt: What about your sales tax?

Hon. W. Newman: As far as tax is concerned in the province of Ontario, we don’t tax the agricultural community for gasoline or diesel fuel.

Mr. Sargent: What about your 19-cent tax?

An hon. member: They’re exempt.

Mr. Speaker: Order.

Mr. Mancini: Supplementary: In view of the fact the farmers are now paying an average of three cents more per gallon while buying in bulk, does the Minister of Agriculture and Food have any plans for writing or getting information as to why these companies are allowed to do this? And does he also plan to take any steps, such as possibly writing himself to these companies to see if he can persuade them to lower their prices, in view of the fact that the farmers are already under severe hardships?

Mr. MacDonald: He is in favour of higher prices. Be frank, you are in favour of higher prices.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Hon. W. Newman: Mr. Speaker, I have already had correspondence with the Minister of Energy (Mr. Taylor) and had quite a lengthy reply back from him on the matter; it’s a matter of delivery by tank truck load and other matters. I think the member should ask the Minister of Energy (Mr. Taylor) for details on it, but certainly I will be glad to give the member the facts that I have if he wants them.

Mr. Warner: I heard be can’t read, Bill.

Mr. Speaker: The hon. Attorney General has the answer to a question asked previously.


Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Mr. Speaker, on Monday of this week, April 4, the hon. leader of the Liberal Party asked a question concerning the current Ontario Municipal Board hearings on the Toronto central core bylaw. At that time I agreed to provide further information with respect to senior citizens’ projects. It is my information that there are four senior citizens’ projects involved, which are being dealt with separately and apart from the core bylaw.

First, restricted area amendment bylaw 590-76 and 591-76 involves a senior citizens’ apartment building on the north side of Queen Street between Beverley and John Streets. No objections were filed to this project and it was approved on March 18 and the board’s order was issued on that date.

Second, restricted area amendment bylaw 616-76 and 616-77 involves a senior citizens’ apartment building on the southeast corner of Sherbourne Street and Dundas Street east. On March 18 the OMB was advised by the city legal department that formal application for approval is not now being made.

Third, restricted area amendment bylaw 620-76 and 622-76 involves a senior citizens’ building at numbers 12 to 14 Spadina Road. Objections have been received and a hearing is scheduled for May 19.

Fourth, restricted area amendment bylaw 566-76 and 567-76 involves a senior citizens’ apartment building on the south side of College Street, west of Spadina, east of Augusta Avenue. Objections have been received and the date for a hearing has been set for July 25.

The reasons that the senior citizens’ restricted-area amendment bylaws were capable of being separated from the core bylaw hearing is that these amending bylaws have, in fact, been passed by the city council. The matters that cannot be severed from the main core bylaw hearing are those applications to the council for amendments to restricted-area bylaws where the council has refused to pass the amendments.

As I understand the process, the hearing of the core bylaw involves a three-stage process: first of all, the consideration of the official plan as a whole; secondly, the consideration then of the particular height bylaw, and then the third stage of the process is the amendments to the bylaw, or I should say the exemptions that are requested to the bylaw. Because it has to be carried on in this three- stage process it is not possible, I understand, to separate out any of the other projects.

I would like to underline the concern of myself and my colleagues for the rate of unemployment in the province, and particularly the concerns of the construction industry. Following my meeting last week with the chairman, I wrote him a letter as follows:

“There has been much recent concern over the rising rate of unemployment and in particular the increase in unemployment in the construction industry. Representatives of the construction industry have indicated that part of the problem stems from a delay in applications for new construction projects which must be approved by the OMB.

“I believe we should do everything possible to ensure the construction projects are not being delayed by our inability to process the OMB applications within a reasonable time. It is my view that we should give priority to OMB applications which involve new construction projects. I would appreciate your comments on my suggestion along with any difficulties you anticipate would be encountered in scheduling such applications in priority to the other work of the OMB.”

In conclusion, I therefore invite any members of the construction industry, those involved in the industry, to advise us of any particular specific projects where they believe it would be in the public interest to expedite hearings before the OMB, and we would certainly lend our good offices to the expedition of these hearings. I understand further that the Treasurer of the province has had a similar conversation recently with the chairman to the same effect.

Mr. Speaker: May I suggest to the hon. Attorney General that an answer that length really should have been given in statements by the ministry.

Hon. Mr. Snow: But it was an important question.


Mr. Bounsall: A question of the Minister of Labour, Mr. Speaker: Is the minister really aware that the length of vocational retraining allowed by the Workmen’s Compensation Board, and therefore the type of course or programme that could be approved for an injured workman, is tied directly, and therefore limited, to his degree of residual disability or pension rating, irrespective of what course has been determined by Manpower, for example, through testing, as being the most appropriate course for that person, taking into account his interest, ability, intelligence and permanent productive prospects for the future?

Hon. B. Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, I shall answer this extremely carefully because although I have been aware for a very long time of the relative weakness of the male sector of our species I really didn’t know --

Mr. Peterson: Compared to who?

Hon. B. Stephenson: -- until yesterday just how hypersensitive and how tremendously fragile were the psyches of the official opposition. Therefore, I shall be very sure in future that no words of mine will ever disturb their psyches unduly.

Mr. Breithaupt: Again.

Hon. B. Stephenson: Yes, I am aware of the kinds of limitations which are placed upon the rehabilitation programme. I am aware that these limitations are under review at the moment and that indeed there is to be a move to the direction of expansion of what has been a limitation in the past.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. The oral question period has expired.


Mr. Breaugh: On a point of personal privilege, Mr. Speaker, earlier today the Minister of Housing inferred that the Assisted Home Ownership Programme has an income ceiling. May I just simply quote from page 8 of the CMHC information booklet on AHOP, one line? “There is no income limit.”

Hon. Mr. Rhodes: Mr. Speaker, on the point of privilege.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. I think if anything, it was a point of order which was raised as soon as he could. If there is a brief reply I’ll allow it.

Hon. Mr. Rhodes: Mr. Speaker, the hon. member has suggested that my answer to his original question was not correct.

Mr. Lewis: It wasn’t.

Hon. Mr. Rhodes: The hon. member is referring to the CMHC-AHOP programme which quite properly does not have income limitations. If the hon. member will look at the new programme of the combining of AHOP and HOME he will find that there are built-in limitations of income, and he knows that is correct.

Mr. Speaker: Presenting reports.



Hon. Mr. McKeough moved first reading of Bill 24, The Audit Act, 1977.

Motion agreed to.


Mr. B. Newman moved first reading of Bill 25, The Medical Data Bank Act, 1977.

Motion agreed to.

Mr. B. Newman: Mr. Speaker, the purpose of this bill is to establish a medical data bank in which would be stored in computerized form the medical histories of persons in Ontario who wish to participate in such a bank. The proposed bank would be operated and maintained by the provincial Ministry of Health and every public hospital would have an outlet for the medical histories of persons using that hospital.

Written consent of a person concerned would be required before the record is stored in the bank and the medical history could not be removed without the written consent of his or her legally qualified medical practitioner. Social insurance numbers would be used for identification when using the medical data bank. Participation in the medical data bank would be on a volunteer basis only.


Mr. Speaker: Orders of the day.


Resumption of the adjourned debate on the amendment to the motion for an address in reply to the speech of the Honourable the Lieutenant Governor at the opening of the session.

Mr. Cunningham: Mr. Speaker, when I concluded last night I possibly made an inappropriate remark with regard to one of my colleagues, and to that end I would like to say that I am sorry.

Mr. Lewis: Your language was positively filthy.

Mr. Cunningham: I don’t want to engage in a debate with the hon. Leader of the Opposition because he’s been here a lot longer than I have, and he may stay a lot longer than I will.

Mr. Lewis: I doubt it.

Mr. Roy: I wouldn’t count on that.

Mr. Cunningham: I would only say to him at this time that my language was not filthy. There are some in this House whose language is filthy, he is not one of them, of course.

Many hon. members have read of the memo -- I don’t think any of us has seen the memo from the Ministry of Government Services. I see the minister is in his seat at this time; if he’d like to send us the memo advising the ministry to bill firms now and to bill at a higher rate, I’d like to see the contents of it myself. I certainly would appreciate it. I know the Hamilton District Chamber of Commerce would like to receive it as well; they were interested in the contents of it.

I must say I was somewhat disappointed to read, in the account published in the Toronto Globe and Mail, that it was requested by a senior official in the Ministry of Government Services that his associates contact their suppliers with a view to getting their bills in and getting them in at the highest possible rate before the end of the fiscal year in order that the ministry could maintain or increase its budget in the coming year.

Hon. J. R. Smith: Only for work in that fiscal year.

Mr. Cunningham: It’s hardly a standard business practice in the private sector, but I think it is typical of the stupidity that occurs in that particularly ministry. I can only say that it indicates quite clearly to me the need for the practices of zero-base budgeting. I think they should be considered very seriously as soon as possible. Ministries unable to meet their programme demands, and that fall below budget levels, should be hard-pressed, in my view, to justify budget increases in subsequent years. On the other hand ministries that over-spend their budgets should require serious analysis.

I was pleased to see today that we’re going to be giving consideration to The Audit Act. I think we should give some serious consideration to increasing the staff of our Provincial Auditor, Mr. Scott. I believe he and his staff have served the Legislature and the taxpayers very well, and especially indicating recently the abuse in the land speculation tax system and the problems in OHIP and a tremendous waste of millions at Minaki Lodge.

The government currently employs more than 14,000 contract employees. While I would say that some contracting can be justified, the process is often open to gross abuse in the form of patronage. The Civil Service Commission must be directed, I believe, to recommend guidelines which have economy and staff reductions as their first principles.

Serious consideration should be given to reorganizing and streamlining the cabinet. I was told not long ago that the cabinet in the British House has, I think, 25 persons operating 25 ministries. It’s inconceivable to me that in a province with eight million people, with various other levels of government sharing responsibilities, we should have the number of people we do have in the cabinet at the current time.

I would suggest that we could possibly give consideration to combining the Ministry of Colleges and Universities and the Ministry of Education because the two are so closely related. The tiny policy of the Ministry of Energy, I believe, should be combined with the Ministry of the Environment; they are directly related and, as things become more difficult in future as far as conservation of energy and the importance of our environment are concerned, I think a combination of them would serve us all very well. Correctional Services, at the same time, might well be combined with the Solicitor General’s office, and Revenue could well be moved into the Ministry of Treasury, Economics and Intergovernmental Affairs.

I believe, as I said earlier in my speech, that if all the ministries of this government served the people of northern Ontario effectively, there would be no need for a Ministry of Northern Affairs. In my view, there is no need for ministers without portfolio who, I respectfully submit, cost the taxpayers of Ontario at least $160,000 a year in current operating figures, and probably a considerable amount more thereafter, in the form of pensions, et cetera. In these times of restraint, the fact that we have such high-priced help, which I don’t particularly think is required, really is a very serious condemnation of our sense of revenues and priorities -- especially when we are contemplating closing hospitals or maintaining low or inadequate levels of workmen’s compensation payments or family benefits assistance.

The cost of the Premier’s office itself is indicative of spending trends in the province of Ontario. The total cost of this, I believe, now approaches something in the area of almost $2 million per year. We have people in the building tripping all over themselves in that office -- some in this building who could be replaced with signs.

From my perspective, many wage settlements bear no relationship to productivity. While I don’t want to malign any particular union or group, I would say that some unions, both in the public and private sector, have abused their position. In Canadian society, we have rather inadequate methods of settling labour disputes. I would have hoped through the course of the Speech from the Throne that we would have seen some indication that some tremendous improvements would occur in the provincial sector. It is not surprising that we see the kind of unfortunate adversary types of systems that have developed.

It’s obvious to me now that we would do well to consider new methods of settling disputes, and they should be implemented immediately. I refer now to the need for updating our labour laws, the possibility of labour courts, recognition of final-offer selection as a method of collective bargaining, and productivity incentives -- especially incentives for profit-sharing which our tax system should recognize and encourage.

I’d like, very briefly, to make a few comments on private enterprise. Initially, I should admit my bias in this regard. I’m a product of that system and it’s a way of life I prefer to see continued. The late Robert Winters, the former federal cabinet minister, a Liberal, and prominent Canadian industrialist, once stated: “The more good decisions made in board rooms, the fewer will have to be made in cabinet chambers.” And, while that was said a number of years ago, I don’t think that is wrong.

Not long ago the chairman of the board of Labatts, also the owner of our new Blue Jays, stated: “Government ownership is no substitute for and guarantee of good management.” I think he was very correct in that regard.

Mr. Philip: We’re not going to nationalize the Blue Jays.

Mr. Cunningham: No, I don’t think the Blue Jays will have to be nationalized. They could use some hitters, I think, though.

I would have liked to have spent some time talking about the Anti-Inflation Board and some other subjects, but time does not permit.

Before I would conclude, I would like to make a few brief remarks on our regional system of government in Hamilton-Wentworth. When it was imposed on my constituents, they were assured there would be no loss of autonomy, there would be improved services, better strategy for growth, and a break on municipal taxes. I would respectfully submit that the opposite has occurred. Services have declined, the taxes continue to go up, there is currently no strategy for growth, local communities are losing their identities, duplication and confusion prevails. I seriously feel that our fiscal situation in that area will continue to deteriorate if a complete administrative overhaul is not considered immediately.

I’m pleased to see that the provincial Treasurer is in his seat at this particular point in time, and, possibly, I might through this speech ask him to give serious consideration to such a review. I’ve done it on a number of occasions and I’d like to see it undertaken as soon as possible, because I seriously do not believe we are going to be able to continue that structure of government as it currently exists. I see some study was given recently to the Ottawa-Carleton area, and I would hope the same consideration would be given to our region. I appreciate the efforts of the many people who work in the region, or for the region, and particularly the chairman, who is a fine person. But until administrative reform occurs, the cost to the taxpayer, I believe, will continue to rise.

Some people refer to the Hamilton-Wentworth region as a family. To that end, given the increase in taxes and the decrease in services, I think some of the communities in my riding should sue for non-support.

These are exciting times in the province of Ontario. The challenges are many and I believe these are times that require effective and immediate solutions to the problems. I also believe all members of this House have the moral commitment to work together on these contentious issues and our main challenge, I believe, is to see it through.

Mr. Davison: It is with great pleasure that I rise to participate in the Throne Speech debate and to reply to the Speech from the Throne. I promise to keep my remarks rather short.

Since I was elected to this assembly, there has been one agency of government that has continually caused severe hardships to large numbers of my constituents. That agency is the Workmen’s Compensation Board. My staff and I have spent countless hours working with injured workmen trying to rectify some of the problems and some of the wrongs being done by this board in Hamilton. I can think of no agency that has caused more social damage in the community I represent.

There is something terribly wrong with the Workmen’s Compensation Board and I’m thoroughly convinced that only the most drastic kind of action at this time can even begin to resolve the problems with the board. This is a most serious matter and I will not do it the injustice of attempting to deal with it in the limited time available in this debate. However, I would like to put the government on notice that I will take every opportunity in the coming months to raise this matter in an exhaustive fashion and to detail case after case where injustices have been perpetrated upon my constituents by the Workmen’s Compensation Board. Let me assure you, Mr. Speaker, that I won’t be the only member of the official opposition who will be doing so.

I would like to take this opportunity to bring before the House in some detail a matter that is becoming more and more urgent as the end of the month approaches For some time now, I have been quite concerned about certain individuals and certain businesses that are purchasing income tax refunds at rather considerable discounts in this province. April 30 is the tax deadline, so the need for speedy action is quite obvious.

In early February, these companies came to my attention as the result of constituents coming into my office and complaining about them. These businesses take an individual’s income tax information and provide an estimate of the tax refund. The client may then sell the full return for a portion of the refund which is then received in immediate cash. Power of attorney is turned over to the companies and the individual never sees the actual amount that he is reimbursed by the government. Any error, unintentionally or otherwise, on the part of the company or the individual can result in a substantial windfall profit for these companies without the knowledge of the client.

There is no standard percentage taken by these firms. What they do, is they make a determination, based on risk and based on the amount of money one is to get in his return, and refund him usually 60 per cent or less of the amount of money shown on your return. If one chooses to look at the fees they charge as interest rates, as some people do choose to look at them, compounded annually they can equal 2,000 per cent in some cases. It’s totally outrageous.

It was immediately apparent to me that the public was being ripped off by these companies. These companies have been, and still are, gouging those constituents of ours who can least afford it, the constituents of every member of this assembly, because the people most vulnerable to these services are those in such dire financial straits that immediate cash is necessary. I’m sure this House is the one forum in which I don’t have to make the case against this kind of activity. I’m sure that all members understand the kind of social damage that can result when so much money is taken out of people’s pockets.

Earlier this week, no less a radical rag than the Toronto Star criticized these activities in an editorial. It said: “There is something wrong when operators can prey on people, many of them unsophisticated and often desperate for money, by charging exorbitant rates.” Even that champion of consumer rights, that Ralph Nader of Ontario, our own Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations (Mr. Handleman), has lashed out at these firms. He said, and I quote: “We consider it almost to be a criminal offence,” or, and I quote again: “In our view, they ought to be prohibited and not merely regulated.” When constituents brought this matter to my attention, I made some initial inquiries.


Mr. Philip: But only by the federal government.

Mr. Davison: Yes, stand in line. I made some initial inquiries when my constituents brought this matter to my attention and I was quite surprised to find out that these operators aren’t breaking any laws. They are not breaking any municipal laws, they are not breaking any federal laws. There is no legislation in place.

It seemed to me at the time that the obvious next step was to write our dear old Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations about the matter, and I did so on February 15, 1977. I explained the situation and asked the minister to investigate the matter. I suggested that he propose changes to current laws that would get these services under control.

On February 22, the minister put pen to paper and signed what seemed at the time to be a more or less reasonable reply to my request. After some bizarre and on my part unsolicited comments, the gist of which seemed to have been an attack on the province of Quebec, the minister finally got down to the problem at hand. He parroted my concerns and explained that his ministry’s legal advisers had told him there was no way in which the province of Ontario could claim jurisdiction in this matter.

He also told me he had absolutely no authority under The Business Practices Act to move against these corporations, and he was further able to inform me that the chances of a conviction under The Unconscionable Transactions Act were quite slight. The minister concluded his letter by saying, and I quote: “I must confess that I am as frustrated as you are in attempting to deal with these kinds of operations.”

Mr. Speaker, if I might be able to suggest to you en passant, if the minister is as frustrated or even half as frustrated as I am, I think it’s about time he stopped engaging in the practice of sell frustration. At the time I wasn’t prepared to drop the matter, so I looked into it further. I looked for solutions on the municipal level, the provincial level and the federal level, and I will deal with the municipal and federal aspects very briefly later on.

The minister clearly indicated to me in that letter that other provinces were not challenging the federal government by introducing their own legislation. I was absolutely shocked when I discovered some time later that several provinces were not only considering bringing in legislation but actually already had legislation in place. Manitoba and Saskatchewan both have excellent legislation which limits the discounters to five cents on the dollar. They are required to pay 95 cents on the dollar. Even British Columbia, which isn’t exactly a bastion of progressive government these days, has legislation on the books which requires the discounters to pay 85 per cent.

Frankly, I didn’t know what to think. I was absolutely sure that neither the minister nor his staff was deliberately trying to mislead me. The only other conclusion that I could draw from the minister’s letter of February 15 -- I am sorry, February 22 -- was that his staff was so entirely ignorant of what was happening in the other provinces in this country that it suggested an unbelievable lack of competence on its part.

I wrote to the minister in rather strong terms suggesting he should make himself aware of the fact. I also asked him to introduce legislation when this House came back into session. I also told him I couldn’t imagine how he could possibly do anything less than that. Well, how poorly sometimes those of us in the opposition understand the reality of Tory government in Ontario. As my leader was saying the other day, for the Tories in Ontario, politics is very much the art of the minimum.

On March 31, at question period, I took the opportunity to ask the minister when he would introduce legislation. He took that opportunity to pass the buck along to Ottawa. Later on the same day, Ottawa passed the buck back to the province. The minister then had the unmitigated gall to attack those provinces in this country that were doing something to protect their citizens while he was sitting about doing absolutely nothing.

Mr. Makarchuk: That’s normal for them.

Mr. Davison: I’m afraid it is.

Mr. Philip: Who was that, the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations?

Mr. Davison: Yes, “commercial protection” I think is the new name for the ministry. He said that the legislation in the other provinces was completely unconstitutional, that they had no right to be passing it. Under questioning from the Leader of the Opposition the minister admitted that in fact no jurisdiction had had their legislation successfully challenged in the court.

Mr. Speaker, let me tell the members of this House that I take a very dim view of any minister of the Crown who thinks that he’s a member of the judiciary branch of government rather than the executive or the legislative branch of government.

Mr. Makarchuk: Some of them think they are God.

Mr. Davison: Under questioning by the member for Riverdale (Mr. Renwick), the minister admitted that he hadn’t even bothered to talk with the Minister of Revenue, his cabinet colleague, about the possibility of a provincial solution. Now, I ask, how do you deal with such a character?

On April 4 I was forced to introduce a private member’s bill in an attempt to get some solution to this problem. I am sure it will be as effective as private members’ bills in the past have been, because I’m due in the lottery for Christmas, and the deadline for this is April 30.

On April 5 the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations penned another of his very weird replies to me, in which he said he was deeply disturbed. I was inclined to agree with him. He also had managed to come up with an entirely new excuse for not acting -- one that rather surprised me. Let me quote from that letter:

“We are all aware that there is now far too much legislative and administrative overlap between the two senior levels of government. Federal and provincial roles must be re-examined and rationalized. The case of the discounters is as clearcut a starting point as we will find.”

My goodness, for the sake of rationalizing overlap -- what greater cause? -- this minister is prepared to allow the people of our province to be gouged. What a sad and sorry thing government in Ontario has become.

One of the arguments that the minister uses frequently to avoid having to regulate these businesses is this desire of his to completely prohibit these sophisticated loansharking operation. It’s something new for him. That’s not an opinion he held earlier on this issue, because in an appearance by him before a recent parliamentary committee he proposed the suggestion which he himself admitted would not eliminate the practice but rather make it less profitable. In other words, Mr. Speaker, regulating the practice. There are so many examples of this minister fudging on this issue that I can’t possibly take the time to list them all.

I mentioned earlier that I would make some brief comments on the federal aspects of the situation and the municipal aspects of the situation, and I’d like to do so at this time. Clearly, the federal government is capable of acting in the matter. The reality, however, is that they have not yet passed legislation. That is not an excuse for this government to duck the issue; rather, it’s cause for this government to take action of one sort or another. I might add that if we wait for the federal Liberals to act, we could all be waiting for a very, very long time.

On March 4 of this year I wrote to the Hon. John Munro, who is the federal Liberal member in the area that I represent in this House, and asked him for his assistance in speeding up federal legislation for the protection of our mutual constituents. To this date, a month later, he has yet to even acknowledge receipt of my letter, so I don’t suggest we sit around waiting for the federal Liberal government to take action to protect the people of our province.

Last month I appeared before the city of Hamilton’s legislation, fire and licence committee to ask the committee to enact a bylaw attempting to solve this problem. The committee was quite concerned about the issue and they agreed with me. As members know, The Municipal Act does not specifically give the municipalities power to act in this area. Attack under the general sections of The Municipal Act, such as section 242, was rejected for rather obvious reasons by the city council. I am certain -- I am absolutely certain -- that if this province took the initiative to make some very minor changes in The Municipal Act -- three or four words is all it would take -- that several cities, several municipalities in our province would move to put these operators under control. I wonder, are all the members of this government, are all the members of this cabinet so unwilling to protect the consumers as the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations is? Why hasn’t one of his colleagues moved to do something about it?

I’ve given this matter a great deal of thought and I’ve spent a fair amount of time on it, and I’ve come to the conclusion that it is clearly a question of consumer protection in Ontario for Ontario residents. The failure of this ministry to protect the consumers of our province, even though the need is totally documented and admitted by the minister -- and let me say there are several ways in which it could be done -- that unwillingness, that failure is totally unacceptable by any standard imaginable.

On April 4 in this House, the Leader of the Opposition remarked on this minister, and I think he expressed the real problem we’re faced with in a way that few members of this House could have expressed it. I would like to associate myself with the remarks he made at that time. I would remind the members of just two sentences in those remarks, and I quote the Leader of the Opposition: “If I may submit to you humbly, Mr. Speaker, he is the wrong minister for anything to do with consumer protection -- anything at all, whether it’s rents or whether it’s television repairs. His refusal to consider a simple intrusion on the private marketplace to protect consumers from illegitimate private behaviour makes this often unworkable; and it leads to the minister’s own lovable eccentricities, which then govern, piously, the programmes we implement.”

But perhaps even better than the Leader of the Opposition, the problem of the current minister is best understood by the current minister. I have a copy of his testimony before a parliamentary committee in which the minister stated, regarding this very matter of consumer protection that I have raised: “Leave alone those activities in the market- place, which for the most part are self-regulatory. Again, we speak from the point of view of a philosophy. Our belief is that the less intrusion in this kind of thing, the better.” Oh, that’s a philosophy for you, boy.

In conclusion, I don’t mean to condemn the current Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations. I don’t mean to condemn him at all. I’m sure that he’s well qualified to sit as a minister of the Crown in this province. The problem is, he’s simply been given the wrong ministry. I am totally convinced, For example, that he would do a splendid job as the Minister without Portfolio.

I sincerely hope that this minister will step down from his position in the cabinet before April 30, so that something can be done about this problem and so something can be done about all the other problems faced in the field of consumer protection in this province.


Mr. Nixon: Mr. Speaker, I want to discuss only one matter with you, sir, and the other members of the House who are gathered in such numbers this afternoon. It has to do with the government’s decision to exempt Ronto Development Company from the payment of land speculation tax. The reason I bring this to your attention, sir, is that you are no doubt aware that in Votes and Proceedings, paper No. 1, there is a resolution passed by the standing committee on public accounts calling on the government to establish a select committee to look into this matter. I am afraid that it is not going to be raised by the government in any significant way, even though the instruction is there from the all-party committee, and is quite clear. I would hope, because of the information that has been put before the standing committee by the Provincial Auditor, that the government can be persuaded to take some positive action to remove the uncertainty, the lack of information and the cloud which lies over the judgement of the government in exempting Ronto Development from paying the land speculation tax.

I think you’re aware, Mr. Speaker, that the matter was referred by special resolution of the House to the standing committee which was also granted the rather special power to sit when the Legislature itself was not in session. At the meeting on February 3, 1977, the Auditor, who attends all of the public accounts meetings and is the main source of professional advice in this connection, was instructed to gather information and documents pertaining to the decision of the government to exempt Ronto Development Company from the payment of the land speculation tax.

The delay, until the Auditor brought the material before the committee on March 29, was caused by the fact that he had to undertake many visits to a number of offices to look over the extensive files in these offices of the papers and materials associated with the Ronto Development matter and then make judicious extraction from those documents; those which he felt would be of importance and significance to the standing committee on public accounts. So it wasn’t until March 29 that the Auditor put the materials before the members of the committee for our perusal.

We had an opportunity to look at these documents and they were voluminous indeed. They formed a stack about six inches high, although they were all carefully indexed and tabulated so that we could consider them more readily than would have otherwise been the case. We came to the conclusion as a committee because of the importance of the matter and for other reasons that I’ll bring to your attention, Mr. Speaker, during the course of my remarks, that it was essential that this House move to establish a select committee so that a more careful investigation into this important matter could be undertaken.

I simply bring to your attention, sir, that the decision by order in council of the government meant that the Treasury of the province was by this decision in a position to forgo as much as $2 million in legitimate taxation. Basically, Route Investments purchased the property, which was in Brant county and is now by annexation in the city of Brantford, for just under $1.5 million. Less than two years later the property was sold for $12 million. It was not developed as required by The Land Speculation Tax Act for forgiveness of the tax or exemption. It was by order in council that Ronto was exempted.

I want to tell you, Mr. Speaker, first something about the land in question. It is a well known farm in the area of Brant county. I suppose if you were to pick out the best fanning land in the whole of the county -- you would find that farm among the 10 most productive, most fertile farms. Because of its location right close to the city of Brantford and now within the city of Brantford, I suppose it was inevitable that it be developed under the present procedures for land-use planning. I would think a decade from now it would be impossible, whatever government is in office in the province or in Canada, or whatever the thoughts of any local council, to put that land to ordinary development purposes.

I feel it is essential -- and I don’t want to get off the track of my remarks -- that this House takes action as soon as we possibly can to see that there is a procedure whereby such excellent land is not going to be developed in a way which means that forever it will be lost for the production of food material. I’ve heard so many members of this House talk about the need to protect class 1 land, but I wish that I could take the interested members to see that farm which is one of the best in the province.

A good friend of mine, James W. Pate, inherited it from his father. I can remember him being in high school when the sad news of Jim Pate’s father dying came to our attention. Jim, who was 18 or even younger at that time, left school to take up farming full time. He has made an excellent success of it with the help of his charming wife, and I believe four or five sons, all of them very able young men, well known in the community.

The fact that the farm was on the edge of the very rapid development coming out toward the northeast from Brantford meant that under our present laws and planning regulations it was inevitable that it would be developed and Mr. Pate, I think very wisely, decided to take some initiative in that connection, and I understand sought out the possibilities of making a sale, so that he could use the proceeds to relocate himself and his family so that they could continue farming with the skill that they have and enjoying the lifestyle which certainly is an enviable one.

I wanted just to indicate, however, sir, the materials that came before the standing committee which prompted us to consider and finally pass a resolution calling for the establishment of a select committee to look into this. Because the first instance that concerned us was that the government, in giving its indication of the reasons for the exemption from the land speculation tax, decided that the transfer of the land from Mr. Pate to Ronto took place on September 18, 1973.

Mr. Speaker, I apologize in advance for having to refer to some specific dates, but they are essential, because this Legislature in its wisdom passed the land speculation tax on April 9, 1974. As a matter of fact that is not the date it was passed, but it was introduced into the Legislature following the Treasurer’s budget of that time, and it was many weeks later before it became law. But one of the sections indicated that its application began April 9, 1974.

Now the document that the Auditor provided for us was referred to by the solicitor for Ronto when he appeared before our committee, Mr. E. A. Goodman. He indicated that the document itself was essentially the sale document. It was then possible for the officials in the Ministry of Revenue to establish the sale date at that time.

Upon examination of that document it became clear that it was very little more than an offer to purchase, very little more than an option -- a nine-month to a 12-month option -- giving Ronto the opportunity to buy the property if certain conditions were fulfilled. For a period of nine months Mr. Pate, the original owner, was not permitted to sell the property to anyone else. I suppose it was on that basis that the solicitor for Ronto wanted to have the earlier date established as the date of the sale of the land or the acquisition of the land.

Now in fact the deed was transferred much later than that. It was transferred on June 25, 1974. Since this was substantially after The Land Speculation Tax Act went into force, the timing of the sale for taxation purposes is of great importance indeed.

One of the first questions that was asked the Provincial Auditor was as to his opinion on the decision made by the Ministry of Revenue on whether or not the sale took place the previous fall, that is before the land speculation tax became law, or in fact after it. The Provincial Auditor said -- and I don’t blame him for this -- “I am not a lawyer, but in my opinion the sale took place after The Land Speculation Tax Act came into force.”

I will try to explain in a few moments how important this is. It has no bearing on any possible payment by Mr. Pate of this tax, because you can easily find that the transaction between Ronto and Mr. Pate was at a level where no land speculation tax would be paid, and of course Mr. Pate had been the owner and the bona fide farmer of the property for his whole lifetime, and his father and his grandfather before him. So we are not talking about that particular matter.

As a matter of fact, although it has no significance in this House, Mr. Pate will be subject to the federal tax, capital gains tax, because the valuation, of course, would have gone up from the evaluation day pertaining to the federal capital gains legislation. There is a strange anomaly in that case where the one government is attempting to set a value which would mean that the value of the Pate land to Mr. Pate had accrued to the largest amount so that he would be liable for the largest amount of capital gains tax, whereas another government seems to be attempting to establish a value in a slightly different direction for special purposes of the land speculation tax computations.

But I wanted to bring to your attention, Mr. Speaker, that the Auditor himself expressed an opinion to the committee that he felt for tax purposes the sale of the land should properly be construed as of June 25, 1974. There is no verbatim record of the statements made before the committee on public accounts and I trust that I am in no way misleading the House in putting to you, sir, in the words that I have used, what I consider to be the views expressed by the Auditor.

But I would also like to quote from one of the papers that the Auditor put before us. It is a letter signed by Mr. I. Stephenson, one of the directors of the Ministry of Revenue, and I quote from the fourth paragraph of his letter dated February 18, 1976. “On the basis of the information provided, it would appear that the designated lands were acquired by the transferor after April 9, 1974.”

So in the first instance when this matter was brought to the attention of the Ministry of Revenue it was clear to them that the transference date from Mr. Pate to Ronto was after the establishment of The Land Speculation Tax Act. The reason that this is important is that because of certain events which I don’t intend to be talking about here in any detail, Ronto felt that they did not want to carry on the development of the land themselves to the point where they were fully serviced and the lots ready for building. They entered almost immediately into negotiations with a company called George Wimpey Canada Limited for the sale of the whole tract of land, about 340 acres.

It is interesting to see the documents indicating that the exchanges of views between these two large development firms, and without going into any detail, it is clear that the transference was intended to be made, for example, without a real estate agent having been involved. It is interesting to note that the transference from Mr. Pate to Ronto Development makes no indication of any agent having been present or having been used in the transference or the sale of the property. But when Ronto finally did decide that it was going to complete a sale to Wimpey, then the amount of $12 million, which was the purchase price, an extremely high price indeed, a very profitable price indeed, would give some real concern as to the payment of the land speculation tax.

Whereas the solicitor for Ronto, Mr. Goodman, had indicated in his letter to the Ministry of Revenue that a good deal of development had already taken place, still there is not a clear indication that the land was serviced to the extent, as Mr. Goodman said in his letter to the Ministry of Revenue, and I believe I can quote it: “The pipes are practically in the ground.” It was really far from that. And while this may have just been more or less a loose use of words, still there is no indication that the land itself was developed and was therefore under the provisions of The Land Speculation Tax Act that it could be exempted.

It was not developed. In fact, it was sold by Ronto to Wimpey and was developed after that sale took place; that is, the servicing was established well after that sale took place.

I can quote. Mr. Speaker, from a communication addressed to Mr. I. Stephenson, director, succession duty branch, Ministry of Revenue, from the solicitor for Ronto. The letter is dated February 13 and he says in the second page, the third paragraph: “You will notice that it is also a term of the condition that a subdivision agreement be assigned prior to the closing. In short, our client has done everything except put the pipes into the ground.”


Obviously the solicitor for Ronto had to sue all of his undoubted abilities to persuade the Ministry of Revenue that an exemption could be recommended to the government of Ontario on a bona fide basis. I’m not for a moment saying this letter is misleading, other than to say that there is no evidence that was put before the committee that the services were in. As a matter of fact, the member for Brantford (Mr. Makarchuk), who at that particular time had just left his services as a councillor for the city of Brantford, was able to bring to us the dates for the calling of contracts for the servicing of this land and those dates were very much later than the dates of the matters that I am putting before you, Mr. Speaker, today.

I have also been considerably concerned as well that an evaluation of the property known now as Brantwood Estates -- it used to be the Brantwood Farm -- in our area, was carried out by a firm from Waterloo, W. H. Reimer. The evaluation was carried out on behalf of Ronto, who were very much concerned that the huge profit, if it were to be taxable based on the price they had given Mr. Pate, would have subjected them to a land speculation tax in excess of $2 million. So they hired Mr. Reimer to make an evaluation of the property at valuation day for land speculation tax which was April 9.

By coincidence, the some firm, W. H. Reimer, had been inserted into the Pate-Ronto deal as an agent and had been paid $36,250 on June 4, 1974, in its capacity as an agent. The same firm, according to the material given to us by the Auditor, was used to evaluate the same property for the purposes of the sale by Ronto to George Wimpey Canada Limited, and in order to establish a value for the land. Mr. Reimer, as certainly was appropriate, examined the sales of a number of properties in the area at about that time, and in this connection there is a further communication from the solicitor for Ronto indicating as follows -- this is a letter from the solicitor for Ronto, once again to Mr. I. Stephenson of the Ministry of Revenue, dated March 10, 1976. Now I quote from the main paragraph of the letter:

“The designated lands were purchased under an agreement of purchase end sale dated September 18, 1973.” In parenthesis, I simply bring to the attention of the House that this follows the one from Mr. Stephenson indicating that the sale was after April 7, 1974. So they’re trying to establish this date for evaluation purposes. “The transaction was closed on June 26, 1974. The valuation we have used as of April 9, 1974, can be substantiated by sales of adjacent properties owned by one Webster which sold at a price of $20,000 an acre. Prior to April 9, 1974, our client’s lands were annexed to the city of Brantford which substantially increased its value.”

Now written in the margin of the letter that is provided to us by the Provincial Auditor is a notation, “October 1, 1974.” In other words, in spite of the letter signed by the solicitor for Ronto, Mr. E. A. Goodman. the annexation did not take place prior to April 9, but in fact took place some months later, October 1, 1974. The letter also refers to the fact that the property owned by one Webster was used as the basis for evaluation. Now one Webster happens to be Max Webster, who is a well-known entrepreneur, a farmer --

Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order, please. Will the hon. member for Scarborough Centre (Mr. Drea) keep his voice down? I understand he’s the next speaker on my list. The hon. member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk has the floor.

Mr. Nixon: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Breaugh: He’s warming up.

Mr. Nixon: The gentleman who is referred to in Mr. Goodman’s letter is the vice-chairman of the Ontario Racing Commission, obviously a good friend of Mr. Ron Todgham, now deceased. The valuation of the Ronto land -- president, Mr. Todgham -- has been established basically by comparing it with the value of the lands owned by Mr. Max Webster in a nearby and adjoining area. Upon reading, as carefully as we can, the documents that the Auditor has provided for us, it’s clear that Mr. Webster and the representatives of Ronto -- whether it was Mr. Todgham at that time or not -- co-operated in working with the city of Brantford on the establishment of this area and its developmental plan.

I would emphasize to you, Mr. Speaker, that in terms of what I’m talking about now, I can’t see anything wrong in the procedures. I would be critical of the solicitor for Ronto for perhaps overstating the position of the lands under discussion because they had not been annexed, as his letter claimed, and there is some indication that the servicing of the land had not gone nearly as far as the letter had indicated.

When we come to the sale of the properties from Ronto to Wimpey, which had been negotiated all during this year, the Auditor has provided the members of the committee with a number of draft agreements. On a number of these agreements, we find it is clearly indicated that no agent would be owed in the sale, As a matter of fact, it states clearly in some of the drafts: “No agent used.”

After a while, particularly when it becomes quite clear that the sale from Ronto to Wimpey is not going to go forward -- because, at the price at which the land is going to be transferred, the $2 million or nearly $2 million in land speculation tax tends, let’s say, to dilute the advantages of the sale to some extent -- there’s a tendency for the negotiations to sag a bit. Then another draft comes forward and there is an agent referred to.

Let me make it clear that the seller, Ronto, and the buyer, Wimpey, were clearly in negotiation for some months before the agent, Ernest Goodman -- and I want to make it clear that this is not the E. A. Goodman who was the solicitor for Ronto -- was brought on the scene.

Mr. Ferrier: Is he related?

Mr. Nixon: It is very interesting to see the documents as they were put before us by the Auditor, because the first communication directed to Mr. Ernest Goodman was delivered by hand to the Primrose Club. There’s some indication that they didn’t even know where to find his business address, although that, of course, seems to be incredible. But the copies of the letter put before the members of the committee indicated that the communication was put before the agent at the Primrose Club.

It’s very difficult to see what function the real estate agent, Ernest Goodman, was able to perform, since the buyer and the seller were already in quite deep negotiation -- over the numbers of lots that would be transferred and the whole thing -- and the copies of these negotiating forms have been put before us. Then this agent comes along. I’m sure he’s a bona fide agent, a very able person indeed, but it seems to me that he did little or nothing for the fee of $400,000 that was paid to him.

Mr. Worton: That is a commission.

Mr. Nixon: All of these matters have given rise to a concern by the members of the committee. To begin with, we were not persuaded to accept the decision of the Ministry of Revenue that the transference from Mr. Pate to Ronto was, in fact, on September 18, 1973. We can understand why Ronto would like that, and we have no objection at all to their solicitor writing to the government to persuade them that the government’s first reaction -- that is, that the sale was later -- was wrong. That’s surely why you hire a lawyer. That’s probably why you hire a good lawyer. It’s probably why you hire the very best lawyer you can under those circumstances. And that’s certainly what Ronto did.

But we are very concerned that the officials in the Ministry of Revenue, and the minister, saw fit to recommend to the cabinet that the purchase date was June 25 and that the amount of tax that would otherwise have been collectable would have been something like $400,000, rather than $2 million. We are concerned that the government should excuse Ronto completely from paying speculation tax on property for which they paid $1.5 million and sold less than two years later for $12 million.

The committee has examined it. It’s difficult to keep the date straight and to put all the correspondence in some kind of order. The only person that we on the committee are criticizing is the Minister of Revenue and the government who took his recommendation that there should be an exemption established by order in council. We feel the reasons given by the former Minister of Revenue were inadequate.

Mr. Drea: You weren’t even there.

Mr. Nixon: He indicated that after the unfortunate --

Mr. Drea: You weren’t even there when he gave them.

Mr. Nixon: I certainly was.

Mr. Drea: You were not here when he gave them.

Mr. Nixon: I believe the member is right. I was not at the committee when he gave those reasons.

Mr. Drea: You are right: You are absolutely right.

Mr. Nixon: They were fully reported and there was nothing secret about the position put before the committee by the government. If the hon. member who may speak next -- and probably he will be speaking all the time now that he’s in here -- is indicating that there is some information that I put forward that is not factual, then he will have every opportunity to put that forward before the House.

Mr. Makarchuk: You were not there either, Frank. You were not there either.

Mr. Drea: I’m not saying that.

Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order.

Mr. Nixon: All right. The former Minister of Revenue had come to the committee, and it was fully reported. Of course, I was very interested in it, since it involved land well known to me and formerly in Brant county. I was particularly interested that the minister said: “Upon the unfortunate and unexpected death of Mr. Todgham, who was well known in the community and had served on a number of boards and was extremely active in many business areas, evidently there were some problems with the estate and that liquidity was essential.” Therefore, the government had to permit the sale to Wimpey, which had given an undertaking to carry on with the development of the land and build the houses because it wanted the government to make an exemption of the tax for that purpose.

There has been no evidence given to our committee of the problems that the Todgham estate had with liquidity. There is no evidence of the problem that Ronto had with liquidity. As a matter of fact, it was pointed out by the member for Brantford and is evident to anyone who listens to Channel 11 television, Ronto has bought some of those serviced lots back; they’re building houses on them and they’re advertising in the Hamilton area for people to come up to Brantford and enjoy the obvious advantages of living in that part of the world. That’s very, very sensible for business people to do that.

So the reasons for the exemption are completely inadequate. The problems that the government has had with this may have come to a head when we see that the Minister of Revenue does no longer hold that portfolio.

Mr. Drea: Shame. What a cheap shot.

Mr. Nixon: Shame? He was removed from the portfolio and he’s now Minister of Correctional Services.

Mr. Drea: What a cheap shot.

Mr. Nixon: And I will tell you -- if that isn’t a demotion, what is? I don’t think the man warranted that, since the decision to exempt Ronto was not made by the Minister of Revenue but made by the whole cabinet. That is the objection that we have.

Mr. Drea: On the same basis you should be the Liberal leader today. What a cheap shot.

Mr. Nixon: I have tried to put before you and the members of this House not the whole compendium of information that was put before us by the Auditor. He gave us three books -- bigger than this -- of the extracts from the correspondence and the accounts of all the companies concerned. The Auditor himself indicated to us that the dates of the transfers from Pate to Ronto were different from the one that the government has accepted. The letter from the officials of the Ministry of Revenue indicated that the date was the date after the establishment of the land speculation tax.

We’re very concerned about these matters. We’re particularly concerned that in these times, by decision of the government’s order in council, Ronto has been exempted from paying the amount of tax that has been previously referred to.


As a matter of fact, I just wanted to make one reference to the amount of that tax because the Auditor was asked by the public accounts committee to determine how much tax had been foregone. His conclusions were that approximately $400,000 had been forgiven. At the time the application from Ronto for this matter before the Ministry of Revenue, they asked the solicitor for Ronto to make an application indicating the figures that would normally be used to compile the tax. While Mr. Goodman or the person from the solicitor’s office for Ronto did not fill in the bottom line, the 20 per cent tax on the taxable amount would, according to Mr. Goodman’s office, mean that we have foregone $660,000.

Let me put it to you this way, Mr. Speaker: If the purchase of that land was not the date put forward by Ronto but in fact the date when they got the deed, which is the date of acquisition for all of the other business of government, then the value of that land when it was purchased was $1,484,900 and they sold it for $12 million. With certain deductions that are allowed under the statute, it means that the tax payable would have been close to $2 million.

There are many things associated with this. The very fact that that land for development, which was sold in good faith by one of the best citizens in the community for a good and fair price -- and there’s no complaint about that -- escalated in a few months to $12 million and all of that unconscionable profit is now built into the cost of those lots, really means that because of the inadequate application of the laws of this province the taxpayers really are taking a beating in more ways than one.

Mr. Ruston: It’s the buyer who pays.

Mr. Nixon: As my colleague says, it’s the buyer who pays and certainly the developers are not out of pocket in this connection. There’s a good deal of controversy in our own area now that that land is being developed, and that’s too late. We are not going to save it. I wish you could see it, Mr. Speaker, a fine bush, flat level corn land, a fine old farm house and building. That’s going to be gone. But when you see what’s going in its place, you almost cringe to think what kind of a community is going to be there 20 years from now. If we are not building a slum for two decades from now or maybe less time, I will be surprised.

In an effort to put these houses on the market at a competitive price, and that’s what we want, the price of that land has meant that the value of the house itself is far lower than what it should be. Many people have phoned me and said, “Isn’t there some way you can stop the building of those kinds of houses?” I don’t want to be critical. People are going to live there and I am sure they are very proud of what they have got, but I will tell you it could have been a lot better, Mr. Speaker.

I believe the reasons for the exemption were completely inadequate. Because of these reasons and others put forward by other members of the committee, we discussed and debated a motion calling for a select committee of the House. The whip of the government party was there and he pointed out very properly we are not supposed to have select committees except in matters of grave importance. We can say we believe this is a matter of grave importance and we feel the best way to look into this is by means of a select committee.

The public accounts committee was just organized today and named its chairman. This was briefly discussed but not at any great length. But they have the full public accounts, a new volume that has never even been cracked. It is up to them to review and examine. That’s their job now.

Mr. Drea: I notice you’re not on it.

Mr. Nixon: If they are going to stick with Ronto in that committee, they could undertake the examination for many months indeed. There is no lawyer in that committee who is seconded to it, although there are lawyers on the committee. But their legal opinion may perhaps be something less than completely objective on all sides. So obviously we have got to have an examination of this matter in as independent a style as we possibly can. It is obvious as well that there has to be competent legal opinion advising the members of the committee that do the examination.

I can see that the government might not want to turn this over to a select committee of the House with the establishment as it presently is.

Mr. Drea: How about a judicial inquiry?

Mr. Nixon: The hon. member, interjecting as he does so well, says how about a judicial inquiry? I feel that a reference to a judicial inquiry is more appropriate when there is some indication of malfeasance.

Mr. Drea: You are grasping now.

Mr. Nixon: In this instance, we are critical of the government’s bad judgement and interested in learning the reasons for the government’s decision in foregoing this tax. This is a matter for the House, not for a judge, but if the government does not want to have a select committee, as is recommended by the resolution that has been sitting before this House, then it should do something else with it. If you want a judicial inquiry I would think that’s fine, but that is an indication that they feel that there has been some malfeasance, in my opinion.

I believe that it should be investigated by a select committee of this House, and that is why I put forward the resolution which was carried by the committee, and the resolution is found on page 14 of Votes and Proceedings No. 1. It says:

“The committee is of the opinion that the government’s exemption of Ronto Development Corporation from land speculation tax by regulation made April 14, 1976, and all circumstances related thereto, require the fullest investigation; which can best be conducted by a select committee of the Legislature with power to sit while the House is in session, power to retain counsel and staff, and power to send for persons and papers.

“The committee further recommends that the Legislature constitute such committee as soon as possible in the new session” -- that’s now -- “and that the committee report back to the House no longer than six weeks after its inception.” This last was an amendment put forward by the member for Brantford.

I believe, Mr. Speaker, that this is a matter of grave importance to the House, and I hope that the government is not going to ignore it.

Mr. Deputy Speaker: The hon. member for Scarborough Centre now has the floor. I hope other members will afford him a better opportunity to be heard than he provided to the previous speaker.

Mr. Drea: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. As somebody who first congratulated you some years ago, and I am going to do it again today, I believe you are the finest introduction to an institution of any Parliament in Canada that has been.

Mr. Nixon: Better leave it there.

Mr. Drea: But by the same token, Mr. Speaker, I really think that you have to leave some discretion when people are inordinately moved. Having been with you, Mr. Speaker, on several committees, you expressed that opinion to me --

Mr. J. R. Smith: Three cheers for the Irish.

Mr. Breithaupt: Up the Irish.

Mr. Drea: -- and I am certain that in your chair, and it has now been confirmed and really set as a precedent, that I really think that the authority goes with the discretion.

Mr. Speaker, I want to talk to you just for a moment because it’s customary in these debates. When I said that you were the finest introduction into any Parliament in Canada, it was not gratuity. It was not asking that you refrain from using your harsh voice against me when I am wrong. It was meant as a very sincere compliment. I happen to think that the parliamentary system needs just a slight bit of reform. I think one of the reforms has to be that when we are fortunate enough in the chamber, and it is within the chamber that we elect a Speaker, that we find somebody who is so extraordinary in the particular complex and sophisticated times in which we live --

Mr. Conway: Don’t blush.

Mr. Drea: -- that I really think it becomes an onus upon the members of the chamber, regardless of the political affiliation, that we have to really look at the institution.

One of the things that the institution of Parliament in this country needs, and I am neither radical nor new in this because certainly in the federal House they explored it in the 1960s, and a great many provincial Houses have explored it -- I think now is the time in this province, as the bellwether province of Canada, that the parties get together and I think that now is the time that we begin to elect a permanent Speaker.

I say that for two reasons: One, it is needed. There is no question that we’re into precedents, we’re into parliamentary procedure. The thing that bothers me in the precedents is that while the Speaker ordinarily is a member of the government party -- and I am quite sure all my friends in the House today are prepared to explain why that has to be -- it is very difficult to tell the people outside how a person who is a member of the government party can be depended upon to preserve democratic rights, no matter what the occasion, no matter what the cause. That is a very difficult thing to explain, Mr. Speaker. I am sure that in your riding particularly, remote, away from the centre of communications as it is, that that was -- I’m going to use the past tense, was -- a very difficult thing to explain. I assure you, sir, in these days you can use the present tense and I am quite sure your constituents would applaud.

The second reason is, I think we need continuity in parliamentary government. Certainly in the sixties and certainly the particular occasion that was looked upon was in a riding to the east of all of us, it was in Cornwall. And not because of the good faith of the particular participant, who was the Speaker in the federal House at that time, but because of disagreements among those of us who were underneath him. It was a political disagreement. I think that we as members sometimes have to recognize that we have political disagreements.

Mr. Conway: Just sometimes.

Mr. Drea: A pioneering effort in the government of Canada for the Parliament of Canada that really was to determine a permanent Speaker was to have been achieved. It broke down because we -- those of us underneath the Speaker -- from political partisanship or political whatever, couldn’t agree. I think that was a very great loss to this country. I think, particularly today in terms of the very real struggle we have to keep not only a face of nationhood but a real nationhood, some time in the future that may have been one of the landmarks that we didn’t achieve.

Mr. Conway: How about electing a Supreme Court?

Mr. Drea: I want to suggest to you, Mr. Speaker, that now in this Parliament, because we are the bellwether of Canada, we are the example of Canada, I think the time has come --

Mr. Conway: Are you an example, Frank?

Mr. Drea: -- and I say this to you with all due respect, sir, because I know your modesty, I think now the time has come that we really look in this Parliament, even though it is a provincial Parliament, at setting up an effective, an efficient method of electing a permanent Speaker. And, sir, with you in the chair, I say to you, as an example that may defeat all of the objections, you as an example, sir, I really think we can move forward, and I recommend that, not only to this government but to all the people in the House. I think we are very fortunate to have a man of your calibre in the chair today. I think we are very fortunate.

Mr. Ruston: However!

Mr. Conway: It’s an Irish conspiracy, Frank.

Mr. Drea: With the present Speaker there are no “howevers.” I say that to you, Mr. Speaker, in all sincerity. I say that to you, recognizing your own modesty, and I say that in a bit of humbleness. I have thought about that for some time and I have certainly recommended it to this government, and I certainly hope it permeates right through the House. I think we can set an example in these very troubled times in this country --

Mr. Conway: Have you discussed it with the member for Northumberland (Mr. Rowe)?

Mr. Drea: -- for the people who can adjudge fairly and honestly regardless of their political affiliation, and, sir, you have always done that. Mr. Speaker, with all due respect to my friend, the member for Lakeshore (Mr. Lawlor), having been here for a little while, I learned one thing from the member for Lakeshore a long time ago: The first thing you do is placate the Speaker.


An hon. member: You’ve done a good job today.

Mr. Drea: Sir, I haven’t placated you; I’ve elevated you. But there are other attendants in the House who I think should have some recognition, at least upon one occasion.

Mr. Deputy Speaker: As long as you address your remarks to the Chair.

Mr. Drea: Yes, sir.

Mr. Conway: Leave the Irishmen alone.

Mr. Drea: With all due respect to your position, Mr. Speaker, there are times when you can leave. There is one person who is attendant upon this chamber who really can’t leave, and that it the Sergeant at Arms.

Mr. Nixon: Great fellow.

Mr. Davidson: That’s the end of your career.

Mr. Conway: This makes the member for Oriole (Mr. Williams) sound good.

Mr. Drea: The Sergeant at Arms really has the most onerous duty of any person either elected or appointed in this province: He has to listen to these sonorous debates.

Mr. Nixon: I think it is time he performed that duty.

Mr. Ruston: He’s got his earplug unplugged.

An hon. member: Not now he hasn’t.

Mr. Drea: He has to attend upon all of us with attention and decorum. He has to be prepared for the call. I know you have been here longer than I have, Mr. Speaker, but after six years I can tell you that any man who is prepared to listen to our sonorous dissertations, who is ready to spring into action at a moment’s notice, is really somebody who is prepared to give his all to public service.

Some hon. members: Hear, hear.

Mr. Drea: In my address, Mr. Speaker, I would like to call your particular attention to Mr. Thomas Stelling, who is our Sergeant at Arms. I don’t think there is recognition any other time. I wish there were. But certainly this is an event where I think all of us can show our appreciation to our Sergeant at Arms.


Mr. Conway: Now to beer in the ball park.

Mr. Cunningham: Let’s get to beer in the ball park, Frank.

Mr. Drea: Not me, I don’t --

Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order, please.

Mr. Drea: Mr. Speaker, I hope you will deal with them as firmly and as directly as you have dealt with me in the past.

Mr. Moffatt: Teasing the bears.

Mr. Deputy Speaker: You have my assurance that I will monitor it constantly.

Mr. Drea: Good.

Turning formally to the Speech from the Throne, the one thing that impresses me is that one of the measures of a government is how it deals with a problem before it becomes a crisis. I really think that is the measure of government today. It’s all very well to say we’re into a crisis, but one of the difficulties with telling the public we’re into a crisis is that there is an emotional upheaval that gets up to here and then it drops down because there is another emotional upheaval.

The strength and the stability of this government -- and that is the Davis government --

Mr. Conway: Fifty-one seats.

Hon. Mr. Kerr: Fifty-two.

Mr. Conway: The member for London North (Mr. Shore) doesn’t count.

Mr. Moffatt: Fifty-one and a half.

Mr. Drea: -- is underscored by the outstanding statesmanship and leadership of the Premier of this province, Bill Davis.

Hon. Mr. Kerr: More important than Jack Horner.

Mr. Conway: Only just.

Mr. Drea: That leadership and that statesmanship are underscored in these very troubled times because we’re into emotional times. I realize there are some giggles from the Liberal bench. If I didn’t have anything else to do, I would giggle too.

Mr. Conway: You are pretty laughable, Frank.

Mr. Drea: I understand that there can be giggles. I suppose when you are a political party that has been found bankrupt nationally, and when there is the threat of separatism and the threat of the fabric of the Canadian dream being ripped apart, which is basically the fault of the Liberal Party, I can understand why there are only five in there and they giggle. They can’t give an answer.

Mr. Samis: Don’t worry. They are going to get Horner.

Mr. Conway: What’s the dream?

Mr. Deputy Speaker: The hon. member for Renfrew North doesn’t have to respond to every phrase by the speaker.

Mr. Warner: He doesn’t have much to do.

Mr. Drea: Because of the events of the last six or seven months, we live today in Canada in a dreadfully emotional time. We can pick up things in the media whether we want to read them or whether we want to tune in to them at night. We can hear about this event or that event taking place to the east of us. We can read about the threat of separatism where people stand up very proudly in this country and say they are going to tear this country apart. We either read or see or hear that every day.

It takes a leader of uncommon statesmanship and leadership ability to remain calm to present a very positive and a very concrete programme from a province, not from the federal sphere. Mr. Speaker, with all due respect I think that you and I as private members, divorced from this occasion today, have some suggestions. But I suggest to you that the leader of a province and of the province that will determine whether there is going to be a Canadian dream or not in these times has to remain calm and stable and above all to present a concrete and a practical series of solutions to the dilemma we find ourselves in.

I realize there are some yahoos in the House. They would like to go back to Fort Sumter in 1861. They have never smelt powder so they would like to shoot a cannonball. That is not the way in these times that a fabric of unity is preserved. I suggest to you, Mr. Speaker, it is by leadership, it is by statesmanship and above all it has to come from a province. No matter what the rhetoric, no matter what the language, no matter what the issue, the basic issue is the right of a province to say: “We will control our own destiny and we will do it, and if you don’t agree we will pull out.”

There isn’t a very great deal of difference between the province of Quebec in 1977 and the state of South Carolina in 1860. Take away the language, take away a little bit of the changes and there is really nothing different. In the way that the United States handled the issue -- and this is in retrospect, this is many years ago -- I don’t really think, looking upon history, they had any other choice. I do not think, with all due respect, that is the way in 1977 that Canadians in 10 provinces -- and we do have 10 provinces -- want the particular issue settled.

Mr. Speaker, I want to point out to you in the Throne Speech that the strength and stability of this government -- and I am proud to be a member of this government -- is underscored by the outstanding statesmanship and leadership of the Premier in these emotional times.

Mr. Cunningham: Where is he right now?

Mr. Drea: I will read from the first five pages of the Speech from the Throne. I am going to condense some of it and I am going to give my interpretation.

Mr. Samis: Amen to that.

Mr. Drea: The Premier of this province has remained calm despite the antics of some of those who want to lead an expeditionary force into Quebec.

Mr. McClellan: You should follow his example.

Mr. Samis: Especially with Marc Lalonde.

Mr. Drea: The Premier of this province has taken a firm and a practical stand so that, for the first time -- and I emphasize -- by a province --

Mr. Sargent: You’ll still be in the back row, Frank.

Mr. Drea: -- the equality and the distribution of income and the opportunities of this country are going to be determined on a national scale and not by an accident of geography. Now, Mr. Speaker, I remind you, the federal government has been saying that for some time. I know of no other province that has put it on the line that that equality of opportunity, the equality of income, the equality to participate has to be an integral part of this country or we don’t have a country.

In all due fairness, Mr. Speaker, if we cannot achieve that then I really suggest to you, sir, that really we have to start looking at what is a country really for. I know that I certainly can’t look at the people in Quebec when there is economic disparity, there is disparity between opportunity, there is not the right under Confederation, under the flag of this country, to achieve your own destiny because the odds are against you from the first place then, Mr. Speaker, I will say to you, heretical as it may sound, I will say to people, okay, you do have the right.

I may be naive, but I do believe with some simple and fundamental changes, and mind you, the mechanics of them may be very complex and may be very sophisticated. They are not the things that we can do in this chamber in the afternoon, nor can our colleagues do in Ottawa in one afternoon, or in the other nine provincial assemblies. They may not be the kinds of things we can do in one afternoon. They may not be the kinds of things we can do in one week. They may take years.

But I say to you, Mr. Speaker, that this Throne Speech from this Premier of this province has put it right down on the line that we may be the wealthiest and we may have it made and we may be the great “have,” but read those first five pages of that Throne Speech and we are going to sacrifice and we are going to endeavour and we are going to put the things forward, so we won’t need to go into this kind of thing about “We are going to win the hearts and the minds,” and all of this. We can’t win the heart and mind of a person who can’t even achieve his or her own destiny, who’s got to be in a second-class existence. That’s stuff is nonsense.

I suggest to you, Mr. Speaker, the first five pages of this Throne Speech are the stuff of what we, as Canadians, are known for. It may be difficult. It may be long. It is not going to happen in an afternoon. We are not going to take a vote. I suppose it may in the end be a consensus but, Mr. Speaker, I suggest to you this is the only way we are going to keep the Canadian dream.

Somebody has asked me: “What’s the Canadian dream?” I’ll tell you what the Canadian dream is to me. There are 10 provinces in this country and I like to think that all children born have the opportunity to fulfil their opportunities as much as they are able, according to their own talents, according to their own desires, but they have that opportunity. They are not denied because of this, this, this or this and including the worst of all, an accident of geography.

I suggest to you in the first five pages of the Throne Speech, Mr. Speaker, we have really achieved something in this country. I suggest to you this is the first time that a province has said this. Let’s be honest about it.


Mr. Conway: For a change.

Mr. Drea: Ontario is the wealthiest province in this country. If we are going to do this, then you and I are going to have to make sacrifices, Mr. Speaker. Not only you and I, but our constituents are going to have to make sacrifices. You are going to have to answer that they don’t have three stereos in every room.

Mr. Conway: And a chicken in every pot.

Mr. Drea: You are going to have to answer. I happen to feel that the members of this assembly are the people who can go out and say, without fear or favour, that maybe the standard of living -- or the artificial standard of living, or whatever, that we have in this country -- is maybe not the best in terms of family life or a lot of other things.

Mr. Conway: McMurtry says so.

Mr. Drea: Perhaps it is time -- Sorry, you said McMurtry?

Mr. Conway: Go ahead; you are going to elect the Supreme Court.

Mr. Drea: Certainly, they could trim their expense accounts, my friend. The member can tell them that. I think the time has come in this country when either we want a country and a society that has a fundamental identity -- and that identity to be Canadian. I know in the member’s time, and in his particular area -- and I’m drawing particular reference to him -- that nobody in his particular area ever asked for the accent on the English as long as the person could do the job. I think maybe that is the kind of thing we have to get back to, and not all this nonsense about provincial rights and federal rights and what it’s going to do to the constitution.

For heaven’s sake, we couldn’t even repatriate a constitution; that was before Rene Levesque was elected. We couldn’t even repatriate it then. Now we’re going to repatriate the constitution on the grounds that Rene Levesque has been elected. The thing that bothers me is -- what happens when the provinces and the federal government get into the room? Finally, after all these years, and knowing deep down it would never come, we have the constitution in a room.

Mr. Sargent: Joe Clark will fix it. Get Joe Clark -- he will do it.

Mr. Drea: I suggest to the House that the first five pages of the Speech from the Throne are really a new declaration of principle in this country. If I was in a “have-not” province -- and I won’t mention them, but there are those -- that kind of thing would be the kind of thing that we do every year. If I was in a province where the “have” and the “have-not” were pretty equalized and we were playing little games with the federal government as to whether we get more on this end or a little bit on that end, I wouldn’t be concerned. But I suggest to the House that this is the most “have” province of Canada, we are the “haves”. We have been the “haves” since even prior to 1867.

Mr. Davidson: A lot of people have been had, that is for sure.

Mr. Sargent: Fourteen-billion-dollar debenture debt.

Mr. Warner: We have the biggest debt, the largest unemployment. We have a lot of things.

Mr. Drea: I suggest to the House that it is really a matter of statesmanship and leadership for a province that has nothing to lose in terms of the economics of the standard of living --

Ms. Bryden: Highest unemployment.

Mr. Drea: -- to say that Confederation is basically, in the 20th century, a matter of economic equality. I suggest that that is leadership and that is statesmanship, because we all know there are a number of provinces who are below the equality level. Those are the “have-nots.” We have some that are “have”; we have some that are in-between. It depends upon the petroleum revenue. We have to have a dominion-provincial conference to determine whether the accounting ability really reflects.

In the first few pages of this document there are no excuses, there are no exemptions. It is that there is going to be an end to economic disparity and the accidents of geography and the impingements upon economic opportunity, period, right across this country.

Sir, I suggest to you for about the fourth time, this is leadership and this is statesmanship from the province that, with all due respect, sir, has nothing to lose and only everything to gain from the disturbances going across this country. I want to underline that that is not the feeling of you, Mr. Speaker, or me or my colleagues or of the House, but I think we have to look at economic realities.

We have nothing to lose in terms of economics. We have launched a very new and a very real plateau in this country. We have put a plateau that is as important in the 20th century as John A. Macdonald building his railroad in the 19th century, and I think that it has to be drawn to the attention of a public that is desperate and thirsty and wanting for a solution to a problem it neither understands nor can attempt to grasp on a day-to-day basis.

I think it is magnificent that all the radio stations want to find out from people what is the matter with Canada. It’s too bad it wasn’t done a decade ago. Maybe we wouldn’t be in the trouble. I think it is magnificent that the television networks, the communication networks of this country, want to find out what is the matter: Why don’t you want to be part of Canada?

Again, a decade ago, we mightn’t have been in this position. I think it is remarkable that newspapers are all of a sudden hiring people from the province of Quebec and giving them a full page of print. I think that’s really remarkable. A year ago, you had a little local scandal municipally and you got a paragraph; something big -- three paragraphs. Now you get a whole page. Ten years ago, it might have meant something.

I think now is the time that we, as the foremost political institution of this province, underscore and underline and applaud the leadership and the statesmanship of the Premier of this province and his approach to the problem, because alone in Canada he is the realistic, he is the practical, and he has the concrete answer.

I want to turn to other parts of the Speech from the Throne, particularly one of those that concerns me a very great deal and it reflects upon the remarks that I have made in the past few minutes, and that is the fundamental underscoring of the fact that whatever the problem is in Canada today, it has an economic basis. I realize there are those in the House who can say from their textbooks that Karl Marx --

An hon. member: Is alive and well.

Mr. Drea: -- said everything was economic. I don’t believe that and neither do they.

One of the difficulties is that when we talk about a new and a different concept of economic equality for all Canadians, regardless of the accident of birth or where they live and whether they have raw materials or they don’t, I really think the first thing that people are going to say is “How about an example?” I think in this province, because of its very diverse nature, its very immense mileage, its particular difficulty from time to time in achieving an economic system of fair play for regions that have been at one time endowed with natural resources and now, for one reason or another, are not, quite frankly, we have to set the example. In the vernacular, Mr. Speaker, let me put it this way: if you’re going to tell me what to do, put your money where your mouth is.

In this province, we have pretty generally been blessed by an equality of opportunity. Sir, I say to you that some years ago we achieved equality of educational opportunity. You were in this chamber then. We put up the county school boards, the composite schools, so that the ability to achieve an education was not by accident of birth; one had the opportunity. We have gone further. We have tried to achieve, with regional governments and a number of other introductions, an equality of opportunities, so that because you were born in Winisk didn’t necessarily mean that you were going to be a second-class citizen only because the facilities weren’t around, that the whole world didn’t revolve around Toronto, Hamilton, Kitchener and a couple of other places. With all due respect, I think and I hope it is appreciated that while we haven’t achieved that, at least we are on the road toward achieving it in our lifetime, which I think is a remarkable accomplishment.

Today, when we look at the economic disparities of this country, I don’t think we can look at them just in terms of provinces. I think we have to look at them in terms of municipalities. The very same things that have bred the cancer of separatism, that have bred the tremendous distrust of the rest of this country in the province of Quebec, are lying fallow in our own municipalities. We’re at the position where the municipalities, and by municipalities I take in the school boards, are three things. One, they are the last remnant in the 20th century of the master and servant relationship, and we, in this House, are the masters and they are the servants. Two, they cannot even attempt to achieve control of their own economic destiny.

It may very well be that in the province, through an Edmonton commitment, through the PMLC, through the Ministry of Transportation and Communications, papers are sent out. We’re very good at this. We can do it for six months or four years, but the people in municipalities are not in control of their own destiny. They are in the position of the only person who has not survived the 19th century and that is the servant. They are still there with a hand out. With all due respect to the provincial Treasurer, when he says, “I have honoured the Edmonton commitment but there is a limit this year,” and he puts a number on it, I will suggest to you, sir, that I feel for the municipality, because I don’t know if the particular number that he has put on it is the accurate one. I don’t dispute that, in good intent, he is carrying on with that, but I wonder about the economics of it.

Mr. Warner: Scarborough got less money last year.

Mr. Drea: Not because of me, my friend; you got elected.

Mr. Warner: Scarborough got less money from the province.


Mr. Drea: I am not in a position to question the very abstract formulas, and many of them are several pages long, about how grants are done. I would say, in principle, that I like the fact that there is a formula by which grants are done because it takes away the political clout and makes it a matter of right. I like that in principle. When it comes down to the particular municipality, I have some concern, and I say that in terms of the principle and what have you, I agree the province should set down some formulas. We don’t want political clout. We don’t want somebody coming in and saying, “He got a little bit more this year. He didn’t do it this way; he got a little bit less.” We don’t want this.

Ms. Bryden: The Treasurer picks a number.

Mr. Drea: But I can’t understand. I know of almost no one -- and I am sure there are some who have spent considerable time trying to figure out these formulas -- who really realizes what they mean.

Mr. McClellan: The Treasurer --

Mr. Drea: I think the time has come, and bearing in mind my past remarks, that we have to look at the particular disruption of the Canadian dream in terms of economics because we are in the latter part of the 20th century, and economics are what is going to determine. I think in the midst of adversity -- and the adversity is that the Canadian fabric is being disrupted or threatened to be disrupted -- we have a marvellous opportunity for the first time to really get down to some of the economic basics of this country.

I respect The British North America Act and the people who wrote it. It has lasted for virtually 100 years. When we in this Legislature are talking about legislation that will deal for 10 or 15 years without monumental changes and we consider that an achievement, and we do, we must realize that the people who drafted that legislation that has lasted 100 years -- the people who wrote it and the people who thought about it -- really knew a century ago what they were doing.

We have this marvellous opportunity now. The province of Quebec wants constitutional changes at least as a minimum. Well then by all means.

Sir, I recognize you in the chair and I know you are concerned about the repatriation of the Canadian constitution and the BNA Act. Let’s get it repatriated back into this country. Let us sit down as 10 provinces and a federal government and let’s really look at it in the light of 1967.

One of the things that we have to do is give a new deal to the municipalities.

Mr. Makarchuk: It is 10 years --

Mr. Drea: The day of the property tax being the only real basis where a municipality or a school board -- and when I talk about a municipality, I am talking about a school -- this is the only real way in which they can --

Mr. Conway: How do you repatriate what you never had in the first place?

Mr. Drea: -- not only raise money but have control of their own destiny. It is the most regressive tax that man ever devised. Sales tax is minor in comparison to property tax.

Ms. Bryden: Why don’t you tell your boss?

Mr. Warner: Are you looking for a seat over here?

Mr. Drea: We’re not talking about my boss; we’re talking about a constitution in this country --

Mr. Makarchuk: I thought you were talking about taxes.

Mr. Drea: Where? The municipality is a creature of the province. It is precluded from this, from that and the other thing. I suggest to you, Mr. Speaker, that since we are going to have to look at that entire constitution in this country as a method of saving the Canadian dream, that we now get down to basics so that when we look at it, we start looking at municipalities and we start working out a new deal. Because I suggest to you if we don’t --

Mr. McClellan: Start that right now.

Mr. Drea: -- the separatism of Quebec is going to be a minor matter compared to the separatism of the municipalities in the future.

Mr. Conway: How do you repatriate what you never had in the first place? How do you repatriate what you didn’t patriate?

Mr. Drea: I am not going to be provoked. He’s yours. You elected him, you sit with him. He’s yours, he’s not mine.

Mr. Acting Speaker: I would appreciate that you would understand my objectivity at the present moment. He’s not mine, nor do I wish him.

An hon. member: Who’d want him?

Mr. Conway: It is an Irish conspiracy.

Mr. R. S. Smith: Surely, we don’t want the Speaker.

Mr. Drea: I think we are at a time in this country, and I think all of us agree, when somebody can wave a flag or somebody can say this or somebody can say that, but really if we want a Canada it is going to be a Canada of equal opportunity. It is going to be or there’s not going to be one. I suggest to you in this province, since we are leading the charge, that Ontario has to be a place where, regardless of accident --

Mr. Makarchuk: Give everybody a tax exemption, not only Ronto.

Mr. Drea: Mr. Speaker, I am always concerned about the Marxist progressive leftist view. I have just heard it.

Mr. Samis: There’s this and there’s that.

Mr. Conway: Irish madness.

Mr. Drea: I notice the member doesn’t deny his affinities.

Mr. Warner: Here comes the innuendo. You’re good at it.

Mr. Conway: February 2, Frank.

Mr. Drea: February what?

Mr. Conway: February 2, your big day.

Mr. Drea: One of the concerns that I have in the municipal field is that I really think we’re two or three annual or semi-annual tax raises away from the day of decision for a great many senior citizens. I don’t think it really matters where they live. I think the same thing is applicable to the smaller community as it is to the very large one. If we suppose hypothetically, and I have to take the word of the provincial Treasurer --

Mr. McClellan: No you don’t, Frank.

Mr. Drea: -- that a uniform method of assessment will be in by next year -- and I know the man. I know Mr. Blair. I know the man who looked at it, I know him very well. I know Mr. Blair and he is a man of method and of fairness -- I don’t think, Mr. Speaker, we are more than 1980 or 1981 away from the day of decision for a great many people in this province.

Mr. Breithaupt: Or 1984 I would think.

Mr. Drea: We are in an aging society in this province. Because of immigration we are not probably pressed as much as other jurisdictions are. What I call the day of decision, sir, is the day when older people -- and we have to recognize there is an older life span, it is going to go on, and they are upon fixed incomes. No matter what government does, because in the end your pension is controlled by government, whether it’s your private pension or whether you get it through the Canada Pension or you play with us and you get GAINS or what have you, it is the government of the day that determines the amount of that fixed income, notwithstanding the government of the day also controls the monetary supply.

The government of the day, for better or for worse, can determine whether there will be inflation, whether there will be this. I don’t think we’re much more than four or five years away from that day of decision by senior citizens. I, frankly, don’t think they can continue on.

I say this in all honesty. I used to say and I used to parrot the government line -- I’m as good as anybody else -- I used to say we have this rebate thing, we have this thing, we have that thing. In the last six or seven months I have lain awake many a night. I’m sorry. I just don’t believe in it any more.

Mr. McClellan: Why don’t you tell --

Mr. Warner: Are you going to resign?

Mr. Drea: I say that notwithstanding the best intentions of government. I just don’t think that we can provide a formula of rebates based upon income or based upon means that will take into account the economic situation, not only in this country but in the world, and inflation in particular. For heaven’s sake, the most sophisticated investors in this country are the people in the stock market. I can tell you, Mr. Speaker, they were all told last Wednesday, as a day of duty, to get into the market to show it will go up. The market was awful. The market was even awful today. As you know, sir, by law I am precluded from giving anything other than an objective review of the market. If the sophisticated investor, the educated person, spends eight, nine or 10 hours a day in trying to figure out where his money is going --

Mr. Warner: What happened to the senior citizens?

Mr. Drea: -- then how can we expect an ever-growing part of our population who don’t have that opportunity to try to play games? And even if they did, even if they were successful, what is a two per cent gain on an income on $200 a month? It doesn’t matter at all.

Mr. Conway: To be sure.

Mr. Drea: I suggest that since we are looking realistically -- and hopefully we are realistic -- at the economic future of this country, that we don’t stop with the provinces and that we start looking inward. As an example, in this province -- and we deserved it -- this Throne Speech issued the call for an economic look at the constitution. By example, let’s take a look inwardly: let’s look at the municipalities; let’s look at the property tax.

I suggest that the time has come when the property tax is redundant for both municipal and school board purposes. It may very well be, if we divorce one from the other, that the property tax may provide the basis for the other.

Mr. Warner: That’s heresy. The Treasurer will never talk to you again.

Mr. Drea: I say to my friend from Scarborough-Ellesmere that the Treasurer will call me Frank in the morning and he will call me Frank tomorrow --

Mr. Warner: He may also tell you goodbye!

Mr. Drea: He will talk to me. And so will some of the NDP’s lefty economists, because I’m now talking about some of the things that they reject as being too right-wing. They’ll all talk to me.

We have to come down to basics. I reiterate that the property tax is the most regressive, the most unfair, the most inflexible --

Mr. Makarchuk: That’s what you said five minutes ago.

Mr. Warner: The Treasurer doesn’t say that.

Mr. Haggerty: They want to tax the schools.

Mr. Breithaupt: And the churches and golf courses.

Mr. Drea: No applause from the Liberal benches? They all believe that, too; come on, it’s motherhood. Come on, you believe it; it’s motherhood, too.

Mr. Haggerty: They want to tax all the schools.

Mr. Drea: No, that’s not true. We are talking about a regressive, unfair and, above all, I don’t care if taxes are regressive or unfair; I want to know how much yield they make. I’m a nosy enforcer. The yield is going down year by year. We all know this. Everybody in here knows this.

Mr. Breithaupt: if you get more out of it, it would be all right.

Mr. Drea: With all due respect, sir, we cannot change that because of The British North America Act.

Mr. Breithaupt: We can so; we sure can.

Mr. Warner: You can tell the Treasurer.

Mr. Drea: The municipality is a creature of the province --

Mr. Makarchuk: Why don’t you give them a couple of points of the income tax?

Mr. Drea: That’s exactly what I’m coming up to, but I think we have to do it in the constitution. I think we have to sit down, not only as 10 provinces but as municipalities. As a matter of fact, I am going to suggest that when we sit down to really look at equality of economic opportunity in this country, we can’t stop at 10 provinces. Even if we could achieve that to the point where somebody in a small town in northern New Brunswick has the same economic opportunity as someone in Toronto, Calgary or Vancouver, we would be achieving miracles, but I don’t think it would save this country. What we have to do province by province is to sit down and give the municipality -- and that includes the school board -- a new opportunity to finance the revolution of rising expectations.


Mr. Martel: Tell that to the Minister of Labour.

Mr. Drea: I’ll wipe the smirk off your face.

Mr. Makarchuk: Watch your language.

Mr. Drea: The fact is that a great number of municipal employees now have the right to belong to a union, have the right not to be fired and have the right to seniority and a great number of other things. These are rising costs, and I think we have to face that. I’m sure as a Brantford alderman, the member for Brantford has faced that.

Mr. Conway: But he never faced you before.

Mr. Drea: Those are the economic facts. They are grim but they are there and they are our realities of life. I suggest the time has come when we are talking about economic fair play for this country, which is the only way we will destroy the romantics of separatism, and the example has to start at home.

An hon. member: The way we have taught French is not a fair deal.

Mr. Drea: The Premier of this province in the Throne Speech has issued the call. We started it. It is above and beyond everything else. The onus is upon us.

Mr. Warner: Have another drink of water.

Mr. Drea: When we go down, talk to the people in Quebec and do the Robarts thing, -- he was 10 years ahead of his time -- we’re going to go down and win the hearts and souls. I can just see me, with all due respect, walking into Rouyn, Quebec. I know Rouyn. I’m sure the member for Sudbury East is going to know what I’m going to talk about.

Mr. Conway: Walking in.

Mr. Drea: I can walk into Rouyn, Quebec, and I can tell them their mines are gone, that this is gone, that that’s gone, and that they’re going to have to export their children. I can tell them that I’m a Canadian. “I want to win your mind and your soul.” I will tell you, Mr. Speaker, I’m going to be lucky to get out of that town alive.

Mr. Conway: You would know about it.

Mr. Warner: We would be lucky if you didn’t.

Mr. Drea: It’s great for all the fat cats down in Toronto to say, “Let’s go down and tell them they’re all Canadians.” Mr. Speaker, I want to tell you that there are two very famous people. One was a saint and one was the head of the Salvation Army. One was Saint Francis of Assisi and one was General William Booth who started the Salvation Army. They both agreed on one thing: It’s pretty useless to try to save somebody’s soul until you feed him. If they’re starving to death they’re not very, very receptive to all kinds of ideas.

Mr. Warner: Let’s try feeding you first.

Mr. Drea: Feed them. After you have them fed, then let’s get into the philosophical discourse. That is what this Throne Speech does. I am asking that it goes further.

Mr. Breithaupt: Tell that to the unemployed.

Mr. Samis: Tell us about unemployment.

Mr. Conway: A chicken in every pot.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. Everybody will have a chance to make his contribution.

Mr. Drea: I hope, Mr. Speaker, you will be as firm with the literate over there as the Acting Speaker was with me. I emphasize the literate.

Mr. Martel: Mr. Intellect.

Mr. Drea: The literate. That was aimed at you.

Mr. Martel: I was saying there is Mr. Intellect, the whiz kid. I shouldn’t have distracted you.

Mr. Warner: Irish madness.

Mr. Breithaupt: He is moving right along.

Mr. Drea: I have talked about --

Mr. Conway: This and that.

Mr. Drea: -- basically two things today. I have talked about the need for an economic realization of fairness, the ability of an economic opportunity with fair play for everybody across Canada. I think we all agree with that -- at least I hope we do. By the same token, I have turned inwardly, which the Throne Speech did not do, upon the province of Ontario. I don’t think one can go to people and say, “Here is a new idea. Here’s how we can save,” unless one is prepared to answer the question and the operative part is within one’s control. I think the operative part is. We have to turn inwardly in this province. We really have to achieve economic fairness and economic opportunity. And within this province, Mr. Speaker, it is no longer a matter of geography. It is a matter of municipality.

I suggest to you, sir, that the time has come, if Ontario really wants to do something about preserving the Canadian dream that we now set the example, we look inwardly upon ourselves. As much as it is possible within our own control we promote what we can do for the municipalities and the school boards. If it is beyond our control, instead of passing the buck we turn it over to Ottawa with the call that if you want a Canada, this is the start of the price that we are all going to have to pay.

I know it means belt tightening. I am a little bit tired of the fat cats telling everybody: “Tighten your belts.”

Mr. Conway: Tighten up, Frank.

Mr. Drea: Every time I look at one of the fat cats saying we have to sacrifice on behalf of this or on behalf of that, the guy has got a vest out this high and he has got a glass in his hand.

Mr. Conway: We are all tight enough, Frank.

Mr. Drea: I will tell you I know how much the vest cost and I know how much the glass in the hand cost. I will tell you something else, Mr. Speaker, the working man and the working woman, when they look at that, they just turn their backs, if we are going to do something then it means we are all going to have to tighten our belts, whether it is collectively or individually. The start of it is in this province; that we tighten the belt provincially and we give the municipalities a new deal, because when somebody from another province asks us: “How is this equality of economic opportunity going to work?” we don’t say: “We have a report,” we say: “We have done it and here is what has happened in one year.”

Mr. Breithaupt: We will see what the budget says.

Mr. Acting Speaker: I believe the member for Beaches-Woodbine is next on the list.

Ms. Bryden: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I didn’t know whether I was going to have any time left before the supper hour, but there is a little.

The Throne Speech delivered by Her Honour last week might be described as motherhood times 60, because there are 60 areas touched on, but in most cases the proposals for action are simply vague statements of good intentions and perhaps death-bed repentances. It is a speech which is long on rhetoric but short on reality. As a plan of action to meet Ontario’s most pressing problems of unemployment, economic slowdown and ongoing fiscal mismanagement, it is like a drunk promising to espouse sobriety for the fourth time around.

One of the areas where some action is promised is that of youth unemployment. Apparently the government has just discovered this problem in our midst. What was it doing in 1976 when the unemployment rate for young persons was almost 2.6 times as great as for the work force over 25? What was it doing in 1975 when the same rate prevailed?

In February 1977, the latest date for which we have figures, there were 143,000 persons under 25 unemployed in Ontario. They constituted almost one half of the total of 316,000 unemployed. Their unemployment rate was about 14.8 per cent compared to eight per cent for the rest of the work force, or for the work force as a whole I should say.

But this does not give us the full picture. There are the hidden unemployed. Many are not counted because they have given up looking for jobs as a result of discouragement. Others are not counted because they live in remote areas, or are treaty Indians or seasonal workers in the off-season, in areas where there are no alternatives. Others are under-employed, with only part-time jobs or in jobs where their capabilities are not being used. Further, the figures do not include the handicapped and the disadvantaged who need special programmes to get them into the labour market. What’s obvious from the statistics we do have. Mr. Speaker, is that young people in Ontario are carrying an excessive burden in the unemployment picture.

But statistics are cold and lifeless comparisons. I don’t see statistics in my constituency office, I see the real thing; the young and desperate men and women who want any sort of job that will give them a reasonable income, a chance at some promotion and a feeling of contributing to society. The 143,000 young persons out of work in February are 143,000 personal tragedies; and the failure of this government to manage the economy and to give leadership in economic development and in job creation is largely responsible for these tragedies.

Mr. Speaker, one of the favourite targets of after-dinner speakers and editorial writers today is waste in government spending. They have plenty of examples from the Conservative government of this province, like the $9 million computer system for the community colleges which was scrapped; or the $30 million to $50 million spent on land for abandoned new town projects.

There is another form of waste that should make the headlines but doesn’t. It is the waste of human beings. Too many young people, deprived of access to a career, are becoming disillusioned and disaffected members of society. If their only employment is part-time or dead-end jobs between periods of idleness, they will not develop good work habits, they will not feel they are part of society. If they have no opportunity to learn useful skills on the job, their potential will not be realized.

What’s more, Mr. Speaker, this waste is costing all of us a great deal of money. Ed Broadbent, the NDP federal leader, estimated that the current unemployment of close to a million person in Canada is costing us $6 billion to $7 billion in lost production of goods and services. It also means we are paying some $2 billion a year in unemployment insurance and welfare payments, and at all levels of government we are losing hundreds of millions in tax revenue which would otherwise be paid by Canadians if they had jobs. The result is that the rest of us have to pay more taxes or do without necessary government services.

But beyond the economic costs are the uncountable social costs represented by this under-used human resource. There are the stunted careers, the ill-health, the mental deterioration, the delay in family formation, the search for escapes from discouragement and rejection.

Recently, Mr. Speaker, the Canadian Council on Social Development sponsored a seminar on the issue of youth and employment. Shortly after, the council’s board of governors issued a statement which highlights the seriousness of the problem. It said: “The Canadian Council on Social Development is greatly concerned about the deteriorating position of young people in relation to employment opportunities. It deplores the haphazard manner in which federal, provincial and local levels of government intervene with the problem and the prevailing public attitude, which ranges from one of indifference and apathy to blaming youth themselves.

“The council recognizes that the youth employment issue is part of a larger problem of unemployment and under-employment, and cannot be treated in complete isolation. Nevertheless, its severity and chronic nature, as well as long-term ill effects if left unattended, make it economically, politically and socially explosive.”


I ask, why hasn’t the government been addressing itself to this very serious problem? Has it bought the myth that the young people don’t want to work? Recent surveys show that the vast majority do want jobs. I quote from a study by the Department of Manpower and Immigration called Canadian Work Values, published in 1975. It said:

“A further survey question revealed that approximately 90 per cent of all males above 20 years of age would prefer full-time to part-time employment or to being out of the labour force. Part-time employment had a somewhat greater appeal to female respondents, particularly during the child-bearing years”; they also preferred jobs to being out of work.

But these young people want career jobs, not dead-end jobs. Certainly the ones who come into my constituency office for advice --

Mr. Martel: A LIP project.

Mr. Conway: Tell me, has Wardell been in lately?

Ms. Bryden: He is unemployed at the moment, I believe.

Mr. Conway: We will have to keep him that way.

Ms. Bryden: Certainly the ones who come into my constituency office want to work; and most of them are prepared to start at anything. But the number of jobs available is abysmally short.

For example, in February of this year there were only 37,300 jobs available for the close to one million unemployed, less than four per cent. The latest figure for Ontario covers the fourth quarter of 1976. At that time there were only 12,300 job vacancies. Today there are 143,000 young people looking for jobs.

Mr. Martel: Darcy says it is an honest budget, though, federally.

Ms. Bryden: Of those 12,300 jobs, very few are tailored to the inexperienced young people coming out of schools and colleges.

Perhaps the government thinks that youth unemployment is a temporary phenomenon which will go away, a demographic quirk from war-baby booms. But forecasts of young people in the labour force show that while the 14-to-19 age group is declining, the 20-to-24 age group will continue growing in the 1980s.

Perhaps the government thinks that the unemployed young people are mainly students who can’t find part-time or summer jobs, and that that is the only problem. But a study by the Economic Council of Canada in 1976 showed that very few of the pool of unemployed young people were students looking for jobs. In fact, if you excluded the students from the unemployment rate, the rate would go up by two points in some months.

What has the government done about this very serious problem? Well, it did produce a summer employment programme for students in recent years, producing from 7,500 to 10,000 jobs. But over 100,000 applications were received in the last two years.

It has an industrial training branch which supervises apprenticeship and industrial training programmes. But the number of places available is far below the number of applicants. For example, the joint apprenticeship council in the electrical industry told me last fall that they were still absorbing the 1974-75 applicants who had qualified and had not started to place the 1976 applicants.

The government has a strange programme called the Ontario Career Action programme, otherwise known as OCAP, which is supposed to give young people a chance to acquire clerical experience so that they can presumably have a better chance at applying for clerical jobs. But to me it looks rather like a method of obtaining cheap labour for the Ontario government. It places young people in clerical jobs in the Ontario government at about $100 a week for a maximum of 52 weeks. They have no opportunity to get a foot on the civil service ladder, or even to enjoy any of the rights and benefits of a civil servant.

Mr. Speaker, if there is work to be done in the Ontario government, it should be done by persons who are paid a living wage and are given a chance to enjoy the same benefits and the same right to move up the career ladder in the same way as those beside whom they work. Second-class citizens in the public service are not the mark of a fair employer.

This government looks after people at the top, like Mr. Fleck, but it sweats those at the bottom along with the contract employees whom it is using to fill job needs these days, instead of adding to the civil service complement, in order to keep up its smokescreen and delude the public into believing that it has a freeze on civil service growth.

The contract employees are among the most exploited; they receive almost no benefits and work side by side with civil servants who are receiving pensions and other benefits. They are often paid less than the people who are doing the same work beside them.

Mr. Conway: Sounds like the members of the Legislature.

Ms. Bryden: I counted the number of jobs in the Experience ‘77 booklet put out by the Youth Secretariat on summer employment, and I found that at least half of them started at the bare minimum wage.

An hon. member: Shame.

Ms. Bryden: But today there is a rising call for a lower minimum wage for young people from some quarters, and the Minister of Industry and Tourism (Mr. Bennett) seems to be listening to it.


Ms. Bryden: The critics point to high unemployment rates existing among young men and women in provinces where the minimum wage is $3 an hour compared to our $2.65 an hour. But the idea of a cheap minimum wage for the young would just encourage employers to replace older workers with younger workers. It was George Meany of the AFL-CIO who said that this would mean laying off the father to hire the son. It would be a subsidy to employers and there’s no proof it would create any new jobs. It would only mean an across-the-board wage cut for thousands.

Mr. Speaker, this government’s past record in the development of jobs for young persons is abysmal. Can we expect anything more in 1977 or are the words in the Throne Speech simply empty rhetoric?

Hon. Mr. Kerr: More.

Mr. Martel: More empty rhetoric.

Hon. Mr. Kerr: No, more jobs.

Mr. Martel: I’m glad you said that, George.


Mr. Makarchuk: Where’s the legislation?

Ms. Bryden: What should the government be doing about this serious problem of youth unemployment? Well, first, in my opinion, it should make a commitment to effect a progressive reduction in the youth unemployment rate over the next few years. We all know, of course, that an expanding economy is the first prerequisite for opening up job opportunities to the unemployed of all ages. But planning for full employment and for the development of new industries, both secondary and tertiary, is not one of the bases touched by this government in the Throne Speech. That’s because they don’t believe in planning and they don’t have a commitment to full employment. They prefer chaos to coordination. They prefer laissez-faire to leadership. It’s a doctrinaire approach that hasn’t worked in the past.

Professor Lester Thurow of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology said in a recent article in Newsweek, I quote: “Real per capita growth since the advent of government intervention has been more than twice as high as it was in the days when government did not intervene or have social welfare programmes.”

What else must the government do? I think it must face the fact that young people do need an assist to get on to the career ladder. Companies and governments must open their doors to them and give them a chance. Incentives may be necessary to persuade employers to hire inexperienced people and to provide training on the job.

In addition, opportunities for training and upgrading must be increased and student aid must be expanded to allow young people to obtain this training. It’s a myth that our young people are over-educated. Of the 143,000 young persons unemployed in February, 1977, only 20,000 had any post-secondary education. Unless we want to just sell off our resources to the world, we have to increase our productivity, we have to specialize, we have to do research to meet world competition. That’s going to need educated people.

We’re going to need more than handouts to industry. We’re going to need planning. We’re going to need joint public-private action. We’re going to have to bring education and work experience together in shared-time programmes which are more than cheap labour schemes. Apprenticeship and on-the-job training in additional fields might ensure that we have qualified TV repairman at least and a more skilled and productive labour force.

Perhaps we should involve the young people in planning these changes. No unemployed young persons in the work force were at the recent Partnership for Prosperity conference which was called by the government to plan for the future development of this province’s economy. Besides that, the conference spent its time looking at 1980 rather than at the current 143,000 young people out of work.

In addition, of course, we should consider special programmes for handicapped and disadvantaged youth. The rehabilitation branch of the Ministry of Community and Social Services does good work but only scratches the surface. Programmes to make the handicapped and disadvantaged self-supporting will pay for themselves in the long run.

Young people don’t want sympathy or exhortations. They simply want jobs and, right now, they aren’t interested in long-term solutions. They want action today. They want to see new jobs going up on the boards in the Manpower offices.

Mr. Speaker: Perhaps if the hon. member is going to go into a new area this might be an appropriate time to adjourn the debate.

Ms. Bryden: I have about three minutes more, but if you like I’ll adjourn.

Mr. Conway: I grant it, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker: Agreed?

Mr. Conway: Agreed.

Ms. Bryden: Mr. Speaker, perhaps we can take a look at the Manitoba government’s employment package. The province, in 1976, spent about $45 million to $50 million on direct job creation. It included accelerated capital works and a provincial employment programme which funds municipalities, schools, co-operatives, local groups, farms and so forth for construction-oriented projects. It included special loans to municipalities and labour forgiveness of 50 per cent in the summer and 100 per cent in the winter. It included a Manpower corps in the north, and Manpower counselling and working with the private sector to develop jobs and career opportunities for the target groups.

A similar effort in Ontario would cost in the neighbourhood of $300 million to $400 million. The $160 million already given to industry in the sales tax exemption would be a start for this kind of money, for a job-creation programme. Other tax breaks for industry could be withdrawn and any handouts which the provincial Treasurer is planning in his new budget could be diverted to this kind of a constructive attack on the unemployment problem.

There is lots of work needed in this province. We could provide funds for reforestation for home insulation, for energy conservation, for recycling, for anti-pollution programmes. We could provide funds for rehabilitation of senior citizens homes and to increase the middle-income group’s opportunity to improve its homes.

I hope we will see some sort of constructive suggestions adopted in the budget and the beginning of an action programme to make jobs available to the young people of this province. I hope they won’t have to take Prime Minister Trudeau’s advice and go south in pursuit of employment.

An hon. member: Perhaps we should send Pierre south; far south.

Mr. Speaker: We need someone to adjourn the debate. I am not sure who is next on the list. Mr. Conway is the next speaker.

On motion by Mr. Conway, the debate was adjourned.

On motion by Hon. Mr. Kerr, the House adjourned at 6 p.m.